TeleMagic 4.0
Contact management for shorter sales cycles is this veteran's strong suit.
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TeleMagic is one of the genuine veterans of the CRM industry. I first reviewed this program in 1988 and have followed its evolution since then.

Being a pioneer in the software business can frequently be a mixed blessing, though. The innovative new features of one release can easily become excess baggage when facing a new release. It takes tremendous self-discipline for a software developer to break with the past and embrace new concepts as this fast-paced field moves on to new technologies and user interface ideas. So let's see if this latest version of TeleMagic offers something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.

Contact Management
As you might imagine from the program's long history, TeleMagic provides powerful contact management capabilities with a mature, built-in calendar system. Users can select fields for duplicate record checking. Security can be set up on a field-by-field basis that controls whether users can view or edit the data in a field.

If a user enters the first characters in a contact's name, Goto will locate the first match (i.e., if a user enters S, he will be taken to the first name starting with S. If he enters Sm, he will be taken to the first name starting with Sm). The user can search for data in any indexed field. He can also use filters to build a query for data and can easily browse screens sorted by the current index.

The TeleMagic Activity Manager provides all of the functionality common to calendar programs, plus an uncommon level of integration with the rest of the program. View lists of activities for any contact record, display the next pending activity right on the contact's record and get instant access to contact details from a linked activity-even if the contact is in another database.

The calendar screens have been designed to provide quick access to information. On-screen icons, color coding and prioritization provide at-a-glance insight into your day. Check boxes provide instant identification of pending and completed items. To-Dos immediately indicate whether they are pending, due today or overdue.

Each view allows every user to easily schedule and view their workload. Users can tell at a glance what needs to be done, what has been done and what should have already been done.

TeleMagic's contact management capabilities are its strongest feature.

Sales Management
The only real sales management tool provided is a simple forecasting capability. Fields are provided to track projected sale date, probability of closure and budget amounts. There is also a tab to monitor the Sales Progress. This gives you seven steps-a needless arbitrary limitation-to define the steps involved in your sales process. Once defined, you can track the process of your opportunities through these seven steps. There are also several preformatted reports that you can use to analyze sales forecasting accuracy and evaluate the overall performance of your salespeople.

These limited sales management capabilities will prove insufficient for many sales situations, especially big-ticket, long buy-cycle sales scenarios.

"Security can be set up on a field-by-field basis that controls whether users can view or edit data in a field."

Sales Impact
I review sales automation programs with the premise that they should help you make more sales. With that in mind, I ask two questions. Does the program help you cover basics like periodic phoning and follow-up letters? Simple stuff, but the problem is finding time to do it. A good sales automation program not only vigilantly reminds you to do these things, but also makes them easier. In this regard, TeleMagic is a strong performer.

The second question I ask is, does the program break new ground? Does the program help you take steps you might not have taken otherwise? Here I look for things like automated strategy assistance. Does the program automatically help you plot sales strategies? Or help you notice if you are spending too much time with one prospect? In this regard, TeleMagic needs work. Sadly, TeleMagic provides minimal sales impact.

Ease of Use
TeleMagic consists of menus, windows and dialog boxes that make it easy for you to use the program. The TeleMagic menu system consists of the menu bar, menu pads, menus and menu options. The system toolbar is located directly below the Main menu bar and provides quick access to TeleMagic's most commonly used commands. The system toolbar can be customized to hold buttons that represent the menu commands you use most often.

Since the main user interface, the contact screen, is completely user defined, you can create screens that display whatever information you choose, in whatever format you like. However, the example screens provided for this review look distinctly like the old DOS screens. If you have grown fond of the Outlook or browser style user interface, TeleMagic will seem clunky to you.

The program is written in Microsoft FoxPro for Windows version 2.6 and uses the FoxPro database engine. TeleMagic uses a three-level relational database design. For example, you could define the top level to keep track of your accounts, the second level could keep track of your contacts in those accounts and the third level might keep track of various contracts you have with those contacts. Though this approach works nicely for many sales situations, it seems like an arbitrary and unnecessary limitation in these days of powerful relational databases.

TeleMagic screens are completely customizable. Each user may have his own custom view of the database. Differences in views can be as simple as different color settings, up to an entirely different set of fields. Views can also be used to organize your contacts. For example, you may have a view for lead qualification. Once a lead is qualified, you may have a view for sales prospects. Finally, once a sale is made, you may have a view for existing customers. This same record can be viewed in three different ways as the contact's relationship with your company evolves. The number of views is unlimited, and you can have up to 999 pages for each view.

TeleMagic can be easily customized to meet the requirements of many different sales situations, though it will be most effective in short or continuous sales cycles.

The Bottom Line
If you are upgrading from a previous version of TeleMagic, you should upgrade to this 32-bit version at once. The fully revamped activity manager is more easily customized to reflect the way you work and you'll appreciate the many other new features. If you are shopping, should you consider TeleMagic? If you have a strong internal commitment to FoxPro, you may like TeleMagic. If your sales team is primarily interested in outbound contact management for short sales cycles, the program could work very well for you. The program provides easy to use, built-in capabilities for communicating with your prospects by mail, e-mail, fax, wireless pager and, of course, the telephone. Most users of TeleMagic are likely to spend their entire day within the program. If that sounds like your situation, you'll want to check out this industry veteran.

At a Glance

Sage U.S. Group,
17950 Preston Road, Suite 800,
Dallas, TX 75252

Telephone: (800) 835-6244
FAX: (972) 733-4251
E-mail: tmsales@sageus.com
Web: www.telemagic.com

The typical price for a single user system is: $315
The typical price for a 5-user system is: $1,699
The typical price for a 10-user system is: $2,799
For price estimates on larger installations, please contact the company directly.

These prices include a 1-year maintenance, which includes fax or e-mail support, updates and upgrades through the life of the maintenance agreements. Maintenance agreements may be renewed annually. Based on the company's model for doing business, the recommended minimum number of seats for installing a TeleMagic system is five users.

Hit or Miss?

Contact Management 3
Sales Management 1
Sales Impact 1
Ease of Use 2
Flexibility 2

1=Falls short
2=Meets expectations
3=Exceeds quota

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