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Database Software

rvdebbyrvdebby subscriber Posts: 11
edited December 2006 in Sales
I plan to market to my customers and prospects using email, mail, face to face--ahhh, the normal methods of creating TOMA in a business to business sales relationship.
I want to establish a database for keeping customer info and tickle files in my computer. Is Outlook the best solution--yep, budget is limited.
I have used:

 An early version of FileMaker and found it reluctant to intregrate with MS programs
GoldMine but had really little experience to judge it
MS Access, I would need a programer for that, even the "dummies" book was not helpful to get me up and running on my own
Thanks again in advance for your advice and opinions.
 rvdebby2006-12-3 12:40:39


  • NYC696NYC696 subscriber Posts: 0
    Outlook, Goldmine, and Access are each viable platforms to do what you`re looking for.

    Note - we`re not talking about Outlook Express

    * You`re likely already using it every day and thus you already know how to use it
    * Integrates pretty well with other MS Office apps you`re likely to use
    * Absent 3rd party add-ins or your own development of processes, does not implement some basic but useful CRM functions - for example: multi-step campaigns, managed blast email, etc.

    You should at least look at some of the Outlook add-ins that create a structure for CRM within Outlook itself as an alternative to Goldmine or Access.

    * The latest versions are very full functioned
    * Learning to use the product and it`s capabilities may lead you to more effective marketing
    * Enhancements are developed and delivered whether you ask for them or not

    * You have to buy it
    * Integration with Outlook and other MS Office Apps may be clunky
    * Enhancements are developed and delivered whether you ask for them or not

    * Many template databases are available to get a jump start
    * Completely customizable to respond to your particular business priorities / processes
    * Very good integration with MS Office Apps, including Outlook
    * You have to buy it, unless you already had Office Professional
    * While you may not need a programmer, per se, you will definitely need to have a qualified technical person to make changes to the `application`
    * Enhancements never happen unless you initiate and pay for them.

    Unless you have some unusually sophisticated marketing in mind as you launch, I have to believe that using Outlook until you`re sure you`ve outgrown it makes the most fiscal sense. (You`ll know you`ve outgrown it when you stop feeling frustrated at not knowing how to get some task done and start feeling frustrated at knowing the task you want to get done is not possible.)

    I hope this helps.

  • shariwillshariwill subscriber Posts: 0
    Another app you might want to look into is ACT! It`s designed for small businesses, integrates with MS Office and has lots of other features. Yes, you have to buy it, but it`s pretty easy to use -- my husband is not at all "techy" and has used it for years -- mostly as a "tickler" and to keep track of his sales prospects.
  • enfolditenfoldit subscriber Posts: 1
    I`ve used Sugar CRM, and it works quite well. It is quite capable at doing e-mail lists, and handling inquiries automatically (it can check a mail box for you, and you sort the incoming stuff, and assign it to people for follow up). The propescting side of it is a bit limited, and it`s almost useless for managing a cold-call campaign (I resorted to printing out the list, and crossing this off by hand). Since I`m in a prospecting mode right now, this is generally holding me up.
    I`m currently (today) installing Centric CRM on a virtual machine to see if it`s any better.
  • enfolditenfoldit subscriber Posts: 1
    A little info about Centric... it seems to work great, although the server requirements are a bit more annoying that I like to see. It does just about everything I need it to do. The binary version on the site is good for 5 users, and there`s  free version that`s for unlimited users, but you`ll need to compile and install it yourself. Not too bad, but a little annoying.
  • VirtecomVirtecom subscriber Posts: 1
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