CRM - Your Business Foundation
‘At the heart of your lead-generation program will be a large, powerful contact management database.’ - Gary Keller, The Millionaire Real Estate Agent
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is the way in which you manage the names and relationships you have in your business. When you start out in business, this likely consists of friends, family, acquaintances, and classmates. Over time your sphere of influence will grow to include past and current clients as well as areas you start to actively farm new leads. The majority of your marketing activities will be directed at the members of your CRM, and how well you organize and manage it will determine the rate of return you see on your advertising dollars.
The key to maximizing the value of your CRM is keeping all the data as clean and organized as possible. The best way to think about this is - ‘What information do you want readily available if you need to interact with this person right away?’ Here are the basics you should start with:
- Full First and Last Name
- Email address
- Telephone (home & cell)
- Home address
When building your CRM you should always try to get these four pieces of information from any prospect you interact with. Once you have them in your CRM, you can start to add more information so you can segment your marketing strategies. Additional pieces of information you should consider tracking:
- How you met the prospect
- Are they a past or current client
- When was the last time you interacted with them
- Any additional information that is noteworthy (family members, business associates, etc)
The more information you have, the better the decisions and interactions you have with your prospects will be. Once all of the information is organized, it is easy to begin email campaigns, send invitations to events, or market to your clients using monthly mailers like the InfoCard Marketing program.
If this all sounds overwhelming and you don’t know where to start, the best place is likely in your personal email. Here are links on how to export your contacts from Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo Mail. Once you have this information in a .xls or .csv format, you can easily upload it into some free CRM software. Our personal favorite is Hubspot, but you can find a great list of free options with a list of pros and cons on crm.org.