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HubSpot CRM review
7:49 pm | January 17, 2022

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

From ourHubSpot CRM review, we can confidently say Hubspot CRM provides a powerful platform that's both intuitive and easy to use, cementing itself firmly in our list of the best CRM software for small and midsize businesses looking to consolidate their sales, marketing, and customer service tools. In this HubSpot CRM review, we’ll discuss some of its key features and capabilities.

HubSpot CRM review: Snapshot

HubSpot is the perfect solution for businesses seeking powerful, easy-to-use CRM software, with the lightweight but highly capable free-forever plan making the platform accessible for smaller or newer businesses. 

This free plan provides a capable platform to manage and maintain new leads through a variety of HubSpot's complimentary CRM, marketing, sales, and customer service tools. These include dashboard reporting, deal tracking, and pipeline management, all accessed through a simple and easy-to-use interface. 

However, it’s worth noting that the free plan comes with limited customer support, so you won’t have access to in-app chat or phone support. Additionally, while HubSpot users can benefit from integration with hundreds of third-party apps, some of these do require an upgrade to one of the paid plans. 

If you’re looking to upgrade, you have a couple of options. HubSpot tools are split across five hubs - Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, CMS, and Operations - and each comes with a Starter, Professional, or Enterprise paid plan. Alternatively, combine elements of each Hub with the CRM Suite bundle upgrade, starting from $45 a month.

While Starter plans feel affordable and offer ample capabilities for smaller businesses, prices can rise steeply if an upgrade to the Professional plan is needed. When it comes to pricing, competitors like Zoho CRM's Standard plan certainly work out cheaper, especially if your business is still in its infancy. 

So, is HubSpot the best CRM software for you? In our HubSpot CRM review, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to make an informed decision.

Score: 4.5/5

Read on for the full review.

HubSpot CRM’s competitors

HubSpot CRM: Key features

A feature that makes HubSpot CRM initially stand out is how easy it is to get started, making it ideal for newcomers to the CRM world. 

During setup, HubSpot asks a series of questions to determine how you plan to use the platform and offers guided tours of each individual area like Marketing, Sales, and Customer Service. Extras like the HubSpot Academy - the complimentary online training hub full of courses - are also a nice touch.

Another aspect that makes HubSpot stand out from its competitors is the sheer volume of features included in the free-forever plan. For instance, the shared inbox feature keeps all incoming email and live chat correspondence in one place, making client communication more accessible for the whole team. 

Creating and sending basic email templates doesn’t take long, either; you have the option to effortlessly import contacts from external mail providers, and then design your email around one of five templates, saving you valuable time to focus on other tasks.

The free plan also offers the ability to add a support form and tracking code to your website so that you can see what visitors are doing, capture their details in your database, and track interactions with them over time.

HubSpot CRM: Highlights

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Hubspot's new user quiz

HubSpot CRM asks questions to help new users get started (Image credit: HubSpot)
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The HubSpot Academy

The HubSpot Academy offers a variety of resources to help you grow your business (Image credit: HubSpot)
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HubSpot's analytics dashboard

Install a tracking code on your website to capture visitors data directly in HubSpot (Image credit: HubSpot)
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HubSpot's email settings

Connect your personal email to HubSpot to log and track client communications (Image credit: HubSpot)
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HubSpot's sales dashboard

Sharing your deal forecast is easy with HubSpot (Image credit: HubSpot)

It’s easy to create deals within the Sales dashboard in less than five minutes or make activity reports that can be filtered according to each team member or customer engagement level. These can be accessed and downloaded in various formats, such as xlsx or pdf, to use outside of the HubSpot environment. 

HubSpot’s free plan doesn't just help you organize and automate sales and marketing tasks either: it also streamlines your day-to-day processes. For instance, managers can send notes to salespeople to get them to follow up with new leads, easily share the deal forecast and dashboard with the touch of a button, and customize deal stages to match existing sales processes. 

Connecting external ad accounts is also very straightforward, with prompts throughout showing you how to pull your campaign data into HubSpot via Facebook, Google Ads, or LinkedIn, so that it’s all in one place. You can connect up to two ad accounts on the free plan. 

For teams looking for more specific platform capabilities, an upgrade to the Starter plan for individual hubs or the CRM Suite bundle provides stronger tools. For instance, on the Marketing hub’s Starter plan, you can quickly create branded, optimized email campaigns that can be sent in bulk to targeted leads through segmented lists. 

You can also see how and when your clients are interacting with your emails to further optimize future campaigns. Likewise, with the CRM Suite Starter plan, you’ll find feature upgrades like additional ad account options, meeting scheduling, two deal pipelines, and 5,000 email templates. 

Features like these make onboarding and working with HubSpot feel simple for both beginners and larger players looking for a new CRM solution, making the software a solid choice for a variety of businesses.

HubSpot CRM: What’s new?

HubSpot claims that this year's product updates add even more power to their already intuitive software, with the most notable being the introduction of the Operations Hub. This new software aims to assist with general operations, simplifying processes with tools like historical data syncing between HubSpot and dozens of popular third-party apps, plus company insights on your clients.

The Operations Hub aims to connect apps, clean your client data, and automate your business processes in one central CRM platform, which can be accessed via the free plan, or with additional features as part of the CRM Suite Starter plan. 

HubSpot users can also now enjoy campaign data in the custom report builder, allowing specific metrics like video plays, page views, and conversions to be added to custom reports to show how campaigns are performing. 

Finally, HubSpot has introduced the ability to create deals from within Gmail and Outlook via the HubSpot sales extension. Salespeople can now enter the deal name, stage, amount, and other required details in just a few simple clicks without interrupting their workflow.

HubSpot CRM: Pricing

While HubSpot generously provides a strong free-forever plan, there are also a variety of paid plans to suit various business needs. The cheapest is the Starter plan, which costs $50 a month, or $45 a month if paid annually, for two paid users. 

Upgrading to the Starter plan provides all the free tools with increased limits and removes HubSpot branding from things like forms, landing pages, and live chat features. Starter plan customers can also access email and in-app chat support to receive help much faster than free plan users.

Testing HubSpot CRM

Before you decide on whether to choose HubSpot CRM, it’s important to determine the simplicity and capability of the platform plus the available support. Below, we analyze HubSpot based on these aspects to help you determine whether it’s right for you.

How easy is it to get started with HubSpot CRM?

Getting started with HubSpot

HubSpot asks a few questions to quickly personalize your account (Image credit: HubSpot)

A HubSpot account can be created in under five minutes and without any payment details. You can create an account from scratch, though it’s quicker to use an existing Google account. 

