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Can any recommend an easy and inexpensive CRM?

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MJ DeMarco

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I have several dozen international translation licenses and the Excel spreadsheet has worn out its usefulness.

The size has become unmanageable as these are license contracts that need to be managed monthly, mostly annually.

Can anyone recommend a good CRM that is simple to use?

I've tried some (Hubspot, Zoho) and they all seem pretty much overkill for what I need, costly, steep learning curves, not relevant toward the purpose...

If it takes me as long, or longer, to figure out the software VS Excel, then it defeats the purpose. I've also looked into Rights/License management software but these solutions seem suitable for huge publishing companies with 1000s of licenses, not dozens. I'm not going to pay $1000s for something I might use once a month.

I need something basic ... record a contact, monitor a contract, send an annual email, monitor some payments.

Open to anything, not just a CRM.
 

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amp0193

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Streak or Pipedrive


I've used both in the past, and have liked them.


Now I use Front for email, and use the combo of the "send and snooze" feature and the ability to leave comments/notes on email threads.

Every email you send, that you want to follow up on, you just select the date when you send it. Pops back up in inbox on that date.

Similar to streak, but with like 3 less clicks necessary to achieve a similar thing.
 

becks22

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I just started using nocrm.io and I really like it but it may not work for you but worth a look
 

firerock

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I have several dozen international translation licenses and the Excel spreadsheet has worn out its usefulness.

The size has become unmanageable as these are license contracts that need to be managed monthly, mostly annually.

Can anyone recommend a good CRM that is simple to use?

I've tried some (Hubspot, Zoho) and they all seem pretty much overkill for what I need, costly, steep learning curves, not relevant toward the purpose...

If it takes me as long, or longer, to figure out the software VS Excel, then it defeats the purpose. I've also looked into Rights/License management software but these solutions seem suitable for huge publishing companies with 1000s of licenses, not dozens. I'm not going to pay $1000s for something I might use once a month.

I need something basic ... record a contact, record a contract, send an annual email, monitor some payments.

Open to anything, not just a CRM.
I use Active Campaign. I like the interface.
 
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MJ DeMarco

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Awesome suggestions folks, really appreciate it.

have you tried mailchimp?
Interesting, I use that service already. Not sure it will work for this, but it is worth a look. Thanks!
 

NMdad

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Streak or Pipedrive


I've used both in the past, and have liked them.


Now I use Front for email, and use the combo of the "send and snooze" feature and the ability to leave comments/notes on email threads.

Every email you send, that you want to follow up on, you just select the date when you send it. Pops back up in inbox on that date.

Similar to streak, but with like 3 less clicks necessary to achieve a similar thing.
Upvote for Pipedrive, super easy for managing prospective leads and/or projects, categorizing them into different types, saved queries/searches, etc.
 

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inputchip

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We recently moved over to Airtable, as we needed additional flexibility that Streak or Hubspot couldn't manage. While it's not officially labelled a CRM, it does an excellent job depending on your use case and how you set it up. It is very customizable and super user friendly and intuitive coming from Excel.

We track absolutely everything within a single Airtable base. Contacts, sales pipelines, orders, vendors, etc.
 

MrTrash757

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I have several dozen international translation licenses and the Excel spreadsheet has worn out its usefulness.

The size has become unmanageable as these are license contracts that need to be managed monthly, mostly annually.

Can anyone recommend a good CRM that is simple to use?

I've tried some (Hubspot, Zoho) and they all seem pretty much overkill for what I need, costly, steep learning curves, not relevant toward the purpose...

If it takes me as long, or longer, to figure out the software VS Excel, then it defeats the purpose. I've also looked into Rights/License management software but these solutions seem suitable for huge publishing companies with 1000s of licenses, not dozens. I'm not going to pay $1000s for something I might use once a month.

I need something basic ... record a contact, monitor a contract, send an annual email, monitor some payments.

Open to anything, not just a CRM.
What tools do you use to monitor payments and send emails?

Asking because there is an opportunity to automate most of this, depending on what existing tools outside of Excel you use.
 

Ronin365

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I have several dozen international translation licenses and the Excel spreadsheet has worn out its usefulness.

The size has become unmanageable as these are license contracts that need to be managed monthly, mostly annually.

Can anyone recommend a good CRM that is simple to use?

I've tried some (Hubspot, Zoho) and they all seem pretty much overkill for what I need, costly, steep learning curves, not relevant toward the purpose...

