For small businesses with big ideas, a CRM (customer relationship management) system is an essential part of the plan. CRM software may have been originally seen as more of a direct sales tool, but these days, it’s a great way to tie in multiple areas of your business and help it to grow as a whole.
CRM is essentially all about helping to ensure that people you come into contact with are turned from potential leads into actual customers.
From your business manager to sales lead and marketing experts, a centralised CRM system is the perfect way to keep everyone on the same page. Many software options are customisable, meaning you can really focus on those areas that matter the most to you, and not waste time or money on barely-used features.
A CRM system can make it easier to see where strengths and weaknesses lie along your business sales and communications funnel. The more you know about what you’re doing well, and the areas that could use more work, the more you will be able to give your whole process a lift.
How can CRM software help a small business?
For smaller teams, there’s always plenty to do. Take away the hassle of time-consuming updates and briefings between departments with a CRM system that helps to merge your various departments. Implementing CRM software can help your business when it comes to:
- Lead generation
It’s vital to have a focus on those all-important first points of contact. Making sure you’re talking to the right people, in the right way and directing your energy towards those quality leads.
- Sales forecasting
Planning ahead and using predictions can help you to continue growing in a positive direction. It’s always great to have goals and targets that everyone can see from day to day.
- Data storage
From basic contact details to tracking behaviours, keeping tabs on your valuable customers and promising leads can make it easier to keep them engaged and help to nurture your relationships.
- Targeted marketing
Being smart with your messaging can maximise impact by showing that you’ve done your research and know your audience.
CRM software can be a business-wide tool for your team to make the most of in their own way. And it bridges the gap between individual goals and giving a better overall insight into the performance of your business.
Just because your business is classed as small, it doesn’t mean that keeping track of your sales leads and marketing activity is a breeze. With so many other daily tasks to manage, keeping an eye on your outreach can be pushed aside, resulting in missed opportunities and wasted interactions.
A CRM system can help to keep things in shape when it comes to potential and returning customers. CRM software today has the intelligence and versatility to suit your business needs without overwhelming you with unnecessary information.
Which is the best CRM system for a small business to use?
There are plenty of CRM options out there with ever-evolving features and at varying costs. For your small business, the best CRM option is one that has a clear focus on the area you most want it to, as well as being easy to use. You might be after the best organisation and task management system to help you to stay productive. Or the best data-capture software to give you the best chance of reaching all the right people.
Whichever your most desired features, there’s a CRM system out there to suit your needs. Let’s take a look at some of the best around when it comes to useful features and value for money.
Describing itself as ‘simple, scalable CRM for small business’, Salesforce is a great place to start when it comes to SMB CRM software. As a world-leading name in the online business tools world, there’s no shortage of information out there about the Salesforce platform and how it can help you to succeed.
From their raring-to-go essentials package that is specifically geared to help your small business hit the ground running, to enabling the management of your system through an app; the Salesforce offering should be a serious consideration when deciding on the best CRM option for your workforce.
A Salesforce CRM brings with it:
- Cloud-based software for lighter desktop or mobile working
- Real-time insights, dashboards and reports
- The ability to integrate your existing systems
The Salesforce CRM system appreciates the fluid nature of so many businesses these days. Rather than asking you to download clunky desktop software, it has plenty of online-based features that can allow you to easily set up and manage it whether at your desk or out and about.
Another great reason to adopt Salesforce for your SMB is that you can benefit from the sheer size of its entire operation. With many larger scale, global businesses using Salesforce technology, the team is constantly updating and improving its system – which is something that trickles all the way down to their most basic packages as they look to offer the best possible service in the game.
With a reputation to be proud of and a specific offering that focuses on their small business customers, a Salesforce CRM could be the ideal software to meet your individual CRM needs.
Another award-winning choice that likes to shout about its small business compatibility is Zoho. It emphasises an understanding and appreciation of the role small businesses play in our economy, which is reflected in the quality of features in its SMB-friendly CRM software.
Zoho CRM for small business is:
- Simple to use
- Easy to customise
- Widely acclaimed
- Scalable as you grow
Zoho wants you to know that it’s a system for everyone, whether you’re a tech-savvy marketing guru or more of an old-school hands-on sales manager. Of course, a system that’s simple to use doesn’t necessarily mean it’s one that is great for business – but fear not, Zoho has the sales, data and interaction technology to get down to serious business.
