When it comes to CRM’s, the importance of integration with third party applications such as Microsoft Office, Gmail, MailChimp, and other software is important for the smooth operation of every business. Marketing your products, enticing potential customers, maintaining a social media presence with customers, communicating with your team/staff, and ensuring responsive communication with buyers is imperative.
We know of many popular CRM’s out there such as Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Nutshell, Marketing 360 CRM, Zoho, and so forth, but you may be surprised to hear that Microsoft Outlook is getting its own “lightweight” Customer Relationship Management software called Outlook Customer Manager.
Microsoft’s Outlook Customer Manager is aimed towards small businesses and is also perfect for startups looking to get organized ahead of the game.
Outlook Customer Manager
This new tool by Microsoft is intended to serve businesses that need a lighter CRM. The new Outlook Customer Manager CRM is for business owners using Outlook and Office 365. This CRM will allow business owners to track customer information, history, and interactions, but does not contain all of the robust tech in the Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM platform.
While it is a lightweight CRM, the features included are at the heart of customer relationship management and will do a great job of offering business owners only what they need at a price that one would imagine will be very fair for the software. It is also very mobile and focused on integration, which is something that Microsoft has been curbing the market in.
Once Outlook Customer Manager is enabled, this CRM will automatically organize:
- Customer Information
This information is collected from the integrated calendar, email, and log data and is presented in a useful and easy to read timeline format next to the inbox. This makes it very intuitive to use, as we are all used to “timeline” formatting that is common among today’s software and social media platforms.
This tool also allows its users to browse through a spreadsheet-type collection of all deals, with the Focused feature (explained below), showing the most important projects at the top.
The “Focused” feature is somewhat similar to Outlook’s current Focused Inbox, which prioritizes the emails that need to be read first — however, as a part of CRM software, the Focused feature int hsi software will associate certain tasks with a contact, a company, or a deal. This helps the businessperson interact with customers in a timely fashion via prioritization and organization.
It can also present a list of deals by amount, priority, stage, and close date. This technology is able to prioritize for you, which deals and customers are most important to deal with in a timely fashion.
In addition to keeping up with customers through Outlook’s familiar interface, another advantage lies in this CRM’s ability to help teams within the business to handle customer calls and inquires, even if the original point of contact is off work or out sick. All of the notes taken from calls, deal stage details, and meeting dates are accessible to anyone at the business/company so everyone is on the same page and can work within this central workspace.
Not only will Focused be available on the desktop platform, but on mobile as well, beginning with iOS. Other mobile platforms such as Android will soon follow but will not be available immediately. The Focused feature will be easily available from the Home tab in the Outlook inbox and the data that is tracked will remain in Office 365.
One of the best parts of this light CRM is its scalability. Should your company grow larger and you need to hire more employees and require a more robust CRM, you can upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics 365.
This Outlook Customer Manager CRM is available on desktop, laptop, and via mobile. Microsoft is excellent when it comes to mobility and integration so you can expect the full range of mobile features with this CRM.
There is a dedicated iOS app available now for eligible users that will hit the App Store later. However, do not fear if you do not use Apple products. This tool will soon be available on other mobile platforms as well, including the Android giant.
The Outlook Customer Manager is being added today (11.16.2016) for free for those with the Office 365 Business Premium Plan. Those who are in the First Release program will get first dibs ahead of the worldwide rollout of this CRM in the coming months.
Microsoft is also looking to give this CRM feature for free to Office 365 Enterprise E3 and E5 customers, as well.
It is unknown at this time how much this CRM will cost those who do not have the Business Premium Plan or those who newly purchase Microsoft Office 365 and the Outlook Customer Manager CRM to use for their business.