Mavenlink CRM Review

“A tool that simplifies project management”

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  • Product Features
  • Budget Management
  • Cost-to-Completion Tracking
  • Customizable Templates
  • Gantt Charts
  • Kanban Board
  • Milestone Tracking
  • Portfolio Management
  • Time & Expense Tracking

Free Trial

Pricing starts from

$19

Free Subscription

Premium Subscription

Amount of users

5+

Training/Documentation

Online Support

Mobile Access

  • Screenshots
  • Expert Review

Introduction
Mavenlink is a top notch cloud-based “end to end” project management, work management solution that promotes team collaboration. Developed in the United States, this enterprise-ready application helps team members collaborate more efficiently and effectively.

Mavenlink integrates exceptionally well with a variety of leading cloud based applications such as Google Apps, Microsoft Office, Intuit QuickBooks and Paypal to name a few. It is flexible, easily customizable and capable enough to manage business processes of varying complexities.

Technical details
Mavenlink is available on the cloud and based on the SaaS model which implies there’s no need to install any special software, all that is required is a web browser. The software and associated data are hosted on secure and reliable data centers. The application is equally well accessible on mobile devices.

Mavenlink at a glance

  • Free trial: Yes, a simple registration can lead you to 30-day free-trial of Mavenlink’s Pro features.
  • Ideal for: It is vertical independent and ideal for businesses of all sizes. Its has features that are generic enough to take care of pain points encountered by major businesses.
  • Training required: Very little to no training required. The intuitive interface makes it easy for new users as well as those who are migrating from legacy systems.
  • User limit: Mavenlink is based on the pay-per-user model. There’s no limit on the number of users.
  • Support available: Yes, there are various options, support can be contacted via email, live help or self-help can be taken from their online support forum.
  • Accolades: Mavenlink has been a finalist for TechAmerica High-Tech Innovation Awards in the year 2010. It is also the number 1 installed app in the Google Apps Marketplace today.

Getting started
A 30 day free trial of Mavenlink Pro is available for a test drive, even the premium plan is available for a 14 day free trial. While the initial signup is for the basic plan with limited features, you can always upgrade to the Pro plan and try it free for a period of 30 days, however upgrade to the pro plan requires entering credit card details (though charge will be applicable only after expiry of the 30 day period). Having said that the “Test Drive” project is the best way to try out the important features on offer especially those present in the Pro version of this application.

Look and feel
The first screen that you would see is rather simple yet fairly informative. You have access to your dashboard, project overview, activity feed with option for setting the default (see the expanded section that reads ‘Set your default tab’). The Billing icon allows access to features to track time, timesheets, expenses, invoices. There is built-in flexibility to even apply custom branding to create a “personalized look and feel”. For instance we replaced Mavenlink’s logo with a logo of our choice, this custom logo though on every page of the application can as well be used in various business documents generated via Mavenlink.

Custom branding
In fact, the user interface can be very easily customized – colors of the tab, the background can be altered as per your choice. The impact of changing the color, fields, buttons and uploading a new logo can be instantly previewed. This is significant as it ensures that the Mavenlink workspace your client and you see is an extension of your own business.
Furthermore, you can create your own global navigation, mimic your current site or create something new to further engage your clients and colleagues.

The screen captures below shows how we have customized the look of the interface per our tastes.

In addition to setting your business name with a customized login page which you can link to from your own application or website, you can customize the URL used to access Mavenlink.

 

Feature set

Project management
Mavenlink assists you in managing your project schedules, track budget variances and monitor project performance all in one place. A project can be virtually anything – a marketing campaign, customer opportunity, product development, this means the software can be used to achieve anything you can want to accomplish with it. Everyone stays on the same page as all project participants can update project activities.

With Mavenlink’s project workspaces, you can invite colleagues, clients, and/or consultants to work with you. The ‘Project Tracker’ helps manage any of your projects in an agile way, you can keep track of your project schedule and make changes at the task-level. There’s also the option to email messages and file into the project.

Project templates help in quick project creation, create a new project template from scratch or modify an existing project workspace to meet your specific needs. Project Templates make it easy to create sets of items with one click.

The following assist in efficient project management – Task Tracker, Project Dashboard, Templates, Google Tasks Integration, Assign Responsibility.

Task management
Efficient and effective task management is a must for every enterprise as virtually everything revolves around tasks from product demos to client follow-ups to payment reminders. Mavenlink can act as your daily task manager, it allows you to create, assign, and manage the status of your team’s tasks, milestones and deliveries. With Drag-and-drop prioritization, your project items visually represent what the team is working on at any time. You can always create sub-tasks to add more granularity to your project tasks and related deliverables.

Collaboration
Mavenlink simplifies completing projects online in collaboration with your clients, colleagues and partners. It allows to centralize your conversations, decisions and related information in a secure, shared workspace.

