Making Sense of CRM Software for Small Agencies

by Affect Team on April 22, 2009

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You might say we’re software-as-a-service happy at our office. Whether it’s Harvest for time-tracking, Vocus for managing relationships with journalists, Campaigner for email campaigns, SurveyMonkey for surveys…the list goes on and on. There is only one important business itch that remains unscratched: finding the right Web-based CRM provider to help us manage our new business leads.

pipelinedealslogo1Salesforce confounds me. It’s too much, too soon. Zoho must be appealing to those who are looking for a cheap alternative to Salesforce (but not me). Though I love Basecamp for project management, I find Highrise too pared down. I’m currently checking out Pipeline Deals based on a recommendation I received on Twitter.

My biggest peeve with all of the services I’ve tried to date is that they force the user to enter a single dollar amount for a deal. In our industry, deals just aren’t that linear, especially when we’re talking about retainers that may have known, planned-for dollar fluctuations from month to month. Seeing that single field staring back at me is frustrating. Why can’t I specify the length of the deal, and enter estimated dollar amounts at the time frame that I choose? Or is the answer creating individual “mini-deals” for every month of the relationship? That seems like a possible, if time-consuming, workaround. This alone makes me want to go running back into the arms of my friend Excel.

Are you a power CRM user with an easy hack around this limitation? Or is there a better CRM tool out there that agencies live by that I just haven’t heard of yet? I’d love to hear from you.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Josh Whiting 04.22.09 at 4:17 pm

There are so many saas companies out there now, that market really took off since 2000 and I can’t see it slowing down anytime soon. The most interesting sector of saas is Online CRM Software, these solutions such as Salesforce, Salesboom.com or Netsuite allow an entire business to manage their daily operations through the internet. It is the first real solution for small and medium sized organizations since they don’t need to spend large amounts of money upfront.

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