Using Sage CRM to “Get Things Done”

Do you use a customer relationship management (CRM) tool to Get Things Done (GTD)?

Essentially, GTD is a process taken from a published book, but used by lots of businesses around the world. GTD involves planning tasks and projects in advance, reviewing your next actions, and then progressing important tasks and projects.

So how does a customer relationship management tool support GTD? CRM tools aren’t purpose built for GTD, but if you understand the principles behind this productivity technique, you and your business can use CRM for GTD.

GTD stage one: Collect The first stage of GTD involves collecting information from multiple sources and storing it in one place. CRM makes it easier to gather relevant company, customer and product information and store it in one place. You can enter customer details directly into CRM and associate spreadsheets, emails and document with specific customers. Similarly, because CRM syncs with Exchange, you can file attachments and emails against individual customers or companies within CRM.

With CRM, you can store a lot of your company’s paper-based information online. This reduces the volume of paper work you and your team have to deal with on a normal day, and it should also reduce the amount of time other members of your team spend gathering information later on.

GTD stage two: Process Once you have gathered important from your business and stored it in one place, the second stage of GTD involves asking what this information means and what you need to do about it. If, for example, a customer service representative gathers information about a number of customer support issues, they can: - Act on these support cases - Delegate these support cases - Defer these support cases - Save this information for future reference

CRM also has an inbuilt tool that helps with the processing stage of GTD. It’s called a workflow. A workflow automates key business processes. For example, it can automatically schedule follow-up appointments for a sales manager who just closed an important deal.

GTD stage three: Organise Now comes the organizing of information by context so you act on this information later on: - You can organize emails, documents and sales information by customer. This enables you to view a list of actions specific to each customer. - A customer service representative can store solutions to a common issue in a central knowledge base; this makes it easier to identify actions for solving common customer problems. - CRM can alert sales executives who they need to call next. This means they can spend less time figuring out who to call next and more energy working through their call list.

GTD stage four: Review If you want to get things done, it’s important to review your information, tasks and projects regularly. You should ask questions like: - What do I need to do next? - When do I need to do it?

CRM has in-built tools that can help with this stage of GTD: - A customer support representative can log new support cases and review the status of their open cases within CRM. - A sales executive can review your company’s sales pipeline and use this information to plan key sales activities. - And you can review the contact history of an important customer, client or prospect before you meet them.

Another key part of this stage is the Weekly Review. You and your team can personalize the screens within CRM so it presents information relevant to your current Weekly Review. For example, a sales executive can create an interactive dashboard that displays their calendar, tasks and RSS feeds. She could also customize this dashboard so that it alerts her about new opportunities.

GTD stage five: Do There’s no point understanding GTD or having a tool as powerful as CRM if you and your team don’t actually do any of the actions you identified during the previous four stages. CRM can help you complete your next actions in a number of ways: - A sales manager can generate quotes, call back leads, and use detailed customer histories to cross-sell and up-sell. - A customer service representative can check the communications history of a case, view the status of a replacement part, and then provide a relevant answers for a customer. - A manager can use mobile CRM to access real-time customer information on a tablet or smart phone and then make an important decision while out of the office. - You can customize CRM to track competitors, manage company events and oversee key business projects. Last but not least….. You don’t need to understand GTD to get the most out of CRM, and you don’t need CRM to get things done. However, understanding the principles behind GTD and having a powerful tool like CRM will help you accomplish more in your business, with less effort.