When we last wrote about Smibs, they had just started private beta testing for Doorbell, a web-based sales software application. Now, four months later, it's ready for public beta testing:
The application will be launched off SmibsNet, a professional business networking site that allows professionals to promote themselves and their companies. Billed as “sales software for non-sales people”, Doorbell helps business owners and employees save time and energy managing client relationships and sales-related activities.
I created an account and found the entire process to be fairly painless. Setting up my personal profile and creating a company was simple - the interface is friendly and easy-to-understand. I was particularly happy to find that everything seemed to work okay (just one minor glitch) in my browser of choice (Opera 9.6) even though it is not officially supported! Here are a couple of screenshots:
Like similar applications, Doorbell is pretty useless until you enter some contacts. There are three ways to do that: you can either type in all the information yourself, you can find people in the public SmibsNet network, or you can import from Outlook (or VCard). The first two methods will work well for a small business looking to use Smibs as its contact management solution. For anyone that already has a contact list elsewhere however, the import method is the way to go.
Once you've got some contacts in the system, you can tag them, organize them into groups, and add tasks and notes. You can also add relationships between contacts.
Throughout the public invite-only beta, Smibs is looking for feedback on how to improve the system. Current testers will be able to invite their friends and colleagues to the network, and everyone else can request an invite here. Techvibes readers can sign up using this special link.
I stopped by the Smibs office last night to see how the team was doing. Everyone seemed surprisingly calm for being just hours away from a public launch! Founder Peter Urban was hard at work finishing up some getting started videos for the site. He ran into a few issues, but chalked it up to Murphy's law, telling me "that's all you can expect the night before launch!" Down the hall, a few developers worked to quash some last minute bugs while another team ensured the other items on the checklist were being completed. I did my best to stay out of the way!
Though everyone cringed at the thought of staying up until the wee hours of the morning, the excitement of being able to show off their work with the rest of the world was clearly there.
I'm happy for Peter and his team, and I hope the public beta goes well. It's great to see another local startup putting itself out there on the world stage!