BigContacts, a good lightweight SFA solution

My first reaction to seeing BigContacts was “how could you build a business off contact management” almost immediately forgetting that some very successful products (ACT!) have done just that.

Note to self: always remember that it’s not the product feature set that makes the product but the context by which it is rendered to users.

Contact management is not a business, it is a lever that is pulled to give utility to applications. For example, the emerging killer feature in gmail is the address book that is compiled as you use it, which is then repurposed to the other applications, like Calendar, to give Google a legitimate competitor to Outlook.

For BigContacts the SFA opportunity for low SMB is ripe for picking because the dominant products for sales professionals at this level are long in the tooth and backed by companies not known for pushing any envelope when it comes to extending them in innovative ways.

I’m not referring to, which is obviously a dominating player here as well but their price points and broader functional footprint mean they still fit the “M” part of SMB better than the “S” part of the market. It’s not a criticism, just an observation.

I’ve been using BigContacts and generally like it, although I would say that the UI could withstand some streamlining but want to emphasize that it’s not a bad UI and I would be remiss in not pointing out that this is a beta release as well. In using it I was reminded of one of my favorite blog posts titled trying something versus using something.

This is exactly the kind of service that Teqlo is built to hook into rather than building contact mgmt components from scratch. I immediately saw a great opportunity to build some components that pulled data from and feed into BigContacts. This is where the “context” part of everything comes together because while BigContacts could build to the obvious opportunities such as a solution for real estate professionals, what about the less obvious ones like home inspectors who are also in the real estate vertical but need a unique solution?


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4 thoughts on BigContacts, a good lightweight SFA solution

  1. Jeff, I think you’re definitely on the right track as regards the market opportunity for producst like Big Contacts. ACT has sold millions of copies of it’s contact manager into small businesses over the years. And salesforce has pretty much abandoned the small business market as it works to close big deals with Cisco, Merril Lynch and others.

    Tools like Google calendar and their anemic address book offer very little to small businesses. No ssl, no uploading of files and photos, no link between calendar events and contacts, no tasks, etc. The single most important feature of a contact management system is having a history of everything you have done with a contact that is easily accessible by your whole team. Otherwise you cannot support your customers and clients. A true contact manager is a business tool, Google’s products are consumer products.

    Thanks again for the comments. Love the blog. — Paul

  2. I’m following BigContact with interest. I’m developing a similar product called Plaid.

    And when Jeff wrote, “Note to self: always remember that it’s not the product feature set that makes the product but the context by which it is rendered to users.” I smiled.

    Plaid is a contact manager (of sorts) for church ministry leaders. Church management software is often so complex and bloated with features that actually practitioners in ministry don’t use the products.

    I’d be interested to hear if Jeff thinks that a contact manager with a niche focus like Plaid has a chance. (FYI: I estimate the church management software market to be about $3 billion).

  3. Pingback » Dennis Howlett’s equation: Attention + composition = x2 revenue | Between the Lines |

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