Manage your working day in the office

To CRM or not to CRM – that is the question

Most of the organizations I work with have some sort of customer database or CRM (customer relationship management) system in place. If so, then you should learn every aspect of it and use it in your working life. Easy.

A good CRM allows you to track every contact with a customer, what you said, what they said and the progress you made in your company’s sales process. CRMs can be useful in curating data like Key Performance Indicators – KPIs, and many of them have built-in calendars and email management.

If you don’t have a CRM system, either buy one, lease one in the cloud like Salesforce, or use the latest version of Microsoft Outlook with the CRM add-on. Better yet, get Office 365 for you and your team, add the CRM screw and you’re cooking on gas. If you are familiar with Outlook and the Office suite of products, your Office 365 learning curve is negligible. I’m going to show you how to do this and finally get into time and email management.

Office 365 is every sales rep’s dream. Add Dynamics CRM Online and you have the perfect intuitive solution. Your e-mails, tasks and appointments from Outlook can be automatically synchronized with the database. Your Word documents and Excel files can also be saved there. Your conversations are recorded and saved. And not just for you – but for your entire company.

There is nothing worse for a customer than when he or she calls a company and is treated like a stranger. That doesn’t happen with a good CRM system. You and your employees share all interactions with your community in the system. They have integrated the 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 get to Office 365.

Use the cloud

Office 365 is in the cloud, which means it can be accessed from any device over the internet. It doesn’t sit on an old-fashioned hard drive. That means you can pull data from any device, so set them all up first. Your phone, laptop, pc, tablet. Whenever an entry is made on any device, the database is updated in real-time on the cloud, so anyone can see the information from their devices.

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365 contacts

The best feature here is the merge option, which allows you to link your social media accounts to your contacts. So when you connect with a new contact, their details will automatically transfer to your contacts, including a picture.

If you make it a habit to use your phone to take pictures of people you meet, incorporate that into the contact details. When they call your cell phone, their name appears and also a photo. A picture brings back memories much faster than text.

Emails from new contacts can be dragged into the contact field and a contact entry will be automatically created with all the details from the email.

365 calendar

First, set the options so your calendar looks the way you want it. Decide your work week which may include Saturday, mine does. Sort the default view for your calendar.

Now decide colors for different items. Here is my suggestion:

  • Red – make money

  • Blue – marketing activities

  • Yellow – administration

  • Green – self-development

  • Orange – personal activities

So you can see at a glance whether you are productive or not.

Microsoft offers an enterprise-grade web meeting software platform called Skype for Business. It uses the Skype engine but is not connected to your personal Skype. It allows you to host a web meeting with anyone or any group at the click of a button. Make sure you get this and link it to Office 365. It’s far better than GoToWebinar and cheaper too.

365 tasks

Office 365 has a stable task management engine that is underused. A lot of people just list all of their tasks in a huge “To Do” list and it can be very confusing.

There are a few ways you can turn your chores into something more digestible. The first way is to add dates to each task – start and end dates – so that they appear at the end of your calendar for that day. Handy if they need to be done that day.

I do it differently. I categorize each task so I can group them on my calendar. I think I’m more productive doing similar tasks in clusters rather than walking free.

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First, I am clear about my goals, supportive of projects and goals that I need to achieve. I’m sure you are too. With that in mind, you should be selective about adding an item to tasks. You should only do this if it will help you achieve your goals. When it does, it’s called a tactical next action – a TNA.

I have TNAs for:

  • TNA: calls

  • TNA: Online

  • TNA: Do it

  • TNA: Write

  • TNA: One day maybe

The last is true; I have 35 items in this category at the moment but none are a deal breaker but the first four are what carry my calendar the most.

When a new task comes into your to-do list, add it as unassigned – it will automatically find its way to the top so you can assign a TNA to it when managing tasks. Use your phone to add tasks whenever you think of something or someone gives you a job. Don’t rely on the brain to remember, it won’t, but the phone will. The task is sped to the cloud and synced across all devices.

365 email

The basis of all communication and one of your rallying points. I’ll talk about collection points shortly. But let’s tame your email once and for all; I’ve known sellers who drown in it. Here’s how.

Before we continue, turn off your email notification feature. This has to be one of the worst distractions known to the back office worker.

You’re allowed to check your email regularly for important things, but it’s best to do it every few hours — say 9:00 am, 12:00 pm, 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm. But just to get urgent things done, leave the rest until later when you empty your inbox. For a quick reminder of urgent versus important, you won’t do anything worse than Stephen Covey’s time management grid. You can see below that he creates four fields that determine whether a task should be done or delayed or even ignored.

If you really need to keep an eye on urgent emails as they arrive, buy a smartwatch and Bluetooth for your inbox. I have a Microsoft Band that does this for me, it vibrates and you’re staring at the tiny screen without accessing email.

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And you need to empty your inbox every day. Here’s how.

Choose a 60-minute window sometime each day, preferably before the end of the game. Start with the first email. Can you do it in less than 2 minutes? If so, handle it. If it will take longer than 2 minutes, put it in an assignment that will be covered at another time. You can simply drag the email to the Office 365 task pane and it will automatically fill in a task that remains unassigned to be assigned to an SNA later.

If you don’t want something, e.g. B. a subscription, see if you can cancel it. Be ruthless with these.

If you just need to put it somewhere, just drag it into the folder on your PC where it belongs.

Work your way through your emails this way and empty your inbox. And you must do this every day. Believe me, you will feel good if you do this.

collection points

This is my term for where information and communication flows into your business. Think briefly about the collection points you have. Here’s mine when I first did this exercise:

  • lyrics

  • E-mail

  • post

  • In a filing cabinet on my desk

  • writing desk

  • car dashboard

  • Sticky notes on my computer screen

  • Unassigned tasks on my phone

  • Mobile Voicemail

  • Landline Voicemail

  • Social Media Direct Messages

  • WhatsApp communication

  • Ideas stored in my brain

The aim is to reduce them, I was reckless because the more collection points you have, the more difficult it becomes to keep control and you soon become overwhelmed. Here is my sorted list:

  • lyrics

  • Office 365 email

  • Free tasks for ideas etc.

  • In a filing cabinet on my desk for all records including mail

  • Plastic folder in briefcase for receipts etc.

Email is king for me so I route everything to my email inbox and since I can access it from my phone I don’t miss a thing. All social media messages come through via email, eBay notifications everything. It means I have a full inbox every day, but I clear this every day.

Doing all of these things will also make you allocate your time really effectively so you can focus on selling. I do.