Making Contact, Avoiding Complications

By Cindy Waxer

While a contact management system can increase a company’s revenues and foster strong customer relationships, it shouldn’t be considered a cure-all for lagging sales and disinterested prospects. In fact, according to Barry Trailer, president of the consulting firm Sales Mastery Inc. in Colorado Springs, CO, there are precautions salespeople should take when using a contact management system.

“Ninety percent of the people who have GoldMine use less than 10% of its functionality,” says Trailer. “But if you get 20% functionality, you can more than double its usefulness.”

It’s for this reason that users should immediately familiarize themselves with the contact management system’s unique features. Are you able to deliver email to a contact directly through the system? Can templates such as form letters and mailing labels be stored for repeat usage? What is the fastest way to inform sales colleagues of a new or recently modified customer profile? These are all questions that sales professionals would be wise to ask before delving headfirst into the system.

While it’s imperative to thoroughly explore the contact management system’s features, Trailer warns that sales professionals shouldn’t fall victim to such unnecessary bells and whistles as complex correspondence components and graphic-laden interfaces, especially when working within tight time constraints.

“The opportunity for the contact management system to frustrate you goes up exponentially if you’re up against some sort of commitment,” says Trailer.

Instead, users should focus on taking advantage of features that promise to enhance customer relations, such as the ability to aggregate data, create templates and share important information with colleagues.