I use Gmail, am familiar with Yahoo Mail, have used Thunderbird for years and Eudora for what seems like decades, but I’ve found Microsoft Outlook to be the best email program for me due to a few reasons
- It’s compatibility with so many other programs
- It’s breadth of features beyond email – tasks and calendar namely
- The ability to do more than just ’email’ but to categorize them, use them as to do lists and more
However, Microsoft Outlook is still “just an email” program. There are many great tools to help you manage sales and contacts and initiate marketing campaigns, but if you like Microsoft Outlook and want to dip your toes into the world of CRM while still using a Microsoft product, check out a powerful add-on for Outlook – Business Contact Manager. I’ve dabbled in it a bit, but did not take the time to learn all the features as much as I would have liked. If you need to do more than store contact information – check out BCM.
Here’s what it can do:
If you use Microsoft Accounting, as expected, BCM 2007 integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Accounting 2008. You have the the ability to view customer financial history and to bill for time and create invoices directly from Outlook. Outlook with Business Contact Manager and Office Accounting share the same customer database, so any changes to customer information in one application are automatically reflected in the other, eliminating the need for complex synchronization or updating customer data in two applications.
Although BCM is not as full featured as a full scale CRM solution it might just be perfect for many of you. It make it easy for small businesses to track sales and marketing activities in one place, including organizing contact, prospect and customer information; managing sales leads and business opportunities throughout the sales cycle; creating, personalizing and tracking direct marketing campaigns in-house; and centralizing project information and task management.
If the foundation of your business in Microsoft Outlook, you can use one of dozens of good products that can be integrated with it or have a look at BCM.
BCM also integrates quite will with Office Live – so you can use software on your computer or work with it via the Internet.
You can purchase Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 with Business Contact as a stand alone product for about $150 or purchase it as part of Microsoft Office Small Business 2007, Professional 2007 or Ultimate.
Get more information on these things here – http://office.microsoft.com – a very good site for all things Microsoft Office related.