As we discussed earlier this month
, the holiday season is the perfect time to send gifts, cards, and tokens of appreciation to your clients and set a tone for the new year. But what if you have a very long list of clients? Perhaps you'd like to send cards to some, gift cards to others, and gift baskets to some of your best clients. How do you go about dividing up a meal of a contact list into manageable pieces?
We recommend stratifying your clients--in other words, sorting them into tiers. For instance, you can decide to use four tiers, A, B, C, and D. You can then create a customized field on your contact record layout, by which you can label your clients. If you go through your clients, you can quickly label them an A, B, C, or D, in your tier field and you save yourself work for next year, too.
Once you have your database of clients stratified, you can update them based on how your business changes. At our office, we have a custom report that takes different variables into account (frequency of business, quantity of sale, how long someone has been a client, etc.) which we can then run every month. The report generates a list of what tier each client should be at, and we then update our contact records accordingly. This way, we can quickly pull up a list of our tiered clients and market to them using the levels as a guide. We may check in with our A's once a month via phone to see if there is anything they need. We may check in with the B's just as often, in hopes they become A's. You may want to run a drip marketing campaign so your C's and D's keep you in mind, even if they don't need your services as frequently.
And for the holiday season, you can run a quick look-up of your contacts by tier, and you have sorted mailing lists ready to go. You can refer back to our previous blog to learn how to print mailing labels or envelopes for holiday cards. And if you are interested in our help setting up a stratification report like ours or customizing fields, please give us a call at 847-520-0860.
And from the KSC team, we sincerely hope you have an enjoyable holiday season with you and yours. Thank you for visiting our blog. We are grateful for your readership!
Since we are encouraging spring database cleaning this month, we thought this blog we posted earlier this year on 4 easy steps to clean out your database would be a helpful reminder.
One really great way to get the most out of ACT!, is to standardize your company’s usage. Do you have data entry standards? Here’s a great way to set some:
1) Toss the empties
Empty fields just tempt users to stow away data that doesn’t seem to have a home. Then the data, sitting in a mislabeled field, is report resistant—it isn’t organized so it won’t come up in a field search, and can’t be pulled into a report for analysis.
2) House the homeless
Look around your database. Just sift through some entries. Do you see a pattern in the data that is being tossed into “catch-all” fields? Create new fields to accommodate data you want to collect regularly, and move the data into the properly labeled fields where they belong.
3) Consult the staff
You may think you know what needs to go and what should stay, but maybe your staff thinks differently. Have a quick meeting about your current ACT! usage, what people are using, what they aren’t, and what they wish they could do differently. You should decide who is responsible for filling out which fields, and set up a standard by which people assign tasks to each other to facilitate smooth workflow.
4) Idiot-proof it
Where possible, consider setting up activity series to encourage the steps in a workflow plan. Every time someone adds a new prospect, does that mean your salesperson should make a call? Or if every time a support contract has an expiration date, should a renewal request call be made 8 months later? Set it up so ACT! asks you to schedule these things.
There are a number of ways to get your data to work for you--do you have any suggestions for keeping a clean database? Tell us about it in the comments!
Spring! A time when we open up the doors and let fresh air into our homes, welcome the nice change in weather, and say good riddance to cold weather and our winter clothes.
And your database isn’t too different. It can do with a little airing out, too.
We have given a lot of advice on how to clean up your database, but today I want to focus specifically on cleaning up contacts by ID/status.
The ID/status field is often used to track a database user’s relationship to a contact, basically by labeling the relationship. This way, you can keep your vendors straight from your clients, and your prospects separate from your networking contacts, while keeping them all in the same, convenient place. This way you can then pull up contacts by ID/status and review the relationships you have, and review which contacts you should reach out to again, which need a new ID/status, and which you may not need anymore.
We recommend you consider doing this now in preparation for summer. Some businesses slow down this time of year, or people cut their hours to spend more time outdoors. If you fall into this category, cleaning your database and renewing some of your connections in your downtime, may be a valuable way to spend your summer.
For instance, run a search in your database for everyone labeled a prospect. This is something that should be done with frequency if possible, but if you don’t, now is a great time to pull up prospects in your database and think about which ones may benefit from a little more attention—perhaps they fell off your radar, or told you they would be in touch—now is the time to give them another call. And those who have told you they are not currently interested in your services should be marked as dead prospects, this way you know that they have told you no, so you do not risk becoming a nuisance they would not consider should they need services in the future.
After prospects are examined, networking contacts is another group who you may want to review. With whom have you lost touch who provides you with valuable leads and business advice? Schedule time to renew your networking relationships this summer.
Also think of reviewing your clients and vendors. If you haven’t worked with someone in a long time, are they still a client? Perhaps you may want to put some time and energy into reinvigorating some of those relationships. On the other side of the coin, if you know that a client is now firmly an ex-client, you would do best to mark them as such under ID/status, so you do not mistake them for active clients when you send out freebies, newsletters, and the like. And your vendors? You want to make sure that the ones you are actually using are marked correctly—that way you don’t mistakenly call the person you used 5 years ago rather than your current choice!
Have you reviewed your database by ID/statuses recently? What did you learn in the process? If you could use some help organizing your database, please give us a call, at 847-520-0560.