During a crisis, leveraging technology can help you to coordinate communication and business development efforts and more effectively engage with clients and prospects.
Right now, with employees working from home, collaboration requires more thought and effort than it would under normal circumstances. It will be especially important to track and coordinate who is in charge of marketing and other outreach activities such as emails, calls, blog posts and webinars for all of your most important contacts. This will help to ensure that no relevant client or contact gets missed because everyone thought that someone else was handling the relationship. It also helps to prevent oversaturating the same contacts with too many messages from multiple individuals in your firm. Several types of technology can assist with this communication and coordination.
Client Relationship Management (CRM) systems can help to record and track outreach information in real-time through the creation of activities. Activity data can be used to shed light on who has been speaking with whom, when communications took place, what messages have been shared, responses that have been received and any next steps that are required. The Marketing and/or Business Development teams should manage and support this process, initiating appropriate internal debriefings so that any follow-up tasks can be delegated and executed.
But, even though the process of creating an activity can literally take less than a minute, in the past most firms have been unsuccessful in implementing an activity tracking process beyond the Marketing or Business Development teams or an occasional or sporadic practice-based effort.
With everyone working remotely, this is a rare opportunity – and the perfect time – to begin focusing on this essential business process. While many in the firm may be overwhelmed dealing with helping clients respond to COVID-19 -related crises, there are likely some professionals and a number of key staff who may have time on their hands. These people could be dedicated to supporting the other busy professionals in the activity-tracking process. Additionally, adding this support role could help to reduce potential staff reductions or furloughs.
To implement coordinated activity tracking, remote online and web-based training will be needed to ensure that everyone understands the process and technology. More importantly, to encourage the use of activities, it’s important to communicate the reason why the process is so important to coordinating the outreach. In addition to the training, videos, quick reference guides and other materials should be created and made easily accessible online to reinforce the basic concepts.
While CRM systems are essential, there are also a number of other supporting technologies you can invest in and leverage to support your organization in its outreach and business development efforts during these challenging times …
For more than a decade, the team at CLIENTSFirst Consulting has been helping professional services firms and other organizations successfully select and implement CRM and eMarketing systems to maximize value, adoption and return on investment. If you need help achieving CRM, Data Quality or eMarketing success, please contact us at 404-249-9914 or Info@CLIENTSFirstConsulting.com.