Once basic details have been entered, HubSpot asks a series of questions regarding your job title, industry, company name, size, and previous experience using CRM platforms, to help tailor your experience and offer invaluable demos.

HubSpot CRM: Customer support

HubSpot’s support feature, HubBot

HubSpot’s on-page help feature, HubBot, is quick and intuitive (Image credit: HubSpot)

HubSpot cements itself as a strong choice for CRM novices, with tools like HubSpot Academy - an online hub full of courses and workshops to help you grow your business, sharpen your skills, and master the CRM tools needed to attract and engage clients. 

While HubSpot’s free plan doesn’t include phone or email support, you are able to chat with other users in the HubSpot Community or find answers in HubSpot’s knowledge base

Alternatively, there’s also the option to speak with the on-page chatbot, HubBot. During our test, in a few quick clicks, we were given the option to speak with a member of the team - this took just over five minutes. Overall, this feature feels incredibly useful for professionals looking for quick answers without interrupting their workflow.

Alternatives to HubSpot CRM

While HubSpot provides plenty of features to cement itself as a frontrunner in the CRM software sphere, competitors like Insightly and Zoho CRM might be more suitable for certain businesses. 

Insightly is a powerful and versatile CRM platform that secures itself as a leader in the space by providing advanced automation tools, strong lead management features, and customizable dashboards to help manage deal pipelines. With a strong selection of features for managing contacts and projects, the platform is a worthy rival to HubSpot. However, the lack of a free plan can make it feel inaccessible to smaller businesses. 

Likewise, while Zoho CRM provides strong lead capture and management tools, integrated email marketing, and automated workflows, the lack of customization on certain features and limited customer support options make it feeler unsuitable for larger teams. For more information, read our Insightly and Zoho CRM reviews.

HubSpot CRM: Final verdict

Ultimately, HubSpot is a strong contender in the list of best CRM platforms, with the most valuable quality being the sheer generosity of features included in the free plan. This plan is quick and simple to get started with, and details like the questions asked during setup make users feel valued and supported during onboarding. 

The quality of the CRM features included for free is also unrivaled in terms of simplicity and usability, with tools like email optimization, the shared inbox, and simple deal and report creation streamlining team workflows. 

This makes the platform ideal for small and medium businesses, as it adds a level of transparency to client communications and keeps everything in one place, freeing up time for teams to focus their energy elsewhere.

While customer support in the free plan can feel somewhat limited, the HubBot chat feature included within the dashboard is intuitive and quick. The HubSpot Community and Knowledge Base are thoughtful finishing touches, providing users with plenty of resources to develop their CRM skills. 

While the free plan would be ideal for smaller businesses, HubSpot’s premium plans are great for midsize businesses needing more powerful or larger capabilities. The feature upgrades in the CRM Suite bundle Starter plan feel affordable for slightly larger businesses, offering upgrades like one-on-one tech support, additional email marketing send limits and list segmentation, and up to 10 reporting dashboards. 

However, prices do rise dramatically if upgrading to the Professional plan ($1,600 a month for five users), which means larger teams may want to consider an alternative.

Further reading on CRM software

For more information on CRM software, read our feature asking what is a CRM? You might also want to consider our buying guides on the best CRM for small businesses or the best CRM for real estate. Alternatively, if you’re just getting started, our list of the best free CRM software might be a good introduction.

Autel Evo Lite+ review
1:00 pm | January 16, 2022

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Computers Drones Gadgets | Tags: | Comments: Off

Editor's Note

• Original review date: January 2022
• Launched alongside Lite, Nano and Nano+
• Launch price: $1,349 / £1,129 / AU $2,499
• Official price now: $1,149 / £899 / AU$2,199

Update: March 2024. Announced in 2021 to go up against the DJI Air 2S, the Autel Evo Lite+ landed in January 2022 with better specs than its DJI rival, but also a higher price tag. While DJI has gone on to release more accomplished drones since, including the dual-camera DJI Air 3, we still rate the Autel Evo Lite+ as a decent alternative to the Air 2S. Its 1-inch sensor shoots quality 5.4K footage at 30fps, and flies for longer at 40 minutes. Larger pixels help it perform well in dim conditions, while aperture adjustment gives it another trump card versus the DJI Air 2S. Probably the key consideration today is price. The DJI Air 2S can be found for significantly less than Autel’s contender online, but if you value those additional features, it’s worth looking for seasonal discounts on the Evo Lite+. Reductions are region-specific, but we’ve seen generous price cuts on its official premium bundle in the UK, for example, which includes two extra batteries, a multi-charger, ND filters and spare propellers.

Two-minute review

In August 2021, Autel threw DJI something of a curveball when it announced four new drones in two new series: the Evo Nano Series containing the Nano and Nano+, plus the Evo Lite Series and its Lite and Lite+ models.

What wasn’t apparent at the time was that DJI was moving to bring the DJI Mavic 3 to market, a drone that none of these designs competes directly with. But, what these new drones did target was three of DJI’s most successful products: the DJI Mini 2, DJI Air 2S and DJI Mavic 2 Pro.

The flagship model of this new Autel generation is the Evo Lite+, a drone with a remarkably similar specification to the Air 2S. It's able to capture 5.4K video at 30fps and 4K at up to 60fps using a low-light capable 1-inch sensor. Offering a variable aperture camera and 40 minutes of flying time, the new Autel Evo Lite+ leapfrogs both the DJI Air 2S and Mavic Pro 2 capabilities.

For existing Autel fans, it offers almost everything they love about the Evo II series, but in a more transportable package and with significantly better flight times. The only obvious caveat is that the Evo Lite+ costs more than the DJI Air 2S, with the standard version commanding a similar price to the Air 2S Fly More Combo. DJI now doesn’t officially sell the Mavic 2 Pro since it launched the Mavic 3, but the Evo Lite+ is cheaper than that drone was when it was available.

The Evo Lite comes in two flavors that offer the same flight dynamics, but different camera options. The cheaper Lite model has the same 1/1.28-inch sensor and autofocus f/1.9 optics that Autel also used on the Evo Nano+. These can record 4K HDR at 30fps video recording and the equivalent of 50MP stills. It also has a four-axis gimbal allowing for recording video and still images in portrait mode, for those looking to publish on social media.

Conversely, the Evo Lite+ reviewed here has a 1-inch sensor and a variable aperture: f/2.8 to f/11, and can record in 5.4K at 30fps, 4K at 60 fps, and 1080p at 120fps. It lacks the fourth-axis stabilization of the Evo Lite, but the larger pixels in the sensor give it better light-gathering potential in low-light conditions. Both Lite series designs come in signature Autel Orange, Arctic White and Deep Space Gray.

