The truth of the matter is that according to the Chamber of Commerce Small Business Statistics:
- 80% of small businesses survive their first year
- 70% survive the second year
- 50% survive the fifth year
If you want your small business to be in the 80%, 70% or 50% that survives the first, second and fifth year of operation, you will need every bit of help you can get.
And there is no better help you can get than CRM software for small business owners.
In this article, we will go through what is customer relationship management (CRM software, why is CRM important for SMBs and finally, what are top customer relationship management companies that small and medium businesses should be using in 2023.
Table of Contents
What is Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software?
What exactly is CRM or customer relationship management?
One of the best places to find an answer to that question is Salesforce, a company that is a CRM service provider (we’ll talk more about them a bit later). Salesforce defines customer relationship management simply as any tool, strategy, or process that helps businesses better organize and access customer data.
That’s really all there is to customer relationship management. It’s software that helps organizations, companies and brands manage their communication with clients and customers.
Of course, the specific uses are different for every brand. As such, one business will have a greater need for tracking customer service inquiries, while another will look more to keep an eye on client portfolios and information. And, of course, different customer relationship management companies will offer different features.
In other words, just as there are no two brands that are the same, so too will they use CRM software for small a business differently. Even if we are talking about the same customer relationship management companies.
This is because every company should aim to customize their CRM software solution so that it meets their specific business needs and not copy what they see from another. They will best be able to accomplish this with a little help from one of these top software development companies in the U.S.
When implementing a CRM software for your small business, partnering with a reputable enterprise software development company can guarantee a customized solution that efficiently meets your specific customer relationship management needs.
The Top 10 CRM Software For A Small Business In 2023
There are several CRM systems geared toward helping small businesses improve productivity and increase revenue.
Here, we’ll take a look at the 10 best CRM software for small business owners.
1. Agile CRM
Agile CRM comes with a built-in marketing automation platform and is free for up to 10 users and 1,000 contacts. That makes it an excellent choice for startups looking for some help with email tracking, lead scoring or contact management. Of course, the features grow with paid tiers, so you also get marketing automation with Starter for $9.99/m and A/B testing with Regular for $39.99/m
2. Base CRM
Don’t let the name here fool you. Base CRM is a powerful CRM for small businesses that are aiming to customize their sales pipeline and comes with several solutions, such as sales tracking, or adding records to sales deals in the Sales Pipeline.
In addition, Base CRM also integrates with MailChimp, Zapier and other third-party apps and provides real-time visual reporting.
Pricing starts at $45/user/month.
3. Capsule CRM
If you are looking for something that you can use on both mobile and desktop than Capsule is the CRM for you. It’s UI is separated into five groups: dashboard, people & organizations, calendars & tasks, cases and sales pipelines, giving you a better opportunity to track customers, leads and sales.
Capsule CRM is free for up to two users, but above that, you will need to go Professional at $18/user.
For small businesses with long sales cycles, Freshsales is an excellent choice CRM-wise. This customer relationship management software allows you to, for instance, send emails or make calls from within the tool and its customization capabilities are second to none in this world.
Freshsales offers three tiers, starting with Sprout (free), Blossom ($12/user/month), Garden ($25/user/month) and Estate ($49/user/month).
Who hasn’t heard of Hubspot’s CRM? One of the most popular CRM for small businesses, Hubspot offers many useful features for an SMB, like tracking contacts and deals, managing data and all in a well-organized dashboard.
On top of that, Hubspot also integrates with Salesforce, Shopify and other apps and is free, regardless of the number of users you have.
Where Base CRM for instance, is an excellent choice for sales pipelines, Insightly takes the cake when it comes to project management. If you are looking for a CRM solution that will help you manage your projects and sales, look no further than Insightly.
Insightly plans start with Free (for two users), followed by Plus ($29/user/month) and Professional ($49/user/month).
The next CRM for small businesses to introduce is a web-based CRM + pipeline management solution called Pipedrive. This means, you will have access to Pipedrive and its many tools 24/7, wherever you are and it also integrates with Google Maps, Trello, Gmail, MailChimp and more apps.
Pricing starts at $12.50/per user/month for Essential, moving up to 24.90 for Advanced and Professional for $49.90 per user per month.
We already briefly mentioned Salesforce, and how could we not, with it being the most widely recognized CRM probably?
