CRM for One: Catch 'Em While They're Young
Though they're lumped together under the acronym "SMB," most of the small businesses in that category have their sights set on becoming part of the midmarket. In a bid to grow with their SMB customers, Maximizer Software yesterday introduced an Entrepreneur edition to its suite of four Maximizer CRM 10 applications. With the release, the vendor has repositioned its Maximizer Contact Manager to become part of its CRM 10 product line.
The move is an effort to give entrepreneurs looking to get their feet wet with CRM a useful contact management solution that isn't laden with unneeded bells and whistles, says Angie Hirata, Maximizer's worldwide director of marketing and business development. As the same entrepreneurs move from being a sole proprietor to being president of a team, Maximizer hopes they'll scale their CRM solution by upgrading to the vendor's editions that offer enhanced features.
Laurie McCabe, vice president for SMB insights and business solutions at Access Markets International (AMI) Partners, agrees that the Maximizer product line allows companies to start with a contact management solution and transition to full-featured CRM as their business matures.
For these small businesses, upgrading to another application within the same suite at a later time will be fairly painless, Hirata says. "Small businesses don't have tons of IT resources, so the easier you can make an upgrade to gain more functionality as your business grows, the better," she says. "If your 10 people are managing contacts in a little group and you want to add customer service, case management, and then marketing, you can grow up very seamlessly."
One key to the vendor's catch-them-as-a-start-up strategy is price -- and the product is priced right for the small-business owner, says Barton Goldenberg, president of ISM Inc., a CRM consultancy. In fact, he says, the application offers the entrepreneur a solid CRM system, thanks to the vendor's business background.
"They've been around a long time and they've had a long learning curve in terms of how to produce valuable software at lower costs -- and they pass that on to customers," Goldenberg says. "Maximizer offers a pretty feature-rich functionality for software of that cost and capability. The stuff around analytics and mobility is way beyond what you typically expect from a software company that size."
The Entrepreneur edition offers contact management capabilities as well as mobile access to BlackBerry devices and others running the Windows Mobile operating system. In addition, the product provides reporting and time-management capabilities with Outlook integration. Each subsequent application within the suite -- Maximizer Group, Professional, and Enterprise -- builds on those features to include such capabilities as customer and marketing management, Hirata says.
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