Autel Evo Lite+ price and release date

  • Announced on August 28, 2021
  • Standard kit costs £1,129 / $1,349 / AU $2,499
  • Fly More Bundle costs £1,399 / $1,649 / AU $2,999

After making some customers who pre-ordered these drones anxious, the Evo Lite+ started to ship from the manufacturing facilities in China, and availability should improve over the first quarter of 2022.

Like most drones, the Evo Lite+ is available as a standard kit or in a premium bundle that includes many extras, including more batteries. The standard kit consists of the drone, controller, one battery, propellers, a charger with all cables, and costs $1,349 / £1,129 / AU  $2,499.

Autel EVO Lite+

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

The premium bundle adds two more batteries, a soft carry bag, three prop replacements, a multi-battery charger and four ND filters. Even with a quoted flying time of 40 minutes or more, a single battery isn’t enough for most customers, so getting up to two hours of operational flying with the premium pack is the way to go.

Design and controller

  • Mounts a 1-inch camera sensor
  • Another compact, foldable design
  • Extra battery capacity delivers longer flight times

Since the original DJI Mavic was so successful, many (but not all) drone makers have followed its structural form.

The Lite+ follows the same pattern as most small drones that can fold for transportation. Four pivoting arms aid with rapid deployment as the blades can remain attached.

Physically, the Lite+ is close to the size of the competitor drone, but at 820g, it’s a good 20% heavier than the 595g DJI Air 2S. Much of that additional mass comes from the battery, which makes up a significant portion of the rear drone superstructure. Instead of the battery fitting inside the drone, it slides from the rear to engage the body and includes the power-on button.

The capacity of this battery is a whopping 6,174mAh (68.7 Wh), a significant increase over the 3,500mAh (40.42 Wh) that the DJI Air 2S has, and this capacity is reflected in a maximum flight time of 40 minutes over the 30 minutes of the DJI drone.

While the 30 minutes quoted by DJI for the Air 2S is considered something of a stretch by most owners, the Lite+ can hover for longer than that if you let the battery levels get low.

We wouldn’t recommend doing that, but our experience revealed that Lite+ could fly for at least 30 minutes or more before getting to 20% capacity. A time that allows for great opportunities to get the shots needed without feeling pressured for time.

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Autel EVO Lite+

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
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Autel EVO Lite+

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
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Autel EVO Lite+

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
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Autel EVO Lite+ Carry Bag

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

The nose of the Lite+ is dominated by the large gimbal needed to control the 1-inch sensor and its associated optics, about which we’ll talk in greater detail later.

Anyone who flies drones will be acutely aware that any mistake can be a costly error when flying close to structures and trees. To reduce the possibility of accidents, Autel included a suite of visual collision detection sensors on the front, rear and underside.

There are none on the side, making orbital maneuvers as risky as they are on a drone without avoidance features. These sensors require light to function and are disabled if the drone exceeds standard speeds.

Other notable design choices on this drone are that the microSD card slot is on the left side under a small cover, and a USB-C port is in the mirror position to the right. The drone contains 6GB of internal memory to save the embarrassment of those who forget their SD card, and it can take a 256GB card for those aiming to record plenty of 5.4K video.

Short pegs are molded under each motor position and lift the drone clear of the ground. Still, we’d be cautious about operating this design from grass since the camera gimbal is remarkably close to the surface of even the flattest ground.

Bright LED lights are included both underneath the body and on the end of each arm, making the drone relatively easy to see in low-light or dark conditions. The props are the dual blade variety where centrifugal (or centripetal) forces orientate them when spinning, and they are easily removable without a tool.

We were impressed by the quality of construction and the apparent robustness of the parts. The Lite+ is well built, and the tolerances of the connecting parts are high. We’re sure that it would be possible to damage the Lite+ seriously, especially flying in sport mode. However, the body and arms look tough enough to handle minor accidents without unexpected rapid disassembly.

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Autel EVO Lite+

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
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Autel EVO Lite+

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
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Autel EVO Lite+

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Equally well-made is the controller, a design that initially looked a little too much like an Xbox controller for our tastes. That said, it’s of high quality, has sufficient battery for at least three or four flights, and the sticks are accurate enough for subtle control without resorting to ‘smooth’ mode, the Autel version of DJI’s ‘tripod’ or ‘cine’ flight mode.

A slight disappointment with the controller is that there isn’t anywhere to store the thumbsticks. Autel doesn’t include spares even in the premium pack, so losing them could be highly problematic. While the DJI controller used on the Mini 2, Air 2S and Mavic 3 might not be as ergonomic to hold as the Autel design, it did stow both the thumbsticks and the phone cable.

A spring-loaded arm extends to securely hold a phone above the controller, though some additional hardware will be required to mount a tablet. Included is a power adapter that will charge both the batteries and the remote. The remote can also be charged using a USB-C cable in a pinch.

In the premium pack, a three-battery charging station is included. It doesn’t speed up the 90 minutes of charging, but the ability to connect them all and walk away is a convenience. 

Other enhancements for premium pack customers are two extra batteries over the one included with the drone, more replacement blades than the one set that comes as standard, and a stylish soft carry case for the drone, charger, cables and all the other spares and accessories.

A set of four ND filters was also in the bag, but the missing item for us was any strap to hold the blades in position while folded.

Features and flight

  • New Fly application
  • Live 2.7K video within a kilometer
  • Real-world flight times of more than 30 minutes

The flight experience of this drone is enjoyable, and transitioning from a DJI drone or other brands should be a breeze for even novice pilots.

What became more apparent as we flew the Evo Lite+ more is that the significant amount of power available in the Lite+ allows for both subtle control and dramatic performance when required.

For example, the Lite+ can climb at 29 km/h, enabling it to reach its typical legal operating altitude of 120m in just 15 seconds. Without restrictions, a flight ceiling of 5 km (16,404 ft) is technically possible, though inadvisable. A top speed of 67.6 km/h can be reached in sport mode, roughly the same maximum as the DJI Air 2S.

However, where this design exceeds the Air 2S is in quoted maximum wind resistance, with the Lite+ being rated to handle 61.2 km/h (38 mph) breeze, nearly double that of the Air 2S.

While we firmly believe that the wind resistance of the Air 2S is probably understated, the extra mass of the Lite+ may give it a significant advantage on blustery days.

Up to a kilometer away, the transmission system relays 2.7K video back to the phone or tablet, enabling a clear view of what the drone is observing. Beyond that range, the quality drops to 720p. And for those flying in a region where it is legal to operate outside visual range, the Lite+ transmission can function out to 7km.

At shorter ranges, being behind buildings or other obstructions had minimal impact on the video quality or the control responses.