So, why do businesses choose Salesforce as their CRM solution? One big reason is that it is scalable to any business size and also offers a 30-day trial for users to see if Salesforce fits their needs. In addition, Salesforce is fully cloud-based, meaning you can have access to it wherever you are 24/7.
Salesforce pricing starts at $25 per user per month for Sales Essential, next up is Lighting Professional ($75), Lighting Enterprise ($150) and Lighting Unlimited ($300), which also includes unlimited support.
Teamgate provides all the sales and lead management tools you will probably ever need for your small business, in addition to seamless integration with several apps, such as Xero, MailChimp or Zendesk, email marketing campaigns, customer support and more.
The three packages include Starter ($9/user/month), Professional ($22/user/month) and Enterprise ($65/user/month).
10. Zoho CRM
Finally, last, but not least when it comes to the best CRM software for small and mid-sized businesses, we have Zoho. This customer relationship management solution can be used both by enterprises and smaller ventures, which says a lot about its scalability.
Of course, when it comes to plans, Enterprise ($35/m) offers more than either Free, Standard ($12/m) or Professional ($20/month), so you can choose what your business needs for yourself.
6 Key Considerations When Choosing a CRM Software for Small Business
Which CRM solution is the best for your small business depends on a number of factors, such as:
1. Ease of Use
Having a straightforward and convenient CRM can go a long way toward ensuring successful adoption within your small business. An easy-to-use CRM allows team members to quickly learn the basics and foster collaboration throughout the organization.
Intuitive navigation and handy tools such as search filters and drag-and-drop capabilities help users find what they need without having to spend extra time navigating complex menus or trying to remember specific shortcuts. Features such as automated notifications make users’ lives easier by reminding them about important tasks that need to be completed.
The software of your choosing should also be accessible from any device with an internet connection. Think about the platform integrations, as well. These are essential if you want your data to be seamlessly synced across different platforms and devices when needed. Making sure that the platform you select can easily integrate with other apps or services you already use will save you time and energy in the long run.
2. Data Security
The level of data security can’t be overlooked when selecting CRM software for a small business. Ensuring the safety and privacy of customer data should be a top priority as the personal information and data stored often contain sensitive customer and financial records.
Small businesses must ensure their chosen CRM provides rock-solid security measures such as encryption, secure sockets layer (SSL), granular access control, multi-factor authentication and regular backups to protect against data breaches. These can help confirm that only authorized personnel have access to sensitive information.
CRMs are not immune to data loss caused by malicious attacks or human error, so backup systems are always a good idea. Needless to say, you have to be aware of applicable data protection regulations like GDPR or CCPA, so that you are compliant with all necessary laws and regulations.
As a small business, your finances will often drive your decisions. The initial cost of the CRM you choose shouldn't be too high, and pricing should be scaled appropriately for the size of the business so that it doesn’t consume more than is necessary from the budget.
Opt for a CRM provider that offers discounts or flexible deployment plans as well as ongoing maintenance and upgrade costs that are affordable based on the size of the company’s budget. Subscriptions or pay-as-you-go plans might be a better choice for small businesses looking to manage their expenses and make the most of their resources.
4. Reporting and Analytics
Analytics are essential for gathering insights into customer activity and understanding the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. Make sure the CRM you choose offers comprehensive reporting tools to help monitor data performance, measure key performance indicators in real-time and identify trends for better decision-making.
Look for a CRM with a detailed dashboard that provides an easy way to view multiple metrics at a glance so that users can quickly spot any issues or opportunities that need attention. This type of visual representation is also useful for tracking progress towards goals over time as well as monitoring team performance across different departments.
The right CRM should track various aspects of your customer relationships. Think of metrics such as engagement rates, sales leads generated per month or average customer lifetime value—these will give you valuable insight into what works best when it comes to growing your business. Ultimately, this kind of information can reveal hidden patterns in user behavior which will help you make the right decisions in the future and identify errors that would otherwise remain undetected until it’s too late for corrective action.
5. Customer Support
Regardless of the complexity of the CRM tool you choose, having access to reliable customer support can make a big difference in how successful you are in using the software. This is the only way to ensure all issues are quickly addressed and resolved with minimal disruption.
Look for CRM software that offers customer support during your business hours. This is particularly important if you have a small team and don’t have dedicated IT staff. You want to be able to reach customer support easily when you need it.
