Your contact manager can only help if you (or someone you hate) takes the time to add your contacts into your CRM solution. Doing this manually is a time consuming process that nobody wants to do. I've been in sales for more than 15 years and I've yet to talk to another sales professional that likes doing data entry. Luckily this is the 21st Century and help is at hand.
I purchased my first business card scanner in 1994, the Pacific Crest Card Grabber. It was slow but fairly accurate. Adding contacts after a trade show wasn't quite as much of a burden. Pacific Crest didn't fair so well and eventually went under. Cardscan is not the industry leader in business card scanners.
The draw back to business card scanners is that there is a lot of hardware and software that needs to be connected and in the same place for them to be effective. Wouldn't it be better if you could just cut and paste contact details from all those emails you receive every day?
The invention of handheld barcode scanners made collecting contact details at trade shows a lot easier! Point, click and presto the attendees details are added to a floppy disk (remember those?) with the rest of your contacts from the show. When you finally get back from the trade show you still have to import this comma delimited text file into your CRM. This isn't always as easy as it sounds.
Importing a delimited file requires some advanced knowledge of data types and formats. Importing data requires a different skill set form using the data. For some people importing a list requires a conversation with the IT department.
There is an expression I like - How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. You can apply this philosophy to adding contact details in to your CRM solution. Instead of trying to import one big list why not add the details as you find them on web pages or in email messages?
This is probably the slowest way to add entries into your contact manager. Even if you are a good typist it is still a slow process. Part of the reason for this is that you have to copy free form text into the appropriate fields. A two line address becomes means adding entries into five different fields: street address, city, state, zip and country.
Let's say you want to add some contact details for someone that met at a trade show They told you their web address so you visit the site to get the contact information. Now you have to re-key all that information that is already in digital form on the page. Wouldn't it be easier to have cut & paste data entry?
Retyping contact details, adding calendar items or making new tasks can take time. Thankfully there is a way to reduce this time consuming task into a shortcut key.
This shortcut key works by copying information from emails, web pages, word documents or whenever you receive the source information electronically. Simply highlight the desired information press ctrl+c (twice quickly) and your information will copied and contextually analyzed. Address details are added as contacts, meetings are added as calendar items and so on.
This shortcut key is not a standard option in your CRM solution. To take advantage of this shortcut you will need to add a small helper application to for Outlook, Netsuite or Salesforce.com. Follow this link for faster data entry now.