Syncing Your Email to Your CRM

A recent chat with a customer reminded me that there are still many companies out there running their own in-house CRM, or similar, and facing the very real problem that their email is received and stored separately to the rest of their customer information, which is accessible in their CRM.

A product of mine from ‘back in the day’, ContaxCRM, solved this problem with email sent and received being synced into the CRM, against the correct Customer / Supplier / Prospect – and it did this on both Windows and macOS.

In this post I am demonstrating part of this solution for macOS only, using Apple Mail.  Of course this can easily be modified and extended to work with other email packages should you wish to do so.  This post basically covers how to extract the received emails and store them in such a fashion that your CRM can read, parse and save this information to the CRM database the next time the CRM is launched.

The first thing to do is to install the Apple Script that does all of the heavy lifting.  You can see the Script below, and Download it from here.


This script needs to be stored in the appropriate location on your Mac.  You can see the location in the image below, generally ~/Library/Application Scripts/

capture2The second step is to open your Apple Mail Preferences and navigate to the Rules Tab.  From here you need to setup a new rule to execute the script whenever a new email is received.  See the image above.

That’s it !  A text file will be created (if necessary) and appended to with the full contents of every email received.  You can setup the Name and Path for the text file from within the Apple Script.

Parsing the text file, extracting the email address of the sender and saving this to your CRM is straightforward but will differ depending on your application, development software and requirements.

Hopefully this will be of use to someone out there 🙂

Looking for an App creating for your Windows or Mac Computer? What about an App for your iOS or Android Tablet or Phone, or A Web App? Bespoke, Custom, High Quality Applications. Contact Us

Software Cannot Grow Old Gracefully !

As the title says: ‘Software Cannot Grow Old Gracefully‘. It is with this in mind that I am no longer selling or further developing any of the following products:

  • ContaxCRM
  • macVCR
  • MonitorMyMac
  • R10BatchMail
  • SMSRelaySuite

Custom or bespoke versions as well as joint venture editions will continue to be supported for the foreseeable future. I’ll be sad to see them go, macVCR was the first application I ever wrote for Mac OSX back in 2007 and here we are 9 years later … still, everything comes to an end.  RIP.


If you have any questions or if you are interested in acquiring source code etc. then please click here to email me, or contact me via telephone: +44 1773 252 007

Note: The source code is written in Xojo and in some cases uses plugins from Monkeybread Software.

blackdogCRM: New Movie


This new movie available to view below, or via my YouTube account, shows you just how simple it is to upgrade from a single user edition of blackdogCRM to a multi-user MySQL Server edition using our upgrade tool. A four step process that does all the heavy lifting including populating the server database with all the data from the existing single user SQLite database.


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Knowledge Is Power

Scientia est Potentia is the common translation. Not that that matters in the slightest, unless of course anyone ever asks you the question and then you may gain from knowing, maybe credibility, maybe respect – maybe both. After all, Knowledge is power.

In business, knowledge is key. Knowledge of your products is very important, knowledge of your competitors is important, knowledge of when taxes need to be paid is also important. Of over-riding importance however is knowledge of your customers and of your target market(s).

Knowledge in these areas more than any other determine whether your employees are paid this month, or not. Whether you drive a nice car, or ride an old pushbike. Whether you live in a house or sleep on a park bench.

CRM has been described in many different ways. To me it is simple. CRM should provide the tools to help you obtain, retain and use the knowledge of your customers and your target markets, to allow you to better serve those customers and markets and to help you make your own business successful.

With knowledge comes the ability to service those customers and those markets more effectively. To look after them and become known as a company who cares. You can’t care about what you don’t know.

Knowledge gives you the tools to become successful. Use them wisely.

Because Knowledge *IS* Power.


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CRM: Contact Notes

Just a quickie today – for ContaxCRM users who have recently purchased the software, here is the single annotated image that explains all you need to know about adding Notes to a CRM contact.

ContaxCRM Notes


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BlackdogCRM: Products

This image shows the blackdogCRM Products window.  Bill of Materials are supported, as are several different Selling Prices, Sales Scripts, Groups, Targets and many other features.


This image shows the spreadsheet template that is supplied to help you to import your existing products into blackdogCRM.

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blackdogCRM: Contacts

This image shows the three ‘tabs’ that make up the main Contacts window in blackdogCRM.


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CRM: What and Why

There are many types of relationships. Personal,  Prospects, Customers and Suppliers for example.  These are all valid and valuable relationships.


