Managing projects and customers is one of the headaches you have to deal with on a daily basis. It’s not exactly glamorous to have to spend most of your time trying to coordinate activities in a way that would make them productive. This is why the customer relationship management (CRM) platform has become the centerpiece of a lot of technologically-inclined businesses. To address these issues, CRMs often include various task management, contact management, and lead-chasing solutions that allow businesses to better cater to their customers.
Recently, many CRMs have come up with something wonderful: An internal social network where one can share posts, subscribe to others, and focus on tasks rather than chasing after everyone to keep progress on projects synchronized. This new medium for exchanging ideas vastly changes the landscape of the CRM stage. Their numbers are growing, and here are three powerful CRM solutions that contain social networks:
- Batchbook - This software gives you a very good “out of the box” experience and lets you interact with other collaborators with significant ease. One of the hallmark perks in Batchbook is its pricing. For an unlimited amount of users, you can start out at $10 a month, giving you up to 2,000 contacts and 5 GB of storage space. The only drawback in this service, according to user reviews, seems to be its inability to properly import contacts. According to one user, Batchbook does not add custom fields in imported CSV files. Some other minor bugs have been found, like the inability to automatically add pictures of contacts from social media. Before paying for anything, you get a 30-day free trial of the application. Update: Batchbook read up on this piece and has listened to customers’ demands for a simplified platform for importing contacts. They have successfully added the ability to drag and drop vCards and spreadsheets right into the interface, allowing you to easily get your contacts into their system.
- HyperOffice - This CRM provides you with a very modern interface, email-driven contact management, and several perks that might make it worth the price you pay for it ($15/user/month in the Enterprise package, with 250 MB document storage + 5 GB email storage). Their basic “Core Collaboration” package is $7/user/month, and it has everything Enterprise offers except for the project management, email, publisher, and Outlook Sync features. There have been mixed reviews about the software, particularly regarding its slow speed. Others have said that it worked quickly, but there were a few glitches when using HyperDrive (a drive you can mount on your computer). You can obviously try it before you buy in its free trial.
- Podio - Probably one of the most interesting CRM suites, Podio lets you create your own apps without any prior programming training. It’s as easy as dragging components and dropping them in place. The CRM also gives you pre-packaged applications such as a lead manager, client project collaboration, project manager, recruitment app, workspace, intranet, and full-blown CRM (of course). The solution is free for up to 5 users, and it’s generally received good reviews save for a few complaints about a slight learning curve and the lack of real-time IM capabilities. For more than 5 users, Podio charges you $9 per user per month. You get unlimited storage, apps, and external members.
Each of the three solutions mentioned above have their own pros and cons, and they each offer something innovative to the marketplace. At least one of them must appeal to you. Try them out!