Contact Management Software Gives Complete Picture Of The Customer
By giving sales professionals a complete picture of their customers, contact management software helps them to check account status easily, determine where additional sales opportunities may exist and keep customers happy, manufacturers say.
If the information is shared via the office database, the software also lets colleagues get up to speed swiftly on the status of any given account, points out Greg Anderson, GoldMine product marketing director for FrontRange Solutions Inc., Colorado Springs, Colo.
“If Im out, my assistant can look and see where an account is in the sales process,” Anderson says. “It also allows you to manage your schedule more effectively. You know where you need to be and what you need to do, because it lets you keep track of opportunities.”
Steady improvement by manufacturers has extended contact management software beyond merely recording each customer contact. By helping sharpen after-sales service and support, producers can better find and retain customers, manufacturers claim.
Many salespeople depend heavily on the software, says Greg Head, general manager of Act! for Best Software, Scottsdale, Ariz. (Act! is a contact management program.) He claims typical users have the software running an average of six hours a day.
Most recent versions from popular manufacturers standardize such tasks as e-mail and form letter follow-up and scheduling of callbacks.
They also make it easier to attach documents in a variety of formats to customer information and to create follow-up activities.
Best Software says it upgraded its widely used contact manager in August with the introduction of Act! 6.0.
The new release gives Act! advanced integration with Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Office, Lotus Notes, Adobe Acrobat and the Internet, the company notes.
The product makes it easier to track the history of e-mail correspondence with a given client or on a specific subject, Best says. Other new features include the ability to send and receive HTML e-mails, to add new contacts to any Act! database, and to access both Act! and Outlook address books from a variety of applications.
Users can attach documents created with Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint or MapPoint, and with Adobe Acrobat, JPG and BMP files, the company adds. These files can be viewed from within a customer record without launching a separate application. The user also can edit, save and print these documents from within that record.
Fields from an Act! database can be mapped quickly to Excel for quoting premiums to customers, Best says.
A contact activity look-up feature identifies which customers producers have contacted recently, as well as which ones have not been contacted in a specified period, so they can plan follow-up, says Best. Act! 6.0 carries a suggested retail price of $200.