Geoff* has a contact database of over 5000 people. When he first spoke to us, he was going through the database to identify which of his contacts were on LinkedIn, and which ones he had not connected with via LinkedIn, so he could send them invitations to join his network. He was also in the process of looking at purpose-built software to help manage his contact and client relationships.
Geoff had originally set up his database in Excel, adding more and more information to the file over time. The file had become quite large, which made finding exactly what he was looking for a challenge. Geoff uses LinkedIn extensively to connect with his clients and business interests, so identifying missing connections was an important part of managing his data. He had started to cross reference his spreadsheet with LinkedIn and had spent 3 hours to complete 100 entries. It was going to take many, many hours for Geoff to finish this himself and he asked what we could do, and how long we thought it would take. Our database specialist consulted with Geoff, looked at the scope of the project and offered a quote. With a go-ahead, we started by getting an extract from LinkedIn to cross-reference against the spreadsheet. LinkedIn doesn’t advertise this feature, but it is possible to get a list of all first-level connections in a variety of file formats. This proved to be useful in cutting down the amount of time needed to cross-reference those contacts Geoff had connected to, and those he hadn’t.
By taking advantage of some of Excel’s own functionality, we were able to quickly identify which of those contacts Geoff was not yet connected to, giving him a simplified view he could work with more easily. We then began to populate Geoff’s spreadsheet with relevant data both from the extract and his contacts’ own LinkedIn profiles.
Once the spreadsheet had been updated, we sat down with Geoff in person. We had lots of phone contact to provide one-on-one help and advice to make sure he was getting the most out of the tools in Excel. We also showed Geoff how to organise his data to make it easier to convert to a specialised CRM product he was considering.
Now, Geoff’s spreadsheet is more complete and accurate, capturing the information he needs to conduct business with his clients. He now has the knowledge and ability to manipulate and sort his data. He can find what is relevant to his project requirements, saving him time and effort in sifting through thousands of entries to find the right information.