After spending a couple of months downloading and trialling a raft of web-based CRMs, I’ve just settled on ZohoCRM – not because the free edition has everything I need, but because it’s highly usable. It doesn’t try to do more than just be a good, solid CRM, unlike other applications which are rendered unusable as they try to tie in project management, accounting and other business functions, and don’t do any of them very well.

I think the one failing is that Zoho claims it has a two-way sync with Google Apps Contacts. After five failed attempts, a lengthy email discussion with the Zoho support people and a huge sigh of relief that I backed up my Google Contacts beforehand (because the un-sync destroyed my data), I aborted the mission. If you’re not using Google Apps Contacts, then this is a non-issue; but I thought the story was worth telling. In fact on further investigation, I am yet to find any CRM with real-time Google Apps Contacts sync, so perhaps it’s an unachievable requirement?

Here’s the notes I took during my evaluation of various CRMs; each CRM is relevant for small to medium digital agencies, but some are better value and easier to use by a mile. I’ve selected those which represent a good cross-section of the available offerings.

Hopefully this will help you in your search for your perfect CRM!

Beautiful photo courtesy of Flazingo Photos