CRM stands for “customer relationship manager” and it’s a type of database software that helps you organize your prospects, customers and sales activities. CRMs can also be known a contact management database.
Why should you use one?
Spreadsheets and Outlook are fine for some things, but to really get ahead with your marketing and sales, you’ll need a full-blown database. Especially if you need to share data with other people on your staff or your sales team.
I’m often surprised when we work with established companies, some that have been in business for 15 or 20 years, and they don’t have a good CRM system in place. They keep important data — like customer and prospect lists — in spreadsheets and Word documents buried deep in the folders of their network. Then, when the time comes to send an email newsletter, promote an event, or even run reports on their sales cycle, they’re left with a mess of duplicate documents or missing data.
How to get one…
If you and your sales reps are still emailing spreadsheets back and forth, the good news is that there are easy-to-use, affordable web-based programs that you can start using today!
Check out some of the web-based CRMs we like below:
This is our favorite and the one we use at FatCat Strategies. It’s very customizable (custom fields, custom reports, custom worklflows, etc) and we’ve been able to integrate it with our email through Google Apps.. We’ve also helped several clients customize a Zoho CRM account for their specific needs.
Pros: Very user friendly, easy-to-navigate interface. Includes a 30-day trial.
Cons: Lacks the ability to add custom fields.
Another easy-to-use CRM with a free-trial and relatively low monthly price for small teams.
Includes pre-configured sales & pipeline reports. Includes ability to add custom fields. And it has an iPhone app!
Claims to be an “office in the cloud” complete with a group calendar, project tracking, CRM, email integration, document sharing and more.
CRM with a social media twist. Integrates with your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts.
Includes integrations with several online accounting & invoicing systems.
Company tagline is “happy sales”…how could you not like that? Specifically designed to help you focus on follow ups and sales. Integrates with Google Apps.
Includes social media monitoring tools, integrations to other popular online tools (like EventBrite and MailChimp). Can be customized for your business with “super tags”.
Integrates tightly with Google Apps and includes project management modules.