Small Business Software – Choosing CRM Platforms
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Small Business Software – Choosing CRM Platforms

Small Business Software – Choosing CRM Platforms

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management system.  This software enables you to input and store all the data related to your business relationships.  Information on your leads and clients are available to you and members of your team.  It’s easy to see where you are in terms of the sales goals, what your departments are doing, and all your customer data in one location and readily available.

The main reasons why a CRM system is important is because they allow you to organize all your operations efficiently into one platform.  You can record all the data compiled on customers into their contact information.  This accumulated information can be aggregated to for insights into fulfilling their wants and needs.  Leads are useless until someone works to turn them into opportunities.  With a CRM, you can see at a glance the state of development of a lead, who is working it, and what stage of development it is in.

If your business has several social media accounts, the CRM will organize them all into one on the dashboard.  You can view the latest posts at a glance and publish to the platforms directly from the dashboard.  One of the best features of a CRM is its Automation.  It streamlines and makes all your operations easier and more efficient.

CRM Software

Selecting the Ideal CRM For Your Business

To determine which CRM will work best for you, it’s important to define your company ’s main objective.  Do you have an IT department to get the platform up and running or do you need out-of-the-box software with no tweaking or technical ability required?  Is mobility important to you?  Does the app need to be mobile friendly?  Will the software you choose to work effectively with the other systems you already have set up?  A CRM with limited mobile abilities is useless to a company with salesmen out in the field all day who need to report in with their progress.

Choices For Select Small Businesses.

1.Sole Proprietorship and Small business: Hubspot

Pros:

  • 1.Free CRM software makes it a good fit for any budget.
  • 2.Connects to G-mail and Outlook for easy setup for email campaigns.
  • 3.Great for businesses with a small staff that does most of their business through email.
  • 4.The entire setup is user-friendly, so you don’t need a tech department to set it up.
  • 5.Templates and special startup instructions are included.
  • 6.You can monitor and publish to your social media platforms from the dashboard.

Cons:

  • 7.Although Hubspot is user-friendly, due to its myriad of options, unless you are tech-savvy, it can be confusing.
  • 8.The focus is on inbound rather than outbound operations.
  • 9.It’s not a system which allows multiple choices with restrictions or permissions.  It’s basically all or nothing with Hubspot.

1.Best CRM for Small to Mid-sized companies:  Insightly

Pros:

  • a.Allows small companies to compete with enterprise-level software.
  • b.The dashboard can be customized to fit the company’s industry, market, and needs.
  • c.Managers from all the departments within the company customize features in the ways which work best to suit their needs.
  • d.Rather than inadequately lumping the demands of a mid-sized company with a smaller company or over-whelming it with the massive needs of an enterprise company, it allows small companies the flexibility to adjust the features to fit growing needs.

Cons:

  • e.Some users complain customer support is only useful for basic problems. Complex issues can go unanswered.
  • f.The pay version is expensive.
  • g.Difficult to block certain people from full permissions in the software.

2.Best CRM for Small Businesses Experiencing a Growth Spurt: BPM’ Online

Pros:

  • a.Flawlessly accommodates small to large-scale marketing operations and strategies.
  • b.Gives growing companies the ability to generate more leads and close more sales.
  • c.Allows easy migration to other CRM systems in place.
  • d.Allows the segregation of different roles and access permissions.
  • e.Allows businesses to manage relationships with a growing customer base.
  • f.Coordinates increasing marketing, sales, and customer support actions.

Cons:

  • g.Has limited numbers of connectors to certain popular online social media and apps
  • h.Some basic operations require a complex implementation to operate. Ex: simple calculations
  • i.BPM’Online is constantly upgrading to improve the applications and non-tech-savvy users may have problems adapting to new changes.

3.Best CRM for Small International Businesses: Zoho CRM

Pros:

  • a.Supports and easily navigates to 25 different languages within the system.
  • b.It’s mobile friendly and supports several platforms including PC, Mac, Linux, and web-based protocol.
  • c.Allows you to make international calls from directly within the system.
  • d.Provides multi-currency support features.
  • e.Allows for the easy consolidation of financial information from different locations.
  • f.Helpful options are available to manage international shipping.
  • g.Includes multi-language support.

Cons

  • h.The free version is limited with no mass emails or analytics.
  • i.Some users haven’t been satisfied with the customer support provided.
  • j.Users sometimes run into a brick wall with certain setup and permission issues.

4.Best CRM for Small IM Businesses: Freshsales CRM

Pros:

  • a.Freshsales allows you to see who has opened your emails and who has ignored them.
  • b.You’re able to see who is interested in what you have to offer and the leads you should direct further efforts to.
  • c.The platform offers templates you can customize for your email campaigns.
  • d.Provides email metrics, calendar syncing, scheduling, web to lead applications, mobile integration.
  • e.It automatically profiles contacts and leads and integrates their social media into the platform.
  • f.It supports various platforms including Linux and web-based protocol.
  • g.Supports 10 different languages, and offers a free trial version.
  • h.It’s scalable to any size business.
  • i.It’s mobile-friendly and allows you to take the platform with you wherever you happen to be.

Cons

  • j.There is a high learning curve with this software and non-tech-savvy users may experience some issues.
  • k.There are limitations on the abilities of the mobile application.
  • l.Some users experienced problems linking between Freshsales and Freshdesk.

Top Consideration: Individual Needs

These are just examples with specific features which may be of advantage to different types and sizes of businesses. CRMs aren’t one-size fits all type of software. The needs of the business must be taken into consideration when selecting a system. What might work brilliantly for one type of operation will prove inadequate for another.  Some CRMs offer features that are created with Enterprise operations in mind, while others offer simple solutions to small or growing operations.  Even if you are a small company, if a CRM designed for large operations may have the features most important to your business. Most CRMs are scalable to accommodate differing needs of businesses. The variety of CRMs on the market give you the opportunity to pick and choose the ones which work best for your situation.

Author Bio:

Charles Watson currently is the head content writer & SEO for Willow Springs Recovery out of Texas.  A lifelong health advocate, at this time of year you can catch him at the local Detroit Pistons games.  He can be reached directly on Twitter at @charleswatson00.

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