The Amazing PC

Contact Central

The owners and five sales representatives of Douglass Inc., a family-owned manufacturers' representative agency, work from their home offices. While this affords them greater flexibility, Matthew Douglass, 39; his father, Charles, 63; and his uncle, Dick, 57, felt employees of their Indianapolis company could work more effectively as a team, especially when processing quotes and orders.

For Douglass Inc., the answer was GoldMine 4.0 Standard Edition ($295; http://www.goldminesw.com), a contact management program from GoldMine Software. With the help of a reseller that created a customized system for the company, Douglass Inc. now has one central place where everyone downloads the activity logs, quotes and orders they've created in GoldMine, rather than taking the time to fax the information to one another.

Furthermore, GoldMine has helped the company create a polished image. "Our correspondence looks much better because we use templates," Matthew says. "Everyone's [quotes and letters] look the same, instead of being handwritten like before."

Contact management software is about more than just organizing contacts. It's about automating your sales processes to retain and attract new customers. Ultimately, Douglass Inc. has used it to improve communications with clients and provide better customer service by delivering quotes and orders in a more efficient manner.

If you're unfamiliar with contact management programs, you may want to check out Symantec's Small Business/Home Office Trial CD (http://www.symantec.com/trialware). By calling (800) 835-6222, you can get Symantec's award-winning ACT! contact management software, WinFax PRO, Norton Utilities 3.0, Norton AntiVirus 4.0 and pcANYWHERE for a 30-day free trial.

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