Prospect Management: It's getting Easier

In my opinion, one of the most difficult parts of evangelism (of the parts I can control, of course) is actually getting out and making calls on prospects. It’s easy to sit behind my office desk and coordinate a mailing. But prospect nurture is a different beast. You want to get out there and see people, yet it seems so hard to actually get it done faithfully. It only gets worse if I get so bogged down in the administration of prospect nurture that I lose time to actually knock on doors and make visits. For example, I used to have to type in and print off the prospect’s address from Google Maps, bring along their prospect card so I wouldn’t forget their children’s names, take a note card with me so I could write down what happened at the visit in my car, and then wait until I’m back at church to re-record the information into our church database.

I know it could be worse. I’m thankful for Google Maps and copy machines, and I’m thankful for a computer database. But these days I’m especially thankful for Salesforce.

Salesforce is a customer relationship management (CRM) and cloud-based software that is designed for large and small businesses. In other words, it can help me track relationships with prospects somewhat like a salesperson would track a relationship with a customer. And the best part is that Salesforce has a strong desire to support non-profit organizations, so my congregation’s account (with up to 10 users) is FREE!

With Salesforce you can access your prospect list and activity history with them in the cloud – at the office, at home, even on the road from your phone app. Salesforce knows how to keep all of your information safe and secure, so you can create and edit new prospects from anywhere. Input their worship attendance, get directions to a house, describe your visit, blind-copy Salesforce on a follow-up email to a prospect, update the status of your relationship, schedule the next task – all in one place. Sync your prospects and follow-up activity with your Outlook contacts and calendar. Streamline your mass prospect emails by integrating MailChimp or Vertical Response into Salesforce through the AppExchange Marketplace.

Wait, there’s more. Salesforce is extremely customizable. Create and customize prospect data fields, tasks, activities, and nurture steps (see previous article, http://www.worshipandoutreach.org/blog/164/right-his-schedule) and then design and print off reports for your church council or evangelism committee. Train your evangelism team to use Salesforce and coordinate your documentation and efforts as a group using a built-in network called Salesforce Chatter.

Interested in Salesforce, but feel overwhelmed by the transition and set up for it? Salesforce has become so popular that I would guess that you have a member (or two or five) with experience in it through work. If not, Salesforce has a good customer support system and response time.

To get started, all you need to do is contact Salesforce (https://www.salesforce.com/) and prove your non-profit status. From there, you’re on your way to spending more time caring for prospects and less time caring for their information.

Contributing writer Daniel Bondow serves as an associate pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where his areas of responsibility include evangelism and adult discipleship.

Rev. Jonathan E. Schroeder

Jonathan Schroeder is the pastor of Faith Lutheran in Sharpsburg, GA. He serves as the Moderator of the Institute of Worship and Outreach, pastor-at-large on the Synodical Council, and is actively involved in WELS School of Outreach and WELS School of Worship.

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