Zendesk Sell (formally Base CRM) Final 2014 Review of Updates

Posted by David Chism | Wed, Dec 31, 2014

 Zendesk Sell (formally Base CRM) Final 2014 Review of Updates

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 2017.

Nar­row­ing Down My CRM Recommendations

As I write my final 2014 blog post, I want­ed to bring my read­ers up to date on one of my favorite Cus­tomer Rela­tion­ship Man­age­ment (CRM) pro­grams of 2014, Base CRM and why it is a strong choice if you are con­sid­er­ing a switch in 2015. I get a bit of emails and com­ments from oth­ers around the world telling me that THIS CRM is bet­ter than THAT CRM or that I should try THIS CRM too. I have been using CRM soft­ware for 15 years now and have tried and test­ed sev­er­al dozen of them to see how they work for a con­tract­ing busi­ness. The big play­ers in the mar­ket: Zoho and Sales­force (or ImproveIt 360: owned by Sales­force) are still great pro­grams. I nor­mal­ly rec­om­mend one of these pro­grams for com­pa­nies who real­ly want a lot of cus­tom fea­tures. You will pay through the nose but you will prob­a­bly get what you want. ImproveIt 360, for exam­ple has mar­ket­ed heav­i­ly to the con­tract­ing mar­ket. My only real beef with this pro­gram is that it has not kept up with the mobile devices (it is behind the times as of 2014). I know this post will get dat­ed and CRM pro­grams I am not endors­ing will get bet­ter. I’m just try­ing to keep it sim­ple for my read­ers and sug­gest a very good prod­uct that I use myself. 

So with all the CRMs avail­able in 2014, I have real­ly nar­rowed down my focus to Future Sim­ple’s Base CRM. I still have many clients using anoth­er great CRM called Pipeline Deals. It is a very sim­ple and easy to use CRM with no bugs: it just works. Yet even Pipeline Deals has not been able to keep up with the pletho­ra of updates and fea­tures that Base has pro­duced in 2014 for the desk­top and mobile devices. It is because of this, I con­tin­ue to use Base for my own team on a dai­ly basis.

Key New High­lights for Base CRM in 2014

Below are the bul­let points of fea­tures released in 2014 by Base CRM’s devel­op­ment team mak­ing this CRM a hot item going into 2015. I can now use Base almost exclu­sive­ly on an iPad or iPhone. For exam­ple, an email I send has my cus­tom HTML sig­na­ture sent along with it, so it looks as though I’m send­ing emails from my desk­top computer.

