CRM System for Small Business - I had to Make a Change
Alert! I'm not a tech geek and I don't want a system it takes a geek to run.
An effective Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software system is maybe the best tool a small business can use for growing their business. CRMs are not just for big companies.
As a matter of fact, the smaller your business the more important a CRM system is. The owner of a small business is unlikely to have "people" to implement and monitor the systems so an effective but simple CRM can make a huge difference.
Get a CRM you can dance to..
Simple to Implement Simple to Use CRM, that's the key
A few years back I spent some time trying to find a CRM that was simple enough and cost effective enough to use for my small business.
I did trials with Salesforce, Highrise HQ, Zoho, SugarCRM and several others. After those trials I came to the following requirements:
- I didn't want the software to ride on my computer, it had to be a cloud solution
- I didn't want a zillion options, I just wanted an easy to use basic system that could be quickly mastered.
- It had to be free or very low cost, without a teaser price to get you starter but a big jump if you added people
- It had to be scalable, meaning we could add people easily.
My CRM choice 3 years ago and my problem now
I did the trials on the above CRM systems and a couple of others and I made the decision to go with HighriseHQ. It fit my 4 criteria nicely but most importantly it was easy and fast to get started.
I started with a free edition of HQ and ended up with a level at about $49/month cost.
Some of my trials/demos for the other systems were a disaster. I remember vividly after about 30 minutes with the salesforce.com people my head was ready to explode. That system may be great for a big company with lots of support but it looked like a nightmare to me.
My problem now?
HighriseHQ has recently announced they are getting out of the HighriseHQ business. I had noticed they weren't making many improvements and they never got around to a decent mobile solution, so it's probably for the best.
The current CRM landscape and my criteria today
In the 3 years since my HighriseHQ experiment began my business has grown so there were a few different considerations this time around but the basic 4 requirements above still stood.
The good news is there are a LOT more choices for cloud based CRM now than there were then. The bad news is, there are a LOT more choices for cloud based CRM now than there were then.
Having used a basic CRM for several years really helped me narrow the field quickly this time around.
What was the biggest difference this time? Mobile.
In my first analysis 3 years ago the issue of mobile really wasn't even in the equation for me. This time I spent at least 50% of my time evaluating the mobile capabilities.
Another consideration this time around that I didn't have when I first made my selection 3 years ago was the ability to import/upload the data I've been accumulating the last 3 years. 3 Years ago I didn't have any data to import,
What did I choose this time?
First, I do not get anything from this vendor, no affiliate fees, no free month..... nothing, nada.
The system I chose is from Insightly. It had all of my 4 base criteria and a mobile interface that is very simple and very easy to use.
I have converted several thousand contacts with their history and the conversion was every bit as simple as I hoped it would be,
The version I chose is 5 users and costs $29/month, so my cost actually went down and my functionality went up, good deal.