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Author Topic: database program needed (CRM?)  (Read 2863 times)

brotherS

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database program needed (CRM?)
« on: October 15, 2012, 07:22 AM »
Hi,

I'm trying to help a friend who's looking for some kind of database program. He wants to put all his customers into it and also add the potential they still have (the services they still could buy from him but haven't yet). When all the information is in the system, he wants to be be able to - with just hitting a button or two - get results like "With customer X there's potential for 7 services" and maybe also "Those services have a revenue potential of $ Y for customer X."

At first I suggested Excel to him, but then he told me that later on he wants to add stuff like "Who gave the most referrals that resulted in new customers?", "When did we last talk with this customer?", etc., making it more likely a database of some kind is needed? Or a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) program?

If possible the software should be available in German too.

Any ideas? Of course it should also be reasonably priced and easy to learn/use.  8)

Contro

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Re: database program needed (CRM?)
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2012, 07:38 AM »
I use Goldmine 5.5, and old CRM.
I am a customer for life of this program.
I don't want to know of new version.
Goes by the Premium goldmine version
The support is good.
Goldmine

40hz

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Re: database program needed (CRM?)
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2012, 07:48 AM »
Couple of questions:

  • How much time is he willing to commit to learning a software package? Most CRM software takes some training, along with forming new personal work habits.
  • Is it just for him - or for his entire company?
  • Does he need to have access to his data from anywhere?
  • What's the primary goal for him? Generating leads? Maintaining extensive contact data and call histories? Etc...
  • Does he have a budget for this?

Knowing some of this would give us a better idea of what to suggest. CRM apps take many forms. And different products  place their emphasis on different management goals. So it's usually good idea to be as specific as possible about what you really want/need it for.
 :)

Contro mentioned Goldmine. If his needs are for a solid basic relationship management system, Goldmine has been around for years. I have a few clients using it, and they are quite happy with what it does for them. They offer a free trial so it wouldn't cost him anything to check it out and see if it fits the bill. There's plenty of good info on the Goldmine site. The case studies provide a good idea of what something like Goldmine can do. :up:
« Last Edit: October 15, 2012, 07:57 AM by 40hz »

Contro

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Re: database program needed (CRM?)
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2012, 09:36 AM »
Yeap. And I don't want to know about any other program. And from Goldmine don't pay me. I have an old version and installed on a virtual machine a trial : more powerful, more complex, more learning. Not for me. Now I am trying my old version on a windows 7 machine and seems go well.
Of Course there is a lot of other CRM software, and very good.
And free options with best results too.
As all donation coder participants knows is just a question of time and effort to find a program to do what we want free.
 ;D

brotherS

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Re: database program needed (CRM?)
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2012, 01:28 PM »
>Couple of questions:
> How much time is he willing to commit to learning a software package? Most CRM software takes some training, along with forming new personal work habits.

Yeah, that should work...


> Is it just for him - or for his entire company?

For him and one or two employees.


> Does he need to have access to his data from anywhere?

Probably not, that feature would be more of a "nice to have".


> What's the primary goal for him? Generating leads? Maintaining extensive contact data and call histories? Etc...

Using it for decision-making and later on also for mailings, inviting customers for a little event, stuff like that. (As far as I know.)


> Does he have a budget for this?

Well, he's the owner, he'll just create a budget.  :D


Contro mentioned Goldmine. If his needs are for a solid basic relationship management system, Goldmine has been around for years. I have a few clients using it, and they are quite happy with what it does for them. They offer a free trial so it wouldn't cost him anything to check it out and see if it fits the bill. There's plenty of good info on the Goldmine site. The case studies provide a good idea of what something like Goldmine can do. :up:

http://www.goldmine.com says it's "Just $4.65 a Day", making it quite expensive. Also, it doesn't seem to be available in German.

40hz

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Re: database program needed (CRM?)
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2012, 03:06 PM »
Let me think about about it overnight. I want to run a few questions past some of my clients who are big CRM users.

