The CRM “Money Bar”

I recently had a call with Adrian Sanders, co-founder of Halfslant, a contemporary art consultancy for alternative spaces and events. He put up some great questions, the type that only someone with street smarts and experience working with a lot of software products would know to ask. After the call he circled back and asked “where can I send feedback to warn the others”. I suggested a post on our site; here is the latest email as it arrived. - Steve (founder)

It’s safe to say that my business starts and ends in Solve. From the moment in the morning I check my daily activity list to the last review before I call it a day, Solve is where I go to make sure I’m on track.

And basically, once I know what I’ve got lined up for the day, my world revolves around the contextual search bar, or as I like to call it, The Money Bar. It has proven to be one of the most important parts of my workflow in Solve. And though I’ve long since lost my ability to read human syntax on computer systems, the layout is a simple, efficient solution that any tech novice will understand.

Under contacts, you can of course search by tags, or filter by stars etc. but the ability to look at “having open tasks due in the next 7 days”, “having open overdue tasks” and “having open unassigned tasks” is quite possibly the most brilliant set of filters ever. I don’t want to flip through calendars, to-do lists, and projects because I’ve already done that - I’ve set everything up already. Isn’t that the point of CRMs and PMs: that I don’t have to keep rifling through information to get stuff done? I just want to see what I need to deal with now. In Solve, you can use the “show next actions assigned to” filter in Activities to get similar results, but sometimes it’s best to start with a contact oriented task list.

This sort of filter is crucial for an expanding small business. The last thing a manager (or owner) wants to confront is the overstuffed inbox, or even worse, the 5,000 contacts that can’t be prioritized correctly (I’m looking at you Outlook 2007). Solve’s result box gives you the list of contacts that match your criteria, as well when they were last updated, their job title and who they work for. Using a filter like “having open tasks due today” is going to show you only these contacts. Seems obvious - but the perk here is that you now have overview at who you’re going to be dealing with today.

The quick view in the results bar is like a mental prep. You can adjust your day accordingly, knowing that the meeting with Gary is going to spill over, and that you absolutely need to get the proposal to Robert by the end of the day. We all know there isn’t enough time in the day to do everything but you can prioritize and do what needs to be done. If you business is client and contact focused, this type of contact to-do list helps you keep your relations with people strong. So maybe today Gary’s meeting gets bumped back, and you devote more time to deliver for Robert. Solve’s search filter and result bar are going to get you thinking about these things right away.

Additional filter results like “untouched in the last 30 days” or “not viewed in the last 30 days” are valuable ways to remind yourself of cold leads, low priority projects, or even important things that have slipped through the cracks. The contextual search bar can quickly give you a comprehensive look at your data and where you are at with each project and contact. Using “untouched in the last 30 days,” you can easily review what projects and contacts need to be re-prioritized, and which ones can be designated as “archived”.

This is important because no contact or project is ever truly a lost cause. Maybe they don’t need your service, or maybe the project won’t pan out for you - but here you’ll have an archive of why, or possibly a foundation to create a new project with those clients, or use the old project for new clients.

As your database grows, so too does the complexity of digging through it. Solve’s contextual search bar allows you to have the types of tools you need, be it shovel, jackhammer or pick axe to get you what you need.

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