MS Outlook does a good job of managing 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. The primary benefits you can look forward to are:
- Enhanced sales, service and marketing functionality to MS Outlook.
- Improved email functionality.
- Share your Outlook AddressBook/s across the network.
- Share your Outlook AddressBook/s without needing MS Exchange Server.
- Shared Outlook tasks and calendars
- Improved 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.
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.
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.
The best Outlook based CRM solutions for you to consider are:
Highly recommended. Great, easy-to-use, Award-winning Outlook embedded CRM solution that happily runs on a peer-to-peer network without the need for MS Exchange Server. Prophet is excellent value for money, and ideal for the small business with a sales process that needs management, although it is quite scalable for bigger concerns, too. 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: Prophet 2004 CRM overview.
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.
Recommended. 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 compatable with Microsoft Vista.
This suite of CRM solutions caters for most requirements, but comes into its own in bigger multi-user, more complex sales environments. Very scalable CRM solution. The Single User version is very reasonably priced from approx $100 per user upwards.
Microsoft Business Contact Manager.
(MS BCM) Business Contact Manager with Outlook is a single-user, (multi-user version now available) desktop business contact management program, and rather expensive at the price. MS Business Contact Manager is included in MS Office Small Business Edition and MS Office Professional Edition. Strictly speaking MS BCM should not be in this category, as it isn't (rather ironically) really an embedded Outlook CRM product. Microsoft would, no doubt, prefer you upgrade to Microsoft CRM, BCM's big brother, which requires MS Exchange Server and a bank account as deep as Exchange is complex. MS CRM has evolved as a CRM solution from its rather humble beginnings
BizAutomation CRM. (A bit concerned that at time of writing their website still says (C) 2007!? Is that when it was last updated?) BizAutomation is a web based CRM for users of Outlook, MS Exchange, and QuickBooks and includes Sales Force Automation, Service / Support, & Marketing / Campaign Management. It uses Outlook Web Access (OWA) or regular Outlook for its user interface. Not an embedded solution, however. Costs $299 per user for 'local' installation, or $29 per user per month.
Additional CRM Report at sentinel.com
Posted in: Outlook based CRM