Customer Relationship Management Software Recommendation Report

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Feb 21, 2014 (3 years and 4 months ago)

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1

Customer Relationship Management
Software Recommendation Report


Cultural Embrace is in the process of maximizing integration of customer contact records, progress
on
customer travel

programs, and the company’s marketing efforts
. This integration will
happen

through the use of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.

This recommendation
report compares four

CRM
products in order to determine their suitability for Cultural Embrace.
Emlyn Lee, the company owner, and her employees will consider thi
s report when determining
which CRM will work best for the company. The

report

discusses
how Cultural Embrace

uses

CRM
,
how those uses have evolved,
th
e CRM chosen for comparison,

the comparison criteria
,
and ends

with a final recommendation
.

The four prod
ucts will be compared based on

the following
eight

criteria:





Price



System requirements



N
umber of
users each product can support



N
umber of customer records each product can support



A
bility to place customers in groups




Email

and web form
management capabi
lities



Google Adwords tracking



Ability to import or use existing data

After comparing the products by the eight criteria, this report looks at i
ndependent reviews for
each product from a variety of sources


CRM
Description and Uses


CRM software is designe
d to provide a central place for customer information from all types of data
sources. This includes contact information and records of email, phone, and postal mail contact.



2

CRM are a central place where notes on the content of customer interactions are ke
pt. CRM are also
used to automate and synchronize processes such as email newsletters and scheduling activities
s
uch as follow
-
up calls. [
12
]

From the beginning, Cultural Embrace has used CRM to store customer contact information in a
central database.
Cultural Embrace also uses CRM to note the date and content of communications
with customers and to keep progress notes for the steps in each customer’s travel program.
Employees use this information to track the many steps involved in creating each custom
er’s travel
program. In 2009, Cultural Embrace began using CRM to send a weekly email newsletter to
subscribers.

Changes in technology and the need to track marketing efforts are changing how Cultural Embrace
uses CRM. In addition to email management, the
company is looking for ways to track leads
generated on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. The company also needs a way to track
the effectiveness of its Google Adwords advertising. New applications are making it easier to add
forms to the Cultural

Embrace website, making it a point of first contact with many customers. CRM
can collect and analyze this data. In addition, Cultural Embrace employees are often on the move,
and need mobile access to company data.


CRM Products Compared


The recent
changes in marketing concerns and technology provide an opportunity for Cultural
Embrace to find the best CRM prod
uct for its needs. Four products were chosen for comparison
:



Sage ACT! 2011



Intuit QuickBase



Salesforce Professional Edition



Zoho CRM Enterp
rise Edition

Cultural Embrace currently operates with a workforce of three to five employees, with only minor
growth expected in the near future, so products targeted to small businesses are considered

in this
report
. Products with recent releases are most

likely to address recent trends

and developments

in



3

customer
contact.
Given Cultural Embrace’s recent adoption of social media such as Facebook and
Twitter,
only
products with recent release
s are compar
ed
.


CRM are delivered in one of two ways: as softwar
e to be installed on Cultural Embrace’s hard drive
(the K drive), or using the Software as a Service model, wherein all the information is stored on a
remote server.
An earlier edition of

Sage ACT! Is the current CRM used by Cultural Embrace
. ACT!
Is deli
vered on a DVD or as a download and installed on Cultural Embrace’s own server. Intuit
QuickBase offers easy integration with QuickBooks, Cultural Embrace’s bookkeeping software. It is
delivered
using

the Software as a Service, or SaaS, model
.
The two other products we considered
are Salesforce Professional Edition and Zoho CRM Enterprise Edition. Either of these, if chosen for
Cultural Embrace, would be a replacement product. Salesforce and Zoho are both delivered via
the
Software as a Service
model

[
12
]
.


Points of Comparison


The four CRM products are compared based on eight criteria.

The first four criteria look at product
specifications. The
second

four

criteria consider product features.

P
rice.
Sage

ACT! has a one
-
time cost of $299.95 per
user
[
15
]
. The other three CR
Ms charge monthly
per user, and
the monthly cost

has been calculated

based on the current staff of four users.
QuickBase charges $299 per month per user, or $1794 per month

[3]
. Salesforce charges $65 per
month per user, or $260

per
month

[
16
]
. Zoho CRM charges $25 per user per month, or $100 per
month

[
21
]
.

System requirements
.
.

L
ooking at system requirements,
only ACT! requires any hard drive or
memory space
[
15
]
. The other three applications store the program and data remotely
, requiring
nothing of the local
system

[3, 16, 21
]
.

Adoption of a SaaS would actually fee up space on the K
drive, space which is currently being used by ACT!.

Number of users supported
.
The number of users
supported
varies. ACT! supports

up to 10 users,
while QuickBase supports up to 100

[
15
, 3]
. Both Salesforce and Zoho CRM support an unlimited
number of users

[
1
6
,
21
].





4

Number of

customers

or records

supported
.

Only QuickBase has a limit on the number of
customer records supported, capp
ing it at 25,000

[3]
. ACT!,

Salesforce, and Zoho CRM all support an
unlimited number of customer records

[, 15, 20]
.

The following table looks at product
specifications.

Product

Price

System
Requirements

Number of
Users

Number of
Clients

Sage ACT!
2011
Premium

$299.95 per user
(upgrade from
current version)

[
15
]

-

2 GB
available hard
disk space (4
GB if product
is
downloaded)

-

DVD drive
--

-

1.0 GHz
Pentium® IV
processor (or
equivalent)

-

1 GB system
memory

[
15
]

Up to 10

[
15
]

U
nlimited

[
15
]

Intuit
Quic
kBase

$299/month

[3]

n/a, SaaS
model

[3]

up to 100

[3]

25,000
[3]
records

Salesforce
Professional
Edition

$65/user/month

[16
]

n/a, SaaS
model

[16
]

Unlimited

[16
]

U
nlimited

[16
]

Zoho CRM
Enterprise
Edition

$25/user/month

[21
]

n/a, SaaS

[21
]

Unlimited

[21
]

U
nlimited

[21
]

Figure 1: Product specifications


Ability to place customers in
groups.
Cultural Embrace has begun offering group tours, and is
seeking a solution to organizing individual customer records into groups. ACT! is the only CRM
whic
h specificall
y has this feature [
15
].

It is possible to customize the other three for this purpose,
but they do not have the feature built in

[
3, 16
, 21
]
.

Email
and web form
management capabilities
.
All four products have the ability to schedule and
send Cultural Embr
ace’s weekly email newsletter, and track when recipients open the newsletter.
All four products also track other email communications with customers

[3
, 15
,

16, 21
]
. Email
services are an additional charge with all products except
Salesforce

[16
]
. ACT! ema
il service is
$59.99 per month for two users and $5.99 per month each additional user

[
15
]
. QuickBase charges
$28 per month, and Zoho’s email service is $3 per user per month

[
3, 21
]
. Looking at the ability to



5

collect and track information entered in forms

on Cultural Embrace’s website, ACT! includes this
with its email service, while QuickBase does not offer this service at all

[
15
, 3]
. Both Salesforce and
Zoho include website form tracking with the regular monthly fee

[16, 21
]
.

Google Adwords tracking
.
Cultural Embrace is seeking a way

to track the effectiveness
of
its

Google Adwords

advertising

by tracking how often Google users click on a Cultural Embrace ad. Of
the four, only Salesforce currently incorporates this, while Zoho has plans to add this fea
ture soon

[3, 15,

16, 21
]
.

Ability to import or use existing data
.
The final product feature considered
is

the ability to use or
import the existing CRM files. The existing files are in an earlier version of Sage ACT!, so there is no
import or conversion n
ecessary to continue using them. It is possible to import the existing files
into all three of the other CRM products.

The process for importing the files varies little among
these three products, but is time
-
consuming.

The following table looks at the pro
duct features
reviewed above

[3,

15,

16, 21
]
.

Product

Ability to
Link or
Group
Clients

Ability to
Manage Email

Ability to
Track
Website
Leads

Ability to
track Google
Adw
ords

Import
Existing Data

Sage ACT!
2011
Premium

Specific
groups
feature
included

[
15
]

Schedule email,
open and click
tracking via
Swiftpage,
$59.99/month
for 2 users,
$5.99/month
ea. Additional
user

[
15
]

Yes, part of
Swiftpage

[
15
]

N
o

[
15
]

N/A

[
15
]

Intuit
QuickBase

N
o

[3]

Schedule email,
open and click
tracking via
Vertical
Response,
$28
/month

[3]

N
o

[3]

N
o

[3]

Yes, but often
with errors

[3]

Salesforce
Professional
Edition

N
o

[16
]

I
ncluded

[
16
]

Y
es

[16
]

Y
es

[
16
]

Y
es

[16
]

Zoho CRM
Enterprise
Edition

N
o

[21
]

$3/user/month

[21
]

Y
es

[21
]

P
lanned

[21
]

Y
es

[21
]

Figure 2: Product features





6

Independent Reviews



Having compared product specifications and

features,
this section of the report looks

at four
independent reviews for each product.

As of the time research for this report was completed on
Nov. 15, 2010 only one source, PC Magazine, h
ad reviewed all four of the products.

Sage ACT!.

