I want to follow-up to the post of last week where I asked what you are using for a sales contact management tool or customer relationship management. I got about a dozen responses and it was surprising to see how many are using tools other than Salesforce.com which seems to be ubiquitous these days. Apparently it is not.
Here are some of the responses starting with one about Salesforce from Jacqui.
“I think there are a host of systems that can be good, but it depends 100% on how they are implemented and how the associated processes are defined. I love Salesforce and believe it can be an extremely effective solution that helps sales people really show their value. BUT it all depends on the way it is set up, the processes and how they are integrated with the sales process in given company.”
I agree with Jacqui about the setting up process in a particular company. That seems to be the key factor in whether or not people use it or not.
Moving on, here are some of the other tools that people use and like.
Sean McGarry of WhatCounts like some Gmail tools. For those of you using Gmail, you might find these are excellent solutions.
“Musubi: It’s a light weight CRM that bolts onto Gmail… I use it to set simple automated reminders for contact frequency.
Yesware - another Gmail add on – lets you send tracked emails from within Gmail… which can be pretty useful when dealing with distant contacts.”
Elaine Spitz at Liberty packaging has used several products. Here’s her thoughts.
“I’ve used Act and found it fine, but the pipeline functions were too much guesswork (it was 2007 – it may be different now).”
“At our Liberty Packaging office Joe and I (mostly Joe) have used Maximizer for years and have just switched over to Salesforce, with the help of our tech guy, our son Greg, who is helping us to see quickly that Salesforce and Constant Contact can play nicely together (kind of a one-way street, but still….). It’s so new to us, I don’t have more feedback than that, but the decision took about two years of research and discussion, which I think is important to mention.”
Rob Plotkin of Social Work prn sent me a link to a great article, “6 Alternatives To Salesforce For Your Small Business.” He is trying out Zoho and likes it so far.
I promised to let you know what I’m using. I don’t use any of the mentioned tools. I’ve used Evernote for several years now and I love it for tracking all the sales and CRM kind of stuff along with much, much more. Evernote is not considered a Sales Tracking or Customer Relationship product. Instead, Evernote was really designed for notetaking and archiving. Created around 2008, it has become so much more than that. It allows you to create or clip what is called a “note” that can be a full webpage, documents, photos, videos, voice memos, handwritten notes, and more. By create, I mean you can actually create a note yourself or, more often, clip something directly from the web, emails, documents, you name it and save it with title, tags, etc.
Evernote’s logo is an elephant – because an elephant never forgets and neither does Evernote. It works for me because I can create a note for each client and I can add to that note over time. I can also create other notes with tags that refer to that client.
I like to keep my sales tools simple. I’ve learned that the hard way over many years and many clients. Evernote works for me because it does what I want it to do without a lot of other integration that I just don’t need.
And, most importantly, I use Evernote. I’ve had many other tools that I stopped using after a few months because they didn’t work for me.
Good luck and let me know if you try any of these products and what you think of them.