What are the biggest challenges you face in your small business?
Whatever they are, you will meet them in pursuit of goals like:
- Raising awareness and getting more eyeballs on your brand.
- Building your client base.
- Growing your revenue and profit.
All these goals relate to business growth. The biggest challenge of all when you are looking to grow is maintaining growth while continuing to maximise your business offer and keeping your clients happy.
This where CRM can be useful.
What is CRM software?
CRM stands for customer relationship management. Despite its name, you can use CRM software for a variety of features beyond traditional lead management and things you might ordinarily associate with nurturing customer relationships.
CRM software tools typically have a vast range of features. These include the ability to integrate with other tools and apps, making it easy for you to manage most of your business processes from one centralised location.
What are the benefits of using CRM software?
There are several benefits of using CRM software. Here are three of the biggest:
- Organising Your Customer Details. While CRM software can deliver several business functions, the first thing you want it to do is the thing which gives it its name. As your client base grows, CRM software helps you store contacts in an easy to view, accessible way. CRM tools make it straightforward for you to pursue business opportunities and manage your lead nurturing and sales processes.
- Sales Reporting Visibility. CRM tools will help you easily keep tabs on all relevant sales metrics. You can focus on underperforming areas of your business and optimise both your lead nurturing processes and your overall sales pipeline.
- Customer Segmentation. There are many ways to segment your customers, be it by the revenue you expect them to bring, their location, industry, or something else. Great CRM tools will allow you to segment your customer base however you wish.
Put all these together, and you get another huge benefit: time savings against the administrative tasks you would typically need to do to achieve the three factors above.
What features should you look for in CRM software?
You will have your own preferences when it comes to the features you want from your CRM software.
Here are some of the features you might wish to consider. If you want, please copy and paste this section and use it as a checklist during your search for a CRM tool!
- Low-Budget, Yet Scalable. As a small business, managing your outgoings is vital. A fantastic CRM tool will offer you low price entry but allow you to scale to another tier and unlock additional features as your business grows.
- Easy to Use. Time is of the essence when you are trying to grow your business. When you get started with a CRM, you want to do so quickly and not have to spend hours poring over manuals or going through tutorials.
- Customisable. You should be able to set up your tool in whatever way you wish, based on the reports and segments you want to see. At the same time, you should try and avoid CRM tools that overcomplicate things. The last thing you want is to spend all your time playing with your software!
- Offers Integrations. Being able to integrate your existing tools with your new CRM software will enable you to have all your data in one place.
- Customer Support and Ongoing Training. As a small business, your team may be small. Your team might even be you alone! As such, you need fantastic customer support to help you fix any issues. As you grow, taking advantage of the ongoing training on offer will save you time showing every new team member the ropes, too.
- Automation. The more processes you can automate, the more time you will save. Look for CRM tools that can automate everything from lead nurturing to email marketing and anything else you need.
Top 3 best free CRM software for small businesses
HubSpot is hands down one of the best CRMs around. You can add a variety of functions for sales and marketing to HubSpot CRM at an additional cost. However, the free version of HubSpot CRM gives you everything you need to manage contacts, track sales activity, and get an overview of inbound sales.
You can add unlimited team members to HubSpot, too. Every team member gets access to your dashboard, which is full of detail and gives you the capability to assign tasks and collaborate with others.
HubSpot integrates effortlessly with a vast range of tools, including other CRM platforms like SalesForce and apps like Shopify.
The highest tier feature-packed version of Zoho is an enterprise-grade software tool for which you will pay a high subscription cost.
However, the free version is brilliant for small businesses, offering features including:
- Website visitor tracking.
- AI-driven lead scoring.
- Sales signals.
- Push notifications about leads’ activity.
These features are ideal for helping you manage your sales pipeline. With Zoho, you can identify which leads are likely to need little work to convert, and where you need to put additional effort in to make deals happen.
Manage prospects, leads, and grow your revenue with Zoho!
3. Capsule CRM
If you are looking for something to use as a pure CRM tool and love simplicity, then Capsule CRM is a fantastic software platform to consider.
It's one of the most accessible CRM tools to use in terms of signing up and getting started in minutes. Tracking your sales pipeline and the status of any leads is also straightforward.
One shortcoming of Capsule CRM is that it does not offer the functionality of software like HubSpot in terms of campaign management and reporting. However, if you are using a CRM tool for the first time and you want something simple to help you make a start, this tool is a fantastic choice.
Top 3 best paid CRM software for small businesses
1. Salesmate CRM
Salesmate CRM is a flexible tool that offers you a range of valuable features at a low cost. Like all useful CRM tools, Salesmate scales with your business. It is a fantastic CRM software platform to get started with on a low level before progressing to a higher tier as your business grows.
Salesmate will speed up your sales process, making your pipeline management more effective and ensuring you focus on the customers that are most likely to convert.
As well as traditional CRM features like contact and sales management, Salesmate also includes built-in email campaigns. This feature gives you full email tracking and intelligence without needing to integrate with MailChimp or another tool.
SalesForce is perhaps the most famous and widely used CRM on the planet, and with good reason.
Although even the most basic package is not exactly what we would call cheap, and there is a steep jump up to the more advanced plans, these are well worth what you will pay.
The basic version of SalesForce, Lightning Essentials, gives you an “advanced contact manager” that can automate emails to leads as well as follow-up reminders to non-respondents. SalesForce is also brilliant for integrations – the first question many people ask when shopping around for a SaaS tool is “does it integrate with SalesForce?” – and customisations.
If you use social media for marketing and lead generation, Nimble is a fantastic tool that you should use in your small business.
Nimble brings together contact management and organisation with built-in email features and social media integrations for tracking mentions and replying to queries. Used well, Nimble can be a brand management tool as much as a CRM!
In addition to these capabilities, it is easy to get started with and use Nimble. The platform provides you with a "to do" list, prioritising the most promising deals. Nimble also uses AI-driven automation to identify who to contact and what actions to take based on past user interactions and behaviour.
What is the best CRM for your small business?
We cannot tell you what the best CRM is for your small business. You should take your time assessing which CRM software platforms meet your needs, including your budget, and will enable you to best achieve your aims.
If you’re already using tools for different business processes, it might be best to look for the CRM tools that offer the broadest possible set of integrations. This will allow you to add to your tech stack and introduce new supporting tools with no disruption to your operations.
Take the time to choose the right CRM tool to fit your needs, and you will supercharge your business growth!
Integrate your CRM with Contractbook
Most customer journeys involve contracts; sales- and purchase agreements, letter of intents, power of attorneys, non-disclosure agreements etc. Having those sorted out is part of any well-structured, compliant and efficient CRM process, so it is important to look for CRM systems that integrate well with contract management systems.
Contractbook integrates well with most CRM software through integrations with Zapier and our Public API. You can make simple integrations that updates and transfers data between the systems - or even more advanced end-to-end setups where the entire customer journey is automated through chains of triggers. Contractbook can automate your entire customer journey by auto-generating contracts based on pre-defined templates, moving them to the next step once they are signed and trigger other events. Read more here.