Getting Contact Management Implementation Right Takes a Bit of Time

by | Jul 30, 2008

You gotta love it when customers help you see your own business more clearly!

I had an experience like that today.  This customer, we’ll call her Nicky, just joined her company as Director of Sales.  Prior to her arrival, there has been NO sales tracking, contact management, CRM or marketing to speak of.

Nicky’s fought these fights before and she’s got big plans for her new organization.  I love working with people like Nicky!
She knows the value of basic contact management, sales activity tracking and pipeline management.  She also knows that putting some straight forward and management direct marketing in place will help her nurture clients as there is a lot of repeat business in her world.

Its not uncommon that SalesNexus customer have these requirements.  What’s uncommon about Nicky is that she’s not overwhelmed by all the choices, decisions and minutia associated with achieving all of these goals AND she’s not crazy enough to try and do it all at once.


The conversation I had with Nicky was really just blind luck on my part.  Nicky’s business has seasonal patterns and the big sales push of the year is going on right now.  She’s smart enough not to let implementing technology take her eye off that ball.

But right now she’s using an excel sheet to manage the sales pipeline.  Remember, there is no contact management or CRM at all.


Normally, new SalesNexus clients want to get it all in place ASAP.  That means we discuss the type of contact management system they are using now or at least what data they’ll want imported into a new database, then we immediately dive into adding custom fields to tailor the contact management database to the client’s unique needs.  Then we start creating reports that summarize the key metrics in their business and finally build marketing campaigns.

Believe me, an implementation project like this can be a real bear to manage with all of the decisions associated to be made by the client who is still not conversant with the technology.

So Nicky says “Listen Craig, I need a basic contact management database to facilitate data sharing during our sales push.  During that time I’ll start experimenting with tracking sales pipeline in the contact management system.  When October rolls around, I’ll know the system pretty well and THEN I’ll have the time and knowledge I need to decide how to the contact management system should be customized for my business.  Then we can create some reports to track sales activity and the pipeline and then finally, start building marketing campaigns.”

So I say “Wow!  Thank you.  You just made my life a lot easier.  I’m going to love working with you!”
So there is it folks, the road map to successful implementation of a new Contact Management, CRM or Sales and Marketing Automation system:

  • Import your basic contact data into the contact management system and encourage logging of notes and activities.
  • Lets some time pass.  Experiment with queries, reports, etc.  Get to know the system.
  • Then huddle everyone up and decide what specific fields you want to add to the database that are uniquely relevant to your business.
  • Build a report that ties sales activity to sales pipeline – the idea here is that if a sales rep is showing a sales opp at 90% for this month for a huge dollar amount but, he hasn’t completed the key fields in the contact management system and has only had one call or meeting with the customer, you know some thing’s fishy.
  • Then start building marketing campaigns that target the niches you can carve out of the contact management database using the unique fields you’ve added.

I know it seems obvious.  Problem is most customers want it all ASAP so they can realize the ROI that they’re hoping for from their investment in contact management.

I’m going to work on helping customers find the right pace.  Thanks again Nicky!