Best Practices for Using Microsoft Outlook from a Sales Perspective
I upgraded to Office 2010 earlier this year when I purchased a new PC and have been adjusting ever since. At first, I didn’t see much not to like (other than having to find a few things again). But then, disaster struck – Microsoft removed on of my favorite features and one that made Outlook a serious contender in the contact management software world. Read on to see what I love and what I hate about Outlook 2010 so you can decide if an update is to be embraced or avoided.
What I Love!
- Finally a real product version – Usually Microsoft releases a new version of Windows or Office and expects everyone to pay to be beta testers. Office 2010 and Windows 7 for that matter have been a pleasant surprise in that they were actually workable without a service pack. Kuddos, Microsoft
- The new social media interface rocks – Now at the bottom of your Outlook contact and email items you can see social media information such as Facebook or LinkedIn profile icons and updates. Its a nice touch especially for people in a sales function that want to keep up with the latest updates of their prospects and clients.
- The Activities tab is visible on the Contact record General tab – I’ve had sales people complain about having to go to another tab to see emails, appointments and other linked items for contacts from the get go. I was very happy to see that Outlook included this information on the bottom of the main tab people use to view contact information.
What I hate!
- Unfortunately, the Activities tab referenced in item 3 of what I love doesn’t seem to work for anything other than email. Tasks, appointments and journal entries don’t seem to show up even though they are supposed to – service pack issue?
- The Activities tab no longer works for anything other than the main default Outlook folders. This is big time bad news for users that want to access information from archive folders or those that use public folders. So Outlook/Exchange is no longer a viable contact management solution for multiple users which is probably what Microsoft wanted so that they could push people to Microsoft CRM. Unfortunately, Microsoft CRM is major overkill for most outside sales people.
Some More Good News
I’m currently working with one of my development partners to create an add-in that will reproduce the old Activities linking in public folders so hopefully we will have a solution ready to sell next quarter.
So if you are dependent on the Activities tab functionality you might want to hold off on upgrading to Office 2010, but otherwise I think you will enjoy some of the other new features. Please let me know your thoughts regarding Outlook 2010 and stay tuned for a new Activities tab add-in announcement. In the meantime – happy selling!