| www.officetechnologymag.com |March 2010
by: Tim McMahon, The BizCAT Group
More Cool Technology
A look at free (or nearly free) sales tools
n my February
article,I told you about some pretty amazingfree tools that could help power yourmarketing efforts. In this article, I willfocus on some free, or nearly free, salestools that can improve your sales tracking,build customer relationships and even save you some money. At the BizCAT Group(www.thebizcats.com) we have reviewedand tested each of these products and, the bottom line is: We love them! So, give them a try and drop us an e-mail tolet us know what you think.
The state-of-the-art technology for small businesses is cloudcomputing, which simply means that the business programs you use and where you store your files is online, not on yourPC. Google offers Gmail, Google Docs and much more, as doesMicrosoft Live. Not only is this a good strategy that allows youto manage your business applications from any PC (even anolder, slower one), they are basically free. But if you want to seea suite of cloud applications that will knock your socks off —and just might give your business everything you will ever need— then you need to check out Zoho (www.zoho.com) rightaway. What do you get? Office-compatible Writer (word processor) and Sheet (spreadsheets), Mail (similar to Gmail orMicrosoft Live), Docs (like Google Docs) and Planner (tasks,calendar and more). Add to that Zoho Show for online presen-tations and Zoho Meeting (desktop sharing Web conferencing).There is more too, but we saved the best for last: Zoho CRM.Zoho CRM is our pick for the best full-featured onlineCRM application. Similar to Salesforce.com’s offering, ZohoCRM offers easy management of accounts, contacts, oppor-tunities and activities combined with robust forecasting andreporting — and it is fully customizable. It is also intuitiveand truly easy to use. The best part is that it is free for up tothree users and just a small monthly chargefor additional ones. What I like is that Zoho organizes every-thing together into its Zoho Business appli-cation. Not only does this make theapplications easy to use, but everything isfully integrated. This means all the applica-tions work together. And with ZohoReports, a small business owner can easily manage his (or her) entire team and business.
Gist Relationship Management
I found this site, Gist Relationship Management(www.gist.com), and cannot stop playing with it. I stillcannot figure out what to call it. CRM? Social media mar-keting? Business intelligence? Relationship management?Something else? I have no idea. Still, it is the business tool I wish I had created because it is fantastic. If you are in salesor marketing, or are a small business owner, you absolutely, positively need Gist. With Gist, you have a powerhouse of customer and prospect information right at your fingertipsthat can help you manage your customer relationships at a whole new level. What is Gist? It is a free online site that takes all of yourbusiness contact information — from e-mail contacts, Face-book, LinkedIn, Twitter or anywhere else you have informa-tion — and aggregates it all together in one simple system. Itthen goes a step further and searches the Web for more infor-mation about your contacts and their companies, like arti-cles, blogs, company profile data, stock performance,management team information, phone numbers and soforth. Finally, it interrelates everything; you can see your con-tacts by company (or related companies), who is connected with whom and a lot more. There are three views: Company View, Contact View and a slick Dashboard that shows you what is new every day with contacts or companiesso you do