SpeakerNet News Compilations
What Contact Manager Do You Use?
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Here is the summary of my question: What contact management system are you using and why? ACT! doesn't have good tech support and the calendar is not user-friendly.
-- Sharon Evans
If you add Event Pro from espeakers.com it will make your life wonderful. The calendar on Event Pro is designed for speakers by a speaker, Art Berg, and works with ACT! so you don't have to re-enter info. You are right, ACT's customer service is the pits, actually I don't consider what they have service at all, but it is a good contact manager AND it works with Event Pro which is awesome!
Visit www.baselineconnect.com. I've used their Info Accelerator for years because it is so simple and easy to learn. Works with Windows systems.
Having worked with Telemagic, ACT!, Goldmine, and Maximize during various phases of my life, I have some ideas based on real-world comparisons. If you use Word as your word processor, Goldmine is terrific. It is the VERY DEFINITION of contact management. You will not believe the versatility and power and relative ease of use (there is a learning curve). For WordPerfect, which is the word processing system I use, Maximizer is the equivalent.
I have subscribed to Art Berg's Event Pro program. It does almost everything but shine my shoes. I employ three women full time and they are in two different offices, 95 miles apart. This program allows each to post to my calendar, allows me to do the same from the road, and allows bureaus to see my schedule in real time without the need to contact my staff. It does lots more.
Also, they are the best at tech support. Always get back to us promptly, spend the time to be sure we understand, and even did phone training (at no additional cost) to be sure my staff could use the program to max advantage.
Cost is $29/mo. for speakers whose fees are not more than $7,500/per engagement (I think that's right).
I work with speaker Shawna Schuh. We're using FileMaker for our database software. We love it because we've been able to completely design it for our needs. In ACT! you have the fields already defined for you with the ability to alter the collection information, but in FileMaker you start with a blank page and you create specifically what you need for your business. My only word of caution, take the time and spend the money to be trained on the software. We didn't do either a year ago, and now I'm spending the time and money for the classes because we aren't using it to it's potential. It just feels like I've really lost valuable time not maximizing this tool.
My company specializes in customer relationship management, sales force automation and contact management for small to medium size companies, including speakers.
We have worked with ACT!, Maximizer, Outlook, Goldmine and many others. I have to say that Goldmine is by far the most feature rich, cost effective and expandable / scalable system we have encountered. For $300 US the capabilities are on par with or better than many systems costing $1200 to $2000 US. Goldmine is far more than a contact manager. It truly is a sales force automation / customer relationship management system for small business.
For what it is worth, I highly recommend it.
Speaker Management Group is handling all my speaking stuff; they use espeakers.com synced to FileMakerPro calendar and database and Palm. I download from my calendar on espeakers and sync to my Palm. Give Carol a call at 858/677-5560 if you have questions, Productive Computing set them up.
Try using Outlook 2000 (not the free Outlook Express). It has all of the primary features of ACT! but works better with Microsoft Office products.