Some may think setting up a CRM on Christmas Eve sounds lacking in holiday spirit. I can think of few other Christmas gifts I would like better than to get on top of my contacts.

It is one of my big regrets of 2017 is that I did not stay on top of my contact list as well as I might have. For several months in the most active time of managing the innovation hub, I was attending up to four networking events a week plus 20+ meetings.

The number of different stakeholder groups is also pretty crazy, including government, mentors, entrepreneurs, community groups, local businesses, industry partners, investors, schools, and universities. Add in local, national, and global contacts and the mix can be a challenge to manage on the fly.

I am pretty familiar with CRMs, or Contact Management Systems.  I have built, configured, or implemented about a dozen systems in my career. I have worked with the likes of SalesForce, HubSpot, Zoho, Microsoft CRM, SugarCRM, and custom platforms.

Through my experience, the reason why CRMs fail is not due to the location of a field or specific functionality. CRMs fail because the people using them tend not to be the sorts that like to track their actions in a system. I include myself in this description.

It’s only when the value from using a system exceeds the real and perceived barriers that you have a chance of success. There’s a whole body of literature about technology adoption and the Theory of Planned Behaviour if you are interested.

My need is pretty big as I step fully into a portfolio career helping local and state governments, corporations, community groups, and build out my own startup. So I am giving myself a gift this year of getting on top of my contacts during the upcoming slower holiday period.

After a brief scan, I am going with Insightly for the integrations and based on some recommendations from people I know.

If you are one of the people I have not gotten back to in 2017, you are in good company with some amazing people.  I look forward to connecting in 2018 and doing incredible things that will make a difference.

Here’s to learning and doing better in 2018.

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