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Recommendation for small business CRM?

Posted on 2011-02-16
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I'm looking for a small business crm to manage the sales, calendar,  contacts and to do's

We want:

4-5 users
wireless sync with iPhone droid and iPad for contacts and calendars
Good note taking and associating with contacts

I've been told to look at Act and SalesForce coupled with Outlook, and somehow tie in iPad, iPhone, etc

Cost is not the biggest factor

Can anyone share a comprehensive explanation of which tools you recommend, why and whether I can get all pieces to play nicely?

Please don't just mention standards but how you would tell someone how to get it to actually work

Thanks
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Question by:drgdrg
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Jason C. Levine earned 1336 total points
ID: 34913235
Hi drgdrg,

I'll second the recommendation for SalesForce.  It's not expensive, it's fully mobile device friendly/compliant, can synch with Outlook and Google Apps for the domain and comes with a metric @$$-load of features even at the two lower-end levels.  The note taking is easy to do and collaborative comments can be done by the team so it gets your people working together as well as separately.

Best of all, it scales up nicely so if your five people become ten in a hurry, you just bump up to the next tier of service and keep going.  I watch my wife use it in her sales career and she's hardly a technical whiz and she loves it. The interface is a snap to learn and easy to keep using so your people will track contacts and leads.  
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Expert Comment

by:Aaron Tomosky
ID: 34913337
If you use act you go all in. It doesn't play nice with anything. However I know small businesses that swear by act. A long as you never try to leave and are happy with it's limitations.

I'm much more in favor of salesforce as an open and modular solution. It may take a little longer to setup and customize but you will be much happier with it.
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Author Comment

by:drgdrg
ID: 34913401
What I think I'm missing is this. If I have a calendar where does it actually ride?

Outlook?  Slesforce?  Not iPad, right?

What "holds" the calendar?
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LVL 70

Assisted Solution

by:Jason C. Levine
Jason C. Levine earned 1336 total points
ID: 34913543
You're conflating the calendar application (Outlook, Google) with the device platform (PC, iPhone, iPad, Android).

Salesforce provides a subscription system that can populate a calendar application which then synchs with the mobile platform (iWhatever).  If you schedule an appointment on the device, it replicates upstream to Salesforce and also updates the application.  If you schedule from within Salesforce, it pushes downstream to the application and the device and so on and so on.
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Author Comment

by:drgdrg
ID: 34915437
And same with Outlook?  Both outlook and iPad sync against salesforce?  That's the piece i was missing

I did look at sugarcrm last night which looks very nice although I dornt see a calendar built in. Any thoughts on Sugarcrm?  Being a web app guy, I really prefer those over act, goldmine, microsofts crm, etc...

Thanks
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LVL 39

Assisted Solution

by:Aaron Tomosky
Aaron Tomosky earned 664 total points
ID: 34916703
Sugarcrm is even more doityourself than salesforce. It's great software, it just sounds like you many not have the technical resources to support something like that.
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Author Comment

by:drgdrg
ID: 34918485
We're looking at the hosted version on SugarCRM for $30/mo /user

And we are technical - right now we are running our own home built CRM that's great (and sadly has features none of the others have) - but we can't do the remote sync, calendar sync, contact sync, etc.

Rather than reinvent the wheel, we're just looking for a more inclusive wheel.
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Author Closing Comment

by:drgdrg
ID: 34919600
Thanks all.  I actually picked SugarCRM - while they all have similar core features, their Professional has all the features I need for $30 including project management and others.  I also like that I can host it here (their license lets you host on their cloud for free, but there is a local download you can do to host yourself), so if things start going horribly wrong, I can retake control AND receive all my data in a relational database (not a series of choppy exports).

Thanks
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LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:Jason C. Levine
ID: 34919607
Good luck!
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:drgdrg
ID: 34919734
Thanks.  I liked salesforce, but at double the cost and lacking the project management capabilities, I just couldn't pull the trigger.
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