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Do you think a CRM is important?

    • 9 posts
    February 23, 2007 4:07 PM EST
    To add to the list of free CRM apps is vTiger. It`s similar to SugarCRM but doesn`t limit you to the extensibility of it. If I recall, to get the good features of Sugar, you need to pay. Actually ZOHO CRM mentioned above is based on vTiger.

    The downside of Open Source software is the amount of time required to customize it to meet your needs. I`m 2 weeks into customizing vTiger for my consulting business and it`s not fun.

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    Solution A - "Your answer to home office and small business IT support." http://www.solution-a.com

    • 68 posts
    February 15, 2007 10:00 AM EST

    For a small, young company - I would probably use Act as its only about $200 from Staples etc.  Salesforce is an option but starts getting expensive as you grow.  Oracle may still have a free version for a small (5) number of users which can run on a regular computer.  But for the startups out there...I would use Act.  Its also possible that some of the Peachtree accounting type softwares have embedded this customer relationship functionality into their software...that way you get accounting software too. Not bad.

    Andrew
    http://www.AdvisorGarage.com
    http://AdvisorGarage.wordpress.com

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    Andrew PS - Here's a free report on creating your startup success. Free report

    • 3 posts
    February 22, 2007 12:08 PM EST
    this whole topic has my ears burning - anyone listening in on my conversations this past 2 weeks? I now have invitations from 3 different vendors (insidesales.com, salesnexus.com and salesforce.com) to test drive their online customer tracking platform for 30 days.

    I particularly appreciate the post from you beibeijt - I`ll give this one a whirl. As a small business consultant (currently on assignment with a franchise to implement a Business Direct sales system and therefore acting as Business Direct Manager for the time being) I`m crazy about tracking not only "customers" [defined as people doing business with our store] but also "prospects" [people who could be doing business with our store]. I want to track them by category, by date, by how they found us, by how much they buy, and a number of other things. I want to keep in touch with them weekly by email (via an e-bulletin) that goes out in various versions for different kinds of customers.... I want to know when they haven`t purchased in 30 days or more..... I want to know when they`ve referred a friend..... I want to know when its their birthday..... etc. etc. This is "CRM" to me.

    Any suggestions beyond ACT? I`m dealing with about 1000 customer base right now, in the 4th month of business.


    • 3 posts
    February 23, 2007 3:51 AM EST
    Thanks, enlightDan.

    Does anyone specialize in microbusiness to small business sales management systems - in the way of getting a system in place, and optimizing it for a specific business?

    I see a great need for this in the small business community. Its hard to make the time to research the options, test them out, get the data in place, and find the optimal process for leveraging the available applications. In one sense, I`m spending way too much time on this, and it would be so valuable to just be able to sprint forward right now. In another sense, its great experience that will benefit my clients and networking groups.
    • 3 posts
    February 14, 2007 7:39 AM EST
    There are lots of talks and discussion these days about CRM`s. Are they really that important for a small business? I`m curious for people`s opinion. I obviously think they are really important simply because I am in the CRM industry. That`s what I do for a living. But I just want to know what the rest of you think about CRM`s and their importance to you specifically

    http://consideredsales.com
    • 61 posts
    February 15, 2007 3:56 AM EST
    Hey all, thanks for the discusion. I now know what a CRM is and how it would benefit me.
    • 36 posts
    February 22, 2007 12:47 PM EST
    Another great CRM is SugarCRM - it`s actually really functional - and it`s free!

    http://www.sugarcrm.com/crm/


    You might need a techie to get it up and running for you, but it`s great web based software that can help you manage your correspondance w/ customers.
    enlightDan2007-2-22 18:47:52

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    Dan Pickett
    Principal
    Enlight Solutions, Inc.

    www.enlightsolutions.com
    www.twitter.com/dpickett

    • 1 posts
    June 23, 2007 11:37 AM EDT
    Hello Everyone.  I`m new to all this CRM related software stuff.  The venture I am starting up is a "business referral service", which would entail coordinating the connection/tracking of customers to service providers across the whole spectrum of business.  (Most services focus primarily on home improvement contractors--I`ve set my sights much higher.)  I need to be able to coordinate three separate databases.  1)  My service providers;  2)  My customers;  3)  The specific jobs that result from connecting them together.  I don`t want to OVERburden the process by obtaining software that has features way beyond what I need.  I have looked at Help Desk software/Service Desk software examples and I cannot determine if they would be adequate for the task.  Most of the CRM demos I have viewed seem to be overkill for what I need.  Any help would be appreciated.  Thanks

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    Only believe!

    • 343 posts
    February 14, 2007 4:55 PM EST

    Craig, Craig, Craig ... I know you better than this. Let your fingers do the walking (seeking/searching).

    Customer Relationship Management - one of the BIG Boys (not a plug - just reference).

    R@

    PS - to answer the question ... "Yes"

    keycon2007-2-14 22:55:50

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    Richard Arnold · Key Concept Writers · Business Communication: The "Key" To Success· Law of Attraction Blog · Life Ain`t Brain Surgery Blog

    • 343 posts
    February 14, 2007 5:17 PM EST

    So why have people walk away scratching their head, when it`s easy enough to just spell out the acronym one time? I went to the Web site and didn`t see the spell-out anywhere

    Craig - if you`re talking about the salesforce.com site, it is spelled out on the first line on the home page:

    The Leader in On-Demand Customer Relationship Management

    Actually, they are not a wholesale site. SF.com caters to large and small companies alike. Very responsive company. Excellent partners. Most varied solutions-oriented company I have dealt with in many years. Are there very good smaller companies that do the same? Yes. And some smaller CRM providers are right here at SuN. And have had some great successes with smaller CRM providers, too. Choice depends a lot on cost and solution required. IMHO.  

    R@

    PS - Craig ... do you not like acronyms? If not, why? Have you sought therapy for this condition?

    keycon2007-2-14 23:26:24

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    Richard Arnold · Key Concept Writers · Business Communication: The "Key" To Success· Law of Attraction Blog · Life Ain`t Brain Surgery Blog

    • 343 posts
    February 14, 2007 5:58 PM EST

    Nikole,

    Explain the differences, please.

    R@

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    Richard Arnold · Key Concept Writers · Business Communication: The "Key" To Success· Law of Attraction Blog · Life Ain`t Brain Surgery Blog

    • 343 posts
    February 15, 2007 3:01 AM EST

    In our high-tech, automated, "crackberry", iPod, computerized world today, I find many pre-computer aged people tend to forget that every business process now being run by computers was done for many, many, many years by hand, pad & pencil, and pure brain memory. Sometimes I wonder if it wasn`t some how better then.

    CRM has been around since the first business/customer relationships started. Successful business people have always found ways to track and measure sales and better serve their customers. And truly, no CRM software - big or small - is worth a slug nickel if not used properly. When you get right down to it, there is still a human behind the business relationship.

    R@

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    Richard Arnold · Key Concept Writers · Business Communication: The "Key" To Success· Law of Attraction Blog · Life Ain`t Brain Surgery Blog

    • 6 posts
    February 14, 2007 11:15 AM EST

    CRM`s are needed for any size business. Now with that said a company has to look at what features "they need" vs. "ones they want" to choose the correct CRM product.


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    Shaun M. Smoot, Principal, Totus Company Atlanta Technology Firm