Thoughts on what businesses actually need from the Cloud, not what vendors wish they needed.

Chris Bliss

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Shove this in your pipe and sell it: Capsule CRM reviewed

CRM’s are a dime a dozen these days and it’s rare to find one that stands out. Recently we spent some time with Capsule CRM, a pipeline-based sales tool, and we’re happy to say that although it’s not perfect, it certainly breaks the mediocrity trend. Lets look closer…

Sign-up with Capsule is a breeze: there’s a free edition for up to 2 users, and a paid version with all the extras. Login through your personalized portal and you’re greeted with Capsule’s threadbare but dignified UI (a welcome treat considering all the crappy UI mistakes out there). General navigation is intuitive and information is generally only a few clicks or keystrokes away. It’s slick stuff.

Conceptually, Capsule is a pretty traditional CRM, insofar as contacts reside in a rolodex-like database, interconnected with their related opportunities. Capsule also includes “cases,” described as “storage bin[s] for everything that can happen for a particular event.” We’re not sure why they don’t call them projects, but there you go. In terms of sales pipelining, Capsule offers it via opportunity milestones, and via “tracks,” or customizable sets of tasks insertable into opportunities and cases. Unfortunately – and this is our first criticism – those tasks can’t be assigned to other team members until they (the tasks) become active, meaning there’s no easy way to incorporate multiple salespeople in a pipeline. Not cool.

We have other issues with Capsule as well. At the time of writing, there’s no mobile app available, which may be a major deal-breaker for some businesses. Also, the whole “cases” thing is a bit weird – why do they have to be associated with people? Conceptually, why can’t projects stand on their own? There’s also no Gmail integration, which isn’t a good sign in terms of development (that should be a major priority).

That said, the dev team has clearly been busy: Capsule boasts at least six native integrations, including the accounting heavyweights Xero and Kashflow, accounting lightweights Freeagent and Freshbooks, as well as Mailchimp ( very cool) and Zendesk (very cool). There’s also native integration with your website’s contact form, which more CRM’s should offer. It’s an app that’s going places.

The bottom line is that Capsule is a solid, above-average product with heaps of potential – if you fit the mold. If you’re coming from Salesforce it should be a godsend. If, however, you’re heavily dynamic,  team-based, project-based, or simply dislike the pipeline approach, then it’s probably worth looking elsewhere.

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Chris Bliss works at VM Associates, an end-user consultancy for businesses looking to move to the cloud from pre-existing legacy systems.