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    I have been using GTD for about 6 months with much success, but realize that I need to push my system pretty hard to make it really work for business development and CRM. I find that for project management and the end stages of project development, it is fine; the problem lies with the proactive and regular contact with prospects and leads. I am using the Outlook plugin and am quite happy with it.

    I realize I need to step up the business development, opportunity tracking, and other CRM type activities. I looked at ACT! and have read the horror stories about its performance. Then I discovered salesforce.com and have begun to play with it a bit. It can certainly do what I need it to do for CRM, but see a considerable amount of overlap with my Outlook based GTD solution.

    Is anyone using salesforce as their exclusive GTD tool? Or (hopefully!) has anyone been using both salesforce AND outlook with the GTD plugin?

    Any experiences with the above or suggestions as to other CRM approaches will be most appreciated.

    Thanks.

  • #2
    thr61,

    I went through the same troubles as you. My recommendation is If you like outlook and you want to add more of a CRM capapbility to it. I would take a close look at Avidian Prophet as it does not affect your outlook set-up at all just pulls data from outlook and shows up in outlook as two folders. Take a look here

    www.avidian.com

    For me it does everything I need and I can still do my GTD workflow in outlook like I always have. I find Avidian to be a very powerful CRM package and much better than Act.
    Last edited by joeycan; 11-12-2005, 07:01 AM.

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    • #3
      This looks promising. Too bad it doesn't have a free trial, just a money-back offer.

      Still, it is about the price of one month of salesforce.com and it does allow me to stay with a system that is working.

      Has anyone else used this product?

      Interestingly, I think salesforce could easily be adapted for use as a complete GTD system -- the main barrier being price and the web-service model which is not great for offline use.

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      • #4
        I agree with you Salesforce is highly adaptable, but like you I find it pricey and being web app it is hard to use while on the road.

        On Avidian's website they have a chat feature with a sales tech feel free to ask them any question they are brutally honest about what the product can and cannot do. If you wish they will call you and give you a demo online and via phone.

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        • #5
          Prophet, Outlook & GTD plug-in

          I, too, am interested in this combo.

          I've been using the new ACT and have GTDized it pretty well. Unfortunately it doesn't play well with my Treo and I do encounter ACT-induced PC lock-ups every other day or so---starting to peeve me.

          One of my all-time favorite ACT features is Activity Series applied to Groups (pre-setting a sales campaign for a target market: call on day X, letter on X+7, call on X+10, etc.). I know Outlook out-of-the-box does not do this; does Prophet add this capability? If I can't do this, I'd have a hard time switching. Unless ACT sets my laptop on fire during a lock-up...

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          • #6
            More: setting Group Activities?

            When I described the necessity of Activity Series for Groups above, let me amend that: I can live without the pres-set series (it's nice), I cannot do without Group Activities (applying the same task to a Group of contacts, ex: call all members of "Doctors" category next Friday).

            Does Prophet/Outlook allow this?

            I really can't manage inputting/tracking/completing the same task for 100+ contacts over and over again. But I just can't lump them into a Group and manage it that way---each contact requires notes & tracking. That's why I ditched Agendus and went back to ACT.

            Joeycan, how do you handle this situation with your set-up?

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            • #7
              Cuffy_meigs,

              I think I understand what you are doing, you have a group in Act i.e. Doctors and then you schedule a task for the group, such as call or, send letter etc for the whole group and Act creates a task for each contact is this correct?

              I think the answer is yes, I give you an example in Prophet you would create an opportunity and select either a contact folder or choose the contacts you want to use as a part of this sales opportunity, in there you create your calendar entries, tasks, notes etc, even send e-mails to all the contacts in the opportunity. Prophet automatically links all the contacts to the task, calendar entry etc, so when you view each individual contact you see the task item associated with him, (one task linked to many contacts). Same goes for calendar entries, and emails.

              What is cool about this is that you can use the Sales opportunity for Doctors in this case as a hub were you manage all activities related to it, then for more close tracking you can generate an opportunity for each individual contact as well.

              Furthermore, Prophet has a window called Prophet today were you can see a list of tasks and calendar items due that day both Outlook and Prophet so from this window you can easily access the opportunity associated with the task or calendar item.

              I hope this helps but take advantage of Avidian's sales/support and ask questions and explain to them your current processes in Act and they will show you how it works in Prophet.

              It takes couple of days to adjust to the different work processes, but after you do that you will realise the power of prophet quickly. For me there is now going back to Act, as I like using one program to manage emails, tasks, contacts etc, and with Prophet it is great.
              Last edited by joeycan; 11-14-2005, 01:51 PM.

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              • #8
                Thanks, Joey. I'm afraid I've fallen into a common GTD trap of searching for the end-all-be-all solution. I wasted tremendous time on Agendus & even more on ACT, so you can appreciate my reluctance to start over again.

                But then I think of what a sales machine I would be if I just had that perfect GTD system in place, humming along on autopilot. That GTD nirvana may well be worth the price!

                So your system is:
                --Outlook enhanced by GTD Add-In and Prophet as GTD/Sales dashboard
                --Keysuite as conduit to Palm
                --Treo 650 as Palm device

                Are you satisfied with this GTD/Sales system and do you think you're "done"?

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                • #9
                  Cuffey I edited my post after playing with your scenario, I think this will work for you.

                  Yes OL 2003, GTD Add-in (for projects etc.), prophet as sales dashboard, this is my mind like water set-up in Outlook.

                  KeySuite or Palm Conduits, (KeySuite is not a must by no means, nice if you want to sync two machines, use many catagories in Outlook you want to bring over to Palm, if perfect synch between Outlook is a must)
                  Treo as Palm and Phone device

                  Good luck try Prophet they will pay you back if you don't like it.

                  (I don't work for them or have any stakes, just a happy user this software works right out of the box)

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                  • #10
                    Joey, could you describe how well Prophet and GTD Add-In work together? Being unfamiliar with both apps, I need to know a bit more before making the leap.

                    Specifically, how do you handle GTD Contexts? Are they created and reside within the GTD Add-In or Prophet or both? If both, is there any conflict or software confusion?

                    My contexts are (very simple):
                    @work
                    @home
                    @out

                    One problem I ran into with my ACT/CompanionLink/Treo set-up was getting my Contexts over to the Treo. Tasks got associated with the Category of the Contact (i.e. Doctors) even though within ACT I associated the Task itself with a Context (i.e. @work...calling Doctors)---Contact Category took priority with no workaround. So contexts became meaningless on the Treo & I don't want this to happen again with Prophet/GTD-Outlook/Keysuite/Treo.

                    Do Contexts and Categories work well together in your environment? Thanks.

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                    • #11
                      Cuffy,

                      That is the great thing about Prophet as it uses standard task, contact, and calendar forms in Outlook, if you have the add-in you will get the GTD Add-in task form when you create a task in Prophet. So if you are scheduling tasks in prophet you can assign GTD contexts to them there.

                      Contexts etc all works A1 over to the Treo or Palm, no issues with contacts etc, you probably had some Act link issues with Act.

                      This all works great together, this is another reason why I like Prophet so well as it does nothing to your current Outlook environment, just sits on top of it.

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                      • #12
                        I am having a demo and Q&A session this afternoon with a salesperson and will post back as to what I learned. I like the concept of salesforce, but simply can't give up or relearn my overall workflow just to use it.

                        I am interested in the reporting so that I can see at a glance which contacts in which markets I have not been in touch with recently. I will be asking about this and other things during my demo.

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