Account management has long been a key part in the successful running of any business, and that continues to be the case today. If anything, account management has become more complex in today’s global business climate, with customers often scattered not only throughout the country but around the world. That means keeping track of more addresses, phone numbers, shipping and order data, and inventories.
This is where account management software becomes an invaluable business tool. Account management software accurately tracks every aspect, every detail of a customer or prospect. It can contain marketing information, document links, and a complete log of every conversation, quote, and order from a customer. It can also track inventory and maintenance contracts.
Given the fact that a company is likely to have multiple contacts, an account management program that can assign many—even an unlimited—number of contacts to an account is a plus. This type of account management system relies on a relational database that serves as a central repository for all details on a customer’s business and its agents, rather than the flat-file, single-contact database structure of other account management systems. Account management software also provides a number of advanced functions designed to speed database management, customer correspondence, and future sales and marketing planning. For instance, there is synchronization with Microsoft Outlook, eliminating the need for the user to maintain separate sets of contacts—a key time saving considering the importance e-mail has in today’s business communications. Another function is task management. A program such as TigerPaw CRM+ enables users may schedule tasks for themselves or other users; assign task types such as “phone call,” “appointment,” “to-do,” and many other sub-designations; describe in great detail the task at hand with fields that span who, what, where, when, why, and how; set task reminders; establish recurring tasks; include multiple attendees and/or resources; and include or exclude inactive reps. Users may also designate a task as private; mark it completed or delete it entirely; and auto-dial a phone number straight from the task view. And, the system immediately alerts users to scheduling conflicts. Other functions include recording date/time-stamped notes; merging to Microsoft Word for correspondence using custom templates; faxing; and printing reports. No business should be without account management software.
Spencer Chin Contributing editor for TMCnet