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Managing Your Contacts

Our homebased expert tells you why you can't live without a good contact management program.

This story appears in the December 2000 issue of

Q: I've been hired to do sales and marketing for a wholesale company that drop ships all kinds of merchandise to businesses. They sell everything from plumbing and electrical supplies to janitorial and office supplies to businesses like hospitals, schools and nursing homes. I'm new at this and need help starting out. For example, should I buy marketing software? Where can I get sample sales letters to give me ideas?

A: With such a wide assortment of products and business prospects, it's essential that you organize your marketing program from the start using contact management software. Part scheduler and part marketing assistant with an ironclad memory, a good contact management program can save you time when producing letters, memos and proposals, and by taking the complexity out of mail merges so you can communicate efficiently with groups of prospects. (Many programs also include sample business letters as well.) For example, suppose you want to send a mailing to all hospitals that purchase office supplies from the company you've been hired by. Once you've recorded the information in the fields supplied, your contact manager can assemble your list on the spot.

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