Venturing down the entrepreneurial path is anything but easy. However, running and growing a small business is even more challenging.
The bitter truth is that 50% of small businesses fail after five years, something of a scary deadline for many new startups.
Look through the positive lens, and you’ll find many small businesses that started small but eventually turned into million-pound juggernauts.
For instance, Igor Zhadanov, the brain behind Readdle.com, started the company in a rented flat in Ukraine. Now Readdle.com is a renowned name in the market known for developing innovative apps such as readers, scanner, and calendars. Currently, it has over 75million downloads worldwide.
Having the right approach and tools can make a big difference in the business world. any technologies can cut down the mundane tasks and help you improve your business bottom line.
One such smart technology is CRM software. From streamlining the sales process to managing customer relationships, you can do many things with this intelligent software.
Why should small businesses invest in CRM software?
Making smart investment decisions is of paramount importance to build a sustainable business.
The question that arises here is whether it is worth investing in CRM software? Will it be a safe investment for a small business that runs on a tight budget?
- 91% of companies with more than 11 employees use CRM software.
- CRM increases sales by 29%.
- 65% of the sales reps that adopted the mobile CRM could hit their sales quota.
If the statistics above aren’t convincing enough, then here are a few reasons why a small business should invest in CRM software.
Helps in understanding the customers
An in-depth understanding of the customer wants, needs, and challenges can help in influencing a buying decision. CRM software makes it easier to amass and organise customer data in one place.
By analysing the data, you can gain vital insights to make more customer-centric business decisions. Besides, the constant collection of data can help assess customer behaviour to improve how you interact with a client. Having accurate oversight into the client’s behaviour patterns and preferences can help personalise the sales approach to establish meaningful connections.
Provides ease of access
An opportunity might knock on your door at any moment, so you need to stay prepared. Most of the advanced CRM software comes with the inherent ability to run across multiple devices. So you and your team can access the client’s information from anywhere at any hour of the day.
This means field representatives can update records with a mobile CRM and keep track of the deals on the go. For instance, your field representative is travelling for a meeting, and a client calls up. The sales rep commits to calling the client after two days. So, instead of waiting to return to the office, your sales rep can set a reminder on the spot in the CRM. This reduces the chances of missing out on any important sales activity.
Help boost productivity and save a lot of time
CRM software gives you and your team many opportunities to focus their time on tasks that are important for your small business growth. It ends the hassles of toggling between various communication channels for connecting with potential buyers.
Most modern CRM software provides ease for making calls and sending messages and emails from one platform and can also eliminate the tedious task of typing the same email or text repeatedly. Your team can create email or text templates and save them in the template library to reuse them whenever they want.
Moreover, you can automate redundant tasks like lead assignments and follow-ups to help free-up more time in your day.
How to choose the right CRM software
The demand for CRM software has increased in the market due to the vast benefits it offers. . The market is flooded with a wide array of CRM software.
Some CRM vendors offer certain features that your small business might not need. Why pay for those extra features. So, you’ll have to put in a little effort to choose the best CRM software for your business.
Here is how you can choose the best CRM software for your business.
Define your needs
Why do you need CRM software?
Ask yourself this question before beginning your search for the best small business CRM software.
- Do you want to increase the efficiency of your team? If so, then you will need a CRM that provides smart automation.
- Do you want to see where the deals are in the sales process? If so, then you need a CRM software that provides a clear pipeline view.
- Do you need to track the performance of your team? If so, then you will need a CRM with strong sales reporting capabilities.
So, analyse and map out the needs of your organisation. You can also convene your teams to find out where they face difficulties and which features they will require. Accordingly, create a list and prioritise the features required.
Explore options and read reviews
Once you know what you need, start looking at different products to check out their features. The best thing to do here is to go on a reviewing site and read the product reviews.
However, keep an open mind while reading the reviews. Remember, just like even the best restaurant can have negative reviews, it is more likely that CRM software won’t have all positive reviews. So focus on both the negative as well as positive reviews.
Take the free trial or demo
Instead of purchasing a small business CRM software on face value, it is better to test and try it. You can ask for a live demo where the sales representative will walk you through the software and show you how to use it.
Most CRM software even offers free trials. So you can explore the CRM software’s features to check if the system is easy to use.
Do not make the mistake of purchasing a CRM that has a steep learning curve. The adoption rate will be low among your team if the system is difficult to navigate. So take the free trial to determine if the software will be beneficial for your small business.
Best CRM software of 2021 for small businesses
To help you navigate the endless sea of CRM software, I’ve compiled a list of the top ten best small business CRM solutions.
