Best CRM Software Small Business: Why Should I Care?
Does your small business even need a CRM software? Since there are so many moving parts to managing a successful company, getting great tools to help you run everything like clockwork is one of the most important things you can do. Customer relationship management (CRM) software helps you to organize, manage, and oversee the entire marketing and sales process. After all, revenue is king, so having an efficient and well-organized sales and marketing department is critical to the success of any organization.
Sometimes a full-on CRM can be an overkill for some businesses. If you are looking for more of an email marketing platform (with CRM capabilities) to organize and email your lists, take a look at our guide on the best email marketing platforms.
Actually, a CRM is an amazing tool that will help you stay on top of your sales & marketing departments, track your progress & results, and make sure nothing falls through the cracks. A CRM will allow you to design your business’s sales lifecycle and oversee the entire sales & marketing process. It will allow you to utilize different modules such as contacts, organizations/companies, leads, and deals/opportunities. You will be able to automate your process using workflows. You will have access to tools like internal email notifications, activities, advanced email marketing, data & reporting, filters, and much more.
Is getting a CRM for your business worth the money? Absolutely! Having a CRM could save you tons of money on labor costs and allow you to handle more volume. A CRM also ensures no clients slip through the cracks and no sales are lost due to disorganization. You can also collect valuable data and refine your marketing and sales processes.
The CRM you decide to go with should depend on your specific needs. You could be searching for the best CRM for small business operations, or for complex and sophisticated CRMs.
The Basics Of CRM’s
To clarify, different CRMs work in different ways and have their unique styles and functionalities. However, because CRM’s are almost always used to help businesses accomplish the same thing (managing marketing and sales), most CRM’s have a lot in common. Let’s go over some of the functions you’ll be working with regardless of what CRM you go with.
If your firm is B2B, you will need records of companies/organizations in your CRM. You should add a company record (with complete information about the company) for each prospect or client you contact.
These records represent real people you’re communicating with. If your business is B2C (business-to-consumer), your records are of customers (end users) that you’re selling products or services to. However, if your company is B2B, then your contacts/people records should be linked directly to the companies/organizations that they represent. For example, if you are in contact with Bob (who is the firm’s CEO) with the aim of selling your product/service to the company, you need to create a contact record for Bob and link it to the company record in your CRM.
Deals represent the business opportunity or potential sale you can strike with a contact or company. Many people look at a deal as a dollar value. Generally, it is the deal, not the contact or company, that will travel through your CRM’s sales cycle.
Fields are essentially categories that you can use to store all important information about companies, contacts, deals, activities, and more. For example, contact fields could include First Name, Last Name, Email Address, Phone Number, and Job Title. Company fields can include address, City, Business Phone Number, Number Of Employees, and Company Industry. You will be able to use this information in the CRM for many things, so it’s important you store as much information as possible for each record using fields.
Activities allow you to create tasks for yourself (or others on your team) related to any CRM record’s activities. In fact, activities could be reminders to complete actions like making a call, writing an email, sending more information, or anything else you need to do. Most CRMs allow you to view your activities in many different formats including calendar and list views.
On the other hand, pipelines are used to define your marketing & sales cycles. For example, you could have a pipeline for nurturing leads, a pipeline for selling leads, and one for onboarding.
Stages are sub-sections of pipelines. They help you to break down pipelines into specific steps. Deal records travel through the stages as they move forward in the sales cycle. Stages could be named “1st call,” “1st email,” “left a voicemail,” “no-showed scheduled meeting,” “getting approval,” and so on. Select your pipelines and stages depending on your marketing and sales cycles.
Workflows are my favorite part of every CRM. They allow you to really customize your CRM configuration to suit your specific business needs. Basically, workflows are used to automate a wide range of items and processes in your CRM, such as emails/sequences and changes in field values. You can even automate the creation of activities and much more! Use fields to create your workflows and triggers. For example, you can run a workflow to add “MST” for the timezone field of all company records you have that are located in Colorado (field: State=CO).
Filters allow you to view a specific set of any type of record (company, contacts, activities, deals) based on their field values (for example: show me all people records that have an email address and are in certain pipes/stages).
To summarize, there are many CRM’s out there on the market. Here’s a description and review of some of the tools that fall into the “best CRM software small business” category.
The two most important things you should know about HubSpot are:
- HubSpot is extremely good in just about every area
- HubSpot is on the pricier side of CRMs
While HubSpot still falls into the best CRM software small business category, it is on the more sophisticated side of CRMs.
Why is HubSpot so good?
