A little-known built-in feature of Microsoft Office as it is installed from a disk rather than with Office 365 is that there is a free included light CRM (Customer Relationship Management) feature known as Microsoft Outlook Business Contact Manager CRM. Although we push people to the cloud and recommend Office 365 with Dynamics CRM to our clients, some already have Microsoft Office 2010 installed from a disk. They wish to benefit from CRM and some of the collaborative features to increase productivity. Here is some information about that little-known product.
Business Contact Manager Training
Starting to use Business Contact Manager 2010 for Outlook / Exchange is not merely installing a new piece of familiar software for users: it is an enterprise product that has the potential to transform business by enriching the data collected on contacts, refining your marketing efforts, and allowing your sales and marketing team members to collaborate as a team on the same shared set of data. Business Contact Manager 2010 is a form of Customer Relationship Management software, or CRM. CRM Software is enterprise grade collaborative software, and proper use requires a brief re-training of staff as well as a re-engineered business process.
Since the early 1990’s, information workers in sales and marketing have become used to working alone, each with their own set of leads. Sometimes the leads even overlapped between salespeople, because of inclusion in multiple lists as duplicates. Sales leaders contact many people, and they collected a great deal of information about the businesses in question. Once the campaign is closed, this business information is lost. Other employees who receive a call from well-documented prospects would not have any information collected nor would they know which persons’ lead they had received a call from. Sales staff would not get proper credit, and information collected was not in place across the organization to impress the client. Clients do not wish to provide their information more than once. If they have to, it tends to make them less confident about your business. Customer Relationship Management software like Business Contact Manager keeps this information shared, allowing you to respond quickly to clients needs and to use your sales efforts to enrich your contact database with the best available information. Some information may be collected by cold calling. Other information may come into inside sales about the same contact through a different employee. Both sets of information get recorded about the same company and person, and everyone in the organization can see the complete results of all information collected as well as their communication record and all sales and marketing activities involved.
Training is the most effective way to get started. Your employees will not just learn the basics of learning a new type of software, rather the business process will be adapted to a new way of thinking and doing business: a collaborative and more efficient way.
Here are some of the important topics I can cover in two days of training for your staff. Much of the content and guidance below has been provided by Microsoft.
Find Business Contact Manager in Outlook
This is how you can get started by opening the program in Outlook:
- In the Navigation Pane, under Business Contact Manager. (Click the Business Contact Manager folder to display the Business Contact Manager Dashboard.)
- In the Navigation Pane, click the Business Contact Manager or Solutions button.
Here, Business Records is visible beneath the Business Contact Manager folder, as well as the Welcome Center, Contact Management, Sales, Marketing, Project Management, and Deleted Items folders.
Additional features and options are found in the Backstage view, on the Business Contact Manager tab.
Business Contact Manager folders
The folders beneath Business Contact Manager provide alternative representations of your data.
If you haven’t already added your own business data, try using the sample business database. Click the File tab.
Click the Business Contact Manager tab. Click Manage Databases, and then click Switch to Sample Business.
The Business Records folder
- To open the Business Records folder, in the Navigation Pane, click the Business Contact Manager or Solutions button, and then click Business Records.
The Business Records folder contains folders that display a list of each type of record: Accounts; Business Contacts; Opportunities; Marketing Activities; Business Projects and Project Tasks; and Communication History items.
Note Leads are included in the Business Contacts folder because they are a type of Business Contact.
The Welcome Center
Once you complete the Startup Wizard, the Welcome Center opens. Use it to find a wealth of introductory information about Business Contact Manager for Outlook. Click a category on the wheel to see a brief description about that area. Watch a short video for an overview of how you can use Business Contact Manager for Outlook to help you keep track of your business information.
Or, click one of the Getting Started cards in the lower half of the Welcome Center for more details, videos, and links to articles about the features that interest you. Use the arrows to scroll through the cards.
You can return to the Welcome Center any time you like. Just click the Welcome Center folder in the Navigation Pane under Business Contact Manager.
Track important business details on the Dashboard
With just a glance at the gadgets on the Dashboard in Business Contact Manager for Outlook, you can see your business’s earnings potential, the current and future workload on staff, and which marketing activities are producing results for your business. The Dashboard can display up to 20 gadgets charting the sales, marketing activities, projects, and tasks of your business.
Use the Ribbon to add the gadgets that you want to see on the Dashboard. Drag the gadgets to rearrange them, or click the View tab on the Ribbon to add or remove columns from the Dashboard. It’s your view to customize.
Use the Business Contact Manager workspaces
Each Business Contact Manager for Outlook workspace includes a gadgets area and section for tabs. The commands are slightly different for each of the workspaces. Generally, they each include commands that enable you to create new records, edit them, and set up some kind of communication, such as send an e-mail message.
Display a workspace
In the Navigation Pane, under Business Contact Manager, click one of the following folders to display the workspace:
- Contact Management.
- Project Management.
- In the gadgets area, display key business metrics in charts and graphs to get a quick view of the state of your business. You can show or hide the gadgets area as well as add or remove gadgets.
- In the tabs area, you can manage, review, and analyze your business data. Each tab is comprised of a list of records, and a Reading or Preview Pane. The Reading Pane displays information from sections in a selected record.
- The tabs list the records that you want to see, such as the Opportunities or Leads records shown. You can add a tab for any record type to any workspace by clicking the Create New Tab button.
- In the Reading or Preview Pane, you can view selected sections from an individual record. To change the sections that are included, click Select Sections.
Change Business Contact Manager settings and options or get help
To change settings for some features, or perform tasks such as sharing or backing up your database, importing or exporting data, or get Help from newsgroups or other users, go to the Backstage view.
- Click the File tab.
- Click the Business Contact Manager tab.
- Do the following:
- To perform a task. such as sharing the database, that affects all of Business Contact Manager, click one of the buttons.
- To get help from Microsoft or from the Business Contact Manager community, under Getting Help, click one of the options.
For more information about the options in the Backstage view, see Set options and use features in the Backstage view.
We’ve come a long way from the Rolodex®. Today, your business records contain a rich set of searchable data that can be of immense help in running your business. Plus, the tools in Business Contact Manager for Outlook go even farther because you can use them to visualize your data in gadgets, reports, and charts, and take the data with you to help you be more productive when you’re out of the office.
Search your business records
Searching your business records is a quick way to find a single record or group of records. Your 10 most recent search strings are automatically saved for easy re-use.
Filter your records
Applying a filter to a set of data or records allows you to display only information that meets a specified criteria. Filters make it easy to retrieve a single record or a set of records that have common characteristics. Filtering a list or report is a great way to produce a lists for a marketing activity, sales calls, or other business activity.
In Business Contact Manager for Outlook, gadgets display key business metrics and information on your Dashboard or the Contact Management, Sales, Marketing, and Project Management workspaces.
Create reports and charts
A report is an excellent tool for gaining insight into your Accounts, Business Contacts, Leads, Opportunities, Business Projects, and marketing activities. You can open more than 60 standard reports in Business Contact Manager for Outlook, and can also modify, save, update, and reuse an almost unlimited number of additional reports.
Export your business records
You can export your business records and use them in other programs, such as Microsoft Excel. For example, you may want to export a copy of the data in a single report to Excel for deeper analysis.
You can take your business data with you when you leave the office: on your laptop, or on your phone. You can also access Business Contacts by signing in to Outlook Web Access if you have turned on the Business Contact Synchronization feature. For information about taking your business data with on your laptop, see Work offline using Business Contact Manager.