Contact Management and Sales Automation
Extending Outlook into a CRM System using Custom Folders and Forms
OutlookWise has featured several articles over the years detailing Outlook’s inherent contact management capabilities. This article looks at how you can extend the functionality of Outlook further to incorporate aspects of Customer Relationship Management and Sales Automation. In this document we see how to create a custom Companies folder, design a custom form for this folder, and then create linkages between companies and contacts. The same principle can be applied to any custom folder to contain Opportunity data, Project or Event information. Read more on-line...

Outlook CRM and Contact Management - Keeping It Simple
This article looks at how you can use Microsoft Outlook as your Contact Management and CRM system without the installation of any additional client software or Outlook Add-Ins, and still interface Outlook with your back-end CRM or ERP system. It represents a new, yet incredibly simple approach to CRM that is guaranteed to work where other systems may already have failed. Equally important, for those organizations wanting to adopt a CRM system, it is a very good system to implement first, even if one later “graduates” to a more comprehensive system. Read more on-line...

Easy Mail Merge for Outlook
This article looks at Easy Mail Merge for Outlook, a product designed for sending personalised mass e-mails to your Outlook Contacts mailing list. It is intended to help you easily communicate with customers, friends, members, etc. for the purposes of sending them newsletters, invitations, etc. to keep them informed about new product features, upcoming events and the like. The great thing about Easy Mail Merge for Outlook is that it does not maintain its own database like many other products but rather uses the data stored in your Outlook Contacts folders directly. So there is no messy exporting of your Outlook Contacts into another database, and then re-importing them back into Outlook to update details about invalid e-mail addresses, etc. Although Outlook does have a Mail Merge facility built in, it relies on Microsoft Word to do the mail merging, which is great for personalised letters, but can make the process more complex than it needs to be when all you want to do is send personalised e-mails to your contact/customer base.
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Profiling your Contacts/Clients - Using Outlook's Forms Designer
Many of us use Outlook's Personal Contacts folder to keep a database of the contacts that we regularly e-mail, phone, etc. Often we need to keep additional information about these contacts, over and above the standard demographic details that Outlook provides, such as addresses, telephone numbers, etc. Here the Outlook Forms Designer comes to our rescue.
This will be the first in a series of articles (one each month) that takes you from the basics to fairly advanced forms design and scripting.
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Profiling your Contacts/Clients - Using the Outlook Forms Designer: No. 2 in the Series
This is the second in a series of articles focusing on creating and maintaining a correctly profiled list of contacts in Outlook, and managing this database. This month we look at creating Outlook Views to group, sort and filter our contact list. Views allow us to define and then target a certain sub-set of the database, say for the purposes of sending only that group of contacts a newsletter or direct mailing.
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Why CRM Projects Fail - How an Outlook-Based CRM System increases the chances of a Successful Implementation
This articles analyses some of the “human”, i.e. people-related factors that can cause a CRM project to fail. It then looks at why, for those businesses already utilising Microsoft® Outlook® for their day-to-day e-mail, diary and contact management, implementing an Outlook-based CRM system gives you the best chance of overcoming these issues and ensuring a successful CRM implementation. Read more on-line...

The importance of Follow-Up: Using Outlook Flags to assist in Follow-Up
This article looks at the importance of follow-up and how to use Outlook Flags to assist with follow-up and keeping track of contacts. While follow up is most important for sales-related activities, it applies equally to almost any aspect of daily life, so hopefully this article will be of interest not just to salespeople and small business owners, but to anyone using Outlook who wants to manage their contact with people more effectively, whether these be friends, colleagues, prospects, club members, etc. Read more on-line...