CRM software has been around for years, but thanks to the cloud and the prevalence of smartphones, the software category is once again a hotbed for innovation. Here are 10 startups offering something new in or around CRM:
AppMesh. AppMesh was founded by two ex-Salesforce.com employees and is a mobile-only CRM app for iOS. (An Android version is planned at some point down the line.) The app can be used by teams of up to five people and integrates with core iOS productivity apps like email and calendar to help with daily planning, engaging with customers and closing deals. Data is available (even offline) and synced across multiple devices when connectivity is available.
Close.io. Telephony is central to Close.io; it allows users to make and receive calls with just one click, and all calls are logged automatically so there is no manual data entry . When calls come in lead activity information pops up automatically. The product is available for Windows and Mac, and there is also a Web version. On the Windows and Mac version, users can make unlimited calls. The Professional version includes unlimited U.S. calls for $99 per user per month, while the Business version includes unlimited U.S. and international calls for $149 per user per month.
Collabspot. Collabspot is a sales email platform that integrates CRM with Gmail, and is designed to enhance sales by allowing users to keep track of and manage customer info directly from their Gmail accounst. It does this by showing Gmail users a complete customer profile immediately when they open an email from a customer -- without having to open the CRM application separately. The idea behind it is that having easily accessible data will encourage teams to engage with and get more from their existing CRM systems.
Contactually. Contactually enables sales team leaders to monitor individual and team progress when it comes to contact management. It allows leaders to see how many contacts each salesperson is sharing and how many of them they have contacted each week. It is designed to make it easy to see which relationships in each bucket need immediate attention.
Contatta. Contatta has a CRM industry heavyweight behind it in the form of co-founder Pat Sullivan, the man behind ACT! and SalesLogix. Contatta's cloud-based software brings together multiple contact methods into a single application that can be used on any device. Tasks and events can be scheduled by speaking into a smartphone, and calendars sync across all devices. When leads are added to a contact list, Contatta automatically locates the lead's social profiles, and all of the tweets, posts and updates from a contact’s Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts can be viewed in one place. The software's "intelligent inbox" automatically sorts customers, leads and prospects into relationship groups.
Engajer. Engajer is an online platform that communicates complex content in a way that is designed to be personal and easily digestible. By displaying short bite-sized video bursts in an interactive manner, viewers “choose their own pathway of interest” to zero in on the content that interests them most. Engajer then tracks viewers’ identities, interests and all of their clicks for analysis inside an analytics dashboard that also funnels data to external CRM applications, helping salespeople identify the most qualified leads.
Intercom. Intercom is a single product that is designed to replace helpdesk, email marketing, customer relationship management and marketing automation tools. It's meant to make it easy to identify certain segments of users and to talk to them - to understand why they do what they do. Simple communication schedules can be created to help ensure that customers get individual attention. It also allows users to segment customers, send them personal messages and encourage them to reply. Monthly pricing is based on active customers rather than users.
OnePageCRM. OnePageCRM promises to give small business owners the tools they need to ensure they are on top of each sale, and provide a place to store critical customer data. It uses a simple dashboard to process daily actions, and its aim is to enable "zero admin" sales. It tries to achieve this by focusing on making sales decisions rather than crunching excessive amounts of data.
Pipedrive. Pipedrive's proposition is that it offers an overview of the sales pipeline - hence the name. In pipeline view, deals are displayed by different sales stages, showing how teams are doing and helping them focus on the right deals. It's possible to see the sales pipeline for individual team members, specific products and timelines such as "new deals added this week." There's also a companion iPhone app, and Pipedrive can be accessed by Android users in a browser.
Selligy. Selligy is yet another startup with a Salesforce.com connection. The industry heavyweight is an investor in the company, and the product connects to Salesforce. Selligy's application has an enterprise and mobile component, and after a meeting, Selligy Enterprise sends out a reminder to complete a meeting report. The meeting report is customized to capture critical information about deals and core opportunity forecast details, and Selligy then saves these updates to Salesforce records automatically matched by data found in the calendar entry. On the mobile side, Selligy automatically makes associations between iPhone calendar data and Salesforce data, and automatically finds matching social media and location data.
Paul Rubens has been covering enterprise technology for over 20 years. In that time he has written for leading UK and international publications including The Economist, The Times, Financial Times, the BBC, Computing and ServerWatch.