There are literally hundreds of CRM systems available these days, many of them aimed at the small business.
Some are very bespoke to specific industries and some try to be all singing, all dancing. Today I’m going to focus on three of the more popular offerings.
Capsule CRM is UK developed and supported and was originally called Javelin when it was launched almost 4 years ago. Since then it’s become one of the most popular small business CRMs available, used by customers all over the world.
At first glance the user interface is clear, uncluttered and well presented which makes it easy to navigate and very intuitive to use. Beyond storing contact and organisation details Capsule allows you to manage sales opportunities and cases that relate to your contacts. You can create tasks and assign these to other users if required.
One of Capsule’s great strengths is that you can start using it straight away but if need be you can add custom fields for People, Organisations, Opportunities and Cases. Another strength is the breadth of add-ons and integrations available. They have a mobile app available for Android, iPhone and Blackberry as well as integrating with Google Apps, Mailchimp, Xero, Kashflow and many more. The Google Apps integration includes their ‘Contextual’ Gmail app which allows the user to add new contacts to Capsule with one click right from within the email, one the contact has been added you can upload email or create new opportunities, cases or tasks still without leaving the email.
Best Bits – Simple, intuitive interface & the Integrations and Add Ons available.
Worst Bit – Better reporting tools needed.
Pricing – Free for 2 users and less than 250 records or £8 month/user.
Best For – Google Apps and Xero users will love the integration options.
SugarCRM proclaims itself as the market leader in CRM, I’m sure there are a few competitors who would dispute that. Never the less they’ve been around for at least 8 years and that shows in their feature set and mature offering. They’re based in the US with a EU presence in Germany.
SugarCRM is chock full of features, modules and functionality. Unfortunately this makes the interface look cluttered and confusing. However, if you have intricate sales automation processes or you have a requirement to collect and analyse lots of data then this might be the solution for you. Despite all the extensive fields available there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of customisation, at least for the user. They do however have a vibrant reseller/developer community.
Best Bit – Extensive functionality
Worst Bit – Requires customisation options
Pricing – Various editions and pricing available. Their ‘Professional’ edition cost $30 per user/month. Important note – Can only be paid for yearly in advance with a minimum of 5 users.
Best for – Larger businesses with complex needs.
Salesforce Small Business
Salesforce can claim to be the world leader in CRM. They were founded in 1999 in San Francisco and now have over a hundred thousand customers and they can count some of the worlds largest enterprises as customers including Google. They have offices in 25 countries around the world and a massive reseller and developer community.
As with SugarCRM above Salesforce has a huge amount of functionality but with Salesforce while it will take the average user a bit of time to get used to it is intuitive to use and easy to navigate around. Whilst it has a developer community for more complex adaptations it’s very easy to customise the standard features with such things as custom fields.
Best Bits – Easy to use but full featured product set.
Worst Bit – Pricing (see below).
Pricing – Their Small Business offering has three plans, the Basic plan at $15 user/month has limited sales management functionality available and has a maximum of 5 users which means that if you do need these features or have 6 users and above you have to use their Professional plan which cost $65 users/month. Their Enterprise edition adds extra features and development abilities and comes in at $125 usr/month.
Best for – Companies with deep pockets.
Today’s Micro Action
There are a lot of CRM solutions available so see if you can find one specific to your industry or look at the solutions above and sign up for a free trial so you can get a true understanding of the solution.