Managing your workday in inside sales
To CRM or not to CRM, that’s the question
Most of the organizations I work with have some type of customer database or CRM (customer relationship management) system in place. If you do, you must learn all the aspects and use it to manage your work life. Simple.
A good CRM will allow you to keep track of every customer contact, what they said, what they said, and the progress they made throughout your company’s sales process. CRMs can be useful for targeting data as the KPIs – KPIs, and many of them have built-in email management and calendars.
If you don’t have a CRM system, buy one, rent one that’s in the cloud, like Salesforce, or use the latest version of Microsoft Outlook with the CRM add-in. Better yet, get Office 365 for you and your team, add the CRM, and you’re cooking on gas. If you are familiar with Outlook and the Office suite of products, your learning curve for Office 365 will be negligible. I’ll show you how you can do this and finally get acquainted with time management and email.
Office 365 is an insider’s dream. Add Dynamics CRM Online and you have the perfect intuitive solution. Your Outlook emails, tasks and appointments can be automatically synchronized in the database. Your Word documents and Excel files can also be stored there. Your conversations will be logged and saved. And not just for you, but for your entire company.
There is nothing worse for a customer than when they call a company and they treat them like a stranger. That does not happen with a good CRM system. You and your employees share all interactions with your community on the system. It has the system integrated with social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. You have emails, activities, notes, conversations, and documents linked to every contact and account. Let’s get into Office 365.
Use the cloud
Office 365 is in the cloud, that is, it can be accessed from any device over the Internet. It is not on an old hard drive. This means that you can pull data from any device, so set all of them first. Your phone, laptop, PC, tablet. Whenever an entry is made on any device, the database is updated in the cloud in real time so that anyone can view the information from their devices.
The best feature here is the merge option, where you can link your social media accounts to your contacts. So when you link to a new contact, their details are automatically transferred to your contacts, with a picture as well.
If you get into the habit of photographing people you know with your phone, please include it in the contact details. So when they call your mobile phone, their name flashes and so does a photograph. An image brings back memories much faster than a text.
Emails from new contacts can be dragged into the contact box and a contact entry is automatically made with all the details collected from the email.
First, set the options so that your calendar looks the way you want it to. Decide your work week, which can include Saturday, mine does. Order the default view for your calendar.
Now decide the colors for different items. Here is my suggestion:
- Red – earning money
- Azul – marketing activities
- Yellow – administration
- Green – self-development
- Orange – personal activities
Then you can see at a glance whether or not you are being productive.
Microsoft provides a business-grade web meeting software platform called Skype for Business. You are using the Skype engine but you are not connected to your personal Skype. It allows you to host a web meeting with any person or group with the click of a button. Make sure you get it and link it to Office 365. It is much better than GoToWebinar and also more cost effective.
Office 365 comes with a stable task management engine that is underutilized. Many people simply list all their tasks in a giant “to do” list and this can be very disconcerting.
There are a couple of ways you can make your tasks more digestible. The first way is to put dates on each task (start and end dates) so that they appear at the bottom of your calendar for the relevant day. Useful if they must be done that day.
I do it differently. I classify each task so that I can group them on my calendar. I think I am more productive when I do similar tasks in groups rather than freely.
First of all, I am very clear about my objectives, supporting the projects and goals that I need to achieve. I’m sure you are too. With that in mind, you have to choose whether to add an item to tasks. You should only do this if you advance your goals. Doing so is known as Next Tactical Action – a TNA.
I have TNA for:
- TNA: calls
- TNA: online
- TNA: Do
- TNA: write
- TNA: Maybe one day
The latter is true; I have 35 items in that category at the moment, but none are a deal breaker, but the top four are the longest on my calendar.
When a new task enters your to-do list, set it as unassigned; it will automatically find its way to the top, so when you do task management, you can assign it a TNA. Use your phone to add tasks whenever you think of something or when someone gives you a job to do. Don’t trust the brain to remember, it won’t, but the phone will. The task will be moved to the cloud and will be synced across all devices.
The base of all communications and one of its collection points. I will talk about the collection points shortly. But let’s master your email once and for all; I’ve met salespeople who drown in it. That is how.
Before proceeding, disable the email alert function. This has to be one of the worst distractions the insider knows.
You can check email regularly for important items, but it’s best to do it every two hours, say at 9am. M., At 12 noon, at 3 p.m. M. And at 5 p.m. M. But just to take care of the urgent ones, save the rest for later, when you clear your inbox. For a quick reminder of urgent versus important, you won’t fare worse than Stephen Covey’s Time Management Grid. You can see below that it creates four boxes that determine whether a task should be done, delayed, or even ignored.
If you really need to stay on top of urgent emails as they arrive, buy yourself a smartwatch and Bluetooth in your inbox. I have a Microsoft band that does this for me, it vibrates and you look at the small screen without accessing email.
And you should clean your inbox every day. That is how.
Pick a 60 minute window every day sometime, better before the close of the game. Start with the first email. Can you handle it in less than 2 minutes? If so, handle it. If it’s going to take more than 2 minutes, then put it on a task to try later. You can simply drag the email to the task area in Office 365 and it will automatically complete a task, which remains unassigned to be assigned an SNA later.
If it’s something you don’t want, like a subscription, see if you can unsubscribe. Be relentless with these.
If you just need to archive it somewhere, just drag it to the folder on your PC where it belongs.
Work your way through your emails this way and it will clean up your inbox. And you must do this every day. Trust me, it will feel good when you do.
This is my term for where information and communications enter your business. Quickly think about the collection points you have. Here’s mine when I first did this exercise:
- On a tray on my desk
- Car dashboard
- Sticky notes on my computer screen
- Unassigned tasks on my phone
- Mobile voicemail
- Fixed voicemail
- Direct social media messaging
- WhatsApp Communications
- Ideas stored in my brain
The goal is to reduce them, I was ruthless because the more collection points you have, the harder it will be to maintain control and you will soon be overwhelmed. Here is my selected list:
- Office 365 email
- Unassigned tasks for ideas, etc.
- In my desk tray for all paperwork, including mail
- Plastic folder in briefcase for receipts, etc.
Email is king for me, so I funnel everything through my email inbox and since I can access this on my phone, I don’t miss a thing. All messages from social networks reach email, eBay notifications everything. It means that I have a full inbox every day, but I delete this every day.
Do all of these things and you too will manage your time really effectively so you can focus on selling. Do.