Contact Management has traditionally been used to describe an approach taken by a sales manager to plan for specific actions of sales personnel in interacting with their prospects. Today, marketers of all types are using these techniques on a much wider scale to maximize the effectiveness of their enterprise-marketing efforts. Any company that is considering a CRM solution should view Contact Management as a part of the overall puzzle.
Methods of targeting appropriate customers and effectively managing customer contacts were not addressed very well in the past. Today, companies are providing solutions that deal with the challenge of Contact Management – and turning this into a major competitive advantage for the companies that deploy them.
Contact Management essentials
Database. This core feature lets you build and store records on contacts and schedule all client and property activities. It should be easy to set up, update, and search.
Ability to customize. Since no two people work alike, you’ll want the option to create custom or user-defined fields and retrieve customized reports.
Import/export capabilities. The ability to move data between applications will save you time and allow flexibility in how you use your information. And, if you decide to switch to another contact manager, the time you’ve invested in this solution won’t be wasted.
Interactive calendar. This feature alerts you to what you need to do – and when – and ties your appointment book to your contact records.
Web and e-mail support. Save time building your contact database with a program that allows you to create forms for capturing vital information on your Web site. Also look for a system that will allow you to launch or retrieve fax and e-mail messages – and save them as part of your contacts’ histories – from within the program.
Reports. Look for the ability to run predefined reports, such as prospect lists by ZIP Code, and to create customized reports (adding an initial-point-of-contact field, for example, and generating reports showing where most of your closed transactions originated).
Robust Forecasting. This feature allows you to segment opportunities by account manager, region, or probability of close. It allows you to create custom filters and view data in multiple graphic formats. You can also review historical trends to gauge effectiveness and to guide strategic changes. Automating forecasts can save many hours of pulling data and creating spreadsheets.
Contact Management can move from a purely defensive tactic to a powerful way of building customer relationships. By using a Contact Management system to implement a marketing strategy, businesses can deliver influential messages and consistent customer experiences that will provide a high rate of financial return and increased customer loyalty.
Some benefits of Contact Management include:
- No need to set up and negotiate a number of contracts to achieve a single solution
- A single point of contact for project implementation and management, freeing you to focus on your core business
- Reduction of the risk to your organization by consolidating the tracking of customer requirements through a single point
- Consolidated progress reporting, which allows you to see the big picture
Contact Management is just the core function for effective sales, service, and marketing. Your contact records can serve as the launch for direct mail or e-mail campaigns; they can be exported to other modules for managing the transaction; and they can supply the data for tracking your performance.
A well-executed Contact Management system is sure to bring many improvements and benefits – by working smarter instead of harder.
For more information on software that fulfills Contact Management requirements, please read Contact Management Software.