As I was browsing through my RSS feeds, I stumbled upon a posting at SmallBizTechnology.com about how some old software can make social media a powerful tool for your business. While the article specifically detailed some features in ACT! 2010, I was interested to know what options were out there nowadays for business contact management and/or customer relationship management (CRM) software. In the past I had some good and bad experiences with a product called Goldmine, but was pleased to hear that they rewrote the application to eliminate much of what used to cause problems for me.
That said, it looks like the assortment of business contact management and/or CRM software available is much greater than before, and much more mature. While CRM software tends to be more important in retail/sales industries, just about any business can find some value in tracking information about the folks they deal with on regular basis. It can help you track all your interactions, and help you determine what marketing tactics, products, etc influence your business.
In this instance, I will be honest to say that I do not have much experience in the specifics of CRM software. However, my hope is that this post will save you some legwork in determining if Contact or Customer Relationship Management software could fill a niche in your business model.
Here are a few interesting websites I found:
- Choosing a CRM for Small Business (CRM Comparison)
- Open Source CRM Software (SmallBizCRM)
- CRM Product Comparison (PC Magazine)
- CRM for Writers: reviews (BadLanguage.net)
Here is a quick list of CRM products:
- Small Business Accounting Software – Many of the packages listed in our previous post allowed you to manage a list of “customers” and “vendors”. It’s similar to having CRM built into your accounting package (a “two for one” deal).
- Outlook 2007 with Business Contact Manager – organize your customer info, manage sales opportunities, track marketing activities, and integrate with Microsoft Accounting 2008 for payment history. (Part of MS Office 2007 Small Business Edition and Ultimate Edition)
- ACT! 2010 – manage customer info and relationships, report on results, share data across teams, integrate with your smartphone, integrate with social media.
- GoldMine – manage customer info and relationships, extend with customizable fields, forecasting and marketing features, relational database driven (MSSQL) under the hood.
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM – Cloud-based software that allows you to manage accounts, relationships, and contacts, create workflows, integrate with mobile devices, etc. All the bells and whistles.
- Salesforce.com – Another fairly popular cloud-based CRM software package. This one has integration with Google Apps!
I hope that helps, and as always feel free to Contact Me if you have questions or need advice on whether your business may need to look into Business Contact Management or CRM software.