Small companies, like ZeaLake and BestBrains, need a good and simple tool to manage contact information of customers, suppliers and acquaintances. Those tools are also called CRM systems. You can find big and expensive CRM systems supposedly suitable for big companies. And there are also quite a few smaller CRM systems that targets small and medium sized businesses.

Drawing on experiences from BestBrains, currently having 12 people at work, I would argue that the following is the prioritized list of requirements:

  1. All employees should be able to share a common set of contact information
  2. The most important contact information is phone, email and company of persons and postal address of companies
  3. Sending out electronic newsletters by email to persons who have not declined to receive such
  4. Generating address labels for sending out paper based brochures and newsletters to persons
  5. Easy access to email addresses from email clients, also when working offline
  6. Easy access to phone numbers from cell phones

One might assume that these requirements are easy to fulfill and there should be tons of tools out there providing such support. That, however, seems not to be the case.

In BestBrains we have used an internally developed system and have not been particularly happy about it: it doesn’t support requirement 5 and 6, and its usability is not high.

For ZeaLake I am currently evaluating two products: Highrise and BatchBook. I have also considered Google Contacts, but it doesn’t seem to support requirement 1. Salesforce might also be an option, but seem to target slightly larger companies.

In the next posts I will relate my experiences with Highrise and BatchBook.

3 comments on “Any good contacts tools out there?

  • I am looking forward to your evaluations. We have been considering creating a tool but it does seem like a market where there should be plenty of good choices already..

  • We are piloting Zoho CRM ( Its cheap and easy to use, so far pretty positive impression. It is very much the same as in functionality.

    – Gilad

  • We are 8 employees and using Goldmine on Windows platforms.

    It originally built for a decentralized salesforce so I believe it has all the stuff you are looking for and more…for a price that comparable to a small Microsoft Office package.

    Good luck


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