How to Buy Small Business CRM Software - Page 3

By SmallBusinessComputing.com Staff | Posted May 17, 2011

Small Business CRM Products to Consider

There are dozens of small business CRM packages on the market, built to suit every need and budget. Here are some of our favorites:

Salesforce.com

Salesforce.com is the original cloud-based CRM platform. It offers pretty much all of the features touched on above, and many more. It lets you and your workforce manage all your contacts, tasks, and meetings in one place, as well as track your leads, sales deals, and customer interactions.

It integrates with all the leading email packages and lets you access data via any mobile device. You can also extend the functionality of the platform with Force.com, the company’s platform for cloud-based business applications such as HR and inventory. Pricing for the Group Edition of the classic CRM package starts at $25 per user per month.

Sage ACT 2011

Sage ACT 2011 is the latest incarnation of what is arguably the best contact management solution for small businesses, and over the years Sage has added features that have ACT bumping up against the CRM space. A history of past deals and interactions -- including email messages and your personal notes regarding phone calls -- are available when you drill down into a particular customer’s entry.

Zoho CRM; small business CRM software
Zoho CRM is a cloud-based CRM program designed for small business.
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The program helps you manage prospects with built-in sales-process workflows that you can customize to fit your business. You’ll be able to keep detailed progress notes as an opportunity unfolds, and even see the probability of successfully closing a given deal. Need to see how you and your staff are performing? ACT offers 85 built-in reports and quick-view "dashboards" that let you see at a glance opportunities by status, the percentage of deals that do and do not close, potential revenue of deals in the pipeline and more.

Sage E-marketing for ACT is a cloud-based email marketing service, powered by Sage partner Swiftpage, that lets you execute sophisticated multi-stage email campaigns right from within ACT.

Sage ACT 2011 is available in two versions. The Premium edition lists for $459.99 and includes all the program’s features -- contact and customer management, Web access, group scheduling, dashboards and more. The Pro version, which sells for $229.99, delivers the basics, but does away with Web access, group scheduling and dashboards. Sage also offers specialized editions targeted at financial professionals and real estate offices.

GoldMine

Another contact-manager-turned-CRM-platform is GoldMine, from FrontRange Solutions. The platform delivers strong contact management features, naturally, along with opportunity management, marketing/lead management, forecasting and much more. The platform also offers native Outlook integration and a Web client, so your employees can use any browser-enabled device to access data. The company offers GoldMine Enterprise, GoldMine Corporate and GoldMine Premium editions starting at $275 per user license.

Avidian Technologies Prophet 5  

With the Prophet 5 contact management and CRM package, Avidian Technologies took a different tack, building the CRM functionality inside Microsoft Outlook. Prophet leverages Outlook’s existing data and functionality so you have calendaring and email along with centralized contact management, sales opportunity management, reporting and more within a single, familiar interface.

This also eliminates the need for your employees to constantly flip between two applications or to manage multiple contact databases. And Prophet is available in both on-premises and cloud-based versions (Prophet 5 Personal Edition, Prophet 5 Professional for Teams, Prophet 5 Enterprise for Teams, Prophet OnDemand Premium Edition, Prophet OnDemand Enterprise, Prophet Mobile Solutions for Blackberry, Windows, Palm Devices) to match your organization’s size and needs. Prices start at $19.95 per month or $99.95 per year.

Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM, from online business application expert ZOHO Corp., is a cloud-based CRM platform tailored to small businesses. It helps you integrate sales leads, marketing campaigns, the sales pipeline and forecasts, and it offers an integrated inventory management system to help you with post-sales processes.

The plug-in for Outlook lets you synchronize contacts and create mail-merge documents, and its reports and dashboards help you analyze business trends. Zoho CRM comes in a free edition that offers basic functionality, or you can step up to the more full-featured Professional ($12 per user per month) or Enterprise ($25 per user per month) editions.

KarmaCRM

KarmaCRM is an online contact management and CRM offering that offers an extremely easy-to-use interface and accessibility from any Web browser. It lets you stay on top of sales contacts, tasks and proposals, while also creating deals and setting deadlines. While it doesn’t offer Outlook integration per se, you can forward (or bcc:) to your KarmaCRM dropbox and they are automatically attached to the correct contact.

The integration with the MailChimp e-newsletter service lets you easily send newsletters to your CRM contacts. The company offers five editions: Basic ($19 per month), Individual ($24 per month), Professional ($49 per month), Enterprise ($89 per month) and Premier ($139 per month). You can sign up for a free trial of any of them.

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!

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