CRM for small business

Is there a CRM for small business? Does my small business need one? How do I choose the right CRM software? If you’re a small business owner looking to implement a customer relationship management software for your business, this page will answer the above questions and more:

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Why should small businesses use CRM

In the early days of your business, your customers and contacts consisted of people whom you knew personally. So you really didn’t need a system or tool to manage their information. But as your business grows, you get more customers and hire more employees. Managing customer information across spreadsheets, sticky notes, notepad, and memories aren’t going to work anymore. You need a system to organize and maintain all your customer data in one place. And that’s where a CRM - Customer Relationship Management software - is useful.

What is CRM?

A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a software solution which places all your customer data in a single location where you can easily access it and improve customer relations. You can also do a host of capabilities — make calls, send emails, create reports, schedule appointments, add notes, manage sales pipeline, track email opens and clicks, and more —without stepping out of the system.

When does your small business need CRM

How do you know if your business needs a CRM? An indication usually comes during an adverse situation like, one of your top performing sales development representative (SDR) leaves your organization, taking all the contact information. Or, your salesperson is trying to upsell to an unhappy customer without checking the support tickets, making the customer suspend the account! Or, a potential customer chooses to do business with a competitor because your salesperson failed to establish contact at the right time. Perhaps you can even relate to some of the situations.

To help you identify whether your business needs a CRM software, here are some questions you need to ask yourself.

  • Is your customer data in a centralized repository and easily accessible by sales team?
  • Are your salespeople making timely follow-ups with prospects?
  • Do you have a one-click view of sales activities and results?
  • Do you know how many deals are lost each month and why?
  • Do you know how many deals are going to close in the next quarter?
  • Do you measure performance metrics of your salespeople?
  • Can you identify the stage where most deals are lost?
  • Can you point out to the vertical or territory that is bringing in the most sale?
  • Can your salespeople access customer information on the go?
  • Are you happy with the amount of time your salespeople spend more time on mundane tasks?

If your answer is ‘no’ to any of the above questions, it’s an indication that your company can achieve a great deal from a CRM system.

But most small business owners hesitate to spend on a CRM software. They picture it as a really bulky and complex tool which only the big guys can take advantage of. If you’re thinking along the same lines, then let’s put this thought to rest. There are a lot of CRMs for small business which are simple and easy to use with just the right features and at an affordable price.

WHAT IS CRM FOR SMALL BUSINESS?

A small business CRM is a software solution designed specifically for growing businesses to organize and maintain their customer data in a single location. Unlike the bulky enterprise CRMs, the small business software is easy to setup and simple to use, with functionalities designed for small business and at an affordable price.

Small Business CRM vs Contact Management System

While contact management systems help you store and find contact information, a small business CRM has a lot more capabilities and functionalities that could benefit your business. The comparison below will show you how CRM is a lot more beneficial for your small business.

COMPARISONSmall Business CRMCRMContact Management SystemCMS
Maintain contact (prospects and customers) information
Track communications
Reminders for follow-up/future communications
Track the customer life cycle through the sales process and beyond
Provide insights and analytical information for forecasting, planning and more
Integrate with other business systems (e.g. invoice, email marketing)
Measure individual, team and/or company performance
Develop and track campaigns

Benefits of using a CRM software for small business

Increase sales productivity

Manually inputting data and searching through scattered systems to find information takes up a lot of your salespeople’s time and neither do they enjoy it. A small business software automates most of the mundane activities, allowing sales reps to do what they do best: follow up with prospects, make great calls, build a healthy sales pipeline and close deals. A CRM system organizes lead generation, and manages contact information, sales opportunities, interactions and customer service in one central place. This saves a lot of time for sales teams who otherwise switch between multiple applications to get work done. With one central, secure, database to access customer information, your team is aware of a prospect’s history before getting in touch with them again.

Increase customer retention

One of the primary reasons most small business fail is neglecting to say in touch with existing customers. That’s because companies are so keen on implementing small business software, increasing sales and acquiring new customers that they often underestimate the power of existing customers. Retaining existing customers not only reduces the money spent on marketing but also has more chance of new sales because they trust you and are more likely to buy from you again.

With the best CRM of small business, you can increase profitability by building and maintaining strong relationships with you customers and prospects. A CRM software does not manage customer retention by itself, but it will provide the tools to manage activities around customer engagement. For instance, capturing signals of unhappy customers, targeting specific campaigns to stop customers from leaving, rewarding your most profitable customers to further increase their loyalty, and much more.

Enhance sales strategy

By using the best CRM for small business, you have access to real-time data, and can strategically make adjustments to changing market trends. This means you can fine-tune your strategies or tactics to take advantage of any opportunity or avert a crisis. For instance, a look at your sales in the past five fiscal years gives you insights on structuring your sales strategy better. Or, a quick look at the revenues from various verticals gives you insights on where you need to focus your sales next quarter. A small business software usually comes with dashboards to monitor these leading indicators.

There are, of course, more granular views in the form of sales reports to see the activities and performance of individual salespeople or teams. You can easily trace problems that may be affecting revenue like territory coverage, lead conversion rate, deal win to loss ratio and so on.

