4 Best CRMs for Small Business [and how to pick one]
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As our businesses grow, so too does the complexity of our operations. Where we may have once relied on sticky notes and Excel spreadsheets to help organise our contacts, these methods start to lose their appeal as we begin to deal with more and more people.
Enter the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool.
These platforms are big business and for good reason. Bringing a whole host of benefits to the businesses that use them, so...
Why Use a CRM?
Organisation of Contact Information
First and foremost, investing in a good quality CRM is going to help you organise all the information you hold on all your contacts, from customers to suppliers and competitors. This goes one step beyond your paper or digital 'address book', providing you advanced data collection on everything from email opens to direct replies.
Limit Duplicated Effort
When working in a team, one very helpful benefit of a CRM is ensuring that effort is not duplicated. As all information regarding contact with specific customers is stored and accessible from one central location, all team members can check what has been done and what hasn't, so there is no need to cover the same ground twice.
Keeping all information in one centralised location can also be beneficial in saving time. Allowing you to quickly and easily understand what information has been communicated and what has been agreed without the need to dig through emails and notes.
Over time, as you build a better picture of your customers, the information that is held in your CRM can be used to help personalise future contacts. For example, you may use your CRM to identify which methods of contact are best responded to or to see at which points during a year a customer is most likely to buy.
What to Look for in a CRM
The first thing to question when deciding which CRM is right for you is exactly what it is you need from the platform.
For example, if you just need somewhere to keep contact information then you may decide to go for a very simple CRM platform. However, if you need your CRM to play a bigger part in your sales and marketing such as providing email automation and social media scheduling, then a more complete tool may be better suited to your needs.
Of course, a key deciding factor in the viability of a CRM is the overall cost. This is especially true when it comes to small businesses with small budgets who need to get the most bang for their buck.
Some of the examples we have highlighted below offer a free version to get you started when your business is still small. However, it is important to assess the potential ongoing costs involved as your business and demand on your CRM grows.
Opting for a more expensive, but more comprehensive CRM can often be a better option for more ambitious businesses as the cost of transferring can be significant.
When you face inevitable issues with your CRM, you want to know that the business behind it is there to help. Before you chose which CRM is right for you, find reviews of their customer service and identify which ones are going to help you remedy issues the quickest.
Also, consider your preferred method of communication. If you require support via phone, you may need to be careful about which platform you pick as this isn’t always an option.
The Best CRMs for Small Business
Undeniably one of the leading CRM platforms on the market, HubSpot offers a complete solution to small businesses FOR FREE.
The platform has been designed to make it easy to execute large scale sales and marketing with a small team by providing tools for everything from nurturing leads to organising, tracking and reporting on customer communications.
Automation is a big feature on HubSpot with plenty of integration options. For example, emails can easily be monitored and tracked by integrating HubSpot with your email tool such as Outlook.
The sales functionality offers simple and easy to use pipeline management, allowing you to speed up the sales process and cover more ground. It also allows you to send personalised email sequences, which can be triggered by events and even place phone calls right from inside the platform.
Small businesses looking for a simple, but relatively complete CRM can’t go wrong with HubSpot’s free platform.
For businesses that already rely heavily on G Suite, Copper may be the perfect CRM option. This platform is quick to install and allows you to automate data entry, track customer journeys and identify and optimise contacts and potential sales opportunities.
This CRM is easy to use, with a simple to navigate sales pipeline. You can input all communication types ranging from email to phone calls and text. One really helpful feature is the ability to voice transcribe notes in the app, which can then be logged.
Copper is available from $19 to $119 per month, depending on the functionality required.
Another clear leader and well-known name in the CRM space, Salesforce is a great option for small businesses that want powerful functionality for a relatively low cost. This platform offers tools across the full marketing and sale spectrum, allowing you to increase overall productivity, easily fill your pipeline and make more sales.
Salesforce can be used to create strong customer journeys whilst automating large elements including email, social media and digital advertising. The platform is simple to set up and various plugins can make it even easier to drive leads directly into your pipeline for follow up and processing.
Analytics and reports are especially powerful on this platform, offering unbeatable insight into your audience and how to reach them.
Prices range from £20 to £210 per user/per month depending on the required functionality. The majority of small businesses would not need to pay more than the entry-level rate.
Find out more about the Salesforce CRM here.
Zoho is another great option when it comes to CRMs for small businesses. This platform is a cloud-based suite of software that is specifically designed to help with the smooth sales and marketing of small businesses.
Leads can be captured and fed into your pipeline manually or through automated plug-ins to various other apps. Once this is done, Zoho will help you to segment your leads and drive sales with smart tools.
This platform comes with everything you would expect from a great CRM including logging contact information and communication, generating reports and team collaboration.
Zoho is completely free for your first three users and then costs from £10 upwards depending on your needs and team size.
Find out more about Zoho and sign up here.
Implementing a quality CRM in your small business is one of the quickest and most cost-effective ways to increase efficiency and drive more sales. Although your requirements of a CRM may not be vast right now, taking the time to assess your future needs and finding a platform that meets them will save you considerable time, resources and cost in the future.