What CRM software do road reps use?

I am a wholesale jewelry and gift sales rep. I am not in a repping group and do not have a showroom. I am looking for an easy to use CRM program that would help me track accounts (leads and existing) and help me generate sales.

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I tried Salesforce for a year, and while it is really robust and customizable, it doesn't come "out of the box" with everything that we need as independent reps. I don't have time to be a system administrator and customize a CRM to do what I needed it to do, and I didn't want to pay a 3rd party vendor to get me there. I do have a part time/12-hours per week assistant and we definitely need to do something beyond our patchwork manual "system". Years ago, I used ACT! in another sales job and thinking about looking at that. Interested to see if there is other feedback.

We are on the exact same page. I used ACT! waaaaay back in the day but thought maybe there was something better out there.

I totally agree with Marsha Fleming and her assessment of Salesforce (SF). As a tool, SF has a ton of functionality, particularly for road reps. However, it is not easy to run as an administrator. We switched to HubSpot (HS). It is easy to customize and make adjustments. Their app versions are not the best, but they are improving (particularly on the iPad). Tisha, I think HS would more that fit the needs you listed in your post. HS has a free version that will give you a good idea of the system before you would have to subscribe.

Dave Buck

P&A Group, LLC

I appreciate the recommendation. I have been getting the HubSpot sales emails for about a month now and I am loving it. I will check out their free version of CRM and see if it will work.

Lets face it not many of us can remember what we had for lunch two days ago and many times with whom. Daytimers are for the most part gone and we all rely on laptops, iPads, or some kind of electronic device for reminders and planning. The simpler the better. Most of today's CRMs are non-resident and in the cloud and you have to rent them by the month. Sucks! It's like having milk cows you always have to be there with the payment or you lose your data or usage rights.

Most CRMs are compiled by non sales people. They want to manage your income tax, your portfolio, bank balances as well as be a complete bookkeeping system for all your sales transactions. Even a calendar with post-it notes is more useful. Retrofit an old laptop to Windows XP and get a Pre SAGE Software version of ACT 6 that actually was simple and worked. All we really need is a planning means for the next 30 days that keeps dates, retains planned appointments, shows names, tells us what we did last call and provides notes on what to do next visit. Any more than that is a distraction and a waste of valuable selling time.

We have used 5 or 6 different CRMs. The new ACT is worse than Salesforce - I've been an independent multiple line sales rep for thirty years and I'm back to paper planning my daily and weekly stops with notes. EZ Plan . com and multiple ring binder. I have section tabs for first through 5th weeks and the five days within contain the mini sections for each customer I arrange for what day. Room for notes on each. Old but it works. I use expense software for my T & E and Quick Books for our accounting and reporting to our CPA. Selling is about seeing people remembering their names and planning what to show or action to take next visit. Keep it simple.


Terry... thanks for the feedback on the current version of ACT.

does anyone know Zoho? it's been recommended to me but no time to check it out!

I use Zoho mail and calendar. Love it. I did a 2-week trial of their CRM tool a few years back, and wasn’t that impressed... but perhaps I should take another look.

No but it always shows as a good one in the articles.

I use Zoho for my paper products brand and I love it. I really like the Creator CRM tool because it allows for 100% customizability. You can create multiple different form. I have one where I track the influencers we are working on, one for wholesale leads, one for product status and performance. I also find the price to be really reasonable. I am not sure what the needs are from a Reps perspective but I think the customization element makes it a great fit.

Krit Khandelwal

Soothi | Containers Of Creativity

ACT is fine if you're a lone wolf (or at least it was a decade ago when I last used it). If you wind up with more reps in your group it may be a challenge. We had to port off of it about 10 years ago because we were getting multiples of some things and others were vanishing when we sync-ed. Used Solve360 for the past nine or ten years and just switched to Karma. It's better in some areas, worse in others...

I've had a lot of success with Cloze. It's pretty user friendly.

Tisha, I own a rep firm and we switched from Salesforce to HubSpot. I partnered with a HubSpot agent who is a great help from an admin perspective and can assist you in getting the most out of HubSpot. If you wish to discuss further, please E-mail me at [email protected]

I've often wondered if that reps as a group could somehow collaborate to have one of these young software engineers design something simple and functional for us at a reasonable cost we could all share.

The question always is what would work for all reps. I've tried some of the Rep-Ware demos advertised in the ad section of Agency Sales Magazine and haven't been to impressed.

Would the contact management and calendar in Microsoft Outlook work for you. It's got a lot of features old as the hills that are really functional.

I will check those out again. It’s been years since I have utilized them.

When I was looking at CRMs for my wife's printing business a few years ago, we chose Insightly initially. It seemed to work well until we replaced it with a custom database solution that better fit their particular processes. Insightly still looks good (from their site), but their price has gone way up ($29/mo).

Better for a salesperson might be Pipedrive. It's a sales project-focused CRM, and I liked it when I was playing with it (again, a few years ago). If your main need for a CRM is helping you drive sales projects forward, this may be the right tool for you.

Donald Love

Access Magnetics LLC

Thank you for the recommendation. I have not heard of Pipeline and will definitely check it out.

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