Online CRM for small businesses

One of the main benefits of using online software is that you don’t have to pay for IT upfront, you don’t have a huge infrastructure cost as it is all outsourced and you don’t have to pay for IT employees to maintain it all – and IT salaries do not come cheap. Small businesses simply cannot afford these costs. Implementing an in-house IT strategy can take a long time too, which again, small businesses do not have. For small businesses it’s all about cashflow and growth – you cannot afford to have IT projects that run for years. You need to have systems that work now.

The other benefit for small businesses is that online CRM solutions generally charge monthly. So again, you do not have commit into long term expensive contracts and you don’t have to pay for a year upfront. At most, you pay for the current month. You can leave any time, without any penalties.

You might think this might come at a cost: the online IT providers will probably try to cut corners and have less than satisfactory customer support. But think for a moment about the incentives. A big company that signs its customers into long term contracts knows very well that its customers are “locked in”. They have signed contracts and that’s a guarantee they’ll get their money, no matter what. On the other hand, online IT providers know their customers pay monthly and they can leave at any time. They know they will have increased attrition if they drop the ball on customer support. So their incentive is to give you a really good customer support, because they want to keep your business from month to month.

So let’s recap: you get an affordable price, flexibility to pay monthly and no penalties from quitting at any time and you get best customer support as your CRM online provider knows you might leave otherwise. Sounds like a really great deal to me. So what are you waiting for, why not give online CRM a try and start growing your business today!

IT as an utility

As a small business, you’re used to paying your utility bills, which includes electricity, gas, water. You have no problem with that and it’s the cost of doing business. Why would IT be different? You pay for your internet connection as a fixed cost, utility type of bill.
Storing your data and applications online, in the cloud as the buzz words says, it’s trying to replicate the utility model.

With a CRM / contact management type of IT business application, you would have all your contacts, sales opportunities, tasks, cases and files online, accesible from anywhere, at any time on any device. It’s IT you can afford and it’s treating IT as an utility. Do you think  whether you can afford electricity this month? Do you think about hiring a full time electrician just to keep the lights on? No, you don’t.

It’s time to follow the same model with your IT. This is especially critical if you’re a small business and cannot afford to spend time or loads of precious cash on IT.
So why not switch your IT systems today and experience the liberation of being able to focus on what’s really important for your business?

Give our contact management system a free trial and see if it’s right for you!

When do you need a contact management system?

You’re a small business owner. You have a set of customers for your products or services you offer. In addition you have a list of potential customers – prospects. You probably also maintain a list of suppliers, manufacturers, affiliates, resellers, distributors, wholesalers, leads, etc. Depending on your business profile, some of the above might not be required – for example if you produce a tangible product, you might have different requirements from someone offering consultancy services to small businesses.

You might also maintain a list of competitors and maybe event contractors or consultants that you occassionally hire or who hire you.

You’re a one man band and you’re tracking all these people in your email inbox or perhaps in some kind of spreadsheet. In can be a bit challenging to find a particular message from one of your contacts when you need it – but nothing you cannot solve.

Do you need a contact management system at this point? You will probably say No – you have your inbox, spreadsheets and a list of solvable problems. A contact management system will offer some benefits as it will simplify organizing and keeping track of everything in a more structure way but it’s nothing you cannot live without and you’re not prepared to pay for the service.

Fair enough.

But then your business is doing quite well and you’re thinking you need more help. You need to hire people to help you out. It’s not a decision taken lightly – it’s a big change, but the point has come where you cannot keep up on your own. It’s a good point to be at, it means your business is thriving.

All of the sudden you realize your methods do not work that well anymore. Using your email inbox for tracking contacts and keeping a history of the communication with them or keeping a list of your sales opportunities is no longer sufficient. You now have another person, an employee, who needs access to the same list. Will you give them access to your email inbox? Likely not.

So then you’re thinking spreadsheets. One problem with spreadsheets is that they can become really complicated really quickly. They also rely on you and your employees having the same methodology and discipline when it comes to using the spreadsheet in a certain way. Spreadsheets are great but they are general purpose tools. There are so many way you can use them to do things – and they’re intended to be generic. It’s so easy to end up with a big mess, where your data is spread all over the place – multiple sheets, multiple unrelated columns/rows, etc.
An additional problem is keeping track of long notes, it’s just not pleasant. The text is not formatted correctly, you need to expand the cell to see it all. Not easy!
Linking various text files, pdf files, images or other resources into the spreadsheet is also a big nightmare and a total recipe for disaster.

