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If you are thinking of getting a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system?  I’ve got here a list of 10 popular and affordable CRMs to talk about.  Given their features and functionality, these programs are great tools for small and medium sized companies to utilize.  Let’s get started:

 

Salesforce.com is the most well-known of these applications.  The company is basically responsible for inventing cloud-based CRM and continues to promote its growth.  Salesforce.com offers sales, marketing, and service management capabilities to its small and large customers alike.   The application can range in price from $60 to $125 per month per user for the corporate version.  (prices vary depending on the features you want)

Goldmine is more of a contact manager than an actual full blown customer relationship management system.  This product has been around for many years though, and it has a pretty large customer base.  The software is targeted primarily at groups of 5-30 users and costs a one-time payment of $3,000 for a five concurrent user system.  It’s quick and easy to use, synchronizes well with other programs and is sold nationally through resellers and partners

Microsoft Dynamics CRM has grown significantly over the past few years, mainly because of its easy to use interface and seamless integration with Microsoft programs.  It’s extremely customizable, you can scale it to larger, enterprise-size groups and it can be serviced through Microsoft’s partner channel.  It’s priced at $44 per month, per user.

ACT! Has been recently sold by Sage to Swiftpage.  ACT! Excels with the small user groups better than the larger ones.  Though I have seen it used very effectively within a much larger setting.  Many salespeople love this CRM.  It is priced at around $3,000 for a 5-person user system, and is primarily an on-premise application with cloud-based options.

ZohoCRM is relatively new in comparison to some of the others on this list.  ZohoCRM is part of a suite of business applications from Zoho that include office, project management, productivity, recruiting and invoicing.  The full version runs $35 per month per user but there is a free, stripped down version available for less than three users.  ZohoCRM is completely cloud based and integrates with many Google apps and syncs with QuickBooks and Outlook.

Nimble is an internet-based application that the generic types of functionality you would expect from today’s CRM systems with a twist.  Nimble has a specialty of deeply integrating with social media outlets such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.  Nimble is still fairly new to the market but has gained significant traction in the last two years.   Nimble is accessible at a cheap price of $15 per user per month.  It has a growing number of third party applications for more advanced tasking and a way to integrate users into the full social media experience.  This allows users to identify opportunities and provide all the activity, communication and contact management tools make sure those opportunities get taken advantage of.

Insightly has a user base of more than 300,000.  It is a small business oriented, cloud based CRM application.  Much like ZohoCRM, Insightly offers a free version for up to three users that is slightly more limited than the full version.  The full version runs at up to $99 a month for its delux plan that allows up to 40 users to access its advanced CRM and project management capabilities.  Again, much like ZohoCRM, Insightly integrates greatly with Google products like Google Apps, Gmail and Google Drive.

SugarCRM is more popular and commonly used by small and medium sized businesses.  This is mainly because the company offers affordable on-premise as well as cloud-based versions and is highly customizable.  SugarCRM can cost anywhere from $35 to $100 per user per month or it can be bought outright.  This company has a pretty good partner channel for implementation and features many industry specific editions.

HighriseCRM is a good choice for anyone who already uses the sister product Basecamp, which has great project management features.  You’ll get HighriseCRM when you want to expand into sales and marketing management.  HighriseCRM has a price ranging from $24/month for 6 users to $99/month for 40 users for its cloud-based system.

NetSuite is a fully integrated, cloud based business system that not only provides CRM functionality but also handles everything from human resources to inventory control and purchase order management processes.  NetSuite has been around a while, and is one of the more powerful in its class.  It is sold through a network of partners and comes in many industry specific versions that are highly customizable.  Pricing ranges anywhere from $1,500 to $3,500 per month for the use of its many modules for their users.  So, have a big budget if you are going to look into NetSuite.

 

Now, please keep one thing in mind before you go any further.  Remember, these applications are nothing but databases, so you have to put the right processes into place to ensure that all interactions are entered into the database.  This will allow for users to use this data to further sales, marketing and service interactions.  You must be sure to put time and effort into developing and learning how to operate your CRM.  Many people don’t know the proper ways to utilize such brilliant products as these, and therefore waste their time and money because they are too lazy or inconsistent to make it work.  So keep this in mind before you choose to go with a CRM.  It takes work, and when utilized properly, it’s an amazing tool.  Otherwise, you will be wasting your time.

 

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