Mike Muhney The Godfather Of CRM & 22 Others To Speak At Chicago TechWeek

Mike Muhney, VIPOrbit, ACT, Chicago TechWeek, Dallas StartupCustomer relationship management, or CRM has been big business since the late 1980’s. Sure these days everyone is very aware of Salesforce the cloud based CRM solution, but before there were clouds, the internet, mobile devices and salesforce there was ACT. ACT was the standard in CRM solutions starting in 1987. There are thousands of companies that still use ACT today.

While the backbone of any CRM software is a robust database, by name and by virtue CRM software is designed to help manage relationships. How do you know somebody, what do you know about somebody, how is one person related to another. These are all things that effective sales people, marketers, managers, and entrepreneurs count on to help reach the bottom line.

Mike Muhney is one of the cofounders of the original ACT software and over the past year he’s been taking over 25 years of experience in customer relationship management and pouring it into VIPOrbit, barnone the best mobile CRM solution out there.

We first met Muhney last year at Chicago TechWeek where he was introducing the world to VIP Orbit. We spent a lot of time with him during techweek and learned so much about not just VIP Orbit but about effectively managing relationships. Stuff that hundreds of books have been written on since the introduction of ACT.

I remember in earlier parts of my worklife reading about CRM and using ACT. ACT and by proxy now, VIPOrbit, allow you to manage the littlest details that can result in so much more when applying that information down the road.

For instance back in the 90’s during my radio career as a Music Director and Program Director I had the chance to use ACT at various stations. I would keep my ACT up to date with little information about record reps that would call on me, what we could get from them, who they could help us out with and even kids names and birthdays. They would keep a lot of the same information on the radio people they called on. It would insure great birthday cards but in one instance I vaguely remember one rep that was courting me on a record who knew I loved Jerry’s Subs and Pizza from Washington DC. I had moved on to a station in North Carolina but that rep brought me down a steak and cheese on a visit. I asked him how he remembered and he said he put it in his ACT.

The same holds true today for me and my VIPOrbit database. It’s easy for me to keep track of who knows who in the startup world and where I met them. I even have notes about various gate keepers. You can charm your way past a gate keeper if you know the right information.

While the application is phenomenal, what Muhney can teach people about relationships and how to apply it them in the entrepreneurial world will really help in the long run. The amount of data you can find on the internet and then apply to your CRM solution can give anyone the cutting edge.

VIPOrbit will be set up in booth 8-9121 near the Bar TechWeek area during the conference. There you’ll be able to find out all about VIPOrtbit and how it can really help you manage your relationships. You can test drive the iPad and iPhone apps. You can also pick up a copy of Muhney’s book, “Who’s In Your Orbit, Beyond Facebook, Creating Relationships That Matter”.

More importantly Muhney is one of 23 top shelf speakers who will be speaking during TechWeek. His talk  “The Business of Meaningful Relationships: Perils & Opportunities” will be presented at 10:30 am on Saturday June 29th. I highly suggest if you’re attending TechWeek you don’t miss it.

Some of the other great speakers include: Matthew Bellows ,founder & CEO of Yesware; Robin Chase, founder and CEO of Zipcar and now Buzzcar; Tony Conrad, founder of About.me; serial entrepreneur Adam Goldenberg; PJ Hyett founder of Github; Matt Jacobson VP at Battery Ventures, and many more.

You can still register for Chicago Techweek happening June 27-29th at the Merchandise Mart. Follow this link to registration.

Check out these stories from last year’s Chicago TechWeek!

Muhney will also be keynoting here:


Mike Muhney: Business Is A Contact Sport, Your Mobile Device Gives You A Competitive Edge

Mike Muhney,VIP Orbit,CRM,Startup,Guest Post,Dallas Startup,ACTBusiness is a contact sport. And every contact counts, as does the way you treat them. After all, your customers are your competition’s potential customers. And those you’ve yet to reach, well, their business is only one good play away. The competitor who wins their business will most likely do so by utilizing whatever means possible to reach them first and best. Make no mistake about it, whether your competition considers you a threat or not, they want you to be a casualty.

More often than not, the success of your business efforts depends on more than the product or service that you provide. It’s also determined by the attention that you deliver to customers and potential customers in order to grow your business. As you prioritize building effective relationships, you’ll not only gain, you’ll maintain a powerful, competitive edge. So how can your mobile devices be used to help you to compete more successfully? Three words: Mobile relationship management. With the powerful tools available on mobile devices, there is no longer an excuse for not building better business relationships.

Back in the mid-80’s, the laptop computer and its mobile technology enabled people to have access not only to their spreadsheets and word processing documents at all times but also their contact information, both business and personal. It’s no coincidence that of all the applications professionals had with them at all times, they found having the breadth and depth of information about each of their contacts most useful. They were the first business “competitors” to recognize that business was truly a contact sport. They could deal with more people, more effectively than those who relied on paper systems and were faster and better than their competitors at leveraging that information.

For the first time, professionals could take along their digital files for anytime/anywhere access to their entire filing system of all the pertinent contact data and their entire relationship history with those contacts. Compared to those who didn’t use mobile devices for the purpose of disciplined contact management, they had a significant edge in demonstrating their concern, credibility, and competence. Today’s competitor has even more efficient means at their disposal, the tools available on their smartphones and tables.

