I know what you’re thinking… Who has a fax machine? Why would I communicate to my customers using fax broadcasting?
There are many CRM (Customer Relations Management) tools available for businesses nowadays, but which one is right for you? Keep in mind that each program may have slightly different features that allow you to access just the right information at just the right time. While yours may differ, my key deciding factor is the matter of navigation. The ability to ‘swim’ through your data, and recall just the right information at just the right time, is what makes my CRM work for me.
Oracle CRM OnDemand offers a very robust CRM program that allows you to organize many types of business contacts, like sales prospects, accounts, and even your vendors, so that you are sure to be in contact with all of these very important people when needed. Oracle also allows you to schedule upcoming events, and log calls and events that happen to any lead or account. You can also add customized fields to Lead and Account pages, which helps when the appropriate field just doesn’t exist. The problem I find with Oracle is that as it is so robust that I don’t need the vast majority of the program, plus its expensive and requires at least a year contract. I am indeed wasting much of this Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) that is being paid for, much like man only using a small portion of the relatively large brain that God (or maybe Darwin) gave me.
Sometimes, simplicity is the key to success. 37 Signals offers me just what I need in a CRM tool called Highrise, in that it is smaller, with a more ‘fluid’ feel. Highrise offers easy to use tools and features that help all of its users, like the ability to upload all of your contacts. It doesn’t look to have any functionality that I don’t need or that I won’t use. It allows me to list several contacts for one business entity, and organizes conversations for each of those contacts… This is something that Oracle lacked. Another neat tool that I enjoy is the integration of outbound emails. Highrise allows me to log all of the emails I send very easily, which makes it easy to find ALL of my conversations with any one of my contacts. That leads to my favorite factor of Highrise; the ease of navigation. Highrise allows me to seamlessly flow from Person A at ABC Co. to Person B at ABC Co., and so on. Highrise is far less expensive than Oracle or Salesforce.com and in my opinion the perfect fit for many small to mid-sized businesses. Check it out, the folks at 37 Signals even offer a risk-free 30 day trial.
If you’re looking into a CRM program for your business, list the types of data that you want to save and log, and make sure you don’t pick a CRM tool that will be cumbersome. Your CRM tool should help you get information about any one of your contacts, deals, or vendors ASAP, keeping your business in motion!
Good luck in your search!