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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Mind Your Business On a Mac: CRM

Episode 1: Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

In this first installment of Mind Your Business On a Mac (MYBOAM) we take a look at CRM solutions. Great businesses are obsessed with their customers and CRM software is your way of keeping everything straight. CRM has evolved to become more than just a glorified address book and calendaring program. CRM now can manage your marketing campaigns, keep track of finances and produce detailed and customizable reporting. I’m going to highlight some of the best CRM solutions for the Mac. I won’t insult your intelligence and spit back what’s on the fact sheets. I’d rather tell you what I like about the offering and what could be better.

Marketcircle Daylite 3
What I like: The great part of Daylite 3 is the level of integration with native OS X applications such as Mail, Address Book, iCal, and iSync. This means that you don’t need to spend valuable time recreating information that may already exist on your machine. I also like the 30 day full featured FREE Trial available on the Marketcircle website.

What could be better: This solution is installed on your Mac which means you need to have your mac with you to access the information. I’d like to see a web portal to your information so no matter where you are, you can access your information from any location.

Price: $149

File Maker Pro
What I like: You might not think of File Maker as CRM software. It doesn’t have an address book, calendar, and it doesn’t integrate with Mail or any other Apple native applications. What you do get is a fully customized database platform. That means you can create a CRM solution based on your companies needs. File Maker also scales with your business and offers a server version so many users can access the same database.

What could be better: The database requires a level of customization that may require hiring a File Maker consultant to develop your database. This can be costly. File Maker doesn’t offer a web portal or sync features so your not going to be able to take your database with you or have access to it from a different computer.

Price: $299-$499 OR $999-$2499 (for server version)

What I like: Based on the powerful File Maker platform, Bento offers up a slimmed down version that syncs with native OS X applications. Bento comes with ready to use templates right out of the box so setup time is minimal. Should you not like the layout, customization is as easy as drag and drop.

What could be better: Bento is not a sharing platform so if you have several employees or partners don’t plan on sharing the database on your network. While Bento does sync with iPhone and other PDAs (does anyone use a PDA anymore??), it does not have a web portal to the database.

Price: $49.95 (1 license) OR $99.95 (5 license)

This concludes the first segment on CRM solutions for your business. Check back for my continued review including some web based options. If you have questions about the above offerings feel free to leave a comment.

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