How to Tackle To-do Lists in Your CRM and Get Stuff Done

Do you enjoy the gratification of crossing tasks off your list?

Whether it’s a to-do list on paper or our favorite task management app, there’s something very satisfying about the simple act of crossing tasks off our list. Task management apps help us stay organized, improve our productivity, and reduces anxiety as well! So why wouldn’t we love them?

We all have a list of things to check off every day, in our personal and professional lives. Every job differs, and with it, the list. Take salespersons for instance. They always have a full plate of tasks to complete on a daily basis. The non-essential tasks can be easily automated with the help of a good CRM system, like replacing repeated emails with email templates, sending welcome emails using workflow, etc.

But what about the core tasks you need to do towards closing a deal? It could be meeting with a prospect, drafting a proposal, preparing a demo, scheduling a phone call with a customer, and every sales activity left in the world.

Before getting to the part of crossing off a task, there are several steps to complete in between to make that happen. How can you plan and manage your tasks, appointments, and activities?

Think of task management as a four-step exercise

  1. Know what to do
  2. Draw up a list
  3. Prioritize
  4. Set deadlines

There are plenty of task management tools that can help you stay on top of your activities. But for salespersons, the optimal solution is to have them in your CRM system. This is your central place to manage your opportunities, so it’s a lot easier to gain visibility into what you have to do and track your action items. Essentially, it helps increase your efficiency and improves your overall productivity.

Freshsales CRM has extended task management capabilities, giving you the power to:

Read on, this post also provides bonus tips on how else Freshsales can help you tackle your to-do list efficiently.

Create action items

First things first, become a planner. Unless you know what you have to do, you’re going to have a hard time making a prioritized list. So, get to your assigned leads, and see where they are in your sales funnel. For new leads, you probably have to create a task like a call reminder to reach out to them. If a lead hasn’t replied to your email in a while, set up a task to follow-up with them. Alternatively, Freshsales even auto-creates recurring tasks.

Some tasks may happen on the fly. For instance, you’re on a call with the lead, and you need to schedule a face-to-face meeting. Next, the meeting goes well and you need to schedule a task to submit the proposal and advance the lead. Next thing you know, you’ve won the deal! Now you want to create a task and follow-up with the customer. Besides this, you’re not a sales rep who ignores lost deals, so you create a task to nurture those prospects as well.

Phew! Now that’s a lot of tasks for you to do, and each task is a different activity associated with leads, contacts, or deals. Here’s how you can differentiate your action items using Freshsales CRM.

1. Task

A task is an action item that you assign for yourself or another sales rep. When you create a task in Freshsales, you can assign it to an owner, relate it to a record, and add collaborators (other sales reps, if any).

The purpose of any task is—it needs to get done. Setting a due date for your task is imperative to help you complete it within a stipulated time frame. So we made “Due Date” a required field to create a task, so you’ll always be on track.

Hear from Freshsales customer Germain Brion, VP of Sales at Chargebee who finds that Tasks in Freshsales helps his team plan and complete their activities efficiently.

“At any given point, the teams are working on multiple deals. Creating tasks helps them stay on top of critical deals, ensuring they send timely follow-ups, give prospects all the information they need for decision-making on time, and more.”

Create a task
2. Appointment

What’s an Appointment—a scheduled activity that involves a time, place, and another person. Quickly create an appointment in Freshsales straight from the record page. If your appointment with the related lead is in a different time zone, set the appointment to match their time zone which will reflect in the email invite, making life easier for your leads.

Create an appointment
3. Custom sales activity 

Freshsales comes with default sales activities- chat, phone, email, and SMS in addition to task and appointment. But your business has plenty of other activities that sales reps use to interact with customers.

The flexibility to customize a CRM to make it yours is what we do best. Freshsales allows you to create sales activities specific to your business. Give it a name, pick an icon, allow reps to check in from the mobile app, and add relevant outcomes for the activity.

Create a custom sales activity in the CRM

Creating a custom sales activity related to your lead is very similar to creating a task or appointment. Just pick a type from the drop-down, give it a title, mark the related leads, and follow the rhythm of the form.

Create a sales activity

Manage your calendar

Your tasks and appointments are reflected on your calendar in Freshsales, which is where you go to check your past activities and upcoming schedule.

Manage your calendar

View open and completed tasks in your calendar. You will see the task description, related records, and the due date. Once you complete your task, mark it as done and enjoy the virtual gratification of crossing them off the list.

Receive reminders and notifications

No matter what anybody says, you need reminders so you don’t drop the ball on your opportunities, like forgetting to send an important email or even worse, keep a customer waiting. The little pop-up reminder that comes in time to tell you that you have a task due or an upcoming appointment is a smart way to prioritize your tasks at hand.

In Freshsales, there are four ways tasks and appointments catch your eye:

  1. In-app notification (web and mobile app)
  2. Email notification
  3. Reminders (web and mobile app)
  4. Desktop notification
Notifications and reminders

If you’re like me, you can leave every kind of alert on. If not, feel free to skip some of them and evaluate your personal reminders to be notified just in time. You can personalize your settings in the CRM to manage the trigger for your tasks and appointments.

Generate activity reports

Sales managers, this one’s for you. To manage your team better, you need an understanding of their performance. In Freshsales, you can create just about any kind of report to get insights and monitor goals and performance. Create reports on tasks, appointments, and any sales activity you’ve defined, and know the number of activities completed and their outcomes.

Salespersons, you too can create activity reports in the CRM and gauge your performance against peers. Here’s a report I created to know the appointment activity of our team over the last two months. Dwight takes the lead.

Appointment Activity Report


#1 Automatically create tasks and appointments using workflows

In situations where you forget to add a task for the CRM to remind you to complete the task in due time, go with workflow automation. Here’s a short video on how to create this workflow.

#2 Watch out for color-coded task icons

Take a quick peek into your pipeline and know how to plan your to-do list. Scheduled and overdue tasks and appointments, and the ones you might want to proactively create for open deals are indicated in color-coded icons in your visual sales pipeline. Red is for overdue tasks, yellow for no task/appointment, and green for scheduled.

#3 Tackle your to-do list wherever you go

Your sales tasks are also available on the Freshsales mobile app. Go to your calendar and find your upcoming tasks and appointments instantly. Purple icon denotes tasks and red appointments. Click on an item to see full details, and if you need to call or email your lead, do it right from here.

Did you know? We recently released the Email Compose feature for mobile. You can now create and send emails right from the Freshsales mobile app. More you can get done on the go!

Manage your tasks on the go

How’s your to-do list looking?

Staying productive is a key challenge for salespersons today. With the overwhelming number of tools at work, it’s easy to lose focus on tasks that need to be done. While we think we’re multitasking, studies show that even brief mental blocks created by shifting between tasks can cost as much as 40 percent of your productive time.

Now that you have a pretty good idea on how your sales CRM can help you plan and run your day effectively, we’ll send you off with an inspiring quote to tackle your to-do list today-

Sometimes our stop-doing list needs to be bigger than our to-do list. - Patti Digh Click To Tweet

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