For a feature-rich CRM, Salesbox has a very neat, well-thought-out workspace
Within the last couple of weeks, Salesbox has rolled out some major, groundbreaking updates to their CRM, and we’ve updated our Salesbox review (published October 2015) accordingly. The vendor has mainly focused on improving and updating the interface to make it more user-friendly and contemporary, as well as adding and improving several features. We’ll discuss these in detail, but let’s take a quick look at what’s new:
- Salesbox is not a freemium product anymore – yeah, bad news
- A modern, better-looking interface
- A unique Google Chrome add-on to capture leads from LinkedIn and other websites
- A powerful Google Chrome plugin to keep a track of inbound/outbound Gmail messages
- A more visual, more insightful sales pipeline
- Integration with more third party apps
Salesbox has a new, improved interface
There are quite a few sales-oriented CRMs that focus on the next activity or next step you should take to achieve your sales goal, but Salesbox takes this philosophy to a whole new level. Like a modern car’s gear box, it learns how each user works and adapts to their style and like a regular GPS that guides you to your destination, shows you the route to achieve your sales target.
- Free Trial: Yes (for two weeks)
- Mobile friendly: Yes. Designed first and foremost for Mobile.
- Ideal for: sales teams, and anyone working with structured sales and/or meeting customers in the field.
- Training required: No
- Lead capturing through web forms: Coming soon
- Mass import/export: Yes
- Email marketing: Yes, through Mailchimp
Who is it for?
Salesbox is a great solution for businesses that have long, complex and varying sales processes, or have some level of structure in their selling. Organizations such as industrial companies, consultant companies, realtors, and advertising agencies that work with structured sales, B2B, and are mobile, will benefit the most from Salesbox.
Who is it NOT for?
Salesbox is not a great choice right now for online businesses that rely on capturing leads through web forms, since the option isn’t currently available. The vendor assured us that they will add this feature “very soon”, however, this feature hasn’t been added yet and is “coming during the summer”. On the flipside, they’ve introduced a rather interesting approach to lead capturing and that’s through LinkedIn or any website that has contact details. We’ll discuss this feature in more detail shortly.
How popular is it?
Salesbox had more than 15K companies using their software, but since it’s no longer a freemium product, several of their free users have gone and the number has come down. New user numbers are not yet disclosed. However, with the new features, we are pretty sure the Salesbox user base is set to only go up. Moreover, Salesbox for Android is now slated for release by the end of July 2016. This is another feature that will be a gateway for many users who are currently excluded because of iOS-only compatibility.
Why a mobile native CRM matters
Salesbox is a mobile first CRM, and until recently it had been a mobile only CRM, available exclusively for iPhone and iPad. While a few people might feel frustrated when they hear it’s only available for mobile and doesn’t have a web/desktop version, ask any tech guru or IT practitioner, and they’ll tell you mobile is the next big thing. As a matter of fact, in terms of mobility, functionality and productivity, mobile version of a desktop app usually can’t hold a candle to mobile first app. Mobile native apps such as WhatsApp and Waze have already radicalized our daily lives and we believe it’s just a matter of time before mobile native CRMs do the same for businesses.
The Mobile version of Salesbox has an impressive interface, is faster, and more intuitive
They have really improved the web version, which was in its early infancy and had several bugs when we first reviewed it, but you still get the best experience when using it on a mobile device i.e. iPhone or iPad. It not only works a lot faster, but also offers additional features such as making phone calls or sending iMessages.
Salesbox iOS app is regularly updated
Areas where it excels
- A mobile first CRM for both B2B and B2C business models
- Simple, beautiful and intuitive interface
- Powerful lead and opportunity management
- Integrated marketing features
- Automatically adapts to your company’s and each individual’s unique situation and history
- Highly customizable
- Collaboration features such as task and lead delegation help achieve higher productivity with team work
- Native integration with Gmail, MailChimp, LinkedIn, Facebook, iOS mail, calendar, camera, dial and map functions
- Extremely flexible work processes that let you finish any activity as your customer wants instead of following a predefined path. For example, let’s suppose your sales process comprises of three steps: order, fulfillment, and payment, but the customer places an order and prefers to pick up in person from your facility to his order being dispatched to him, the system will allow you to receive payment without having to do fulfillment.
