This article takes a look at how some of us approach a new year in both our business and personal lives. It looks at setting objectives which are SMART as well as using software such as CRM to give you the tools with which you can to track your progress.The start of a New Year is always the chance to start a new leaf. The previous year ends with the festive season, a period of celebrations with family and friends and more often than not where over-indulgence is accepted as a part of the deal.When the New Year dawns a fair amount of navel-gazing takes place on both business and personal levels. We look at where we were successful and how we can perhaps repeat that success. We also look at failings and see if we can learn from those and see where we went wrong. The personal New Year’s resolutions might be lose a few pounds or use that fitness studio subscription a bit more this year, for example. Many of you will hit your approach to business with renewed vigour and will also have a new set of goals and targets for 2013.But setting expectations and goals realistically can be a challenge. You may set an unrealistically high target – for example to going to the gym four times a week instead of twice a month – chances are this is destined to fail after the initial couple of weeks. Other goals may be vague and therefore impossible to track and measure, for example “live healthier” without going into any specifics such as whether you intend to eat better, get outside more, or take on extra exercise.Similarly, objectives and opportunities in your business life need to be set realistically and results will want to be tangible for you to be able to measure your success. A target of “becoming the best in the field” is going to be difficult to evaluate, whereas “increasing sales revenue by 5%” can be tracked more easily.As long as your objectives are SMART, then you can set yourself some great goals which will help enhance your performance and ultimately your own personal satisfactions as well as helping your business achieve its targets. Let’s look at what is meant by those SMART objectives:
S is for Specific – have you clearly defined your goals?
M is for Measurable – can you measure the goals you have set, or are they too vague?
A is for Achievable – have you set your goals hopelessly high, or perhaps much too low?
R is for Realistic, or Relevant – do your goals tie in with what you are trying to attain, or will they result in you losing time and wasting resources?
T is for Time-bound – have you set yourself a timeframe for you to reach those targets?
There are various business tools which can help you in achieving your aims. CRM software has many features which are designed to help you in measuring and tracking your business goals and here we will look at just a few of those.Opportunities can be managed in a timely manner, allowing you to see exactly which business opportunities you currently have open, what their value is, what their probability is and how long they take to close.Projects too can be managed and tracked within a CRM solution. You can use the projects module to see when a job has used up the time sold or goes over budget. It also shows when projects have been successfully completed within the allocated time and budgetary frameworks.Campaign tracking means you can see which parts of any campaign have been successful, for example monitoring any click-through. You can also keep tabs on any “remove me” links that might be clicked, allowing you to judge for example whether your customer demographics are changing, or whether a particular marketing strategy is not working for you.To summarize, CRM software gives you a 360 degree view of the customer. It brings the different business functions under one roof – finance, administration, marketing, sales, operations and service departments all benefit from a shared data strategy allowing them to work towards consistent objectives.