CRM Standards for Referrals
In the past, referrals were usually made by phone or email, and not consistently recorded anywhere. This made it impossible to track them, measure their effectiveness, or ensure timely follow up. CRM provides several different ways to improve on this. By agreeing on one standard way to create and track referrals, we will be able to handle them more efficiently and effectively.
The standard steps for managing a referral are:
- Create a CRM opportunity with the referral reason and a link to the potential customer.
- Assign the opportunity to the advisor who should handle it.
- Check CRM daily for opportunities assigned to you.
- Record all related activity with regarding set to the opportunity.
- Close the opportunity when it results in a sale or a dead end.
A. Create a CRM Opportunity
- Start from the relevant Outlook contact or organization. If you have checked the All Contacts (or Active Organizations) view, and the contact or organization does not exist, create it.
- In the contact or organization form, click on the Opportunities box.
- Use the Add New Opportunity button in the ribbon. The contact or organization will be pre-filled as the potential customer.
- Enter a brief description as the Topic, and whatever else is relevant.
- Always click the selection box for Source Campaign and choose the Referral This is how we know it is a referral and not some other type of opportunity.
- If you need to enter additional text:
- Create a note attached to the opportunity.
- Use the Save button (not Save & Close) to save the opportunity and the note.
- Double-click the note and use the Note Sharer dialog to share it with the intended advisor or team. If you skip this step, the advisor will never see your note.
- When you are finished editing the opportunity, use the Save button (not Save & Close) and proceed immediately to the next step. Otherwise, the opportunity will be assigned to you.
B. Assign the Opportunity
- Use the Assign button in the ribbon to select the CRM user (advisor) who should handle it.
- That person’s name is now displayed as Owner. Close the opportunity.
At this point, you have created a referral-opportunity and assigned it to the advisor. But what about referrals and other opportunities assigned to you? You may get new CRM opportunities at any time and for a variety of reasons. Some are created by Medicare Supplement or other business areas. You, or your support staff, may create some for tracking new potential business from prospecting through completion. Other advisors, staff, or the home office may refer prospects to you as described above. For all of these reasons, you should make it a habit to check for opportunities every day, just as you check your calendar and email. This is explained on the next page.
CRM Standards for Referrals
C. Check CRM for Opportunities
- Check for opportunities assigned to you every day as you check your calendar and email.
- From the default Everence Dashboard, under Workplace / My Work / Dashboards, scroll down to the Opportunities box, which by default shows the My Open Opportunities view (all open opportunities assigned to you).
- Or, click on Sales / Opportunities, which by default shows you the same thing.
- Either way, you can select other views and filter the results in many ways. The main thing is to remember to look for opportunities so that you can act on them.
D. Record Related Activity
Any action you take for a specific (referral or other) opportunity should be recorded on that opportunity, not on the potential customer (contact or organization). This allows everyone to see if, when, and how the referral / opportunity is being handled. If you record activity directly on the contact, it may be assumed to be totally separate from the opportunity, and it will look like the opportunity is being ignored. Make sure ALL fields are filled in. If not, this may result in the activity not being complete.
- For most activity types, the best way to do this is by starting from the opportunity form.
- Click on the Activities box.
- Use the Interactions Tab.
- Choose the activity type by clicking the + sign (for example, phone call). This pre-fills the Regarding field with a link to the opportunity, which is what you want, not the contact.
- As with any activity, enter all relevant details, Save & Close when you are done, and Mark Complete only if it has already occurred.
- Appointments and emails are the two exceptions. These both originate in Outlook.
- After scheduling the appointment or sending the email, use the Set Regarding button in Outlook. This adds them to CRM and prompts you to select a linked record.
- In the dialog box, choose Look for: Opportunity, and View: My Open Opportunities, to see your current opportunities (not contacts).
- Select the relevant opportunity.
- Save & Close when you are done.
E. Close the Opportunity
Eventually, your activity will lead either to a sale or to a dead end.
- Update any relevant details on the related activities (which should all be canceled, closed, or completed) if you haven’t done that already.
- Update any relevant details on the opportunity itself.
- Click the relevant button on the opportunity form ribbon, either Close as Won or Close as Lost.
- Fill in the details on the dialog and click OK.
The opportunity will no longer appear in your Open views, but may still be seen in other views, and on the contact or organization form, and re-opened if desired.