Why Your Sales Team Needs CRM Software

The needs and responsibilities of most businesses are extremely numerous and diverse, but at some point almost every company will need to pose the question, why CRM software for my sales team? It’s a good question – one worth investigating further for a conclusive answer that’s ultimately best for the bottom line.

CRM software for your sales team, simply put, means an increase in the overall effectiveness of any sales operation. It eliminates the rigors of manually managing customer relationships or tracking sales progress and frees up a sales team to consistently meet sales goals and achieve desired results.

A CRM system is a reliable and secure investment that can improve the overall accountability and productivity of a sales team. Consider what business is like without a CRM system for your sales team. In today’s fast-paced, social network-driven society, businesses without secure and reliable data visibility, lead analysis tools and capacity to manage workload, follow-up and information capture often fall fatally behind the competition.

Some may argue that web-based solutions are better, given the amount of time and money that must be put into IT staff and infrastructure.  However, the very best CRM software places all customer information at the user’s fingertips and offers a fully integrated, customizable package at a one-time cost per user – creating a significant sales team asset and even more significant cost savings in the long term.

Why CRM software for your sales team? The list could go on and on. Our business world relies heavily on the cost- and time-saving solutions found in advanced technology reliable enough to ensure future profitability. Customer relationship management software for your sales team is an essential ingredient for survival in today’s changing economy.



Do we need Contact Management Software

Contacts are a business’s bread and butter. They’re the points of forging ahead with continued lines of business; they’re the points to target when new businesses want to be developed. Now, the question is for most SMBs: is there a contact management software that (A) works, (B) is cost effective and affordable, (C) appropriate to your business and organization?

These are the fundamental points to run through, while trying to figure out whether or not a CRM system for managing contacts is the right fit for you and your business. Point-A is self-explanatory: you just want to make sure that the system does what it says it will do. See it in action; ask if you can trial the system or if there’s a live demo (with demo data to work with) online somewhere. Point-A also implies that the system has room for growth. And more and more these days, this implies being a cloud-based system—something that is hosted and accessible via the internet. This alleviates stresses and burdens (and costs) on your organization, so that your business can focus on its core competencies (instead of having to tinker with the latest set of security patches for a server or whatever).

Point-B is also straightforward. Given your budget, does the system’s price fall within an affordable range? But point-B also prods the evaluator to dig for value. “Okay, this system might cost a tad above market-, but it delivers on a ton of features, and we could possibly do a ton more business with this.” This might be a scenario you find yourself in.

Point-C is very contextual. “Appropriate” first has to deal with the culture of your company. Are the employees at your organization tech savvy, for instance? How will they take to this particular system’s interface? What sort of legacy issues, in terms of user habits, will you run into while transitioning from a current CRM for your contacts, to the new system? Again, a quasi-quantitative approach can be applied here: how much will it cost your business for staff to adjust to the new system? Do those costs outweigh the potential benefits at various time horizons?

These are some of the general points that one should weigh while trying to assess whether or not a new CRM (and particularly its contact management component) will lead contribute (or not) to higher profits for your business.


How to Profit with Contact Management Software

Contact management software choices can be quite baffling when you consider what’s available. Making the best choice for maximizing profit can be even more difficult. For businesses with existing CRMs, owners may be only skimming the surface when it comes to profit potential. With a few hints and tips however, you can yield the return your investment deserves.

First, contact management software is most beneficial to business when it’s easy to use. The less cumbersome the better. Simple systems are easier to learn which will decrease the time it takes to get things up and running, and what saves time, saves money. Beyond that, the ability to streamline communication between different users- clients, customer service, execs and bookkeepers – is best achieved with the least complicated CRM software available. Better communication means, you guessed it, better profits.

Data security features should be top priority when considering how to profit with data management software. Contact management software can only be profitable when it’s as safe and secure as possible. Without the right security features in place, the risk of having information stolen or mishandled can outweigh any legitimate investment costs, so be sure to include this factor when selecting the right CRM for your business. For CRMs already in use, stay ahead of the curve by equipping your system with the latest updates frequently.

All in all, how to profit with contact management software can be summed up with one word: flexibility. Go beyond being synched with Outlook and shoot for software that transcends functionality limitations across as many different platforms as possible. If you’ve already selected your software solution, try to increase usefulness by ensuring that top execs are are well-informed of the system’s quirks and functions and are willing to lead the way forward with implementation and improvements down the line.


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.


Should You Purchase Cloud Contact Management Software or Not

Unsure whether to purchase a cloud or private (client-server) contact management software? To help you decide, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of cloud.

Cloud Contact Management Software:
A cloud solution has many great benefits. The first and most important one is the simplicity in installation and configuration. Unlike a client-server solution, organizations do not need to purchase a server computer, setup their network or even download software. Organizations are only required to visit a website, type in their credentials and begin using the software. Since most cloud solutions are in fact web-based, organizations can be anywhere in the world and access their information from any wireless device, such as smartphones and tablets.

