The Laptop and Business Contact Manager

Another tool that you will need to use often is your laptop. I use an IBM ThinkPad T-series because it has the best keyboard feel of any other laptop that I have used. As a medical device or pharmaceutical representative you are usually assigned a laptop (and usually not an IBM), I purchase my own ThinkPad and ask our IT department to load any proprietary software on it.

I purchase my own laptop because I spend almost as much time on my laptop as I do on my cell phone. I have used Dell's, Gateway's, Sony's, Toshiba's and Compaq's. Replying to emails and preparing PowerPoint presentations for extended periods gives me keyboard fatigue and I have to frequently take a break from typing. With the ThinkPad's keyboard, I can type all day long. Additionally, they have very good battery life and I am usually able to continue using my laptop on coast-to-coast red-eye's.

If you do a lot of number crunching when preparing proposals then I suggest getting a USB mouse and USB keypad just for entering numbers.

Another useful tool is mobile broadband from Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile or Cingular. Since most medical device representatives spend the majority of their time on the road, being able to access the company Intranet is crucial. At the very least sign up for a hot-spot account from T-Mobile or Wayport. In a pinch, you can attach a Palm Treo to your laptop and use it as a wireless modem. There have been a couple of occasions when being able to download the latest updates for presentation has closed the deal.

Regardless of what laptop you end up with. I recommend installing a separate Contact Relationship Manager. I use Business Contact Manager for Outlook because it will sync up my notes with my Palm Treo and I am able to brush up on some call history before I enter a meeting without having to boot up the laptop. In addition, when you schedule a meeting in Outlook, you can link to the Business Contact Manager and half of your call note is completed.

Additionally, most CRM's that are assigned to you when you join a medical device company is usually 1970's technology. I one that I am currently using doesn't even have a field to enter in a contact's email. I will admit that sometimes you will have to double enter in all your call notes, but in the long run it will make you more productive. Also in the event that you leave your current employer and join another medical device company you will be able to have a copy of all your hard work and be able to hit the ground running because you still have all your call notes from your own personal contact manager.

Click on the links below for more information about Thinkpads and Microsoft's Business Contact Manager:

Lenovo ThinkPad T60 2623

Outlook with Business Contact Manager

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