There are a lot of CRM software options out there, but only one will fit your needs. Whether you're looking for something that's easy to use and affordable or something more robust with features tailored to your business type, we have the answer. Our team has analyzed and tested dozens of CRMs so you don't have to! Let us help you find the perfect fit today.
These days, many small businesses are realizing the benefits of CRM as a business discipline is designed to help marketing and sales departments improve core business competitiveness; enable the use of appropriate information technology to coordinate sales, marketing, and service interactions; and enhance personalized customer experiences and service processes.
These days, many small businesses realize the benefits of CRM, and with different implementation and payment options, CRM solutions are becoming more affordable for smaller companies.
In this article, we’ll look into CRM solutions for small businesses and the most important considerations smaller companies should consider when selecting a CRM.
Small businesses have unique software requirements compared to larger businesses, and these need to be considered when it comes to software selection. Here we’ll look at some of the main issues small companies face when it comes to CRM selection and implementation, how to best use a CRM solution, and what technology changes will impact CRM systems in the near future, but first we’ll go over the business benefits of CRM and what sort of companies should consider using a CRM solution.
The Business Benefits of CRM
A complete CRM suite can optimise corporate sales and marketing processes as well as internal resources, thus improving overall operational efficiency. In a typical sales organization, CRM normally functions as a bridge to correlate the back-end office resources with the front-end customer engagement.
On the back-end side of operations, the biggest benefit most businesses realize when moving to a CRM system comes directly from having all customer data stored in and accessed from a single location.
Before CRM systems were introduced in the 1990s, customer data was typically spread out over office productivity documents (Word, Excel, etc.), email systems, personal digital assistant (PDA) data, and even paper note cards.
Storing all that customer data from all departments (e.g., sales, marketing, customer service, and HR) in a central digital location gives management and sales teams immediate access to the most recent customer information when they need it.
A CRM solution brings benefits to both the back-end and front-end operations of a company. A CRM solution:
- provides historical and forward views of market trends;
- standardizes and automates sales workflow;
- channels resources to critical processes;
- replicates best practices in sales and marketing operations; and
- enhances risk management.
On the customer engagement front end, a good CRM solution brings the benefit of creating targeted products, services, and marketing experiences, as well as engagement processes that are specifically tailored to fit a customer’s needs and preferences, improving the success ratio of acquiring net new clients while maintaining the loyalty of current customers.
Why your small business needs CRM
There are many kinds of customer relationship management platforms. In the past, CRM software was targeted at enterprise-level companies. Unfortunately, that's no longer the case.
Small businesses are now able to implement a CRM platform without breaking their brains or budgets. That's great news because implementing a CRM solution can increase sales by double-digit percentage points.
The ability to streamline workflow within a single app makes everyday work lighter, freeing up resources for growth. In addition, CRM provides a clearly defined set of processes to close more deals, get tasks done on time, and reduce miscommunications.
Lead Management and sales funnel features help you build a better sales process. Building a sales pipeline lets you streamline your workflow. Opportunity management tools identify possible future sales, while customer support tools improve your customer experience, helping you understand your public and reduce churn so your company can scale.
Customers are the lifeblood of your business. Managing client interactions when you start is easy because you have less of them to deal with. As you grow and the number of customers you work with increases, it becomes more of a challenge to keep these relationships organised.
This is where CRM software can help. It's more than just contact management - a CRM solution has features that help you sort your interactions with customers and prospects. The software stores all your customer information, which you can use to ensure people have an optimal experience whenever they interact with your brand.
A CRM tool doesn’t just help with existing customers. You can also use one to manage relationships with leads and prospects. CRM systems typically include sales processes optimisation features such as marketing automation, email marketing and email tracking, landing pages, sales pipelines, and advanced reporting. Want to find out more about customer relationship management and CRM software in general? Check out this article.
Many businesses, both large and small, use CRM software. Here are some situations you might recognise that are driven by a CRM:
- Have you ever spoken to a rep at a business and then had a different person call you back about your problem? A CRM likely enabled this by allowing the first rep to note your problem and share it with the appropriate people.
- Have you ever had to leave a contract and then, during the cancellation process, had the person on the line offer you a different product more in line with your needs? CRM software stores information about how you interact with a company or service, which makes it easy for the agent to offer a suitable deal.
- Have you ever downloaded a resource from a company and then received useful emails about the product? CRM marketing automation features make it possible for companies to send targeted, automated content to prospects.
7 Tips on Choosing the Right CRM for a Small Business
Even with hundreds of CRM system providers in the market, none of them offers a one-size-fits-all solution. Different businesses have different needs, which is why choosing the right software fit for a business is an important process. Any idea where to start? here are seven tips to follow:
Set The Company Goals
Start with something easy, and you know, like the back of the hand – what are the company’s goals? Then, it’s time to go back to the reason why it started in the first place. Make sure to ask what you’re hoping to accomplish and what are the steps to get there.
