In the course of your business you will come into contact with many people, only a certain number of whom will become customers. One of the key ways to maximise your efforts in networking is to make sure you’re collecting their details of every new face that comes across your inbox.
I’ve mentioned EverContact a couple of times in this series as it is very useful as a set-and-forget way to collect names from emails. But the standard service only runs once every 24 hours, and if you’re into keeping up-to-the-minute records like I am, it’s a little too long to wait.
This week I have been trialling EverContact’s browser plugin which immediately adds a contact from any text you select. The text doesn’t have to be an email signature – it can be on a PDF or web page. Just select the words and click the plugin button in the browser menu and a window appears with the data displayed for you to approve.
To date it’s the fastest method I’ve discovered for adding contacts to your address book in Gmail (or Google Apps). Users have the option of adding the customer to Google Contacts or to the address book on their computer (a Mac in my case). The latter downloads a .vcf file which on a Mac will add itself to Apple’s Address Book when opened.
There are three areas for improvement. The biggest drawback is that the EverContact window takes about four seconds to appear and you can’t click away from the page while this is happening. Perhaps on a quicker connection this would happen faster, but I think most people would expect an instant copy-paste response.
My solution is to copy the contact and jump to another tab to continue with another task.
The second drawback is that there’s no default setting to send new contacts to Google Contacts. You have to wait until its finished analysing the details and select Google Contacts each time.
The third concern is that the plugin only works with the Google Chrome browser. EverContact founder Brad Patterson told me that the plugin had only just been released and there were no immediate plans for other browsers just yet.
Despite these issues the EverContact remains the fastest way to add multiple fields of information directly to Google Contacts. There is a Gmail plan which costs US$35 per year for one user and an identical service for Google Apps users which costs US$4 per user a month.
Fastest Way to Add Contacts to Salesforce.com?
EverContact’s Chrome plugin also works with Salesforce.com, although the process is a little different. Salesforce.com divides its database into leads and contacts, and a user needs to determine how to file each contact.
Despite the manual process it is still a very fast way to add a contact from email into your Salesforce.com database.
“There’s definitely a need because people are paying three times as much as the Google apps service,” Patterson says. The Salesforce.com sales are driving user growth and revenue for EverContact and it is investing accordingly.
What is the difference between Other Contacts and My Contacts?
Gmail geeks may have wondered about the difference between two major groups in Google Contacts; Other Contacts and My Contacts. Google defines My Contacts as “addresses you care about” and Other Contacts are simply uncategorised contacts, but there is little written about how the two relate to each other.
Other Contacts is essentially a dumping ground of every email address that has been directly or indirectly (CC, BCC) involved with your own email address. Google moves across contacts from Other Contacts to My Contacts of its own accord but hasn’t explained how it does that, Patterson says.
“We think that Google has an algorithm so that when you have enough contact they will pull that contact to My Contacts,” Patterson says. He suspects the algorithm works on a number of triggers including the frequency of contact and the amount of information added to the contact’s profile in Other Contacts.
If EverContact adds enough information to a contact it will sometimes move it to My Contacts, Patterson adds.