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Autel EVO Lite+

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
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Autel EVO Lite+

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
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Autel EVO Lite+

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

For the new Evo Lite and Nano drone series, Autel has a new software package that replaces the Autel Explorer with the Autel Sky application. In use, it is similar to the DJI Fly application and provides similar functionality that anyone flying the DJI Mini 2 or Air 2S would recognize.

It includes a selection of four 'quick shots' that are named differently but automate various classic drone moves without the need for manual intervention. Autel promises a firmware update shortly that will add dynamic tracking and a few other tweaks that aren’t in the Lite+ we tested.

We’ll talk more about video and still capture later on, but there are plenty of options for all manner of photographic exercises. In the settings are the usual suspects for controlling what happens when the drone disconnects, its return-to-home altitude, and the different controller flight modes. 

By default, when the drone is first activated, it enters Novice mode, where the height and range from the controller are limited. Once Novice mode is deactivated, you can set these to the legal limits in your region, but this flight envelope isn’t enforced, and the drone isn’t geofenced.

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Autel EVO Lite+

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
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Autel EVO Lite+

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
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Autel EVO Lite+

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

In smooth and standard flight modes, the collision detection system is active and provides visual and audio feedback if you are moving toward obstructions. Should you ignore the warnings and push on, the drone will eventually refuse to move in the direction it considers to be potentially hazardous.

Depending on what you are trying to do, this can be irritating or a feature that could avoid a huge repair cost. It is possible to disable it, and it will turn off automatically when the drone is flying fast in Sport mode, but it has its uses. The system might also miss thin wires and twigs, and it can’t see to the sides, so never assume that it will always keep you from trouble.

Video and image quality

  • 1-inch 20MP sensor
  • Shoots up to 5.4K video
  • Clean images even at high ISO settings

Emblazoned with a ‘6K’ label, the camera has a maximum recording resolution of 5472 x 3076 at 30fps recording video and 5472 x 3648 for still images. That’s almost identical to what the DJI Air 2S offers, but that drone has a fixed f/2.8 lens, whereas the Lite+ can adjust aperture from f/2.8 to f/11.

That allows this drone to lock its frame rate but control the amount of light in the exposure, reducing the need for ND filters. And, if you do use ND filters with it, there is a much larger scope for adjustment and better depth of field control.

The advantage of a 5.4K resolution sensor is that it allows a good margin for cropping to 4K in post, or a lossless zoom in 4K, 2.7K and 1080p capture. Obviously, you only get a 1.3x lossless zoom in 4K, but more in the lower resolutions.

Going beyond 4x zooming is largely pointless, but the Fly app will allow up to 16x zoom to be selected for those that like pixelation.

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Autel EVO Lite+

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Automatic settings shot

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Autel EVO Lite+

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Automatic settings shot

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Autel EVO Lite+

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

HDR from 5 images

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Autel EVO Lite+

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

HDR from 5 images

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Autel EVO Lite+

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

HDR from 5 images

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Autel EVO Lite+

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Standard settings shot

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Autel EVO Lite+

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Wide panoramic stitched by Sky app

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Autel EVO Lite+

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Night mode shot

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Autel EVO Lite+

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Standard photo settings

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Autel EVO Lite+

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Wide panoramic stitched by Sky app

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Autel EVO Lite+

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Default settings

As you might reasonably expect using a sensor of this scale, the quality of the images and video it can capture is high.

Professional drone cinematographers might not be pleased to discover that this camera is only 8-bit and not 10-bit. And, there is also no D-Log profile. For those who pride themselves on extracting every bit of contrast and saturation from their footage, the Lite series is something of an affront.

For others with less demanding requirements, it produces usable footage that is reasonably balanced by default without the need for convoluted post-processing. It’s a different mindset, and those who don’t like this approach can always invest more heavily in the DJI Mavic 3 or the disturbingly expensive DJI Mavic 3 Cine.

Autel tells us that it's working on LUT for the standard profile, as it did for the Evo II series drones.

The Evo Lite+ shines in its low-light capability, as it offers unique night photography and videography modes. With these, it is possible to boost the ISO up to 64000, yet keep excessive grain from rendering the footage unusable.

The best still images we captured in normal light used the exposure bracketing mode with five combined images. This feature doesn’t allow the EV offset between each image to be defined, sadly.

There are also various panoramic, spherical and wide-field shooting modes, and the Autel Fly application post-processes these for you while retaining the source images.

As will most action cameras, the images tend to have strong pin-barrel distortion that might need to be adjusted in editing software, but the results are generally free of chromatic fringing.

Overall, the image and video quality on the Lite+ is excellent, even if there is no Log mode or bit-rate adjustment available. The autofocusing technology is first-rate, and the stability of the drone provides an excellent platform for stationary and moving cinematography.

Should I buy the Autel Evo Lite+?

Autel EVO Lite+

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Pipedrive CRM review
4:24 pm | January 13, 2022

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

Pipedrive is an easy-to-use CRM that powers more than 95,000 small and medium-sized businesses. Find out if it’s the best CRM software solution for your company in our Pipedrive CRM review.

Pipedrive CRM review: Snapshot

Pipedrive is an extremely user-friendly CRM that’s ideal for small businesses turning to CRM software for the first time. It allows you to build an unlimited number of custom deal pipelines and move deals through them just by dragging and dropping. The platform also offers highly customizable reports, straightforward calendar and email integrations, and automated workflows to streamline your sales process.

While Pipedrive does a great job with the tools it has, it’s missing a lot of tools that growing businesses need. It doesn’t offer project management tools and there are relatively few email marketing tools. You also have to pay extra for web forms and chatbots that can help you generate new leads.

Overall, we enjoy the experience of using Pipedrive, but we don’t think the platform stands out in the crowded field of CRM software. For roughly half the price, Apptivo is just as easy to use, offers just as many customization options, and includes email marketing and project management tools.

Score: 3.5/5

Read on for our full and detailed review. 

5 reasons why a small business needs a CRM

Today's best Pipedrive CRM deal

Get Pipedrive CRM from $14.50 / £12.50 per user/month Ranging from Essential to Enterprise, Pipedrive's CRM pricing plans cover a great mix of features, allowing you to do everything from managing leads and forecasting revenue to e-signing documents on the go and customer data analysis. Pipedrive's CRM plans are billed annually to help you budget for the business year ahead. View Deal

Pipedrive’s competitors

Pipedrive CRM key features

One of the best things about Pipedrive is how easy it is to manage deals. The platform starts you off with a default deal pipeline that should work for most businesses. Alternatively, you can create an unlimited number of custom deal pipelines, each with as many steps as you need. The deal pipelines are essentially kanban boards, allowing you to drag and drop deals from one stage to the next as your sales team makes progress.

