By Thomas Lashier
For marketers and small business owners, it is tough to keep track of all of your prospects and where you stand in your relationship with them. Whether you met someone briefly while attending a Des Moines chamber meeting, chatted with an Iowa supplier online after a webinar, or received a call from an interested prospect out of the blue, it would be nice to have a database where you could monitor all of these relationships and make sure they are receiving relevant marketing messages from you.
Many businesses turn to customer relationship management (CRM) software to manage these databases. These provide a comprehensive solution to managing your connections and allow you to target your marketing to new connections, educated prospects, or repeat customers. However, CRM packages can get pricey. Since Freaky Fresh Marketing is all about helping small businesses find free, simple solutions to their problems we present a free CRM solution you have access to right now: LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is the world’s professional social network, connecting millions of businessmen and women to one another to get business done. The network features over 2.4 million business professionals in Iowa alone. It is also a great place to manage your business connections for free. We’ll show you how:
1. Click on “Relationship” within your contact’s LinkedIn profile
Sign into LinkedIn and visit your contact’s LinkedIn profile. You will need to be connected to them in order to see their full profile. For this example, I’ll visit Austin’s (my Freaky Fresh co-founder) LinkedIn profile. Click on “Relationship” below the profile picture.
2. View/update your relationship history
Here is where you can view your relationship history with this contact. My LinkedIn profile is tied in with my GMail account, so you will see all of my emails with Austin automatically populated in this menu (I do this through Rapportive, check them out here). For most you, there probably won’t be anything listed in this history. You can add a note to this contact’s history by clicking “Note” at the top of the menu. You could add something helpful like: “Met with Tony for lunch at Applebee’s. Discussed Facebook challenges and Instagram opportunities for his local business.”
3. Add “How You Met”
This is a great feature: add a quick blurb about how you met each contact. This will help remind you your original connection to each person in the crowded sea of contacts, prospects, and customers. Simply click “How You Met” at the top of the relationship menu.
4. Manage your connections through tags
If you’re using LinkedIn as you should, for networking, then you will have a lot of connections. How do you organize them? With tags, of course! By clicking “Tag” at the top of the relationship menu, you can classify this contact with any number of helpful tags. If you don’t have any current tags that describe this prospect, you can click “Add New Tag” to create a new one. If you want to manage your tags, move contacts between tags, or get rid of certain tags, just click on “Manage Tags”.
5. Add contact info
Lastly, make sure your contact info for each connection is up-to-date. Click on “Contact Info” next to the “Relationship” tab to view their current contact info. Some of this info will naturally populate from their LinkedIn profile, but you can also add/edit info that you’ve collected from another source by clicking “Edit Contact Info”.
Now while you are connecting with other professionals through LinkedIn, you have all of your contact info and relationship history right there at your fingertips anytime you need it. You remember how you met, when the last time you talked to them was, and what they were interested in when you spoke.