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Old 09-01-09
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Default Small Business CRM

Other than ACT, has anyone else used a good (preferably free) CRM that is desktop based and that can integrate nicely with Outlook. I am currently trying MX Contact (free version) and it seems to be OK. I also tried Salesforce but the free version didn't integrate with Outlook and I found I never kept it up to date. Any other recommendations?

Arthur Koulianos
BDM AVG & Carbonite


Last edited by Carbonite Australia; 09-01-09 at 04:10 PM.
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Old 09-01-09
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Default Re: Small Business CRM

I use Zoho which I really like.

Not sure about outlook integration, but I thought I read something about it ... so have a look ...

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Old 09-01-09
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Default Re: Small Business CRM

Quote:
Originally Posted by AKoulianos View Post
used a good free CRM that is desktop based and that can integrate nicely with Outlook. [/URL]
My thought is that if you want a decent CRM package, then you must be prepared to pay for it.

We are a very small business and spent in excess of 20K on our CRM or PSA (professional services automation) system, I could not run a business without it now.

Dont skimp on the systems that run your business, rather than looking at the cost of a system, look at the value it brings to your business.

If you have found something that does what you want and it cost a little bit of money, I would recommend paying for it.

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Old 09-01-09
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Default Re: Small Business CRM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Randall View Post
We are a very small business and spent in excess of 20K on our CRM or PSA (professional services automation) system, I could not run a business without it now.
And you call yourself a "very small business"? An expenditure of about 1% of that would be more realisitic for this "very small business".

I have looked at CRM before (and always reviewing) but the upfront and ongoing (time and effort) costs don't excite me - unless that is, I can find a application/system that is generally better than something akin to a card file approach.

I am with you AKoulianos, so just what is available and what does everyone use?? BTW, I don't use Outlook!!

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Old 09-01-09
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Default Re: Small Business CRM

I know that figure seems high and Im certainly not saying that its the money that needs to be spent here.

What I am saying is that if someone has found a piece of software that does what they want then spending some money on it is not necessarily a bad thing.

I sometimes have a hard time reconciling that we are all in business and charge for our time yet when it comes to software, we expect it to assist us in making a profit and at the same time get it for free.

I am just glad I dont write software for a living.....

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Old 09-01-09
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Default Re: Small Business CRM

It all depends what business you are in as to what warrants the money spent on it.

I am guessing that 20k on CRM type software/services is reasonable for you and your business, but not for me. I might spend that sort of money of video etc. equipment and editing/processing software, but not on CRM or even something like accounting.

For me and my kind the actual keeping track of clients and potential clients is not quite such a huge part of promotions work. Although that part of it is important, I have not yet found any sort of CRM package that justifies the time and effort for what I would get out of it. Unless something appears that is not quite so complex and is more suited to a small to moderate client base.

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Old 09-01-09
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Default Re: Small Business CRM

Arthur,

We currently use SugarCRM in house. We host the open source version on our own linux box here. To get Outlook connectivity, you have to purchase the SugarNetwork package from them, which allows you to sync emails/contacts with sugar and also do mail mergin with Word etc. I think it was around $150 per user for the SugarNetwork package.

BTW - I agree with Adam here. I actually DO write software for a living, and I cannot understand the reluctance for some people to pay for software which will make them a profit. We have one client who enthusiastically told us that our software was saving him around $500 per week, and in the same breath said that he thought the $2000 we charged him for it was excessive!!! Hmmm.

Cheers,
Devan

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Old 12-01-09
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Default Re: Small Business CRM

A colleague of mine recommends LeGrand http://www.legrandsoftware.com.au/ she has installed it for some very complex situations (eg a nanny agency).

I've seen a demo and its impressive compared to the ACT/ Goldmine type systems that I've used previously. Good news is its only around $30 - $50 a month and is an Australian product. I understand you can customise up to 117 fields and store all your form letters etc in it. It also interfaces with Outlook.

If you'd like her contact details (she's a lead gen specialist) just let me know.

I'll probably look into it sometime this year - just hasn't got to the top of the list just yet, as my web CMS offers some limited CRM and workflow management on the backend.

cheers
Lisa

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Old 02-02-09
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Default Re: Small Business CRM

Hi Arthur

Salesforce actually does integrate with Outlook through downloadable 'plug-ins'. These 'plug-ins' allow you to synchronize contact information, calendar events, tasks etc (http://www.salesforce.com/products/s...ok-edition.jsp). and allow you to do the majority of your CRM through Outlook itself. I have deployed this configuration into businesses in the past and it works well.

The 'plug-ins' are available for all Salesforce editions including "Group Edition" which is currently priced at around $99 per user per year.

As Devan suggested, SugarCRM is also worth looking at in either hosted or local configurations.

Please feel free to get in touch if you'd like further information. I have no affiliation with any CRM software provider but do have experience in this field and would be happy to provide some impartial advice.

Greg

Technical Director
Venix - http://www.venix.com.au

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Old 02-02-09
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Default Re: Small Business CRM

You might also want to look at a product called Highrise.. it is also a hosted solution, but is very web2.0 ish and seems like a great product.

Personally I haven't used it yet, but I think it looks like a fantastic product.

http://www.highrisehq.com/

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