This is a review of Capsule CRM, a Customer Relationship Management tool that can help businesses keep track of their contacts, tasks and business deals.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.
First of all I want to make clear this is an opinated piece. This is not an article that documents all the features and behaviour of Capsule CRM, if that’s what you are looking for then you can find the documentation here: Capsule CRM Documentation and Support
My review of Capsule CRM will be primarily against the following two principles.
Two important principles for a CRM system
If it fails on either count then it is not a CRM you should use.
A CRM system needs to be easy to use otherwise it won’t be used. It takes effort to use any CRM system therefore the more difficult and time consuming a task is, the less likely it will be done.
For a CRM system to be effective it has to record all the relevant information about your contacts, including every significant email. If it doesn’t have that information – because you’ve forgotten to update it – it’s useless.
Therefore it should be simple to use, navigation should be straight forward and intuitive, no hunting for the feature buried two or three levels from the main menu.
I don’t consider cost to be an important factor (unless it’s an outrageous amount but considering there are many CRM systems to pick from competition will ensure no CRM will survive if it’s value is much less than it’s competitors).
A cheap CRM that is not easy to use is a waste of money, no matter how cheap it is, because it won’t get used. A relatively expensive CRM that is easy to use and integrates with your other existing business software can provide you with massive value and will easily justify it’s cost. That’s not to say other CRM systems will not give you an even higher ROIReturn On Investment just that I don’t think you will lose money by choosing an easy to use, intuitive CRM.
So with those two points in mind I will evaluate Capsule CRM against my two principles.
- Mail Drop Box
- Sales Forecasting and Reporting
- Custom Fields
- Mobile App
- Google Apps for Work widget
- Capsule CRM API (for developers)
- Support and Documentation
Before reviewing Capsule CRM I should first describe what a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is. In a nutshell it’s a system that is designed to manage your relationships with current and future clients or customers.
It generally gives you a place to record contact information about a business and its staff. It will track tasks for you and remind you when a task is due, e.g. send a follow-up email to a prospect. Another common feature is sales forecasting which gives an indication of future revenue by attaching probabilities for each contact.
B2B business owners get the most benefit from using a CRM, the ROI (Return On Investment) should be obvious for any B2B owner to see. B2C business owners can still benefit from using a CRM to track their vendors and partners.
Here are some of the reasons using a CRM can benefit your business:
- You have too many leads to remember
- Sales process takes a long time
- You would like to forecast sales
- Multiple contacts for a prospect
- You want to do email marketing. You can use your CRM as a source of contact data.
What are the Benefits of a CRM system?
Not having a standard way of tracking and following up with prospects will almost certainly mean you miss sending out important emails or arranging meetings that could cost you dearly. Acquiring even one more client through using a CRM system will likely justify the cost of the system easily. The important point to remember is that you have to use it effectively. All important emails need to be stored and tracked and, of course, if you are notified about following up then you actually have to follow up!
It’s important to note that a CRM doesn’t benefit you unless you commit to using it as part of your daily routine. As business owners, we need to get into the habit of updating our CRM system as we communicate with clients and prospects. Immediately after a meeting is the best time to add a task (e.g. send a follow-up email) because any delay increases the chance we will forget. That is why I consider a mobile version of the CRM to be important, this goes back to the easy of use principle I mentioned previously.
In conclusion putting the customer or client right at the centre of your business will help you succeed and there is no better way of doing that than committing to using a CRM to track and update all your client communication.
Contacts are crucial for any business. The bigger the network of people you know the more potential business you can do. From Capsule you can create and track all of your contacts and for each contact you can add notes and tasks. Add all their social media accounts, websites, telephone and mobile numbers. You can add multiple emails, phone numbers.
It is simple to attach an email to a contact. Either add a note from Capsule or use the Google Apps for Work widget to store the message with a single click.
Documents can be added to contacts as well.
The history of notes and emails can be seen for each contact.
You can add tags to a contact allowing you to group contacts in any way you want.
You can add custom defined fields so you can store any information you want about a contact.
Use tags to sort contacts into categories. For instance, you may want to tag the industry or sector for a contact. Whatever is a useful metric for segmenting your contacts you can do by using tags. Tags are useful when you want to create custom defined lists of contacts or organisations so you want to get familiar with using them to get the most of your CRM.
You can easily import your existing contact information from a spreadsheet or email application into Capsule CRM. Contacts can be imported from Outlook, GMail, spreadsheet or from an CSV file. Capsule lets you map fields from a CSV file to the appropriate contact fields, even letting you keep your custom fields or convert them into tags. You can see a preview of the data import to verify everything looks correct before running the import.
Mailing List Integration
You can integrate Capsule CRM with your mailing list service such as MailChimp. Once the link is set up you can add a Capsule contact to one or more of your mailing lists without having to leave Capsule. By combining with Capsule custom lists it can be a quick way of building a mailing list from your CRM contact data.
