From 10,000 feet WORK[etc] has a very simple workflow which is useful to every single business on the planet:
- Get the customer
- Deliver to the customer
- Bill the customer
- Keep the customer
- Repeat (and repeat and repeat)
At the heart of this workflow are all the tools we loosely throw together under the CRM banner; contact management, activity history, customer support, email marketing and lead management.
Now after 12 or so months of collecting feedback, both on the forums and meeting people face-to-face, as well as using our tools to manage our own sales, we’re about to start work on a major CRM revision that will include the following core features:
- Custom Fields. Extend custom fields across the entire application.
- Custom Views. Create a complex search and save as a view.
- Sales templates. Step-by-step and semi-automated, user-created sales process.
- Tags. Extend tags across the entire application. Tag anything and everything, synch with Evernote (!)
- Watches & Alerts. Watch the activity on any object and receive on-screen alerts when something changes.
- Social Media Integration. Suck in data from a number of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.
- Quick notes. Quickly take phone notes (or any note) and attach to a client.
And although this is a huge project, I’ve added a new development team so as to not impact on the current mobile and 3rd party integration projects.
Let’s get down to the details…
Custom fields already exist in some parts of WORK[etc], namely projects. However being brutally honest it was a last minute hack and never truly integrated into the core of WORK[etc]. This is about to change big time.
Custom fields are containers for data that a business needs to capture, that might be specific for that business. For example, your business might manage IT for other small businesses. By creating a custom field called equipment, you’ll be able to instantly view what equipment each customer has on premise.
How we’re making it better:
- Custom fields will display and be editable from contacts screen
- Search and sort contacts by custom fields
- More custom fields types such as multiple selection drop down menu, calendar field, selection from product catalog, check list box.
- Ability to organise and structure how custom fields display on a page. Organise into groups and select display order.
- You’ll be able to select what custom fields you want to view on sales leads tables and on the contacts view page.
One of our partners, Mike from SmartCloud, provided a great scenario on how a business could make better use of custom fields within WORK[etc]:
Mike’s client sells and distributes bottled water to other small businesses. For every new sales lead this business captures how many water dispenser there customer has, the type of dispenser, how many people work at the location, the customer’s current supplier, and whether cost is more important than service.They can then store this information against that contact lead, instantly retrieve it to make smarter sales calls and more efficient service calls. For example, if a customer has an old model, they can recommend a replacement. Or if a customer complains of paying too much, they can sell generic brand water.
Aside from face-to-face meetings with a number of customers, we also pulled down ideas from the following feature suggestions:
- Ron @ RMk Consulting – Add Custom Field on Invoice
- Ole @ ABC – Improve “contact page” for CRM reasons
- Terry @ eComp – Custom Fields for Customer Support Ticket
- Juan @ MarketinLife– Creating custom fields in companies
- Alvin @ Solution7 – Fields Unique to Different Types of Contacts
I’ve created this sticky forum to discuss custom fields and to also release some more details as we progress development.
Once we have custom fields v2.0 (!) in place throughout WORK[etc] we can then build a cool feature called a Custom View or a Saved Search (I haven’t decided on the better term yet).
A custom view is a complex, conditional search that can be saved as a view for frequent access.
So, lets say you want to find all the customers in your database that have bought a product in the last 6 months, with an office in Arizona, tagged as “Priority 1” and serviced by your employee Sam. Not only can you now do that search, but you can save that search as a custom view and access it any time from the Contacts menu. You’ll also be able to generate this as a report and export the data.
Let’s go back to our custom fields, water cooler example. Once Mike’s business has their custom fields set up and are actively updating the fields, a sales manager would then be able to create permanent, easily accessible views of their data which might go something like this:
Show me a list of all customers who have BrandX water cooler, with more than 10 employees who are supplied by CompetitorX and are in the Vancouver region.
A saved view could then be generated and used as a marketing list by their sales person.
Now, where this gets really smart is how we’ll then incorporate Sales Templates into this mix:
- Create custom fields
- Create a custom view list
- Assign a sales template to that custom view list
This forum post is the best place to discuss ideas around Custom Views.
More on Sales Templates, Tags and Alerts & Watches later in this week…Subscribe to be notified when I write part II.
Update: Recurring Tasks
We have an update to recurring tasks going live in around 10 days. Please jump in and contribute if you think recurring tasks are going to be important to your business.