#1 Base CRM
As of April 2013 Base CRM, by Future Simple, still leads the way for the best mobile CRM for small business. They now have “native apps” for the iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, iPad & Android Tablets. They also have developed some key plugins, apps and extensions for those still using Microsoft Outlook, Gmail & Mac.
The reason I give Base first place is how quickly they were able to develop a clean and useful application for many of their users. In just a few short years, the majority of businesses owners and salespeople have ditched their Blackberry and now use either and iPhone or an Android phone. These were the first two apps that Base CRM developed. They were thinking ahead! There are always little bugs to squash in every app I’ve tried, but Future Simple has done a good job of releasing Apps where the main CRM features just work: contacts, deals & task. I am one of their testers, so I give them constant feedback of things I want to change, update and/or bugs to fix. But all in all, it is truly an awesome experience.
Those who want to experience their first CRM or don’t want to spend a lot can try Base CRM for free. The mobile features don’t cost anything. It is only when you get above 50 sales (deals) or need more “cool” features that you pay for the app. Companies who run a simple sales cycle and rely on Google or Outlook for their main tools, might get by with their basic paid version of $15 a month. I would recommend their main paid version for those who have a more complex sale and want to carefully track each stage of the cycle. This would cost $45 a user per month. This is still not bad for how much time you save, and it makes sure you don’t drop the ball with your sales process.
#2 & 3 Salesforce and Zoho
Zoho CRM is basically a copycat of Salesforce. The features are pretty similar. Salesforce was one of the first cloud-based CRMs on the market and is still considered the leader. Salesforce had one big problem that has hurt their foothold into the small business world. This is only my opinion form observing them over the years, by the way. First, I think their prices were too high early on for most small businesses to justify, and second, they had way too many features and apps. Almost all the companies I spoke to about what CRM was best for them had already explored Salesforce. They all said basically the same thing: “It is too expensive. It is complicated and it has more features than I need.”
Salesforce has since lowered their fees and has begun to cater more to the small business market. They seem to have a lot of funding, so I will assume they will maintain a strong presence.
I have tried their iPhone App several times the past couple of years and consider it functional and good. Though it is not my favorite nor as easy to use as Base CRM. I have a number of clients who use Salesforce and seem to like it. It does require a bit of training, and their tech support is fee-based. I will end with this, even though their tech support is fee based, they are good. They will help you do what you want with your CRM as Salesforce is VERY customizable.
Zoho CRM’s iPad and iPhone Apps are actually pretty slick and easy to use. I like the design (UI) and user experience. My number one problem of why I don’t recommend Zoho CRM all that much is their pricing structure is such a pain. Everything is an Add-on. i.e. You want more storage, add more per month. You want to use our mobile app, add more per month. You want to _______, add more per month. This is the standard complaint I’ve heard from folks who have tried Zoho. Sorry Zoho, love your product but the small business owners out there need a simple product with 1 price option (hint hint).
#4 Pipeline Deals for iPhone Only
This is sad that I have to put Pipeline Deals in 4th place. Why? Because they have one of the most stable, reliable and simple CRM products I’ve ever used (desktop / cloud). I rarely ever find a bug using their product. Many of my customers actually use CRM as well. This was because they were early adapters to integrating their product with Google Apps for Business. They also has a mobile version that you could (still can) access from your mobile browser. The mobile version does work ok for quick access, but overall it is very clunky.
The good news is that Pipeline Deals is finishing up their first native iPhone App. This will be released within the next couple of weeks of writing this post. I’ve been testing this App for a couple of months, and it is very good. Their goal is to make an App that replicates what you can do with their online version. Version 1 is not quite there, but the basic functions that one needs in the field work quite well. I think Pipeline Deal customers who have an iPhone will be thrilled with the first release. Also their price point is really the best on the market. You can’t go wrong. They recently increased their prices, but I think that was a good move. One price: $25 per user/per month: plain and simple.
My hats off to Pipeline Deals. They are slower in development, but I think it shows a lot of wisdom. My guess is they operate on very little debt and borrowed funds. They make sure they release quality updates and products. Their tech support is the best I’ve seen as well! They post their phone number on their home page!
So there you have it. I only named the top four mobile CRMs I’ve tested and like. There are probably another dozen that I did not list. Some of those are fine products as well. For those who like testing and trying out CRMs for fun, give Nutshell CRM a try.
Let me know what you decide on and why.