A business is a lifeless entity without customers. To get customers, there are certain things that we all agree we need:

  • A marginally workable idea (notice that I never said “great idea”) – all this is thanks to the invisible mentorship that people like Nathan Lustig, Paul Graham give me.
  • A great team
  • A functional, effective way to get customers and keep them for life.

It’s the last point that ushered in a wave of tools such as Salesforce.com, SugarCRM, and many more.

Trouble is: little guys like me are scared to go anywhere near the big CRM boys because, well, they are too intimidating for me.

I barely have 10-15 clients at any given time so what would I do with enterprise-grade CRM?

But CRM does sound like a neat tool I could use for my business, don’t you think?
I wanted a tool that helps you pull in more sales. Something that would help me manage contacts and leads; keep track of projects, respective value of each project; and even the emails that transpire between you and potential clients.

I found a simple, “my-donkey-could-make-sales-with-a-CRM-like-this”, CRM tool called Base CRM. Future Simple – the company behind Base CRM — is just as awesome as the tool they created.

I’ve been following The FutureSimple blog for quite a while for several reasons:

  • They have awesome blog posts that I’d like to read as my daily morning staple.
  • Dana Prince — a fellow blogger, freelance writer, and an incredibly nice lady – writes for them.
  • Finally, their free CRM tool is incredible to use

Now, back to the tool:

Impressive, almost sexy, dashboard

baseCRM Dashboard

For a free CRM, that dashboard is sexy, I must tell you: simple, tabbed, effective, and absolutely no-nonsense approach to presentation. The dashboard yells at you regarding what matters such as “new deals”, “deals in pipeline”, “Pipeline worth”, “Deals won”, and “Deals lost” – all the juicy, important data comes out aloud.

Everything else recedes into the background, and neatly displayed for you. As you can see, the dashboard also displays immediately tasks to be completed, and updates on new contacts, deals, etc.

Base CRM almost tapes your conversations

Let’s just say that you use email to send out proposals, solicit business, maintain conversations that lead to business, etc.

How nice would it be if all of these emails were tracked? Be it a direct sale or a conversion after 3 years of emailing back and forth, it’d be nice to know when your communicative efforts pay off.

Base CRM provides a special email address after you sign-up. Include this email address in the BCC box of your emails and all your emails are tracked. When your conversations lead to business, you’ll know.

With BaseCRM, Know everything, about everything

By the time I wrote this BaseCRM review, many features were added. Here are a few of those:

  • An Appointment & Task Calendar
  • The ability to make calls right from within BaseCRM, plus call tracking, email tracking, and SMS tracking.
  • On the “Deals” page, you now get to make “smart lists”, and BaseCRM also gives you access to active stage view
  • A page dedicated to tasks (for you, and your team).
  • Many other pro features which include integration with Xero, Google Drive, and a fantastic Forecasting tool.
  • There’s also QuoteBase — a tool that can help you whip out online quotes on the fly.

Reports help you Keep Track of Your Efforts

BaseCRM reports

Again, BaseCRM lives up to its name: simplicity. No fancy data that you’d need a business analyst for. Click on the “Reports” tab and you’ll see a single chart that displays “incoming lead activity”.

For any one period such as a week, a day or a month, it displays the number of incoming leads or opportunities that came in. That’s awesome.

For once, I don’t have to deal with more charts than I can handle. You can also filter results by “tags” that you create for projects or leads.

Further, you can filter results by “Total Sales, Sales by Client (multiple sales per customer is awesome, isn’t it)”, “lead sources”, “stage distribution”, and even a “funnel report”.

New additions now include activity reports, email outcomes, and more.

Sales, gets its own tab

Sales are important, isn’t it? It means everything for your business. Base CRM provides you with a separate tab that allows you to look at your sales, the different stages each client is in (with regards to the sales process), and the estimated project value.

You can choose from two types of displays: “list” and “stages”, as shown below.

Contacts

You can manually add contacts, using the “contact” tab. Each time you send out a new email to a prospect, the contact is automatically added.

You may add to help you remember. The contacts are displayed large. You can’t miss your contacts, even if you wanted to because the names stare right at you.

Base CRM: The cool stuff

There are some cool features that Base CRM provides such as:

Client Space – a web-based space for letting your clients access this area for project related updates, files, etc. Talk about having a custom, in-built, little, project collaboration feature. What else can you ask for?

Web Forms – ever wanted a simple landing page to send out an offer to your clients? You can do that with their web forms feature. Upload your logo, fill in the details, and you have own landing page.

Integrations – are you big on Social Media? You’d not want to miss Facebook then. Choose Facebook Integration from the “Integrations” option in your settings and you have some integration options to choose from.

I believe that it’s a wonderful, simple, and highly effective CRM tool for your business. It’s free to start with. If you have to deal with many more deals (if your marketing activity is high), you can opt for priced plans that they offer.

Have you used Base CRM? What do you think about it?