- Quirky approach to capturing leads from pretty much any website, especially LinkedIn
What are its weaknesses?
- Probably the biggest issue we noticed is that there is no social integration for your contacts or companies which means you can’t extract selling signals from your customers’ social profiles. This could be construed as a benefit, however – no social media distractions!
- No provision for adding custom fields. This is a forthcoming attraction, we’re assured.
- Grouping contacts as well as managing territories, quotas and commissions is limited, but you can though group contacts by type, relationship strength or in call lists.
- No customer care module as such, but support is available through regular channels like email, phone, including Youtube vids and Skype support.
- Free trial only available for two weeks.
Signing up for Salesbox is quick and easy; no credit card or long term agreement required. Importing contacts from your iOS device is simple, but you’ll have to use a rigid template to import contacts or accounts to your computer.
Setting up Salesbox is very easy
Importing contacts from your iOS device is simple, and we loved the fact that they have replaced the rather annoying, rigid import mechanism with a more user-friendly, drag-and-drop wizard. What’s more, the new system automatically de-duplicates data and supports data import from Google Contacts, MS Contacts, and your smartphone.
The new import wizard looks better and is more user-friendly
Even though it’s a feature-rich CRM, Salesbox has a very neat, well-thought-out workspace. The menus are laid in a logical manner, and the interface is very intuitive, especially when you use it on a mobile device. Salesbox beautifully manages the space-challenged screens of mobile devices by tucking handy, little menus here and there that can be accessed with a swipe. Regular tasks need minimal tapping and swiping.
Space-challenged workplace on iPad handled by tucking handy, little menus here and there, accessible with a swipe
The Contacts and Accounts menus, which work exactly the same, offer a plethora of options, which you can access for each contact or company without having to open the details. You can add tasks, leads and pretty much anything related to a contact or company with just a couple of clicks. Also, all the sales related signals e.g. contact growth, closed margin, weighted pipe, pipe profit etc. is displayed on the same page. You can also see the stats or recent communications with the contact if you use an iOS device.
Salesbox can display different set of menus on different devices, which means you can choose to see all modules on your laptop and just Tasks, Contacts and Leads on iPhone
Salesbox makes it easy for different team members to collaborate on different tasks and leads. Another great thing about the workspace is that you can customize it for each device you use. You can have one set of features appearing on your laptop and another on your iPad or iPhone, and the software will remember your preferences.
Google Chrome Plugin lets you add leads directly from LinkedIn with just a mouse click
The work area has been further augmented with new plugins.
You can even add leads from any website with basic contact details
The Google Chrome plugin automatically saves all your email interactions with your customers into the CRM system, and you can even save the whole text from an email into your CRM. Likewise, you can easily capture leads from LinkedIn or from any website that shares contact details, with just a mouse click.
Now you can sync with more online file storage services
When we reviewed Salesbox last, they didn’t offer enough powerful integrations with third party apps. Back then, it would integrate only with Dropbox, Facebook, MailChimp, and LinkedIn, in addition to native integration with the calendar, email, maps, camera etc. of your iPhone or iPad. Now you get two-way integrations with Office 365, Google Drive, and One Drive for business is coming soon. Also, Maestrano – an Australian platform for delivering connected platforms – allows you to integrate Salesbox with QuickBooks, Xero, and others. You also get two-way sync with Outlook desktop and online, Mac mail etc.
Workflow and marketing automation
Salesbox has inherent intelligence : it learns how each user uses it, and then gives suggestions based on their working style. For example, it’ll tell you if you need to arrange more meetings, or if you need to work a few hours more to achieve your goals. Also, it makes sure you don’t forget to follow up. For example, if you make a phone call through the CRM and the person doesn’t answer or the call drops within ten seconds, an option will automatically appear which can create a task to call that person again. And if the call was connected, you’ll be presented with different options such as add the contact to opportunities. The same goes for your meetings; after every meeting, Salesbox will prompt you to define your next step to winning the deal.
Salesbox automatically suggests useful next activities depending on the current action you take
Salesbox also includes marketing automation features thanks to the predefined integration with MailChimp, Facebook and LinkedIn. Marketing automation generates leads automatically, and if nobody picks up on a lead, it’ll be added to the Delegation and management can assign it to an appropriate person.