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Pipedrive review

Pipeline lets you create an unlimited number of deal pipelines, and you can drag and drop deals to move them through the sales process. (Image credit: Pipedrive)
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Pipedrive review

Pipedrive’s integrated activity calendar enables you to quickly set up meetings, and it syncs with Outlook and Google Calendar. (Image credit: Pipedrive)
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Pipedrive review

The Leadbooster add-on includes web forms, a live chat module, and a web scraper to help your business find new leads. (Image credit: Pipedrive)
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Pipedrive review

Pipedrive enables you to create and customize an unlimited number of reporting dashboards. (Image credit: Pipedrive)
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Pipedrive review

Pipedrive includes more than 30 workflow automation templates that you can customize. (Image credit: Pipedrive)

Pipedrive includes a built-in calendar for easily scheduling meetings and tasks. If you use Outlook or Google Calendar, you can set up automatic two-way sync with your Pipedrive calendar.

The calendar module in Pipeline enables you to propose meeting times to a client by designating specific times that you’re available. Helpfully, upcoming meetings are shown in your deal pipelines by a series of icons.

Pipedrive offers a new suite of tools called Leadbooster to help you find new leads. This is a paid add-on to any of Pipedrive’s plans that costs $39 per month. It includes simple web forms that you can embed in your website as well as a live chat module with an optional chatbot. Leadbooster also comes with a web scraping tool that can help you find potential clients from a database of more than 400 million online profiles.

The reporting interface in Pipedrive is another highlight of this platform. You can create an unlimited number of custom reporting dashboards and dozens of custom reports. All data can be exported to Excel with a click if you want even more analytical power.

Pipedrive supports automated workflows to help your sales team stay on top deals. The software comes with more than 30 workflow templates that can automatically move deals through your pipeline, schedule meetings, or trigger emails. You can also create your own workflows using a straightforward visual editing interface.

Pipedrive CRM: What’s new?


Pipedrive CRM now integrates with Xero and Quickbooks for accounting help.  (Image credit: Xero)

Pipedrive has been busy making updates to its platform since we last reviewed this CRM. It recently added integrations for video conferencing with Zoom and Google Meet, project management with Monday and Trello, and accounting with Xero and Quickbooks. 

Pipedrive also added two-factor authentication and gave users the ability to group custom reports within the reporting dashboard.

Pipedrive CRM: Pricing

Pipedrive offers four pricing plans: Essential, Advanced, Professional, and Enterprise. All plans include unlimited deal pipelines, contacts and customizable reports. 

Pipedrive CRM Essential Plan

The Essential plan has only limited activity management features and doesn’t include workflow automation. 

Pipedrive CRM Advanced Plan

The Advanced plan adds automation, but lacks integration with cloud storage platforms like Google Drive.

Pipedrive CRM Professional Plan

The Professional plan enables you to organize your sales employees into teams, provides more detailed reporting options, and offers custom report fields. 

Pipedrive CRM Enterprise Plan

The Enterprise plan comes with phone support (in addition to live chat, available on all plans) and security alerts.

Plans can be paid monthly, or annually for a discount. You can try out Pipedrive for free for 14 days before purchasing a plan.

Testing Pipedrive CRM

We took Pipedrive for a spin to see how easy this software is to use and how much leeway the custom pipelines and dashboards afford.

Pipedrive CRM: Adding deals

We began working in Pipedrive by creating a set of deals. The process was incredibly simple, since you can add deals right from inside your deal pipeline instead of needing to first navigate to the relevant contact. 

A pop-up lets us add details about the contact behind the deal, the deal’s expected value, which pipeline to add it to, and what stage to put it in. Even better, Pipedrive offered the option of adding custom fields to the deal details, which would be great for scoring leads and assigning priority to deals.

Adding a new deal in Pipedrive

Pipedrive makes it easy to add new deals to any sales pipeline. (Image credit: Pipedrive)

Setting up an entirely new deal pipeline was just as easy. You can add as many stages as you want, and Pipedrive enables you to assign a probability to each stage to indicate the likelihood of a deal in the stage closing. (Pipedrive doesn’t use past data to automatically calculate these probabilities.)

Pipedrive CRM: Generating custom reports

Navigating the reporting module within Pipedrive was just as straightforward. The platform includes a default dashboard and 11 premade reports, which on their own will offer plenty of information for many small businesses. Reports in the dashboard can be rearranged just by dragging and dropping and filtered by date range or a set of employees.

Creating a new report only took a few clicks. Pipedrive offers a set of filters that you can combine with logical operators to create a highly specific dataset, which you can then plot onto several different chart types. Below the charts, you’ll find a summary table with all of the relevant data and an option to export a CSV for further analysis.

Creating a custom report in Pipedrive

Pipedrive enables you to create custom reports using a series of filters to specify the dataset you’re interested in. (Image credit: Pipedrive)

All custom reports can be saved and grouped into folders for quick access later.

Alternatives to Pipedrive CRM

zoho logo

(Image credit: Zoho)

Pipedrive stands out for being extremely easy to use. However, for the price, it lacks some advanced features that we’ve seen in comparable CRM software.

One of the most notable competitors to Pipedrive is Zoho CRM, which costs just slightly more than Pipedrive. Zoho CRM offers unlimited pipelines and dashboards just like Pipedrive, but it also offers unlimited workflow automations with its entry-level plan. It also offers email marketing - a critical function of a comprehensive CRM - as a standard feature.

The drawback to Zoho CRM is that its feature-rich interface isn’t easy to use, especially if you’re diving into CRM software for the first time. Our Zoho CRM review found that the platform has a steep learning curve. However, navigating that curve may be worth it if your business needs to know how to prioritize deals or wants to use email marketing to bring in new leads.

Read next 👀

apptivo logo

(Image credit: Apptivo)

Looking for a Pipdrive CRM alternative? Read our Apptivo review.

Another Pipedrive alternative that’s worth a look is Apptivo. This platform is unusual in that it provides only a basic set of CRM functions, then lets you customize the software with dozens of apps. That’s a major advantage if your business is scaling quickly, since you can easily add features to the software as you need them.

Our Apptivo review also found that this platform is impressively easy to use and offers plenty of customization options when it comes to reporting. The only thing missing in Apptivo is the ability to drag and drop deals through your pipeline. But that’s hardly essential, and for the price - paid Apptivo plans start at $10/user/month compared to $18/user/month for Pipedrive - we think it’s a better choice for most growing businesses.

