by Michele Nachum
Published on 13 February 2012
I've reviewed more CRM Apps than I'd like to admit, but regardless, while many have the same basic tools, what makes each unique is "attitude". During my review of intouchcrm (spelled all in lowercase) is both a progressive and conservative product - maybe a fancy way of saying it has it all or at the very least - a lot.
The attitude - you need it, we got it.
It is effortless - so easy to use - it's almost breezy. What I liked is that intouchcrm tailors the product for the fast and furious "young organizations" that will want to take advantage of social media and web forms and autoresponders in the email marketing campaigns, but it also contains the tried and true mail-merge options and the good old project management tools - so anyone at any tech level can use the product.
What Does it Look Like
intouchcrm is very easy to use and you can be up and running in mere minutes (or as fast as you can type). intouchcrm allows you to store and organize your contacts; implement email marketing campaigns and mail merge; share out calendars, tasks, documents; execute social media tactics and much more. The solution offers you directions every step of the way and I found myself easily whisking through the program and quickly grasping the user-friendly interface.
intouchcrm is a very efficient product and for time-strapped SMBs that is a good thing. When you first start you'll begin with the Set-Up Wizard which basically asks you questions about your contact informtion and company. This is important because once this is in the system, this information will come in handy when embarking on email marketing campaigns for instance.
As you can ascertain from the graphic to your left, the two most pertinent tools are Contacts and Organizations. You really do need to have all of your client and company information (or your email marketing campaigns may be light in the loafers so to speak). The good news is that in Contacts you can import customer spreadsheets so you don't have to manually type in each client unless you want to. Likewise, you can also enter in the various organizations you work with - so if you don't have personal information for instance for the right contact, or you want to enter in more information about an orgranization, you can at the very least do that.
The email marketing wizard is very simple and quick. You first must verify that you have a valid email address to send a campaign from (like your business email addres) and once that is confirmed, you can begin the process of designing your campaign. Usually that process works very fast but I found that sometimes the system didn't always take to my emails and I had to give it a couple of tries. But once you are done with that stage, intouchcrm takes you through the process step by step and offers a pretty decent set of email marketing templates to choose from (unless you want to design your own email marketing template). For those not in the know, email marketing templates are designed to make your email look professional or savvy. You can use it as a newsletter or an advertisement or just a friendly letter. That is the fun part about email marketing - you can do what you want with it and send emails out as often as you like (within spam limit laws of course).
When you are done sending out your campaign, intouch will offer you analytics with lots of pretty charts and useful information so you can find out how many people opened your email or sent it off to the deserted land of "delete" or "unsubscribed."
intouchcrm allows you to also create autoresponders - a nifty feature that most CRM Apps have these days. This enables you to have pre-written email responses. For example, if someone likes your email and responds to an offer or asks more information, you can have an autoresponder all ready to go that says something like, "thank your interest! A sales representative will be in touch shortly." I highly recommend taking advantage of these tools as it helps you to keep in touch with your customers on a regular basis. Another feature that is similar to autoresponders is Webforms. You can embed these forms in your email marketing campaign and have your customers sign up for various programs you are offering.
intouchcrm goes a step beyond just showing you the mechanical basics of designing an email marketing campaign. In their Help section they offer marketing advice on how to create a campaign. I found this very helpful. Afterall, just because you know how to technically create a campaign, doesn't necessarily mean you understand what kind of copy and graphics attract your customers and what doesn't.
Linking your social accounts gives you the option to post to and read your social feeds directly within your CRM system. Also, adding your Twitter details provides you the opportunity to tweet directly from your CRM system much like you can do in other such social media solutions such as LinkedIn. If you have social media as part of your communications plans (and you should by the way), then you can view your CRM updates through Twitter and Facebook.
Also, you now have the option to Tweet an email campaign as well. This feature will allow you to send the web version of the campaign out to all of your Twitter followers.
There are several ways to approach surveys. You can take a very scientific approach and pay tens of thousand of dollars ($30-80K for some of the really high end surveys) or you can pay next to nothing but get a good sense of how your customers are feeling and thinking about various products or issues. While a CRM survey on intouchcrm or any solution for that manner is hardly the scientific approach - it is still a terrific way to better understand how your customers are approaching your products. intouchcrm offers a few easy-to-use survey tools that allows you to choose how you want your customers to answer a question for instance - multiple choice or write-in comments. In addtion, you can frame your questions in multiple ways to further gauge insight from your customers for very little work or money. Win/win.
Other Handy intouchcrm Tools:
intouchcrm has a myriad of tools you can use to manage your customer information, marketing campaigns, business functions and others. Since it is impossible to review every function, here is a short list of some of the other features available:
Is it for you?
I found intouchcrm to be a smooth and user-friendly product. The tools and features work effortlessly - no matter what internet explorer you happen to be working on. I found with some cloud-based CRM Apps that you had to work in only IE 8 or Mozilla/Firefox to be successful. intouchcrm does not seem to have those restrictions and your interface is easy to follow. The product is chalk-full of helpful tools and while it is simple to learn, I recommend to focus on a few at first and go from there.
If you are small to mid-sized business that needs basic CRM and marketing tools, then intouchcrm will be up your proverbial alley for sure. I took it out for a spin and enjoyed it very much.
Ratings: ease of use 5/5, features 4/5, value 5/5 and ease of deployment 5/5