Salesbox has revamped their pricing and moved away from the freemium model, and now have a simple plan of $20 per user per month, all features included.
Salesbox has recently partnered with IBM and is hosted on IBM Softlayer, which is considered to be one of the securest solutions available. On top of that a customer can add IBM products/services for predictive analytics outside CRM, managing mobile phones and accessibility based on location, time etc.
Salesbox also has a great role-based access control system, where management can pinpoint every single field that a particular user can view, update or delete. Also, there is an option to grant users admin rights.
Salesbox has a very friendly and cooperative support team; it was a pleasure interacting with their members. Support is available seven days a week. You can reach them via web form, live chat during office hours, through mail or even schedule calls with them. We couldn’t find any wiki/knowledgebase, just a few FAQs and YouTube tutorials. However, the software is pretty easy to use and intuitive enough that you will hardly ever need any help. Another new, handy little feature they have added is the question mark next to every feature that will guide you on how the particular feature works.
Let’s take a quick look at the features of Salesbox, and see how they stack up against those found in some of the industry leading CRMs.
Salesbox has a very simple yet powerful task manager, which is unlike any other. It not only lets you create, manage, and assign/delegate tasks but also define the “focus” of each task. Focus defines the right activity you need to do. Some predefined focus categories include Introduce Company, Follow Up, Demonstrate, and you can add custom categories as well. Editing, sorting or delegating different tasks is just a matter of a couple clicks. While many other CRMs have complex task management systems that offer more features, we liked the simplicity and ease of use offered by Salesbox.
Managing leads in Salesbox, just like doing most other things, is very simple. You can add, sort or delegate leads to your colleagues instantly, or even convert them to opportunity with one click.
You can convert a lead to opportunity with one click
It’s also very easy for management to view the status of leads assigned to different workers. Another great thing about Salesbox is that it automatically generates leads triggered by your campaigns, which we’ll talk about shortly. But there are a few things missing; most notably you can’t capture leads form the web at this point. Also, we didn’t see any option to import bulk leads as you can do in Pipeliner CRM. But they do offer free help with importing leads. There is also the option to import contacts, which in Salesbox are the foundation of leads. You can also use call lists for generating lists of leads and create different lists for different types of leads eg. sort them by which event you captured the leads, or in whichever ordering that makes sense to you.
This feature allows teams to work collaboratively on tasks and leads. Delegation is one of the many collaboration features that allow your crewmembers to achieve sales goal by working together. Other collaboration features include video chat with FaceTime, chat via iMessage, notifications, and capability of allowing multiple users to work together on opportunities, accounts and contacts.
Delegation is one of the many collaboration features that allow your team to achieve goals by working together
We really liked the way Salesbox tells you how many more opportunities you need to achieve your sales target by a user-defined date, depending on your average deal size. The opportunities module basically shows your pipeline, and you can simply check different activities you’ve performed on each opportunity to move it through the pipeline. It’s pretty interesting the way Salesbox instantly changes the color and percentage for each opportunity as you check different activities. You can also add appointments, tasks, order row, or even ask any of your colleagues for help.
A new overhauled sales pipeline makes managing your sales processes extremely easy (on a computer)
Salesbox pipeline on an iPad
Your latest communications will appear under every opportunity if you’re using an iOS device. An interesting feature which is found in several other CRMs such as Salesforce, that Salesbox could consider including, is an indicator about who you’re competing against.
Accounts and Contacts
Accounts are the companies that you do business with. Both the Accounts and Contacts modules work in pretty much the same way. Although you can manually add or import accounts as well as contacts, we liked how the CRM lets you search and add contacts from different industries.
Salesbox lets you search for contacts in different industries and countries
The accounts and contacts can be sorted and viewed in a variety of ways such as view your favorite contacts, recent contacts, or contacts in an alphabetic order. But the most useful is the detailed view that offers several key details including email, phone, closed sales, appointments, tasks or even how many colleagues are working on a particular account or contact.