Pipedrive: Final verdict

Pipedrive is one of the most user-friendly CRM platforms we’ve tested. It’s easy to navigate from the moment you first open the platform and allows you to simply drag and drop deals as they move through your sales pipeline. It’s also highly customizable, offering unlimited deal pipelines and excellent reporting capabilities.

While Pipedrive does a great job at helping your team manage deals and set up meetings with potential clients, we found that it’s much more limited in scope and functionality than competing CRM software. Pipedrive has only the most basic email marketing tools available and doesn’t offer any features for project management. In addition, lead generation features like web forms and chatbots require a paid add-on. 

Ultimately, that means that Pipedrive can work well for businesses that are upgrading to a CRM for the first time. However, it may not be the best option for businesses that are looking for a comprehensive, scalable CRM solution.

For that, we think Zoho CRM or Apptivo are better options. Apptivo in particular stands out because it costs significantly less than Pipedrive and offers much of the same functionality. Apptivo’s platform, which uses apps like building blocks, can also better grow with the needs of your business.

Further reading

For more information about CRM platforms, check out our guide to the best CRM software for small businesses. If none of the software we mentioned in this review fits your business’s needs, we’ve also reviewed industry-leading CRM software from Salesforce and Freshdesk.

Zoho CRM review
4:21 pm |

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

In our Zoho CRM (customer relationship management) review, we look at one of the best CRM software packages available today, including contact management, email marketing, and sales automation features that can help you win new business.

5 reasons why a small business needs a CRM

Zoho CRM review: Snapshot

Zoho CRM has been ranking high on sales management software lists and, recently, it’s doubled down on developing customization and automation options while making its design more user-friendly. That’s very good news, as its extensive set of features can get overwhelming if you’re new to the product.

The product offers contact and deal management, email marketing, call logging, meeting management, and task reminders, with additional AI-backed pipeline recommendations and predictions for higher-tier plans. For a productivity boost, you can use customization tools to design your analytics dashboard, for example, and create automation rules such as sending emails after customer calls.

Zoho CRM is more feature-rich and cost-effective than solutions such as Insightly and Freshworks CRM, but it’s in tight competition with advanced sales and marketing suites like HubSpot CRM and Salesforce (US-only link). It could be the best choice for you if you require advanced automation, customization, and email marketing functionality.

Score: 4.5/5

Read on for our full and detailed review.

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Zoho CRM's competitors

Zoho CRM: Key features

Zoho’s core CRM, comprising contact and deal management, captures data about prospective leads, from contact details to deal status and communications. Though the default list view, including multiple filters, feels a bit clunky, Zoho CRM also includes a Kanban view segmented by pipeline stages and a customizable Canvas view.

Through automation, you can remove manual work by creating rules, such as assigning sales reps based on account characteristics and setting tasks triggered by pipeline changes. Automation setup comes with a learning curve, but the streamlined process can help generate more business.

Zoho CRM’s paid plans include email templates, mass email campaigns, and tracking performance metrics such as open rates. For more advanced marketing functionality, you can integrate with Zoho Campaigns, a separate product in the Zoho suite. Generating new leads is also a key strength - Zoho CRM enables you to gather data from web forms and scrape social media sites.

Zoho CRM makes dashboards and reports highly customizable, which can support pipeline decision-making. For example, you can select chart types and metrics to visualize a customer segment, or export a list of deals based on chosen filters. 

For Enterprise plans and above, Zoho’s advanced analytics such as anomaly detection can help identify high-value customers, and the Zia Artificial Intelligence assistant can forecast revenues and suggest tasks to automate.

Zoho CRM: Highlights

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Zoho CRM's content creation screen

Adding new contact records is easy, especially when creating your own custom fields (Image credit: Zoho CRM)
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Zoho CRM's rule-setting menu

Automating rules and tasks can save your team a lot of time (Image credit: Zoho CRM)
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Zoho CRM's webpage discussing third-party integrations

Expand your sales and marketing functionality with third-party integrations (Image credit: Zoho CRM)
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Zoho CRM's Canvas feature

Zoho CRM’s Canvas feature helps you design your very own interface (Image credit: Zoho CRM)
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Zoho CRM's ZIA AI feature demonstrated

Zia AI predictions and recommendations are available for Enterprise plans and above (Image credit: Zoho CRM)

Zoho CRM: What’s new?

Over the past year, Zoho CRM has seen improvements primarily across its workflow automation, email, and social media integrations, as well as the Zia Intelligent Assistant functionalities. Based on prospect interactions with calls and emails, you can now automate tasks or follow-ups. Social media account updates can also trigger actions, including sending email campaigns.

Workflows have been more closely integrated with Zia. For example, you can decide to automatically follow Zia recommendations without any manual oversight. Zia’s data enrichment function has also been upgraded: it can, for example, pull contact data from email signatures and save it to the CRM.

There’s been an update to the look and feel of the software, too. User interface elements, such as buttons, have a more modern feel, and Kanban board elements have been rearranged for more clarity and ease of use. 

Overall, Zoho CRM is good at releasing marginal improvements across usability and functionality; however, its overwhelming list of features needs clearer categorization.

Zoho CRM: Pricing

Zoho CRM has five main pricing plans, with one additional CRM Plus plan for larger enterprises. The free plan, for up to three users, has the core CRM with contact and deal management, but with limited automation, customization, and support options. 

Paid plans are $14 to $52 per user a month, billed annually. Zoho CRM Plus, featuring a more comprehensive set of sales, marketing, and helpdesk tools, starts at $57 per user a month (billed annually). Subscriptions can also be billed monthly at a slightly higher cost (starting from $20 a month on the Standard plan, and increasing up to $65 a month on Ultimate).

Testing Zoho CRM

We’ve analyzed Zoho CRM’s key differentiating features from the perspective of a sales team, testing the efficiency of key activities such as adding new contacts. Below, we look at customization, automation, and general usability, as these features affect sales teams’ productivity in closing deals.

How customizable is Zoho CRM?

Zoho CRM's custom fields setting demonstrated

You can create custom fields for your contact records in Zoho CRM (Image credit: Zoho CRM)

You can customize almost every aspect of Zoho CRM, though there can be limits depending on your plan. For example, Canvas, which is a customization tool that re-styles page interfaces, deal boards, and more, includes only one design for Standard plans, three for Professional, and five for Enterprise. 

Zoho CRM’s features, also called modules, contain a variety of filters and visualizations that can help you control what you see. In the contact and deal modules, data can be filtered by deal stage, country, and other variables, and you can even go so far as formatting the text in which results are displayed. The default list view for data-heavy modules can feel excessive, so it’s worth designing a simplified user interface.