However, a clould contact manager software also has its negatives. First off, the whole idea of a cloud infrastructure essentially means that the server running the software is being hosted by the cloud software provider. This means that organizations never actually own their own data and are placing all of their private and confidential information on someone else’s server (the cloud company’s), which is remotely connected to the internet. If the software provider hosting your information goes belly up, you could loose all of your information over night. Many organizations don’t feel comfortable with that as they want to be in control of their information and know that it’s privately stored at their locations. In fact, for this reason, many lawyers and accountants don’t purchase a cloud solution for exactly this reason. Legally, they are not allowed to place sensitive client information on someone else’s server. As well, all cloud solutions are a monthly cost, so if your organization stops paying the monthly service cost for the cloud contact management software, you could technically loose all of your information as someone else owns it. A simple example would be if Gmail, which is a free cloud solution that people can use for emails, pictures and documents, suddenly decided to charge for the service. The only way you could retrieve your information is if you now forwarded all of your emails to a different account (hopefully one that downloads the emails to your computer) and transfer all the documents.

In conclusion, a cloud solution is simple to setup and includes great mobility and remote connectivity options, which are great reasons to purchase it. However, an organization needs to understand that they never own their own data and are therefore always depending on the hosted contact management software provider they choose. Also, in the long run, as cloud solutions charge a monthly fee, they are far more expensive than traditional private (client-server) solutions which typically have expensive upfront costs, but minimal long term costs (Be careful though some private contact management software solutions are more expensive than cloud solutions as they charge expensive annual maintenance costs and are expensive to upgrade!!).


What are the Signs that you need Contact Manager Software

How do you know if you need a contact manager software? Well, there are some ways to figure this out. If your business is dealing with information overload and is looking for a single repository where all information can reside, then you need a contact manager software. The result will be improved information management and increased efficiency in the day-to-day activities at your office.

1. Information Overload:
In today’s era of emails, files, reports and pictures, you can very quickly become overwhelmed with information overload. There are ways to help you control your information and not waste precious time in looking for it. A contact manager software would help alleviate many of the problems associated with information overload as rather than just storing all information on your personal computer or on a shared drive, it would provide a single repository where all information resides. Unlike a shared drive, which can be very time consuming and confusing to maintain, a contact manager software allows users to link information to entities so that one could click on a contact or a project in the system and see all information linked. Many companies believe that setting up such a system is expensive, complicated and time consuming, which is not true at all. In fact, with current technology, contact manager software systems are actually quite simple to install and setup. Moreover, costs have dramatically decreased. For example, the cost of a server computer was in the thousands, now, it’s in the hundreds of dollars, making it extremely affordable. If you are experiencing information overload and are looking for an affordable solution, give InfoFlo a try.

2. Lack of Collaboration
To run a successful organization, your employees must be in constant contact with each other, rather than in separate silos with their own contacts and leads. If they aren’t collaborating on everything, inefficiencies will quick become a norm and sales will dramatically decrease. Contact manager software will help with collaboration as one of it’s core features is sharing all contact and lead generating information. Each employee would be able to see all shared contacts within their own station and if a new contact is added, the contact manager software will notify all other users who are suppose to see this contact that it was added. Similarly, when a collaborative project is created, the software will notify all shared users and now a shared space has been created where all information pertaining to the project can be placed. It is essential to select a contact manager software that includes powerful collaboration tools, such as InfoFlo, to help get your company back on track. The result will be an office where all employees are in sync with one another and nothing, including leads and customer service requests, fall between the cracks.

3. Lead Generation
Sales are what drive successful companies and without a strong lead generation tool, your sales will never reach the level they should. Many organization rely on Microsoft Excel to help them manage their leads, but this becomes inefficient very quickly. A contact manager software should do more than just offer a shared contact list! it should also include a sales workflow that every sales person needs to follow, until the sale is either marked as Sold or Follow Up. Such a workflow should be fully customized to allow the organization to follow the steps they deem necessary rather than force them to follow a workflow. This customization should be easy to do! Also, a contact manager software should inform all sales people when ever a lead is adjusted in the sales workflow and provide a live view of all current leads. With this in place, leads can be efficiently managed and the sales manager can get a better understanding of why a lead was or wasn’t successful and how the sales people are doing.

4. Email Management
Every organization sends and receives emails on a daily basis. Unfortunately, many are using software solutions such as Microsoft Outlook, Gmail and Lotus Notes for just this feature. The problem with these solutions is that they do not link emails to contacts, but rather force employees to create a contact folder and then manually drag and drop information to a contact. A contact manager software should automatically manage these emails by linking them to the contacts while still providing a friendly inbox view of all emails Incoming & Outgoing. Whenever an employee wants to view emails linked to a contact, whether the contact is being shared or not, they should just have to click on a contact and see all emails. The problem is that most contact manager software solutions do not offer email management as they assume that customers don’t want to move out of Outlook, Gmail or Lotus Notes, creating two separate systems for the organization; one for emails and one for contact management. A good contact manager software, such as InfoFlo will offer both of these features together, saving the company much needed time in finding and replying to emails.


Contact Management databases- InfoFlo’s SQL database advantage!

Today we’ll be talking about SQL the databases generally found in a client/server contact management software and why InfoFlo‘s database is unique.

