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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Karma CRM vs. ACT (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

dearwiseone
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Inner circle
Portland, OR
1143 Posts

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I thought I'd explore contact management options. I'm looking at ACT and Karma CRM. Both seem very limited.

ACT doesn't integrate with godaddy's email client (the largest hosting provider in the world!). Plus, to have both me and my assistant be able to be logged in at the same time, we'd have to purchase two separate licenses. Then there's the extra $70 fee to connect out phones each year.

Karma CRM doesn't seem to be able to generate invoices, performance agreements, etc., from a contact. This means I would have to create each invoice, performance agreement, contract, and thank you individually! What a pain.

I'm looking for a program that can help manage the whole business. Contacts, emails, leads, generating invoices, performance agreements, etc., but these are coming up short!

Any recommendations? Thanks!
Carducci
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Denver
538 Posts

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Both options are going to be somewhat limited (as it sounds like you've discovered.) I've been on a mission for a tool to manage my whole business for nearly eight years now. After using just about everything out there and getting frustrated with the limitations you just listed, ShowBiz CRM was born.


  • With ShowBiz CRM, you can have multiple user accounts (currently unlimited) at no extra charge.
  • You can generate custom PDF proposals, invoices, receipts, performance agreements and more from any computer or from your smart phone with a touch of a button.
  • ShowBiz will help you manage leads by automating much of the sales process and going so far as to automatically send follow-up emails, automatically schedule follow-up calls in your calendar and more.
  • It includes dozens of templates and workflows when you sign up that you can use, customize, or set up your own processes.


To give you an example of what ShowBiz will do for you out of the box:

When you book a show, with a click of the mouse (or a tap on your smartphone) ShowBiz will:


  1. Send out a confirmation email with the performance agreement and the invoice(s) attached
  2. Adds the customer to your "past client" list so you can target them in email blasts
  3. A few days before the show, another email will be sent to the client reconfirming the event
  4. The day before the show, you get an info sheet emailed to you with all the details including driving directions (of course this info is also in your calendar which will automatically push updates to your existing calendar app on your desktop or smartphone if you like)
  5. The day after the show, a thank you email is sent to the client.
  6. Several months later, a friendly email is sent to see how they are and ask if there are any events coming up that you might be able to help with.


Of course, that's just one of the ways you can use ShowBiz to manage your business. It's also comes set up like that, including all the document template and email templates. There are other "workflows" for a less formal booking process (for a private client, for example.) You can also create your own "workflows" or make any changes you want to the existing ones.

I'd suggest taking it for a spin. It's free to try for six weeks. It includes everything you need to get up and running and people who are here to help you get set up and get the most out of your system.
Kevinr
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Inner circle
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I would go with ACT or any product that doesn't take a monthly fee for the rest of your life.
dearwiseone
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Portland, OR
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Act is so expensive though. I know it does a lot, but it doesn't do everything I need it to, and it does a whole lot of things I don't need it to! Plus, they don't integrate with some of the most common email programs, apps, and platforms in the world!

Plus, they charge $70/year just so you can access your data from your smart phone. They require two licenses (one for me, one for my secretary) and at a few hundred dollars, that's not cheap! I've heard they require upgrades after a few years for continued functionality, although I don't know if this is true. Many online forums had users who reported that.

ShowBizCRM seems nice, almost exactly what I'm looking for, plus I like that it's catered to magicians. Yes, the monthly fee is something most people hate, but it might be cheaper than ACT in the long run.

Thanks!
Kevin
Kevinr
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Quote:
On 2011-12-01 22:25, dearwiseone wrote:
Act is so expensive though. I know it does a lot, but it doesn't do everything I need it to, and it does a whole lot of things I don't need it to! Plus, they don't integrate with some of the most common email programs, apps, and platforms in the world!

Plus, they charge $70/year just so you can access your data from your smart phone. They require two licenses (one for me, one for my secretary) and at a few hundred dollars, that's not cheap! I've heard they require upgrades after a few years for continued functionality, although I don't know if this is true. Many online forums had users who reported that.

ShowBizCRM seems nice, almost exactly what I'm looking for, plus I like that it's catered to magicians. Yes, the monthly fee is something most people hate, but it might be cheaper than ACT in the long run.

Thanks!
Kevin


To each there own..

I wish some of the CRM out would offer a one time fee even if it was $700 I would probably pay it to not have the monthly leech fee.
Carducci
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Denver
538 Posts

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Quote:
On 2011-12-02 00:10, Kevinr wrote:

To each there own..



Exactly! It's not going to appeal to everyone. To some people it will be worth it, to some people it won't - no big deal. Nobody is twisting your arm to sign up just like nobody gets their arm twisted to buy a car even though it would be cheaper to take the bus/walk everywhere.

I hate to cross post, so I'll just put a link here to why showbiz follows the SaaS model.
James Munton
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Inner circle
Dallas, TX
1199 Posts

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I LOVE the monthly fee model. You get software that is always up-to-date, web/cloud based so you can use it on any device, and in most cases it works out cheaper that buying boxed software that you have to update every couple of years. I switched from DayLite (Mac) to KarmaCRM and I couldn't be happier. ShowBiz CRM looks fantastic too.

By the way, Karma CRM has a free version with 500 contacts or something which might actually be viable for many people starting out. I have the $9 a month plan.

I have also switched my credit card processing and accounting software to Intuit Quickbooks Online and I can highly recommend it.

The future is the Cloud! Embrace it!
Kevinr
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Inner circle
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Quote:
On 2011-12-02 11:16, James Munton wrote:
I LOVE the monthly fee model. You get software that is always up-to-date, web/cloud based so you can use it on any device, and in most cases it works out cheaper that buying boxed software that you have to update every couple of years. I switched from DayLite (Mac) to KarmaCRM and I couldn't be happier. ShowBiz CRM looks fantastic too.

By the way, Karma CRM has a free version with 500 contacts or something which might actually be viable for many people starting out. I have the $9 a month plan.

I have also switched my credit card processing and accounting software to Intuit Quickbooks Online and I can highly recommend it.

The future is the Cloud! Embrace it!


Oh I am embracing the cloud and use it for tons of things.. Just not the monthly leech fees.

That said I will check out the $9 deal.
dearwiseone
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Inner circle
Portland, OR
1143 Posts

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Same here. Love the cloud, but not monthly fees. I too embrace the cloud (use it for storage and backup) but not the monthly fees. But, it's understandable. $30/month for just 10 years = $3,600! That would be sticker shock if they charged that up front. It's proven that things seem to cost less overall if the total is split into monthly payments. The ironic thing is, people usually end up spending much, much, much more!

That being said, it's a business model many have embraced, and it's wonderful if you're the business. There are advantages to both ways.

Showbiz CRM seems to be a great option, although I haven't had time to try it out yet! Maybe this next week.
MichaelDouglas
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Portland, Oregon
767 Posts

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Quote:
On 2011-11-30 15:01, Carducci wrote:
Both options are going to be somewhat limited (as it sounds like you've discovered.) I've been on a mission for a tool to manage my whole business for nearly eight years now. After using just about everything out there and getting frustrated with the limitations you just listed, ShowBiz CRM was born.


  • With ShowBiz CRM, you can have multiple user accounts (currently unlimited) at no extra charge.
  • You can generate custom PDF proposals, invoices, receipts, performance agreements and more from any computer or from your smart phone with a touch of a button.
  • ShowBiz will help you manage leads by automating much of the sales process and going so far as to automatically send follow-up emails, automatically schedule follow-up calls in your calendar and more.
  • It includes dozens of templates and workflows when you sign up that you can use, customize, or set up your own processes.


To give you an example of what ShowBiz will do for you out of the box:

When you book a show, with a click of the mouse (or a tap on your smartphone) ShowBiz will:


  1. Send out a confirmation email with the performance agreement and the invoice(s) attached
  2. Adds the customer to your "past client" list so you can target them in email blasts
  3. A few days before the show, another email will be sent to the client reconfirming the event
  4. The day before the show, you get an info sheet emailed to you with all the details including driving directions (of course this info is also in your calendar which will automatically push updates to your existing calendar app on your desktop or smartphone if you like)
  5. The day after the show, a thank you email is sent to the client.
  6. Several months later, a friendly email is sent to see how they are and ask if there are any events coming up that you might be able to help with.


Of course, that's just one of the ways you can use ShowBiz to manage your business. It's also comes set up like that, including all the document template and email templates. There are other "workflows" for a less formal booking process (for a private client, for example.) You can also create your own "workflows" or make any changes you want to the existing ones.

I'd suggest taking it for a spin. It's free to try for six weeks. It includes everything you need to get up and running and people who are here to help you get set up and get the most out of your system.


REASONS I CHOOSE ACT!
1) It is a very feature rich package.
2) I paid once and don't have to keep upgrading if I don't want to.
3) My data is stored & backed-up locally so I I'm not relying on others to guard the security of my business data.
4) They've been around for about 20 years and are the industry leader in CRM software for a reason.
5) If ever I move to a new platform then I can easily export my Act data and not loose or have to rekey that info.


REASONS I'M CONSIDERING SOMETHING LIKE SHOWBIZ

1) I spoke to the folks at ACT! recently and learned that Apple hasn't allowed them to release an application to enable customers to access their data with an iPhone yet. ACT! does offer a cloud version (with a monthly fee) that a smart phone's browser could access.

2) I've not yet invested the hours to further customize act for all of my business needs. Some of those needs seem to come right out of the box with Showbiz.

3) I've been unsuccessful with getting Act! to integrate with gmail or yahoo. It is designed to interface with Outlook, but I don't use OL. Maybe if I threw more hours at it....tired of that though.

Questions for Mr. Carducci:

1) Can my data be imported/exported to/from Showbiz?
2) How many hours of down time has your server/s experienced in the last year, resulting in loss of service to customers?
3) Does Showbiz interface with other customer managment software like "Send Out Cards"? What about Constant Contact? Is there a means by which it can send new customers contact into to these other services with minimal manual effort?
4) What is your version release history....how often is it being enhanced?

Thanks for sharing your undoubtably mega hours of work with the magic community. I hope I find this worth trying. Thanks.
Carducci
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Denver
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Hi Michael,

I'd be happy to answer your questions.

Quote:
1) Can my data be imported/exported to/from Showbiz?


Of course! Every module has both import and export capabilities. A CRM is all about connecting all kinds of records together to give you the complete 360° view of your business and the import tool has been designed to reflect that, in many cases automatically creating the relationships so you can import your data in a usable state. Export works the same way, you can export some or all of your data at any time.

Quote:
2) How many hours of down time has your server/s experienced in the last year, resulting in loss of service to customers?


Short answer: Zero downtime

Long Answer:
Since we launched version 1.0 (a little over a year ago) we have experienced 100% uptime. Our server infrastructure is built for high availability with no single point of failure. We use a load balancer to route traffic across multiple web servers. If one of the web servers goes down for any reason, the load balancer will reroute your requests to a different web server. We also have another load balancer running that will instantly take over if the primary load balancer failed. In addition we have multiple database servers that are constantly in sync. Beyond our internal server architecture, we run using the second largest dedicated hosting provider who offers a 100% uptime guarantee on their network, HVAC, power etc. They offer the very best in terms of reliability, security, and technology.

Quote:
3) Does Showbiz interface with other customer managment software like "Send Out Cards"? What about Constant Contact? Is there a means by which it can send new customers contact into to these other services with minimal manual effort?


We would LOVE to integrate with Send Out Cards (this has been on our roadmap since day one!) Unfortunately the only obstacle there is SOC themselves. They have no "API" in other words, they have no interface which will allow us to programmatically integrate with their services. We're working out a way around that, however, as we speak.

As for integrating with services like constant contact, well, there is no need. Full email campaign, list management, autoresponder, and reporting functionality is built right into ShowBiz CRM.

Quote:
4) What is your version release history....how often is it being enhanced?


The short answer is we are enhancing it constantly. Our regular release cycle is every two weeks. When the code is complete, it is deployed to a testing environment where we check the new work, then test the entire system end-to-end to make sure else was inadvertently affected by the work. If that passes, we then deploy to a staging server to ensure there aren't any problems with the deployment process. Then we deploy individually to our web servers. Although deployments take place in a window where the fewest users are on the system, we stagger releases across the web servers to ensure to any online users are not affected during the upgrade.

Of course that's our routine process. If anything urgent came up we treat that as a hotfix and deploy ASAP.
Kevin Viner
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Loyal user
San Diego, CA
203 Posts

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I really love ACT, and have used it for years. It does everything I need, and now that Act 2012 interfaces with Gmail, it's a bit of a no-brainer. I can email anybody from any computer anywhere, and it syncs to my client's history file in ACT! This has come in handy on more than one occasion.
MichaelDouglas
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Portland, Oregon
767 Posts

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Gentlemen,

Thanks for the responses...I've some serious consideration to do with this info. --MD
Mister Jazzz
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Texas
24 Posts

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I'm a little late to the party but don't forget: Manager Sal. I've played around with it and helped build a custom CRM for my full-time company and this works too.

http://www.managersal.com/home.php
Pecan_Creek
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Veteran user
The Nation of TEXAS!
323 Posts

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Try Bento.

http://www.filemaker.com/products/bento/

if you are tecnichally savvy you can use the full filemaker pro to write your own contact mgmnt and invoicing database.

http://www.filemaker.com/
teoswand
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Regular user
usa
107 Posts

Profile of teoswand
Showbiz and gmail??
how do they work together?

thanks
MichaelDouglas
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Special user
Portland, Oregon
767 Posts

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I'm still enjoying ShowBiz and I have it interface with Yahoo. I'm confident that I heard Michael Carducci say that it will also work with gmail. In all honesty, I should probably switch to having it use the email that comes with my hosting service so will show my address as xxxxxx@michaeldouglasmagic.com for a more professional look. Alas...so much to do.

I've been using it for maybe 2 years now and I love how it reaches out to past customers and people to whom I've sent a quote in the past. It sends an automated email to them to see if they are considering a magician for this years event. I've booked shows from that...! So cool. ShowBizCRM has a great new set-up wizard that makes getting up and running with it so much faster than before. They still offer a Free 6 Week trial at https://www.showbizcrm.com/?amigosid=5

Good luck teoswand.
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