T1 – Setting Up Your Outlook Categories

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Categories allow you to segment your tasks so that you can see at what stage of the pipeline process your contact is at, but they also allow you add extra information such as interests.  You can have an unlimited number of categories, but be realistic too many means more maintenance but too few means you won’t be able to segment your data properly.

To actually set up your categories go to a task – you can either create a new one or open up one you already have, then go to categories on the ribbon and go down to ‘All Categories’.  When the new window appears click on a colour category that isn’t being used, then click on rename. Rename the category to something appropriate and then hit enter on your keyboard.  The Category we are going to use is ‘0 – Action’, if you are going to use Outlook as a CRM system you will need to add more categories which we will speak about later.  If you have used all of the pre-made categories you can select ‘New’ and name your category and select a colour for it. 

If you now open up a task, either one you already have or a new one and go to Categorise on the ribbon you will see all of your categories on the drop down.  By putting the numbers in front of the category you can see that this orders them.  You simply click on the category you wish to add to the task, and to remove the category click on it again.  You can have as many categories against an entry as you wish.

If you are going to be using Microsoft Outlook as a CRM System then the categories we recommend you use to start with are:

0 – Action: These are connections that you currently have actions against to be completed now, i.e. today or his week.

1 – Client: These are our current clients meaning those you are currently doing business with

2 – Prospect: Those contacts that you are currently in a conversion dialogue with.

3 – Long Range Prospect: These are contacts you are likely to do business with but have an obstacle preventing you from doing so i.e. supply board isn’t up for review for another 18 months.

4 – Suspect: These are people you have just become aware of and they match your criteria for your client base but you haven’t investigated further.

5 – Dormant: Those who you won’t do business with again but you need to keep do to contact history.

6 – Background: This is for any long term background tasks, for example a weekly tasks to research any news stories around your top 3 clients, or to set up your social media updates for the next week.

Other categories you might wish to include are

-          Christmas:  to show those contacts you wish to send a Christmas card to

-          Golf or any other sport or hobby you wish to use. 

-          Any other topic you wish to bulk people together in, for example seminar topics that you run.

These categories can then be used to create marketing lists, excuses to start a dialogue with your contact that you know they will be interested or even to arrange events such as a golf day at your company.