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Thread: Organize contacts by account (company)

  1. #1
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    Organize contacts by account (company)

    Am in the market for my 1st smartphone and was set on a Droid until I was told I had to give all my accounts and contact info to the mysterious Google cloud. This is my private information, not Google's. Your software and the USB sync to Palm desktop appear to be the fix. However, the Palm software has one major flaw for a business user that I have had to manufacture a work around for years - the inablility to process contacts as a subset of a business name. I have about 500 accounts (companies), each with 1-10 people that I deal with, each with their own contact information at the account (company provided cell phone, company email address, etc.). Current available software makes the individual contact the focal point rather than the business. This is unusable for all practical purposes in today's business climate with takeovers and consolidation leading to more and more national and regional chains than individual business. Consider the following examples.

    Scenario 1: I call on 156 Lowe's stores with an average of 5 contacts each. Enter 750-800 of these contacts all with a company name of Lowe's. You need to call the Lowe's store in Richmond, VA and speak with whoever is running the flooring department today/this week/this month whose name you can't remember. Find that using a sort by company name - it ain't gonna happen.

    Scenario 2: I'm going to Richmond, VA in two weeks and want to set up my appointments. I want to look at my prospects in Richmond, my current accounts in Richmond, and maybe a couple of architects/engineers to perhaps generate some product specifications on future projects. So I scroll through all 2500 contacts to see which ones are in Richmond (yes, I would know the business name of current customers - but if it were a national or reginal chain with numerous locations, see scenario 1).

    What is needed in business contact managment software is company selection. You have a company first, and under that are all of the contacts that work there. You should be able to sort by company name, city/st, contact last name, and contact first name. One could then plan his trip to Richmond by sorting on city name, and all the companies (not individual contacts) in Richmond are displayed. Tap/click on the company, and there are the individual contacts for that company. You should also have a display mode that shows business name-city/state name (Lowes - Richmond, VA) in addition to business name/last name and lastname/first name. Is there any hope for this arrangement of data? I can't be the only person that has this issue.

    I'm also going to throw in a question - is there a limit to the number of categories allowed?

  2. #2
    Senior Member DJOCTO's Avatar
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    Hunter seeker, welcome to our Forums!

    Thanks for posting. I've needed someone in your shoes to bounce ideas off of. As a 20 year veteran of sync, I'm aware there is a subset of CRM users who call on relatively few companies, but multiple people within each company. A majority of people get their information from mailing lists, or business cards, and have nearly a 1-to-1 ratio of clients to companies. But some people call on companies within an industry and work with multiple people within each company. This is a less common case, but still very important.

    Categories are probably a good solution, at least temporarily. There is no limit to the number of Categories in DejaOffice.

    Currently, each record can be assigned only one Category. I think I'll raise the priority to assign multiple categories for both Android and iPhone. This would allow you to make a category for each Company (and even Company-Location) and also Location. It also solves a niggly problem where location is not always the exact city; for instance a nearby (now closed) Lowe's is located in Beaverton 97005 but was commonly called Lowe's Portland being on the border of the much larger city. This much I can get into place within 30 days. What PC CRM are you using? We have category mapping in ACT! but not yet for BCM. For Outlook you would need to map by hand, although this isn't very hard using the column view.

    In the long run, it would be good to do a Section header by Company. I think Windows Mobile did this. But this doesn't solve the problem that the "Formal" company name (mailing address) may not include the location, and also that it doesn't group by region. For the latter, neither Zip code grouping nor City grouping really works. I'm still thinking this part out if you have suggestions.

    What do you think?

  3. #3
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    I'm using Palm desktop and a Palm Vx. I have been looking at ACT! trying to determine if it would do what I need prior to purchase. So far I can't tell. I had thought that groups could possibly function as a workaround since most email software provides for groups, but I didn't see that your software supports groups. So the category question came to mind - creating names such as "Richmond - Lowes" (you are correct about the Lowe's store names vs. city by the way - did you call on Lowe's stores in another life? Freaky!). Unless you can display categories as a list (the Palm can not), I'm in the same boat. The Palm displays the names in the category, not the categories.

