Desktop CRM: Free Cheese Tasting

    While cloud-based CRMs were chosen with excitement on Habré, the opposite task arose for me - to find a desktop CRM. This decision was dictated by the need to ensure data security, especially the client base and a number of other, no less significant reasons. The purchase was serious (after all, 30 seats with a possible revision) and the approach needed was appropriate.

    Experiment


    Before buying this or that system, we conducted a large experiment in several stages:
    1. We collected lists of existing CRMs, reviews on them, looked at sites and prices.
    2. We defined our goals and collected requirements: CRM should be operational, designed to manage customers, transactions, sales cycle, base, to plan and control the actions of managers, to build clear and quick reports.
    3. Installed me (the administrator) and managers free versions for testing.
    4. We installed demos of selected CRM and are working on them.

    The story is long, so in the first part of the review for Habr, it was decided to consider free single-user versions of the selected CRM.
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    Do it yourself


    Programs that provide the user with the maximum opportunity to create data sets, fill out directories, generate reports and sacrifice any user-friendly interface for the sake of this fall into this category.

    Galloper CRM is a well-thought-out system with extensive functionality and, as the logic of this group suggests, no interface. In principle, with due diligence and ability to work with DBMS (at least MS Access), Galloper can be modified to meet the needs of any business profile. Everything is configured here from scratch or almost from scratch: directories, sales routes, events, activities, reminder settings, etc. ... The client card has a huge set of fields with the possibility of additional customization. The system provides many reports on sales, goods, activities, sales funnel.

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    Of the obvious drawbacks are the opacity of the logic for creating many fields and slow operation with a serious filling of the database. There was a feeling that this system is nevertheless designed for companies with a small client base.

    Supasoft CRM is initially positioned as a platform for developing personal configurations, which is why the appearance of a “designer” takes on the image of a chip. The simplicity of the interface announced on the site is in reality an empty window after startup with a simple and accessible menu. This CRM does not have a personal planner, tasks, tasks, or monitoring the actions of a manager, however, forms are simply created for recording goods, sales, and customers. In Supasoft, you can build reports with the widest set of parameters, organizing your pivot tables according to the template.

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    Overall, Supasoft CRM is a great alternative to MS Excel. It is well organized and with a competent approach, you can safely work with it as a database of goods, services, customers and deals.

    The policy of developers of these CRM solutions is not entirely clear from the point of view of the engineer and is absolutely transparent from the point of view of marketing. Other free CRMs provide much richer features and at the same time give a beautiful and convenient interface. CRM users are, as a rule, managers who are far from the IT world and they are simply frightened by empty, boring fields that need to be “finished”. Although I, as an IT manager, really liked to bring these "easy" CRM to mind, but just for fun.

    Alien among his


    Monitor CRM - This CRM stands out only because it is too redundant for customer management purposes. This is a functional, well-thought-out analytical CRM that definitely deserves special attention. Unfortunately, the site does not allow the download of their free version of Lite, so I had to use a demo version that you can successfully fill in with your data and use for your needs.

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    First of all, Monitor surprises with a set of fields for each card. For example, an image, substitutes, competitors' prices for the same product, GOSTs, etc. are provided for a product ... Analytical data is built from such fields, which are more suitable for the marketing or development service than for the sales or customer service department. At the same time, the sales module is perfectly organized: you can watch and create shipments, applications, payments. In the task scheduler, you can create tasks of various types with color displays and reminders.

    If we turn to analytics, then in this CRM is considered the margin, profitability and many other indicators. The “Problem areas” tab is interesting with the ability to create custom customer groups that are problematic. Of the obvious usability mistakes, there are many windows on one screen: the process overview is getting worse, windows have to be squeezed, the logic of some branches and trees is incomprehensible and inconvenient for the user.

    In conclusion, I can say that as a user I do not see the point in single-user analytic CRM - all the power of analytics, which would be useful in a large company when working together, turns into a clumsy, unnecessary set, reaching for a good scheduler and sales management system.

    Passed to the second stage


    With all three systems from this group, as well as with some of the previous ones, I had to work closely, but the versions were significantly updated, so the tests had to be carried out practically from scratch. I can say for sure that all the changes have happened only for the better.

    Quick Sales CRM is a hardworking CRM matching its bee logo. Simple and intuitive interface, accessible buttons for calling modules in the menu on the right, well-written help.

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    The client’s card has all the necessary fields, you can put down the status of the client, buttons are provided for quick access to the client’s website and for calling via the softphone, plans for the client are easily written.
    All work with the client is actually carried out on his card - it creates work (with type classification), contracts (with links to the file), notes, plans, and also makes goods and services.

    As for the goods and services, they must first be entered in the Products directory, when creating, you can set the hint “Service”, but for my taste, it’s better to create different folders for different groups of goods and services. Before you start working with products, it’s absolutely not superfluous to go to the “General Settings” section and deal with the default currencies and the currency of the price in the Products directory. When entering the price in the price, the default currency is the dollar, but there is no warning about this anywhere. But at the same time, if prices are entered in the price list and the currency is changed after payment, the price will remain paid (it was 10 dollars, it became 10 rubles).

    I did not like how the knowledge base was implemented, but its existence is already a plus. It provides an answer and a question on the product, without nesting and special prevalence, but with the ability to attach a file. Such a solution can very well help managers working with clients, as well as technical support. Quick Sales CRM has a well-implemented tree structure for directories that can be expanded and customized to fit your needs.

