Contact Management Software and its Evolution to the Web
Contact management software started out as a way of creating an electronic database of customers and business contacts. And as companies searched for ways to consolidate, streamline, and share customer information, client management software tools expanded in scope. Today, with a contact management system you can record and track customer, client, and supplier interactions, including emails, faxes, calendars, faxes, project- and sales-related documents, and more.
Today’s successful businesses manage this plethora of information on a single, integrated platform instead of relying on a proliferation of client management software tools with different data collection schemes. Older methods, such as using Microsoft Outlook with a simplified database, are obsolete.
Contact and client management form part of a much larger business activity: customer relationship management (CRM). They are especially critical for sales, where managing customer relationships is key. However, conventional client management software provides just a small portion of the capabilities needed to automate and optimise a sales organisation’s contact management activities and resources.
That’s why companies have replaced limited on-premises contact management software with salesforce.com’s Web-based CRM solution. Salesforce CRM integrates advanced contact management features into the larger sphere of CRM. And access through the Cloud (Internet) allows everyone in the organisation to access it. Data is always available, resulting in more productive tracking, sharing, and analysis of customer information than is possible with conventional contact management software. With Salesforce CRM, you gain the power to centralise, share, manage, and analyse all your contact management data, free from tedious manual processes.
Contact Management Software-as-a-Service
salesforce.com’s cloud-based CRM solution enables faster and more efficient workgroup contact management and collaboration.
- Work from any Web browser. Unlike conventional contact management software, Salesforce CRM doesn’t tie you to a single computer. All you need is a Web browser and an Internet connection. This makes it easier to work from home or on the road&mdash. With mobile Salesforce CRM access via popular devices like the BlackBerry and iPhone, you can update and annotate contact management information instantly for authorised users to view. Contrast on-premises client management software, where your team must wait until you get back to the office, boot up your desktop computer, and update.
- Contact management with complete, real ti me views. With salesforce.com your team automatically shares and reports on contact- and customer-related activities, tasks, and calendar events in real time. This capability puts Salesforce CRM in a class by itself, since client management software tools simply can’t match its complete customer view or its easy team collaboration.
With up-to-date, readily available information-rich contact management profiles, Salesforce CRM delivers significant benefits that conventional software simply cannot, such as complete management visibility into contact and customer histories; higher productivity; better and faster collaboration; less chance of leads falling through the cracks; fewer manual processes; and less reliance on paper and spreadsheets.
- Contact management that keeps private information private. With Salesforce CRM, contacts not linked to an account remain invisible, regardless of your organisation’s sharing model. Only the owner of the contact and administrators can view it. Contact management sharing and workflow rules do not apply to information that is private.
Eliminating the Drawbacks of On-Premises Client Management Software
- Contact management without IT headaches. Sharing on-premises client management software over a local area network (LAN) brings the extra costs of IT consultants, staff and server hardware and maintenance. But because salesforce.com is delivered as an online application via an Internet connection and Web browser, there’s no additional hardware or software to install. And it’s easy for non-technical business users to manage on their own..
Contact Management that Works With You
Many business professionals use Microsoft Outlook for corporate email. The good news is you won’t have to give up the convenience of Outlook to enjoy the greater scope of contact management features in Salesforce CRM. The two applications are already integrated.
- Contact management with seamless Outlook integration. You can be sure that Salesforce CRM will capture all your contact management data for organisation-wide visibility. This means you can keep using Outlook for email and calendaring, There’s no need for cutting and pasting, and you can even embed Salesforce CRM directly into Outlook, and navigate to any Salesforce CRM tab using folders available right in the Outlook window.
Although some traditional client management software systems can co-exist with Outlook, they don’t provide the Web-based ease of collaboration, IT-free affordability, and anytime/anywhere access of salesforce.com’s cloud-computing solution. Equally important, no client management software comes close to delivering the same robust, wide-ranging contact management feature set.
- Contact management with maximum ease and flexibility. You can log incoming/outgoing Outlook messages in accounts, contacts, leads, opportunities, or cases in Salesforce CRM. It’s also easy to share contact, appointment book, and task information between the two applications. You can choose to log only the essential emails in Salesforce CRM, minimising manual processes and increasing productivity.
Proactive Contact Management
Salesforce CRM delivers more than just lead capture. It takes you up a level where you can pursue your leads in the most productive, efficient, and effective way, and convert them to sales..
With the Lead Search and Merge features reps can quickly identify prior interactions with a lead before following up. It’s easy to merge duplicate leads with existing leads, contacts, and accounts too. Based on customised business rules, you can set up lead queues and lead assignment rules to route leads to the right sales organisation or rep. You can also monitor leads end-to-end—from creation to conversion—with capabilities that include automatic date/time stamping, campaign or lead source tracking, lead status changes, and lead activity management.
Which would you prefer? The contact management power of cloud-based Salesforce CRM, or the limited features of conventional, on-premises contact management software?