Small businesses need a simple CRM

Last week I had another look at Salesforce, something I do from time to time, to see for myself what’s new in terms of features, usability, plugins, etc. Salesforce is a great platform, but every time I log in, my head hurts. It’s just so complex – it can do so many things, which is great for big enterprises, especially when they have lots of money for customizations (and they inevitably need to customize it big time).

But when you’re a small business, complexity kills productivity. If it takes you 10 minutes instead of 1 minute to perform an action, then that’s 9 minutes you won’t get back. 9 minutes you won’t sell, you won’t market, you won’t support your customers and you won’t spend time with your love ones.
It’s not just time though. It’s the frustration. If you’re like me, I tend to lose my patience, start pulling my hair out when things are not immediately obvious and when, something that I think of as “this should be easy” proves out to be more complicated or take longer that what I’ve prepared myself for.

Now this post is obviously a rant. It’s not about Salesforce. Again, Salesforce is a great business and a great CRM swiss army knife. It’s about complexity, it’s about optimizing the use of your time and time is so much more precious when you work with the limited resources of a small company.

Time and time again, I keep telling small business owners that they should choose a simple CRM, a system that works for them. But most of them like to think big … in 6 months we’ll outgrow it. We need something that can grow with us. And inevitably they fall into the “complexity trap”. They go for something more complex, something they don’t need now, just because they’ll need it in 6 months. Many of them turn out not to grow as they expected to, but they’re still saddled with the complexity of a behemoth. It just kills their productivity.

Start with something simple that you can use today. Cross the complexity bridge  when you absolutely have to, because complexity is not a nice problem to have. Complexity kills productivity.

Backdating notes in Clevertim CRM

One new feature we’ve introduced recently allows users to backdate a note entry into Clevertim CRM. The use case is this “A salesman talks to a customer or a prospect on a Friday but doesn’t get the chance to update the CRM until the following week. The salesman wants to have the ability to enter the note as-of a particular date, to make sure the note reflects the conversation had with the customer or lead.

To backdate a note, just expand the note options by clicking on “More options…” (see screenshot below):

Clevertim_CRM_Backdate Notes


This will expand the More options section of the note dialog and you will see the option to “Backdate note ‘as of’ date/time”, which allows you to select the date and time when the conversation in the note took place. See screenshots below:

Clevertim_CRM_Backdate notes as of Date

Clevertim_CRM_Backdate note as of Time

Once the date and time are selected, just type the note as you would normally and just click “Add this note”. That’s all!