One of the jobs that busy business owners NEVER have time to do is to sort out and organise their contacts. Having a good old clear-out of your contacts is actually quite therapeutic - I have just deleted 189 contacts from my email contact list.
We keep information about contacts in many different places:
- smartphone - often linked to your email
- boxes of business cards
- notebooks/back of envelopes/post-it notes
- e-mail contacts
- newsletter lists (mailchimp, Constant Contact etc.)
- Invoicing software
- contact management systems
Four steps to organising your contacts:
- Delete old ones: go through all the places that you store contact information and delete old ones. This is not as difficult as you think. If you ask yourself "who is that?" delete, if you know they have moved on, delete (or update if you have the info); if you know who they are but never want to do business with them again, delete. If they were a member of a networking group from 5 years ago and you've never been in touch since - delete. Not only is this deletion therapeutic, it is quite possibly a legal requirement under GDPR as you are not supposed to keep information for longer than necessary -so better to be on the safe side.
- Categorise and label the contacts you keep in electronic form: chances are that many of the contacts you have on your phone are friends and family, so label them as such. Other labels you might use to label and categorise are clients, prospects, suppliers, staff, associates, members of networking groups, people who've signed up for a newsletter, course attendees etc.
- Convert all your business cards and notes into an electronic format: you can scan business cards via an app to save them on to your smartphone and you can type your contacts that you have on bits of paper into your smartphone, a spreadsheet or your contact management system - remembering to categorise each one.
- Store them in one safe place: Once you have done all your sorting I would recommend storing all your contacts into one place that is cloud-based, so that you can access it from any device, anywhere. So, if you lose your smartphone or your laptop breaks, you can still find that all-important information. I store mine on Capsule CRM, read more about the system here, so that I have all the information I require to-hand whenever I need it. It is easy to upload your contacts from spreadsheets and from Outlook or vcards, so you can back-up the information from your phone contacts too. Not only is there advantage of your contacts being stored safely, but you can also add loads of extra information to each contact, including documents, telephone conversations, projects and opportunities. You can link the contacts to your newsletter lists and invoicing systems too, so that you only need to update information in one place and it will be updated everywhere else.
Get a bit of help
Of course, none of this work is particularly exciting, so if, even with the time you are not inclined to organise your contacts, please get in touch. We can add your business cards to a spreadsheet, clean your database and set up Capsule CRM for you. Just get in touch