Monday, February 05, 2007

Outlook better than ACT! (sales lead management) -- yeah, for some...

For some reason it seems that every-other business owner I come across is asking me about ACT! or Goldmine or Microsoft CRM or Salesforce.com - or some other software solution that will solve the problems they've been having in their sales.

REALITY CHECK...

The problem ain't with your software!

Yes, yes...software can aid in the efficiency of sales tracking, reporting and even closing some deals -- but all too often, the folks I'm talking to, are looking for more than that out of their system...and the problem usually has more to do with the PEOPLE, PROCESSES and ACCOUNTABILITY (or lack thereof) inside their sales force.

How effective is your current sales process?
Do your best sales people NEED a sales system to be successful?

If your business is like mine, PEOPLE make all the difference in the world...and some of the best systems in the world don't change that.

A recent example of this thinking came from a colleague I've known for a couple years now. He came to me...practically begging me to recommend ACT! to him. I humored him...asked why his 1-person operation needed a $400 piece of software to keep track of his 10-20 active leads.

He actually responded with a pretty good list...things like:

1. Having a central repository of contact info
2. Having the ability to track the SOURCE of a lead
3. Having the ability to track/report the current STAGE of a sales opportunity
4. Having the ability to categorize leads (lines of business)

and others...

In the end, we solved this...NOT with ACT! mind you - that would have created FAR TOO MANY PROBLEMS (refer to the 80 /20 / 20 rule...previous posting) -- but by adding 2 user-defined fields to an application he was already familiar with...Microsoft Outlook.

Yeah, MS Outlook.

12 Comments:

At 7/28/2008 8:24 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

I was lead to this blog when I was searching for information on the ACT! software program. I'd be interested in what changes are suggested for the MS Outlook program that will gain results similar to what I've seen with ACT!. What is most attractive about ACT! is the sync capability. I believe that forces accountability....

 
At 8/04/2008 10:51 PM, Blogger Rich said...

Surprisingly, very few changes would be needed, although, the Business Contact Manager add-on would be the one thing I'd consider.

"Syncing" has various definitions - do you mean syncing to your handheld, syncing to outlook...or syncing with something else. If you sync to outlook or a handheld, Outlook does that better than ACT!

Don't get me wrong, ACT and GoldMine have a nice niche in the small sales team sectors, but even thos niches are getting overrun by SalesForce.com and other online CRM solutions. Outlook, for most sales teams with <5 team members, would likely suffice without the headache of learning and underusing ACT though.

 
At 11/10/2008 6:50 AM, Anonymous Arlene said...

Good for people to know.

 
At 12/28/2008 6:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for the advice. i am starting a new business and am going crazy as to which one to get. I am familiar with Outlook, and if i dont have to learn a lot, but get a lot then Im happy.
Glenda

 
At 8/26/2009 11:41 AM, Blogger South Florida Siberian Husky Rescue Inc. said...

What information exactly would need to be changed in outlook?

 
At 8/26/2009 11:53 AM, Blogger richa said...

Sorry, not to be dismissive or avoidant, but the "exact" fields that would need to be changed would be totally different for each company choosing to use such a solution to manage their leads. You may have a SOURCE field, a SALESREP field, something to store the SIZE, SIC, REGION, BUDGET...or various other fields.

If you feel Outlook is possibly your solution - I'd suggest doing more research to discover how others have used it or contact a local solution provider who specializes in MS Outlook, ACT! or the like. Having an integration discussion via a blog posting would be challenging at best.

 
At 10/06/2009 11:39 AM, Blogger Alexis said...

As for me I had got a lot of problems with mails.But some times ago I found nice tool-outlook express inbox wont open,it solved their in one minute and made it free of charge.Moreover tool could to save separate files with eml extension.

 
At 12/31/2009 5:15 AM, Blogger Parker said...

CRM .The Easy CRM Software for Outlook. Prophet simplifies contact management software, contact manager, small business Sales CRM Software. Prophet is the easiest CRM software because it is built INTO Outlook vs simply synching with Outlook.

 
At 1/05/2010 6:02 AM, Blogger Parker said...

CRM .The Easy CRM Software for Outlook. Prophet simplifies contact management software, contact manager, small business Sales CRM Software. Prophet is the easiest CRM software because it is built INTO Outlook vs simply synching with Outlook.

 
At 3/08/2010 2:20 AM, Blogger pegasys said...

Like many businesses, the success of your sales department is a crucial element to the overall success of your business. Sales are the ultimate goal for your company. No matter how great a product or service you may have, without an organized and effectively operating sales department reaching out to prospects, managing existing client accounts, and tracking trends in your market, your business will not grow.If you are looking for such objectives, Pegasys puts an end to all your problems.We are partnered with ZOHO which is one of the leading providers of on-demand CRM Software Worldwide.Thanks. CRM Sales

 
At 11/08/2010 10:56 AM, Blogger Rebecca said...

Can you link to a site that actually details HOW to use Outlook for lead tracking?
Thank you

 
At 11/14/2010 3:04 PM, Blogger Alex said...

I have many familiars, but almost all of them have troubles with Outlook emails, different troubles. I traveled around the Inet and ran into an utility, which astonished me. The tool might solve all these problems of my friends and I advised it for them. It worked and to my great surprise I started giving gifts from my merry friends. To my way of thinking this utility has enough capabilities for working out this proposition - .pst converter.

 

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