If he's going to be doing email marketing he might want to look at MailChimp.
(Unfortunately not in German either.) It's a hosted solution that has everything you'd ever need to do direct email campaigns - and there's a "forever free" version that is pretty robust. I'd definitely check it out. Especially if he does a newsletter or a lot of email. Has some interesting CRM-type mail features in it - although I wouldn't call it a CRM. They have a guide for international users that explains what it's about. Get it here.

tomos

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Re: database program needed (CRM?)
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2012, 03:40 PM »
There's a 2010 thread here about CRM's that might still have something to offer, and a thread this year where urlwolf recommends InfoQube. (I know nothing about CRM's myself so cant really comment)

CRM (dc search)

Jimdoria

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Re: database program needed (CRM?)
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2012, 04:59 PM »
This is a little like saying "My friend just wants to go into space. Maybe leave a satellite up there or something. Is there an easy way for him to do this?"  :P OK, not quite that complicated, but what seems like a simple question is probably not going to have a simple answer.

The place to start is Salesforce.com. That's what "everyone uses". He should check out the features & prices & see if it's a good fit. (The Group plan @ $15 per user per month probably does everything he needs.) If so, he can save himself (you?) a lot of time looking for alternatives.

Then there's "free" open source software. Your friend will pay for CRM one way or another. Free or low-cost options will cost him in the time it takes to set them up and get them working, provided he has the skills, which it sounds like he doesn't. (People who build software that businesses will use to make more money expect to get money for their effort. They don't have a very charitable spirit towards other people's profits.  :-\ )

Sugar CRM is the king of the open source packages. Sugar is big and complex enough to run a huge business, but even though you can download the community edition for free, getting it all setup and running without help is going to be almost impossible. (Even the download page places the CE as something for developers to play with - not something for business owners to try and get running on their own.)

Fortunately, they offer paid options too that can make the process easier. Competitive with Salesforce? Your friend's call.

Another contender is VTiger. It is hosted with a free trial.

Also check out OpenCRX and Hipergate. These are true open source packages that are free to downlaod and use, but again setup is on you.

Finally, there are lots of "10 best CRM tools" articles in the Googleverse, which means very little since what's best for a huge company with 1000 branch offices can't possibly be best for your friend's tiny business. But this one is pretty good. The links are worth following up, as they seem to be tools more focused on small businesses and less on large ones.

Or if your friend really can just make up the budget himself, he can call up Microsoft or IBM and have them fly in an army of CRM consultants to speak with him. In German, of course.  ;D
« Last Edit: October 15, 2012, 05:16 PM by Jimdoria »

40hz

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Re: database program needed (CRM?)
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2012, 05:21 PM »
Jimdoria beat me to it.  :up: Consensus across the board with my clients is to go with Salesforce if at all possible. Especially if he doesn't have in-house IT.

I'll +1 with Jim on forgetting about SugarCRM-CE. I've played with it quite a bit. It can do anything. But it's really more intended as a developer or VAR/turnkey base product rather than a ready to go app. Fairly complex to set up too. Not a project for the fainthearted. Or for somebody who needs something right now. It really does beg for somebody who knows it inside out to sit down with you and customize it to your needs and workflow for it to be effective.

Since most SMBs have similar info requirements, something like Salesforce is usually a better fit and ready to go when you first log in. Their support and training are excellent too.

Recommendation: Salesforce. Period. :Thmbsup:

lizasmith

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Re: database program needed (CRM?)
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2012, 06:44 AM »
Yeap. And I don't demand to apperceive about any added program. And from Goldmine don't pay me. I accept an old adaptation and installed on a basic apparatus a balloon : added powerful, added complex, added learning. Not for me. Now I am aggravating my old adaptation on a windows 7 apparatus and seems go well.
Of Course there is a lot of added CRM software, and actual good.
And chargeless options with best after-effects too.
As all donation coder participants knows is aloof a catechism of time and accomplishment to acquisition a affairs to do what we demand free.