Intuit launches Customer Manager, a CRM tool targeted at small businesses

Intuit launches Customer Manager, a Quickbooks add-on that allows users to manage the customer information alongside their finances.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Intuit and its push into a hybird desktop-cloud software offering, specifically the unveiling of an app store and the opening of its API to developers who want to free the financial data of Quickbooks 2010 into custom apps.

At the time, I noted that the move felt like very Salesforce-like, especially since many of its small business customers use Quickbooks to track their customer information. Today, Intuit is pushing deeper into Salesforce territory with the launch of a new online and mobile app called Customer Manager.

Salesforce has a lot to offer businesses with its customer relationship management software - but many of those tools are designed for larger companies and not so much the mom-and-pop shops that have different types of needs. Intuit knows that many of those small business customers are already using Quickbooks so the extra tools essentially takes something that many customers are already doing and making it more efficient.

For now, the mobile version only works on a few Blackberry models but the company said it's working on other smartphone platforms. I would have liked to have seen a better offering for mobile devices on launch, largely because many small business owners have the flexibility to use devices other than the Blackberry, a corporate favorite.

More importantly, as the offerings changes for businesses, it's good to see that Intuit not only understands its customers' needs but also is enhancing their offerings to keep loyal customers from straying.

Customer Manager is priced at $9.95 per month for up to five users.