InfoFlo is fully integrated with SQL 2005 and up, including SQL express. Now this is not unique because most contact manager software solutions are also integrated with the same but the infrastructure and how we manage this data is unique. Rather than storing data in the traditional sense InfoFlo stores the links to all the data inside a folder structure. Now this might not seem like a big deal but using this technique allows the customer to store an unlimited amount of data. With no restrictions on the amount of data stored a small business can save money on buying an expensive SQL 2008 or 2012 license which can cost thousands of dollars. Instead they can download the free version of SQL Express and never worry about exceeding the space limitation set on SQL Express.

There are many software solutions out there for multiple users but what about a solution for a single user that does not want to download a large piece of software that will significantly slow down their personal computer. Products like Sage Act and Maximizer software can be up to a 5 GB download and will put a large burden on a customer’s personal computer. InfoFlo for a single user is only a 250MB download because it is using a Firebird database which is better from a single user perspective. If you have questions or comments please post them below we would love to hear your feedback. For information about InfoFlo please visit www.carmelvision.com


Integrated Contact Management Software that’s Affordable and a ONE-TIME-COST


In today’s information technology era, businesses all over the world are inundated with an endless stream of information. Digital Files, hard copy documents and pictures and videos are constantly coming in or out of an office. Collecting, organizing, archiving and retrieving such information is becoming a common challenge for businesses, especially, when critical and immediate decisions have to be made.


By using today’s patchwork approach to systems, including the purchasing of disparate solutions, unnecessarily increases cost, complexity and risk. It leads to redundant content and to a lack of connections among systems and departments, not to mention the hours typically wasted in trying to find and retrieve information.

In addition, companies today expect their current systems to do more with less; however, many systems cannot handle these demands as they only offer subsets of a fully integrated contact management software. Although businesses may be reluctant in allocating funds for such technology, companies must examine their current systems to ensure that they have what it takes to operate efficiently and remain competitive.

Bottom Line: Most companies need to access at least one form of activity associated with an integrated Contact Management Software; whether it be as a scanning solution, document management or archiving solution, document collaboration solution, project management solution and/or email management solution in addition to other specific point activities required to get their job done effectively and effortlessly.

…….Look No Further, InfoFlo which starts at $99 per user, has arrived!! It offers a fully integrated contact management solution at an affordable price. Now you can use a SINGLE solution to manage all of your customer and office management needs.

Unlike our competitors, InfoFlo is a ONE TIME cost for life and includes FREE UPGRADES!! Please visit www.carmelvision.com and take advantage of our FREE 30 DAY TRIAL.


Contact Management Software that you can afford

Contact Management Software is usually expensive to purchase, complicated to setup and requires many hours of training. For this reason many companies prefer to remain with Outlook and not deal with the headache of installing a contact management software or CRM software.

For this reason, we have developed InfoFlo which starts at only $99 per user.

Product Overview:

InfoFlo is highly customizable, feature rich and affordable CRM solution that is fully integrated with Outlook. We currently compete with CRM solutions such as ACT, SalesForce and Maximizer and are signing up customers who are frustrated with these solutions on a daily basis.

What makes our software unique is:

  1. All contact information is only  a single click away because we link all emails (automatically linked to the contact!!), calendar appointments, files, notes, tasks,  telephone calls and more to each contact. While at the same time we also provide a list of all emails, notes, appointments, tasks created in the entire system offering a 360 degree of an office
  2. Features such as email marketing with personalized fields, document management with version control, scanning, project management, calendar sharing, PDF converter and business card scanner
  3. Easy to Customize
    1. Our system is centered around 4 entities: Contacts, Companies, Categories, Projects. All of these entities can be renamed
    2. Custom Fields for contacts, companies, projects
    3. Custom calendar appointments, task types, project types
    4. Custom Folder names and Templates
    5. Custom Scanning Workflow
    6. Outlook Sync feature so that users don’t need to change their environment, while still working within InfoFlo: We are one of the few CRM solutions that has successfully created a sync with Outlook. Many CRM solutions claim to have this, but it in fact does not work as advertised. I believe that there are many SMB’s that are using OpenText software and are only using Outlook as their CRM. I see quite a large target market here.
    7. Affordable one-time cost: Infoflo is affordable and is only a one-time cost for life.

InfoFlo is an affordable contact management software that’s easy to setup and is very user friendly.


Email Auto Linking in your Contact Management Software?

An efficient contact management software should include some type of email management. Most of these contact manager solutions, such as Act, Goldmine and Outlook’s Business Contact Management offer this type of feature, but make it very complicated to setup and time consuming to maintain. Wouldn’t it be nice if your contact management software could automatically link emails to contacts for you, without you having to do anything?

The best contact management solution would simply check every new email that comes in and automatically link it to a contact by matching the From field and the contacts email address. If there is no such match, then the contact management software should place it in an “Unknown” box.

This is exactly what InfoFlo does! With InfoFlo, you simply click on a contact and you can automatically see all emails linked. If that email is from a contact that’s not added, the software lets you populate it and create a new contact from it.

You can find more information here:

1. http://www.carmelvision.com/email-management.htm

2. Youtube video on how InfoFlo populates Unknown emails: