Where do you keep your customer list if you don't use a CRM software?
I believe my business is still too small to spend money on implementing a CRM software. However, I have begun to accumulate several customers and I don't know where to keep their contact information. For now, I have it in an excel document. After losing one customer's information this way, I thought I'd ask how others are keeping their customer list up to date and organized. Thanks for sharing!
Short answer: Insightly - it's fantastic and free for up to 2 users. Really easy to use. Comes with a desktop and mobile interface.
Longer answer: I have experienced the same challenge as you when I was job hunting. I was storing all my contacts, organisations and opportunities in a spreadsheet and, before long, this spreadsheet contained many hours of work which I was fearful of losing. I began to wonder if there was an app that would allow me to store all this information in the cloud.
I couldn't find an app specifically tailored for job hunting (beyond those provided by recruitment companies which understandably focus on the jobs they are advertising) but I figured a CRM would do the job. I Googled "free CRM software" and found an article reviewing 10 of these products. The one at the top of the list was Insightly so I decided to investigate that one. I dived in and never looked back.
It is really easy to use, has way more features than I need, and comes with a mobile phone app.
Each time you create a record for an organisation, on the desk top interface you get access to news articles belonging to that company!
I keep a record of conversations with contacts in the Description field (I am yet to reach the capacity of that field with an A4 page worth of information in some cases) but there could be other ways of doing this, not sure, I haven't needed to look.
Give it a go. You can link related contacts, organisations and opportunities and it also has a calendar built within it. If your needs outgrow the free footprint, you can pay to get more features.
Hope this helps!
Since this post is from 2016, I'm assuming the original poster has found a solution. But as others have this same question:
You really need to figure out your customer strategy before diving into a CRM. Some businesses need to track quotes, others just want to nurture relationships.
A low cost CRM for businesses focused on nurturing relationships and storing customer data is Follow Hook (https://followhook.com).
Follow Hook allows you to set reminders, create automation (campaigns) for staying personal while saving time, and much more. But this CRM doesn't handle quotes, invoicing and such. So it's back to your specific needs!
If you are serious about business you use a CRM. If not, why bother? Systems are inexpensive. I use Nutshell.
How about pipedrive? It not CRM as such but you can use it for that too while maintaining your projects or sales on it. Easy to use and easy to change Pipelines if need be. Free trial available. Oh, and you can link it to your Google account.
It all depends on what you want from your contact list.
If it's just a list then a Address / contact book would do. Google with Gmail works well and will sync in the cloud., so you could use Google Sheets (works like Excel) which is free.
There are a number of good Free versions of CRM''s around some better that others all with their own limitations.
The company ACE-CRM for which I am their director of Business Development for (for disclosure) has a very good fully adjustable CRM program with a free 14 day trial.
With a one off very low purchase price. and a fantastic ongoing technical support.
Anisia as I indicated it all depends on what and how you want to use the data.
If you want more specifics or if you have any questions as to how to best set up your excel sheet just send me a message, happy to help for free and with no obligation .
Depends quite a bit on the content and use of the data.
In any case, I'd be very surprised if you couldn't "bootstrap" a low-end solution using the free Google Apps. In addition, you may find the information gathering capability of google forms very useful.
If you prefer spreadsheets, Google sheets work, and you can also try Microsoft's hobbled version of Excel on OneDrive. You can share read-only or edit links to online files with others or with your other devices. The files can also be accessed through, for example, your iPhone, by installing the Excel app.
Of course, you can always us a reliable standby such as Dropbox and use the full version of Excel on your computer and the Excel app on your phone. The advantage of Dropbox is that it stores a copy of each file on your computer and in the cloud and then syncs the versions. I've found that editing a file on my hard drive, using software also on my hard drive, is far faster and more reliable than accessing a cloud-only version (for example, using OneDrive).
Have you fully explored the Contacts or Address Book functions of online email services? GMail, Outlook (both online and offline versions) and Hotmail, and AOL all have address books that are pretty flexible; and again, you can access the information through mobile device apps. The catches, though, are that exchanging information between them and Excel or database programs gets tedious if, for example, you want to add a checklist, perform sorting or filters, or do mail-merge procedures; and sharing the data with other users also becomes impractical.
I used to use an Excel spreadsheet. I kept it backed up in a couple different places, plus had a copy on a flash drive.
I have since migrated to ACT! for my contacts without an email address and to GetResponse for those with an email address.
You might ask yourself the real purpose for a CRM. There are plenty of data bases to store information, you could have avoided the Excel issue with auto backups and duplication... the real value in a CRM is to track and propel the selling process. Set times to call back, or to prospect, separate prospects and clients, track significant facts or personal data about clients but more so to track the progress in your selling process. Maybe the question really isn't if your business is too small for a CRM the question is what could your selling process gain from better data tracking and behavior prompting? The rest is just picking the right tool for the job and Excel with auto backup is fine if you just want a data base.
Zoho is free Anisia. You can try bitrix24 as well. I have used Google docs with good success.
Before we invested in CRM we used to use a Google spreadsheet, to which we all had access. Simple, reliable, and free.