Best CRM software for small businesses
The effectiveness of business process automation
How to choose the best CRM for your business
Are you a small business looking for the best way to nurture and convert leads? Or an established company with a full-blown business development operation? Wherever you are in your business journey, customer relationship management (CRM) software is likely to feature somewhere in your tech stack.
Want a spoiler? If it does not feature in your tech stack, you are leaving a heap of revenue on the table and your business' potential untapped.
There are many reasons businesses shy away from using CRM software. For some, it will be the price. Others might be intimidated by things like dashboards and functionality. I will admit some CRM software platforms do take some getting to grips with. However, they blow your old Excel spreadsheet and seven conflicted copies in Dropbox out of the water!
What is CRM software?
In short, CRM software helps you to manage your interactions with your leads and customers. CRM software can automate a significant section of your sales management processes and significantly drive down your customer acquisition cost (CAC).
The best CRM tools offer a variety of benefits and functions, including:
- Gathering leads from various sources into a single dataset.
- Allowing you to add notes and additional information about leads or customers.
- Tracking of interactions with leads and customers.
- Automating emails or SMS messages both to leads in your funnel and existing customers.
- Contact and sales management.
- Data analysis and reporting, great for using big data to inform your marketing and sales approach and your customer proposition.
Most CRM tools also offer features like calendars and document storage, which you are probably already using. Continue reading to learn why this is relevant to your search for a CRM.
How do you know which CRM software is best for you?
There are hundreds of CRM platforms out there. These start from basic, free CRM platforms – or premium platforms with a free tier – and go up to all singing, all dancing tools that run everything related to the sales side of your business.
If you are already using tools that work for you, you do not need to think about ditching them – although if you find you prefer the ones in your CRM, by all means do so. As part of your CRM search, however, you should focus on software that integrates with the tools you already use.
If a CRM does not offer integrations, it is not the best CRM software for you, no matter how impressive its other features might appear!
With so many CRM tools to choose from, the best tool is the one that fits your needs. That will be different for everyone. With that in mind, we will explore four of the best CRM tools below.
Top 4 CRM software tools
HubSpot is one of the most innovative CRM software tools out there. The way it sets up its plans is great for small businesses in particular. It allows you to increase your usage and add functions as your business grows.
HubSpot’s freemium version is excellent; its intuitive interface makes it easy to use even if you have no experience with CRM tools. The integrations available, particularly for email, are exceptional and mean you can quickly bring all of your data to one place.
If HubSpot does have a downside, it can get costly quickly if you add premium functions like marketing, a blog, or even build your whole site on HubSpot. However, if you start with the free version then add more functions as you grow, you should find your HubSpot use grows alongside you.
Salesforce has long been the world's most prominent CRM platform. The only reason we did not put it at the top of this list is that it is more a solution for established businesses rather than smaller companies. However, that is not to say you should not consider adding it to your stack!
Salesforce comes into its own with its vast range of features and customizations to help you tailor your CRM precisely to your needs. You can choose from a variety of robust workflows to ensure nothing slips through your proverbial communication net. At the same time, it offers perhaps the most extensive range of collaboration and integration options of any SaaS platform in any industry. Salesforce is also increasingly integrating artificial intelligence features to do even more of the heavy lifting for you.
The main drawback of Salesforce is that it’s at the higher end of the CRM space in terms of pricing, while it also requires some dedicated learning to pick it up and get the most out of it. Great if your business is at the stage where you have a dedicated business development person, but maybe one to leave alone if you are still doing everything yourself!
3. Zendesk Sell
One of Zendesk Sell's best benefits is that you get a vast range of customization options allied to simplicity and an intuitive interface. This proves particularly valuable if you are working remotely, as the Zendesk Sell interface translates brilliantly onto the Zendesk mobile app. As well as giving you a detailed view of all your interactions with leads and customers, you can gain a lot of insights from Zendesk Sell's powerful analytics tools.
A potential drawback of Zendesk Sell is that it can be a lot to get to grips with if you are just starting out, although its range of features means you will not need to add many more tools to your stack!
4. Zoho CRM
Zoho CRM is an excellent tool that gives you a lot of flexibility and options around how you use it. While Zoho has 45 different platforms you can use to manage various aspects of your business, Zoho CRM also integrates effortlessly with a colossal number of apps. Therefore, if your CRM is the final addition to your tech stack, you should not have to adapt your existing tools and can enjoy having all your data in one place.
Zoho stands out for its vast range of features, hugely impressive even if you do not use any other products from Zoho’s offering. As with HubSpot, the email marketing integrations are exceptional. At the same time, gamification modules help make using Zoho a fun and engaging experience for your team members. Zoho also makes collaboration easy. As it is free for up to 10 users, you can use Zoho at a low cost, even as your business gets bigger!
The most significant downside of Zoho is that the workflow automation tools are not available until you upgrade to a higher paid tier. While Zoho’s voice assistant is a nice feature, it will be much more effective in the long-term after more refinement.
Choosing the best CRM software for your business
Your CRM software has the potential to supercharge your business growth and deliver incredible revenues and profits for your company.
With that in mind, ensure you dedicate enough time to carry out adequate research and find the perfect tool for your needs, from built-in features to integrations!