Real-time messaging, Private messaging, Activity stream, Email integration, Centralized dashboard ensure your entire team stays on the same page. Mavenlink’s activity stream shows all relevant messages and project events in one convenient location. All events, messages, and comments are integrated with your current email system which means you can directly post a reply to the group from within your email.

Global activity stream
Activity streams allows viewing all your projects in one collaborative feed. You can look at your latest project communications in a single activity stream, view associated files, Google Documents.

Dashboard
Your Mavenlink project management dashboard is the location that captures and organized all of your project-related conversations, activities, tasks, and financials. It is the best way to see an overview of all recent activity which includes past due work, upcoming work, pending invoices, and the latest messages from your project workspaces.

File management
Mavenlink’s file management feature ensures that all of your team’s files are linked to project conversations and tasks. Drag and drop or upload directly to a workspace message. Its allows uploading multiple files at once and share up to 2TB across projects. Files can be quickly downloaded or viewed from within the browser.
Its also possible to embed your documents in your Google Drive, you can seamlessly manage and share your such files from within your project workspace. With its strong sharing and organizing capabilities its tough to lose track of an important document.
The centralized File Vault keeps track of conversation history and tasks relating to one specific file.

Team management
As a team task management tool, Mavenlink can be employed to keep you and your team on the same page thereby saving time on status meetings. Invite all clients, colleagues, and partners into your collaborative, online and secure project workspace.

Invoicing, Time and Expense Tracking
By combining features such as invoicing, time and expense tracking with the existing excellent project collaboration capabilities, you can get rid of administrative redundancies and ensure accountability for each project or client.

With these features small businesses can perform all essential business transactions related to a project or business relationship. The online invoicing feature links all project conversations and activities (tasks, deliverables & milestones) to the otherwise complicated billing process.

Mavenlink as a CRM
At this point what is lacking is a customer data management module and neither there exists a integration with any of the leading CRM solutions. Having said that its worth noting that Mavenlink’s project workspace can be used design and develop marketing strategies, track customer requests, manage sales opportunities and quotation.

Reporting
Reporting is a feature that is only available in Mavenlink’s Premier version. At this point following reports are available –

  • Utilization Reports – Gives insight into resource utilization. Maximize revenue through more efficient resource utilization and planning.
  • Work In Progress (WIP) Reports – Keep track of planned and actual costs, as well as what has been billed and awaits billing on any project for every client.
  • Accounts Receivable Aging Reports – Facilitates reduction in time-to-payment through better visibility of upcoming and late invoices.
  • Time Sheets – Effortlessly capture time, view and keep track of billable, non-billable hours for each team member, with a real-time view of project costs.
  • Task-Level Budgeting – With the help of this report you would be able to manage cost expectations and ensure tighter project controls by tracking budgets (hours and money) down to the task level.

Other notable features included in Mavenlink Premier – Task estimates, time sheets, Gantt charts, File vault, roles and permissions, resource planning, job costing.

Integration with Google Apps
Mavenlink integrates very well with Google Apps. Tasks, deliverables, and milestones with dates sync automatically with your Google Calendar.
You can easily invite account members and project participants from your existing Google Contacts.

Integration with QuickBooks and Paypal
If you have been using Paypal for payments and QuickBooks to manage your accounts, then you would be excited to know that there Mavenlink integrates well with both. Make or receive payments on project invoices through PayPal and sync instantly with your QuickBooks. Map your customers, jobs, vendors, employees, and project items in Mavenlink to QuickBooks. Then, sync your project time and expenses for seamless job costing, invoicing, payroll, and project accounting. This ensures your project and accounting teams keep working in concert. The integration works with both QuickBooks Desktop for Windows and QuickBooks Online!

Integration with Microsoft Project 2013
MS Project 2013 users have direct, role-based access to project workspaces in Mavenlink. The integration would be beneficial to those users who might be more comfortable in working with MS Project.

Mobile support
All of Mavenlink’s collaboration capabilities are available right from your HTML5-enabled smartphone. HTML5 supported application allows access to workforce collaboration platform from any mobile device. See your latest project communications in a single activity stream, view associated files and Google Documents.

Upcoming features

  1. A calendar view wherein you would be able to see all project deliverables.
  2. Lightweight CRM system to manage your contacts.
  3. Much needed integration with Dropbox.

Pricing
Its a subscription based model and the offering is divided into various subscription plans – Basic, Pro, Premier. Subscribers may upgrade, downgrade or cancel their subscriptions at any time.

Pricing is based on number of distinct users who will be using Mavenlink and the plan of your choice. No cost is involved for inviting clients, consultants.

Benefits
An enterprise tool must help improve efficiency of business users and give good ROI. There are numerous benefits of using Mavenlink, the most significant ones are its impeccable project management features and collaboration capabilities. Integration with leading third-party apps is another major advantage of this software.

Conclusion
Mavenlink is an impressive application and very similar to Smartsheet, with a very short learning curve its an extremely powerful project management tool for business users. Its existing set of features are worthy of a trial for new users or even for those who are looking for an efficient project or task management solution.

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