We recently covered a way to manage contacts as they come through your Microsoft Outlook account. But, what about managing your social media contacts? What if you don’t have an Outlook account? Are there any options out there for you?
Fortunately, there are. Called a Customer Relationship Management platform, or CRM, this software brings all your contacts and messages together in one place. These platforms sync with your social networks in addition to providing features that keep track of your tasks and your conversations with your contacts. Here are three CRM platforms for you to choose from that will each make it easier to manage your contacts and all that you do with them.
Highrise, from 37Signals, allows users to keep track of proposals and contacts, make a to do list, set follow-up reminders, and organize related contacts and conversations into one place, called Cases. Highrise has six different plans, ranging from a limited free version to the Max plan, which allows for unlimited users and up to 50,000 contacts.
The nice thing about this CRM platform from 37Signals is that you can get Highrise, as well as three other products from 37 signals: Campfire (online meetings), Backpack (internal communications), and Basecamp (project management), for one monthly fee. My only problem with Highrise is that it doesn’t look like you can sync your contacts with your social networks or your email, unless you have Outlook. It’ll pull from other database programs, like Excel and ACT!, but not your Gmail or company email.
One feature that I really like about Batchbook is the communications feature, which provides an interface for you to keep track 0f your conversations with your contacts. Just got off the phone with a potential client about an agreement? Write down what that client said. Did a colleague invite you to an industry event? Go through the conversation to double check the date and time. Although Highrise does have features to keep track of your conversations, you can’t take notes of a phone call or add important files to these notes.
Batchbook also syncs with various other services that you may be using, such as Freshbooks, MailChimp, and Google Contacts. The service also has seven different plans to choose from, ranging from a free version to Super Indigo, which is best for medium-sized businesses. It’s certainly the most expensive of the three CRM platforms featured, but it also does come with the most features.
Nimble is the one that I think I’ll personally use for the long term, and I was stunned to realize how many folks had @allisonmreilly me in their tweets in the past few months. Is there a way Twitter can notify you of this so you don’t have to find out this way? I felt like I missed out on a few good conversations and opportune networking moments since I didn’t know these folks had taken the time to mention me.
Anyway, Nimble is a completely free service that has many of the features that Highrise and Batchbook have. It doesn’t allow for the organization and filing of conversations like the other two, but one thing that Nimble does that the others don’t is that it syncs with your online calendars. So, you can view your Google Calendar, or your social media activity, right from Nimble.
If you have a lot going on between your business and your contacts, then consider a CRM to make things a bit easier and more manageable. Take a look at all three to determine which one would be best for you. Both Highrise and Batchbook offer a free 30-day trial, so you can test drive one, or all three, before making a financial investment.