Use Outlook Contacts to manage sales leads effectively

Today, salespeople rely on e-mail more than ever before. Chances are your customers, prospects, and coworkers all communicate with you through e-mail. And, because you're using Microsoft Office Outlook® 2003 to send and receive e-mail, you can also use Outlook Contacts to organize your sales contact information and turn leads into sales.

For this example, imagine that you work for a company called Contoso Pharmaceuticals, and you're a manager of East Coast sales. You supervise a sales team of 10. Your manager is Sunil Koduri.

A new sales lead

Sunil sends you the following e-mail:

E-mail from Sunil Koduri

You respond to Sunil, telling him you'll get on it right away, and then open the vCard in the e-mail.

Baris Cetinok Contact dialog box

Because this is a potential sales lead, you click Save and Close. Then, the following message opens in Outlook:

Duplicate Contact Detected dialog box

It looks like this contact already exists in your list. Because you know the vCard your manager sent you is the most recent, you click Update new information from this contact to the existing one and then click OK. It's a good thing you were using Contacts!

Putting the pieces together

You don't remember Dr. Cetinok, nor do you remember adding him to your Contacts list — but with Contacts, you don't have to rely on your memory. Contacts can show you all e-mail, meetings, and journal entries associated with a particular contact.

You click the Activities tab to search for any information about Dr. Cetinok and find out that you sent an e-mail about a physicians' seminar to Dr. Cetinok last year. But the trail ends there.

Contact Activities tab

Assign and track a task

You decide to delegate the job of following up with Dr. Cetinok to Fukiko Ogisu, one of the salespeople on your team. Contacts can help you assign a task to one (or more) people in your Contacts list — and track its progress.

  1. In Contacts, open the contact you want to assign the task to (for this example, Fukiko Ogisu).
  2. On the Actions menu, click New Task for Contact.

In the lower-left corner, Fukiko Ogisu is automatically added to the task.

  1. In the Subject line, give a name to the task. For this example, call it "Sales Follow-up."
  2. On the Actions menu, click Assign Task.

The To line opens, with Fukiko Ogisu automatically added.

  1. Enter a date in the Due date box, enter any other information you want in the task body, and make sure the Keep an updated copy of this task on my task list and Send me a status report when this task is complete check boxes are selected.
  2. Click Send.

From now on, whenever Fukiko makes a change to the task, you'll automatically receive status reports from her like the sample task status shown in the following graphic.

Task e-mail

The power of contacts

As you can see, with Outlook you can easily manage your contacts in addition to other sales information. And, with all the time you save, you can quickly move on to your next task.

Applies to:
Outlook 2003