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.
Salesforce 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.