All about SmallBizCRM
I’m Perry Norgarb, founder and editor of SmallBizCRM.
I figure if I want you to make decisions based on any information contained herein, you’ll want to know on what authority!
Well, as someone who has spent the better part of my working career specializing in what is today referred to as CRM software, I feel I’m more than adequately qualified to impart some advice and guidance to you on the subject!
I have been involved in the sales, marketing and management of IT solutions companies, including my own, for the past twenty-three years. I’ve managed three PC Retail outlets, sold DEC VAX’s to the Post Office, PC’s and UNIX boxes to government and even sold educational software, games and PC’s to kids.
My preoccupation with CRM began around 1985, when it was became increasingly difficult as an IT retailer to manage our sales processes efficiently and effectively. We tried to create software solutions with products like Lotus123, dBase III and FrameWork by Ashton Tate (remember them?), but they all proved to be too clunky to be practical.
Obviously I was not alone in my dilemma, as PIM’s and Contact Managers, the predecessors of today’s CRM systems, started emerging from specialist programmers. Seeing the opportunities of this field, It wasn’t long before I decided to break away and form my own company, MarketBase, specializing in database marketing and CRM (although that term wasn’t invented then. We called it SFA – short for Sales Force Automation).
I spent twelve years running my own software company, mainly in Johannesburg, South Africa. We focused exclusively on the distribution, sales and support of CRM, and Contact Management software solutions. The product range we specialized in is now arguably South Africa’s most popular CRM solution.
In that period we sold CRM solutions to over 3000 organisations, with the total number of ‘seats’ installed around 28,000. Of those users, we trained almost 10% at our in-house training facilities and many more on-site.
We developed a Helpdesk add-on for CRM systems, as well as a Quotation module add-on (that never saw the light of day.)
I enjoy writing too, and have written numerous articles for various magazines on Contact Management software, Sales Force Automation and CRM.
I’ve strutted my stuff as a guest speaker at sales conferences. I don’t know why I do that to myself though – public speaking is my worst nightmare! I once delivered a talk to over 600 delegates at the annual SA Sales & Marketing conference, taking the stage after Clem Sunter, strategist for multinational company Anglo-American. Now, Mr Sunter is one of my heroes, but one thing you don’t want to do is to have to talk after him though! It’s an impossible act to follow, especially with a faulty mike! Maybe my most embarrassing moment ever!
I also co-hosted a radio-chat show discussing software solutions and productivity tools for small business, and founded the Cape Town chapter of the Novell User Group.
Over the years we assisted numerous charities and non-profit organisations like the Heart Foundation and St Luke’s Hospice with their marketing initiatives through my company. For no charge, of course! Maybe this is a reason as to why I’m a member of the invitation-only Who’s Who Of South Africa, who knows?
I’ve probably seen it all – our CRM clients spanned virtually every conceivable type and size of industry. This gives me a unique and privileged insight into the many different environments where CRM has made and can make a difference.. There’s nothing more rewarding than a client visiting your stand at a trade show and thanking you for revolutionising their business.
Many clients migrated to our solutions from others, and, in some instances, moved on from us, too. This gave me a good working knowledge as to the strengths and weaknesses of the various systems on offer. No one CRM application represents nirvana, of course, but each (well, most) has its place.
So this is the knowledge and experience I bring to the party. You are benefiting from a collective 40 years of CRM expertise here. I’d like you to see me/us as an extension of your business, safe in the knowledge that you can always return here for direct support, as you need it, when you need it. I even answer my own email and phone; its an old habit that works, just like CRM. 🙂
Sensing the frustrations of people that contact me and given the lack of an online resource addressing small business CRM issues, I saw the need for this service. So SmallbizCRM become a reality in September 2004.
My aim with SmallBizCRM.com is to help you make a quicker, more informed decision as to what CRM solution suits your requirements and budget, after helping you consider and analyse your requirements. Then show you how to capitalize on your investment.
There are just so many products and companies to choose from, that this can become a hugely intimidating and laborious project. In April 2005, a Google search on ‘crm’ returns 24,600,000 results. Narrow the search to ‘small business crm’ and you still have 7,400,000 results to wade through! Now, in 2014, a search for “CRM” yields some 130,000,000 result, and a search for small business crm now gives you over 24 million results.
My sympathies go out to those in the market for a CRM solution. Left to the mercies of fast-talking, pressurised software sales people, some people simply end up becoming more confused than ever, before eventually walking away or ending up with a lemon in too many cases.
We aren’t showcasing every CRM solution under the sun, or just those paying the highest affiliate commissions.
There are excellent CRM solutions out there, in what is now an over-traded – read buyers- market. Some of them don’t have the marketing know-how, and even if they did, no budget, so you don’t always get to hear about them. Some real innovators operate under the radar, quietly dominating their respective niches, but not always getting the recognition they deserve.
These are the CRM solutions we bring to your attention, along with some of the other more established Big Name players.
Firstly we’ll help you avoid the costly horrors of double, or even triple-dipping; there are no lessons to be learnt from the second kick of a mule! Then we’ll get your CRM system to fly!
We set our first website up in early 1995. It was the 297th website in South Africa and, according to The Wall Street Journal, one of the first 4000 in the world. We even had a virtual reality section!
My intention is to show you how to ‘monetize’ your site and to strengthen the communication between your site and your CRM solution. In time CRM will become a seamless fit, linking your systems to your needs.
Now that I am out of the corporate rat race I have time to work on this website and with select clients on a personal basis, providing the solutions that have become my field of expertise. I far prefer channelling my passion and CRM experience towards people and not numbers in order to assist you with your small business CRM issues.
It certainly beats the old 9-5 as well but in this turbocharged world I am at the end of a line somewhere, except when the surf is up, of course! And when I get out of the water, recharged, I will get right back to you!
On a personal level, I devote as much time as I can to the two lights of my life, my lovely children, Devin and Erin. To keep myself fit (and sane!) I surf (that is the real kind, where you get wet – sometimes very unceremoniously!), occasionally competitively, and have surfed for our Provincial team for three years in our National Championships.
Hoping to grow your successes with you into the future.