Free vs. Paid: Marketing and Business Intelligence Tools

If you’re in business as an entrepreneur or small business owner, your mailbox is probably full of offers trying to sell you marketing and business intelligence tools. The trouble is, how do you know which services are worth the money, and which ones have a free competitor that will work for you until you start generating revenue? We’re looking at eight marketing and business intelligence tools in four areas — CRM, CMS & inbound, project management and sales intelligence — to give you the scoop on which ones are Harry Kane and which ones are Wayne Rooney. Customer Relationship Management Tools Tracking your sales opportunities is vital for timing outreach and knowing how long your sales cycle is, not to mention pipeline volume and velocity. If you’re selling anything you need a customer relationship management (CRM) system to stay on top of your sales efforts. Consistently rated as a top 10 place to work in the UK, Salesforce is also the leading product in customer relationship management. Salesforce uses a “per user, per month” pricing structure with tiers ranging from £20/user/month for tracking opportunities and some prebuilt dashboards, to £240/user/month for the Unlimited Edition, which offers forecasting, rules based workflows, custom dashboards and a ton of other functions. But with 10 users, that’s £2,400 per month in expenditure. ZOHO CRM, on the other hand, is free for up to 10 users, and the top tier of pricing (CRM Plus) tops out at €50/agent/month. The free version offers tracking at lead, contact, account and opportunity levels; email templates, lead forms and some limited workflow functionality. Upgrades across a wide array of functions are available...
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