Personal SFA tool – Outlook!?!

21 Sep

Outlook is the ubiquitous sales tool for sales people. Our companies may offer us salesforce.com or Siebel or Goldmine or a home grown system but Outlook (for better or worse) remains the constant. I keep my contacts, to-do’s and calendar events synchronized between the corporate SFA system, Outlook and my cell/PDA.

In Outlook, I create folders for each customer, prospect and partner. I also create folders for internal things like engineering, legal, corporate, competition. Then, as I communicate, I put the correspondence in the appropriate folder. Emails that need follow-up I mark as unread until they’re completed. Or I’ll leave those emails in my inbox until they’re complete. I can also create to-do’s easily from within contacts. All my email templates are also inside Outlook. Now how about quoting & forecasting?

Some of the additional products to consider using to enhance Outlook include –

* Mapilab offers multiple Outlook add-in’s at very reasonable prices. I especially like their ability to send bulk emails & mail merges from w/in Outlook. They have great solutions for the do-it-yourself sales rep or the small business owner.

* Many SFA systems synchronize with Outlook but only a few are part of Outlook. One of the non-Microsoft ones that comes to mind is Avidian’s Prophet – I’ve tried it but don’t use it currently.

* And for Outlook help, tips & tricks – try slipstick. This site was just recommended to me by Stephen Roy from inside LinkedIn and has already saved me hours of frustration – thanks Stephen!

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