Focus may well be the one skill that allows all our other skills to come together. We are pulled in many directions, and when we finally get down to work and try to focus, we are further distracted by the myriad of tools and disparate resources necessary to complete our work.
One of the key principles to higher productivity is to have ALL your tools and work in one place. When it comes to contact relationships, the ideal workspace is your CRM, and within CRM you can (1) gather what you need in dashboards, (2) receive information via automated workflow notifications, and (3) track your progress against your goals. All three tools will allow you greater productivity and focus!
Build dashboards that highlight key information that will help you take action!
This is the most obvious of all tools. It is where contact management started. An activity list provides visibility to your assigned follow-up tasks. You can prioritize and time each action in CRM and sync those tasks with Outlook.
Sales 101 includes gathering all your potential deals in a list: your pipeline. Managing a pipeline is fundamental to your success in sales. Each deal is managed through the stages in your pipeline. Your sales process should clearly define your stages and steps. Most pipelines have target $, target closing dates or renewal dates, and associated success probabilities. Sorting your pipeline is a powerful feature that can keep you focused and on target. I set my CRM to open to a view that includes my pipeline!
This view is most important if you are providing customer service and/or need to act on customer-related matters. Cases may be used in a variety of ways. For example, you can use cases to remind yourself of customer promises, such as setting up a test environment or sending out samples. You may also use cases to track issues. For a sales team member, it is always important to know the status of problem resolution.
Last 30-day Contact List
This easy-to-create view allows you to quickly identify contacts that are recent additions to your database. This is useful, because we often have multiple touches with contacts soon after they are identified as a lead or opportunity.
If your work involves projects, you may also build a pipeline of your projects!
Workflows are powerful automation tools that enable you to conditionally create actions in CRM, so you don’t have to manually take those same actions each time. You may easily build in notifications, so that you are always aware of new developments, such as movement in a deal you manage or a new customer issue. You can automate adding tasks to your activity list as well as receive reminders via email.
When someone else creates a new opportunity and assigns it to you, you can choose to receive an email notification. The email may contain a link back to the opportunity, so follow-up is easier.
Likewise, when a lead is created in the database and assigned to you, you can be notified by email. Leads from your website can be automatically entered in your CRM, so it is important to get a notification. As noted, a hyperlink can be included that links back to the lead for immediate action without a search.
When an activity is created in CRM, it will appear in your task list and Outlook reminders.
Goals necessitate a bit of planning, but the forethought is worth it! They allow someone to quantify their actual results against a target, which can be very motivating to sales people, customer service people, or even to those with more operational responsibilities, such as project managers.
Goals can be represented on your dashboard for easy access. To set up a goal you need a metric, a query (also roll-up query) and a value (the goal). Graphically you will see the goal for a specific timeframe along with the actual data and the expected data to date.
You can have multiple types of goals. A sales goal can be a quota. Then sales $ would be the metric. The query would be for a person and a specified period of time. You may also have goals for projects (costs and timelines), cases, activities, and any customer entities where a value exists.
CRM is a great tool to help individuals get focused and stay focused. Sharing results helps all team members perform better. On one hand it provides feedback to the person using the system, and on the other it increases transparency and trust within the organization. Folks will know exactly what is getting done!
If you need help setting up dashboards, workflows or goals in your CRM, we can help. TopLine Results has been assisting businesses grow their pipeline, improve their processes and increase team visibility for over 19 years. Call 1-800-880-1960 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get started on creating the focus your organization needs!
About the Author
Fred Varin founded TopLine Results Corporation in April of 1999 with the goal of helping businesses optimize their success. For more than a decade, Fred has been dedicated to delivering outstanding CRM solutions to organizations worldwide. Fred has a passion for teaching workplace productivity techniques, business analytics and the importance of business goal setting.
As a sales professional, technical consultant and trainer for more than 20 years, Fred has a keen understanding of CRM and the sales cycle. Fred’s CRM certifications include: Silver Certified Microsoft partner, Microsoft Certified Professional, Act! Certified Consultant and Registered Salesforce partner.