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Sales Pipeline management

To get more organized I am looking for CRM type software to assist 2 sales staff + myself.

Functionality:
- record contacts
- record opportunities
- manage sales pipeline
... reports on the above.

We sell software.

Another key requirement is that:
We travel a lot and is not always in the office. So it need to be web based OR an application that hot-synch over the internet to a central server ...

I looked at salesforce.com and other hosted solutions. Pricing was probably to high -- but main problem was it is painfully slow -- partly because some of us is based in South Africa and hosted server is in US.

My latest thinking is to use something like Act! and run it either in Terminal Service mode on our internet server OR use our version control software to "hot-synch" database and install Act! on every PC -- 3 people need to update data. 

Any comments regarding "remote" / distributed Sales Pipeline management solution you might be using ...

Many thanks
Liam

Liam
Saturday, February 07, 2004

In any situation where you are suspicious about the availability of high speed internet, you should avoid Terminal Services.

A fat client application that backs to a web services is probably the best deal, but I don't know of too many tools that does this.

Failing this you might try to configure Act! to run on laptops accessing a shared database file using VPN, which gives you about the same benefits of web services, but the various clients has to know how to share the file.

Li-fan Chen
Saturday, February 07, 2004

Another thing you can do is set up a VPN, schedule updates everytime a sales staff hooks up with HQ.

Every night between 8pm and 8am you do a delta:

1. Establish connection
2. Send delta between laptop and database, takes anywhere from 5 minutes to 30 minutes (depending on reliability of connection, speed of connection, and number of sales staff: remember you are updating one staff laptop with all changes happening in the sales department)
3. laptop has latest delta

Now user can look at his local laptop (maybe a CRM that backs to a small Access or SS2000 database) and do any kind of queries. He can also make updates without worrying about having a connection.

If the Sales staff needs to ask HQ a question on a forum or something, web access to a intranet and small updates or deltas should also be possible during the day depending the capability of the IT department.

Ofcourse, during the day,

Li-fan Chen
Saturday, February 07, 2004

Groove plus P4CRM. Has the advantage of allowing you to work anywhere and handles all that security/synchronization stuff without you needing to think about it.

theWeasel
Saturday, February 07, 2004

is salesforce.com bad?

the artist formerly known as prince
Saturday, February 07, 2004

re. salesforce.com -- Functionality fine but speed was a major problem.  We are not based in US.

Liam
Saturday, February 07, 2004

Liam,

I tried to email you through the link at the bottom of your posts but the mail bounced - could you drop me a quick email please, or post again here with a correct address?

Thanks.

James Ussher-Smith
Sunday, February 08, 2004

DayLight from MarketCircle

  http://www.marketcircle.com/

It's tailored specifically to uses like sales pipeline management.

  http://www.marketcircle.com/daylite/sales.html

It can be used single-user or shared, and includes offline database support.  It's also relatively inexpensive as this kind of software goes, particularly given its flexibility.

Oh yeah, it's Mac OS X-only.  But don't underestimate the attractiveness of a sales staff with PowerBooks.  (I'm serious.  Good-looking equipment that Just Works during presentations can help you win sales.)

Chris Hanson
Sunday, February 08, 2004

Hi Liam

Thanks for your message, but still not working I'm afraid!

James

James Ussher-Smith
Monday, February 09, 2004

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