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Outside consultant: Is there a low-cost solution for managing contacts?

  • April 24, 2011 - 3:28 PM

QI'm a solopreneur consultant looking for help managing my time and contacts in a long project development and sales process. I currently track my contacts in Excel, which can be time-consuming and difficult to organize. Is there a low-cost solution that you recommend for managing contacts with prospective clients?

MOLLY GRIFFARD PRINCIPAL CONSULTANT, EXPANDING HORIZONS FOOD

AThe management of the sales cycle is critical to every organization. While Excel is a very powerful tool if you know how to use all of its features, there are any number of software packages that are specifically designed to help you manage the sales process. The complexity, level of support, ease of use and pricing levels of the software packages do, of course, vary considerably.

Since I do not know the particulars of your business I am reluctant to recommend a particular software vendor. However, a little online research will quickly surface the major vendors, and this in turn should lead to identifying key attributes needed in the software and the level of investment you are willing to make.

Do an online search using such key words as, "sales cycle management software," "sales CRM software." Be cautious of buying software that is too complex or that will not grow with your business. And certainly don't buy anything without first talking to the software vendors. Then have fun playing the role of the demanding prospective buyer.

RICHARD REXEISEN

PROFESSOR OF MARKETING,

UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS

OPUS COLLEGE OF BUSINESS

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