Web based contact management for small businesses

A friend of mine works for a big company but his department is well insulated from the rest of the company. It’s a small self sufficient (in many ways) department, they have their own small budget – which if they don’t spend they lose next year, they work with little supervision. They have to obey the corporate policies around the use of the brand, logo, etc. but in many ways, they’re free to engage potential customers. He works in licensing.

The scenario above is very similar in many ways to working for a small business. But I didn’t immediately realize that. So I’ve asked him … what CRM do you use internally? I expected him to say Oracle or Salesforce, which is what I associate with “working for a big business”. Instead he stared at me point blank and the conversation went:

He: CRM?
Me: Yes, how do you track your customers, licensees, licensors, etc.
He: Oh, we have one big spreadsheet.
Me: How do you share it?
He: It’s on a network drive.
Me: Doesn’t that make the editing difficult.
He: Oh, yes, if someone edits it, the spreadsheet is locked and no one else can edit it until the first person releases it. If the first person opens it and then goes home, no one can edit it anymore.
Me: That kinda sucks.
He: Yes, but we solved it by asking our intern to keep it up to date. So we send her all the updates and requests for data and she does it.
Me: Isn’t that slow.
He: Only when she’s on holidays or when we need the data over the weekend or when she’s out for lunch and we need the data in a meeting and so on.
Me: Why don’t you get a simple web based contact management that everyone can access at any time, from any device?
He: We don’t have the time to look into it. Plus, a lot of the sales guys are not IT savvy and our internal IT department won’t support something that’s not approved.
Me: Some of the web based contact management solutions require almost zero admin work.
He: You’re preaching to the converted.

Does this conversation sound familiar? The whole thing reminds me of a cartoon I once saw.

Clevertim_CRM_contact magament for small businesses



Our Quick Demo has just got better

We believe in simplicity, ease of use and removing all obstacles and hassles for our users to be able to run their business without our CRM app getting in the way.

Quick Demo is just one of our way of showing it. A big button on the main page, giving users an instant glimpse of the CRM experience we have designed for them. All of this without the hassle of registration, giving your email out or entering credit card information. We believe all of that is non-sense. If the users love the app and the app does what they need and it’s the right CRM for them, then they will register.

It’s simple and allows the users to be in control … as it should be.

However, our CRM demo was always a bit empty, there was no data in it, so users would have to enter their own, something a lot of them wouldn’t do. Yes, we do look at how our users use the app, and we do it in order to improve the CRM user experience further.

Not anymore!

We have now decided that we need to add some dummy data, just to show the users how the system works, without them needing to enter a lot of it, just to get to that initial point.That being said, we’ll let the Quick Demo do the talking, so why don’t you try it out today?

Why do I have to import my Linkedin contacts via a vCard?

We only support importing your contacts from Linkedin via a vCard. It is more painful than it should be, as it’s a 2 step process:

  1. Log into linkedin and export your contacts as a local vCard file
  2. Log into Clevertim and import the local vCard file

Why can’t this be done via connecting to Linkedin via their API and importing contacts without the need to save an intermediate file?

And the answer is:
Because Linkedin doesn’t allow it.

When accessing your contacts via the Linkedin API some limitations were put in place by Linkedin. One is: you cannot access your connections’ emails or phone numbers. You can only access a basic profile which only includes: first name, last name, headline and a few other not so important details.

But not emails or phone numbers and Linkedin have done this for privacy reasons. Their main concern is protecting your connections against applications harvesting email addresses and spamming them without your knowledge.

While this is a valid reason, it does make our life and your life more difficult as the only alternative to import your users (including vital information like email addresses, phone numbers, companies they work for, etc.) is to export the contacts via a vCard and import it manually into Clevertim.

It is a shame, we do realize some users will be put off and they’re not going to use the import facility and maybe give up on Clevertim before realizing what it can really do. But we have no other alternative at the moment.
We will be keeping an eye on what Linkedin are doing with their APIs and if they open it up, be sure we’ll be there to implement a better import.

So now that you know, perhaps you’ll be a little bit more patient with this 2-step import process.