Should I use Outlook by itself as a CRM tool ?

CRM Abstract

Someone on LinkedIn posted the question: How do I use Microsoft Outlook for CRM ?   I posted my answer on LinkedIn.  Outlook is great for what is called a “PIM” (Personal Information Manager). Outlook is great for E-mail, quickly adding contacts from e-mail into distribution lists or categories and calendar management for yourself.   Then, it’s quite easy to get those contacts your smart phone.  We use Outlook in house with Office 365, and it works really well.  The difficulties using Outlook as CRM include:

  • Creating proper conversation notes and sharing them.
  • Documenting conversations by date/time stamp.
  • 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".
  • You have to resort to redundant data entry in Excel for call reports or sales forecasts.

What’s the best CRM platform for you?  It depends on what business business processes you want to improve.  Then, figure out your budget; then, we can come up with a custom solution.  Some products like Act! and WiredContact can be self-hosted or hosted by us.  Or, some programs are only hosted on their data center like Zoho and Benchmark One (Hatchbuck).

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.