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Managing Your Working Day in Inside Sales
To CRM or not to CRM – that is the question
Most organizations I work with have some form of customer database or CRM – customer relationship management – system. If you do, you should learn every aspect of it and use it to run your work life. simple
A good CRM allows you to track every contact with a customer, what you say, what they say, and the progress you make in your company’s sales process. CRMs can be useful for curating data such as key performance indicators – KPIs and many of them have built-in calendars and email management.
If you don’t have a CRM system, buy one, rent one in the cloud like Salesforce, or use the latest version of Microsoft Outlook with a CRM add-on. Better yet, get Office 365 for you and your team, add CRM Bolt 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’m going to show you how you can do this and finally get to grips with time and email management.
Office 365 is an inside marketer’s dream. Add in Dynamics CRM Online and you have the perfect intuitive solution. Your emails, tasks and appointments can be automatically synchronized to the database from Outlook. Your Word documents and Excel files can also be stored there. Your conversations will be recorded and saved. And not just for you – but for your entire company.
There is nothing worse for a customer than when he calls a company and is treated like a stranger. That doesn’t happen in a good CRM system. You and your employees are sharing all interactions with your community on the system. You have an integrated system with social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. You have emails, activities, notes, conversations and documents associated with each contact and account. Let’s go to Office 365.
Use the cloud
Office 365 resides in the cloud, in other words, it can be accessed from any device via the Internet. It doesn’t sit on old-fashioned hard drives. This means you can pull data from any device, so set them all up first. Your phone, laptop, PC, tablet. When an entry is made on any device, the database is updated in real time in the cloud so 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 with a new contact, their details are automatically transferred to your contacts along with the photo.
If you get into the habit of taking photos of people you meet on your phone, include it in the contact details. So when they call your mobile, their name and a photo will also flash. Pictures bring back memories much faster than text.
Emails from new contacts can be dragged into the contact box and a contact entry is automatically created with all the details extracted from the email.
First set the options so your calendar looks the way you want. Decide the week you work, which may include Saturdays, becomes mine. Sort the default view for your calendar.
Now decide the color for the different items. Here are my suggestions:
Red – earn money
Blue – Marketing activities
Yellow – Administration
Green – self development
Orange – Personal activities
Then you can see at a glance whether you are being productive or not.
Microsoft offers an enterprise quality web meeting software platform called Skype for Business. It uses the Skype engine but it is not connected to your personal Skype. It allows you to run a web meeting with anyone or a group at 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 list all their tasks in one giant “to do” list and it can be overwhelming.
There are a few ways you can transform your tasks into something more digestible. The first way is to put dates on each task – start and end dates – so they appear at the bottom of your calendar for the relevant day. Useful if you have to do it that day.
I do it differently. I categorize each task so I can group them on my calendar. I believe I’m more productive doing similar tasks in clusters instead of free-wheeling.
First, I am clear about my objectives, supporting projects and what is needed to achieve the goals. I’m sure you are too. With that in mind you should consider whether you add an item to the tasks. You should only do it if it advances you in your goals. If it does, it’s called a strategic next action – a TNA.
I have TNAs:
TNA: Do it
TNA: Maybe someday
The last is true; I currently have 35 items in that category but no deal breakers, but the first four are the ones my calendar carries the most.
When a new task arrives in your task list, keep it unassigned – it will automatically find its way to the top, so when you manage your task, you can allocate a TNA to it. Use your phone to add tasks when you think of something or someone gives you a task. Don’t rely on the brain to remember, it won’t happen, but the phone will. This action goes to the cloud and will be synchronized across all devices.
The basis of all communication and one of its collection points. I’ll talk about collection points shortly. But let’s control your email once and for all; I’ve known sellers to drown in it. Here’s how.
Before we proceed, turn off your email alert feature. This has to be one of the worst distractions an insider has ever known.
You are allowed to check email regularly for important items but it is best to do it every two hours – say 9 am, 12 noon, 3 pm and 5 pm. But to deal with only the essentials, leave the rest after you empty your inbox. For a quick reminder of urgent vs important you can do no worse than Stephen Covey’s Time Management Grid. You can see below that he creates four boxes that determine whether to act or delay or ignore.
If you really need to keep tabs on urgent emails as they come in, buy yourself a smartwatch and bluetooth 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 clear your inbox every day. Here’s how.
Choose a 60-minute window sometime each day, preferably before the game closes. 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 in a task to deal with at another time. You can simply drag an email into the task area in Office 365 and it will automatically populate the task, which is not assigned to an SNA later.
If it’s something you don’t want, such as a subscription, see if you can unsubscribe. Be ruthless with these.
If it needs to be filed somewhere else, drag it to the folder on your PC where it belongs.
Work through your emails this way and you’ll clear out your inbox. And you should do it every day. Trust me, you will feel better.
This is my word where information and communication come into your business. Think fast about what collection points you have. Here’s mine when I first practiced it:
In my desk tray
Post-it notes on my computer screen
Unassigned tasks on my phone
Mobile voice mail
Land-line voice mail
Social media direct messaging
Thoughts held in mind
The objective is to reduce them, I was ruthless because the more collection points you have, the harder it is to keep everyone under control and you will soon be overwhelmed. Here is my culled list:
Office 365 email
Unassigned tasks for ideas etc.
In a tray on my desk for all paperwork including post
Plastic folder in compact case for receipts etc.
Email is king to me, so I channel everything through my email inbox and because I can access it on my phone, I never miss a thing. All social media messages come through email, eBay notifications all through. This means I have a full inbox every day but I empty it every day.
Do all these things and you too will manage your time really effectively so you can focus on selling. i do
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