Someone on LinkedIn posted the question:

How do I use Microsoft Outlook for CRM ?

LinkedInI posted my answer on LinkedIn.

 

Outlook is great for what is called a “PIM” at one point. 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. Many SmartPhones have ready-made conduits to synchronize contacts to Outlook as well.

The difficulties using Outlook as CRM would include:
1) Creating proper conversation notes and sharing them
2) Documenting conversations by date/time stamp
3) Contact Security
4) Sales Forecasting
5) Mail-Merge to Word
6) Creating effective user fields to classify contacts by more than one field such as “category”
7) There are zero reporting tools in MS Outlook to measure your performance

Then, what’s the best ?
It simply depends. For one client, I am comparing 40 features including total cost of ownership for two CRM packages.

So, I will say “ask more questions” about your own business process that you want to improve. Constrain that by how you want to pay and of course, how much you wish to spend. Some products are a “buy once & pay for maintenance”. Others are a monthly fee that includes updates and tech support.

Good Programs
*ACT!
*WiredContact
*Zoho

Salesforce has some affordable entry level solutions also.