Running a successful small business operation can be an incredibly difficult endeavor. In fact, if you are just getting your business from scratch, be prepared to stumble a lot. There will be countless problems that your business will encounter, both foreseen by you and not foreseen.
You may have heard stories of more than half small and medium businesses (SMBs) failing in the first year. Don’t worry. Things are not that dire and those are just tales to scare little children (or in this case prospective small business owners).
The truth of the matter is that according to the Chamber of Commerce Small Business Statistics:
So, as you can see, things are not that bad, but that still doesn’t allow you to sit idly twiddling your thumbs while you watch your business falter and die.
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 some top customer relationship management companies that small and medium businesses should be using in 2020.
First, a little background.
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 itself 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 a 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.
So, why is CRM important for small businesses in the first place?
There are actually several reasons why a startup or SMB might choose to use a customer relationship management system. These reasons are, understandably, never absolutely the same for two different companies.
Some of the biggest reasons why a small business would use customer relationship management software are:
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.
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.
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:
This increases your customer satisfaction and results in loyalty which makes clients want to conduct more business with your company.
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.
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.
There are several CRM systems geared towards helping small businesses improve productivity and increase revenue.
Here, we’ll take a look at the 10 best CRM software for small business owners.
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
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.
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/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, 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).
Finally, last, but not least when it comes to 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.
Choosing the right CRM for small business is not an easy task, but it 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 10 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.