By Dick Wooden on June 4, 2013 at 2:37 PM
More Effective Searching -what worked when
More effective searching is what we all do when we are trying to get work accomplished or someone asks you to find something for them. Boy, have things changed over the last 20 years.
Remember the day when you had a secretary or assistant to do the searching for you? They looked through all the physical file cabinets to find that speific folder that held the notes about a past conversation.
Once upon a time, in the '80's - '90's, we had someone who was not only the office receptionist but also the office manager. Let's call her Tobie. She normally knew at least where to look, and given enough time she could find just about anything any of us consultants or managers were asking for.
Sure, there was many a tense moment when a big client was coming in to the office as we did a year-end review of their projects. But even though searching was mostly a manual process, with the correct 'system' in place and enough time, the search usually returned results.
Digital files, private networks and databases
As the '90's progressed, many a business started to move from local PC's to a network system shared by many users as we stored more and more information digitally. We placed files in client folders, past information in past folders and prospect information in prospect folders on a shared network drive. Later on we jumped on the server database systems and used Microsoft SQL server.
We had our private company information on a shared network and we had folders and even a database to hold ever-increasing pieces of information about prospects, clients, projects, and other resources. Now our office secretary had digital information to sift though. Hopefully folders and files had useful names.
Searching was still in its infant stages and it still took some thought and effort to find what you really wanted. It was faster than paper in file cabinets somewhere in the back room, but searching was not as effective as it could have been.
Faster Private and Public Networks with Searchable Knowledge
Now we jump forward to faster private networks that were accessing an ever-increasing store of knowledge and public information. Business web sites held quick insights about what the business was up to and the services they provided.
Information kept growing deeper and broader each month, each week, and even each day. Various types of software tools were being developed to make the job of organizing and then finding relevant data easier and faster. Every time you turned around there was some better tool or technique to get this work done.
But with technological improvements, office receptionists, secretaries and assistants became something of the past. Each person was expected to find want they needed, organize what they needed, and record in the database system what they wanted to remember. Later would come the tools to perform the searching.
We had a headset to free up our hands. We had laptops we could carry around whereever we needed to 'connect' to the network. We had CRM on laptops that would synch up when we connected to the network. I remember the first time my remote CRM system quickly sent notes about a CRM implementation project to our SQL database server and magically our whole system was up to date. Each user could more quickly see the activity of the other team members. We were efficient and I would continually tweak our CRM system for faster and more complex lookups. I was so proud when I had created an input screen so a client's sales reps could find any contact based on only a partial set of phone numbers. (There were major additions of area codes and more and more cell phone numbers to search for...)
Search engines have become a big thing with Google dominating the market. With a little thought, a person can type in some words and start finding information they are looking for, which Google then ranks by relevance. Now how much simpler can that be? Google and other companies have made huge investments in data storage, built-in intelligent indexes and faster routines to search for about anything in the public domain. We should all thank these companies for making it easier to find what we are looking for!
What About Private Company Information?
So what about your private company information that Google does not have access to - at least not yet. What are the tools available to more quickly find those forgotten notes from a past conversation, or something you had quoted in the past?
In most CRM systems you have the core capability to find the company, find the contact, find the information on a sales opportunities, but you still have to know where to look and what to be looking at.
For example, in the SalesLogix CRM systems we have ways to search within multiple fields like name, city, and description. We have dynamic groups that show search results in groups.
We have intelligent filters to further see the count of records for a condition and the details of a filtered group. Say you want to filter all the opportunities for only those that have an "Open" status, have the highest probability of closing, have the largest potential value, and are near the end of the sales cycle.
Now you quickly have a dynamic list of those best opportunities and the searching only involved clicks on the information you want to show!
Click your mouse or a tab on your tablet to filter to your hearts content. You'll probably be amazed at what you'll find - some good, and some information that you wish would not have appeared. But wait - we can fix drill down even further.
Use Google Search inside your CRM
So how about now applying a Google type search to all the key data in your CRM system. Wouldn't it be helpful, powerful and insightful to "Googlize" your CRM?
Trying to find any notes or information you have about a "Quote" to someone named "John"? Just type in the search words and SalesLogix Speed Search engine will quickly return results to your heart's joy.
How about when you are away from your laptop or even your tablet but you've got your trusty smart phone? You know there was a "quote" you sent to a "financial" institution. Type the words in and, presto, a Googlized search process produces results. Mobile CRM from SalesLogix provides this capability to your sales reps.
As you can see, we have the tools to help make your business work smarter with CRM. Enable your employees to be more engaged with knowledge capture and quicker, easier access to the company's private database of knowledge.