Salesmate CRM is a highly intuitive cloud-based software that provides unprecedented visibility into different parts of the sales process. Its rich features and simple interface makes it the best solution for small businesses.
Salesmate CRM is a versatile tool that integrates with several third-party apps. Its highly interactive dashboard indicates that the CRM was designed carefully, keeping the user experience in mind.
Its automated workflows, real-time sales intelligence, deep pipeline visibility, exceptional power dialler, and email tracking capabilities help in faster deal closure and maintaining lasting relationships with customers.
Agile CRM is a robust CRM for growing businesses. It offers a unified platform to store and maintain customer data in one place systematically. It is packed with excellent features that help small businesses to synchronise, organise, and communicate with potential buyers in a much better way.
Agile CRM can be integrated with social, support, and billing apps. To ensure successful implementation, it offers various resources like introductory videos and user guides.
Hubspot is an advanced CRM software that simplifies the process of marketing and sales management. Everything about sales leads is streamlined on one platform, eliminating the need to dig through inboxes for finding any information.
Hubspot CRM has a wide range of add ons, offering small businesses more flexibility. It provides seamless automation and has excellent tracking capabilities. With its wide array of features, Hubspot CRM helps save time at every stage of the sales process.
Pipedrive is a web-based sales CRM that helps small businesses get their sales efforts organised. It provides a clear overview of the sales pipeline making it easier to track deals.
Pipedrive CRM’s dashboard is the right mixture of simplicity and information density.
Sales teams can easily import data and sync emails inside this intuitive CRM software. It provides timely notification and enables accurate project of sales revenue.
Insightly is a high-end CRM that helps small businesses manage contacts, track relationships, monitor sales pipeline, and more.
It provides a holistic view of all the contacts and has a neat dashboard for quick lookups. Insightly CRM provides training videos to familiarise small businesses with its various functionalities.
It offers Outlook and Gmail plugins. Insightly even offers tools for integrating with other systems. Insightly CRM has a clean interface that is easy to navigate. Various customisations are possible in this intuitive sales software.
Nimble CRM is an excellent option for small businesses looking for social CRM. It seamlessly syncs with various social media channels and provides the data sales team needs for converting their leads.
It helps small business teams nurture their customer relationship over emails, social networks, and various cloud-based business applications. Nimble also offers strong contact and pipeline management features for closing deals faster.
Nutshell is a simple yet effective CRM that gives small businesses full control over their sales. It helps teams of all sizes stay organised and keeps them updated with all the opportunities in their database.
Nutshell CRM is a fully customisable solution that is easy to implement and use. It offers tutorials to help small business teams use the software effectively. It integrates with G Suite, Microsoft Office, and Office 365.
Salesforce is a power-packed solution for businesses that aim to grow. It has a wide spectrum of features and is easily customisable to fit almost every use case.
Salesforce CRM integrates with thousands of third-party applications. It empowers marketing and sales teams to make decisions based on real-time data. From marketing automation to sales management, a lot can be done using this advanced software.
Copper CRM is a comprehensive tool that provides an all-round view of the business. It works best with G-suite and has excellent reporting capabilities. Copper CRM is a perfect tool that small businesses need to manage sales and grow customer relationships.
You can automate most of the tedious and repetitive tasks with this useful small business CRM software. Copper CRM offers a flexible pipeline management tool, and its API is extendable via Zapier.
amoCRM is an all-in-one sales solution designed to help sales teams close more deals. It helps organise contacts and track the progress of each deal.
amoCRM maintains a centralised database and offers automation to eliminate time-consuming and error-prone manual processes. With the help of this user-friendly software, small business teams can manage tasks, create customised reports, and call customers with just a single click. It even has a built-in team messaging tool to boost collaborative productivity and improve communication across the team.
Growing a startup or a small business is undoubtedly not an easy task. However, many big names in the industry started with just a few pounds and turned to be exemplars of successful entrepreneurship.
Make sure you analyse and define your needs before commencing the small business or startup CRM hunt. Discuss with your team and prioritise your needs; this will help you choose the right features your small business requires.
Explore various software and pick the top three CRM software solutions that align with your needs. Read reviews about them, see what their users feel about the CRM software. Ask for a demo to understand how the system functions. With the free trial, try to find out if the system is easy to use, or you will have to invest hours in learning it. Opt for a solution that makes your work easier and offers you the benefits that will help you in taking your small business to the next level.
Originally published Oct 07, 2020, updated May 17, 2023