Prepping for the CRM

Once a business owner has selected a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM), uploading their clients’ information can be a daunting task if the owner or manager has to enter each customer’s information and their notes one by one.

When researching the right CRM for your business, it’s best to find one that can do mass uploads. However, the question a new user may face is: what is a mass upload, and how does it work? The answer: a mass upload is when the business owner can import an entire Excel or .csv file with their client’s information into the CRM all at once. For example, programs such as the GoSmallBiz CRM offer the benefit of mass uploads using Excel spread sheets. This is most useful because it allows for a larger visualization through tables in order to properly organize information before creating a virtual rolodex. It’s always easier to go and tweak specifics on an account than create new pages one by one.

Preparation is an import key phase, and also allows for a seamless transfer of information from an Excel documents to the CRM. The preparation stage will make for an easy search through the CRM once the upload has been done. So what information should you consider as you prepare your data? There are some minimal requirements, but these will vary from CRM to CRM. For GoSmallBiz, the minimum information required is first name and last name. However, when taking a look at what the CRM has by default (image shown below), the recommended information would be: First name, last name, company, email, and phone number (preferably their most accessible number).

(From GoSmallBiz CRM template)

When beginning a spreadsheet to enter information for the GoSmallBiz CRM, then, the user should follow the example below:

The first row should be dedicated columns and their titles. Once you have entered the requirements, or GoSmallBiz’s recommended columns, a user can begin adding more specific topics that are fine-tuned for their company’s needs. For example, if the owner sends out cards for his or her clients’ birthdays or offers a special promotion, a birthday column can be added. If their company is dentistry and patients have special notes to their account about the latest procedures, a “special notes” section can also be added.

Highlighted below are examples of the formats to follow when including additional information. The additional information a business owner decides to add is up to them, but ensuring that they follow a specific pattern is important for a successful upload.

What if you don’t know all the details for each customer? When adding additional information, there may be times where specific information is not required or not available for a given client. However, the field should have something filled in order to not be rejected in the uploading process. A simple “not applicable” or “n/a” would suffice in this process. Even if it’s a required field, like a name, where you are unable to obtain this information, you should add the “n/a” as shown below instead of leaving it blank.

Finally, when completing this document, saving it as an Excel document (.xlsx) or a comma-separated value document (.csv) will allow for a proper upload. If it is saved in a different, incompatible format, you will need to resave.

Proper preparation is one of the key phases when organizing customer content before uploading. This can assist with a more streamlined and painless effort, in addition to having a clear and easily accessible CRM.

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About Alejandro Castro

Alejandro Castro is a Client Consultant Specialist for GoSmallBiz.com and holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Business and Spanish from Georgia State University.