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6 Web-based CRM Applications Side-by-Side

6 Web-based CRM Applications Side-by-Side

    Customer relationship management software is important for businesses that are both small and large. Freelancers and small businesses need such a system as much as large businesses and enterprises do. Well, maybe you need it a bit more if you have millions of customers, but that said: managing your customer relationships is not only tricky and often complicated, it’s essential to running a successful business.

    Software makes such a complicated and time-consuming aspect of your business easier to handle and more efficient. There are many web-based CRM applications available, so let’s take a look at a few of the options available to you.

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    Highrise

    Highrise is the popular CRM from 37signals, developers of many other popular productivity web apps. There’s no free option, and the prices are a bit marked up – you’re probably paying for the storage space more than anything. Perhaps they’re only targeting enterprise users, but for my uses I’d only want to plonk down for a plan if it had more power than the cheapest option while costing less than the $50/month option.

    Highrise’s main features are a shared company address book, built-in task management, contact histories and cases, which allows you to keep case notes on a contact, along with other files.

    PipelineDeals

    PipelineDeals delivers a sigh of relief with a monthly cost of $15 per user, and unlimited data storage is included in that price. PipelineDeals is very sales-oriented, as the name implies, focusing on tracking your sales, keeping a sales calendar, tracking your leads and organizing sales documents, so if you’re in a sales environment this may be one for you to look at. They talk about your sales pipeline a lot too. Who would’ve guessed?

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    Salesforce

    Salesforce is perhaps the most popular CRM in the field, and prices start at $9 a month and go up higher than you can count. There’s also a pretty restricted free account called Personal Edition, which infers that it’s useless for anything business-related. Salesforce tries to integrate the process of managing customer relations with the process of funneling new leads into the system, using Google AdWords integration.

    While it’s popular and quite powerful (and the fact you can manage AdWords campaigns from the app is enticing), it’s another CRM that is highly focused on making sales and not so much on customer relations management.

    Oracle CRM On Demand

    Oracle’s CRM On Demand starts at $70 a month per user. What you get for that $70 is not incredibly clear, with a convoluted website design that makes finding decent information difficult, and copy that’s just badly written. Oracle has some built-in analytics tools and call center integration features that will make it more useful to quite large businesses.

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    I couldn’t find any sign of whether data storage was limited or unlimited, and the website claims that the app requires “Microsoft Windows compatibility.” What kind of a hosted CRM requires you to be on Windows?

    Unfortunately, when a web application’s sales pages are poorly designed, it’s a good indicator that the web app itself is just as bad.

    SugarCRM

    SugarCRM has an on-premise product, but we’re looking at hosted CRMs, so I’m going to look solely at their hosted option, Sugar On-Demand. The cheapest option is $40 a month and will allow you 300 users, though it requires an annual commitment. It also demands that you have five users or more, which is a fairly odd and restrictive move (as if the requirement for an annual commitment was not enough).

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    That said, SugarCRM seems to have a better balance between sales and marketing than some of the other options that focused far too much on one or the other to be an effective CRM. Furthermore, part of customer relationship management is good customer support, and SugarCRM is one of the few hosted options that offers decent customer support features.

    Zoho CRM

    From a perspective of price, Zoho CRM offers one of the best deals. The first three users are free, and after that, the prices are $12 and $25 per user per month for the Professional and Enterprise Editions respectively. The free edition isn’t lacking all that much from the paid versions; it doesn’t let you send email marketing material and there’s no SSL. There are a few other disabled features, but aside from that it’s fairly intact.

    Zoho does a good job of balancing the marketing, sales and support triad, and includes an inventory management system that integrates with the sales process — this obviously prevents any embarassing sales of a product that is out of stock.

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    Last Updated on May 14, 2019

    8 Replacements for Google Notebook

    8 Replacements for Google Notebook

    Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

    1. Zoho Notebook
      If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
    2. Evernote
      The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
    3. Net Notes
      If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
    4. i-Lighter
      You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
    5. Clipmarks
      For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
    6. UberNote
      If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
    7. iLeonardo
      iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
    8. Zotero
      Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

    I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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    In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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