ZDNet Editors' Choice

GoldMine Business Contact Manager

Summary: When it comes to building and maintaining a hefty contact database, this solid, all-around customer relationship manager is perfect for growing businesses.

  • Editors' rating:
    8.3
  • User rating:
    1.0
  • RRP:
    GBP £165.00

Pros

  • Plenty of detailed documentation
  • tight integration with Outlook and other business applications
  • clean, customisable interface.

Cons

  • Has more features than small companies may need.

GoldMine Business Contact Manager (BCM) is a customer relationship management (CRM) application, formerly known simply as GoldMine. It provides an easy way to create a customer database, update it and use it to keep track of your business contacts. This version also offers a range of contact, sales and marketing tools such as sales forecasting and report generation -- more than enough for most small businesses.

You should experience little if any trouble setting up GoldMine BCM, even if your business lacks a dedicated IT department. Simply insert the CD-ROM and answer a few questions that tell the software about how you'll use it -- for example, whether it's for an individual or for multiple users. After you install the program, you must register with FrontRange before you can use it. Most other Windows applications don't make you register.

As with many CRMs, GoldMine BCM's interface looks a lot like Microsoft Outlook's: a taskbar sits on the left side of the work space and menu options line the top. We were impressed with the interface's clean look and its new customisability. You can now create up to 20 custom taskbars for, say, modifying or adding fields to contact records.

This CRM also integrates nicely with Outlook. So if, for instance, a staff writer stores data in Outlook, he or she could sync and share email, address books and calendar features with GoldMine BCM-based sales reps. Likewise, GoldMine BCM integrates with Microsoft Exchange 5.5, Lotus Notes 5.02 and Lotus CC:Mail.

Most of GoldMine BCM's considerable strengths lie in its contact management tools. For example, whenever you create or send a letter, a fax or email, GoldMine BCM automatically records your communications with each contact. And the new iCal-standard meeting request feature sends invitations to contacts and team members who use other iCal-compliant programs, such as Outlook.

GoldMine contains competent sales features. For instance, you can forecast sales, complete transactions and assign quotas for various employees. Also, from the Reports Menu, it's easy to create reports and charts to document and analyse sales data, including projected sales and cash flow.

In keeping with today's mobile workplaces, GoldMine BCM lets you synchronise with telecommuters, but the setup is somewhat lengthy. The administrator creates a profile for the remote worker and sends that person an email message. An email attachment walks the remote employee through the rest of the synchronisation setup. You can also synchronise GoldMine with Palms and Pocket PCs.

If you run into trouble using this product, you're in luck. Goldmine BCM provides very helpful documentation, including a detailed installation guide, a 'What's New in Version 5.7' booklet, and an easy-to-follow user manual. In addition, FrontRange offers free online, email and newsgroup support. Access to telephone hot-line support service is available to customers with a valid support contract, Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm GMT.

GoldMine Business Contact Manager gets the basics of CRM right, and includes so many features that small businesses will find almost everything they need. If your small business requires a usable, highly customisable and sophisticated contact manager with a minimal investment of time and money, you can't do better than choose GoldMine Business Contact Manager.

Topics: Apps, Reviews, Software

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