A variety of external integrations, including with other Zoho products, also contribute to a personalized experience. Adding tools such as Zoom and Mailchimp is only three clicks away via the Marketplace module, and can enrich your customer data and communication. Integrations are limited on the free plan, however.

On the downside, the various Zoho CRM branded customization tools, such as Wizards and Canvas, can get confusing, and the differences between them aren’t always clear.

Is Zoho CRM automation effective?

Zoho CRM's workflow rules setting demonstrated

You can set advanced workflow rules in Zoho CRM (Image credit: Zoho CRM)

Automation tools in Zoho CRM can be very powerful, but the learning curve can be jarring at first. When you set up an automated task, for example, you’re taken to a process flow view where you must select the time of the trigger, the person responsible, and other conditions. 

This can be tedious and time-consuming to start with, but the level of detail may be valuable to bigger organizations with complex pipelines. Other automations are simpler. Say, for example, you want to set up a lead scoring rule such as, “add 10 points if the account’s yearly revenue is over $100,000”. This takes around three clicks and can help you prioritize high-value opportunities.

Though the automation section is one of the platform’s most competitive features, it can also be tricky to find it among Zoho CRM’s many modules and settings.

Is Zoho CRM easy to use?

Zoho CRM's Kanban view

The Kanban view makes it easy to drag and drop deals (Image credit: Zoho CRM)

The product is easy to use once you find the function you’re looking for; however, those new to the software have to learn where tools sit through trial and error.

For instance, creating a new record for a lead or a deal is one click away on the home screen and module pages. Though there are many data fields you can fill in the record, only a handful are mandatory, so you can save it in a matter of seconds. If you customize the page layout to only contain your most relevant customer fields, you can further streamline the process.

Mass emailing, though a key differentiator for Zoho CRM, is not straightforward to use. It doesn’t sit under the expected "Campaigns" module, but as an action under "Contacts", "Leads", and "Deals". However, once you find it, the mass email function is easy to set up and send to specified segments.

Finally, the web-based Zoho CRM loaded pages relatively quickly, considering the amount of data it works with. A TTFB (Time to First Byte) of around 400 ms was recorded (our test was performed with Google Page Speed, on a Windows 10 PC with an Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, and 68Mbps internet speed).

Alternatives to Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM has strong competition, particularly at its lower price levels. For instance, its free plan, while covering customizable contact and deal management, doesn’t include email marketing and has limited third-party integrations. 

Competitors such as Insightly and Agile CRM include mass email campaigns on their free plans; the free Hubspot CRM additionally analyzes email campaign performance, which Zoho CRM can’t do without integrating with Zoho Campaigns. Read our review of Insightly to find out more.

On paid plans, Zoho CRM’s feature set is quite competitive but has some gaps. For instance, if you want to keep track of projects after closing deals, Zoho CRM features are limited to invoicing and purchase orders - whereas software like Insightly has broader project management functionality, including project task management, timelines, and a meeting tracker.

Salesforce (US-only link) is Zoho CRM’s competitor for enterprise-grade businesses, offering similar features with more advanced customization and reporting. Salesforce is particularly useful for large organizations that develop custom sales applications - for example, using sandbox environments—but this comes at a significant price compared to Zoho CRM. Read our Salesforce review to learn more.

Zoho CRM: Final verdict

Zoho CRM is well worth your attention if you’re looking for a comprehensive set of sales and marketing features, with enhanced productivity via automation and customization options.

Leads and deals are easy to organize and edit using the drag-and-drop Kanban or self-designed Canvas view. Advanced automation and workflow rules can be set to categorize leads, assign tasks, and more, but it may take some time to do this with ease. 

Generally, Zoho CRM’s customization options come with both productivity value and a difficult setup. However, the vast tutorial library and email support will help guide you through.

Zoho CRM’s inbuilt email marketing and client management tools, including invoicing, are competitive additions to the core CRM, distinguishing Zoho CRM from competitors who focus on niche aspects of sales management. Moreover, integrations with other Zoho products and third-party solutions expand what you can do with this software.

Overall, Zoho CRM’s plans cover a great mix of features, from basic to more sophisticated, making it relevant for small, medium, and even larger businesses that want to accelerate productivity in their sales pipeline.

Further reading on CRM software

To learn more about CRM solutions, have a look at our feature What is a CRM? 

If you’re in the market for CRM software, check out our best CRM software buying guide, or, if you’re on a budget, our best free CRM software top picks. 

We’ve also rated the best CRM for real estate, and you may want to read the accompanying feature what is a CRM in real estate?

Workbooks review
2:36 pm | January 5, 2022

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

Workbooks is an innovative CRM software solution with a strong focus on business outcomes. Focused on the mid-market, it enables clients to automate processes, grow revenue, and achieve key performance metrics across all departments. Read our Workbooks review to learn why Workbooks might be the best CRM software solution for your business.

Workbooks review: Snapshot

Workbooks is an excellent CRM product for midsize enterprises, offering software solutions for customer service, sales, marketing, and operations teams. Its primary differentiating factor lies in the Shared Success program, which provides customers with free consulting hours and annual workshops to ensure that Workbooks continues to align with every client’s business goals for years after the initial implementation.

Workbooks lacks a diverse third-party app marketplace and developer community, which is a weakness relative to competitors like Salesforce and HubSpot. Users that require a large amount of third-party customization might not be satisfied with its offering. In addition, its free version is limited to only two users and has fewer features, which could make it less appealing to very small businesses.

Overall, we consider Workbooks to be a fantastic platform when used for its intended purpose - providing CRM software solutions to midsize organizations.

Score: 5/5

Read on for our full and detailed review. 

Workbooks’ competitors

Workbooks’ key features

Workbooks’ features are broken down into four categories: Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, and Order Management. 

While some of these features are notable in their own right, most are not unique to Workbooks. What truly differentiates Workbooks from other CRMs is its collaborative approach to customer support: Shared Success.

Customer Service

Workbooks provides a versatile ticket management platform for customer service teams. Customer inquiries from multiple channels, such as email and online chat, are aggregated into a centralized ticket database for agents to handle.

The system’s versatility also means that it can be used by Human Resources and IT to handle internal employee tickets.


Sales teams can benefit from an effective database system for their leads. The Workbooks database is based on flexible entries, with two types of record: organizations and individuals connected to these organizations. So for example, one record can be listed as an employee at one company, a contractor for another, and a supplier for yet another. The database will also automatically trawl the web, suggesting updates to employment information and relationships between records based on the information it found online. This ensures that salespeople have current information at their fingertips at all times.

