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Old    Brett Yates (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       08-17-2010, 3:43 PM Reply   
Does anybody have any good recommendations on Customer Relationship Management software? I am looking into this as a tool to give to our sales people. Do these work with Outlook or use their own email program? What can I expect to spend on this type of software? Any help or suggestions is greatly appreciated.
Old    Peter Uehlin (peter19u)      Join Date: Oct 2006       08-17-2010, 3:48 PM Reply   
salesforce.com
Old    Matt Ritchie (ritchieps190)      Join Date: Aug 2001       08-17-2010, 4:11 PM Reply   
Aside from the stuff available as a service via the web, the two main ones that I am aware of are Act! and Goldmine. I've used Act! for a long time and the product has had several owners to this point. My experience with is that it does send mail via outlook, but does a terrible job of syncing calendar items. May just be my specific implementation(single user version of act interfacing with Outlook 2007(Exchange 2007). The single user license varies between $130-$170 depending on catching it on sale. A multi user implementation is obviously going to run you more.

There is a new version of Act! out in September and I am not sure if I will pay to see if it has better calendar integration( supposedly it does).
Old    C.I.E. J-Rod (jarrod)      Join Date: May 2003       08-17-2010, 4:22 PM Reply   
It really depends on the size and configuration of the team. If you're looking to document everything back to the CRM (emails), if the salespeople sometimes work remotely, and if you need executive dashboards and reporting, and to manage a pipeline and accurately forecast, then you'll probably want a SAAS product like Salesforce.com. The best in my opinion.

The other advantage to Salesforce is that they have the AppExchange, a partner network which consists of thousands of other business solutions that all integrate with SFDC. Accounting, email marketing, Marketing Automation, e-commerce, support ticketing, and just about any other type of business system can be integrated tightly, and very easily.

All versions of Outlook integrate so that you have a "Send and Add to Salesforce" plugin.

SFDC offers an individual edition as a trial, and a mobile edition for BB and Iphone users.

Other (non-SASS) CRMs would be

Microsoft Dynamics
CRM on Demand
Sales Logix
Sugar
Act
Goldmine
Another great all-in-one system would be Netsuite. Full business solution, but very expensive.
Old    Matt Ritchie (ritchieps190)      Join Date: Aug 2001       08-17-2010, 4:47 PM Reply   
I was looking at all the other CRMS J-Rod posted and noticed that Act! definitely is not a full CRM, it's more of a contact/customer manager:

"Simply put, a Contact and Customer Manager is a business productivity tool that’s more powerful than e-mail systems and spreadsheets, but easier to use, faster to get up and running, and less costly than a Customer Relationships Management (CRM) solution."

I am not positive, but I believe Goldmine falls into this category too.
Old    Brett Yates (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       08-17-2010, 4:56 PM Reply   
Jrod, I think I am looking for something a lot less sophisticated as that. I am probably looking for something more like a customer/contact management program. I only have 2 sales people and I can see one of them not using it at all. He is 60 and going to retire in the next few years. Basically I think I want something that will allow my other salesman and myself enter contacts and group them together. That way we can send out an email that would go to everybody that falls under that group to notify them of sales and new products.

I looked at salesforce.com and it looks like their cheapest package of $5/month per user would give me most of what I want.

Last edited by polarbill; 08-17-2010 at 4:58 PM.
Old    Rob Sanchez (rsanchez)      Join Date: Jun 2010       08-17-2010, 5:10 PM Reply   
Just use salesforce, not a lot of time required to get it going, cheap as you mention, and plenty of stuff works well with it. Honestly, if you're not using any sort of CRM now, biggest issue is getting your people accustomed to staying on top of it because most of the time it will just hinder you and waste your time if you don't keep customer information current and get employees used to using it to improve their productivity. Good luck.
Old    Mark Anderson (puckinshat)      Join Date: Sep 2003       08-17-2010, 6:28 PM Reply   
My new company uses salesforce too. I am just getting used to it, but wish I had it at my old company. It is VERY user friendly and you can make it do just about anything.
Old    Matt Ritchie (ritchieps190)      Join Date: Aug 2001       08-17-2010, 11:24 PM Reply   
If you are really just looking to make groups of contacts and send emails then you should look at Outlook 2007 Business Contact Manager. It's standard in the professional, ultimate, and small business suites of Office and in the stand alone version.
Old    C.I.E. J-Rod (jarrod)      Join Date: May 2003       08-18-2010, 7:13 AM Reply   
Most of those CRMs are strictly desktop software. So if you're entering contacts on your machine, and he is entering contacts on his machine, they at some point have to be sync'd. I have tons of experience with syncing both ACT and Goldmine databases, and all of it was a nightmare! Everyday you'll have a scheduled sync where you have to walk away from your system for the sync. It rarely ever works right, and is a drain on your system resources.

A web or (saas-based) solution will share one database and allow both users to see real-time up-to-date information real web browser.

Now some of the services on my list do have web-based services now. You might want to check on it.

I would go with the cheapest Salesforce plan and upgrade if you need to later on.
Old    Pound (snyder)      Join Date: Feb 2006       08-18-2010, 7:59 AM Reply   
We use SFDC at my company.
Old    Brett Yates (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       08-18-2010, 8:11 AM Reply   
I think I am going to try salesforce.com's $5/month contact program as a trial. I don't have to worry about making an initial investment and can cancel anytime I want. It is as close to free as possible.

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