First of all, it’s definitely a top CRM software and it’s very user-friendly. In fact, everything is set up intuitively and the different capabilities of the CRM are easy to find and operate. The automation and workflows are very advanced and allow you to customize your process based on your unique needs. HubSpot’s workflows are cross-module workflows, which is a feature that many CRM’s don’t have. HubSpot has an extremely advanced emailing tool and allows you to email different people/companies with sequences, campaigns, and workflows.
Furthermore, HubSpot has very many different functionalities and uses, including social media management, ads integrations, landing pages, funnels, and more.
How expensive is HubSpot?
Primarily, it depends on how many users you have and what you want to use the CRM for. The most basic HubSpot marketing plan costs $45/month. However, if you need more users, contacts, and functionalities in your CRM, the pricing increases dramatically. In fact, depending on your needs, you could easily be spending upwards of $1000/month on your HubSpot subscription. If you are willing to pay for quality, talk to the HubSpot sales team to see what plan is right for you.
Zoho CRM has its upsides and downsides. The biggest upside is that it is one of the cheaper CRM’s. Depending on what plan you elect to go with, the pricing for Zoho CRM ranges from $14/month per user to $52/month per user. Zoho CRM is intuitive and easy to use. The workflows will enable you to accomplish a wide range of tasks.
And so, if you have a simple sales and marketing structure (particularly if you are a B2C business), Zoho CRM is definitely worth looking into. It is arguably the best CRM for small business. If you have a more complex sales cycle, you could still use this CRM, but it may require that you to put in some time and effort on the setup. Zoho CRM doesn’t handle very complex marketing and sales cycles as well as HubSpot does.
I would consider getting the premium support option if you go with Zoho CRM, as it is very affordable and the customer service is excellent. If you have a complex sales cycle, definitely get premium support.
Pipedrive is a slick-looking and intuitive CRM that performs great in most areas. It is also on the cheaper end of CRM’s, starting at $12.50/user per month. If you elect to go for the best plan, the price is $99/user per month. Pipedrive is considered to be one of the best CRMs for small business. Although you can use Pipedrive for both marketing and sales, it is a sales-focused CRM.
In addition, Pipedrive has a unique feature called rotten days that other CRMs lack, making it simpler to track how long a deal remains in each stage of the sales cycle. The feature also suggests when it is time to move a deal along in the marketing and sales processes. The biggest criticism I personally have of Pipedrive is the importing process. While you will be able to complete most imports without much problem on Pipedrive, some complex imports might cause you some issues.
Keap, formerly known as Infusionsoft, also falls into the best CRM software small business category. One of its highlights is the workflow and emailing capabilities, which are extremely cool! It is easy to use, looks cool, and gives you many different functions. You can send different emails based on opens, clicks, and a wide range of other user activity.
In addition, Keap also has other great functions like full funnels, landing pages, and drag-and-drop editors. Keap is on the more expensive side of CRM’s but still not as expensive as HubSpot. It starts at $79/user per month for the starting plan, and increases in price depending on your subscription type, number of users, and number of contacts.
Software Small Business salesforce is the world’s most popular CRM in 2021 with over 150,000 users. While it is a best CRM software small business can use – if you are on a tight budget, you should probably consider implementing a different CRM. However, if you are looking for a top-notch, complete solution, then you should definitely consider Saleforce.
Salesforce is a very complete and comprehensive solution that can handle many of your business needs. Moreover, Salesforce offers several premium products that a small business would need, including Sales, Marketing, Service, Analytics, Commerce, and much more. You can start with one of these, a handful, or all of them. Each individual Salesforce solution you get costs an additional subscription fee. Salesforce is known for its highly customizable nature and sophistication. Some complaints I’ve heard is that it’s too complicated for small businesses with limited needs. However, if you’re looking for a solid tool with few limitations that allows your business to scale, Salesforce may just be the right CRM for you.
Choosing Your Top CRM Software
In conclusion, your top CRM software is definitely out there – there are many great options to choose from. The five CRM’s we decided to cover are diverse in price and functionality and should be a great fit for almost all small businesses. We chose some of the more elite and expensive software (HubSpot and Salesforce), a mid-range CRM (Keap), and some of the most cost-efficient CRMs for small businesses (Zoho and Pipedrive).
Moreover, I would recommend writing down all of your CRM business needs, choosing a few of the most likely CRM matches, and then setting up calls with the CRM’s sales people to explore their features. Most CRMs offer free trials! It is highly recommended to set up free trials with multiple different CRM’s and try them out to see which ones you prefer, before making a commitment. After all, choosing the best CRM software for your business is not a small thing and so you should do your due diligence.
And remember, a full-on CRM might be overkill for your business needs right now. You can also use an email platform with some CRM capabilities. Check out the best email platforms and their price ranges.
Good luck friend!