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This post is part of a series where I am compiling lists of various tools for individuals and business, and sharing some of my experiences and examples for each.  Here are links to all the Zestee lists so far:

When running a business of any size, a good CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system is crucial to keep track of all the important information you need to build relationships with (potential) customers and partners.

Wikipedia gives a good explanation here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Customer_relationship_management

Another interesting entry on ECRM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECRM

They also give a quite thorough list of CRM comparisons: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_CRM_systems

For 7 years, I have run a small business and tried many times to get into using a CRM to effectively manage my business relationships.  What I have ended up doing is a mishmash of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Email, Excel and my Apple Contact list.  It works ok, but not nearly as well as it could, so I’m again on the hunt for a system that is either free or affordable, that preferably incorporates all of my contacts across social media and my address book and that won’t take me too long to master.

This post is a working list of CRMs that I have looked into.  My focus of this list is on micro and small business.  There are some excellent systems for large businesses, but along with the great features they offer comes a price tag that puts them out of reach of those without a big budget.

Zoho CRM

This is one of the first ones I tried a few years ago.  One of the main reasons I chose it was that it was free.  At the time, I found it a little complicated and gave up.  It seems that they have improved their system since I last looked and they still do offer a free option.

Nimble CRM

Probably my favourite though again, I find I end up trying to use it regularly and being overwhelmed.  I did write a blog post about it previously here.

Some others I have heard of and need to check out further:

Capsule CRM

Highrise CRM

BatchBook 

Pluralsight

Do you use a CRM?  Would be great to hear of your experiences in a comment below.

Renee