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GTD Tricks for Account Management/Software Suggestions?

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  • GTD Tricks for Account Management/Software Suggestions?

    Some famous philospher (Emerson, Therou) said, "beware of any enterprise that requires new clothes". Well, how about "beware of any enterprise that requires new software".

    My job just changed quite significantly in that I've taken on a fairly substantial account management role in addition to my regular responsibilities. I'm enjoying it, but I'm grappling with it doing a decent job with the ongoing notetaking that needs to happen with each client engagement. They need to be fairly accessible to our whole office. Also, if I leave this job, the person who comes after me needs to have good records (if the person who had the job before me would have done this, my life would be just a bit eaier).

    Probably the biggest thing I'm learning (which is something I've already known but is even more important now) the sooner I can process those phone/meeting notes after I get done with the convesation and write up my summary, the better.

    I'm already used to putting projects/next actions/ticklers/waiting fors in my system for things I personally need to pay attention to, but I'm struggling with the best way to make information more accessible to others.

    So, do I keep notes in our marketing database, just create a word document stored on our network and keep a log, rely on hard copies in a paper file, create a public folder for each company on Outlook and copy emails into it, invest in a account management software system, etc.

    Which maybe outside the scope of GTD, but I thought I'd ask! Perhaps those of you with similar type jobs might have some ideas for me.

  • #2
    How about scanning your notes (handwritten I presume) to PDF and putting the PDF files on the network? Assuming your handwriting is reasonably legible, that seems like a good combination of high accessibility and low added work.

    Katherine

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    • #3
      Sounds like you are interested in knowledge management for your organization. I would do a good internet search on the topic.

      I know an organization in my company that has invested a significant amount of money into KM. They have an interactive database that allows search capability. The neat thing about it is, it is set up where the seach is usually made in the form of a question. Then the profile database uses a keyword search to match the question to an expert. It then notifies an expert that they have a question to answer. After the question is answered within the database, it is stored so it can be retreived the next time the question comes up. So the system gets smarter the more you use it. And the experts can answer the same quesiton once...and yet answer it many times.

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      • #4
        If you strictly need to manage notes on your clients, you can consider a CRM, such as http://salesforce.com

        Or you can also consider a company wiki.

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        • #5
          Depending on the size of your department or organisation, a CRM package like Avidian Prophet 2004 might work for you. It integrates nicely into outlook and allows you to use your existing projects, tasks etc, within it.

          check it out www.avidian.com

          I have nothing to do with the company just a very happy customer.

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          • #6
            Thanks for all your ideas and suggestions...as far as this forum goes, I appreciate software suggestions, but what would be of the greatest benefit if there are GTDers out there who are in an account management role and have any ideas/insights on how to use GTD to manage those relationships, I love to get some ideas.


            But really, I'm just finding that I am reapply the basics to a new context - which is the beauty of the system...it is not that much different between work vs. home and old job vs. new job, etc.

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            • #7
              I would suggest getting the hand written notes into some type of electronic format but not to make it to complex.

              CRM's like salesforce could work. However the licensing costs could be prohibitve.

              What is the size of your organization? How many peers (other Account Managers) do you have on your team? Also ask yourself how will you want to retrieve this information?

              My company allows the Sales (new business) folks access to salesforce but not the Acct Mgmt folks (existing business and employee support). I think this is mostly due to licensing costs. To date, I see the Sales team struggling to build the discipline to use the tool. I don't really miss not having access to it.

              My team (the Account Managers) relies on anectodatal information. I have 5 direct reports and we meet weekly to discuss our "world". I have tried encouraging and modeling behavior to get them to transfer their notes into electronic format. I don't know that it has caught on yet. Personally, I have tried to build my own discipline to update my notes on my clients, team and consulting staff. It's not perfect but over the past 2 years I have felt a tremendous increase in the type and amount of information I was tracking. I simply create Outlook based notes for staff members and clients. I also create calendar reminders to contact key clients. At each weekly review I also try to update some of my note files.

              Sometimes the complexity of a tool can create resistance.

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              • #8
                Personally as an Account manager I use GTD for all my account activities, most of my activity is in Outlook using tasks, appointments and projects. For all my accounts, i.e. phone call becomes an @call task etc.

                The more business related stuff like sales stage, pricing, proposals I manage via avidian prophet, this of course could be done again in outlook or any other contact manager. Where you can link files, notes etc to a contact.

                More in depth notes I store in One Note, for 2 reasons:

                1. It is great for storing web pages, research on an account, or any other in-depth information.
                2. I find it easy during my weekly review to go over these notes and capture any actions, or projects I may have missed during the week.

                (Again this will work with any other software i.e. MS Word, etc.) Again the key is GTD doing the weekly review etc. All of these tools or variations of them can be stored on a network.

                Personally I don't recommend using handwritten notes, as they are not searchable, and it could be difficult for your co-workers to find information on handwritten notes.

                Just my thoughts.

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