Monday, September 20, 2010

Goodbye Rolodex, Hello Fax...Wait, What?

Those of a certain age will remember the golden era of American business when being a salesman meant the obligatory Rolodex, luxury air travel, dedicated secretary, and the three-hour lunch. The facsimile machine was a marvel to behold - simplifying document sharing, accelerating signatures close and far, and freeing up time for a round of golf. Today, the Rolodex is gone, air travel is, well, less than civilized, you're your own administrative assistant, and lunch is ten minutes at your desk.

But whatever happened to the fax machine? Well, in the words of the inimitable Mark Twain, "the reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated." With an estimated 20 million fax machines still operational across the US, faxing remains vital to the operation of many businesses - used to order inventory, invoice customers, and comply with legal and regulatory documentation requirements. Anyone who works in (or who has customers in) healthcare, real estate, or the financial industry still see faxing as a core element in their day-to-day business. Go figure!

For the folks selling to these businesses today, it's all about the pipeline or funnel - filling it, managing it, reporting on it...from anywhere at any time! To do this efficiently and effectively, most businesses have gone electronic with their prospecting and sales forecasting activities, somewhere between spreadsheet management and fully deployed Customer Relationship Management (CRM). So where does faxing fit in this new, searchable, mobile, online age of sales?

The trick is in integrating the best of the old with the best of the new, as opposed to forcing new or different workflows on your prospects and clients, or trying to keep track of two parallel communications channels. Let's look at Salesforce CRM and the integrated MyFax app as an example.

MyFax for Salesforce CRM (available via AppExchange) enables users to securely send, receive, and manage their faxes from within Salesforce CRM. This integrated solution:

  • Provides an integrated record of all client/contact communications across the organization - sales, marketing, finance, audit, support, etc.;
  • Enables the receipt and sending of communications requiring a signature (i.e. PO, LOI, contract) from anywhere with Web access;
  • Delivers immediate organizational cost savings and related efficiencies;
  • Integrates faxing into the marketing mix with email to fax and fax to email options;
  • Improves the fax user experience - internally and externally.

If you haven't tried MyFax for AppExchange, click here to get started. And as always, share comments below on how YOU integrate fax into your sales workflow.

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