I don’t know about you, but finding a CRM system that fits our business has been way harder than I ever thought possible.

We used Highrise for quite a while (eek, first of several stints back in 2007), and while I respect the 37 Signals ‘getting real’ approach to software, it always felt a bit like we were moving against the flow rather than with it. And syncing data was … hard.

Base CRMAnd now we are using Base CRM. The way Base deals with leads, contacts and deals just fits our business like a glove. While Highrise did contacts and deals as well, Base CRM is just so much easier – the data model just works, and there is no need to try and manage things with tags and so on.

Highrise lets you use a special email address so you could attach notes via email. But Base CRM has taken a different approach, and by authorising your email server with Base you can send/receive email directly from Base. This makes it far easier to work with CRM/email at the same time. That said, I really like the idea of Base CRM supporting a single email dropbox address, and being smart enough to assign emails to a current Deal (if one exists), or otherwise to the Contact. If you like this idea too, please vote for the one email dropbox address suggestion.

Zapier makes it easy to connect up our web forms (using WordPress/Gravity Forms) to Base CRM, so new enquries come straight in as Leads.

While looking into options, I also noticed Capsule CRM – that is another great looking cloud CRM product. Salesforce, ZOHO CRM, Sugar CRM … these tools may have what it takes for the larger/enterprise customers, but I am *so* pleased we don’t have to use that kind of software (really, so last century).

All in all, the era of the Cloud has led to some great options that fall into the ‘CRM for the rest of us’ category.