Arthur Miller’s classic tragedy is having a run on Broadway and in reading about it, I couldn’t help thinking how Willy Loman’s character could have changed had he been able to access the plethora of sales software systems we have today. Arthur Miller might have given him a promotion and a happy life instead of a termination and grim fate. His career may have been a success and his sons might have proudly following in his footsteps. Instead of Death of a Salesman, the play might have been titled Data of a Salesman. But that’s not a very good title and happy endings make for boring dramas.
Nowadays, customer interactions can take face-to-face across a desk or across a continent. Business nearly always interacts with technology and usually to the benefit of both the vendor and the customer. Campaign Management Systems (CMS), Online Project Management (OPM) or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software are designed to organize and simplify the tasks of customer leads and sales. instead requires more than a little research to determine what software of system that best meets the needs of your company or your own efforts. Here is a quick analysis of your options:
Basecamp has helped manage over eight million projects and promotes itself as the world’s most popular web application. It is also said to be “famously” easy to learn and use thanks to it’s streamlined interface: expansive projects can be consolidated and run on one page, progress report emails can be scheduled to managers each morning and features that allow an entire work team to be up to date on the entire project and their own individual responsibilities. If you are just getting started and need a system that will provide functionality and a little bit of handholding to start (read: most businesses starting on CMS), Basecamp is a popular choice.
Salesforce only handles wealth management and financial investing for small to mid-sized businesses while its business partner, App Exchange, handles all other business types and industries. Salesforce began as a sales organizational tool but has since expanded to records and organize all aspects of customer contact, retention and sales. Both applications are cloud-based, built on the company’s Force.com platform, are available only by SaaS — or software-as-a-service — use. The applications and platform are said to be adaptable to any size business.
ExactTarget began as an email marketing provider and has since expanded its stable of services to include more comprehensive campaign management software. In order to now organize marketing projects and customer interactions, the company has developed an “Interactive Marketing Hub.” This central command center helps to schedule, target, interact and document all aspects of project operation. ExactTarget is said to be appropriate for any size system and specializes in using multiple social networks in addition to more traditional means of marketing.
EB Suite is designed for, and best used by, smaller companies with 25 to 30 agents. It is available as a SaaS system or can be implemented on-site. The company’s motto of “Tracking – Trending – Alerting – Summarizing” best expresses its overall emphasis. EBSuite has both internal and external project management and information documenting the work and projects of the employed agents. This system also offers an internal communication system as well as newsletter and drip email contact projects.
Single User Systems
For businesses that don’t require the sprawling functionality of these multi-user systems, there are many single user or single project systems designed to help small businesses with the same issues as the other programs already mentioned. Clarizon, AtTask, Daptive PPM, TenRox and Celoxis are all solid systems based on what you need. A detailed chart form allows for ease of comparisons, including prices, and many offer a free test period to determine if the program meets your needs.
Which campaign system should you use? After a thorough evaluation of your business type, your current system, the system’s flaws, your current needs and future plans, you should be able to narrow down your choices fairly quickly. If you or a one or two-person office, there’s no need for you to invest in a huge system designed to maintain communication among hundreds of employees. Likewise, Exxon Moblile can quickly dismiss the systems designed for single business proprietors.