Monday, 25 November 2013

Is Your Database Up to Date?

Have you ever thought about how often you look at the information contained on your database? I ask this question as whilst going through a prospects list in our CRM for some particular marketing that a few of the contacts I have have either closed the business, moved premises or moved on to pastures new.

It's essential when you are selecting your contacts for marketing that the details you hold are correct and up to date, it won't look very professional if you end up sending an email or letter to an out of date contact or wrong address. To check my contacts I used a combination of web search for the company and LinkedIn for the person. Results were very interesting, most of the information I had was correct apart from a couple of address changes or company websites that re-directed to a 403 error or this page no longer exists. At least now with the information I have I will be fairly confident in ensuring that the right message gets to the right person.

In conclusion, it's worth checking and keeping your database up to date and check the following information to make sure it's correct:

  • Name - is the person still at the company? If not is there an up to date contact on the website, otherwise it might be worth calling to find out.
  • Address - has the business moved?
  • Website - is the business still trading?
If you don't have a database why not take a free trial of ConvallisCRM our customer relationship management solution available as either a desktop or cloud solution?

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Telephone Etiquette

I have been prompted to write this post following what I assume is a sales call that I have just received. The conversation went something like this:

Me: 'Good afternoon, Convallis Software, how can I help you?'

Caller: 'Is that Convallis Software? Can I talk to the Managing Director?'

Me: 'This is Convallis Software, our Managing Director is unavailable at the moment, I am another Director of the company can I help?'

Caller: 'When will the Managing Director be available?'

Me: 'Can I ask what you are calling about please?'

Caller: 'It's' (then she says something I cannot here clearly)

Me: 'Could you repeat that please I couldn't hear you very well?'

Caller: puts the phone down on me!

I though how rude, although they were probably trying to sell us something we don't want it's not very polite to just put the phone down on someone you are calling, to me that is poor telephone etiquette.

I am sure we all have callers that we want to get rid of, but for a caller to put down the phone on me when I'm trying to find out what they were calling about has really irritated me. Have you had experience of this? If so did it bother you?

I know it's hard to be polite to callers especially when you are having a bad day, but when a caller is impolite it's not good, well if they call again and I see the number on call display I will be prepared for anything!

Friday, 8 November 2013

Just One Reason to use a CRM

Example from ConvallisCRM - keeping accurate records

A recent phone call I received from a life insurance company has prompted my to write this post as it is something I feel quite strongly about.

Just after lunch ABC Healthcare called (I'll keep them anonymous) asking to speak to me. I asked what they were calling for and they were trying to sell me life insurance. I wasn't interested but mentioned that they had called a couple of weeks ago asking the same question and my answer hasn't changed since then. Just after the call the other week I also had a call from a charity asking me if I would like to purchase life insurance from the same ABC Healthcare, of course I said no and told them that ABC Healthcare had already been in contact with me.

What this tells me is that ABC Healthcare doesn't seem to have any sort of accurate record keeping of contacts with people on their database (I don't know how I got on their database but that's a whole new conversation!). If they use a customer relationship management (CRM) solution such as our ConvallisCRM they can keep a record of calls and interaction with people on their database and not waste mine and their time by repeating a sales calls that I said no to very recently. It makes me wonder what types of systems do these companies have in place, from experience many companies have multiple databases containing duplicate records so one person working there will not necessarily see what someone else has been working on and repeat an action. Databases need to be centralised and organisations should have systems in place so that everyone can access the same data, maybe within some sort of authentication as to what they can do with the data, read-only, change data etc.

If you would like to have all your contact data in one place please take a look at ConvallisCRM, we offer a free 30 day trial of the desktop version but are also able to offer a cloud solution from only £20 + vat per month. Please contact us if you would like to find out more.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Careers Evening, but is a Career for Life?

It is careers evening next week at our local Academy and my company has been invited to go along and meet the pupils and talk to them about careers in IT. I took part in this event last year, the businesses attending set up a table and those that are interested come along and talk to you. It's a bit like an exhibition but aimed at Year 10 and 11 pupils to help give them an idea of what they want to do next after school finishes.

From what I recall it was quite an interesting evening, some of the young people knew exactly who they wanted to talk to, whereas others just went and talked to everyone as they were keeping their options open. 

This got me thinking, I remember when I was that age exactly what I wanted to be, a travel agent. I started my career in this industry training through the old YTS scheme. That lasted for about 4 years when I wanted a change and I ended up working in a factory office. Since then I have done other work including working in a pre-school and in my current job as the director of an IT company.

If someone had told me when I was 15 or 16 that I would end up a Director of my own business I would have been totally shocked and said 'No way! I'll still be working in the travel industry.', yet here I am. This indicates to me that at that age for many of us we don't know what our career path will be, it may not be as we we initially envisaged, but there are others that will pursue a career that will take them through the rest of their lives.

What was it like for you? Are you still working in the same industry as you did when you left school/college or are you like me and have experienced different industries/jobs?