Monday, 12 May 2014

Partner Post: Cow Tipping, CRM, and Why This Matters to You

Have you ever heard the term “cow tipping”?  I have…and I always assumed it was real and doable.  One night about 33 years ago – in the dead summer and the black of the night – I went out with some friends and cow tipping was on our list of things to do that night.  We ended up in a pitch-black field, in southern Iowa (prime cow country) at 2am looking for some cows.  When I found one…basically by bumping into him (and it felt like running into a 1,000 pound brick wall) because I couldn’t see him…I pretty much decided that this wasn’t for me.  I took off rather quickly…as did everyone else I was with that night.

Recently, I took a little poll of my Facebook friends from Iowa to see if anyone, anywhere, had ever actually tipped a cow.  All had heard of it, only one other had tried it, and none succeeded.  Wikipedia deems it nearly impossible and basically calls it an urban legend.  I wish I had known that back in 1981, but oh well…

Where am I going with this in terms of CRM, projects and why this should matter to you?  Well, much like some of us – in our youth – thought we could actually tip a cow over, many of us think we can manage our clients and contacts for projects and business initiatives using paper, a spreadsheet or maybe just our email inbox folders.  In reality, we can’t.  At least not effectively.  I’ve tried to both as a project manager and as an independent consultant.  We can save contact info that way, but we can’t do anything smart with it.  I can find email address…eventually.  What we can’t tell from much of that – at least not without relying on a lot of memory and potential human error – is what we should be doing with that contact info in order to effectively run our businesses and maximize our revenue.  That client that didn’t need your product or help now but wanted you to contact them again in two months.  Are you able to remember to do that or are you going to lose that potential business because you can vaguely remember you were supposed to contact someone but you have no clue who it was.  I had that happen to me the other day – and it took me two hours of searching to figure out who that potential client was.  This is an all to frequent scenario for many of us and we risk losing projects, profits and extended opportunities as a result.

What we need is an effective, easy to use, and reasonably priced customer relationship management (CRM) system that can manage our current clients, past clients, and potential clients that we need to get back in touch with so that we have enough cash on hand to take vacations and go out and do stupid things like trying to tip 1,000 pound cattle in the darkness of the night.  There are many options available – check them out on some of the CRM comparison sites available and find the one that best suits your needs, business and industry.  I highly recommend starting with Insightly CRM.  It’s easy to use, fast to learn, low cost, and comes with great online support.  You can sign up for a free account or a 14 day trial of the premium/paid plan.

About the author:  Brad Egeland is a Business Solution Designer & IT/PM consultant and author with over 27 years of development, management, and project management experience leading initiatives in Manufacturing, Government Contracting, Gaming and Hospitality, Retail Operations, Aviation and Airline, Pharmaceutical, Start-ups, Healthcare, Higher Education, Non-profit, High-Tech, Engineering and general IT. 

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