Emma vs. CRM: Comparison & advice?

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Our company is planning on leaving Salesforce as our CRM and looking for alternatives. Considering that the two main purposes of a CRM for us involve keeping track of all of our contacts and the occasional email marketing campaign, I'm starting to wonder if Emma is the better alternative. 

We've had an account with Emma for the past few years and thus they already have all of our contacts loaded--so that's a perk--but can Emma serve our needs moving forward? 

Does anyone have experience with CRMs they love? What advice do you have for maximizing emma's contact management abilities? 

Thanks for your feedback!

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Prince Market Research

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Posted 5 years ago

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Barbara O'Toole, Champion

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Hey, Lauren:

First of all, sounds like you're on the road to simplifying, and that's NEVER a bad thing!

In fact, simplification may be the best way to MOVE forward...

As far as Emma meeting your needs, I don't know what you might need from a CRM, but since you're posing the comparison question, here's an example of the creative use of custom fields and forms used with the sign-up option.

One of my clients needed a message to go out when she scheduled interviews with authors because it was a publisher or agent who typically scheduled. 

So I created a custom signup form, using the custom fields option in Emma. Whenever Cheryl booked an author interview, usually over the phone, she could fill in the fields herself, on a hidden webpage online. She hit "submit" and the tailored message went  out to the author as an interview confirmation.
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Julie Diebolt Price

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I just left MethodCRM after one year. It has a LOT of capabilities, but I found that it was too much for my small organization.  I will explore more of Emma's capabilities to fill in the gaps of my MS Access database.
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Any CRM is going to be garbage if you dont input data properly. More often than not, that is the issue - not the database itself. They're all fairly similar in what they can do and how they interact with email.

Another generality is that email correspondence doesn't fit well in most CRMs because of the complexity of the data. Super-high end integrations cost a ton of money. Companies like infusionsoft do it decently well, but is it worth $300 per month? I dont think so.

As far as native integrations with a CRM directly, i'm not sure Emma has many, but that's probably a better conversation to have with the Emma crowd.

I use Emma with salesforce and find it to work very well. Salesforce has a marketing cloud that does email integration, but that's not worth the price in my opinion either.

There are dozens of CRMs out there:
Of the retail ones, I like nimble the best. It's very social and affordable. Easier to use than salesforce and wraps in general email well.

Not sure if they hve an emma integration, but if you have a website all you really need is to integrate an emma form with your site and then manage emma in its own native application/web browser. they've got great tools for that, and unless you've got 10 people managing emma it shouldnt kills your workflow to login to crm and email separately.

You've also got:
  • batchbook
  • Zoho
  • insightly
  • intuit quickback
  • microsoft dynamics
  • apricot
  • salsa labs
  • podio

Here';s a list of about 100 of them: http://www.capterra.com/customer-relationship-management-software/

here are the major retail ones with the most integrations:

Here's a decent wiki article comparing features of popular crms

I recommend thinking about and mapping out exactly what you need in a CRM.
Literally, field by field.
Then putting that on paper.
then making a list of the functionality you need to make that work, from display, to info capture, to reports, charts, etc.
Then go compare features and see which one will fit.
then look at price and make a decision.

I use that procedure whether I'm helping a mom and pop shop with 200 contacts or an organization like the united way spending $100k on a database.

good luck
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Julie Diebolt Price

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Excellent information and process to make the decision.
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Prince Market Research

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Thank you folks for the brainstorming and problem-solving ideas. I've been drilling down with our principals and sales folks to gain a better understanding of their needs and quite a bit of it revolves around tracking contacts and getting automated prompts related to "staying on the horn" with ongoing or lukewarm leads.

We had used Salesforce previously however, as Julie Price also discovered, it was a lot of additional utility and features that became more trouble to navigate than they were worth. To that point, we will be looking for a very stripped down system or at least one with a shallower learning curve. 

Given how easy import is with Emma, it may still make sense to do the majority of our contact & list management within another tool and then upload lists for specific campaigns into Emma. I like the idea of using forms (it's creative), but not as applicable to our business or workflow. It is a similar case with some of the CRMs that focus on social media given that this is a negligible pie-slice in our outreach/marketing strategy.

I'm curious to hear if others have found CRMs effective for their outreach and client tracking needs, as well as how they utilize such applications in concert with Emma's campaign tools.