    But what specifically did not like was the presence in the menu of functions not available in the free version. They could be taken out in a separate tour, a help section, a pop-up window, anywhere - just not in the menu. You open with naive joy: integration with 1C, import of the QS database, mailing, group operations on data, and you will receive a window with information about availability only in the paid version. After another inaccessible function, the pleasure of using CRM is diluted with irritation.

    RegionSoft CRM . In the free edition working under Firebird DBMS, you can connect to existing databases, as well as create and fill in new databases. At the first start, the system displays a form in which data about your organization and account are entered.

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    Working in CRM is simple - it has an intuitive interface with graphic buttons and a familiar menu. On the left is the "Assistant" menu, in which you can open accounts, scheduler, and tasks with one click. Planning in Express is well thought out - reminders are configured, you can shift plans, edit task cards. Tasks are created in one window, you can set the reminder time, add a comment, select the person responsible.

    In RegionSoft Express, perhaps the most comprehensive and accurate reference books, which can be supplemented in a few clicks. Such data fullness saves time at the start of working with CRM.

    When creating a customer card, you can set the flag of importance (status: hot customer, positive process, negative process). At the bottom of the card, his whole story with tabs is implemented: events, tasks, accounts, sales, services, correspondence and files (files have a nested structure, you can create folders).

    A product card is also created simply, right in it you can create a commercial proposal and attach the necessary files, for example, a photo of the product, its specification, certificate of conformity, etc. ... Sales can be entered directly in the "Sales" section and created through an invoice: an invoice is issued, billed to the client and then based on the existing account, a sale is created.

    In addition, RegionSoft CRM provides a correspondence journal, a knowledge base with sections and an internal editor, and powerful custom filters. Reports are built in the form of tables or histograms in separate files that can be downloaded and imported. Among the advantages of RS, printing forms should be noted separately - in a couple of clicks you can create and print any report that is not ashamed to show at any meeting. It is noteworthy that RegionSoft CRM has the richest set of hot keys - this also saves time.

    All the windows in the system are modal: on the one hand, it does not miss, on the other hand it interferes and annoys. Saved filter templates are not provided in the free version, so you have to filter the data every time again and the entire filter power partially loses its appeal. When launching CRM, a familiarization tour on the capabilities of paid versions is offered. It doesn't seem to bother me much, but I leafed through and closed, everything is available on the site. CRM lacks a good classic built-in help, which would help you quickly understand all the possibilities without getting into a separate tutorial.

    ClientCommunicator.The richest in functionality from free CRM, but with its "troubles" that begin with the installation. Upon installation, Click downloads about 500 MB of additional files: Windows Installer, MS SQL2008R2, which will be downloaded even if the previous version of MS SQL is installed. The installation process on a modern computer takes a little more than 40 minutes.

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    The Click interface is strongly reminiscent of MS Office 2010, very convenient for those who are used to it. In the course of work, open tabs overload the window; I frankly lacked 15 inches of a laptop to have the desired overview. When switching between functions, even in the single-user version, “freezing” occurs for up to 10 seconds. However, such an interface is fully justified by a set of functions.
    The product card (entry in the "Products" section) includes extensive position data, price types, units, discounts, suppliers. Sales include the main record card, as well as a form for SWOT analysis and registration of objections, a history of the stages of sale. The "Marketing" section allows you to keep track of marketing initiatives, competitive offers, information sources. The “Personnel” module makes it possible to take into account KPI, staff motivation and wages, diversifying the effectiveness of each manager according to established criteria.

    Reports in ClientCommunicator are in modules and are implemented separately, in the form of OLAP. The dashboard displays data on the plan, the fact and the percentage of completion in a tabular view and in the form of beautiful "speedometers" with an indication of each indicator. Tables are convenient and intuitive, not to mention graphical indicators - they are beautiful, but absolutely not functional. The “Reporting” section is quite complicated in its implementation - managers who tested the software did not all manage the reports. I was also interested in OLAP from KliK. Growing up on OLAPe CBOSS, I did not experience any problems in ClickK, but I can say for sure that this flexible and finely tuned solution for creating reports is almost impossible for ordinary customer service managers to use - they are simply not used to such designers.

    Of the additional nice features: a tree of simple filters, filled with directories, hot keys. Speaking of keys. Unusual is the lack of the “Create” button (product, sale, counterparty, etc.), working with tables is done using the right mouse button or hot keys (create - Insert).

    In general, ClientCommunicator is functional and pleasant for working with CRM, but the redundancy, slowness and complexity of building reports scare ordinary users. But the not indifferent IT-employee will be pleased with the configurator for creating objects, procedures and changing the logic of the system, as well as the designer of forms, available even in the free version.

    Conclusions and teasers

    It would be strange among the disadvantages of free CRM to indicate a lack of network work or focus on one local place. One thing can be said - if you have a good, strong free CRM with a well-thought-out interface and usability, then this is a great opportunity to conduct full-scale testing of software before purchase.

    We have not bought CRM yet, we are starting to run in the demo versions with wider functionality. In the second part of the experiment, we will continue to deal with the finalists of this part and add new, eminent and not very participants. But at the same time, we will raise the issue of price and feasibility of implementation. I hope there will be something to say.

    PS: if you want to see some special parameters in the next review, write. I will try to take into account all the wishes.

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