Today with the rise of social networking everybody has many ways of being contacted, and many forums on which to air their views, make statements and and ask questions.  In addition they have many ways of contacting you, and of talking about you. To keep track of this continuous flow of  information, you need some form of:






CRM is generally understood to mean Customer Relationship Management.  Personally I believe this is inaccurate and potentially misleading.  The whole CRM concept revolves around relationships with individuals and companies, many of whom are not your customers.  


Focusing on customers only would be very short sighted indeed, and successful businesses need to focus on all of their contacts and the relationships they share with them. 


CRM is designed to bring together information from various disparate sources into one central repository of real-time accurate contact information.  


This empowers employees to make informed decisions when interacting with the outside world.


These informed decisions are necessary for CRM to fulfill it’s brief of reducing costs and increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty. Having said that CRM is not just about customers, they are however one of our most important assets and should be looked after appropriately.

The fact is that CRM should be responsible for increasing your bottom line.  In business every single decision boils down to that one simple question:  Does this make us more profitable ?  Anything that does not directly or indirectly answer yes to that question is not worth considering, at least from a purely business point of view.


CRM does not have to be implemented and used throughout the whole company.  It is perfectly feasible for a single department to use CRM to help them with their particular function, as long as it is realised that CRM cannot fulfill it’s design criteria of being a central repository of contact information unless it is installed company wide.  That being understood and accepted, by all means install it in a department, the benefits you get will almost certainly be better than what you had before.


Many papers on CRM will tell you that everyone from the CEO to the Janitor should have CRM installed.  When you are a multi-million dollar company who’s revenue stream depends almost completely on installed licenses then it’s understandable that you will sell CRM as a huge enterprise wide undertaking.  I am not disagreeing with the theory but in practice CRM can and perhaps should be implemented in phases.  


What better way than implementing one department at a time ?


CRM is often installed as part of an initiative to ‘Increase Customer Service’ or ‘Serve Customers Better’ or some such grand statement.  Introducing CRM in such a way can fog the issues and cause potential problems with a successful installation.  


As I mentioned earlier, in business every single decision boils down to that one simple question:  Does this make us more profitable ?  So we can rewrite the previous initiative statements as: 


‘Keep the customers happier because then they will buy again and also recommend us to their friends, so making us more profitable and successful, the customer more satisfied and therefore everyone wins.’ 


This statement has a number of advantages, the first being that it is 100% true.  The second is that it is refreshingly believable.  The third is that it cannot easily be misconstrued or interpreted incorrectly.   


So, what has this got to do with CRM.  Everything.  Keeping this statement in mind throughout the CRM selection and installation process will lead to higher satisfaction and a greater return on investment, the reason being that CRM is a tool and a technology to help you make that statement happen, and then to keep it happening.  


Once that is understood there is clarity in your goals and you are halfway towards being prepared for a successful CRM installation.

Where next ?

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blackdogCRM Mobile

Here are a few images of the Mobile and Tablet Editions of blackdogCRM

0085 KindleFireHD

0085 iPhone4

0085 iPad

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Online Manual [12]

blackdogCRM: Entering Notes against Contacts

Here’s a link to the latest section of the blackdogCRM Online Manual.

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blackdogCRM Features

SQL Logging
SQL (nowadays normally pronounced seequell) originally stood for Structured Query Language and was designed as an English Like way of asking for information from a database. SQL has been a standard for many years now and someone with some SQL experience under their belt is very welcome in most organisations.
blackdogCRM talks to its database using SQL exclusively. Unlike many systems blackdogCRM does not hide its internal workings from you, why should we ? We have nothing to hide and you have plenty to gain should you wish to view the statements that blackdogCRM is issuing and maybe use them yourself within our Query Tools or within a third party reporting tool. If you have Crystal Reports or Business Objects experience for example then that can be put to good use with blackdogCRM and SQL.

The ability to log all the SQL statements sent to the database is a useful and often overlooked function that can at times be extremely useful. For Auditing or Verification purposes it can be invaluable.

There are two ways of logging SQL. The first involves setting a Preference, see image below:

This method save the SQL to a log file stored in your blackdogCRM.Live folder.  This file is called blackdogCRM_SQLLog.r10

When opened in your favourite Text Editor or Spreadsheet program, the contents look something like this:

The second method requires you to select the Toggle SQL Session Log menu option, from the Utilities menu.  When the SQL Session Log window opens click the Start button. Subsequent SQL statement executions will be captured by this window.

