CRM and small business are two things that should go together, but as I’ve written here before, there are so many CRM options, strategies and technologies that finding the right one is as much a matter of kharma as feature sets.
My take is that most of the popular CRM tools out there will work, the question is which one works for you to help you more easily meet your objectives. In a lot of cases that’s the one that is powerful enough to get the job done, but simple enough that you actually get it up and running.
Recently, I had the pleasure of testing driving a new small business CRM tool called BatchBook and I think this will be a great CRM answer for many small businesses.
I think the main attraction for me is that BatchBook seems to be set-up in a way that helps you build deeper relationships with the contacts that mean the most. It does manage all the contact details, to-do lists, and communication records very nicely, but the killer feature, in my opinion is the elegant way that it also gives you the ability to bring into a record that person’s social media activity.
In this image above you can see my record with my twitter stream just below.
So, if you’re contacting a journalist to pitch a story, you have their blog feed and twitter stream right there at your fingertips as you craft your email. If you are following up with a hot prospect, you can have their Facebook status and Flickr photo stream of their vacation to the Catskills to inspire some seriously personalized responses. (Note: I am only talking about content that a person makes publicly available.)
I don’t know that this functionality is something that would go into managing 25,000 newsletter subscribers, but for lists of customers, journalists, strategic partners, prospects, and influencers this tool has some very powerful upside.
More 3rd party integration is needed but for now you can use MailChimp and GMail as your mailing engine and FreshBooks to keep billing information with your contacts. BatchBook is a very affordable tool as well. Single users get it for free and you can get up to 15 seats for only $19.95/mo. I am integrating it into a layer of my marketing efforts just as described above.