CRM helps businesses keep customers, find prospects and increase sales.
Credit: Growth image via Shutterstock
Customer relationship management (CRM) is an invaluable tool that lets businesses find, manage and keep customers. By organizing prospects and current customers in a centralized platform, CRM gives businesses a bird's-eye view of their pipeline, allowing them to streamline processes, deliver stellar customer service and increase sales. Finding the right CRM solution, however, can be a challenge for small businesses. Because many CRM services are created for large enterprises, they aren't just expensive, but are also too technically complex for small business users. Instead, here are five CRM solutions that are affordable, easy to use and specifically designed to fulfill small business needs.
Punchh combines mobile app and CRM technology to help brands engage with and gather data from consumers on their smartphones. First, it integrates with point-of-sale (POS) systems, email marketing solutions and analytics tools, giving businesses 360-degree insights to help them get to know their customers better. Data sources include mobile loyalty programs, mobile payments, mobile ordering systems, surveys, reviews and more. Punchh can also measure word-of-mouth return on investment (ROI) from social networks — by connecting with customers' Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media accounts, brands can see what's being said about them, whether customers recommend them to friends and followers, and then track the path to purchase from those referrals.
SharpSpring lets businesses automate their marketing so they can spend more time building better, stronger customer relationships. It offers both Web tracking and call tracking, helping businesses drive leads and convert them to sales. For example, when a customer requests for more information from an online form, Sharpspring automatically sends the customer a targeted email and notifies a sales rep. This allows the sales rep to quickly start a conversation and develop the opportunity, for instance, by sending the customer an offer when they revisit the website. Similarly, SharpSpring's fully integrated call tracking system lets businesses distribute dedicated phone numbers, making it easy to track phone customers and equip sales reps with the data they need to better nurture phone-based leads. [How to Use CRM for Your Small Business]
Yesware helps businesses build better relationships and increase sales by tracking and analyzing customer emails. Features include alerts when emails are opened, notifications when links are clicked, custom email templates to better increase conversions, follow-up reminders and analytics to figure out what works and what doesn't. Yesware is available for Gmail and Outlook, as well as Firefox and Chrome extensions. The platform is also now available on iOS with Yesware Mobile. In addition to Yesware's email tracking capabilities, the Yesware Mobile app also comes with a click-to-call feature, so you can easily contact prospects from your mobile phone immediately after they open an email. Yesware starts at $10 per month; a free version is also available, but is limited to 100 tracking events per month.
Tactile is all about simplifying CRM by integrating its Web-based contact and sales management system with the rest of your tech ecosystem. This allows businesses to easily access and share customer information from multiple sources in a centralized location. In addition to letting you easily manage sales pipelines, notes, emails and other sales activities, Tactile works seamlessly with tools most businesses already use. This includes invoicing tool FreshBooks, mailing list management tool Campaign Monitor and customer support system ZenDesk, as well as Google Apps, ShoeBoxed and Cloud Contacts. Tactile CRM is free to use and does not require a credit card to sign up.
[For a side-by-side comparison of the best CRM software visit our sister site Top Ten Reviews.]
Insightly is a comprehensive online CRM software that has everything a small business needs to keep an eye on their customers and the entire business. Users can manage everything from contacts to projects and workflows, as well as create real-time opportunity reports, automate activities and track milestones. Insightly also integrates with social media — just plug in a contact's email address and it will find virtually all social media accounts under that email address — and popular business apps like Google Apps, Office 365, MailChimp, Evernote and more. The full version of Insightly starts at $7 per user per month. A free version is also available, but is limited to 2,500 records and three users.
6. SugarCRM for Small Business
SugarCRM aims to let businesses create personal, one-to-one connections with customers. It provides a 360 view of customers, which includes individual histories, key contacts and account intelligence to gain a better understanding of who customers and prospects are and what they are looking for. Other features include sales automation and forecasting, support automation, reporting tools and mobile access. Businesses also have a choice of whether they wish to deploy the service on-premise or on the cloud. SugarCRM starts at $35 per user per month.
7. Salesforce Small Business Solutions
Popular enterprise CRM software Salesforce now offers big business capabilities at a small business scale and price tag. Its features include complete contact management to help the business grow by tracking tasks, deals and opportunities; real-time collaboration; automation to improve business processes; and integration with apps like Outlook, Desk.com, iContact, Box and more. Salesforce also aims to help businesses create better customer experiences with customizable ordering systems (for instance, via mobile app), individual customer case management, up-to-date interaction histories and ticket support systems. Salesforce starts at $25 per user per month.
If you need a CRM solution without all the frills, Batchbook offers a simple CRM platform packed with all the necessary features to get organized and close more sales. In addition to keeping track of deals, projects and workflows, users can build to-do lists, create customer groups with action items, collaborate with team members, set up text and email reminders, and more. Batchbook also aims to make getting started a breeze — simply drag-and-drop a CSV spreadsheet or vCard files of your customers and the software will automatically create individual, data-rich contact profiles. For added capabilities, Batchbook integrates with popular business apps and social networks such as Eventbrite, Mailchimp, Intuit, Google, Hootsuite, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Unlike most CRM services that charge a per-user fee, Batchbook starts with a flat fee of $35 a month for your entire team.
ContactMe is another simple CRM solution that makes it easy to find and keep track of customers. It lets users organize contacts, leads and customers in one place, and attach any notes, emails, files and other associated information to individual contact profiles. ContactMe also helps sales teams stay on top of appointments, meetings and deadlines with calendar tools and reminders. Other features include button and form creation — which can be added to your website, Facebook page and other Web properties to generate leads — and data syncing with Facebook, Constant Contact, MailChimp, Wordpress and other marketing tools. ContactMe is free to use for individual users. A full-featured account costs $7.42 per month.
Originally published on Business News Daily.