How to choose the best CRM for small business

Most vendors advertise their software to be the best CRM for small business. Before buying one for the brand name, wait for a second and think whether your business really needs a complex, feature-heavy, enterprise CRM software just because it’s well-known in the market. Nobody knows your business better than you, so you know exactly what you want before you look for the best CRM for small business.

CRM REQUIREMENT GATHERING
Step 1: Set your business objectives

Set clear business objectives on what you want to achieve and how a CRM can help accomplish your them. Some of the business objectives can be to, increase sales, track and improve sales productivity, improve customer relations and retention, identify industry trends and enhance strategy, measure the ROI of marketing activities and so on.

Step 2: List your business challenges

The primary reason to use a CRM software for small business is to help solve your business challenges which can be lack of efficiency and productivity, increase revenue and sales, retain existing customers, or just a realization that you need to be more organized in maintaining your customer data.

Step 3: Involve all stakeholders

Understand how other departments use customer data and get inputs on what they want to achieve from a small business CRM. For example, the sales team want to identify the best deals to improve sales efficiency and close more deals; the support team want insights into customer data to boost relationships and reduce churn and so on. Once you have the required information, prepare a checklist of objectives, capabilities, and requirements which will help you during your CRM software evaluation.

Choosing the best CRM
Right functionality

The best CRM for small business is one that helps you solve your business challenges and move you closer to your objectives. And choosing a small business CRM that has the right functionalities is one of the most important factors in CRM purchase. For example, if you’re a real estate agency, you will require a CRM system that manages listing and inventories, captures leads from website, tracks deals across sales pipelines, automation, custom workflows and so on.

Tip: Create a checklist of the necessary features you require in a small business CRM. Then make a list of CRM vendors and begin your evaluation process.

Affordability

Budget plays a crucial role in the purchase decision. So while investing in small business software, you need to calculate the long-term costs and analyze the benefits obtained from the money spent. One way to be certain is to ask the vendor up front what additional benefits you get along with the pricing package. For instance, does the pricing package involve training, implementation, customization, and support, or do you need to pay extra?

Tip: Find out if the small business CRM seamlessly integrates with your other applications without huge infrastructure changes. Make sure you get all your answers so that you don’t end up spending for add-on costs.

Scalability

Your business might be small right now, but as you grow and enter new markets, you may double your sales team and invest more in marketing activities to increase revenue. As your business requirements increase, you may require a lot more from the CRM system. And it’s not feasible to transfer data to a new program and convince your sales team to use it each time. Choose a small business CRM that is scalable and grows along with your company.

Tip: Most CRM systems come with different plans that cater to different business sizes. So when your business grows, it’s easy to upgrade plans and retain the data.

Mobility

Salespeople who are on the go spend more time on their mobile devices and tablets than on their laptops and desktops. Therefore, it is important to choose a CRM software that can be accessed on the field and even offline. Most CRM systems come with iOS and Android mobile versions which can be downloadable for free.

Tip: Some of the basic functions you need to look out for in the mobile version are - access to customer database, appointments,deal pipeline, real-time notifications and synchronization of data.

Ease of use

Your CRM software should be intuitive and really simple to use so that salespeople can easily adapt to the system. The CRM system should also be quick to configure, and easy to import and export any form of data without the help of consultants and endless hours of training. It is important that you choose a CRM for small business, which is flexible enough to sync with your existing sales process.

Tip: In order to make sure the implementation process is quick and easy, many CRMs come with a free trial for a sufficient period of time so that you can use it to the fullest. By this period, you will understand if the CRM system meets your requirements.

Good support service

It is common to encounter glitches along the course of using a small business software. But when you do so, your CRM vendor should have a good customer service team who are quick to respond and provide help. One way to be certain about this is to contact their support during your evaluation period. If the customer service is not instant and requires longer waiting time, there isn’t any point going ahead with that vendor.

Tip: Apart from providing user manuals, some vendors conduct free webinars, product demos, and certain programs to learn about their small business software. Use them to your advantage by enrolling in one of these programs to learn about the CRM software.

Best CRM for small business

Now that you have a fair idea on what to look for in a CRM software, let’s compare the three best CRM for small business that are available in the market.

CRITERIA
G2 Crowd Rating
4.7
4.2
4.3
Meets Requirements
9.0
8.7
8.5
Ease of Use
9.3
8.0
9.1
Ease of Set up
9.3
7.4
9.0
Quality of Support
9.2
7.9
8.5
Ease of doing business with
9.3
8.1
9.0
Opportunity & Pipeline Managment
8.8
8.7
9.0
Task / Activity Management
8.5
8.3
8.5
Contact and Account management
9.1
8.8
8.5
Campaign Management
8.3
8.0
6.8
Reporting
8.4
8.5
7.8
Customization
8.6
8.6
8.1
Performance and Reliability
9.2
8.8
8.9
Integrations APIs
8.7
8.6
8.5

Note: Data as of 19th June, 2018 | © 2017 G2 Crowd, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form without G2 Crowd’s prior written permission. While the information in this report has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, G2 Crowd disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of such information and shall have no liability for errors, omissions, or inadequacies in such information.

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