CRM solutions are great for tracking your pipeline and recording your completed activities.  But most sales teams overlook how powerful their CRM solution can be as a planning tool.  If you’re not using CRM to plan you day, week – and even longer – then you’re missing out on some important benefits.  Making CRM the center of activity management means fewer deals will slip through the cracks, calls will be placed at strategic times, and you’ll know exactly what to do every morning when you get your day started.

Let’s take a look at four simple, practical and proven tips for turning your CRM solution into a valuable planning tool.

  1. The Virtuous Cycle - Follow Up Activities: Life is full of vicious cycles – make CRM a virtuous cycle by remembering to always schedule follow-up activities in CRM at key times.  This includes: (i) whenever completing an activity ALWAYS schedule a follow-up activity, (ii) when adding a new lead, opportunity or account, always create an initial follow-up activity.  It is easy to check an activity off as complete, and forget to schedule a follow-up – the next thing you know, you’ve forgotten all about an important opportunity or referral source!  Use this simple rule to never let that happen.
        

  2. Be Activity-Centric: Having worked with dozens of sales reps, I have seen that most reps tend to center on their accounts, leads and opportunities.  While these are good lists to keep up, it is better to be centered on your activities.  If you follow the virtuous cycle, above, then your planned activities will always guide you through your daily priorities.  Yes, on occasion, you should review these other items to make sure nothing is slipping through the cracks – but make your activity list be your guide and then you can review those other items only once a week.
        

  3. Plan Tomorrow Today: As you’re scheduling follow-ups and being activity-centric, you will often find that you’ve planned a follow-up that’s no longer relevant, that needs to be rescheduled, or you’ve simply piled so many things up on one day that you can’t possibly get them all done.  It’s time consuming and frustrating to see too many activities, or irrelevant activities, while you are trying to work through your list.  To overcome this problem, go through your activity list each evening and: (i) take any activities you didn’t complete today and move them forward to a day when you think you can/should get them complete, (ii) look at tomorrow and clean up those activities so you can be sure you have time to get to the highest priority ones.


  4. One Place for Tasks: Time management experts have a lot of opinions about the best way to manage your tasks. But they agree on one thing: the more lists you have for managing your time, the less productive you will be.  Most people have written lists, lists in Outlook, and follow-ups in CRM – and they often find themselves distracted or spending time on items that are not the highest priority - does that sound familiar?  Get a jump on your peers and competitors by making your CRM solution the one and only place where you manage your tasks and appointments.  If you’re lucky enough to have a CRM solution that integrates well with Outlook, then you may be able to get away with using both – but you should even be careful about that.  Less is more when it comes to where you manage your task list.

Almost every modern CRM system provides a strong set of tools for task and appointment management.  If your tool doesn’t, you may just need someone to configure it for you or to provide you with training.  Or, in some cases, you may need to consider a new CRM solution.  C5 Insight is here to help: contact us to discuss your needs.