It’s that time of the year again folks – Convergence 2007 is just around the corner! Convergence 2007 will take place in sunny San Diego, California, March 11-14. I was at last year’s Convergence 2006 in Dallas, Texas and it was one of the best Microsoft CRM events I’d attended. Where else can you meet folks from different parts of the world, job roles, age groups, etc. that are passionate about Microsoft CRM in one place to network, exchange ideas/experiences and of course – business cards!!!
I love business cards, it is like a permission note to stay in touch with someone (by all means don’t abuse this privilege, but always try to add value with each correspondence with the contact – the CRM way)!
How many business cards did I gathered at last year’s Convergence 2006 you’d asked? I’d collected about 450+ business cards (excluding duplicate ones) so I’m expecting an abundant supply of business cards this time.. Woohoo…
So, how does an individual goes about dealing with "Business Cards" they’d received?
I had spoken to a few folks about how they deal with business cards – the most common response is that they just toss them in the trash or the "big" brown box under their desk afterwards – very sad! Of course, they did take the ones that are "important" and place those on their desk for entry/follow-up. Why not enter them ALL into their Contact/CRM system?
Here are a few responses:
- "They clutter up my Contact List"
- "I will probably not see them ever again so why bother"
- "Too much work to enter them and I don’t have a good way to MANAGE them – just not worth it"
I mean, we all will and going to be exchanging physical printed business cards with one another and I don’t see it ending anytime soon even with all the electronic versions around – vCard, Web 2.0 Contact Application, PDA, etc. Oh well, I guess we just have to TYPE them in unless you have a college intern around!!! Manually, it takes me about a minute to enter each business card and categorize it in Microsoft CRM, with very tired hands afterwards – PAINFUL! There is a MUCH better way – CardScan for Microsoft CRM!!!
Side note: Manual entry of business cards is a poor use of your college intern’s time/brain cells. They can help you find/prepare your next "Value added keep in touch email filled with relevant Technology/Business related articles"…
Here is how I go about with the business cards I’d received from events:
- Mark the back of the business cards with a "*" and some notes for the ones that I would like to follow-up immediately after the event, the rest I will "keep in touch"
- Scan ALL of the business cards I’d received via CardScan Microsoft CRM as CRM Leads
- With CardScan Microsoft CRM, I can default the Lead Topic value to be "Convergence 2007 San Diego, California, March 11-14" and Lead Source value to "Trade Show" for all the scanned cards, for the ones that are "marked", I set the "Follow-up" flag to "True".
- I’d setup a Microsoft CRM Workflow Rule that will "Auto-Create" a follow-up phone call and auto assign it to me when a CRM Lead is created with "Follow-up" value is "True"
- All these contacts are now in my CRM Lead Management system and will be handled via our "Nurture" process
This is a pretty simple process, takes very little time, and it works very well for me.
Side note: Why "Nurture" them? Because they just may help you connect with or influence your next opportunity! But you have to "keep in touch and add value!"
Here are the things that I love about my CardScan Microsoft CRM:
- It just works – scan the business card and it matches/translates into the right fields (Name, Title, Phone, Email, etc.), simply amazing
- Stores an electronic picture of the actual business card in case I need to manually correct any miss-match/translation – nothing is perfect
- With one click of the "Transfer" button, the scanned business card records get imported into Microsoft CRM as Leads or Contacts (my choice)
- Allows me to set the default values for various Microsoft CRM fields such as Lead Topic, Lead Source, custom field: Follow-up flag, etc.
- Examines each record for duplicate in Microsoft CRM!
- Super, super easy to setup and use plus very affordable even for a small business owner!
- Very compact, about the size of two mobile phones, so I can take it wherever I go and scan my business cards AT the event location
Yup, you’d guessed it, I will bring my CardScan Microsoft CRM with me to Convergence 2007! This way I can scan the business cards there and have more time for the family when I get back!
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