Workbooks: Key features and highlights

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Workbooks review

A versatile ticket management platform that can be used for customer service, IT, or HR. (Image credit: Workbooks)
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Workbooks review

Intelligent database auto-updates with the latest information about sales leads. (Image credit: Workbooks)
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Workbooks review

Advanced scoring system enables automated lead prospecting. (Image credit: Workbooks)
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Workbooks review

Premium features including invoice creation and quote management. (Image credit: Workbooks)
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Workbooks review

Enjoy regular workshops and meetings with Workbooks to ensure you meet your business goals. (Image credit: Workbooks)


Marketing features include campaign management and lead qualification. Marketing teams can run campaigns from within Workbooks and receive feedback from the system on their success. The system also uses a proprietary scoring system to rank the quality of leads. When a potential lead clicks on the company website, it adds a little to their score. If that individual then lingers there, clicks on a few links, and reads some information, their score will increase, and eventually, the system will escalate this potentially interested customer lead to a marketing representative. In this way, Workbooks automatically qualifies leads for the benefit of the marketing team.

Order Management

Order management is a premium feature, available to only Business level license holders. It facilitates back-end interactions with suppliers and assists when invoicing or quoting customers. Customized invoices and quote management are notable features as few CRM programs provide them.

Shared Success

The Workbooks team conducts an introductory workshop with every client. They then come up with a CRM solution that is tailored to that particular client’s business goals. Afterward, the client receives a set of free consulting days in their first year, equal to one day per £1000 of annual license value - or $1328. So a customer with a £10,000 annual license value will receive 10 free consulting days with the Workbooks team in the first year. This way, the Workbooks team can ensure that everything runs smoothly and that their CRM continues to help the customer hit their key performance indicators.

Workbooks - What’s new?

Workbooks made two major changes in recent releases. The first has to do with Workbooks’ Office 365 integration - Office 365 users can open Workbooks in a sidebar within any Office application. This feature was recently expanded to include Microsoft Teams and Sharepoint.

Workbooks also implemented a tool for its Order Management side, called Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ). CPQ proactively finds component parts relating to a specific customer quote. For instance, if a customer requests a quote for a roofing project, the sales rep would normally have to locate the pricing of all the relevant components and man-hours before being able to compile a quote. In practice, this means that the customer is unlikely to receive a quote the same day, which decreases the likelihood of closing the sale. 

With CPQ, reps can pre-configure quotes within the software before heading out, and the CPQ system will automatically fill in pricing details for components and man-hours so that representatives can provide an immediate quote to clients during the meeting.

Workbooks - Pricing

Workbooks’ pricing structure is simple. There are two plans: Standard and Business. With the standard plan, users get access to all of the customer-facing CRM features of Workbooks - sales, customer service, and marketing management solutions. The premium plan, Business, unlocks all of the order management features, like invoicing and supplier contract management. Billing on all Workbooks plans is annual.

Compared to other CRM providers, Workbooks' pricing is highly competitive. For instance, to unlock sales, marketing, and customer service features with Salesforce, a user would have to subscribe to Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, and Marketing Cloud, potentially a multi-thousand-dollar subscription. Workbooks offers similar features for $34/user/month.

*Limited to two users.

**Pricing is per user per month.

Testing Workbooks

Workbooks’ key differentiating factor lies in consulting support. They advocate that the process starts right from the beginning, with a consulting call to book a co-funded workshop. We wanted to test just how easy it was to get started with Workbooks.

How easy is it to book an initial consultation with Workbooks?

Screenshot of call booking screen, Workbooks.

Testing the Workbooks call booking function. (Image credit: Workbooks)

The only way to get started with Workbooks is to book a call for an initial consultation. You cannot otherwise access the software, even in its free form. We decided to test this booking process for ourselves, as this initial step could set the tone for the entire customer experience.

Workbooks’ website has the button "Let’s talk" in the top right corner, as well as on nearly every webpage. We clicked it, and it took us to a booking calendar for a 30-minute appointment. 

We found that the booking process was easy and there was plenty of availability—we booked on a Thursday and were able to get a call as early as the next Monday morning. At that point, it was a simple matter of picking a date and an available time slot, then hitting confirm.

One issue North American customers should be aware of is that booking times are only available during British business hours, which means that when we tried to book from the West Coast our available call times ranged from 2:30 am to 7:30 am—so maybe grab a coffee if you are calling from the US or Canada.

Alternatives to Workbooks

Workbooks is most comparable to HubSpot as they are both CRM providers geared towards midsize enterprises. Unlike Workbooks, HubSpot has a large established third-party app marketplace. If you are an advanced CRM user, comfortable setting everything up on your own, HubSpot could give you a little more customization than Workbooks.

However, Workbooks is significantly easier to use for users without enormous technical expertise. The Workbooks team will work with the client to set up the program, provide free consulting in the first year, and touch base annually after that to ensure that the client is still satisfied with their CRM. This type of ongoing, personalized support, with free consulting hours, is unique to Workbooks, and difficult to beat unless you need absolutely no assistance in setting up and maintaining your CRM.

Small businesses and solopreneurs might find Workbooks less beneficial, as the free version is limited in scope, and the free consulting is not available since it is based on your total annual subscription fee. On the other hand, HubSpot’s free version has unlimited users and similar features to Workbooks' free version. 

Salesforce is another competitor of Workbooks, being the largest and most established player in the CRM space. However, it’s primarily geared towards large Enterprise users. Features like VoIP calling, which allows for full-scale call center integration, as well as over 3000 third-party Apps, make Salesforce a more appealing choice for a large organization.

For this reason, compared to its alternatives, Workbooks is best suited for midsize enterprises where it is a superior choice in terms of pricing, features, and consulting support.

Workbooks: Final verdict

Workbooks is a full-featured CRM at a very affordable price point. It is unique on the market for its blend of annual workshops and free consulting hours. The company will work with you on an ongoing basis to make sure that your CRM platform continues to help you achieve your unique business goals. Workbooks can support customer service, sales, and marketing teams, and help users manage customer orders.

Workbooks falls a little short in its offering to very small and very large businesses. For the latter, it lacks the breadth of features and range of third-party apps that some may require. That being said, for a client that is okay with a fairly standard offering, Workbooks can provide a level of one-on-one support that few other providers offer. For small businesses, Workbooks is more expensive than some alternatives. Its free version is limited and only accepts two users, while some competitors offer unlimited users on their free plan.

For this reason, Workbooks outshines its competition primarily as a midsize business CRM, with its key differentiating features being consulting and low price.

Next steps

For more information on CRM software, take a look at our guide What is CRM software? You may also want to read our take on the best CRM for small business, the best CRM for real estate, and the best free CRM software to help you select the best CRM software for your needs.