Business Networking: 3 Simple Steps To Follow Up With Zoho CRM

 

I have done a lot of business networking over the years and still believe it to be a valuable activity for both creating opportunities and building your connector base – however the key to networking is in the follow-up.

The big problem is that most networkers, and in my experience this is about 95% NEVER follow up.
They shake the hands, exchange business cards, have a nice chat and then nothing!

The business cards just about make it from the handbag or suit pocket to the desk before it receives the elastic band treatment. Said elastic band is promptly tied around them and there they sit, growing in number but proving to be absolutely no use to your business what so ever.

 

So if 95% of networkers never follow-up, this presents an opportunity.

 

If you become one of the 5% of organised networkers, armed with a CRM system and an efficient follow-up strategy, you can’t fail to stand out.

And this applies to any in person event by the way not just networking, it could be a trade-show or expo presenting at, a workshop you’ve delivered or attended, pretty much anything that results in the swapping of a business card.

And herein lies the problem, I think the main reason people fail to follow-up is that processing a business card, i.e. manually entering the information into a spreadsheet is just painful.

Imagine how easy it would be to follow up from an event if you were able to simply take a photo of each business card you’d collected and it would magically appear in your CRM system.

Zoho has made this dream a reality with its card scanning app. It’s not only a massive time saver but it will undoubtedly help to boost sales as it encourages timely follow-up.

I have little doubt in my mind that you haven’t let at least one sales opportunity slip through the net because you took too long to follow up after an event and the opportunity went cold.

So lets look at how this process is handled in Zoho CRM to demonstrate how it can improve your efficiency and save you massive amounts of time in your follow-up.

 

Step 1 – Process The Card

 

The app couldn’t be easier to use, simply Launch your app, hover the phone over the card and it will scan the visible area, automatically cropping the card around it’s border.

The app will use Optical Character Recognition otherwise know on as OCR technology to extract all of the information printed on the card and map it to the relevant fields in Zoho CRM.

If the Twitter handle is printed on the card, it will even look up the account on Twitter and associate it with the newly created contact, pulling through the twitter profile pic at the same time.

It also has the ability to scan the back of the card and capture any information stored there. Each photo of the card will be turned into a jpeg image and attached to the relevant lead or contact you’ve created in Zoho.

I find the app to be extremely accurate but it does depend on good lighting, a steady hand and a clearly printed business card. Occasionally it can get stumped by certain fonts and text printed over images for example.

Lets say for example that the company name is not clearly visible on the card, for instance it might be printed within a logo design, the app will pull out the company name from the web domain or email address instead.

 

 

Step 2 – Update The Contact Records

 

 

Once the cards have all been scanned, head into Zoho CRM to update your new contacts on mass.

Zoho will automatically segment them as Todays Leads making it easy for you to find them. Click to select all of the leads in the group and mass update

Start with the Lead Source to specify which kind of event you met them at, in this case a Networking Event. Now use the custom event field to confirm the name of the event you met them at before updating the Lead Status to indicate their current position in your sales cycle

 

Step 3 – Follow Up

 

email templates to send to potential leads after business networking

 

Next we need to complete the all important follow up step.

Simply select your new prospects, click the Send Mail, select your networking follow-up email from the list of templates, and send.
Each contact will receive an individual email that is personalised to them thanks to the use of merge fields in your template.
It’s also possible to embed links or images and add attachments to any of your templates.

The final step is to decide which of your new prospects are the most likely to progress through your sales cycle and schedule a follow-up call to facilitate that progression.

 

Top Tips

 

1) The quicker you are able to follow up after an event, the better your response will be

2) The more information you add to your records, the easier it will be to report on your marketing return on investment

3) Create multiple variations of your follow-up email and use a coding system on your cards to remind you who gets what template

4) Ask permission or request an opt-in before you go ahead and add new contacts to your database

 

If you would like to know more about how FWRD can support you in the management and tracking of your marketing activities, click HERE.

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