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CRM with Business Contact Manager helped my business give better service

Helen Murdoch is the brains behind H M Marketing, a specialist marketing consultancy in Porthcawl, South Wales.

With two part-time employees and an extensive network of associates, she has been helping small and medium-sized business improve their marketing for a decade. So it's no surprise that she runs Microsoft Outlook Business Contact Manager, a customer relationship management program.

Business Contact Manager (BCM) lets her store all her client data in one place. It links contact information with a database of all the emails relating to that client, a list of sales opportunities and other documents such as phone call notes and Microsoft Office documents. The whole thing is integrated into Microsoft Outlook 2003 and works seamlessly with it.

Bits of paper

"Before BCM, I was using lots of bits of paper and also various Excel spreadsheets," says Murdoch, "I didn't have a formalised system." In a case of 'physician heal thyself' she decided that she needed to digitise these records and apply more of a system to them.

Quote�I felt that a lot of systems were too cumbersome.�End Quote

She looked at lots of different programs before settling on BCM in April 2005. "I needed flexibility but at the same time a simple system that I could tailor to what I wanted to do," she explains. "I felt that a lot of systems were too cumbersome."

Familiarity was a big factor in her choice. Because BCM works hand-in-hand with Outlook 2003 she didn't have to learn a whole new interface. "You need to plug it in and off you go. You need to see the benefits quickly. That's certainly been the case with BCM."

Plug and go

Because it is integrated with her server which runs Microsoft Small Business Server 2003, she can access her customer data remotely, from client offices, from her laptop or her office computer. She can also share the contact data with her associates.

Quote�The tracking of data and relationships has been excellent.�End Quote

"The tracking of data and relationships has been excellent. The split screen means that I can see what I need very quickly," she says. This has proved particularly valuable when it comes to writing case studies and articles for her clients. The back-and-forth communication required to get them reviewed and approved is all logged under each client so she can see exactly what's going on and what to do next.

Things get even more complicated when she works for public sector organisations in Wales, where much of the writing has to be bilingual. Not only must she track client approvals but also changes to the Welsh language version. "BCM is very, very good at that," she says.

The next evolution is to start tracking new business opportunities and generating more targeted mailouts and emails. BCM makes it easy to do this too.

BCM is helping H M Marketing provide a better service to its clients, reduce the owner's stress levels and cut down on unnecessary paper shuffling. Murdoch is pleased and the proof of the pudding is in the eating: "I don't have lots of bits of paper now."

What next?

The best way to see if Office 2003 can help your business is to give it a go yourself. Order the free 60-day trial now.

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