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Marketing Follow Ups

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  • Marketing Follow Ups

    I am the President/Marketing Manager of my family's business and I have been trying recently to implement GTD.

    I deal with all inquiries that come into the company. At this time I have a few hundred open inquiries in various stages of working. I am using Outlook 2003 to implement GTD.

    Most of our business is export so I am dealing with a lot of e-mail to communicate. When I send an intro e-mail or a proposal to a customer I want to follow up on it. I used to make a task for the inquiry and put a reminder for a certain date to follow up. I usually FU 1 week/1 month/3 months/3 months/close if no response.

    A lot of times I get no responses to my initial e-mail for whatever reason. It got too cumbersome to use the reminders as I had 150 past due reminders to send a FU and couldn't keep up.

    Now that I have categories in my Tasks I have one that is "Follow up by e-mail". This task list has like 150 next actions in it. When I do my weekly review I get really bogged down in this category and get frustrated. I have taken to putting the last date of FU in the subject line with the inquiry number and customer name so I can see the ones I have followed up on most recently.

    After I send a FU it then becomes something I am waiting for so then it is in two categories "Waiting for" and "Follow Up by e-mail".

    It takes me some time to process each FU as I go get the physical file, send the e-mail, move the sent mail to the project file in Outlook, print the e-mail to the hard file, and then update my tasks. I would say I can get 10 FU done in an hour, doing the entire process.

    I am wondering if there are any other people working many follow ups and how you keep track of them in the system without it bogging down your entire system.

    The other thing is once it becomes apparant that I am going to get no response I will close the inquiry but don't want to lose the ability to send a FU in 6 months or a year or so just to check in to see if the project is active again or if the company is planning new investment. If it falls off of my radar I know I won't do this systematically.

    I'm not sure how to do it so I don't have 100 come due on the same day, which I know I won't get to.

    Once I have established correspondence I put the the inquiry in "Projects" in Tasks. That way I can keep track of the ones that have current communication flowing.

    I also have a "Calls" category in which I keep track of domestic inquiries that are followed up by phone. This is a little less unwieldy because I have fewer domestic inquiries.

    I think I'm missing something. Any advice?


  • #2

    Forget GTD - you've gotta find a way to automate the process! Having 150 emails to hand type (one by one) move the files (one by one) on to a computer then hard printing out all of them (one by one), plus filing, is absolutely insane! What a waste of a senior managers time!

    I don't know how personalised your email FUs are, but if they're non-personal then you should be automating this to the point of pressing go and watching your computer generate 150 emails from pre-entered addresses, with a pre-fab email body in each, send them all, update a list with the last contact. A contact manager can generate an email to each person, with their preferred name and email address, send it to them, then keep a record of both the email and the details of when it was sent, and set another reminder to tell you whether they've come back to you.

    If they're personalised FUs, then at the very least you should be auto-generating the email address and auto-processing after the fact. A good tool will let you select who gets a personalised one and who gets a generic one.

    There are countless tools out there that do this. Ours were all proprietary so wouldn't work for you, but contact manager tools are ten-a-penny. Sometimes also called casework tools, in my line of work.

    If you're not sure what you're doing, bite the bullet and pay an IT person to help choose a tool and set it up for you. If you think it costs a lot, calculate what 4 hours a week (or whatever you spend) of your time costs and times that by 52, to work out how much your company spends a year on you writing those emails.


    • #3
      Thank you for your response.

      Thank you for your response. Okay. Glad I'm not crazy. I know there has to be a better way but I am trying to work with the tools I have. We laid off 2 years ago and since then I've been handling it all.

      We do work with a CRM program through our ERP system so I am contacting our consultant to see if I can get that program working better for me to automate some of these operations so I can spend more time on customers and current projects while not neglecting those potentials, but unlikelies.