Should I use Outlook as a CRM tool ?

Short answer: No.  It lacks too many essential features.

CRM Abstract Photo

Given that we use Outlook in house to manage e-mail, personal contacts and a personal calendar, our opinion isn’t out to snub Outlook just to pitch CRM.

In fact, you don’t need to abandon Outlook to get a CRM.  Most CRMs will integrate with Outlook to integrate e-mail, contacts or a calendar so critical information can be seen on the smartphone.  Furthermore, you can see the email correspondence on the contact record from the CRM.

Difficulties of Using Outlook as a CRM:

Frustrated Computer User
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  • Documenting conversations by date/time stamp and easily sharing them among your team.
  • Implementing contact security among your peers.
  • Creating a sales forecast.
  • Creating a mail-merge to a Word document.
  • Creating effective user fields to classify contacts by more than one field such as "category".
  • Re-Entering the same data among different applications like Word or Excel becomes a chore to create call reports or sales forecasts.
  • Using Outlook is ineffective as a help desk ticketing system.

Zoho Bigin allows an easy way to get into CRM.

And you can still use Outlook.

In a matter of minutes, you can have a starter CRM system that tracks contacts, companies and a pipeline along with a mobile app.

Integrations include:

  • E-Mail: Zoho Mail, Outlook, Office 365, IMAP
  • Zoho Apps: Zoho Flow, Books, Invoice, Campaigns, Analytics, Desk and Meeting.
  • Popular Apps: MailChimp & Zoom Meeting.
  • Advanced Tools: Zapier & API
Good on the budget:

  • Pricing starts at $9/user/month.
  • Annual discounts available.
  • Training videos included.  Chat support provided by Zoho at no additional charge.
Start a Free Trial

What if Bigin isn't enough?  Don't worry.  We offer plenty of options.

Question Marks
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What’s the best CRM platform for you?  It depends on what business processes you want to improve.  For instance, if you want one point to see all meeting notes, emails and ability to create a report based on those activity KPIs then WiredContact is a great solution.    If you want to have one platform to manage CRM, e-marketing, help desk, projects and accounting then Zoho One is a great candidate.

Conversely, if your focus is marketing automation on a tighter budget, Benchmark One has many capabilities similar to Hubspot at a lower price.

Once we know the features you need; then, we craft with a custom solution based on your budget.  If you aren’t sure how to approach this, feel free to contact us for a complimentary discovery call.


Sending Activities to Outlook from Act! Using Act4Outlook

This commercial plugin enables you to send activities from Act! to Outlook and vice versa.  We recommend this for multi-user sites since it eliminates the chance for the sync engine to break and create duplicate entries on either side.

The Act4Outlook/Act4Mail products only transfers the date, subject line and the details field from Act! to Outlook.


How to Reduce the Number of Act! Users

If you need to reduce the number of users on your Act! license, it’s best to do this before the renewal charge hits your credit card.  This video shows you how to accomplish this.  Otherwise, Act! will throw up an error message when there are too many users against the license count.


How to Determine Disk Space of an Act! Database

When migrating to a new server, hosting provider or a new CRM, it’s a best practice to know how much disk space Act! uses.  The video demonstrates how you can determine this for your own database.


Using AI with Zoho CRM

How to setup data enrichment with ZIA.

I found a practical and easy to setup feature in CRM to take advantage of AI. This 2 minute video will show you how to configure ZIA (Zoho Intelligent Assistant) to fill in missing data (ex: a phone number or email address) on a new lead you just acquired.

Why we believe it's significant

One of the problems CRM faces is data entry. Reps, stereotypically, don’t like to do the admin work CRM needs so we can analyze the data further.   This tool makes it easier for everyone to get better data to make better decisions.