For ACT!, we support Handheld Contact for the Blackberry, and here is why:
- Product stability. It simply doesn’t crash, and I have used it for over 4 years. Other programs tend to duplicate contacts on both sides if the sync log gets corrupted.
- It’s easy to use. You can allow the Blackberry and the computer to sync every 15 minutes, and you have to do nothing to make it work after the initial setup.
- Handheld Contact runs as its own application, so you can keep your personal life separate from your business life.
- It offers an offline copy of ACT while you are out of internet range
- You can record history from the Blackberry and it will show up as a “history” in ACT when you get back to the office
- You can send email from the Blackberry from Handheld Contact and it records right to ACT history
- You can send SMS (Text Message) from the Blackberry and it will record right into ACT history as well.
OK, what are some drawbacks ?
- The application supports 7,000 contacts on the Blackberry. If you have more than that, you need to make a group in ACT!
- Some may say it’s a disadvantage not to use the native calendar and contact list on the Blacbkerry.
It’s a different approach on licensing.
Handheld Contact is a service that happens to be software at $79/year per user. This includes updates and technical support. Some of our clients balk at paying an annual fee for software. Let’s suppose another package runs for $50 as a one time fee; you need to factor your potential down time if the program breaks. After supporting mobile devices since 1998, we know a $50 program cannot be perfect for many years in this industry. Now, if cash flow is a serious problem. They also offer a basic edition for $59.95 per year that doesn’t offer as many features.
But, in terms of productivity and a “fire and forget” approach to software, Handheld Contact is a critical tool for our CRM practice.