It’s time to consider a dedicated contact management system. A contact management system will give you the structure behind your data. You do not have to think how to link things together – other people have spent time thinking about this problem and solving it. Why re-invent the wheel? You should be focusing on your customers, rather than spend your precious time organizing your data, keeping track of what goes where.

A contact management system also allows you to share the data easily with your employees, making them more productive but at the same time, allowing you to have visibility of what they’re working on. When they talk to a customer, they add a note in the shared conctact manager and you see it next time you log in. You have the knowledge of how your business is closing or not, sales deals, how your business is serving your customers. You can be more productive because the system is in place to allow you to focus on the customer.

If you go for an online contact manager, you can also add more flexibility to the way you access data – from your desktop, laptop or on the go, on your mobile phone. You can access it from a customer site or from home. Same goes for your employees, which opens up so many possibilities. You can offer them flexible hours, allow them to work from home (when needed) and allow them to access data on the road, before/during/after customer presentations, etc.
When they’re on the road, the data they enter is accessible to everyone in your company as soon as it’s entered in the system.

Another benefit of a web based contact manager is that you don’t need expensive in-house IT systems and the people to keep them running without problems. For small companies paying for in-house IT (systems & people) can be prohibitive and it can stop you from taking advantage of advanced IT systems. Let’s face it, with 2-5 employees it’s hard to justify paying tens of thousands of dollars/pounds/euros a month to maintain the systems and hire the people to keep them running without problems.

That being said, why not start with a free evaluation of our online contact manager and see if it is something that can help your business grow and keep your customers happy.

We’re now on facebook

If you want to give us your Like, become a fan or just follow us once in a while, you can now find us on facebook: Web based contact manager on Facebook
Is facebook good for small businesses? Or is it more for fun, leisure time with your friends?
I’m personally convinced it’s more the latter, but facebook is an interesting experiment and it’s the social network, so the place to be.

What is a contact manager – as in software

There are many strategies and systems that are used by various companies in order to provide efficient care for their clients. One very effective type of organization is known as customer relationship management. This has the ability to ensure that every component of a business is working together in order to ensure customers are satisfied. There are many goals that are directly implemented into the process. These can include obtaining new customers as well as retaining current ones. There is a large variety of techniques that are used within this system.

A contact manager is a form of software that stores different names and contact information of clients for a company to easily access. One of the greatest features that this program has to offer is that many individuals within the company will have access to the database at one time. Many other benefits are available with this computer program. In addition to contact information, it can also keep track of sales and email correspondence between the sales team and clients. A variety of applications regarding contact management can be used depending on a company’s needs and concerns.

A web based contact manager can be accessed by a user no matter what device they are on. There are many advantages to this specific system. First off, an individual will have the ability to sync their information to an assortment of devices, such as a phone or computer or tablet. It will make it easier for those sale representatives who are “on the go” and need to find out data quickly and easily. Everything will remain well organized for them at all times. By having the ability to track sales information and keep a calendar, this sales person will have the opportunity to have vital information at the touch of their fingertips.

In order to find CRM for small businesses, an owner needs to take the initiative to research their options. The software will not serve its purpose correctly if it is not used in the properly. The more time that an individual takes to learn about the many features of contact management as a whole, the more that they will be able to benefit from it. That is primarily because this person will know what needs to be done in order to effectively organize all of their business related information. This is one type of tool that will be very useful for both the business as well as the client. The business will have the ability to keep into close contact with their clients in order to serve their needs better. For the client, they will be reassured that they will receive a high quality of care.

Looking for beta testers

What is it we’re developing? An online contact management system for small businesses, a web based mini-CRM (customer relationship management) tool allowing small businesses to keep track of their contacts, contacts, activities, mini-projects and cases they’re working on, sales opportunities, manage their files online, and much more.
It’s going to be a javascript one page app, meaning no more of those long refreshes waiting for the server to bring and display a new page, every time you click on a link or on a button. It’s a web 2.0 application with cool looks.
More importantly, it’s easy to use and intuitive, something that can’t be said about most CRM tools, either web based or desktop based.

We’re looking for beta testers, early adopters, either small businesses or people interested in technology to try it out and work with us to discover the areas that are not so easy to use, do not work well or simply are not up to the task. If you’re interested, please drop us a line via the comments section here or by subscribing to our notification list on our main page: Web based contact manager.

Thank you!