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Aug 10

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How well do you manage your clients?

Can your business benefit from a simple to use application that lets you organise and track your clients, leads, opportunities? And what if this tool could also let you monitor your new business pipe line and the performance of your sales staff? Well, read on then!

The IT industry likes to turn everything into a TLA (Three Letter Acronym). Then once a new TLA is invented, the industry proceeds to hype it up by using it in everyday conversation as much as possible. Eventually businesses begin to talk about it as if it were the next best thing.

This has happened with Client Relationship Management, better known as CRM systems. Basically these systems help you manage your clients, but though it has been portrayed to be hot and new, every business has been doing it all along, using things like simple client lists, spreadsheets and email programs.

What the later generations of special purpose CRM software have been adding are the bells and whistles that improve the management of your client lists, while also making the most out of the collected information to enable sales and customer support staff to be more effective.

There are a few very successful CRM packages. Unfortunately their price tags are proportional to their popularity.

There is one notable exception to this rule. SugarCRM is a package released under Open Source licensing. What Open Source means is that the original developer freely offers it to the community and the community gets to use it and improve it at will.

Both governments and large organisations are embracing the Open Source movement as an alternative to costly, proprietary systems.

Getting back to SugarCRM, this package is free for anyone to use. Yes, that’s right. It is not ‘cheap’. It is ‘free’. But the price definitely is not a reflection on the quality or features. At Davtec, we are continually evaluating software packages, both proprietary and Open Source, and we know a good thing when we see one.

Amongst a long list of great features, SugarCRM lets you track your leads, contacts, opportunities, tasks, campaigns and issues. It is multi-user and the software can be hosted on Windows, Macintosh or Linux based systems. To access the system a user would use a web-browser, such as Internet Explorer to log in and access their assigned client data.

Features abound in SugarCRM. For example, every user can see a ‘dashboard’ of what their ‘pipeline’ looks like and at what stage their opportunities are (from prospecting, through qualifying, negotiation, and eventually through to closed won or closed lost). Leads, opportunities and marketing campaigns can be assigned to different staff members. Oh, and the marketing campaigns have a clever feature of creating ‘click counters’, whereby a web link can be inserted into the campaign email template and any prospect clicking on that link to get information will be counted and summed up, giving the campaign designer feedback as to the campaign’s success.

SugarCRM screenshot

If you’re not excited by this great package, it is probably because you have not had the pleasure to ring around for CRM prices.

So why not give it a try? There is absolutely nothing to risk, and you can even see if it looks useful by trying an online demo at http://demo.sugarondemand.com

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