In the end, choosing between a hosted or on-premise CRM solution is a decision that's as individual as your business. On the next page, we've gathered pertinent information on leading products of both types to help get you started.
ACT 2006 lets you see an overview of each of your client companies and drill down as needed.
(Click for larger image).
ACT by Sage 2006
ACT is one of the original on-premise CRM applications, having debuted long before anyone even made up the "CRM" acronym. It is best suited for individuals and small teams of up to ten networked users. ACT lets you centralize critical contact and customer information, manage business relationships, prioritize your work to stay on top of appointments and tasks, forecast and track sales opportunities, access and report on information quickly, see a complete view of customer interactions, and more. There's even a Web-based version that you can host yourself or have a VAR (value-added reseller) manage for you.
Price: $229.99. www.act.com/estore.
Everest Advanced 3.0
Everest is an on-premise solution that provides growing small- and medium-sized business (SMBs) with end-to-end business management software to view and manage all facets of their business. It lets business owners integrate and automate all components of their operations, including inventory management, e-commerce, purchasing, accounting, CRM, and sales operations. Its handy Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) feature provides employees real-time access to critical business information, and it can be configured to automatically trigger e-mail alerts whenever any business activity occurs or a threshold metric is reached.
Price: $6,500 for two site licenses; $1,500 for each additional license. www.everestsoftwareinc.com
If you don't want to commit to a whole new CRM platform, but still need to kick your sales tactics up a notch, consider Prophet 3.0 from Avidian Technologies. This on-premise app is actually an add-in for Microsoft Outlook, leveraging your existing contact database but adding features such as enhanced contact management; a sales assistant that lets you send pre-set, timed e-mails to your contacts; a workflow engine that helps you automate sales-cycle actions and create consistent sales processes; advanced reporting options; and an opportunity-management console. And if you know how to use Outlook, you'll be able to figure out Prophet.
Price: $199 per user. www.avidian.com
If ACT isn't enough for your needs, Sage also has its mid-level Sage CRM solutions. What's nice about Sage CRM is that it is available as both an on-premise and a hosted solution. If you start with one but later decide the other model is preferable for you, you can simply switch; your data migrates over seamlessly.
Price: $595 per user for a perpetual, on-premise license or $69 per user per month for a hosted solution. www.sagesoftware.com
NetSuite Small Business
If you're looking for a hosted solution that can handle all of your CRM, salesforce automation, and accounting needs, NetSuite Small Business is worth a look. It connects all your business information from lead generation and sales order to inventory management and invoicing in one unified application. NetSuite Small Business also brings the concept of "dashboards" (customizable snapshot views into your business data) from high-end CRM solutions to the entry-level segment.
Price: $99 per month, plus $49 per user. www.netsuite.com
Salesnet lets you see a host of business metrics in a top-level dashboard.
(Click for larger image).
Salesnet Standard Edition
Salesnet is a hosted solution aimed at taking your sales organization to the next level. It helps you manage and document customer and prospect contacts and keeps account and communication histories centrally located, so everyone can be on the same page. You can generate one-click pipeline and forecast reports, so there are no surprises at month's end. The solution can also capture leads directly from Web sites and forms and automatically route them into Salesnet so that you don't lose sales leads or support requests. But its biggest differentiator is a patent-pending activity-based workflow that serves as a blueprint for closing higher-value deals.
Price: $65 per user per month. www.salesnet.com
Jamie Bsales is an award-winning technology writer and editor with nearly 14 years of experience covering the latest hardware, software, and Internet products and services.
This article was first published on SmallBusinessComputing.com.