Before the arrival and popularity of the PC, the kind of companies, that might have an early crude version of contact management software, were big. They usually had hugely expensive computer systems like mainframes and minis. Even with the arrival of the PC software for dealing with an organization’s contacts, took quite some time to be developed for widespread uses.
The early PC gained a following from people who were enthusiastic about the very limited application software initially available for them. The applications in question were mainly Word processor software and Spreadsheet software. Because this software justified buying a PC, these were termed “killer software”. It was generally agreed at the time by “those in the know” that there would be no PC sales without such applications.
Software applications that would be sorely missed, for want of a better phrase, by many people today are legion. In fact most people have many of them on their individual PCs. These so called “killer applications” span a very wide range of application types. Possibly one of the most ubiquitous such killer application is the e-mail application. Who could operate today without e-mail? Indeed there are many “killer applications” currently in use that justify that name, because the business might well suffer a near fatal blow if any one of them were suddenly to disappear.
What are the applications that most businesses use, without which their efficiency and thus survival might be compromised? Apart from bespoke software unique to a company or industry, few companies could operate efficiently without e-mail software. Secondly, they would have a difficult task running their Accounts department without the relevant software.
About fifteen or twenty years ago, depending on which applications you refer to, the idea of writing specific applications to handle contact management came on the agenda . It’s not surprising because managing large number of contacts and their history and interaction is a fairly ideal job for a computer program. It’s not surprising also that contact management software became so popular, since a lot of sales and marketing departments use it. And since sales and marketing departments are by definition, the prime revenue generators of any business they often get particular attention.
Modern contact management software is ideal for this purpose. The first thing is that specific data is initially entered into the system for each new contact. Such contacts can be either sales contacts or supplier contacts. After the information of name, address, company, e-mail address, phone number etc is in the system, all further dealings are recorded in the database. This includes a record of conversations, emails sent and received, letters sent and received, and notes taken.
Not alone does the software allow this kind of history and its research, it also allows the generation of reports related to any aspect of the contact database. This is possible because most contact management software is built on the structure of a relational database. So the most complex extraction of information is facilitated via a clear user-friendly interface.
Another important feature of this type of software is its “reminder” function. It can set reminders for future events, be they meetings to attend, phone calls to be made, or Tasks to be carried-out. Usually the software has the facility also to issue automatic e-mail reminders of such event to any of other parties involved.
All these facilities are extremely useful and close to indispensable. However, many users maintain that the feature they could not really operate without is to do with mailing lists. The capability of contact management software to generate mailing lists is powerful and of great value particularly in the sales context. A user can tell the system to extract a list of all contacts in particularly categories. A category could be the contacts in a particular town. Another category might be all contacts in a particular industry. The contact management software can then be instructed to send a e-mail to all of these. Alternatively it can be set up to produce a letter for printing for posting. In such circumstances the software may also print the envelopes.