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Are customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation systems too complex for easy use? A UK-based startup claims they are — and is releasing a public beta of a cloud-based solution this week.

The offering from startup Salesformics combines what it describes as “the best of” CRM, sales force automation and marketing automation systems. It's targeted at small businesses that want to be up and running in no time.

Search-Like Navigation

Stewart Rogers, head of product for the company, told that Salesformics is “not your daddy’s CRM.” A search engine-like box at the screen top is Salesformic’s main navigation, designed to take users directly to specific sections as well as return listed results. “Add contact,” for instance, brings up the Add Contact screen, and typing in “list” brings up a submenu of choices for listing leads, opportunities or accounts.

“We’re really trying to push people to use the search interface,” Roger said, since everyone already knows how to Google. There’s also a simplified, hidden menu of main sections, if you want to travel in that style.

Lead, account and opportunity management are offered in a stripped-down interface that features segmenting and tagging for searches. A dashboard is broken into focused screens, where individual, team and company performance indicators can be set up via widgets.

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Salesformic's search-based navigation

Assembling Workflows

Rogers said that the “power of Salesformics is in the workflows” for designing lead nurturing schemes, drip campaigns and business process automation, including tasks that might be handled by Salesformic’s small but growing list of compatible external applications.

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Salesformics' user-assembled workflows for marketing/sales automation

A menu of drag-and-drop Connectors can be assembled into logic-based set workflows of “if” triggers followed by “then” actions, simply by lining up the small boxes representing those actions or triggers.

Some of the triggers relate to functions or data from external sources, such as LinkedIn or Twitter. The workflows can be assembled to create mass campaigns or individually targeted ones, Rogers said.

As an incentive to early adopters, Salesformics said it will offer any customers who sign up now a lifetime of its initial pricing at $79 a user per month, which Rogers said “was about the price of a CRM system alone.”