Rated as BusinessNewsDaily.com’s Best Overall CRM Software 2019, Zoho has always had an eye on the CRM needs of a small business, treating them as key users, rather than an afterthought when it comes to compatibility and features. It’s this mentality that has led to many small businesses choosing Zoho CRM software to enjoy its integrated sales and marketing tools.
There are plenty of testimonials and reviews around the Zoho CRM model that can give you more of an insight into its benefits. Seeing how other companies make use of this software can be the best way to envision how it could fit into your own business set-up.
Organise, track and nurture your leads with HubSpot. This inbound marketing tool has a focus on lead management and total visibility, leaving your sales team free to focus on the selling while the CRM takes care of the admin side of things. A great reason to look into HubSpot’s SMB offering is that it’s totally free. It may not be all-singing and all-dancing compared with other CRM systems at this level, but it has more than enough features for many small business needs, and with no cost attached, it’s certainly an option to explore.
Claiming to give you, ‘everything you need to build relationships with your customers’ as well as an impressive support arm ready to walk you through using it effectively – it certainly puts a good case forward.
The benefits of using HubSpot for your small business include:
- A basic, free CRM system that can be customised and built upon
- Profile building for quality leads
- Clear sales funneling
- Simple data capture
- Email marketing integration
- Plenty of customer service support
Known for its simple-to-use nature, HubSpot is a great choice for your small business as you get to grips with the world of CRM and how it can transform your day-to-day operations. HubSpot’s software is designed to bring your marketing together with as little hassle as possible. From attracting better quality traffic with targeted SEO and landing pages to monitoring social media activity and email campaign success rates. HubSpot is all about inbound marketing and really ensuring that those who are drawn to your business find enough reason to stay, and to keep coming back.
Boasting an impressive client list, Insightly is another CRM software provider that can be right on the money for a small business. From managing and streamlining tasks to converting leads and analysing social media interactions, Insightly offers a range of features that gives you brilliant value from this free CRM system.
It is geared up to give your business a boost when it comes to:
- Contact management
- Sales management
- Project management
- Task management
- Reporting and analytics
It’s great for keeping a watchful eye over each important department, ensuring that everything is as organised as it can get. Your Insightly dashboard is designed to be easy to follow and as informative as you’d like, giving you a useful snapshot of what’s going on inside your business at any time. Keeping track of leads and sales can help to ensure they are followed through as efficiently and successfully as possible. Insightly wants you to really get to know your potential customers – leaving you best placed to make them happy.
For a great CRM system that integrates easily into your existing Gmail set-up, Streak is an option well worth exploring. Designed to work beautifully with the tools that you are already using, this CRM wants to cause as little disruption to your current operations as possible – which can be a brilliant faff-saver for your small business way of life.
The great benefits of adopting Streak CRM include:
- Mailbox merging
- Message thread organisation
- Simple user interface
- Easy team collaboration
Streak CRM was recognised as Google’s Technology Partner of the Year in a nod to its compatibility with G-suite software. If your small business is already using Gmail, Drive and other Google products, integrating Streak into your business life could be beneficial to your growth as well as causing little disruption.
Although Streak isn’t a free CRM for more than one user, it brings with it a host of overall benefits from basic CRM features such as task management and enriched contacts to pro CRM features including reporting and meeting notes. Despite its impressive list of features, it prides itself on being user-friendly and easy to manage from your inbox.
Our top 5 CRM systems for your small business
Your small business could enjoy so many benefits of a quality CRM system. Greater organisation, clearer visibility and a boost in productivity are all positives that can be achieved through adopting any of our suggested top five CRM systems for your small business.
When it comes to introducing one into your daily operations, take the time to look at the strengths of each, alongside the way that your team like to work. Once you have chosen the best option for you, take the time to get to know the ins and outs of its features so that you can hit the ground running and enjoy its benefits straight away.
What should I look for in CRM software?
Among our top CRM picks for your small business, we have uncovered the best in both free and paid package options. Of course, budget will be a determining factor in deciding which is the best for your business, but detailed tutorials and free trials can help you to test the waters and to really see where those key features and benefits are that matter most to you.
You might be looking to benefit from the technological advantages of some of the larger platforms out there, or you might be looking for a system that is simple to integrate into your current set-up. Whichever way you want to slot it into your daily business operations, using a CRM system will no doubt bring a huge benefit to your ambitious small business.
At EXPERTcomparison.com, you can find plenty of information about all the best CRM options out there. From detailed feature analysis to genuine user reviews, we can help you to make the best-informed decision for your small business.