Why You Need More Than Microsoft Outlook to Manage Your Business (Contacts, Schedule, Opportunities, etc)

act.gifMicrosoft Outlook is a decent email program. I use it and millions of others use it on a daily basis. In fact we keep it open all the time and practically live in it. I’ve used Mozilla’s Thunderbird, Netscape Communicator, Pegasus and Eduora. For my needs of time, task and contact management, Outlook is the best.
Outlook however, is quite large (and has a number of technical difficulties – crashes, slowness, etc). Another problem is that while it’s great for managing email, it’s not so good at helping you manage your business. If you need to manage opportunities, sales, leads and more – it’s not robust enough to do this.
Into the mix comes a number of add-on programs that help you better manage your contacts and some in fact have CRM solutions. These solutions, such as ACT!, Gold Mine, Maximizer, and Microsoft’s own Business Contact Manager compliment Outlook.
Last week Sage released version 2009 of ACT! For new users, who are not using a contact management program, check out ACT! it’s the leading program on the market for good reasons. For those already using ACT!, upgrading to this new version will most likely be a productivity enhancer for you.
So what’s inside?

Last year Sage focused on ensuring ACT! could better embrace the online world. For example, you could lookup a zip code and see the contact on Google Maps from within ACT! This year, Sage included a number of enhancements that it gleaned from users over the last several months.
Some of the new features include:

  • En masse e-mail attaching – select multiple Microsoft Outlook e-mails from different senders and attach them quickly to ACT! contacts
  • Activity scheduling from e-mails – create ACT! activities within Outlook e-mails and the contact and regarding/subject line is pre-populated
  • One-click calendar copy – copy an ACT! calendar to an Outlook calendar quickly from the main ACT! toolbar

Add-on software is an important part of software you use to run your business, such as ACT!, QuickBooks and Microsoft Office. With the release of ACT! 2009, Sage also announced 65 new partner supplied add-ons. You can find a complete list of these solutions here.