For anyone who provides professional services, having a solid CRM system is a fact of life. A good CRM app won’t just save you from forgetting to finish projects before their deadlines, but will help you stay on top of new leads, complete important tasks, and maintain good relationships with clients.
Ever heard of SalesForce.com? In the last few years, it emerged as the industry-leading CRM application for businesses of almost all sizes. It’s cloud-based, and comes with virtually every lead management feature your business could ever need.
But for the smallest of businesses, SalesForce.com is kind of… clunky. It can seem overwhelming at times, and many users may feel like it does too much. Here are four lightweight SalesForce.com alternatives for the very small business:
Ever used Basecamp? It’s become 37 Signals’s flagship application in recent years, and it’s almost ubiquitous among tech-savvy businesses using project management tools. Highrise is the simple CRM system that works as a fantastic complement to Basecamp.
While seamless integration with other 37 Signals apps is one of its biggest selling points, Highrise is an all-around great CRM system that integrates with lots of popular third-party apps. The only weak point for many would-be users is its Google Apps integration, which is spotty and doesn’t allow for contact syncs.
A powerful and inexpensive solution – it’s only half the price of Highrise for a single user – Capsule does integrate completely with Google Apps. With a very intuitive interface that puts the spotlight on your day-to-day tasks, Capsule was built for smaller shops that need little more than the basics.
Integrate Capsule with your email client, and automatically import emails, create new contacts, and assign new tasks without ever signing into the app directly.
3. Tactile CRM
It may not offer as many integrations as Highrise or Capsule, but Tactile CRM still gives you a lot of features for a price even a one-person operation can afford.
At $9/month for unlimited users, it’s as close to free as you can get for a serious CRM system. In fact, anyone with fewer than 250 contacts actually can use Tactile CRM for free. The only catch is that those users won’t get to use any integrations.
Designers and creatives who use Campaign Monitor might want to give Tactile CRM a shot. Word on the street is that it integrates nicely with that popular email marketing platform.
4. Solve 360
You can’t say the makers of Solve 360 don’t tell it like it is. The app’s tagline is “Modern Cloud Based CRM That Doesn’t Suck.” Pretty specific, don’t you think?
Made for somewhat larger (but still small) businesses with somewhat larger (but still small) budgets, Solve 360 can’t beat Capsule and Tactile on price. Where it might beat them, however, is on its ability to associate contacts with particular projects.
That’s not to say it’s a project management-CRM all-in-one, but Solve 360 does go the extra mile to help disparate parts of organizations stay organized. Whether you go for that functionality will depend on the size of your operation and your CRM needs.
About the author: Adam Green is a freelance copywriter and cloud computing devotee who has a soft spot for terminal emulation software.