When it comes to managing your contacts, the days of the rolodex and the spreadsheet database are far behind us. Today’s business landscape calls for much more sophisticated solutions, which means having a contact management system that’s robust and feature-rich. A good contact management system can make all the difference in the success of your business — provided you avoid some of the most common mistakes business owners make when adapting a CMS.
Not Training Your Staff Properly on How to Fully Use the System
As we’ve said, one of the biggest advantages of contact management software is how sophisticated and feature-rich they are. But if you don’t properly train your staff on how to use them, that sophistication is going to become a liability. If you wouldn’t throw an employee into the thick of it without giving them an ounce of training first, you shouldn’t expect them to manage the contact database without training either. Lack of training isn’t just a frustration for your employees — it will also bring frustration to your customers, as calls lengthen and take forever because the employee doesn’t know what they’re doing. Your call volume and resolution time goes up and your efficiency suffers. Your best bet is to have a training plan in place and make sure all your new hires are properly educated before they begin work in earnest.
Not Using It as a Lead Generation Tool
A contact database is great for tracking details on existing clients and customers, and the best contact management databases allow you to tag, organize, and categorize contacts. But if you’re just using your software to track existing customers and leaving out the lead generation, you’re not getting your full money’s worth. Lead generation is one of the most important aspects of growing your business, and finding the right customers means having as much information as you can on them, organized so you can find it easily. Whether a potential customer signs up for a newsletter or fills out a form on your website, finds you through social media and leaves a comment, or even exchanges email addresses with you at a conference, that’s lead generation. Many contact management systems can also be linked to CRM software, making it easier to retain those customers once you have them!
Selecting the Wrong Contact Management System
As you might expect, not all contact management systems are created equal, and some of them can be a major investment of time and money. So before you take the plunge, make sure the software you choose has all the features you need. Some of the more important features you should look for include:
- Cloud capabilities, so your team can access data wherever they are. They should also be able to change and update contact information from a phone or other mobile device with ease.
- History and logging so you can record past conversations, arrange follow-ups, and keep all the relevant documents and details you need where they can be easily retrieved.
- Easy sharing capabilities so the system will be useful across departments.
- Customization. The more data you collect, the more important it is to be able to retrieve it in different ways. Find a CMS that can filter data by group, create private contacts, and group contacts together for easy reference.
Not Analyzing Data
Big data is bigger than ever, and business owners have a wealth of contact info at their fingertips. But data isn’t much use unless you know how to act on it, and knowing how to act on it depends on one thing: metrics. Analyzing your data is critical to measuring these metrics, whether it’s demographic information, buying habits, or other information you’ve collected. Don’t just let it sit there in the database doing nothing — put it to work for you!
Cybersecurity is more important than ever, and most businesses desperately need to step up their cybersecurity game. Why? Because since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, cybercrime has rocketed up a massive 600%, costing businesses about $6 trillion worldwide. IP theft, ransomware, phishing, and other tactics used by cyber criminals have grown more and more sophisticated.
A breach of data means an enormous breach of trust. Your customers are depending on you to keep their information safe, and falling prey to a cyber attack can inflict a huge cost, both to your profits and to your reputation. And this is true whether your business is big or small — even the biggest companies out there are susceptible to data breaches — so it’s not a good idea to presume you’re safe.
With that in mind, one of the first steps you should take is to look at a contact management system’s security features before you decide to buy, and make sure you know how to properly implement them. But it’s best not to stop there — do some training to teach your employees good cybersecurity hygiene, and have a plan for when a data breach does happen.