Hi all! My name is Alejandro Esbozos, I’m Spanish, run Blocdeesbozos, a marketing consultancy company, and I’m a proud customer of Active Collab. I use Active Collab for task management, and it has improved communication and collaboration in my company a lot.
Active Collab helps me to collaborate on all sorts of projects, like graphic design, social media, SEO, etc. Because I also work as a sales manager, I use Active Collab as CRM system to manage customers (and prospects) more efficiently.
There are a lot of CRM solutions on the market. I tried around 10 of them, and even settled on one but because I already use Active Collab, I thought why keep paying another tool when I can use just one.
Besides, everyone in my company uses Active Collab and I didn’t want to move them to yet another tool. I tried to use the CRM tool alone a but a CRM without data is useless. And data comes from people. So, the CRM I used ended up useless.
I wondered: could I use Active Collab as a CRM alternative? It turns out, yes.
What services I need from a CRM tool?
I need three main things from a CRM tool:
- Phone call tracking
- In-depth contact information (relatives, hobbies…)
- Sales funnel tracking
The first one is impossible to do with Active Collab. Not in an automatic way at least. You can create tasks in projects, and add information in the task discussion area. But that’s not exactly a “phone call tracking tool”. But that doesn’t matter. I found one phone-call tracking tool but it was too expensive. So, I decided I can live without this feature.
Same with point number two, in-depth contact information. Active Collab don’t have that feature. But you don’t really need it. If you use Gmail, you have all this things on contact.google.com. There you can add emails, telephone numbers, information about the company, relatives, groups, free notes… And if you use Android, you will have all this information on your device before the phone call.
So, let’s focus on the third point: tracking sales funnel. Could I track my sales funnel using Active Collab? Yes, and here’s how.
How to track sales funnel using Active Collab
A sales funnel, also called a purchase funnel, is a visual representation of customer journey. A typical sales funnel is divided in four phases: awareness, interest, decision, and action. I structure my funnel a bit differently though.
My sales funnel includes 6 phases, based on the moment I get the budget: Lead, Contact, Delivered, Second Meeting, Accepted, and Rejected.
I create this funnel in Active Collab using the Kanban Methodology. I have a project called Sales, and there I have the 6 task lists which function like Kanban columns:
- When someone is interested to work with my company, I create a task in the Lead task list
- After the first phone call or the meeting, I move the task to the Contact column
- I send the message to the prospect and move the task to Delivered
- After one week, I call the prospect again, trying to get another meeting and move the task to Second Meeting once it’s scheduled;
- Depending on the outcome of the meeting, the task goes to Accepted or Rejected
It usually takes one week for the task to go from Lead to Delivered, and another week to go to either Accepted or Rejected.
Task Reminders in Active Collab are very useful to remind me when I have to call someone. Also, labels in Active Collab help me know how warm the lead is.
Active Collab also helps me with my presale. Here’s how.
Presales ActiveCollab Project for networking
When I do networking, I have a very big problem: my memory. I forget when and where I met someone, where they work, what their spouse’s name is, information about children or pets, how many times I have talked to this person…
To help me with this, I have a project in Active Collab called Presales, which functions similarly to the Sales project.
I have columns and I move task from left to right, i.e. from unknown to lead. They are:
- First meeting (inbox)
- Email sent
- Social media interaction
- First coffee/beer together
- Usual meetings
When I meet a new person I create a task with their name. A few days after the networking event, I send them an email, give my contact details, and I move the task to 2nd column; A few days later, I find them on social networks and follow them (3rd column); Then I start interacting with this person to create engagement, and a few weeks later I try to meet them for coffee or something, to get to know them better. And then we become friends.
I can’t begin to tell you how much the Task Reminder feature in Active Collab helps me with this stuff. Without it, I’d lose my mind.
Tasks often move from project to project. If a friend becomes a lead, I move the task from Presales to Sales. If a lead becomes a customer, I move the task from the new project to the new customer. This way, I can always keep information about every customer from the beginning.
There you have it. Although Active Collab is a project management tool, you can also use it as a CRM tool, once you begin treating it as a project. Active Collab helps my team collaborate and manage work, and it also helps me manage my sales contact.