  • Report­ing Cen­ter on all devices: When I am on my iPhone and want to see how much I’ve sold and/​or lost this week or this month, I just have to click Dash­board” to quick­ly see a sales update.
  • Com­mu­ni­ca­tions (Emails, Text & Calls): Users can now send and receive email exclu­sive­ly from any device run­ning Base. One can even send and receive text mes­sages if you use Base’s phone ser­vice too.
  • Email Tem­plates: You can send cus­tomized emails from all devices now. I love this new fea­ture! I also like that you can insert TAGS. So you can make your emails real­ly per­son­al. For exam­ple, if you get a new lead, you can send a canned” response back to the prospect and make it very per­son­al! It just saves your staff a lot of time and allows for con­sis­ten­cy with your team.
  • Stronger Inte­gra­tion with Xero & Quote Roller: Xero is a slick and easy to use cloud-based account­ing that very well could replace Quick­books Online. It inte­grates with Base, which is a nice fea­ture to have! Also a pro­gram called Quote Roller. Painters, builders and oth­er trades can cre­ate attrac­tive look­ing pro­pos­als with­in Quote Roller. Con­nect­ing Quote Roller with your Base account allows the con­tact infor­ma­tion to sync between Base and Quote Roller. Also when you are in the DEALS tab of Base, you can click on your Quote Roller tab which will take you to the proposal.
  • Lead Sources on Mobile: New leads can now be sourced prop­er­ly even on a mobile device. Before it was only on the desk­top ver­sion. Once you deter­mine the source of a lead it then allows you to run more cus­tom reports.
  • Cus­tomers, Past Cus­tomers, Non-Prospects & Accounts: Base has made it eas­i­er to deter­mine your cur­rent and past cus­tomers. You can even see how much rev­enue you’ve received from your clients with the Accounts” sec­tion. I do not always like run­ning reports. I some­times just like to look at a per­sons con­tact infor­ma­tion. Now I can see, at a glance, every­thing I need to know about a client: past and cur­rent deals, how much was lost and won, etc.
  • Smarter Clas­si­fi­ca­tions for Prospects & Cus­tomers: Read more here
  • Email Track­ing: I can now receive a noti­fi­ca­tion when some­one reads my email and I can also see how many times they open an email I sent through Base!
  • Glob­al Email Vis­i­bil­i­ty & Mul­ti­ple Col­lab­o­ra­tors on Deals
  • Email Any­one from with­in Base: I still use Google Apps for Work for almost all my email­ing. Yet I am turn­ing to Base more and more to do a lot of my Deal-relat­ed emails. One day I might use Base exclu­sive­ly! It syncs beau­ti­ful­ly with Google now. When I send an email with­in Base, I see it in my Google Sent fold­er too. Tech­ni­cal­ly, you and your team can use Base 100% for emails now (you don’t have to leave the Apps).
  • Prod­uct Cat­a­log: This is not a fea­ture I expect will be real ben­e­fi­cial to the con­tract­ing mar­ket just yet. How­ev­er, it is a new an slick update. It might make pric­ing a job a bit eas­i­er using the prod­uct price list in Base. Read more here
  • Email Sig­na­tures & Attach­ments: When send­ing emails with­in Base, you can cus­tomize them with your com­pa­ny logo and social media icons/​links.
Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 4.55.13 PM
  • IMG_0735Noti­fi­ca­tions: If you are using iOS or Android devices, Base can now push noti­fi­ca­tions between the desk­top ver­sion and the mobile devices. This is just anoth­er rea­son why you can basi­cal­ly use Base CRM for your entire sales cycle and com­pa­ny calendar.
  • Cal­en­dar: The cal­en­dar with­in Base works with Google Cal­en­dar. There are still some updates that I’d like to see in this area, but all in all, it works well. For exam­ple, there is no way to sched­ule appoint­ments with­in Base for oth­er mem­bers of the team. The workaround is to have a group sales cal­en­dar for appointments.
  • Per­son­al­ize Appoint­ments with Your Com­pa­ny Brand­ing: When send­ing appoint­ment invi­ta­tions with­in Base, the emails sent to your busi­ness con­tacts are send your com­pa­ny brand­ed invitation.
  • Scor­ing: This is not a fea­ture I use often or have seen oth­ers use in the con­struc­tion world. How­ev­er, it is pret­ty nifty! You can basi­cal­ly set­up dif­fer­ent scor­ing num­bers for cer­tain types of leads and sales. For instance, if you a hot prospect for you might be a prop­er­ty man­age­ment firm, you’d check off Prop­er­ty Man­age­ment” for this prospects Score and it would apple a num­ber that you’ve pre­vi­ous­ly set for that indus­try. Maybe a prop­er­ty man­ag­er is worth 75 points while a piz­za shop own­er is worth 20 points. Hope­ful­ly this makes sense. Scor­ing can help sales man­agers know what their sales teams are pur­su­ing and if they are spend­ing enough time going after high­er tick­et prospects and sales.
  • Cus­tom Lead Cap­tur­ing Forms: I can eas­i­ly cre­ate my own forms with­in Base and it auto­mat­i­cal­ly updates on my web­site. I love this fea­ture! The only thing that did not get done in 2014 which I hope will hap­pen soon is the forms work ok on mobile devices but are not respon­sive just yet. What I mean is that they need a few more tweaks to make them per­fect for all devices.

The items I men­tioned in this blog are all new in 2014. Base was very good in 2013, but it real­ly stepped up its updates this past year and made it an incred­i­ble CRM. I have been hear­ing very pos­i­tive feed­back to a few of the painters and con­trac­tors I know using Base in recent months. All of them are real­ly enjoy­ing the new features.

If you have a ques­tion about Base CRM, let me know. Their sup­port team is very respon­sive as well. They have quite a bit more updates planned for 2015, so stay tuned. What I like about updates over time instead of all at once is that users can learn the new fea­tures and adapt quick­ly. The mobile apps and desk­top of Base CRM is real­ly pret­ty sim­ple to use. I hope you’ll find the same thing if you give it a try.

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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