Saturday, August 03, 2013

Tree Best Free Highrise CRM Alternatives

Highrise CRM has its fans (mostly geeky types who love BaseCamp and other 37signals products) and haters ('regular folks'). Fortune magazine recently called Highrise "clunky and uninviting". No, I am not going to start a fight there. Let's just say that Highrise has its own advantages - it's very cheap and relatively simple - and disadvantages. Let's just say that it's not good, when your iPhone app rating is below two stars and you don't offer Android app at all (hint - Android is the most popular mobile OS out there). So let's take a close look at free and low cost Highrise CRM alternatives out there. Obviously, there are lots and lots out there - I just picked the three that are actually BETTER than Highrise in my subjective opinion. This is my Highrise vs Bitrix24 vs Nimble CRM vs Rapportive review.

1. Bitrix24

Bitrix24 started offering free online CRM only last year, but boy, did they start kicking ass right from the begginning. The cost - free for 12 users or $99/mo for unlimited users. Free mobile CRM for Android and Apple. The first version was read only, but the September update now offers entering and editing contacts from your phone or tablet. Free invoices. Free sales funnel. Batch importing and exporting (I am going to stop adding free - because all these features are free). Ability to send e-mail from inside CRM (send and save). Web form support. Calls from inside CRM through your IP telephony provider (no recording, though). Access rights manager. Business process designer (for things like automatically assigning different employees based on sales total or geographic location). Option between web (SaaS) and the self-hosted version. Integration with project management and activity stream (here's the kicker, Bitrix24 isn't just CRM, it's actually enterprise social network that comes with CRM, project managment and doc management features, much like SalesForce Chatter). Anyway, I am going to stop here - just freaking try it.

2. Nimble CRM.

Nimble is awesome, awesome, awesome. And pretty, pretty, pretty. From what I understand, Nimble was in the works for almost three years, before being released last year. Though not as popular or feature-rich or free as Bitrix24, it's an excellent Highrise alternative when working with social media. Why? Because Nible CRM is a social CRM. What the hell is social CRM? Well, actuall it's quite simple. In the old days, phone and e-mails where the only way business was done. But nowdays it's fairly easy to use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and other social networks for prospecting. So what Nimble does it imports all your contacts, profiles and conversations from the social networks you use and places them in one place - inside Nimble CRM. Suppose your market is veterenarians. You can go to LinkedIn and locate all veterenarians, and then contact them, using InMail feature. Or do the same with FaceBooks. With one click, you get access to all your social interactions with your clients or prospects. Awesome. Nimble is free for one user.

3. Rapportive

What Bitrix24 did for collaborative CRM (CRM 2.0) or Nimble did for social CRM (and where High Rise failed), Rapportive does for e-mails. Or GMail, to be specific. Rapportive has “extensions” which it calls Raplets. They aren’t really extensions in the way we often think of extensions, but more so a way to connect Rapportive with other contact-based services such as MailChimp and CrunchBase. Other services which it integrates with include BookingBug, Bantam Live, Brightpearl and BatchBook. It's 100% free and is amazingly useful when trying to locate the right person.


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