Collecting business cards from networking events, trade shows and in social situations is pretty standard behaviour. It’s what we do with that valuable information afterwards that really counts.

It’s a wonderful gesture in business when someone shares their business card with you. It is communicating that they would be happy for you to engage with them at a business level and the card usually contains information that isn’t always available in the public domain.

I speak to so many business owners who just place these cards on their desk with the intention to do something with them later. Guess what, it never happens.

I’ve been using business card scanning apps on my iPhone since I started seriously networking in 2014. Keeping my desk free of clutter is important to me, so forgive me for putting this out there, but once your card is scanned, it’s into the recycle bin to start its new journey.

There’s a few available card scanning available options on the market and it’s worth testing a few to see what works best for you.

A popular standalone product is CamCard. This has some nice features including business card exchange. It’s also integrated with Salesforce if that’s your CRM and there’s a number of export options.

If you’re a Zoho CRM user, then Zoho Cardscanner integrates with Zoho CRM by simply using your login within the Cardscanner app. The app is very easy to use. I’ve installed it on iPhone and tested it on Android and the functionality is simple.

Once installed, you can pretty much start scanning cards right away. If you want the details to be passed into Zoho CRM or Leads, then you need to set up the integration first. Go into Settings>Zoho and enter your normal credentials. Select if you would like your card details to sync with Leads or Contacts. It’s my view that if you have been given their business card, then in most cases, it’s likely to be a Contact.

Exceptions to the rule would be when using Zoho Cardscanner at a trade show or speed networking when you don’t really have time to engage with each person so you may want to qualify further and leave then in Leads until you’ve done your homework.


Scanning Cards at Trade Shows

To segment your trade show scans, use the Campaigns option within the app to assign the Lead or Contact to the right Campaign in the CRM. You’ll need to set this up first, but you will have a neat collection when you return to the office.

I set up workflow to send out a note following the successful scan thanking them for visiting the stand. Make sure the scan has been successful by reviewing the information on the phone first. Names and emails matter especially if you’ve merged the fields in your email template. When the app has struggled to scan, the text will be in red.

Scan Quality

The quality of the scan is dependent on the light conditions and the quality of your camera lens. I’ve seen varying results with different smartphones, but in the general, the newer the smartphone, the better the results. I use an IPhone 7 currently and my success rate is pretty high.

Position your cards in an area with lots of natural light and try to avoid using flash. It’s surprising, but the results are usually worse with flash.

The colours used on the card also have an impact. High contrast works best with black on white being the true winner here. When designing your own cards, bear in mind that people are more likely to store your details if they’re easy on the eye and easy to digitally import.

To download Zoho Cardscanner, just click the link to the right. It costs 79p and gets my vote simply from the integration with Zoho CRM. If you decide to use another scanner, then ensure you can export the data for use in your CRM at a later date.

Zoho Contact Manager

Ideal for business networking, startups and individuals. Less complex than full CRM. Organize contacts, track deals and integrate with Mailchimp.

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