Everybody knows that networking with the right people and success, go hand in hand. The relationships you build can help you break the mold and accomplish your dreams. That sounds great in theory, but how is it actually accomplished?
Over the past year I have used a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system to help me stay on top of all my valuable contacts. A CRM is a system primarily used for managing a company's interactions with current and future customers. However, if used correctly it can be an extremely powerful tool for personal network management. The specific CRM that I have been using is called Salesforce.
Using Salesforce has allowed me to track and monitor all of the discussions going on between my contacts and I. With Salesforce not only can I insert a variety of fields and information about the contact, but I can also create tasks, add notes or attachments, and have a record of every email I have ever sent to that individual logged in the system. For individuals who take networking seriously and understand the immense value, Salesforce is an essential tool for getting the job done.
To give you a visual, below is a screen shot of what Salesforce looks like when inputting a new contact. Keep in mind that the fields you see are totally customizable and can be changed to whatever you prefer.
Once you have created a contact within Salesforce I would suggest creating a "Task" around that contact. A task can be something as simple as sending your contact a follow up email wishing them a happy birthday. Tasks are especially important to ensure you stay on top of your important contacts. I like to set a task to touch base with particular contacts every few months just to see how they have been and if I can help them in any way. Although nothing beats a face to face interaction these and continue to build the relationship.
Another essential feature of Salesforce is allowing users to log the activity of all emails sent to that contact. This can be a little tricky to set up but is well worth the research. I use Yesware which automatically syncs emails with Salesforce.
With the basic Salesforce plan costing $5 per month you can't beat the functionality and value. Sign up for a free trial, play around with the system, and let me know if you have any feedback or questions I can answer.