Once the goals are identified, the next question is: what does the CRM system need to do? With tons of software options, only a handful of them are appropriate for a specific business. Don’t buy an expensive system with many features when only a tenth of it is applied. Listing down the “nice to haves” and “need to have” will help predict how often the features will be employed moving forward.
Research The Basics Of Crm
So what is the best CRM system for a business? Understanding the different types of CRM is necessary for any business’s needs. Here’s a quick rundown:
It is software that shows an overview of a customer’s interactions with the brand and sales representative. In addition, it automates marketing and sales data collection.
What it’s good for: Keeping everything in order and viewable in one place.
What it is: A system that will gather, organize, and analyze customer-related information and transform it into easy-to-understand data – such as customer retention rates, recurring revenues, and deal cycles.
What it’s good for Data gathering that is useful for business decision making.
What it is: A program that shares customer information across different business departments. Instead of customer acquisition, collaborative CRM focuses on customer service, satisfaction, and retention.
What it’s good for: Improving communication among employees and keeping more customers loyal.
Consult With The Employees
Software is pretty much useless if the person assigned to operate it doesn’t have a single clue how to run the program. So when searching for the best CRM, make sure to consult with the employees who will be using it.
Employees will give their insights about the features they think are important and the kind of data the new system will be handling. Then, talk to them to have an idea of what CRM features they can adapt easily.
Explore The Application Compatibility
Every CRM software is unique in function and interface, so transitioning to a new or different CRM system can be difficult and unnerving.
When searching for a new CRM, ensure that you check its compatibility with the following platforms and systems:
- Customer Support – The customer support feature is the heart of any CRM software. It allows the business to store customer information to maintain a positive relationship with the buyer.
- Marketing Automation – Marketing and sales are closely related, so having both departments share the same information is helpful.
- Email – Centralizing the emails on one platform will allow the business to save important contacts that can turn into leads.
- Calendar – Digital calendars and other scheduling apps are essential in keeping track of appointments — whether work-related or not.
- Social Media – Tons of provider and consumer interactions happen on different social media platforms every day. Integrating the business’ social media accounts will maximize the brand’s exposure and engagements.
- Website – Once the website is merged into the CRM system, all customer information from the web forms will be automatically added to the database. This will save your sales team time and effort because they won’t have to manually input the details.
Compare Price Lists
Treat CRM software shopping like buying a new gadget: research about the specifications, consider the budget and compare the price with other providers. Then, choose a CRM system that won’t break the bank but has all the important features as a small business owner.
So how can you choose a CRM system like that? First, take a look at the features of CRM software and consider whether the provider’s pricing schemes are reasonable. Then, compare them with other plans found in the market. Small businesses usually opt for fixed monthly rates of around $12 – $20 per person, but you can also choose a one-time payment software if that’s the best option.
Check The Provider’s Reputation
The provider’s reputation is almost as valuable as the software itself. Aside from offering a high-quality system, the third party provider should also be reliable in providing the needed technical assistance. Some companies even go out of their way and suggest advice that can help a business grow.
One of the ways to verify a vendor’s reputation is by looking into their profile. It’s also helpful to skim through websites that provide unbiased reviews of different CRM software. Finally, a company’s time in the industry is also a good indicator of its experience and reputation.
Test Drive The Crm
Testing the CRM software first can provide a glimpse of how it will work with its data. Most providers offer a free trial to give companies a full experience working with the system. It’s the best way to know whether the features meet the expectations or a good match for a business.
CRM systems are more than just harnessing customer information and transforming them into easy-to-interpret data for a business. It is also useful for other company management functions, so make sure to check if the CRM software offers the following features:
- Lead Management – it should organize possible leads and show the opportunities useful in garnering more sales.
- Reports and Dashboards – it should reflect the latest trends and customer behaviour in the market.
- Workflows – it should help in tracking tasks and pending approvals for a more organized business process.
- Mobile-Friendly Capabilities should be easily accessible on multiple devices for a quicker response to customer needs and other work-related issues.
A loyal customer, on average, is 10 times more valuable than their first purchase. ... Nearly 70% of people would spend more money with a company that has excellent customer service. Approximately 24% of satisfied customers will return to a business two or more years after a good customer service experience.
Examples of CRM are sorted by types, such as general use, inbound lead management, sales tracking, social tracking, and a fully integrated system. Most software solutions fall into one or two or multiple CRM types. For instance, HubSpot CRM is an inbound marketing CRM, but it has general, all-purpose tools as well.
Though CRM systems have traditionally been used as sales and marketing tools, customer service teams are seeing great benefits in using them. Today's customer might raise an issue in one channel — say, Twitter — and then switch to email or telephone to resolve it in private.