A CRM is only as good as the information you put into it, but the last thing you want to do is put in junk data for the sake of data entry. If you're often in calls and need a quick way to organize your post-call notes, here are three methods to keep your notes useful and tidy.
Method 1: A list of items
This method is the simplest of the three, and it’s great for when you need to take a lot of notes during a call. On your first read-through, you can easily see what you need and start tackling action items.
This list should include:
- Date and time;
- Names of attendees (or at least the ones you remember);
- The goal or purpose of the call (if this was noted in advance);
- Decisions made;
- Next steps, and who's in charge of handling them; and
- Your overall impression—did they seem indecisive? Did they make any promises?
Method 2: The full call report
This particular method is less skim-able, but is best used for formal meetings where you’re expected to take notes that are cohesive and complete.
Writing up the full report of the call also allows you to go into as much detail as you want, and makes for a good follow-up email.
The key thing with telling a full story is that you want to be clear and concise, even when you're sharing a lot of details. For example, you wouldn’t write “I think he said X”; instead, you would want to write something like “[Name] said X.” You should also avoid personal opinions: the purpose of these call notes is just to communicate what was discussed in the meeting and who said what.
A call report is more shareable and understandable for your team, and will allow them to for their own opinions on what next steps should be taken based off how the call went.
Method 3: Answers to specific questions
If you’re taking notes on a meeting where you or someone else is presenting a list of questions, this template will help you keep all the answers together.
This is great for project management meetings because it keeps everyone on track. It also lets you look back at historical notes to see which questions have been answered and which still need to be addressed.
Here are some example questions that can be used with this format:
- What do we need to accomplish by our next status update?
- Who’s working on what?
- What have we learned from what we've just done?
Once you've found a template that works for you, here are some tips on how to make the most of the tool you've designed:
- Keep your call notes in your CRM. The whole point of keeping notes is so that you and the other participants can easily find them when needed. That's exactly what a CRM is for! So even if you're writing your call notes down on a notepad, be sure to add them to your contacts' Histories so that the rest of your team can find your notes!
- Use emojis! Emojis aren't just for texting. They can be used in your LACRM notes to spruce up or add emphasis to your call notes. This helps make your call notes more readable and easier to skim through at a glance.
- Use the same format for the same types of calls. You'll get better at using your format if you use it every time with the same context. Plus, consistency helps keep things organized and easy to find when people need those files later on down the line.
- Don't forget to follow-up on action items! It wouldn't be much use taking detailed notes if no one actually uses them once the meeting is over with—so make sure each participant gets reminded of their action items before wrapping up each gathering!