Back to features
If you have a standard way of approaching sales you can bundle individual tasks into “tracks”. For instance a track could include the following tasks:
- follow up email
- arrange a meeting
- make a proposal
Tasks can be scheduled to automatically follow a previous task after a defined period of time, e.g. a meeting could be scheduled 5 days after a follow-up email.
Back to features
You can track each business you deal with and like a contact add notes and tasks. You can also see all the contacts for a business.
Lists can be very useful for organising and grouping contacts. For instance, you can easily create a group of contacts that you have not contacted in the last 60 days.
Create lists based on tags, custom fields, last date contacted, job title, country etc.
Some examples of lists you could create:
- Not contacted in the last 60 days
- HR Managers
- Companies based in Indonesia
- Companies with E-Commerce sites (using custom field ‘E-Commerce’)
- Invited to last event (using an ‘Invite’ tag)
Opportunities are used for managing deals.
Tracking opportunities or potential deals can help you forecast future sales. You can attach emails and notes directly to the opportunity. That way when you are contacting a prospect you have all the latest information about the opportunity available, which can help you close the deal.
You can get a quick overview of open opportunities from your sales dashboard, it can provide you with a status of each of your open opportunities, potential sales amount and milestones for each opportunity.
Cases are a storage bin for all activities related to an event, e.g. a customer enquiry or something more complicated. It provides a convenient location to store all the history and communication with the client. Cases can prove useful when dealing with similar issues with other clients, just refer to what you did with a previous closed case.
Mail Drop Box
If you spend most of your time in your mail inbox then this feature can be very useful. Capsule CRM gives you an email address that can be used to quickly send an email message to the CRM, it will use the from address of the original message to find the contact to attach the message to. To send a client email message just forward the email to the drop box mail account. To attach one of your emails, e.g. a response to a client to the contact just BCC the message to the dropbox email address. Once you get into the habit of doing this it’s easy, no need to go into the CRM and manually add a note.
Back to features
Mobile apps are available for both iOS and Android phones. You can call or email a contact direct from your phone. All contact data is available. See what tasks are due or upcoming while you are away from the office. Or create a follow up task straight after you finish a meeting so you don’t forget.
Your data is synced automatically.
If you need record more information than the standard fields you can add your own custom fields. For instance, I track what kind of software is used on their business website and whether it is mobile friendly or e-commerce enabled.
Sales Forecasting and Reporting
The sales reporting and forecasting dashboard provides the following information:
- Pipeline forecast – value of opportunities based on probability of winning deal
- Converstion rate over 30, 90 and 365 days – based on closed opportunities
- Pipeline by milestone
- Pipeline by tag
- Upcoming tasks for opportunities
Capsule CRM comes with predefined opportunity milestones:
If you prefer you can define your own milestones with a probability of winning attached to each milestone.
There is a calendar view so you can easily see when tasks are due. It’s a good eway of seeing what you need to do for the week ahead. You can important the calendar into Google calendar so you can see your CRM tasks there if you prefer to use Google calendar.
To get the most out of a CRM you want it to integrate with other systems you use. Thankfully, Capsule CRM has many integrations. I personally find the Google and MailChimp integrations the most useful.
Google Apps for Work
For businesses that already use Google Apps for Work, Capsule CRM has a widget that can integrate into your email account. This means you don’t need to leave your email account while adding contacts and tasks.
For an email from a person who is not in your CRM you will be given the option of adding them to Capsule. For an existing contact you can store the message or add a Task, Case or Opportunity.
I find this widget to be very useful as it’s the easiest way to move content from your inbox to your CRM, you just have to click the “Store Message” button underneath the message.
Capsule CRM Pricing
FREE account – allows up to 250 contacts
Good for testing the CRM to see if you like it before making a purchase and importing all your contact data.
USD $12 per month for each user – allows up to 50,0000 contacts
Each paid user account comes with 2GB of online storage.
Capsule CRM API
An API allows a developer to access data from the CRM directly, this allows custom solutions that may not be possible using the website. Even if you are not a developer it’s good to know that an API exists, if you needed a custom solution you could always hire a developer to build it for you, it could end up being cheaper than having to move all your contacts and data over to another CRM that has the missing feature.
Support and Documentation
Whenever I needed to contact support I found that I got helpful responses, bear in mind that Capsule CRM is based in the UK so you need to factor that into expected response times (for me, I am eight hours ahead so if I send an email in the morning I may not get a reply until the late afternoon).
From the user drop down menu there is a “Getting Started” item, selecting it gives the follow dialog:
I am currently using Capsule CRM as my CRM and I have found it easy to use. From importing contacts from Google to integrating with Zapier and even using the Capsule API to run custom tasks.
I can recommend this CRM to small business owners. You don’t need a website to take advantage of it, if you find it difficult to keep track of prospects, leads and customers using your gmail account then using Capsule CRM can help you keep track of important tasks. If a CRM helps you get one more client then it has paid for itself many times over.
Check out Capsule CRM for yourself: Capsule CRM Website
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