For the past year I have tested and work with a Bitrix24 online platform. It seemed to me that CRM (customer relationship management) systems like Salesforce.com could be helpful when I travel for business. Surprisingly, my Internet search produced a number of “Free” or low-cost options. Ultimately, I discovered Bitrix24 was the easiest to understand, customize and implement an impressive array of powerful solutions for my business. As a sales representative, I need to have easy access to my information both in and out of the office. Taking a lot of time to learn how to develop a system was not appealing. Many of the competing systems were either limited in scope, expensive, or too technical.
When I hired assistants, it was critical to find a way for everyone to stay connected. Email is cumbersome, as it takes no time at all for important communications to get buried beneath an avalanche of incoming messages. A system of moving each message into an “Urgent” or “Read Later” folder is still rather overwhelming. Task lists, databases, cloud drives, VPNs, etc. all worked okay as long as it was only me accessing my databases and files. Now days, I need all these elements to be available no matter if I am on a PC, iOS, or Android system, plus allow access to my assistants.
Once I opened up Bitrix24 and discovered the Activity Stream, which is similar to Facebook’s News Feed screen, I knew I could add associates to this system. Indeed, my assistants have all been able to quickly find their way around this full featured CRM. When you visit the Bitrix24.com website (http://www.bitrix24.com/features/) you will see a small list of helpful features and their brief descriptions:
- Integration with popular Social Networks
There are far more tools available in this system, of which I am still researching and discovering regularly. The ones my company currently utilizes the most are:
- Company and Contact managers
Perhaps the simplest way to explain the power of this system and what it can offer businesses, sales teams, designers, and organizations looking for an effective easy to use collaboration system, is to show some screen shots. The beauty of Bitrix24 is it accessible to Internet connected desktop computers and mobile tablets/smartphones. There are also self hosted options for companies wanting to keep their information in-house.
The Activity Stream makes it simple to have conversations, post notices, and keep everyone on the same page. It is easy to cut and paste email messages into the comment fields. There are several Activity Streams throughout the system for the Company at Large, individual contacts, companies, deals, etc.:
Workgroups are another great feature, allowing access to relevant information for teams. The Wiki is similar to a small webpage, which I find helpful for posting quick view internal company policy information. There is a Group specific Drive for file storage, Tasks, Calendar, etc.:
Quick access to various elements are conveniently available along the sidebar.
Also, along the top of many screens are helpful buttons for quick access, as well. There are two powerful Search fields that I use constantly, they automatically populate anything related to my search term (Company, Contact, Deal, Task, etc):
Within the Companies, you can access additional Client specific information. Notice the dedicated Activity Stream for account specific details. This is a big help in keeping a historical record of conversations, email messages sent, deal status, etc. In particular, I love clicking on the Contacts tab and being able to quickly access a specific person. If I am in a Contact record, I can quickly access their Company record.
Keep in mind, I have only scratched the surface. There are many more tools available. Plus, Bitrix24 has upgraded and added features in the short time since I began using it. One exciting new tool is the Telephony integrated VOIP service. Hopefully, they will be able to improve the voice quality soon. When we first tested it, my assistant loved the clarity on her end, but there was too much distortion on my land-line phone to consider using at this time. Naturally, we will continue to test periodically, as this would be extremely helpful for virtual assistants.
Some weaknesses in the system are the mobile apps, it would be helpful to to view the contact and calendar screens in the online layout. Also, an offline mode for contacts and calendar would be great. At one time, I was able to synchronize with Google Calendars, but it stopped working and I have not been able to repair the broken link.
All in all, I can highly recommend Bitrix24 to anyone looking for a practical, generous, and powerful system to get business done. If pressed, I would give Bitrix24 an overall rating of Four Stars. My congratulations to their development team, they have done an excellent job and their passion shows in all the new and improved features they have regularly been adding to their platform.
Please share your thoughts on Bitrix24 and other CRM solutions, I would love to hear your recommendations and suggestions.