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Building Deeper Relationships with BatchBook CRM

CRM and small business are two things that should go together, but as I’ve written here before, there are so many CRM options, strategies and technologies that finding the right one is as much a matter of kharma as feature sets.

My take is that most of the popular CRM tools out there will work, the question is which one works for you to help you more easily meet your objectives. In a lot of cases that’s the one that is powerful enough to get the job done, but simple enough that you actually get it up and running.

Recently, I had the pleasure of testing driving a new small business CRM tool called BatchBook and I think this will be a great CRM answer for many small businesses.

I think the main attraction for me is that BatchBook seems to be set-up in a way that helps you build deeper relationships with the contacts that mean the most. It does manage all the contact details, to-do lists, and communication records very nicely, but the killer feature, in my opinion is the elegant way that it also gives you the ability to bring into a record that person’s social media activity.

batchbook

In this image above you can see my record with my twitter stream just below.

So, if you’re contacting a journalist to pitch a story, you have their blog feed and twitter stream right there at your fingertips as you craft your email. If you are following up with a hot prospect, you can have their Facebook status and Flickr photo stream of their vacation to the Catskills to inspire some seriously personalized responses. (Note: I am only talking about content that a person makes publicly available.)

I don’t know that this functionality is something that would go into managing 25,000 newsletter subscribers, but for lists of customers, journalists, strategic partners, prospects, and influencers this tool has some very powerful upside.

More 3rd party integration is needed but for now you can use MailChimp and GMail as your mailing engine and FreshBooks to keep billing information with your contacts. BatchBook is a very affordable tool as well. Single users get it for free and you can get up to 15 seats for only $19.95/mo. I am integrating it into a layer of my marketing efforts just as described above.

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  • http://www.business901.com Joe Dager

    Very cool stuff, John. I signed up for the 30-day free trial. I have been really struggling on how I want to grab hold of this and this is the first option that has looked really attractive.

    Knowing me, I will report back!

  • http://octografico.com Chase Mann

    Wow, thanks John!

    This has great potential.
    You should contact them John and see if you can offer your blog readers a discount code (since it asks for one at sign-up already)

    I signed up for the free Marketing account, but I’ll switch to paid if I like it after testing it out.

    -Cheers, Chase.

  • http://batchblue.com Sean Ransom

    Hello John,

    Thank you so much for the write up. We really appreciate it.

    Your readers can use a promo code of:

    smallbiz

    And for paid accounts they will get an extra 30 days free on top of the 30 day free trial. That is 60 free days to kick the wheels on BatchBook.

    Thanks again,

    Sean Ransom
    VP of Technology
    BatchBlue.com

  • http://www.andrewpincock.com Andrew

    Thanks Sean! Definitely need to give this a try. My current spreadsheet system is lacking in many ways. I like the integration with the social media aspects of what the contact is doing. Very cool.

  • http://blog.hubspot.com Peter Caputa

    The batchblue peeps are awesome. They’ve built an easy to use tool that is perfect for SMBs and solopreneurs.

  • http://www.more-for-small-business.com Kris Bovay

    I like the functionality – particularly for prospects. I’ll start with that and move on from there. Thanks.

  • http://www.spiritualpreneurs.com Sharon Wilson

    Looks easy to use and very useful. I’ll give it a try.

  • http://www.microfitgroup.com Garrett

    Not to be susie downer, but I really don’t see this as a strong option at all. I love CRM’s and it’s a big part of what I do as a consultant. I was pumped to hear about a social marketing tracker in a CRM. We had to custom build one, so I wanted to see this in action.

    My honest view is that it is clunky. I don’t see where there is an invoicing capability and I’m having a hard time seeing the “social media” integration. Is it cause I am on the trial mode?

  • http://BatchBlue.com Pamela O’Hara

    Another thank you to John for the nice article.

    Garrett – just wanted to let you know that the easiest way to see the social media feeds in action is with our screencast here: http://www.batchblue.com/screencasts.html#marketing-video
    We have integrated the social media aspects with the rest of our contact management tools (custom fields, communications tracking, task management, etc.) since from a relationship building perspective, it doesn’t really matter where the communication is happening – you just want to see it all on the contact’s record.

    And we do not handle invoicing within BatchBook, though we did just launch integration with FreshBooks.com, a great small biz invoicing service (and the one we use ourselves). It is available for all paid BatchBook accounts – more at http://support.batchblue.com/support/article.php?id=241