Stay Better Connected With a Better Address Book.
If you are in sales, you need to get good at remembering people.
And not just the list of prospects found in your CRM. You need to stay close to your "real" connections. The people you know all over the world (but just on the web).
A new crop of contact management solutions have sprung up recently with new capabilities focused on solving just this problem.
And so it makes sense that high-performing sales reps need to stop and take notice.
There are a few new options in the space:
- Plaxo Personal Assistant (link): The newest platform proactively scans you address book and the web and then attempts to correct missing or outdated information. It then provides 2-way sync to your desktop, the web, and your mobile devices.
- Big Contacts (link): It's the best "salesified" address book on the planet. Part CRM. Part calendar. Part opportunity tracking. It's a great choice if you want a little of everything without the complexity of a formal CRM.
- Mozilla Contacts (link): This promising tool is still in Mozilla labs with the hope to marry your address book with your web browser. And it imports your social network contacts as well as your local address book. It's an awesome concept.
- Network Hippo (link): It's a free web tool that imports your email, contacts, and social network friends. It scans every account you link (including your email) for valuable contact information you might have forgotten. Not a bad start.
But no other technology has made as big a breakthrough into creating the "universal" address book as Connected.
Sachin Rechin built the Connected platform after hanging out with a few talented sales guys in Silicon Valley. He listened to what they said they needed and started working on a prototype.
What he's created so far is pretty darn amazing.
Connected starts with you connecting all the accounts you usually use.
It grabs account data from all your web locations: your email addresses, your social media accounts, even your Google calendar, contacts, and voice accounts. You can also upload your contacts from Outlook.
Once you get this set up the first time Connected imports all your contact information and starts indexing additional information about your calendar events. Which is helpful on several levels:
- Each morning you'll get an email giving you critical information about the people you are meeting that day -- what's new at their company and any new social media interaction or emails from the contact.
- It also keeps you abreast of important events in the lives of your network so you can be sure to congratulate them on job changes, happy birthdays, and more. Imagine knowing every morning who changed their profiles on LinkedIn. Very interesting stuff.
And the contact layout provides valuable insight into everything you need to know about that person.
You've got all the usual communication channels (email, phone, company, etc...). As well, Connected brings together any recent communication you've had with that person as well as the contact's recent social broadcasts (LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook) and any calls you made to them recently (tracked via Google Voice).
And in case you are one of those "show-me-the-data" type of sales dudes, you'll find plenty of goodies stashed away.
Here are a few:
- Interaction Summary -- The interaction summary report tracks your weekly interactions in terms of total contacts added, emailed, called, and met.
- Contacts Map -- The contacts map visualizes where in the world all your contacts are. Browse the map to discover contacts across the globe. See how many different locations and countries your network spreads across.
- Network Stats -- Pure ego! Tons of interesting stats about your network. See how your network size and distribution compares to the average user on Connected.
You'll also find Chrome plugins for Gmail as well as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
When you get an email in your inbox, the plugin looks online through your Connected address book and brings back into your sidebar all the information you need to know about that person.
And you can quickly close the sidebar if you want more screen real estate.
By the way, as you surf through your social media platforms you can quickly click your Connected bookmark and export that relationship to your address book. It's fast and extremely helpful.
And there's more.
You can tag specific companies that you want to track and Connected brings back targeted news and web information about them. It updates automatically with all the information that you really need to be competitive with your next presentation.
And Connected has the details you need to avoid a messy, over-stuffed, underused address book.
You can merge people and companies; and the platform even suggests potential bulk merges that you should make.
There are even iPhone, Blackberry, and Android webapps.
All that for a $9.99 price point.
It's a no-brainer...