The first two reviews for ACT! come from PC Magazine and Salesmark
s
.com. A PC
Magazine reviewer found that ACT! features tons of help within the interface and offers access to
the Sage Business Info Service
. However, the same reviewer was unimpressed with slow
performance when switching between tasks and the puzzling placement of some Menu commands

[9]
. A reviewer for Salesmark.com feels it is a good product with great features, but that the pricing
and deli
very model miss the mark, giving it an overall rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars

[14
]
.

The next two reviews for ACT! come from zdnet.com and adavidcreation.com. Zdnet’s reviewer was
impressed by ACT’s integration with Outlook, but unimpressed with its social
media integration,
finding it not as complete as other services. The same reviewer did note the company’s response to
user suggestions

[2]
. David Chism of adavidcreation.com found ACT! highly customizable and full
-
featured, yet was put off by its high upfr
ont cost and lack of remote access

[1]
.

The table on the
following page summarizes the reviews for Sage ACT! 2011 Premium.















7

Product

PCMag Review

Salesmark
s
.com

Zdnet.com

Adavidcreation.com

Sage ACT!
2011
Premium

Pros


Excellent
synchronization
with Outlook. Tons
of help within the
interface. Handy
Sage Business Info
Service. Smooth
Excel import.


Cons


Slight performance
hit when switching
between views and
other tasks.
Puzzling placement
of some Menu
commands.


Bottom Line


Sage ACT! 2011 is
le
ss of an overhaul
than an
enhancement of
last year's
excellent offering.
Improved Outlook
integration,
excellent SMB
services, and
general
improvements
throughout make
the latest ACT! the
ultimate contact
management tool.

[9]


Our reviews result
in a 3.5 r
ating.
Good product,
great features for a
contact manager
-
but a pricing and
delivery model that

we feel really
misses the mark
[
1
7
].

Good Outlook
integration

Social media
integration not
as complete as
other services.


Sage responds
well to user
suggestio
ns

No native
ability to access
ACT! on mobile
devices

[2]
.

Fully customizable


Full
-
featured


Expensive upfront cost


No remote access

[1]


Figure
3
:
Reviews for Sage ACT! 2011 Premium


Intuit QuickBase.
The

first two reviews for QuickBase are

from PC Magazine and Brighthub.com.
PC Magazine found QuickBase to be powerful, fast and reliable. The reviewer found the product was
easy to use, but was disappointed that document files can only be exported one by one

[
16
]
.
Brighthub.com found QuickBase

to be highly customizable and full
-
featured, but feels the pricing
puts it out of reach of small business

[
8]
.




8

The remaining two reviews for QuickBase come from Onlinedatabasefiles.com and
Techrepublic.com. Onlinedatabasefiles.com was generally disappoin
ted with the product, citing
difficulty importing files and errors when importing data from ACT!. The reviewer also found the
user interface to be complicated and non
-
standard, and found the application very difficult to learn
overall

[13]
. Techrepublic.co
m advises that QuickBase is geared toward medium to large business,
and is a large application that can be intimidating to get started with

[18]
.

The following table
summarizes the reviews for QuickBase.

Product

PCMag Review

Brighthub.com


Onlinedatabasefi
les
.biz

Techrepublic.
com

Intuit
QuickBase

Pros


Pow
erful, fast, reliable
online database,
extremely easy to use,
but with elaborate
options for user
permissions,
document storage,
automated e
-
mail
notifications, multiple
tables, customized
reports, and
charting.
Rich selection of
prebuilt applications.


Cons


Attached document
files can be exported
only one by one.
Charting can't handle
some complex data.



Bottom Line


Ultra
-
customizable,
fast, and easy, Intuit's
QuickBase is the only
business
-
class
online
database to come
from a long
-
established vendor
that a cautious
company can trust.

[16]

Highly
customizable and
very full
-
featured


Pricing puts it out
of reach of small
businesses

[8]

Difficulty importing
files


Errors when
importing data from
ACT!


User interface for
creating forms and
reports complicated
and non
-
standard


Very difficult to learn

[13]

Geared toward
medium to large
business


A large
application that
can be
intimidating to
get started with

[18]

Figure 4: Reviews for Intuit QuickBase





9

Salesforce
Professional Edition
.

Looking at reviews for Salesforce, the first two come

from PC
Magazine and Customers.com. PC Magazine was impressed with the streamlined interface and
incredibly informative Dashboard views, both of which contributed to a smooth workflow process.
The reviewer felt, however, that the pricing of Salesforce is
relatively expensive, as the lower
-
cost
packages the company offers lack basic functions other CRM include for free

[6]
. Customers.com
found that Salesforce offers good analytical capability for companies with lots of personal contact
with customers

[5]
.

