Head in the clouds Manage small business CRM activities with Salesforce Contact Manager Edition

Posted by maggie.hunsucker September 2, 2009

salesforce_logoIn Ollie 180, we commented that most CRM software is geared towards the enterprise.   Small businesses were either paying for too much or left to their own devices.   Perhaps, we spoke too soon.

Salesforce just rolled out Contact Manager Edition, a lite beer version of their popular CRM cloud application.  Contact Manager is designed with the small guy in mind, giving him the essential tools for collecting, managing, and capitalizing on leads.  Here’s the highlights:

  • Contact & Account management
  • Email Integration (Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo, etc)
  • Standard & customized reporting
  • Google Apps integration

What’s great about this feature set is it works with a small outfit’s existing CRM practices.   The majority of your contact and lead information is probably stashed in your email; automatic email integration means that data can be stored in the cloud and accessible by any team member.  If you’re using Google Docs to manage a sales pipeline or Calendar for your appointments (btw – highly recommended this), you have the added bonus of tying these into your CRM software.

Salesforce Contact Manager will run you $9/month for 1-2 user licenses, and there’s a 14-day free trial.   We think Contact Manager is a good choice on its own merits, but the fact that you can upgrade your package as your company and CRM needs grow is a real selling point.  Salesforce is an established player with a robust platform, not to mention, a whole suite of on-demand applications through their AppExchange program (e.g. Adwords, Facebook, Vertical Response, and Hoovers mash-ups).

Cloud computing refers to a style of computing where users access common software or applications from the web. Software is installed on a network server, so there's no hardware or maintenance required for the individual computers that use the cloud.

Force.com is Salesforce's open development platform. To date, over 100,000 applications have been developed to complement Salesforce functionality. Several companies have found that opening their technology to the public allows for innovation and new product development at no cost to them.

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