What would the perfect small business CRM look like?

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Jason Friend, a co-founder of the wildly successful software developer 37Signals stopped by the Duct Tape Marketing podcast recently to chat.

37Signals makes a collection of killer online apps such as Basecamp, Highrise, Backpack and Campfire. These productivity enhancing tools are the back office support for a lot of small business collaboration.

We spent a fair amount of time discussion the workings of their newest offering, a CRM app known as Highrise. The CRM field is a pretty crowded one and lots of folks are trying to get it right for the small business. It’s a pretty tough task since small business needs vary so wildly in this category.

Service providers are faced with trying to create something that will meet all the needs and causing potential overkill or focusing on a set of needs in a niche and doing that well. As is usually the case, 37Signals chose to do some of the primary CRM functions elegantly and leave the others to, well, others. It’s worth a look.

I know there are other, so feel free to let me know who they are!

CRM as a category is tough for the small business because there will always be the balancing act of “too much or too little” and “return vs. upkeep.” CRM or at least tracking leads, nurturing leads and converting, reconverting and partnering with leads will always be a good thing. Once you more than about 10 such leads, keeping it all in you head, or in the head of a person that walks out into the street everyday, get dicey. And yet, looking for another CRM fix to cure your poor processes or cultural dysfunction can be more of a waste than a productivity gain.

In thinking about this category, I would say don’t just look at a CRM solution as a way to keep track of leads, think about it as a way to keep track of leads and improve the overall experience your prospects, customers and partners have with your organization. If you think that way, the cost of implementation might not seem as steep (cost being money and time) and the actual features you think you need might change a bit.

So let’s do a little CRM feature survey shall we!

Tell me what you think the perfect small business CRM would look a little like. Please visit this four question CRM survey and pick the actual features you think the perfect small business CRM offering should have.



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