Sage CRM is fundamentally a communications management system. It can be used to manage the exchanges staff have with other organizations, and in the context of something specific such as a customer service issue, a job, or an opportunity.
Communications can easily be categorized, customized, and reported on.
Inbound and Outbound communication records can be entered (1) directly from the Sage CRM interface, (2) from MS Outlook, or (3) from your phone. Communications can also (4) automatically come into Sage CRM from an email or via an integration with your website.
Sage CRM is not a replacement for MS Outlook (or other email clients). Rather, Sage CRM works in tandem with MS Outlook. The sub-sections below review the various ways we can get emails in to and out of Sage CRM.
There are several ways to get outbound messages out of Sage CRM. These can be automatic emails that go out or deliberate emails the user sends to either individuals or groups of contacts. Below are several examples.
Outbound emails can automatically go out via an escalation rule or workflow action. I have provided a couple of examples below, however, Sage can support almost any situation can you imagine.
From within Sage CRM, we can send out emails to individuals. We can do this under the person record, or from the context of a case, opportunity, or anything else. We can simply send out a free text email, or we can email using pre-built email templates. Whenever we send out an email from Sage CRM, the system automatically records a copy of the email.
From MS Outlook, using Accelerator, we can do the same as above. Using Accelerator, we can still leverage our contacts and our Sage CRM email templates, however, the user must consciously decide if they want a copy of the email in Sage CRM or not.
Sage CRM makes it easy to segment your contacts into meaningful groups. You can do this from the FIND / PERSON screen or by creating a re-usable group.
We can email our groups directly from Sage CRM or we can pass our group over to Mailchimp. Sage CRM has a good (and free) integration with Mailchimp.
Most commonly, users consciously decide on which communication records should be filed into Sage CRM and where they should be filed. The best way is to file emails into Sage CRM using Accelerator. Additionally, clients can leverage the Advanced Email Management tools to automatically pull emails into CRM.
The Advanced integration between MS Outlook and Sage CRM is referred to as Accelerator. Almost all our clients use this practical tool. Accelerator makes it very easy to file emails against the correct record in Sage CRM, maybe the person, or maybe you need to file the email against a specific opportunity, or job.
When filing the email, the user can decide to:
This feature enables Sage CRM to pick up emails submitted to a specific address as well as do something specific based on that email address. For example, all emails submitted to email@example.com can automatically come into Sage CRM and create a ticket/case. That is just a single practical example, but you can create as many of these scenarios as you wish.
Within Sage CRM, tasks and appointments share a lot of similarities. For example,
When using Outlook’s calendaring feature, you can connect an appointment to the correct Sage CRM record.
The communication record will then also display within Sage CRM under the appropriate Person, Company (and Case or Opportunity).
IMPORTANT: With this option, appointments created directly in Sage CRM do not appear in one’s Outlook Calendar.
Sage CRM does offer an Exchange integration. Some installs use this but it is rare. With the Exchange integration, appointments created directly in either Sage CRM or Outlook will display in both systems.
A key limitation of the Exchange sync is that communications added into one’s Outlook Calendar do not recognize the Sage CRM company, person, or case (etc.) that the communication is referencing. This means that, while we can see staff’s activities, those activities do not appear within the communication history of the correct company, person, or case (etc.) record in Sage CRM.
Often, clients use Sage CRM to measure how often (or not) they interact with their customers, prospects, and suppliers. This can be a very practical way to stay on top of accounts.
This image shows fields on the Company summary screen that reflects data from the communications tab.
A similar set of fields can display on the screens for individual Cases, Leads, and Opportunities.