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Contact Manager Software?

Discussion in 'Business Management' started by BrianKE, Sep 25, 2009.

  1. BrianKE

    BrianKE Member

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    Is anyone using a contact manager software to track phone calls and info of clients? I have done this simply using pen and paper but would like to have something more elegant and versatile. Here are some of the things I would like to have:

    - Basic contact info for the client (name, phone,fax, company, email, etc.)
    - Able to record info of calls (date, time, contact person, general notes area, etc)
    - Reminder notices, set up future calls and have the software prompt me (for instance, client asks that they be called back in a month).


    TIA
     
  2. rfulford

    rfulford Active Member

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    Sugar CRM is a good option you may want to look at. It is open source software that you can host on a LAMP distribution (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP). There are hosting options that you can license per year/per user or some providers will host the community version for you.
     
  3. BrianKE

    BrianKE Member

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    Thanks for the info but I would prefer something installed on my laptop for those times when I am traveling with no Internet connection.
     
  4. greenmachine

    greenmachine Member

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    try ACT. act.com
     
  5. signcrafters

    signcrafters Member

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  6. GB2

    GB2 Very Active Member

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    I'm really surprised that you don't have more responses here. I would think this is a fairly important part of the business that everyone should have some type of solution for. I'm afraid I'm looking for the same answer you are so I can't help much. I'm just using a combination of a custom database, my e-mail managment program and Quickbooks but I'd like to consolidate the information and manage it better too.
     
  7. briankb

    briankb Active Member

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  8. The Equipment Guy

    The Equipment Guy Member

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    I use ACT, its great for me, you can also track opportunities, so basically if you want to follow up when people tell you about upcoming projects, you can call and remind them to consider you. Sage has salesreps that will go over the product with you over the phone, but compare the pricing to online prices, I was quoted by them on ACT at $225.00 and found it online, with next day delivery for $99.

    If on your laptop you are always able to connect online, there is also Salesforce.com, I considered these guys and would probably try them if I was starting over, they have a basic level that is only $60 per year which I believe would do everything you are asking. This way you do not have to worry about back ups etc. The main thing I liked about them was the personal phone assistance, it was phenomenal.

    If you synch to a blackberry or PDA, that is something you should ask any salesrep about. There might be 3rd party software you may need. I synch to Outlook and do all of my updating in Outlook, it seems to work well going to both the BB and to act that way.

    Hope this helps!

    Craig
     
  9. GB2

    GB2 Very Active Member

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    Let me just review so I understand...you actually use Outlook as your main database of contact information...then you sync to ACT for your contact management, follow-up, etc....then you sync to your Blackberry for mobile contact information.
     
  10. Circleville Signs

    Circleville Signs Very Active Member

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    Another online option that could be helpful is Signtracker. (www.signtrackeronline.com)

    It has a basic CRM built in, as well as full sign shop software. It's $30/month if you do less than $500k/year in billings.

    Works well for us.


    Gary
     
  11. BobbyFosson

    BobbyFosson Member

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    TigerCRM is another good free option out there. Web-based.
     
  12. cgsigns_jamie

    cgsigns_jamie Very Active Member

    We use Outlook and QuickBooks too. The ability to sync contacts between the two is a very nice feature. I add follow up reminders to the calendar and the Journal to track phone calls. I don't do too much in the way of sales so that combo works well for me.

    Our salesman uses paper notebooks and that seems to work very well for him. I guess you just need to find something your comfortable with.

    I've never liked the idea of an online database full of my customers information. What happens if the service goes down for a week or my account is compromised? At least if it's on my server I can take care of the problem. I suppose I'm a control freak and want to keep everything localized in my office.

    (P.S. I like the Ubuntu logo in your avatar Bobby!)
     
  13. BobbyFosson

    BobbyFosson Member

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    TigerCRM and Sugar can be installed on internal network/server if preferred.

    Quikbooks had a Customer Contact Manager 2.5 that was really helpful but is no longer sold/supported by Intuit. They have gone with a hosted solution that will run you $20-30 a month or so.

    ACT is extremely stable and rich in features (and customizable) but it doesn't play well with Intuit products. If you utilize Peachtree for you accounting, ACT will integrate very well seeing as they are both SAGE products.

    Jamie - Just updated my Kubuntu desktop and love it...
     
  14. BlueMoonATL

    BlueMoonATL Member

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    We use ACT! for our sales team as well. Easy to use out of the box. Takes a little bit of work to network it but once its setup its ready to run. We have customized it somewhat to better suit our needs here but for the most part it's in its original form. I would like to have something like Cyrious Control which integrates everything into one package (Estimating, CRM, Workflow, etc) but its just not in the budget yet. We'll make do for a while with what we have.

    Good Luck with it!
     
  15. Mjozzie

    Mjozzie Member

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    Use Goldmine here. Very similar to ACT but it's what I've used over the years so no learning curve. If I had to start from scratch would probably use ACT just based on price and popularity of users. As with any contact management program, they are only as good as the info you put in. Keep them up to date and they can become a life saver when a customer calls back 6 months later. Pull up their record and it's like you talked to them yesterday.
     
  16. cgsigns_jamie

    cgsigns_jamie Very Active Member

    I've downloaded it but haven't installed it yet. The Linux box is more of a "toy", I don't use it too often. I'm glad to hear your having good results with the latest release. Can't wait to try it out!

    Sorry to be a :thread Back to our regularly scheduled thread.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2009
  17. GypsyGraphics

    GypsyGraphics Major Contributor

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    CB2:rock-n-roll::rock-n-roll::rock-n-roll:
    How is it they every member isn't posting to this thread!!!!!
    I wish it could pop-up and be required reading/posting before looking at any other post!!!!!

    I asked these very same question a few weeks ago and got a bit of information but nothing that worked for me... maybe because I asked specifically about QuickBooks for contact management.

    Had a little chat session with Intuit only to find... their CRM for MAC is ONLY online! Not only do I want to keep everything on my own system but to pay a monthly fee... that's just not happening.

    There's no way in hell I'm putting my clients financial info (billings, credit card, passwords) on line! Even on my own system it'll be in an encrypted, password protected vault.

    With the few posts above I already have some new options to look into.

    We need to know more than how to make pretty signs people.... tell us how you're managing your clients!!!! You can be a brilliant sign-maker/designer/printer/installer and still run your business into the ground by not managing the business end well.

    HEY FRED! what do you think.... required reading???
     
  18. BobbyFosson

    BobbyFosson Member

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  19. GypsyGraphics

    GypsyGraphics Major Contributor

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  20. BobbyFosson

    BobbyFosson Member

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    Back in the day when I had a mac. I prefer ACT or vTiger at the moment for use on my PC and Kubuntu setup.
     
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