Tasks are the industry standard term for activities / follow-up items that are assigned to a CRM user and it is one of the most important features of a CRM system. Tasks are “must haves” for someone using or evaluating a CRM system. If properly used, Tasks will be how salespeople and customer support people manage and complete their daily To-Do list. In addition, it is a great tool for communication between Sales, Customer Support employees and company management.
The main purpose of CRM Tasks is to facilitate and monitor items needing a follow-up at the appropriate time. Proper use of Tasks will greatly improve the value of the CRM as well as productivity of the CRM users. Listed below are some of the best practices of using Tasks.
Task critical Information
All tasks that are created in the CRM should have the following information:
- Account which is linked to the Task
- Title/Subject of the Task to provide a quick description
- Sufficient descriptive Task body such that any CRM user can properly interpret the objective or actions of the task
- Person assigned to the Task; i.e., person responsible for completing the Task
- Date the Task is due for completion
- Priority of the task (minimal options should be Low, Normal, High)
If a user is assigned a Task, that user should be automatically notified by email to ensure the assignment was communicated in a timely manner. This capability may not be important for active users of CRM as these users should be reviewing the Tasks assigned to them on a regular basis.
Any task not been completed by its schedule completion date should be highlighted (e.g. Red Bold font) in the CRM system in some manner so that the Task assignee and their management quickly can see the situation and decide on the proper course of action. A more comprehensive system would have an Alert/Notification capability that will send an email or report to the appropriate people indicating Tasks:
- That are Overdue
- That have had the schedule due date modified
- Tasks completed
The most cost common users of are either the sales team or the customer support team. A sales representative might assign themselves a Task to follow-up with an Account by a certain date per their last communication with the Account. Similarly, a Sales Manager or the Lead Generation team might assign a Task to a sales representative, so that timely action is scheduled.
The customer support team will use a task so a representative can act immediately on a customer support ticket categorized as High Priority.
Salespeople and Customer Support personnel should be using the Task page to plan their activities for the day and the near future. The Task page should be the most viewed page by sales and customer support CRM users as it is their guide for beginning their day and checking for updated priorities during the day. If not checked frequently, a new High Priority item might not completed in a timely manner which could have significant repercussions.
Tasks should be able to be sorted by either due date or priority in order for the user to quickly determine what and when activities need to be accomplished.
Salespeople before visiting or communicating with a customer should always take a quick look at the CRM to see if there are any Customer Support Tickets open, especially Tickets with a high priority status. There are plenty of horror stories about a sales representative arriving at a customer site unaware that a major issue has been brewing. Needless to say, this is not a good situation.
Best practices are for CRM Notes and Tasks to be used in conjunction with each other. For instance, a Task may be triggered from a discussion with a customer or prospect. In this situation, the Task should reference the Note (which should have all important information regarding the discussion) so that proper context can be provided.