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For many businesspeople, both entrepreneurs and corporate types, contacts are the building blocks of success. A contact manager, then, is the mortar that binds. There are two major categories of contact manager. The personal contact manager, also called a personal information manager or PIM, keeps track of one’s business appointments and relationships. The work-group contact manager shares information across an enterprise and allows synchronization of data and schedules throughout an office.
GoldMine and ACT!, the two leading contact managers, used to fight for the same market share. With the 4.0 releases of both products, it’s clear that they’ve decided to focus on what they do best instead of trying to be all things to all users. For the individual, Symantec’s ACT! 4.0 is the undisputed champion, while GoldMine Software is the current titleholder in the workgroup contact manager arena. Of course, both can be adapted for either use, but they perform best when assigned to the tasks for which they were designed.
For the small business with a sales force, GoldMine is the answer. It offers flexible and customizable workgroup and contact management capabilities with excellent sales force automation features. GoldMine can keep track of all your communications with a potential or existing client. From telephone calls to meetings and e-mail correspondence, the program makes it easy to track the progress of a client relationship. It also has features to support the tracking of items sold, sales targets, project start and completion dates, and more.
The project management aspect of the program, called “opportunity manager,” lets you link and identify all the people in your organization involved in a particular deal, allowing you to track their contribution to the project. Sales processes such as making follow-up calls and locating contact records can be automated, and you can even alert users to records that have no pending action.
Of course, there are the requisite contact and database management portions of the program and POP 3 Internet e- mail capability. Users throughout the company can look at schedules and to-do lists. Synchronization of calendars and contacts has also been improved. However, one of the most intriguing new features is GoldMine’s ability to link to an Internet-based Web site and import the contact information from your site directly into the program. You can also use GoldMine in a single-user version, but that would be like killing a fly with an elephant gun. ..CT.- GoldMine Software Corp. Single user: $295 Five-user license: $695 800-654-3526 www.goldminesw.com
Symantec’s latest release of its popular contact manager continues to add functionality. Like GoldMine, it now includes direct support for POP3/ SMTP Internet e-mail and integrates directly with the popular e-mail program Eudora Pro. In fact, the Internet was a major consideration in the latest upgrade of ACT!. The program’s Internet links and directory look-up let users search for e-mail addresses through directories such as Big Foot and WhoWhere or get directions to your next appointment via Yahoo.
ACT! also includes a module called SideACT!, which lets you jot down reminders and