Integrate CRM with Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Office 365 became no. 1 software for many companies. People use Outlook, Word, and Excel, communicate through Teams, and share documents on OneDrive. But when it comes to customer management software, Microsoft has not yet developed anything that would rule its category, just like Word or Excel.

OCM replacement

When Microsoft discontinued support for Business Contact Manager in 2016, many Office users turned their attention to its successor – Microsoft OCM. But this year Microsoft stopped supporting OCM too! Now, we have dozens of thousands of disappointed customers who lost their Outlook integrated CRM twice in a short time.

Well, there are a lot of CRMs on the market, but to find something that sits right inside Microsoft Outlook can be a challenge. However, if you give it a try, you might be surprised how closely integrated some of the tools are.

Every extra click counts

For obvious reasons most companies don’t care if the software maker is Microsoft or somebody else. It is really important how efficiently you can work with the app. The decisive factor is whether the CRM is integrated with Outlook and other tools, such as Word or Excel. 

Then, you can quickly access your clients, projects, business opportunities, and customer communications right in Outlook. With a perfect Outlook CRM software, your business data is always automatically synchronized and up to date. That means you don’t have to constantly switch between Outlook and CRM software and copy-paste everything. You just use one single database instead of two. Imagine how much time you can save. How much simpler and clearer the work can be. And how many unnecessary mistakes you can avoid.

No need to learn anything new

Are you one of the companies that use Office 365 daily? Have you ever measured how much time you spend working in Outlook? The average employee spends up to a quarter of their working time reading or writing emails. When you add the time spent working with the calendar etc., you will probably find that Outlook is the software you use most of the time. And as such, it really makes sense to choose Outlook as a basis for your CRM system.

However, discomfort and time spent switching between Outlook and CRM is not the only reason to pick CRM embedded in Outlook. Whether the company is looking for an OCM replacement or looking for a suitable CRM, one of the employees’ nightmares is the idea of having to ​​learn to work with new software. 

With CRM software embedded right into Microsoft Outlook’s well-known environment, the learning curve of every team member is significantly reduced. That’s what real Outlook CRM software should look like. No matter if it was developed by Microsoft or not. Another super benefit of a CRM properly embedded in Outlook is if it’s intuitive and user friendly. Simply it should look like Outlook and the user should have the impression they work with it. That’s two in one solution.  

Just start using it

As already mentioned, there are plenty of CRMs on the market. But if you are looking for an Outlook CRM software, the selection will be pretty limited. The best way to make an informed decision is to try the software before purchasing it. Of course, most software developers offer a trial version.

Trial versions are usually time-limited or feature-limited. Or there is another option to use free CRM as an individual. Sure, that is an option for very small businesses. But no matter if you are an individual entrepreneur or run an e.g. very small family business, free CRM can be a very comfortable and natural tool for the beginning.

Think ahead of time

Make sure the Outlook CRM software you have chosen is ready to switch smoothly to a premium version for multiple users and that it supports integrations with 3rd party tools etc. Simply it has all features that you will need when your business grows. CRM should be a guarantee of longevity for the company. Or at least that’s what lot companies expect from Outlook CRM when looking for OCM replacement.

Learn More About eWay-CRM

Looking for CRM? Start with the free ones.

Free CRM tools can be the best way to get familiar with the CRM concept. After all, they are free!!!

In fact, when you use a pen and paper to plan your customer activities, it already is a customer relationship management. But in today’s world, a pen and paper is not enough. You need a professional CRM tool. No matter whether you are good at IT or not, you are more effective with good CRM.

Using a free CRM software, you can take your time to learn to use it without the pressure of committing money to something that will turn out to be a mistake. Only when you start fully using it, you can find out which features suit you and your business most. Also, you can “shop around“ (i.e. for free) before settling on a specific vendor.

This is a very important benefit of free CRMs because CRM doesn’t just get popped into a workflow and does what it is supposed to. People need to understand CRM to see tangible and positive benefits for their business.

Consider your needs and workplace

Word-of-mouth is a good thing but watch out. Your needs might be specific as well as your workplace. Do you work at your office solely? Do your team members work in the field or from home? Then you have to keep in mind that you may need more than just an online tool. Working in the field means being without connection from time to time. You need software that can work offline and gets synchronized when online again. Certainly, a mobile CRM application is very useful too. 

Second, you should consider the mail client you use because emails are still one of the most common types of communications. You don‘t want to use two different environments. If you work with Microsoft Outlook, you need to have CRM that is embedded in this mail agent. Otherwise, it might be difficult to cope with your old or archived emails. 

Needs to grow with you

Except for the user interface, you need to consider the CRM features and functions. Bear in mind that your business will grow and its needs will evolve. Therefore, you should specify the basic functions you need at the moment as well as those that your business will need sooner or later. People usually start with contact and customer management. Sales and email tracking are often the must-have too. Later on, you will need reporting and marketing modules. Just take your time to think about it. Of course, the best option is to go for the system that offers all the modules. With your business growing, you can use them all at the end.

Be aware of limitations

Free CRMs usually exist as feature-limited, time-limited, or data volume-limited iterations of a paid version. Deciding on a particular CRM can therefore be hard. That is why vendors offer free versions to help take the guessing game out of the decision-making process. It is always a great opportunity for users to try CRM and see if it’s a good fit before fully committing.

Also, it pays back to check on licenses the CRM vendor offers. Usually, you can go for monthly/yearly subscriptions or lifetime ones. In both cases, there should be at least two versions – the basic and business ones. Often, the three versions, i.e. the basic, essential, and business/premium, are the best solution. You should be able to switch to a premium program once your business is really big.

Ultimately, understanding how customer relationship management works and how you can use its full potential will open up many new possibilities for your business. And be sure that good CRM will bring success to your business.   

Learn more About eWay System s.r.o.