As a small business, if you are already using MS Outlook in your office, it makes every sense to consider CRM and Contact Management solutions that are MS Outlook based. By that they work, or are embedded, within MS Outlook.
MS Outlook does a good job of managing ones email, but has a relatively weak underlying database engine, and Outlook certainly cannot perform all the tasks required of a CRM solution. That’s the space the following MS Outlook CRM applications are designed to fill.
These embedded small business CRM software applications add value to Outlook in many ways. The primary benefits you can look forward to are:
Enhanced sales, service and marketing functionality to MS Outlook.
Improved email functionality.
You can share your Outlook AddressBook/s across the network.
You can share your Outlook AddressBook/s without needing MS Exchange Server.
Shared Outlook tasksShared Microsoft Outlook calendarsImproved record features and management.
No integration and synchronization with another CRM system.
Industrial strength database for better performance.
Much easier approval and adoption than other CRM systems.
Considerable cost savings with product, training and service.
Having an MS Outlook CRM solution also means no synchronization process required, no external database hassles, and no problems when you work offline. Every contact you make, every activity you perform, every task you assign is automatically available in Outlook. This is because Outlook CRM applications work fully within Outlook, storing your customer information in the Outlook Contact, Task, Appointment and Journal entries you use every day.
The advantages of Outlook based CRM software are numerous.
You stay in the same application all day. No toggling backwards and forwards means a more pleasurable and productive user experience. Bottom line – your investment is paying its way, not gathering dust on the shelf.
You get going quicker with much less training. Being extensions of Outlook, you are immediately familiar with the interface that you already know. This equates to considerable savings, as the hidden costs associated with training and support are minimized.
You can capture customer e-mails with a single click and with this capability you and your sales professionals can associate correspondence to the appropriate contact, account or opportunity for sales activity tracking.
You have negligible installation costs – just download and go.
What’s important about this breed of CRM products is that they have been developed from the ground up for Microsoft Outlook, predominantly on Microsoft’s .NET platform, which enables the product to be more email and internet centric.
Many CRM products pre-date the internet and even the advent of email, so it stands to reason that these products aren’t always geared to take full advantage of the new electronic medium of communication with clients, staff, everyone. The newer products also benefit from vastly improved development platforms now available to software developers.
They also haven’t started to get afflicted by the notoriously contagious ‘bloatware’ malaise that often affects ageing software – adding features for the sake of it. Instead of rather trimming off unwanted features, speeding up performance and getting rid of bugs, some CRM products are more like mutton dressed as lamb – full of superfluous features the developers have decided you need.
CRM’s that rely on MS Exchange Server to provide network functionality have, for the most part, been excluded here. MS Exchange is a rather expensive, support-intensive beast and is overkill for most small businesses. Most software recommended here works with MS Exchange Server as well, though.
Looking at the problems some Contact Managers and CRM systems experience integrating to MS Outlook, it ppears Outlook has a preference for products that are ’embedded’ inside it, as opposed to ‘integrated’ to it. Virtually all CRM products ideally need to ‘talk’ to Outlook though, unless they are targeting Apple Mac’s, or a market on another planet.v
Infoflo is a powerful CRM for Outlook users. Infoflo has one of the best and intuitive Outlook sync…
Infoflo is a powerful CRM for Outlook users. Infoflo has one of the best and intuitive Outlook sync functionality on the market and supports all versions of MS Outlook from 2003 upwards. Infoflo fully sync’s all contacts, companies, categories, calendar events and incoming/outgoing emails with your Outlook. InfoFlo has none of the traditional complexities of CRM products. InfoFlo gives users the best of both worlds by providing a feature rich CRM at a fair price which includes free upgrades for life. This allows users and their staff to easily manage all of their customer relationships in one easy to use interface showing important information needed at a glance. Pricing starts at a one-time $99 per user licence. A free trial is available.
SalesOutlook is a complete Outlook based CRM software solution built upon the Microsoft Office System. Since 1999 SalesOutlook has been a leader in creating a fully integrated customizable Outlook CRM application and business tool. Users are able to customize all aspects of SalesOutlook including accounts, contacts, opportunities, customer service, calendar, tasks and email, or create their own module. SalesOutlook utilizes all aspects of Outlook so users will be familiar with the interface and features. They also offer mobile strategies to fit your organization, Mobile Outlook and Native apps. Free e-mail support is offered.
eWay-CRM Basic/Premium is compatible with Microsoft Outlook 2003, 2007, 2010 and 2013 as well as Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8 and a Microsoft Outlook plug-in. That means that eWay-CRM is also compatible with Microsoft Office 365. eWay-CRM is not compatible with Microsoft Outlook for Mac. The client side of eWay-CRM is an add-in for Microsoft Outlook for Windows and uses a local Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Express database. The server side is basically a server database. The server component can run on customer’s server or on eWay’s. eWay-CRM Basic is a standard desktop program and can be uninstalled from Control Panel in Microsoft Windows. Both e-mails and contacts are copied to eWay-CRM database and the original items stay in your Outlook. If you decide to uninstall eWay-CRM, you don’t loose anything from Outlook. A free version of the software is available. For a complete breakdown of the pricing, consult the website.
Great, easy-to-use, Outlook embedded CRM solution that happily runs on a peer-to-peer network without the need for MS Exchange Server. Prophet is suitable for the small business with a sales process that needs management. Although it is quite scalable for bigger concerns, it is better suited to a peer-to-peer environment. Costs approx. $150 per user. Their newly released Prophet version 4.0 is a winner! Previous versions: Prophet v3.0 incorporates important new features. Read our previous review. Review of Prophet 5.0 to follow soon.
If you want to simply share your Outlook AddressBook/database/calendar across your network, without the expense of MS Exchange Server, this is the tool for you. This Award winning Microsoft Outlook addon is inexpensive and proven, and boasts an impressive client base. Costs approx. $70 per user.
OpusFlow specialises in Microsoft Outlook & Exchange Server AddOn’s. Their award-winning products have been around for years and are well established and stable. They offer various CRM Outlook solutions so have a look to see what suits your requirements. They also offer CRM for Handhelds solution what is worth looking at. OpusFlow is now compatible with Microsoft Vista.