What do you use to share leads and contacts seamlessly among virtual team members?
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
We have the enterprise subscription, and it is truly an amazing platform. HubSpot integrates with nearly all of our other tools and notifies us at each step of the way. When someone submits a form on our site, it automatically notifies five different team members (depending on the form). Team members then mark off the various points of contact and can transition a lead into a customer for all to see.
I use an SaaS software product entitled WORKetc. This software is customizable so all team members, or only a select portion of your staff, can have access to leads.
3. Sage ACT!
I love Sage ACT!; it stands the test of time. It is a very easy interface; the search functions are great, and the ability to convert the customer data to Excel to do direct mail or constant contact campaigns is very attractive. Most of our customer data is from organizations looking to book our CEO clients for events, and ACT! allows us to keep organizations updated on our clients and activities.
We live in our email inboxes at work, so it makes sense to have a CRM system that seamlessly integrates with our email. Since we use Google Apps for Business on the Poshly team and Gmail is our preferred email provider, Streak is a phenomenal resource for us to share leads and contacts with ease among all of our virtual team members. Our correspondence and contacts are in one place.
Salesforce.com seems like one of the “big guys” now, but it’s still a nimble tool that allows companies large and small to organize leads. The product forces your team to be disciplined in tracking, and following up with, sales opportunities. We now have a much clearer idea of the sales funnel, and we don’t let opportunities fall through the cracks, which is pretty critical to any startup!
We use the 37signals software program called Highrise. It’s great because everyone on our team can collaborate from wherever we are. We share a database of contacts and can constantly see an up-to-date snapshot of each team member’s outreach, share notes, and assign tasks. The mobile app is especially helpful for on-the-go access. It has helped streamline our CRM efforts in a big way.
Zoho is a fully customizable CRM solution that allows our team to organize and track leads to convert them into clients. The full functionality of Zoho allows our team to effectively optimize sales through customized reports on the success of leads by source, industry and other indicators. Best of all, it’s free for up to three users, and you can integrate/sync it with Outlook.
Close is a new tool that makes it very easy for our sales and accounts teams to seamlessly share info. The beauty of Close.io is they’ve integrated literally every key feature you can think of to make sure other team members know exactly what’s happened with any given contact. Close.io has been a complete game changer for us, and it has increased our efficiency substantially.
9. Google Docs
It’s old school but it works. We don’t claim to have a fancy CRM, and I expect a salesperson to call me after this article gets published, but we’re perfectly happy sharing an Excel spreadsheet and taking copious notes. We can also download segmented email lists from Mailchimp and import customer data from PayPal, Google Checkout, and Eventbrite. All the information is there for us.
ConnectWise is a customizable system that allows us to manage all of our resources in one location, facilitate collaboration, and ensure streamlined operations. It serves as a database for sales leads, opportunities, and contacts and is an efficient tool to track status and time on tickets and projects. Most recently we are integrating ConnectWise into a new quoting system for seamless end-to-end workflow.
11. Salesforce and MailChimp
We use MailChimp for all our email campaigns directed at new community members, and we use Salesforce (http://www.salesforce.com) as a CRM for potential ad sponsors. Both solutions work well with our virtual team members.
I’m a big fan of Dropbox. Being able to access documents, spreadsheets, contacts and more without having to email back and forth has made our business more efficient. We share certain folders in Dropbox. The documents and files within the shared folder are updated whenever a user makes changes to the original. Also, access to the folders is easy to obtain and can even be done off Dropbox’s mobile app.
13. Ruby on Rails
We’ve created a built-from-scratch CRM in Ruby on Rails over the last five years that allows us to seamlessly allocate leads among virtual employees. We have 35 full-time and 35 part-time employees and 1,800 tutors — all operating from home. Building a system for our own very specific needs was far more expensive, but has been far more powerful than any CRM we’ve ever tested, such as Salesforce.com.
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