Detailed view of Contacts – Salesbox
If you open a contact or account, you get all their details on the same page. You can easily add leads, appointments, opportunities, tasks, documents, notes, and even photos while viewing a contact’s profile. Since Salesbox does not store your communications inside the CRM, it can be difficult to keep track of what you and your contact actually said last time you spoke.
The Appointments feature has been updated and now offers a better calendar view and two-way sync with Google and Microsoft calendars, in addition to iCal.
Salesbox new appointment
Appointments is actually a calendar made after how Apple has designed their meetings in iCalendar. You can not only book meetings for yourself and add multiple invitees, but also for other workers. The location you enter, automatically appears on the map. Pretty much like Zoho CRM sync with Google Calendar, Salebox has a native, two-way synchronization with the iCalender. So, if you add an appointment into your Salesbox calendar, it’ll automatically show up on iCalendar and vice versa. The ability to sync with Google Calendar is to be launched in Q4. Although, unlike MS Dynamics, you can’t set rules that guide and assist you when scheduling appointments, the Salesbox calendar is neat and crisp.
Call List has added the important capability to enable you to now import lists directly from MS excel. Salesbox also features a detailed, sales-oriented, and interactive call list, which can help you keep in touch with your customers and potential customers. Call lists can be added manually, or you can create one instantly of all the contacts you had ongoing or recent business with that you haven’t phoned for a predefined number of months. The Call List also supports deadlines, and shows any opportunities or appointments that result from a call.
There are CRMs like VanillaSoft and CallPro that primarily focus on telemarketing, and then there are CRMs (Bitrix24, Zoho etc.) that have a variety of tools to help you to run and manage telephonic campaigns, but Salesbox currently can only track calls that you make using your iPhone. A provision, through a built-in module or even integration, for telemarketing and sending bulk texts from the CRM would really boost the usefulness of the Call List.
Campaigns work exactly the same, however, the update has changed the way campaigns look on your screen. The new look UI is definitely a big improvement.
Salebox doesn’t offer built-in email marketing per se, but it has a module called Campaigns, which lets you create and share campaigns through MailChimp, LinkedIn, or Facebook. You can create a one-off campaign, or send a sequence of emails or posts by simply adding more steps. You can even add other people if you’d like to collaborate with them.
You can create a one-off campaign, or send a sequence of emails or posts by simply adding more steps
While the campaigns are not super intuitive right now, they offer a great, unique way of capturing leads. Whenever you send a campaign, and someone opens and clicks a link in your email, or shares or comments on any of your Facebook/LinkedIn posts, they’ll be automatically added to your leads.
Insights and Activity Panel
Salesbox also has a unique way of reporting. You get a quick overview of your opportunities, appointments, sales, profits, and can also view your top performing countries, regions, cities or industries. The intelligent CRM also forecasts sales, revenue, profit and margin. Management can not only view each individual’s performance report, but can also see the top performers and top accounts, contacts and products.
In addition to Insights, there is an Activity Panel that offers quick facts to help you evaluate your performance about your sales, opportunities, and your workload. You can see any upcoming events, and then there are records: a nice, motivational feature akin to gamification that extols the biggest deal and the fastest deal. The top brass can identify the best performers and give them gold, bronze and silver badges – a nice way to encourage your employees.
There are two different types of settings in Salesbox: My Settings and Company Settings. The My Settings menu lets you edit your personal info, change password, choose which components you want to view on this particular device, choose languages, and add your Facebook/LinkedIn profiles. The Company Settings menu offers a wider range of options including basic company info, default values (for currency, hours/day, median deal size etc.), targets, rights, products and contact import/export.
Adding a new sales process on Salesbox is as easy as pie
All the bugs we saw in the web version when we last took the CRM for a spin are now resolved, but we still feel it works better on a mobile device. Again, Salesbox still lacks some key components such as email marketing and there is no support for Android devices at this point.
The good news is that they have great features, simple pricing and a cooperative team that’s constantly updating the software. The great news is that Salesbox is based on a principal that will make salespeople’s life easy. While most other CRMs work as a repository for data, Salesbox works as an intelligent system to help you focus on the right activity, without having to get sidetracked in unnecessary bells and whistles. The improved features along with newly added plugins can take your productivity and efficiency through the roof, and we highly recommend Salesbox.
Take it for a two week test drive:
September 8th, 2014