Keep CRM Simple With W5 Templates

CRM is an important part of doing business, but solutions like Salesforce have an ongoing subscription price that can cut into a small business’s budget. Additionally, these solutions often come with more features than a growing small business needs in its early stages. For a new business, learning and managing a complex CRM can be time-consuming.

“The W5T product is built on a PC application everyone uses and is familiar with: Microsoft Excel,” says David Oshlag, founder of W5 Templates. “In fact, according to Gartner Research, there are over one billion users of the Microsoft Office suite product worldwide.”

As Oshlag points out, the name W5 Templates is built on the five W’s of most projects. He has found these five W’s are universal to most work activities:

  • Who does what
  • What needs to be accomplished
  • Where something has to be
  • Why something needs to be done
  • When it needs to be completed

W5T uses color coding to allow workers to easily see, at a glance, when it’s time to follow up with a customer. The spreadsheet displays each project, along with contact information, date of last contact, and any notes workers need to include.

The best thing about W5T is that it works with existing software. The downfall is that if a business doesn’t have Microsoft Office, W5T won’t be usable. The built-in security features are also added through Microsoft’s security options.

While W5T is simple and clean, there’s no comparison to the interface of a service like Salesforce. Salesforce is a full app, designed to allow for easy flow from one screen to the next. W5T is a series of templates, and CRM templates are available for free. Additionally, W5T isn’t the only easy-to-use CRM offered as a one-time licensing fee, rather than a monthly subscription.

For businesses impressed with W5T, Sage ACT! Pro is worth investigating. Available for nearly $100 less than W5T, Sage ACT! Pro provides a single view of contact information, e-mails, activities, and to-do lists. The product also works with a variety of mobile devices, including iOS and Android tablets and phones, as well as Blackberries. Currently, W5T requires Windows XP or 7 or Mac OS X, along with Microsoft Office.

One thing W5T offers that other companies doesn’t is customization. The company tailors the product’s interface to each individual business’s needs. W5T also offers Google mapping to allow for easy access to each customer’s information.

CRM is an important part of growing a business. W5T and Sage ACT! Pro are both easy-to-learn alternatives to much more complex CRMs. Both services offer a free trial to allow you to determine which software is best for your business.

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Stephanie Faris

Stephanie is a freelance writer and young adult/middle grade novelist, who worked in information systems for more than a decade. Her first book, 30 Days of No Gossip, will be released by Simon and Schuster in spring 2014. She lives in Nashville with her husband.

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