Sales people tend to not like CRM systems very much. They are usually foisted on the poor folk who need to figure out how to get what they need out of them, while navigating a cumbersome and unhelpful set of behaviours and expectations. And that’s just the sales people – the CRM implementations can be poor too.
If you have to use CRM, and you’re lucky enough to be using Dynamics 365 Sales (if not, you can get a free month’s trial), then there are some handy contact management tools worthy of a few minutes’ attention. First of all, the Outlook integration for the latest D365 CRM service means if you have an email from a customer or partner, you can track it and quickly add contacts on the email to the CRM system by invoking the Dynamics add-in.
Click the Dynamics 365 icon in Outlook and you’ll see a sidebar show up on the right. The “Set Regarding” option lets you add the email to a customer record in CRM. Below that, if the contact doesn’t exist already, you’ll see the option to add it by clicking on the recipient’s name and hit the + button on the lower right.
Depending on the rules of your particular system, you’ll probably need to provide a job role and maybe some other fields, and you might not be able to associate that contact with an account yet – perhaps you’ll need to save it to Dynamics first, then make the association with the account to which the contact belongs.
If the Account field is locked when you first add the contact, then once your contact has been saved in the sidebar, click the hamburger menu icon on the top left and look under Recent to open that contact again, then you should be able to choose the account name from that view, rather than fishing about in the main CRM UI for all the other added contacts.
From within the same sidebar UI, you can fire up a more fully-featured view by opening it in a separate Dynamics window. From there you can more easily do stuff like matching the contact to one in LinkedIn, if you have Sales Navigator access; it’s a handy way of associating the two, though annoyingly it doesn’t automatically pick up the LinkedIn photo and associate it with the CRM contact.
To set a picture for your contact, click on the circular initials at the top left of the name and that lets you choose a photo – ideally, you’ll have already saved the mugshot to your machine first, though if the image is online – a company website, for example – you might be able to grab the direct URL to the photo and paste it into the Upload Image dialog.
Getting images from LinkedIn can be a little more laborious especially if you’re doing this in batches. Here’s a fairly simple technique to make it easier.
OK, so you have an image for each of your contacts – so what? Well, all the contacts you’ve just added should be visible in the Org Chart function which appears on the main toolbar of the Account. With a bit of dragging and dropping, you can quickly lay out the reporting structure for your known customer contacts.
Handles will appear on contacts as you move them around, to help manage the way the chart is displayed and keep it simple. Save the chart layout when you’re happy, and you can show your boss how diligent you’re being at managing your customer relationship. Now, who wouldn’t want that?
For a long time, storage was relatively expensive so it was a good idea to spend time and money reducing the amount you would needed to use. In 1990, PC hard disks would cost about $0.20 per megabyte, and capacity would be in the 2-3 figure MB range. So, compression software could be used to delay the day you’d need to buy a bigger disk, even if there was a slight impact on performance (through decompressing and re-compressing data while reading from and writing to the disk).
As storage got cheaper, the tendency to just keep old data gained prevalence, though some systems imposed limits due to the relative complexity and expense of managing their data, providing resiliency and backup services.
Corporate email quotas were measured in Megabytes, and tools like the Outlook Thread Compressor helped people reduce the amount of space their mail took up. In time, people used it to simply reduce the number of messages they needed to read, rather than worrying about the space they’d save – and it inspired the Clean Up Folder function in Outlook today.
When Google launched Gmail in 2004 with a staggering mailbox limit of 1GB – 500 times that which was offered by Hotmail – the rules on what was expected for email quotas were re-written, with an expectation that you would never need to delete anything, and could use search to find content within.
Leaving aside corporate policy on data retention, keeping piles of stuff indefinitely causes its own set of problems. How do you know which is the right version? Can you be sure that you have copies of everything you might need, in case the data is lost or damaged? If you have a backup, do you know that it’s a full copy of everything, and not a partial archive? Having multiple copies of the same content can be a headache too, if you’re not sure which is the true original and which might be later copies or partial backups.
Applications might create their own duplicate content – perhaps through bugs, or through user activity. There was a time when syncing content to your phone or to another machine might risk duplication of everything – like having multiple copies of contacts in Outlook, for example. A variety of hacky resource kit utilities were created to help clean up mailboxes of duplicate contacts, appointments etc; you might want to check out a more modern variant if you’re worried that your mailbox is cluttered up.
The curse of duplication can be a problem at home, too, especially when it comes to photographs. Have you ever taken a memory card from a camera, or a backup of an old phone, and copied the whole lot just to be sure you have everything?
Cleaning up the dupes can help make sense of what remains. You could spend money on proper photo archiving and management tools like Adobe Lightroom, or you could roll your own methodology using a mixture of free and low-cost tools – tech pundit Paul Thurrott recently wrote about his approach.
There are many duplicate-removing tools out there – just be sure you’re getting them from a reliable place, free from adware and other nasties. Be wary of anything that purports to “clean” your PC (registry cleaners etc), watch out when accepting T&Cs and don’t allow the setup routine to install any other guff you don’t need. Make sure you have the right protection on your machine, too.
One recommended tool is Duplicate Sweeper – free to try but a princely £15 to buy, but worth the peace of mind that comes with a tidy photo library or Documents folder.
There was a time when nefarious sorts could fire up their mobile in a busy place and send unsolicited messages to any hapless punter not smart enough to switch their own phone to not receive unsolicited Bluetooth connections – a process known as Bluejacking.
Mostly harmless, it was a way of making people take their own phones out of their pocket and look around in a puzzled fashion over what was happening – useful entertainment in a boring theatre or a packed train carriage. Mobile platforms stopped leaving these things on by default – booo – but it’s probably for the best.
Still, the more modern way of dishing out business cards – LinkedIn – has another way to harness the same basic technology for good. ToW #461 discussed the QR-code method of sharing a LinkedIn profile with someone, and it’s a great way of doing it 1:1, by pointing a camera at someone else’s phone to make the connection with them.
But there is another way that is perhaps more useful when dealing with several people at once – a networking meeting with people you don’t know, or a business gathering where you might be communing with several new people at one time. Or a party. If you’re at a pretty sad party.
If you start the LinkedIn app on your phone and tap the My Network icon on the bottom toolbar, you’ll see the Find nearby option, which allows you to see anyone else in the vicinity who has similarly switched on the same feature. On enabling, you may need to turn on Bluetooth and then separately allow the sharing of data, and of the LinkedIn app to use it.
You’ll see a list of who’s in the vicinity and with a single tap, can connect with them on LinkedIn. Make sure you remember to turn it off again, in case you inadvertently show up on some unknown ne’er-do-well’s phone, as the Nearby functionality can continue even when you leave that page.
But it you’re careful, it’s a great way to mutually share contacts with a group of people. See more here.