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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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    Joel Falconer

    Editor, content marketer, product manager and writer with 12+ years of experience in the startup, design and tech digital media industries.

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    Last Updated on December 18, 2020

    Can Technology have Biases Like Humans?

    Can Technology have Biases Like Humans?

    Technology has taken a vantage leap in providing solutions for man. Before now, technology used to appear complex and would require a great deal of expertise to handle solutions available. Today, we have technology applicable in the simplest human activities as smart products with intelligent algorithms powering them as they make error-free judgments and provide intelligent and analytic solutions.

    Does technology have all the answers?

    This article from Credit Suisse, tells us that technology does not have all the answers because it has been found to exhibit “similar biases,” as humans. No one can discredit the impact of technology, but it is not totally free of human input and this is the reason we experience these biases in many areas we have technology holding foot.

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    Creating technological solutions transparently

    This article suggests that the process of creating technological solutions be made transparent and subject to contribution from many people who would end up as users of the product – male, female, young, old, learned, unlearned and all other preferences as we have them. It also underscores the importance of having women on product development teams. This approach is not sure to eliminate all forms of bias, but it is a good way to start in order to appraise the full benefits of technology.

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    Technology as the connecting tool

    Technology so far has been a major connecting tool amongst us humans. It is used and appreciated by all regardless of race, language and sex. In order to keep it less subjective to these arguments about human biases. I believe we should gather opinions on products and solutions before making them available to the public. This could be done by gathering input from intended target users and receiving feedback across the stages of production.

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    “Recognizing the problem is a start…success will depend on inclusive technologies that meet this vast untapped market.” This cannot be more apt especially at a time when we look up to technology for solutions. We should not muzzle our progress with technology by battling algorithm bias. The first way to avoid this battle is by reading this article here.

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