GoldMine Business Contact Manager review:

GoldMine Business Contact Manager

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CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Contains abundant CRM features, including sales tracking and report generation; integrates with several popular business apps, such as Microsoft Outlook; very easy to set up and learn.

The Bad No live phone support.

The Bottom Line When it comes to building and maintaining a hefty contact database, this solid, all-around customer relationship manager is perfect for growing businesses.

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8.0 Overall

GoldMine Business Contact Manager, the customer relationship management (CRM) app formerly known simply as GoldMine, provides an easy way to create a customer database, update it, and use it to get in touch and follow up with contacts. This version also offers a bevy of contact, sales, and marketing tools such as sales forecasting and report generation--more than enough for most small businesses.GoldMine Business Contact Manager, the customer relationship management (CRM) app formerly known simply as GoldMine, provides an easy way to create a customer database, update it, and use it to get in touch and follow up with contacts. This version also offers a bevy of contact, sales, and marketing tools such as sales forecasting and report generation--more than enough for most small businesses.

Lengthy but uncomplicated setup
You should experience little if any trouble setting up GoldMine, even if your business lacks a dedicated IT department. Simply insert the CD-ROM and answer a few questions that tell the software about how you'll use it, for example, whether it's for an individual or for multiple users. After you install the program, you must register with FrontRange before you can use it. Most other Windows applications don't make you register.

Familiar face
As with many CRM apps, GoldMine's interface looks a lot like Microsoft Outlook's: a taskbar sits on the left side of the work space and menu options line the top. We're impressed with the interface's clean look and its new customizability. You can now create up to 20 customized taskbars for, say, modifying or adding fields to contact records.

This CRM tool also integrates nicely with Outlook. So if, for instance, a staff writer stores data in Outlook, he or she could sync and share e-mail, address books, and calendar features with GoldMine-based sales reps. Likewise, GoldMine integrates with Microsoft Exchange 5.5, Lotus Notes 5.02, and Lotus CC:Mail.

Excellent contact management
Most of GoldMine's considerable strengths lie in its contact management tools. For example, whenever you create or send a letter, a fax, or e-mail, GoldMine automatically records your communications with each contact. And GoldMine's new iCal-standard meeting request feature sends invitations to contacts and team members who use other iCal-compliant programs, such as Outlook.

GoldMine contains competent sales features. For instance, you can forecast sales, complete transactions, and assign quotas for various employees. Also, from the Reports Menu, it's easy to create reports and charts to document and analyze sales data, including projected sales and cash flow.

Sync and swim
In keeping with today's mobile workplaces, GoldMine lets you synchronize with telecommuters, but the setup is somewhat lengthy. The administrator creates a profile for the remote worker and sends that person an e-mail message. An e-mail attachment walks the remote employee through the rest of the synchronization setup. You can also sync GoldMine with Palms and Pocket PCs.

Incomplete support
If you run into trouble using GoldMine, you're in luck. Of all the CRM programs we tested, GoldMine provides the most helpful documentation, including a detailed installation guide, a "What's New in Version 5.7" booklet, and an easy-to-follow user manual. In addition, FrontRange offers free online, e-mail, and newsgroup support. On the downside, there's no live telephone support. To get anything close to live support, you must file a support ticket on FrontRange's Web site; a technical-support staff member should send you a response within two days. It certainly worked in our test. Once, we received a response in just a few hours.

GoldMine Business Contact Manager gets the basics done right and includes so many features that small businesses will find almost everything they need. If your small business requires an easy, highly customizable, sophisticated contact manager with a minimal investment of time and money, you'll strike pay dirt with GoldMine.

Take me back to the roundup

In GoldMine, it's easy to access customer history and other valuable information from within a customer's contact record by clicking the appropriate tag.

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