If either of these two logging methods are activated then additionally the SQL statements are logged to the local computers System Log. Access to the System Log differs according to whether you are running blackdogCRM on Windows or Mac OSX. How to view the entries within the System Log is beyond the scope of this document.

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New Images: blackdogCRM

blackdogCRM is currently still in Beta, and no official announcements have yet been made. blackdogCRM will run on Mac OSX as well as Windows. In addition companion applications are available for iPad, iPhone and Android Tablets.

Here are some pre-release screenshots of 0.9.5 running on Mac OSX Mountain Lion, 10.8.4. Note that these are potentially subject to change before the final product ships.



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Common Sense Search

Searching Your Contacts

blackdogCRM features a very powerful and intuitive facility for searching your contacts. One of the many (almost[1]) unique features of blackdogCRM is that the search text you enter will automatically search all fields in the contact record.

Basically this means that if you enter steve as your search string, you will receive in the results data records that contain information that:

  • begins with steve (or Steve, or sTEVE or STEVE etc)
  • or ends with steve (or Steve, or sTEVE or STEVE etc)
  • or contains steve (or Steve, or sTEVE or STEVE etc)

We can do that and still maintain speed and performance due to implementing our own primary proprietary indexing and searching mechanism.

In addition we add something we call Common Sense Search. Basically this lets you type IBM and the contacts will be returned that include I.B.M or I B M. This works with first and last names as well, so for example: stevenchol would return my contact record even though Steven and Cholerton are actually separate fields in the database.

[1] I first used this technique in ContaxCRM, one of my previous software products.

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New Images: blackdogCRM

blackdogCRM is currently still in Beta, and no official announcements have yet been made. blackdogCRM will run on Mac OSX as well as Windows. In addition companion applications are available for iPad, iPhone and Android Tablets.

Here are some pre-release screenshots of 0.9.4 running on Mac OSX Mountain Lion. Note that these are potentially subject to change before the final product ships.






First Images: New Product

These are the first couple of images I have released of my new Windows and Mac OSX software product. More to follow over the next few weeks. 

The first customers for this new product will receive it in the next couple of weeks or so – with a general public release to follow in September.


CRM: What’s Needed [1]

Data in general  is not particularly useful until you turn it into information,  ie: apply Structure and Context.

Your contact database can be your biggest asset. You need to maintain it, religiously, you need it accurate and you need it available. It needs to be simple to use and have the most important (ie: most often used or needed) details and actions Easily and Quickly available.

Generally it is so much easier to sell to an existing customer than to find a new one. For example: if you know which of your contacts are customers, know what they bought from you and when, you can contact them at an appropriate time and offer appropriate extras or upgrades.

Nowadays, to stay in business, stay relevant, stay informed and stay on top of your game, your contact database needs so be much more than just an address book.

CRM: What’s Needed [1]  – Fields

Here is an example of some of the information that you should be storing for each contact. I have split it into two sections, Mandatory and Desirable:


  • Name, Company, Address and Postcode
  • Position
  • Industry
  • Type (Customer, Prospect, Personal, Network, Competitor, Member)
  • Status
  • Favourite Flag
  • Reference
  • Account Manager
  • Connections (Referred By, Associate, Group Company, Family, Competitor etc.)
  • Links (Website, Blog)
  • Social Media Links (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)
  • Instant Messaging Links (Skype, iChat etc.)
  • Multiple Email Accounts
  • Multiple Telephone Numbers
  • Static Notes
  • Historical Notes
  • Allowable Contact Flag – Email
  • Allowable Contact Flag – Telephone
  • User Definable Categories
  • User Definable Tags
  • User Defined Custom Fields


  • Photograph
  • Logo Image
  • Multiple Addresses
  • Synced Addresses
  • Travel Code (LOCAL, HALF DAY, FULL DAY etc.)
  • Birthday (Day and Month Only)
  • Send Birthday Card Flag
  • Send Christmas Card Flag
  • Additional Reference
  • Allowable Contact Flag – SMS
  • Allowable Contact Flag – Post
  • Colour Coded Current Relationship Indicator 
  • User Definable Classifications
  • User Definable Ratings
  • Unlimited User Defined Custom Fields
  • Shared Secret for Encrypted 1:1 Communications

In another post I will discuss what I think are Mandatory and Desirable Features and Functionality  that you should consider when deciding where and how to store your contacts information.