Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Making good use of Action Plans

Action Plans
We all have goals: for ourselves, our families, our health, our careers, our businesses. Achieving any goal is a complex task which usually requires planning, resources, discussion, decision-making, and deadlines. Where should we start?

As Stephen R. Covey aptly wrote in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: “start with the end in mind”. Following this advice, we should write down each goal that we wish to achieve and then, working backwards, list the steps necessary to achieve each goal. This will create an action plan for each of our goals. Together, all our goals will create a vast network of action plans in our lives. But how do we keep track of all the steps in each of these action plans? Fortunately, there are many solutions…

We all plan our days with some sort of agenda. Some of us use Day-Timers or other paper based systems. Others use PDA's (Personal Digital Assistant), either with their BlackBerry or Smart Phone, to keep track of their goals. Maximizer CRM (Customer Relationship Management) users appreciate the power and flexibility of their application.

Maximizer CRM users with an application that syncs to their Smart Phones enjoy the ultimate in mobile time management. So those with MaxMobile CRM, have a tool that enables them to achieve new levels of efficiency in time management, ensuring a team stays on track to meet deadlines using this integrated application.

Follow along: you'll be glad you did!

Creating Action Plans in Maximizer CRM
Action Plans can be used in all major Maximizer CRM modules: the Address Book, the Marketing Campaign Manager, the Opportunity Management System, and Customer Service & Support. Action Plans are also available in the Address Book for Maximizer Entrepreneur clients. To create a new Action Plan (or modify an existing one), choose the Setup tab, click on the Template Library icon, then select Action Plan Library in the drop down menu, then click on Add or Modify (see figure 1). Enter a name and a description (optional) of the plan's purpose. Then add the appointments or tasks that make up the individual activities of the Action Plan.
For added flexibility, the activities are scheduled by entering the number of days before or after the Plan Start Date. The usual Hotlist or Appointment fields are then completed for each activity.
Figure 1

If you have never created an Action Plan before, an easy one is a quarterly customer call plan (see figure 2).
Figure 2

Using Action Plans in Maximizer CRM
In the Address Book window, right-click on the entry you want to add an Action Plan to. From the local menu, choose Schedule. The sub-menu gives you a choice between Meeting, To-do, Call or Action Plan. After choosing Action Plan and selecting the Action Plan template to apply, you will see the Activities that make up the chosen plan (see figure 3).
Figure 3

If necessary, you can now adjust the plan start date, select to skip non-work days, or assign the plan to another user. When you select OK, a note is created for the entry (see figure 4) and the activities are added to your Hotlist (tasks) or Calendar (appointments). Of course, if the Action Plan or some individual activities are assigned to another Maximizer CRM user, the activities will go into their Calendar or Hotlist. Excellent for delegating!!!
Figure 4

Note that, if you do not have Full Access rights to another Maximizer CRM user's Hotlist or Calendar and assign an Action Plan (or some activities in an Action Plan) to that user, a message will pop up warning you of the problem.

You can also see what Action Plan activities have been scheduled for a client by opening the entry and choosing the Activities tab (figure 5). You will see all past, present and future activities. To view activities associated with Action Plans, make sure to select Action Plan Activities from the options drop-down.
Figure 5