Yes, we all love the look and feel of organization. There’s nothing better than walking into a well organized kitchen, or opening a filing cabinet to find everything in the perfect order. But is just being organized enough when it comes to building your business and nurturing your key business relationships? The thing is, you can’t build better business with an organized list of your contacts. That’s the equivalent to utilizing an address book or Facebook.

Think about it, it may give you peace of mind to walk into your clean, well-organized kitchen and it definitely looks great. But if that superficial outcome is the reason why you organized your kitchen to begin with…then you may have missed the memo on why you get organized. At the end of the day, you organize your kitchen, your sales process, or your filing cabinet so that you can better utilize them. The end goal of organization is becoming more efficient in your processes and creating a more streamlined and sustainable approach.

Read on for how to organize contacts and make it work for you.

Wait! We’re not saying there isn’t any merit to taking the time to get organized. If anything, it’s the first step on your journey to productivity, and here at Contactually we’re all about being more organized. It’s a proven fact that disorganization and clutter can be a major distraction in the workplace and yes, that even extends to the organization behind your emails at relationship management. There’s nothing more off-putting than opening your inbox only to find a mess of unread and opened emails from colleagues, friends, and plenty of spam. How will you get anything done slogging through that clutter?

First step, get organized. Next step, get to work.

1. Personalize and Organize

What may work for your co-worker, may not be what you need when it comes to organizing your contacts. Personalize your organizing process. Whether that’s investing in a CRM, taking the time to upkeep Inbox Zero, or going old school with a rolodex or address book that you physically write in, whatever it is that makes sense to you, establish it and stick to it!

2. Find your Process

Plenty of people out there will adopt a CRM or comparable software because they want to be more organized with their network, but is that the real goal? Even if you don’t quite realize it, you probably need a better way to maintain contact with your network of relationships and organization is the first step in getting there. But, getting your contacts organized isn’t enough and won’t do you any good if you’re not actually following-up and using that organization to the fullest extent.

Just like you found a way to best personalize your organization, you need to find the best process for making that organization work for you. Whether that means setting time on your calendar every morning for sending emails or using an app on your phone to keep you on task, find your process and make it a habit!

3. Put in the work

Here’s the hard part: adhering to that that process and putting in the work of following through with the organization you’ve established. You want your contacts and network organized, so that you can do more with them in the way of reaching out, following-up and generally making the most of those relationships.

The Contactually Mindshare Model

But why?

At this point, you’re probably asking yourself, “why all the hassle?” Again, we go back to our kitchen analogy…why would you organize your kitchen if you’re not going to make use of it? Your contacts are the exactly the same. While organizing your contacts and network sure feels great once you’ve done it, it’s pretty much useless unless you take advantage of it. Segmenting your contacts allows you to stay top of mind with the right people in the right way and avoid any instances of awkward miscommunications. Use your organization as a step forward to message your contacts more effectively, it’s a huge advantage you gain when you get organized.

Some people have their contacts organized but have no idea who to talk to and when to do it. On the other hand, some people know who they want to talk to and when they want to do it, but they don’t have a system to hold them accountable. Organizing your contacts doesn’t necessarily improve those crucial relationships, but it is entirely the prerequisite or first step you need to take in order to manage and improve those relationships. From there, you’re teed up to begin the process of actually utilizing your system.

How we do it

Here at Contactually, we’re all about the relationships. And while we know that the Contactually app isn’t necessarily for everyone, the idea behind it is absolutely one you can implement on your own as you work towards a more organized and productive life.

The majority of people we work with (and even some of our co-workers here) reach out simply to the people on the top of their mind because it’s easy and because they don’t have a system to remind them of who else they know and how they can work with them. You need that system or tap on the shoulder to remind you that there’s plenty of other people in your network that you should reach out to.

Think of it as a much broader reminder from Facebook about your friends’ birthdays. How often are you jolted because you had (maybe) forgotten about them? You’re not the only one out there who’s felt that way, and it that feeling probably extends out to the rest of contacts well beyond the boundaries of Facebook.

The easy part is realizing that you need to implement some sort of system to stay organized, the hard part is actually following through with it. But the reward of building better relationships and building up your business, makes it well worth the effort.