Thursday, December 12, 2013

Something interesting: Tools you can use

 (Even if you already have work)

The first tool I’m checking out is Insightly. A contact management system that’s free for up to 3 users and a limited about of contacts and storage demands. (About right for a job search I believe)

Ironically the secret I learned (the hard way) of creating a good contact database in Insightly is to do it the hard way. That bulk batch importing of data from a poorly maintained contact list is NOT the way to build a useful CRM. Were I to do it over (and I’m seriously considering doing just that)

Step 1: I’d batch output my Linkedin list to a spreadsheet. 
Step 2: Batch output Google Contacts also to an excel spreadsheet.
Step 3: Batch output whatever contacts I had elsewhere (I have lots) also to an excel spreadsheet.
Step 4: Adjust the field names so that they match.
Step 5: Put them all together to sort and eliminate duplicates.
Step 6: Get rid of any that have just emails (Google contacts seem to grab spam addresses and think they are contacts. Not a good thing.)
Step 7: Run through merge data, update things, since it’s all in one place and easy to see.
Step 8: Import it into the CRM.
Step 9: Muck with it some more (inevitably)
Step 10: Celebrate!

What does a CRM allow me/you to do? More effectively keep track of contact history, conversation notes, obligations to follow up, etc. organize communication time efficiently, create mass mailings (not that I’d recommend that), make sure potential opportunities don’t fall through the cracks because I/you got busy somewhere else.

If you use a spreadsheet, notebook, string around your finger, you’ll find it a major improvement in your sense of being in control of your time. You may find yourself doing less random contact with people who’ve forgotten who you are and more regular contact with people who know you care enough to stay in touch (and remember what was important to them.)

More help and hints on using this tool over time, maybe. Share your thoughts about CRM or what tools you use in the comments below.

- Duane

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