Should I use the task management feature in Clevertim CRM

Let’s face it. There are so many task management applications out there and every few years a new one comes to the market. Every new one claims to have improved the experience somehow. But ultimately working with tasks and the data entry it involves can be problematic and it’s one of the main reason certain people don’t use such apps for managing tasks. It’s the additional data entry step and the need to check the system periodically, keep it up to date (e.g. mark tasks as done). It’s an additional effort.

So the question become: when is the additional effort worth it? Well, clearly, the answer must be: when the cost of not doing it is greater than the cost of doing it. But what are some of those situations and how do we calculate the cost of doing something vs. the cost of not doing that.

If I was to start with a personal example that perhaps many of you will empathize with, I would say there are situations in my work and my life when I feel swamped with so many things to do that I don’t even know where to start. Procrastination can set in, simply because it’s so difficult to choose the next step that I should be working on. That’s when I start creating lists. Lists work like tasks do. In fact, tasks do more than just lists. Assuming lists track things to do, tasks track that plus more: meetings, calls, emails, etc.

Fact: tasks are very good at breaking up complex work into smaller actionable steps.
A journey of 10,000 miles starts with a single step, as they say.

Another important use case is when you want to delegate and keep track of what you’ve delegated. Tasks are great because a sales person can easily put together a list of tasks for a sales assistant or a virtual assistant to perform. Such tasks might be relatively low value jobs which are more efficiently and more cost effectively handled by assistants, so the main sales people can focus on selling. A few examples of such tasks: data entry, research (e.g. figure out the titles for your contacts by looking in LinkedIn, or fish out information about companies: size, location, key people, etc.).

For this scenario, tasks are good at delegating and they allow multiple people to collaborate on the task. Clevertim CRM for example allows users to add comments on tasks and therefore collaborate, exchange information, report progress or flag tasks as being blocked (e.g. couldn’t call contact as he’s on vacation). The sales people assigning tasks are notified when there’s progress or when the tasks are marked as done or accidentally deleted. They have visibility into the assigned task.

Tasks are even better when the person or team to delegate work to works remotely, potentially in a different country. A good example is the use of virtual assistants, who could be located in different countries with lower cost of living. Shared tasks allow you to collaborate efficiently with such a remote team/person and get the most out of the relationship.

Fact: Tasks are perfect for delegating/outsourcing work, especially when the teams are not co-located.

Follow up, follow up and follow up some more

Sales is not always easy. As a salesman, you’re faced daily with rejection, difficult users, undecided leads, long sales cycles, unresponsive prospects and short attention span from people trying out your products or services. In time, sales people develop patterns of interaction with their leads and these are formed inevitably over time, as sales agents need to interact with various types of personalities and put up with different behaviors.

For example, after many rejections, you learn to deal with it by accepting it as part and cost of doing business. It doesn’t affect you in the same way it affected you when you started. This is true for almost everything. Experience means you can know intuitively how to deal with certain types of situations.

One of the many realizations that come with experience is the fact that you have to follow up as many times as required until you get either a Yes or a No. Some sales people are not put up by a No and they will keep going even after they hear a No. Only after a few No-s they will realize that the lead has gone cold and they will not be able to close the deal. The important thing though is that you just cannot stop until you get that Yes or No.

That means following up with calls, emails, social media. Sometimes following up is hard, especially if the prospect seems annoyed or appears to be ignoring the calls, emails, social media interactions, etc. In time you realize it’s generally not personal – these people have their own priorities, they’re busy trying to run their own businesses or their lives and your call, email or social media interaction is probably not at the top of their list. Some other times people lose your email in their inbox, or your email catches them at the wrong time and then they forget about your email. If they’re anything like me, if I don’t reply to an email when I first see it, the likelihood I will never reply to it is very high. A lot of people are like that. It’s how the human attention span works – it moves on very quickly and many times doesn’t go back to revisit items in the past.

So you have to follow up. To make it easier, just assume they have not received the email you had sent them previously. Assume they’re really interested but missed your initial email because they got another call at the same time. Send them a follow up asking them what they think about it. Then send them another after a few days. Many people will see this as a positive sales attitude, not as something annoying. If they really want you to stop, all they have to do is say “No, not interested”. Until you get that, keep going.

I can’t tell you how many times I have got something unexpected by simply following up even when normally I would give up. Many times you get rejections, but there is useful information even in rejections. Rejections can give you interesting insights into how customers think, how they solve problems, how their business work and they can also tell you what your products and services are failing at. Sometimes all you have to do is ask – many people are prepared to give you that information if you ask.

So don’t stop, keep asking, keep following up.