While email and phone support are common options, you should consider other channels too. Some CRM software also offers live chat, social media support and knowledge bases. Evaluate the response time of the customer support team. The agents should provide immediate assistance, in multiple languages.
It won’t hurt to choose CRM software that offers additional resources, such as online documentation, tutorials and training videos. These resources can be helpful in getting up to speed on using the software effectively, without relying solely on customer support.
Integrating email and communication platforms such as Outlook, Gmail or Slack allows users to easily manage their customer interactions within a single platform. This can help streamline daily operations while reducing the need for manual data entry, saving both time and energy.
Most CRM software offers integrations with social media platforms to provide better insights into customers’ habits and interests, so make sure you choose one of those. This can help you craft targeted campaigns designed specifically for each individual user based on their online behavior.
Third-party applications also offer further opportunities for integration with your small business CRM system. These apps can bring additional features to your existing software such as more advanced analytics tools or automated task management capabilities that weren’t previously available in the base package.
5 Benefits of Using CRM Software For A Small Business
So, why is CRM important for small businesses in the first place?
Some of the biggest reasons why a small business would use customer relationship management software are:
1. CRM Provides Small Businesses With Better Data Organization
The more a business grows and the more customers it gets, the harder it becomes to keep track of all the important data. A simple excel or Google spreadsheet, while very useful in the very beginning, stops being so after a while.
Instead, you need something with more ability to manage your data about leads and customers. That way, you will be much better equipped to communicate with customers and
deliver what they want. This is because of the simple fact that you have their data neatly organized right in front of you.
2. A Customer Relationship Management Solution Helps You Better Qualify Your Leads
A good CRM software is a truly special boon for the sales team. Qualifying leads are often a hit or miss for many small businesses.
Why is this the case? Well, the most obvious answer and one that a lot of marketers don’t want to hear is that their lead qualification process is flawed and simply sucks. The only thing it does is waste everybody’s time. That’s why good CRM will help a small business be more efficient in qualifying its leads.
3. CRM Allows You To Reeangage Your Customers
Retaining customers is a hard thing to do. A lot of businesses fail to do enough to keep their existing customers. That means they have to spend more time and money to constantly get new ones.
A good customer relationship management software will solve this problem by:
- Providing better communication by allowing you to see client messages and promptly respond to them.
- Allowing your company to target existing customers efficiently based on the data you already have about them and meeting their needs better.
This increases your customer satisfaction and results in loyalty which makes clients want to conduct more business with your company.
4. CRM Improves Team Collaboration
CRM software for a small business doesn’t just have the ability to help with customers, sales and leads, but allows your different departments to better work together as all data is stored in one system. Because of that, you will see far better collaboration between teams that, up to that point, couldn’t stand each other.
5. Customer Relationship Management Software Automates Your Processes
Automation seems to have become somewhat of a buzzword in the last two or three years. That’s because it does wonders to save a business from doing repetitive and boring tasks and allowing it to focus on more meaningful pursuits.
With CRM, you can program these tasks and free your employees to do something more creative.
CRM Software FAQs
How much does CRM software cost for small businesses?
The cost of CRM software for small businesses can vary widely, depending on a number of factors, such as the size of the business, the number of users, the features included and more.
Generally speaking, small business plans start from $12 to $20 a month, but you can also opt for enterprise plans and agree on a quote. There are a lot of CRM tools that are free to use, too.
How much should I spend on a CRM?
When it comes to budgeting for CRM, never spend more than you have. Consider the functionalities you need and expect from CRM software and research your options before settling on one.
Does a small business need a CRM system?
Yes. Regardless of the size of the business, you can benefit greatly from a CRM system.
CRM Software For Small Businesses Owners Takeaways
Choosing the right CRM for a small business is not an easy task, but hopefully, with the help of this article, it doesn’t have to be a frustrating one either.
Of course, these are far from the only customer relationship management companies on the market today. There are dozens of others, many of which have barely missed our list based on the tools and features they offer and their pricing.
Any of these ten customer relationship management (CRM) solutions will do the job nicely, you just have to select one that is best suited to your specific business requirements. Many software solutions companies specialize in providing tailored CRM solutions to meet the unique needs of small businesses, so you should also consider partnering with them.
A digital marketing agency for small businesses is a good partner that can help you with your efforts in this regard.