CRM

Good customer relationship management software simplifies and automates contacting your clients: most provide you with a clear record of what your past communications have included, as well as making sure that you and anyone you work with are on the same page for each client. Some CRM software even lets you send out automatic emails or newsletters. There are several desktop CRM software packages, but many of them simply aren’t comparable to web-based applications. Desktop CRM software often requires synchronizing and has limited usefulness if you aren’t at your desk. In contrast, many of the online options even provide you with the ability to access information from a smartphone as well any computer with an Internet connection.

  1. BatchBook: The features provided by BatchBook make it an ideal CRM solution for anyone already using web-based applications. You can synchronize contacts between such services as Freshbooks, Mail Chimp, or Shoeboxed as well as standard email services. You can email directly from BatchBook as well as assign tasks related to individual contacts to your team.
  2. Bantam Live: If you use social media in connecting with your customers, Bantam Live makes it easy to see your contacts’ updates on LinkedIn, Twitter, and other sites on the same page that you can see the results of contacting them.
  3. Zoho CRM: CRM grew out of managing sales and marketing efforts and you’ll find the CRM tools necessary for large-scale efforts in Zoho CRM (e.g., integrated inventory management) so that you can quickly complete sales.
  4. Buzzstream: For users who rely on CRM software for contacts (such as PR representatives), rather than clients, Buzzstream can provide a tool better suited to those specialized needs. Among other features, Buzzstream allows you to add a new contract as you’re browsing online — if you find a blogger who might cover your company, for instance.
  5. Sugar CRM: Sugar CRM actually offers several different CRM tools, which happen to be open source. While Sugar CRM is not free, it’s extremely adaptable, allowing you to easily create custom modules as well as add external data.
  6. Salesforce: One of the best known online CRM tools, Salesforce was built with sales in mind. It provides features useful for a sales staff, like the ability to easily access contact information through an iPhone while you’re out of the office.
  7. Bizroof: A relatively simple tool, Bizroof provides a free CRM application that handles basic contact management as well as scheduling-related events and tools. You can setup a Bizroof account with multiple users.
  8. Highrise: 37signals developed Highrise — as well as the well-known project management tool, Basecamp. Highrise as a particularly easy-to-use interface, just like 37signals’ other products.
  9. Free CRM: With a focus on automating communications and sales, Free CRM is geared towards smaller businesses. It’s available both in free and premium versions — but the differences between the two versions are major. At the very least, the premium version is far more secure than its free counterpart.
  10. Relationals: If you use email or telemarketing campaigns to promote your business, Relationals is an ideal tool — it allows you to track the success of the campaign as well as tweak and improve it for the future.

Image credit: caracterdesign / iStockphoto

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