CRM software on a smaller scale
ACCPAC and Maximizer offer solid but unspectacular CRM
Whether you’re looking to win new customers or retain current ones, ACCPAC CRM 5.6 and Maximizer Enterprise 8 are two applications geared toward helping small and midsize companies improve customer relationships. I found that each of these CRM products offers a good means of improving sales force, marketing, and customer support operations.
Both offer the features and automated workflow capabilities necessary for keeping sales and service efforts on track. But they differ in ease of use, ease of administration, customizability, and in the vendors’ approaches to integration with other business applications. Although either could play a role in pockets of large organizations, true midmarket solutions, such as Salesforce.com, typically offer richer sets of features as well as easier and far more flexible integration with other applications.
Maximizer would be a good fit for small, distributed groups with its support for QuickBooks accounting and replicable remote data stores. Further, its per-user pricing reduces some of the up-front cost. ACCPAC, with its own mix of accounting and ERP packages, might prove a good fit for centralized companies wanting to migrate to an integrated suite of front- and back-end business applications.
Eyes on the Ball
The sales force tools from both vendors provide a centralized contact management repository for storing details about companies and individuals, such as notes, documents, and points of contact. ACCPAC’s well-designed interface pays considerable attention to productivity and usability. Graphical dashboards gave me immediate insight into the status of leads and opportunities and allowed me to drill down to view underlying reports, such as current qualified leads and opportunities being negotiated. This feature would make it easy for sales teams to spot problems and eliminate bottlenecks.
By comparison, I found Maximizer’s interface cluttered. Although the Windows-native client is more responsive than ACCPAC’s browser-based interface, an overabundance of icons made descriptive text unreadable. Further, Maximizer offered none of the real-time graphical dashboards found in ACCPAC.
Maximizer did, however, allow me to read and send e-mail from directly within the interface. A separate repository for corporate boilerplates put communications collateral at my fingertips.
For salespeople who would prefer to use Microsoft Outlook as their central interface, both ACCPAC and Maximizer provide tools for synchronizing contacts and calendars. ACCPAC goes one step further by including the ability to work directly within Outlook -- the Outlook Bar containing an interface mirroring the Web client. On the downside, ACCPAC’s integration did not help me to resolve conflicts when synchronizing (beyond presenting me with a list of errors), nor did the program sync my recurring meetings properly.
When it came to marketing, Maximizer offered both role- and team-based strategies as well as automated, Internet-based marketing templates for broadcasting e-mail and fax materials to prospects. Your campaigns could include, for example, a discount offering that could later be used to track responses using Maximizer’s Web storefront, which is included with the package.