Base CRM by Future Simple

Posted by David Chism | Tue, Feb 7, 2012

 Base CRM by Future Simple
Update: Novem­ber 2018: Base has joined with Zen­desk Sup­port. Their new name is Zen­desk Sell. Their pric­ing struc­ture has changed as well. It spans from $19, $49, $99 and $199 per user. I use the words Base CRM in the arti­cle below, writ­ten in 2012. I’ve been keep­ing an eye on Base CRM (for­mal­ly Pipejump) for over a year now. The thing that attract­ed me to Base CRM orig­i­nal­ly was the design and User Inter­face (UI). It was a very sim­ple UI. It should be, as it was devel­oped by a com­pa­ny called, Future Sim­ple. So far they seem to make sim­ple, easy to use web and mobile apps. So what makes Base CRM spe­cial or worth check­ing out? I won’t go over all the details, just the key fea­tures I liked:
  • iPhone & Android Native Apps: This is where Base CRM Shines more than most oth­er Cus­tomer Rela­tion­ship Man­age­ment pro­grams on the web. They have not pro­mot­ed their prod­uct much until the Native Apps were released (at the same time too). I think this was a very smart busi­ness idea. Many peo­ple, includ­ing myself, have worked with one CRM after the oth­er, hop­ing and pray­ing for a good mobile solu­tion to be released. Small busi­ness peo­ple are on the move, not always in front of a desk. Most soft­ware com­pa­nies will release a web app ver­sion before a native app, when their cus­tomers want a native app. (If you don’t know the dif­fer­ence, com­ment in this post or email me. I’ll explain.) The Base iPhone App works very well in my test­ing. Once again, it does­n’t have a lot of fea­tures, but it has just enough: Con­tact Infor­ma­tion, Task and the abil­i­ty to cre­ate and mon­i­tor deals on the go. The con­tact area works sim­i­lar to the iPhone con­tacts too. What more do you need? I’d love to see the cal­en­dar fea­ture, but that is not a must at this point. The design and UI of Base CRMs mobile apps are very slick. In fact, I like it bet­ter than Sales­force (the leader in Cloud CRMs). The rea­son why most oth­er CRM devel­op­ers do not have native Apps is because the expense and updates. First it is very expen­sive to cre­ate an App: as high as $50,000 some­times. Then get­ting updates pushed can take awhile: Google or Apple has to approve them. That is the main rea­son most devel­op­ers steer away from them. The con­sumers (you and me) have got­ten addict­ed to the easy of native apps, so we like them bet­ter than going to a browser.
  • Inte­grates well with Google Apps for Busi­ness. If you don’t real­ly know what that means, read my post about Google Apps vs Gmail. You can for­ward the emails you want quick­ly and eas­i­ly into Base. You can also cre­ate Notes, Task, View Exist­ing Notes, Cus­tomer Details all with­in Gmail. See Screen­shot.
  • Export Task/​Events to Google Cal­en­dar with One Click: Base keeps every­thing very sim­ple, includ­ing nam­ing things. For exam­ple, Task can mean either an event or to do. Instead of hav­ing two many but­tons and options, Base makes it sim­ple to cre­ate a task. When com­plet­ed, you have an option to send to iCal or Google’s Cal­en­dar. See Screen­shot.
  • Cus­tom Fields & Cus­tomer Infor­ma­tion: Again, no infor­ma­tion over­load with the Con­tact Man­age­ment area. It starts out with the very basic infor­ma­tion, and you can then add cus­tom fields, which in my test, worked great! You can eas­i­ly look up cus­tomers and con­tacts using their easy to find search sec­tion and dig deep­er using Tags. I actu­al­ly like how sim­ple the UI is for the Con­tact Man­age­ment area. Many small busi­ness own­ers are over­whelmed with too much infor­ma­tion. It is also one of the rea­sons I still eval­u­ate CRMs…looking for sim­ple solu­tions for that one audi­ence and more advanced pro­grams for those who want more! This CRM is easy to learn and do what most small busi­ness­es need (at least start­ing out).
  • Deals and Report­ing: This is where Base seems to spend a lot of time in devel­op­ing a good user inter­face with the design and report­ing. Once you start fill­ing in your deals, Base begins cre­at­ing a cus­tom data­base for good report­ing. (note for the old Act! users read­ing this: Deals are Oppor­tu­ni­ties). You can quick­ly look at where all your best leads are com­ing from, how many you’ve closed, lost and what still needs to be done to close out a deal.
  • Sup­port: Very quick response and help when I need­ed it. They lis­ten to me too!
  • Import­ing from Oth­er CRMs: They make it easy. I tried it and had no issues. They’ve also offered to help import exist­ing deals (and have them postdated)
  • Price: The price is free for any­one to start using Base. So how do they make their mon­ey? Well, they give you a cer­tain amount of free DEALS. Once you reach that amount, I think it is $150, then you go to a paid account, which starts at $29.99 a month. This could still be a very afford­able option for many small busi­ness­es. Lets say you are a remod­el­er who does 50 bids a year. It would take you 3 years before you’d reach the paid ver­sion. If you are a paint com­pa­ny that does 20 bids a week, it would take you a cou­ple months before you hit the paid ver­sion of $29.99 a month. Where it can get a lit­tle pricey for the small com­pa­nies is when you hit 1000 deals. Base charges $99.99 for from 1,001 to 10,000 deals. If you have a larg­er sales staff 5 esti­ma­tors, $99.99 a month is nothing.
The Bot­tom line about Base, so far in my ear­ly test­ings of it’s abil­i­ties: I like it. I’ve sug­gest­ed a num­ber of fea­tures to the com­pa­ny, and I hope they will imple­ment them. For exam­ple, their Task Times only give you 1 hour options. I’d rather make task with 15 min incre­ments. Seems like an easy update, and they’ve already said it is in the works. Inte­gra­tion with Google Doc­u­ments, a File stor­age (Drop­box, Egnyte, Box​.net) would also be nice. They are work­ing on a Quote sys­tem (to send esti­mates and invoic­es sim­i­lar to Fresh­books. It is already released, but improve­ments are under­way). Base CRM is your sim­ple and easy to use CRM. I think by not hav­ing too many fea­tures, it will make some of you very hap­py and have less frus­tra­tions. I’d like to see Google Apps have more plu­g­ins and keep the CRM sim­ple. Let me know if you’ve tried Base and what you think about it. 20120207-175545.jpg

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.

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