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GTD, CRM and Sales

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  • GTD, CRM and Sales


    I have been a practitioner of GTD for around 8 years and have the system pretty well tied down in terms of how it is organised and managed using Omnifocus on the iPad and iPhone with a Corporate Standard Issue Windows Laptop and things have been working quite well.

    Recently, I have transitioned within the same organisation from a Technical Project Management (IT) Based role into the role of a Business Development Manager, specifically dealing with large National or Multinational organisations on large change projects, typically, these are of the sort where we need to spend a year or in some cases, more than a year building the relationship before getting a sale, rather than a short term, frequent sale.

    I am required to use a Corporate CRM System to keep everything sales related up to date in terms of pipeline, contact with prospects etc and I am struggling as to what to put in CRM and what to put in my GTD system in Omnifocus as sometimes, I may not need to do anything on a prospective account for a few months and find that this started to clog up my Omnifocus system, but by the same token, it's a bit clunky when I am away from the office and can't access tasks such as follow up calls etc which are currently held in the CRM system.

    I would appreciate any advice from a fellow GTD'er working in a sales role who has a system that they find works well!


  • #2
    For better and for worse you are forced to maintain certain information in the CRM system. It serves not only as a tool for yourself but also as a reporting mechanism, and you have no choice.

    Your Omnifocus system is yours alone, and I you are at liberty to record whatever you want in it.

    This is not an unusual situation. It is not just related to large sales. This always tends to happen when you are part of something larger than yourself, and there are big plans for this larger effort, often involving more people than just you yourself, but where you yourself are concerned primarily with your own responsibilities in the foreseeable future. On the other hand, this limited subset of the whole effort is something you have to plan in greater detail on your own but may not be required to report back on in such detail.

    I believe there is no other solution than working the two systems in parallel and keeping them manually in sync to the extent necessary.

    This "syncing" will be part of your review work. In GTD terms, you could regard the "syncing" from the CRM system to the Omnifocus system as the equivalent of transferring items from your "project support material" to your GTD category lists (Next, Waiting etc). The reverse direction, the "syncing" from your Omnifocus system to the CRM system, you could regard as any other kind of reporting. From your own personal perspective, the CRM system is just part of your "project support material" along with any other shared corporate information.

    For example, if you want to have all @Calls listed in your Omnifocus, then you have no choice but to "sync them over". Do you need to log every call in your CRM system? If so, then do so as part of your routine reporting. Etc

    If you don't need to do anything with some (CRM) projects for several months, maybe you can at least create an Omnifocus tickler for when you need to do something about them. Or make it a checklist item for your weekly review to always reconsider which projects in your CRM system may require some degree of "activation" and having some appropriate actions listed in your Omnifocus system. If I were you (but I am probably a bit extreme), I would record all future actions that come to mind in the Omnifocus system from the very outset, but I would keep them off the main lists.



    • #3
      I'm in sales. At one time I worked on national and multinational accounts. Today I work mostly with local governments. But in both cases the sales cycle can last a year or more and projects can flow and recede like the tides. I practice GTD and I have to feed the CRM beast. And I agree 100% with Folke. Everything he said is right on the money so much so I really don't have anything to add. He's offered some great advice which I've taken myself.

      I hope Folke doesn't experience heart failure upon reading this. I am sure it will at least come as a big shock.


      • #4
        911, my left arm feels numb. Just happy


        • #5
          IF your CRM is Salesforce, why can't you access it from your tablet or smartphone? That's how I do it, but I am not in sales. (I'm one of the SF sys admins.) Not saying that resolves you entire issue, but you do have access to SF date via your mobile device.


          • #6
            Thank you for all your help


            Thanks to everyone who commented on the post.

            @Folke - Thanks for your detailed response, I think I need to find a way to incorporate the activity based aspects of sales that are in the CRM system into my GTD system and I think I have found a way to do this without "clogging up the works".

            I use an internally hosted CRM system, so external access via mobile or tablet isn't something that is currently available that I am aware of, but I am making enquiries with my employer as to whether this is planned or something that can be achieved.

            Thanks again for your help.