A good Customer Relationship Management system is a powerful tool. I recently attended a networking event with a friend who was almost constantly on her tablet. At first I thought she wasn’t an attentive listener but then she began sharing information with the other attendees. Someone ask for a lead in a firm or industry, my friend checked her firm’s CRM system and quickly provided solid information in answer to the request. She was even able to indicate that her internal colleague that maintained the information was diligent keeping the data up to date, while another’s information was not as reliable.
Frankly she was able to move the attendees at the meeting from cold callers to people with reliable information to obtain an audience with the right person at target firm.
I have to confess that my personal database is middle of the road at best. Some of the entries are woefully out of date. Others I suspect they may have moved on to another firm or retired. It is a lot of work to stay current as your database grows but a lack of attention leads to data you don’t trust.
My fallback is LinkedIn which relies upon the user to keep their personal information current. I use LinkedIn when meeting someone for the first time to gather information about their work history, education and interests. Having a picture is also great. These bits of information allow a more personable meeting. Icebreaker questions can easily be gleaned from LinkedIn.
I encourage you to keep your system of tracking information as current as possible, for your own sake, but supplement that data with social media.