Frequently asked questions about Contact Sage Pro™

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The following is a list of pre-sale questions and answers. Many of the questions you might have about our software are probably asked and answered in this list.

We put together this FAQ from user questions that we most often receive. If you have any additional questions after reading the answers, please feel free to send us an e-mail or call us. 

Why does your system cost so much less than your competitors?

“Contact Sage Pro is a bargain.”
Joel P. Bruckenstein  (Morningstar: 05-02-03) 

We realize that our system is a bargain given its functionality and quality. Our goal is to always keep the price at a level that is affordable and attractive for the average advisor and agent. Further, our commitment to our users is that their annual support price will always remain at the level that it was at when they purchased our system, as long they maintain the annual support payments.

When they learn the price for our system, many of our callers have the same reaction: "that's all". This is because they initially believe that system price directly reflects on the system's quality and usefulness, and therefore, they expect our system to be much more expensive. For some systems, the price does reflect directly on the system's quality and usefullness.  For our system, the low price reflects the philosophy of our design and marketing.  We designed our system to be affordable for all advisors and agents because we believe that all advisors and agents should use an independent contact management system. From our experience in talking with advisors and agents, we came to the realization that the majority do not use a system at all, because of complexity, cost, time commitment, or simply the feeling that a system can’t help them. We had to price our system at a point that would convince the average advisor or agent who knew they needed a system, but couldn't justify spending twice the price or more on it, to purchase our system.  Additionally, we wanted to give the advisor or agent who already used a system they didn't like an alternative when it came time to pay the annual support for the system they were using.  In most cases, the cost for our system is equal to or less than the annual support cost for the competition. 

For people that are still skeptical, we offer fully functional trial versions of our systems for you to try and evaluate before you purchase.  As an aside, our trial versions come prefilled with 800 contacts and their notes, remarks, policies, investments, and appointments to let you really try our systems.  Some of our competitors will only give you a PowerPoint demonstration of their system, or they will send you an empty trial version. Other competitors will offer to sell you the program and give you a 30-day money back guarantee.  They are all hoping that once you purchase and/or start entering your data into their empty system, you'll choose to keep the system, as long as you don’t hate it, because you have invested a large amount of time entering data and learning their system.  We don’t want you to settle on a system because it is just all right. We don't play those games. We want you to enjoy using our system and to eventually make our system an integral part of your business. In addition, we also offer a 30-day Money Back Guarantee if you purchase our system. 

Can I use your system over a network and can it handle multiple agents? 

We designed our system to be useful whether you are just starting out, you already have an assistant, or you are part of an agent team that wants to share client data. Our system is networkable out of the box; in fact, we charge the same price if our system is used by a single person on 1 computer, a single person on 2 computers (used on a work and home computer), or if it is shared between 2 people over a network (an agent and an assistant, or two agents). (If more than 2 persons will be using the system over a network, we have special network pricing available.) Our system can also handle an unlimited number of users/agents/producers out of the box.

For agency setups where each agent will have their own system, we designed a special central version than can copy contacts from all of the agent databases into a single database. Many agencies use this feature to send out mailings to all of the agency's contacts, or to run reports on all agency business. The central version can also be used to transfer contacts between agent databases. We believe this setup for multiple agents is superior to using 1 large database for all of the agents because it makes sure that data from multiple agents is always physically seperate. It also lets each system work faster and does not require costly server installations.

My company gives me access to a contact management system, why should I use another one? 

Captive advisors and agents should always use their own contact management systems, even if their broker-dealer or insurance company provides a system. You should always an independent system because: 

1) Many systems provided to advisors and agents are difficult to use and are antiquated.  As an example, systems in use by two of the largest insurance companies don't have fields for e-mails, although they both use systems designed by some of the largest developers of contact management systems for insurance agents.  The simple explanation of why this occurs is that the insurance companies hired the creators of the contact management systems to create a custom version for them.  The system that was delivered was a version of the regular retail contact management system being sold at the time.  As time passed, the retail version continued to improve, but the custom version did not change. (Most of the updates to the custom version were created to keep it working.) This is a problem because programs generally evolve and improve over time.  The improvements can include the inclusion of new information for new technology, such as PDA synchronization, or improvements to make the software easier to learn and use. 

2) Most Broker-dealers and insurance companies treat your clients and contacts as theirs. If you decide to leave to join a different company or become independent, who owns your contact data, and will you be able to transfer that data to a different system? 

Can I just use a generic contact management system? 

The ultimate decision of which system to purchase is always yours. However, it is usually better to purchase a contact management system designed specifically for advisors and agents. This is because advisors and agents need specific fields for their industry, such as investment and insurance policy information, and contact financial information.  As an example, if you use a generic system, you can use the notes area to store investment information, but you will not be able to search by that information.  As you enter more contacts into a system, the ability to group the contacts by demographic and product data becomes more important for marketing and client service. Having and searching in specific fields greatly simplifies grouping your contacts. Beyond the industry-specific fields, good contact management systems designed for the advisor and agent also have industry-specific functions such as commission calculators, premium reports, pending business reports, etc. 

In short, it doesn't make sense to make a system do something it wasn't designed to do. 

Why did you choose to create a contact management system for advisors and agents? 

We chose to create a contact management system for advisors and agents because we identified a need for a good, complete industry-specific system at a price that the average advisor or agent can justify spending. We designed our system with direct knowledge of both the business and agent's needs because we were Licensed SEC representatives and Licensed Insurance Agents. 

Where do you get your ideas for functions and options? 

To a large extent, we rely on our users for new features and options.  We always discuss all suggestions for changes or new features that come from our users and our potential users.  Depending on the usefulness, complexity, and necessity of the suggestion, implemented changes usually appear from several weeks to several months after a suggestion. We also continuously evaluate trends in the industry allowing our system to remain the most useful contact management system on the market. Our commitment to our users is that our systems will always have the latest tools to help them manage contacts. 

Will your system import my current contact data? 

Our system does not have built in import functionality. If a user needs to transfer their existing data into our system, we provide custom data conversion at reasonable rates. We have converted data from a wide variety of systems and files, ranging from simple text files to elaborate systems that are far more complicated than our system.  In all cases, the user sent us their data and we converted it.  We convert the data because it seems that each new conversion we do is different. If we built generic data converters for our system, and even one column is wrong, every contact transferred would have a bad piece of information.  Depending on the number of contacts converted, fixing the wrong data would be very time-consuming.  We want our users who have their own data they want converted to start using our system with a correct base of contact information.  This ensures that newly entered data will be correct.  Our fees for data conversion are very reasonable, and are based on the complexity in the original data.  It also doesn't matter whether we are transferring 200 or 10,000 contacts. 

Some of your competitors have been in business for 15 years, while you’ve been in business for 4 years, isn’t it better to purchase a system from a company that has been in business longer? 

There are both positive and negative implications of being in business for longer periods of time.

Positive aspects of a company being in business for a longer period of time include time to improve the contact management system, time to build up a significant user base, and time to establish a widespread following in the industry.

There are also negative aspects of being in business for a longer period of time. The most important is that making new improvements to the software is difficult and time-consuming because of the many layers of management and bureaucracy that must be overcome and the risk of alienating the user base. This is why software from companies that have been in business for long periods of time does not change much aesthetically and functionally. As technology moves ahead and accelerates, this becomes a larger detriment. Software design has changed greatly over the past 15 years, in terms of layouts, controls, backgrounds, and ease-of-use.

Because we are a young company, some callers are concerned that we might not be around in the future. Our simple answer is that we plan to be in business for as long as our system is needed.

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Contact Sage Pro™
Rockville, MD 20852, USA

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