A few months ago, I wrote a post that has become the most viewed page on HelpEverybodyEveryday.com. The article was called,“The Best FREE CRM For A/E/C Firms Is Here.” It was about a new CRM called Zurmo.
Since then, I’ve gone “full boar” with Zurmo as my CRM, I’ve modified the heck out of it, talked a lot to the developers, learned new things about what it is and where it’s going, convinced them to make some changes, struggled to get it to be what I want it to be, and have gotten a glimpse of its enormous potential to be a game-changing CRM.
I’ve also gotten lots of questions about Zurmo. So, I wanted to tell you a little about what I’ve learned in the last month.
Open Source vs. Paid Zurmo
Frankly, when I wrote that article I didn’t even know there was a paid version of Zurmo. But there is. Let me explain the difference.
Think of it this way. Open source (free) Zurmo is a software program. It’s website is Zurmo.org. In my post, I had links where you could download Zurmo and install it on a web server or your personal computer. At the time, I had it installed on my laptop. I even provided links to a web host that would host the software for you.
Some of my readers somehow found their way to Zurmo.com.
Zurmo.com is a service. The service starts at $8/user/month.
Major Differences Between the Two Versions
Let me explain the major differences between Zurmo.org and Zurmo.com.
I downloaded Zurmo 1.0 (from Zurmo.org) on my laptop. Then they released Zurmo 1.5. I needed to install a free update to get Zurmo 1.5 on my laptop. It wasn’t automatic or like updating an app on your phone.
If I had any problems with the software, I couldn’t call anyone. There is no phone support for open source projects. That’s why I said in my post that you would need an “IT guy.”
Because Zurmo.com is a service provided by the developers, it is always up to date. When version 3.0 or 4.5 comes out, you won’t have to do anything. Ray, the Co-Founder of Zurmo, and his elves over at Zurmo.com take care of that for you.
And if you have a problem, Zurmo.com has phone support. That’s where the $8 goes. Nobody is going to give you phone support for free.
Then there is another option.
Bells and Whistles
There is also a “pro” version of Zurmo.com which tops out at is $36/month/user. And if, for some reason, you feel Exchange support, Outlook integration, and Google apps integration is essential…go for it. Personally, that’s not something I really need.
Why The Jump From $8 to $32?
Microsoft isn’t going to give you anything for free. And while this may seem like an insane statement, neither will Google. It costs Zurmo money to provide these integrations.
So for $32/user/month (3x more), you can get Google apps and Microsoft integration with your Zurmo.
But even with all those bells and whistles, it’s still about half the price of Salesforce.
Your Zurmo Options
In summary, you have three Zurmo options.
- Pay nothing but host and support it yourself.
- Pay $8/user/month and the Zurmo team will host it and give you phone support.
- Pay $36/user/month for Exhange, Outlook, and Google apps integration. Plus, they host and support it.
If you have ANY questions about your options with Zurmo, please post a comment to this post. I’d be glad to answer any questions.
Something You Need To Understand About Zurmo
Zurmo is in its infancy and is constantly evolving. People all over the world, including me, are contributing to its development. I’ve certainly identified bugs in the system. In my opinion, by no means is Zurmo as mature and stable as other CRMs on the market.
There are drastic improvements in the pipeline. For example, Zurmo has no iPhone or Android app. What it has now is a mobile web version that is like an app. But apps are coming (I’m just not sure when). Just recently, they added email marketing to the system.
I’ve also seen vast improvements to the user interface, which I’m sure we’ll see in upcoming versions of Zurmo. There is also a full page of suggestions I gave to their team, which they plan to adopt (but I’m not sure when).
Zurmo Is a Framework
I’ve done a lot to customize my Zurmo (without coding). Ray was even impressed with what I’ve done.
I don’t know anything about programming. Ray does. So, he and his team can turn Zurmo into anything you want it to be. He says this is because Zurmo is a “framework.”
One of The Hidden Benefits of CRM
You can email your contacts within Zurmo. But it doesn’t have a built-in email client to receive and manage your email.
I thought that was a bad thing. I was wrong. Zurmo is an non-distracting environment where I can follow up with the contacts I need to.
Yes, they may return my email and I won’t see it. After I’m all done, I can go back to the soul-sucking void that is my email. And if someone did email me back, I can respond and BCC Zurmo. Zurmo will log the email in that person’s contact record.
You don’t have to be in Zurmo to use it. But when you are in it, there are no distractions.
I’m envisioning a day where if I don’t email or talk to a client in three months, they receive a personalized email (not a marketing piece) from me courtesy of my Zurmo.
That’s what I think architects and engineers need: a system that makes developing and maintaining relationships easier.
Although I’ve had experience with various CRM systems, I feel like I’m still learning CRM.
I’m currently using a paid version of Zurmo. I’ve contributed to it’s development. And ultimately, I’ll benefit financially from the success of it’s paid versions.
I would like to see Zurmo become the Perfect CRM me, Ford Harding, Tim Klabunde, Bernie Siben and others envisioned back in 09. I would like you to try it and ultimately help us make it the solution this industry needs.
If you have any questions about Zurmo, post a reply/comment and I’ll answer them.
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