Contact management software can automate your messages to clients and distribute relevant information quickly.
Armed with a new, highly sophisticated contact management program, you can provide automated services that are specific, relevant and useful to individual clients.
For example, using ACT! 2000 (Version 5.0.2), here's how a database can build a closer relationship with your current top clients:
Let's say you found an article on improving your golf swing that you want to send to your 46 top clients who golf. In the past, you'd have to remember and list those 46 clients, photocopy the article 46 times, write 46 personalized notes, hand-address 46 envelopes and lick 46 stamps. Time spent: about an hour.
As you became more successful, you'd pass the job to an assistant, saving yourself time but still paying someone to do that work for you.
After getting your compliance department's approval on the message, sending it using ACT! and the Internet goes like this:
1) Find the same article on the magazine's Web site.
2) Copy the URL, paste it into an e-mail and forward to your assistant's e-mail along with a quick note to pass along to the clients.
3) Your assistant creates a note template. Within the "Top Clients" group in the database, she searches the "Interests" field for the word golf.
4) The assistant then does an e-mail merge with the top client golfers and sends out personalized e-mails with a completely non-self-interested tidbit that reminds clients you see them as more than just buckets filled with money to invest.
5) The e-mail is automatically attached to each client's history file so you can ask what he or she thought about the article the next time you talk.
Time spent: two minutes for you, 10 minutes for your assistant. This frees up an hour of your day for other important activities.
The procedure requires you to have customized your ACT! database to include:
- A field called "Interests"
- "Golf" added to this field
- A group of "Top Clients" and
- The e-mail addresses for this same group.
Among software programs, Outlook, Maximizer and Goldmine have similar features and characteristics, but they operate in slightly different ways than ACT!
Get Help Getting the most out of a contact management program requires that you either become skilled in its use or you hire someone who is.
I have worked with ACT! for almost nine years, but I still call in a database consultant when I need to reorganize and restructure my database. A good consultant will sit down with you, find out how your business works, determine what you need and then build an appropriate contact manager that works the way you do. Further, the consultant will often suggest strategies and techniques to maximize the utility of the database.
Many firms provide specific, customized contact management software for all their reps to use. Most will also have in place strict controls on the type of information to be stored in the database, so be sure you understand what is and what isn't in compliance before you waste time and energy.