Small businesses all around the world nowadays operate in the digital space, using many apps and software solutions to get the job done. One of such solutions is to digitize your contact management to take your sales, marketing, and other processes forward.
Long gone are the days of manual contact management, like when we used to write names and phone numbers down on notepads or when we used to flip through business cards with a rotary card holder. Nowadays, we use our smartphones and PCs to manage, share, and store our important business contacts.
That said, it’s not just enough to add a new contact to your phone – you want to take full advantage of the features that new technologies provide. If you do, you could take your business to new heights. So, let’s talk about some smart contact management solutions all small business owners should know.
It All Starts with a Contact Management Policy
First and foremost, let’s start by organizing everything related to contacts into a concise, yet detailed contact management policy. Much like you would create a communication policy, a workplace safety policy, or any other important internal rulebook for everyone to follow, you should have a contact management policy to ensure certain standards are met.
A robust contact management policy will allow you to set clear rules and guidelines for your employees, it will minimize the risk of errors and data leaks, and it will create more efficient processes. With a clear policy in their hands, your employees will know exactly how to handle each contact – where to store it, how to label it, how to share and manage it, and much more.
Upon creating your policy and implementing it in the workplace, you will quickly notice a rise in efficiency and productivity. This is because your employees will no longer waste time trying to figure out how to manage new and existing contacts – they will simply follow the established procedures.
Merge Contacts and Avoid Creating Duplicates
You and your employees probably use numerous devices on a daily basis – such as a smartphone and a personal computer. But aside from the devices, you’re also navigating numerous apps, online services, and communication channels daily, all of which you can use to meet new prospects and partners. These devices and apps make it easy to add new contacts on their respective platforms, and that’s how you start accumulating duplicates under different names and labels.
Now imagine everyone in your company doing the same. Chaos can run amok quite quickly if you’re not careful, and even worse, this can jeopardize your operation in many ways. Not only will confusion run the office, but your employees will have a difficult time handling contacts. They will struggle to communicate with prospects without making mistakes like reaching out to the same people twice, forgetting to reach out at all, or pushing the wrong kind of messaging to the wrong person.
Be sure to avoid all of this by simply using a centralized contact management platform, and by automatically merging or synching contacts.
Manage Google Contacts and Share Them Quickly
One of the most valuable platforms you could use to manage your contacts and communicate internally as well as externally is, of course, Gmail. The Gmail platform is a powerful communication tool for all small businesses, as email correspondence is an essential tool for sales, marketing, support, and more. So naturally, you need to be able to share Google contacts with ease on a centralized platform, allowing everyone in your team to view, edit, and further manage each important contact.
While Gmail doesn’t have this feature built in, innovative tools like Shared Contacts for Gmail can provide you with all the contact management features you need to control access, share information, and collaborate with your employees. This is especially useful now that small businesses are torn between remote work and in-house processes – this solution will allow you to manage everything in a single tool no matter where you and your employees are located.
Back up Contacts and Their Data Regularly
There’s nothing worse than losing your contacts, correspondences, or chat history because you transitioned to a new device, or are using some new software. What’s more, there are many other ways you and your employees can lose this valuable data, perhaps due to software malfunctions or even data leaks.
Whatever the case may be, you want to make sure that all contact information is backed up in a secure cloud location. Backing up contacts regularly on Google, for example, will allow everyone in your company to safely restore important information on their devices and retrieve contacts on a moment’s notice, allowing them to continue working without a hitch.
Avoid Making Mistakes by Labeling and Managing Permissions
Smart contact management is not just about sharing your contacts with your team members or having a detailed policy, it’s also about managing access, permissions, and various labels. Managing access and permissions is important because you want the right people to have access to the right contacts, and then you want the right people to have certain privileges when managing that information.
Keep in mind that this can have an impact on building your brand in the long run, because having the right people handle the right contacts can make or break a deal, open up new opportunities, and improve your bottom line. What’s more, be sure to use the right labels on all contacts in order to make it clear what stage of the buyer’s journey each prospect is in.
This will allow your sales, marketing, or support staff to act accordingly and deliver the best possible experience to each customer in your CRM (customer relationship management) system.
Over to You
Contact management is a powerful, yet often undervalued way of taking a small business forward in a competitive market. In reality, the way you handle your contacts can make or break your relationships with customers and partners, so be sure to empower your employees to achieve better results with these important tips.