    I currently map city to Last Name & Company Name to First Name. Then I do a Last Name/First Name sort. Individual people at the company are listed in "Notes" along with their cell #'s and emails. The Palm only displays a set amount of info though, so I have problems with that. Also, if I get a message with a name, but not where they work, I can't find them unless I can remember that. It certainly wouldn't allow me to 'select and call' in a smart phone. I've been an unhappy camper for a while.

    Also, there are more of us out there than you might think. Any salesperson with a territory and/or established customers is in the same boat. Any salesperson, any industry. Cold calls, telemarketers, ebiz, etc. may work from lists, but most B2B is still done on a regular basis, face to face or not, with regular customers - not one and done. Repeat business makes the world go 'round, and everything on the planet is sold at least once. I hope you make me and millions of others happy.

  4. #4
    Senior Member DJOCTO's Avatar
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    Hunter, we have supported ACT! since version 2 (around 1989). We provide many options for ACT! In particular, we allow you to map Groups to Categories. So one way of configuring is to make your ACT! Group into a Category on your device. This would be very powerful for you. ACT! Groups can be dynamically allocated, so you can make City name into a Group.

    Before I became a computer geek I worked for Toys R Us and for some retail stores. If I recall correctly, Dayton Hudson and May Company were dividing the nation and buying all competitors. It didn't matter what the name was on the store, if you didn't work for Dayton, you worked for May. Sometimes the true owner was buried three levels above a given chain name. I imagine our 21st century Big-Box stores are pretty much the same.

    Face to face is key. Our goal is to make a product for everyone who works on the road. If I can save everyone 30 minutes a day in organizing, and 1 critical sale a week in communication, then we both win. I'm dedicated to continue on this path. Thanks for the info!

  5. #5
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    About 30 days ago I upgraded to the EVO. In Outlook I have multiple categories assigned to Personal Contacts and BCM Contacts. When I cannot remember a name, I search by category. Having the ability to assign multiple categories to BCM and Personal contacts is a "must have" feature. What can we expect regarding this feature request?

  6. #6
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    Hello! I travel frequently for business. I use DJO 1.6.4 on an HTC Evo with CLE 4.008 and sync to ACT!. I finally gave up my Palm 755p with ACT! for Palm as it was getting old. I use Search in Contacts frequently and miss being able to lookup by State or City. ACT for Palm search worked very well for me as it included City and State and numerous other relevent contact search fields. While in ACT! for Palm Contacts you just clicked the search icon and either choose a default search field or clicked Other to get a dropdown list that offered more fields. It was very simple, efficient and helpful when working on the road and relying on our customer database from my phone. Please consider adding similar Contact Search features to DJO. This would save having to add location based Categories to each contact record. Thanks for all your work!

  7. #7
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    CLCTO:

    I have completed creating a "group"/category for each company that is City-Company Name, bought CompanionLink Express, sync'd after a fix was issued by CompanionLink, and am good to go. Multiple categories works as well. I can browse Categories by city, select a Category(company), and see the names of the individuals that work there, thus solving the problem of finding one individual working for a national chain with multiple (200 +) locations (whew!). This very involved workaround does come at a price.

    1) I now have 1500 categories which somewhat defeats the original purpose of having categories. I always have to look through all 1500 categories which is not that much different than scrolling through all 5000 names.

    2) The browse/scroll is painstakingly slow. Going from Aberdeen to Washington is quite the undertaking (40 seconds of scrolling). In the contacts view, there is a scroll button that allows you o go from A-Z in one full screen swipe. This feature should be added to categories as well.

    I still feel, of course, that the hiearchy for business contacts should be company-contact rather than contact-company, and a sort/display based on city-company-name. With this setup, there would be no need for the workaround, and categories could function solely as categories. If frogs had wings, etc.....

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