Which software should I use?

Have I got software already or do I need to find something else?

 It is often bandied around that only a small percentage of the functionality of Word or Excel is actually used, and this is probably true. The same is true of practically any other program in common use. It is probably not used, either because people do not know the functionality even exists, or because some other system has been put in place to do something similar– sometimes possibly many years ago.

 It is however likely that several software products will overlap and you could use any of them – if only you knew that this functionality is available in them. Software develops over time, and existing products will frequently have new features and functions added, as well as enhancing those that are already there.

 Some products are also more suited for the task in hand than others. But some lateral thinking always helps make the most of the tools at hand.

 A simple example – a prospective client comes in for a chat and notes of the meeting are made in case it becomes live. A follow up letter and some reports may also be sent. What do you do with those documents, so that anyone else can pick them up if necessary? After all, people are ill, do take holidays now and then etc.

 One school of thought (for those that don't do IT – and there are some!) says put them in a filing cabinet in a paper folder – ok if anyone needing access is in the same office, but you end up with drawers full of useless paper over the years.

For those looking to use IT, there are lots of options. The first is the equivalent of the paper based filing cabinet – a windows folder called PNC (potential new clients). Been there – done that. This contained sub-folders A-Z and further subfolders under that for the prospect name and all the information generated could be saved there. Problem 1 – is it filed by surname or first name, company or partnership name – an inconsistent approach leads to a mess.

Practice management systems may allow the creation of Prospects and have folders in which this data can be stored. Similarly, a dedicated document management system may also allow Prospects to be created, and obviously with a DM system, the information generated can easily be stored. A dedicated CRM system may also allow similar functionality. There is no need to buy dedicated CRM software to implement this solution as it probably exists in at least two other products you already have. Bit if you have CRM this would be yet another option.

Think how you could use existing software to solve “issues”. We had a problem recently with trying to view an online webinar. We were not sure whether someone had registered and whether a link had been emailed to the person. That individual was unavailable on the day of the webinar. No one could find the code and the seminar was not therefore watched. Some staff had specifically travelled from another office 10 miles away to watch it – a waste of time in the end.

The procedure to hopefully avoid this in future is for the registrant to copy and paste the link from his email into the Notes section of the shared calendar booking for that room…..so the link is now available to anyone! Easy really, but it took a while to end up with that very simple solution, having tried a few other methods before we got to this method.

Do you “bend” any software to suit your needs and requirements?