T
he remaining two reviews for Salesforce are from Eweek.com and Techrepublic.com. Eweek.com
found the application easy to navigate, with ample tabs and menu items, making the product very
complete. Though Eweek commented that Salesforce’s integration with o
ther applications could be
improved, the application was given an overall 5
-
star rating

[17]
. Techrepublic.com noted that
Salesforce offers some remote access, but it was found incomplete. Techrepublic also commen
ted
that one year of Salesforce

is the same

as the one
-
time cost for ACT!

[19]
.

The following table
summarizes the reviews for Salesforce.

Product

PCMag Review

Customers.com


Eweek.com


Techrepublic.
com

Salesforce
Professional
Edition

Pros


Streamlined, robust
interface. Incredibly
informative
Dashboard
views. Smooth workflow
process. Robust third
-
party
app platform. Chatter social
platform works well in
practice.


Cons


Pricing gets very expensive.
Lower
-
cost packages lack
basic functions that other
CRM services throw in for
free.


Bottom Line

Salesforce.com
continues to lead in the CRM
space, with a robust series of
offerings geared toward
SMBs as well as larger
companies; just be prepared
to pay up.

[6]

Good analytical
capability


Good for
companies whose
customer service
experience is
create
d largely by
employee contact

[5]


Very complete
CRM, 5
-
star
rating


Easy to navigate
with ample tabs
and menu items


Integration with
other apps
could be
improved


Easy to use and
quick to set up

[17]

Some remote
access, but can’t
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Figure 5: Reviews for Salesforce Professional Edition




10


Zoho CRM Enterprise Edition
.
The
next reviews
are
for Zoho CRM, with the first two coming
from PC Magazine and
Customers.com. PC Magazine’s reviewer was impressed with Zoho’s email
and Web integration, as well as its low cost. However, the need for customization at the outset and
lack of scalability were found disappointing

[7]
. Customers.com remarked that Zoho’s a
vailable
integration with QuickBooks and Gmail work well, but felt that Zoho lacks the email marketing
functionality of other products

[4]
.

The last of
the r
eviews cover Zoho CRM, and come from Netprofitmarketing.com and
Techrepublic.com. Netprofitmarketin
g.com found the interface intuitive and easy to use, and liked
that the application was not heavy with features a small business doesn’t need. The reviewer also
found that Zoho’s automation makes it easy to track leads and create tasks

[11]
. Techrepublic.c
om
commented that Zoho offers many of the same features as Salesforce for much and has good mobile
access

[20]
.

The following table summarizes the reviews for Zoho CRM.

Product

PCMag Review

Customers.com


Netprofitmark
etinging.com


Techrepublic.
com

Zoho
CRM
Enterprise
Edition

Pros


Robust e
-
mail marketing.
Useful Web forms for
gathering leads and tracking
support tickets. Hooks into
Google Apps accounts.
Inexpensive.


Cons


Unintuitive workflow for
businesses new to CRM.
Requires customization at
the outs
et.


Bottom Line


Zoho is a straightforward on
-
demand CRM that lacks the
flash, scalability, and
inspired design of its major
competitors, but it also gets
the job done well and on the
cheap.

[7]


Available
integration with
Quickbooks and
Gmail works well


Lacks the email
marketing
functionality of
other applications

[4]

Many of the
same f
eatures as
Salesforce, for
much less

Good mobile
access

Good integration
with Quickbooks
and Gmail

[20]

Figure
6
: Reviews for Zoho CRM Enterprise Edition




11


Conclusions


Having looked at all of the comparison criteria for the four CRM,
I
have come to the fo
llowing
conclusions:

Considering all costs
--

including one
-
time costs, monthly basic service fees, and additional monthly
email service fees


Zoho is the least expensive at $112/month. No product has an advantage in
terms of system requirements, or the
number of supported users. With no limit on the number of
customer records supported, ACT!, Salesforce, and Zoho all have the advantage over QuickBase.

Continuing

with conclusions, only ACT! has

a built
-
in ability to group clients. The ability to manage
email is part of the basic service with Salesforce, giving it the advantage

in this department
. Both
Salesforce and Zoho include the ability to track website leads, putting them ahead of ACT! and
QuickBase. Salesforce is the clear winner as the only reviewed product with the ability to track
Google Adwords. As the application currently in use, ACT! has a clear advantage in terms of the
ability to use existing files.

Considering the independent revi
ews, Zoho comes out ahead with its good email and web
integration and inexpensive cost. Zoho makes it easy to automatically track leads and create tasks,
and also offers good mobile access.

Recommendation


After considering product specifications, product
features, and independent reviews, I recommend
Cultural Embrace use Zoho CRM Enterprise Edition. Zoho has the lowest cost, offers the email and
web integration Cultural Embrace seeks, and has good mobile access. With no limits on supported
users or custome
r records, it can easily accommodate company

growth.







12

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13

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