Wednesday, January 12, 2011

So I'm Buying CRM Software, After All

I promised in my last post that I'd explain why I am now getting customer relationship management software, when in December I had still thought I'd get by with Outlook Business Contact Manager and work-arounds.

For one thing, as I am adding more and more information to Outlook (and getting and keeping more e-mails), it has become rather sluggish. The only way I could find to group people in one company together in Outlook is to create a new account for each company, then add individual contact records. That was becoming quite tedious. The search function is also not as flexible as I need it to be and the work-around for creating letters, etc. just got to be too much of a problem. And Outlook interfaces for most programs seem to only look at the regular contact list, not the Business Contact Manager contacts (which are apparently in a separate database).

So I looked around the web some more and decided to give ACT! a try. I installed a trial version of their newest product, wound up importing my Outlook business contacts via a generic .csv file, and started to work with it. Most of my problems with Outlook seem to be addressed here, including options for more extensive customization than Microsoft products -- including Outlook -- generally provide. There is also a version for Windows mobile (the operating system on my Smartphone), which I may buy later.

Once I decided to spend the money on "real" CRM software, I found a deal where I could get more than half the purchase price back as a refund check. So I ordered the full version of the software.

Now, of course, another snowstorm hit in the Northeast, so who knows when it will actually be delivered ...

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