Is Digitalization Overrated?
Well, long story short, it could be – just look around your desk at the books and business cards.
Granted, digitalization and contact management are fine ideas, they do not completely explain why a person should be pixelating their books and cards.
Let’s start by looking at books. On any given bookshelf, there could be a few books ranging in topic from grammar to humor alongside some ebook/digital publications on a nearby mobile device or laptop.
One might think that having everything digitalized would make for a more harmonious life. But just think, there are books from Amazon, Apple, Google, and a couple random PDFs thrown in for good measure. There are various formats that interact differently with the specific reader or smartphones. Different books might also need to be looked at differently, with their specific graphics. It can be a mess.
We have books – in whatever form – to be entertained or to learn. Digitalization is really only a positive element when it enhances that goal.
Now let’s go to the business card and the problem of digital disharmony. Team A collects the cards at an exhibition, Team B adds the data to the CRM, and Team C integrates the contacts into a few campaigns. The process is a bit distant from the individual members of Sales Team D. They might want to use these contacts in their daily work or even connect their own array of daily notes to specific contacts.
Is contact digitalization always such a great thing?
From the overall corporate perspective, it is good as it adds to the sales funnel. However, there still is a disconnect between Teams A, B, and C and the individuals on Team D when it comes to contact use.
Like with books, the goal really is not to have contacts digitalized. The goal is to have contact information saved, available at ones’ fingertips, and easily utilized. Since digitalization and its addition to “sales” can make this happen, that’s usually why companies do it – even if they forget why.
The problem is that this approach, at least as currently practiced, has some issues.
Separating out the data entry from the people using the data might create accuracy issues. Is there a need for separate Teams A and Team B? Just as in manufacturing, if a task is too narrowly defined, quality can suffer. It helps if people are connected to the larger task. Then there are is the issue of the sales guys on Team D. They could use a way to add/use/amend these contacts in their daily lives.
So here’s the random thought. For a better contact database, give the field guys a way to accurately add their own contacts to it. Even better, tweak the system so they can add additional notes or images to their contacts, making contact data be valuable part of their daily work and not a once-off data entry task best done by someone else. After all, to have people actually do a routine task, make it a profitable one.
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