If it takes me as long, or longer, to figure out the software VS Excel, then it defeats the purpose. I've also looked into Rights/License management software but these solutions seem suitable for huge publishing companies with 1000s of licenses, not dozens. I'm not going to pay $1000s for something I might use once a month.

I need something basic ... record a contact, monitor a contract, send an annual email, monitor some payments.

Open to anything, not just a CRM.
A while back I used Cloze and really liked it. I would go back to that CRM if I needed its features again.
 

Bizconnect

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I would highly recommend followedit. It has a simple CRM that helps you create a client profile. Comes with an appointment booking solution.

Followedit offers simplicity and ease of use. No hidden complexities or golden eggs.
You have are able to track each lead value and view your client engagements.

You can also offer your service directly for sales from your followedit account.
 
Last edited:

Chap

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Volume: I have several dozen international translation licenses
Simplicity: If it takes me as long, or longer, to figure out the software VS Excel, then it defeats the purpose.
Requirements: I need something basic ... record a contact, monitor a contract, send an annual email, monitor some payments.



I think that you could probably achieve most of the things you are after using the free version of Airtable. I have only used it in passing, so it may be able to do more than I credit it with.

Airtable is a cross between an online spreadsheet crossed with a simple database, like Microsoft Access. However, it is highly customisable, and can be ‘glued’ with other online services e.g. E-mail using tools like Zapier. You also have the convienience of your information being accessible by apps on iOS and Android, in addition to Web.

The entry point skill level is relatively straight-forward but I do remember losing a bit of interest after either not figuring out how to do what I wanted, or coming to the conclusion that there was an alternative way.

Requirement 1: Record a contact: You will be able to create ‘forms’ which allow you to enter the relevant information. You can also customise this with views that address a particular aspect of the table you create. This is relatively straight-forward and you might find one of the templates gives you a head start to initial set up.

Requirement 2: Monitor a contract: You can view your table (base) of information in different ways, I imagine the Kanban format may come in useful here, where you select a field (e.g. Contract Status) and have a Kanban table created using that. Just in case: a Kanban table is a simplified view, typically of tasks written down on post its, and ordered from left to right in columns whose names denote where they stand in the process, typically ‘Backlog’, ‘Doing’, ‘Done’. In this case, you could customise it under your own workflow. Where dates are more helpful e.g. expected pay date, you could use the Calendar view, based on this ‘date due field’. I believe you can create views which could be of use here e.g. based on status and date, these can then be acted on via automation using a service like Zapier.

Requirement 3: I am not sure that this would be best handled by air table, but it could be at least prepared through a Zapier automation. Zapier works based on triggers, in this case you have the following 2 monitored triggers, a new record is created, a new record appears in a view. Therefore, I would imagine (although I have not used this feature nor needed it) you could possibly have that ‘Elapsed Payment’ view created which would then have Zapier prepare a template G-mail and then send it to yourself for notification and perhaps forwarding on.

Requirement 4: Monitor Payments - I don’t think Airtable can do this. It is essentially a more scaleable version of your spreadsheet. However, if you find that Zapier works well with it, then you could probably link that with a 3rd service. Although, I would imagine you would want to then start paying for Zapier as the requirement for reliability would increase.

Volume: The free version of Zapier allows for 1200 records so if you have less than 10 dozen then you’re winning.


Reference:
 

Thinh

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Definitely recommend AirTable.
There's almost no learning curve, easy to use, yet highly extensible and customizable.
You can use pretty much for free and if you really have a ton of data it's not that expensive.
 

PapaGang

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Awesome suggestions folks, really appreciate it.



Interesting, I use that service already. Not sure it will work for this, but it is worth a look. Thanks!
Podio is free, if you require more resources, it increases to $10/month. Very flexible & modular so you can build small apps inside it to do what you want. Might work for you.

 
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MJ DeMarco

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What tools do you use to monitor payments and send emails?
Nothing, that's the problem. It's a spreadsheet and a calendar reminder.
 

MrTrash757

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Nothing, that's the problem. It's a spreadsheet and a calendar reminder.
AirTable + Zapier + Email Program of your choice should do the ticket. If you set it up right, you could trigger it from AirTable with minimal effort. I and others on the forum can potentially provide pointers.

Also, Zapier could work with what ever payment platform you use, and you could extend it to Your calendar provider to setup the next reminder too potentially.

Don’t get a regular CRM. (This comes from a Salesforce guy too!) Try to automate your processes as much you can in the cloud with off the shelf stuff.
 

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