Remember to send Jenny a birthday card. Don’t forget to say thanks to Frank for the gift. It’s been four months since you hung out with Karen… it’s probably time to see how she’s doing.
We manage our personal lives and relationships with calendars, planners, and reminders so it makes even more sense to do that in business, right? Wait. Why is that even a question? Is this a question?
At Backflip, we’ve always been UBER vigilant against disingenuousness. I mean… just look at all those prefixes and suffixes. If there’s a word that's supposed to mean hiding behind something or being fake, that’s the one. We always strive for meaningful relationships with our clients. So when it comes to using customer relationship management tools, our staff had some hesitation in the past. I think it’s because the different softwares we’ve used are the typical tools of the “salesman” and with them comes the natural fear of coming across cold or impersonal. But really, it’s just the most practical way to manage our overbooked lives and it turns out, using a customer relationship management software can lead to better personal interactions than without.
Imagine missing your mom’s birthday. Probably won’t happen, the stakes are too high, there aren’t that many people to remember all at once, you’ve been scolded before…
But now imagine you’re in charge of sending out save-the-date cards to birthday parties for every one of your aunts, uncles, cousins… even the ones “once removed.” And if you don’t do it, their friends will all get mad at them and you’ll lose your allowance… that you use to pay your mortgage… and buy groceries. You love them. You care about them. But you can’t manage all of that information in your head, so you write it down and set a few reminders for yourself. That’s customer relationship management.
Over the years, we’ve used several different tools. I don’t recommend switching frequently since you'll need to export all that data and make sure you don’t lose important information during the transfer, but it’s worth looking around every now and then to see that you’re using the tools that are best for you. Long ago we used, Vtiger (running on our own server), then SugarCRM, then Insightly. I really enjoyed Insightly since it integrated so well with the Google Suite and we use everything Google. It is open source and allows for a ton of customization. That can be a catch 22 though. Sometimes too much customization can lead to messy processes and confusing workflows. (Myspace forever!) In the end though, you’ll still need to build your own system or at least understand the basic workflows for lead management. The software can help keep track of everything but it won’t build your process for you.
For the last couple years we’ve been using Hubspot. It’s a slick modern software that hooks into all the services and has a nice mobile app, but it’s also got robust digital marketing management and that won us over. We’ve been offering more digital marketing services to our clients (basically… more birthday party invites for the relatives) and Hubspot helps us stay on top of everything.
Whatever tool you use, in the end it’s really about connecting with the people that you serve. You can use a rolodex. You can use your brain if you’re a savant. Or if you're like the rest of us, you can use software. Just make sure you remember to send your mom a birthday card, or she’ll fire you.