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.


Successful Email Marketing with your Contact Management Software

Email Marketing is still the most popular medium when trying to send a personal message to your leads or customers. Sure, social media is easier to use and can instantly reach all of your desired recipients, but it is missing that personal touch included in an email marketing campaign. This personal touch at the very least should include the recipients first and last name and should give the feeling that each recipient is the only one receiving the email. Most contact management software solutions should include such an email marketing tool and if they don’t, I would recommend switching to one that does.

The alternative would be to use a 3rd party software that only does email marketing, but this presents many problems. The most prominent problem is that it creates inefficiencies and becomes very time consuming. Rather than using a single software for your email marketing needs, you would now need to export the contact list from your contact management software to your 3rd party email marketing software every time you want to update your list. Another problem would be that you could not view all email communication between yourself and the recipient but rather than only view the bulk emails sent out. If you have an integrated contact management software with email marketing, you could view all these emails within the software.

When sending a bulk email please remember to include links to all of your social media accounts, such as your Twitter and Facebook so that interested recipients could follow you on Twitter and like any of your posts on Facebook. If you have any videos promoting your product, it would also be beneficial to include a link to them, or even better, create your own YouTube channel, upload all of your videos to there and send a link to your YouTube channel.


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.