When I was a kid, I loved to play “Connect the Dots” games. As you followed a natural progression (usually numeric or alphabetic), an image would appear, revealing itself as a uniform and complete image. I could then color it to suit my needs and display it for all to admire.
Contact management systems are like a “Connect the Dots” game. You should start with an inventory of all the places you store your contact data. For many, it may look like this:
- Phone Address Book
- Sticky Notes
- Business Card Pile
- Excel Spreadsheets
- Sticky Notes (did I mention that already?)
- Email Marketing Software
- Financial Software
- Sticky Notes (hmmmm, that sounds familiar!)
- Proprietary Software
- Sticky Notes (yes, I have way too many of these)
- Google Docs
- and my favorite…
- They are all in my head
All these dots laid out as separate entities look like you opened your hole punch and dumped it on the floor. They make no sense and you are going to have a difficult time organizing them.
So how do you straighten out your messy dots? Start with a template. Lay out all of the fields you know you will need in order to communicate to your contacts, as well as extract information out of your database for reporting.
Next, start looking at the relationships between these fields. What can you see immediately? What would you like to see, but need more information?
After this, we start to explore how your data flows through your processes and thus, through your contact management system. Are there bottlenecks? Are their disconnects?
As you start to piece your data “dots” together, you too will become excited at the picture that begins to form. You may even find a surprise!
If you need help “connecting your dots,” CONTACT US for a free consultation.