The Differences Between Outlook & CRM Software

What is CRM?

The easiest way to define CRM is to call it customer relationship software. It describes a wide variety of software programs, both on and off the web, that promote better customer contact via a complete, well- organized data system. It can greatly enhance any organization’s administration since it links contact information with a large number of data points, including emails, relevant documents, purchase orders and more.

What are the differences between CRM and Outlook?

At first glance it may seem as though there are very few differences between CRM software and Outlook. Both are email clients that also have unique ways of storing client contact information. However, the difference become most apparent when one considers all that CRM software enables users to do above and beyond mere contact and email management.

CRM Goes Beyond Outlook

Even basic contact management software is able to increase the capabilities of most businesses, and with additional features called add-ons, many software companies take the level of sophistication even further. For instance, the project management add-on allows users to coordinate project organization strategies with contact information, creating numerous ways to cross-connect information for perfect project completion.

What About Companies Reluctant to Abandon Outlook?

Outlook is perhaps the most popular email client around and has a great reputation as a solid contact manager, but companies should keep in mind that the alternatives are numerous and highly capable. For those who are reluctant to part with their tried and true Outlook configurations, but would still like to partake of the versatility a more advanced CRM system has to offer, it’s important to note that most contact management software is compatible with Outlook and fairly easy to integrate.

Get the Best of Both Worlds

One convenient way to get around the fact that, as an Outlook reliant business, there’s plenty of progress your company could be missing out on, is to consider investing in an Outlook compatible CRM system.

The Carmelvision Infoflo version of contact management software, for instance, offers all the flexibility of a genuine CRM system, and it’s easily integrated with Outlook. With the INfoflo system, all Outlook data can be imported hassle-free. This means you never even have to think about starting over from scratch.  Let Infoflo, with its affordable and customizable contact management software, do all the work for you. Find out more here.

 

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Contact Management Software Outlook Alternative

Though Microsoft Outlook may be an extremely popular business tool, it has its limitations.  Many companies today are in search of alternatives to the well-known favorite, and they’re finding it in a fairly up and coming resource – contact management software. This atypical business builder has a plethora of workable features versatile enough to handle more than simple organization of contacts and emails. In fact, many companies may be surprised to learn just how much contact management software is capable of doing for better business.

First, this software goes above and beyond the potential of Outlook to provide sound time and money saving features.  For most systems even basic features include integration with mega communication builders like Skype, Twitter and Facebook.   Some even include map integration synced with every contact entry as well as compatibility with VOIP vendors and integrated SIP softphones.

In addition, companies can collaborate with contact management software in ways that simply are not possible with Outlook.  Users gain the ability to share emails, notes and documents complete with check-in/check-out features as well as version control.  This means documents can be updated on a real-time basis, without the usual confusion associated with the inclusion of multiple writers.

It isn’t just that a contact manager offers more features than Outlook.  It’s also important to note that the quality of these features can excel beyond Outlook capabilities.  The proof is in the little things. Take the fact that many contact management software email editors offer users the ability to attach read and delivery receipts to emails and the way that the software allows users to select contacts for a quick display of the relatedness of contacts across categories.  These details may seem trivial to some, but for the clever business owners who have given contact management software a try, subtle differences like these make the system well worth the investment.

Providing absolute business essentials that go the extra mile is what software is all about. Particularly, when compared to Outlook, it can provide companies with everything that’s needed to empower any company contacts list and ensure that unique business needs, such as collaboration and relationship management, are also met on a consistent basis.  Give contact management software a try today for an outlook alternative that is sure to improve the organized flow or your growing business.

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Can Outlook be used as your complete CRM solution?

Many individuals and businesses are using Outlook as their personal information manager. This is useful if you want to manage basic contact management information, calendar events and emails. However, there are many limitations to Outlook that most businesses cannot overcome. As a result businesses today will simply use Outlook as the front end contact management software solution but require an additional CRM package on top that can fully integrate with Outlook and provide features like document management, complete email management and full sharing and collaboration without the need of a complex exchange server.

A basic but key feature Outlook does not have is the ability to archive documents let alone link documents to a contact. Almost all users require the functionality of associating documents to a contact so they can access files, pics or pdfs that are related to the contact. Some more feature rich CRM systems take it even a step further and provide a full blown document management system with check-in/check-out and versioning control. With this users can edit documents without having to save multiple copies of that document and still see all the previous versions.

Outlook is great if you need to just manage a small number of emails in your inbox but most people today have multiple email accounts and receive hundreds of emails every day. Many business users of Outlook tend to create email folders and then manually drag and drop each email to the specific folder. This is useful but if you need to do it 100 times in a day this can of course be a huge waste of time. However, there are CRM solutions on the market that can provide auto email linking. This means your emails will automatically be linked to a contact as long as the contact has been added to the database.

Outlook also does not include an easy solution for SMB’s that need sharing and collaboration. With Outlook a company can set up an exchange server and begin sharing contacts and calendars but this is usually very expensive and requires an IT person to properly set up. The best option is to purchase a CRM software that has all sharing and collaboration built right into it and that way it does not require any exchange server implementation.

Overall, Outlook is a great tool if you want to perform basic tasks but I would not recommend Outlook as the complete CRM and contact management solution for any professional business or individual user. The best option is to purchase a CRM software that integrates with Outlook that way you have all the additional functionality but can keep using Outlook, an already familiar system.

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