When they first emerged, laptop adoption was slow, and the number of users harnessing the power of mobile computing for contact management was even smaller. Those days are long gone. With millions of people carrying a mobile computing device, a smartphone or tablet, there has never been a better time or means to manage your relationships, calendars, and communications on-the-go, all with the goal of winning more business.

Imagine if, in addition to all the other fun ways you use your mobile devices, you now have instant recall with photographic-memory-like detail regarding every contact in your network, and everything you know about them. Sure, your competitors can see that stuff, too. Not much of a competitive advantage there. Instead, you can go above and beyond by capturing, recording, and following up on the information you exchange privately.

In addition to this insider-information, a mobile relationship manager is the best personal assistant…ever! It helps you schedule important meetings and calls, alerts you of impending deadlines, or even reminds you of a little detail that could mean a lot to your contact. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a full-time personal assistant, they probably aren’t on-call 24/7. But your mobile device is!

Whether you work for yourself, a small company, or even a large one, everyone is his or her own business. Your “employment” is dependent on results, most of which don’t occur without a strong network of real relationships. Further, whether you like it or not, everyone is in sales. That’s right, whether you’re an accountant, attorney, or architect, what you are is a salesperson. Why? Because even if you’re not selling a product or service, you’re selling your ideas or your methodology, even if it’s just to your supervisor. The bottom line is that we all deal with people and are therefore relationship-centric to some degree. Managing those relationships more effectively than your competitors, even those in your own organization, gives you a competitive advantage.

Don’t forget that every person with whom you have a relationship also represents countless others, the people in their networks, with whom you could potentially reach, as well. Demonstrating concern, credibility, and competence could determine whether or not you obtain access to them. Who would risk their own reputation by recommending someone whom they don’t know or who hasn’t earned their recommendation? For that reason alone, using your mobile device to build and strengthen relationships gives you a competitive edge in growing your business, by turning existing customers into repeat and perhaps even into referring customers.

The playing field is more level than ever before, because we all have similar access to existing tools. The advantage now goes to the competitor who adopts and implements those tools in the most effective manner. When you use your mobile device to manage your contacts, calendars, and communication, you’ll have the “right stuff” when it comes to the quantity, and more importantly quality, of your relationships.

Mike Muhney is a recognized expert in the field of relationship management. He is the co- founder and co-inventor of ACT!, the software product that created the entire Contact Management software category and is acknowledged as the catalyst that started the entire CRM (Customer Relationship Management) industry. Today, he is the CEO and co-founder of VIPorbit Software, creator of the Mobile Relationship Management category for users of smartphones and tablets, beginning with the iPhone and iPad. VIPorbit provides full-featured, affordable solutions to today’s mobile device user. VIPorbit can be downloaded from the iTunes App Store or www.viporbit.com.

Chicago TechWeek: ACT Co-Founder Mike Muhney Is Back, And This Time It’s Mobile: VIPorbit

Many people in today’s business world especially the cusp of Gen X and Gen Y take for granted the contribution that Mike Muhney made to the way we get things done. Muhney is the co-founder and co-creator of ACT.

ACT was one of the first complete CRM (Contact Relationship Management) software companies in the world. Although it was no joke, the first version of ACT debuted on April Fool’s Day 1987. Yes over 25 years ago.

At that time Muhney didn’t know that they would create an entire industry, books would be written about managing relationships and business as we know it would be changed forever. Relationship management makes your contacts have a more meaningful impact on everything including the bottom line.

Through different spots in my radio career and a short lived stint as a record rep (because the company was sold to Disney) I used ACT and would do things like make notes that a gatekeeper (receptionist) had three young sons who played T-Ball or that Mr. so and so hated golf and hated the Alabama Crimson Tide even more.

Adding this kind of information to your contacts, along with a map of which contacts know who and a record, or event log of every single contact ever made with that person, keep you not only up to date with what’s going on but gives you a competitive edge when it comes to making real contact with people and making people at ease in business dealings.

What Muhney has done, is come out of retirement to take ideas that were the foundation of CRM and apply them to a mobile setting. Muhney is a relationship zen and probably doesn’t ever mutter a bad word about anybody but as he points out there are hundreds of millions of iOS users out there and roughly 15 million using what’s available on the market from companies like Salesforce and even ACT (which is now owned by Symantec).  This provides a world of opportunity for the Dallas based VIPOrbit.

What’s more fascinating to me was the time spent with Muhney and the fact that Im going to spend even more time with him because ACT taught my life business lessons that have given me a competitive edge. People have asked how I did this, or how I scored this meeting. In fact I spent an hour with a good friend at a Memphis startup giving him ideas on how to get his emails read. It’s little tricks you teach yourself using ACT that make that so much easier.  We’ll get to a whole blog post about that, but 25 years later with Google, LinkedIn, Facebook and more, it’s so much easier to find and add key elements to someone’s VIPorbit record that could make that difference.

So check out the interview below and download VIPOrbit to your iPhone or iPad today. My only qualm at the moment is that device to device syncing is still about a month away, which really means I’m going to have to wait to harness all that power.

Here’s the video:


Check out more about VIPOrbit here at their website

Here’s their page in the iTunes App Store

Here’s more of our coverage from TechWeek 2012

Nibletz is the voice of startups “everywhere else” here are more stories from “everywhere else”