Advertising
Advertising

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.

    Advertising

    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?

    Advertising

    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.

    Advertising

    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).

    Advertising

    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.

    More by this author

    The Importance of Scheduling Downtime How to Make Decisions Under Pressure 11 Free Mind Mapping Applications & Web Services How to Use Parkinson’s Law to Your Advantage 19 Free GTD Apps for Windows, Mac & Linux

    Trending in Technology

    1 7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively 2 7 Clever Goal Tracker Apps to Make the Most of Your Business in 2019 3 10 Smartest Productivity Software to Improve Your Work Performance 4 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2019 Updated) 5 16 Less Known Gmail Hacks That Will Super Boost Your Productivity

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on February 15, 2019

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

    Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

    Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

    So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

    Joe’s Goals

    Advertising

       

      Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

      Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

      Daytum

        Daytum

        is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

        Advertising

        Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

        Excel or Numbers

          If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

          What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

          Evernote

          Advertising

            I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

            Evernote is free with a premium version available.

            Access or Bento

              If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

              Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

              Advertising

              You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

              Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

              All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

              Conclusion

              I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

              What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

              Read Next