I’ve gotten some advice on how to run a startup – but no-one has advised to start by selecting a good CRM (Customer Relations Management) system. I do!
Since April last year, I’ve been using BaseCRM and it’s proven to be a truly irreplaceable tool to keep things going. I use it to track “customer” communications, and making a startup is all about that – communications. And “customers”.
Why do I have quotes around the customers word? Because CRM is useful way before you have any real customers. You always have stakeholders. You have leads. And you have communications with these.
Until taking on BaseCRM I used the normal mix of calendar entries, email discussions and various text files. It’s fragmented, and things didn’t get done. What BaseCRM does is combine all these into nice, FUN dashboard-centric approach to whatever it is you’re trying to get done.
Before finding this solution, I tried some alternatives. Salesforce was way too smart (ehem – complex) for my needs. SugarCRM would have been my next trial, but BaseCRM got there first. And I never looked back.
So what does the magic?
I like things where reading a manual is not needed. Where the features – even if there are many – are easily discoverable in the normal use of the tool. Nokia phones were like this in the 1990’s. Good software *always* is like this! It’s called discoverability. BaseCRM does it right. And it’s neat to occasionally notice updates s.a. recently the possibility to attach files to contacts. No big fanfare, just a new tile that I instantly know what to do with. GREAT!
The BaseCRM attachment tile that I noticed the other day. You always use the latest full version.
So what does it cost?
Another reason for the awesomeness of the product is that it’s essentially free. Well – if you use it as a startup. Their business model is based on taking a slight margin for each ‘deal’ you close. So when you make money, some of that goes to BaseCRM that helped you close the deal to begin with. I doubt there’s a more fair business model than this?
If you don’t close too many ‘deals’ you’re essentially forever in the full evaluation mode. I’ve got 115 deals to go. :)
We’re often on the road. Needing contact telephone numbers ..well.. on the phone. No problem.
BaseCRM is the only CRM I know of (and probably the first?) that was created initially for both the web UI and the mobile App, simultaneously. For the bigger brothers, mobile apps are an afterthought.
Unlike some too-heavy iPhone apps (LinkedIn comes to my mind – completely useless) BaseCRM has nailed the design also there.
Just one cool example. Need to call a contact? Look up the person in the CRM, press the telephone number. You’re on the call. … When the call ends, BaseCRM presents you with a menu to log the call with or without notes! This is the workflow I adore – do the notes and make new tasks Right There when everything is still fresh in your mind.
I’m risking overusing the word awesome. :) So do yourself a favor if you are using the combo of email, calendar, and some (sticky) notes. Move to CRM. I know an *awesome* one you can try. For free. Please thank me later. :)
BaseCRM on iTunes App Store (also Android and Windows Phone versions available).
I finished this blog entry on the train from Tampere to Helsinki. No wlan on this train – Edge/3G sometimes. Yet BaseCRM didn’t seem to have any issues (much less than WordPress, anyways!)