What is CRM Software?
CRM software has gained quite massive popularity over the last few years. Today, we are going to look at what is a CRM software, why a small business or startup needs CRM, and the 9 best CRM for small businesses in 2020.
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. To describe it in one line, CRM software is used to manage all the company’s interactions and relationships with its existing and potential customers.
It is a system that can take data from different sources like the company’s website, social media accounts, emails, phone helpline, ERP system, and any other channel and put it all together in one place.
What this means is that if your customer has purchased something from your website and later posted a complaint on your Facebook page, the CRM system will put these 2 things together under the customer’s name.
When the service team tries to resolve the problem, they can see in the CRM software all the information, communication, and history of this customer, like when was the product purchased, when was it delivered, any support requested by the customer, the replies, etc. This makes it easier for them to understand the root cause of any problem and quickly resolve it.
CRM software helps to increase sales and profitability for any company. How? By getting new leads, nurturing them, and ultimately converting them into customers. It also helps to drive more sales from existing customers by understanding their behavior and purchase patterns. The best thing is that all this can be automated in the CRM software.
Before we go further into why your small business or startup needs a CRM software, let us look at very apt advice from Bill Gates to all the entrepreneurs:
“How you gather, manage, and use information will determine whether you win or lose.”
Cloud-based CRMs (SaaS) are much easier to deploy and use for small businesses, as there is no need to buy or maintain expensive IT infrastructure. Also, the costs are quite reasonable and can be easily customized depending on your company’s current size and requirements.
Let us now look at top 9 CRM software for small businesses and startups.
Best CRM for small businesses and startups in 2020
1. Hubspot CRM:
When it comes to CRM for small businesses, Hubspot is among the most popular CRM software out there that helps businesses take control of what they like to refer to as “inbound marketing”. According to Hubspot, inbound marketing is the quintessential “human” approach towards business expansion and development. Hubspot has customers in over 120 countries and boasts of an audience base of over 86,000 businesses. The tool focuses on helping small businesses build value during the lead management and sales process by offering myriad ways of attracting, interacting, and engaging with both potential and existing customers.
Why you should check it out: Hubspot is perfect for small businesses that are having a rough time managing their leads or are having trouble generating leads at all. If you have been trying out other methods of attracting customers with little or no success, or find yourself having to juggle between numerous Excel Sheets, emails, visiting cards, and other traditional methods to manage your leads, Hubspot is a lifesaver.
Core Features: Hubspot offers a variety of features that allows a business to build a comprehensive funnel for lead management and post-conversion communication. The tool allows you to do everything necessary to understand a potential consumer and to use this knowledge to build and nurture long-lasting relationships with them. This includes being able to monitor their activity on your website to creating custom follow-up emails.
- The basic plan is completely FREE
- A high degree of customizability
- Extremely scalable, perfect for small businesses & startups
- An extensive resource library to get started
- Intimate and efficient customer service
- Sales, Marketing and Content Management, all under one digital roof
- Highly flexible pricing structures
Hubspot CRM – Free for Unlimited users
Marketing Hub – $50 – $3200 per month
Sales Hub – $50 – $1200 per month
Service Hub – $50 – $1200 per month
Growth Suite (all in one) – $113 – $4200 per month
Get started with Hubspot CRM for Free.
The Pipedrive CRM was built with a singular purpose in mind, to make CRM tools that are friendly, intuitive, and aligned towards the mindset, capabilities, and needs of a sales representative rather than top company executives. In other words, Pipedrive is the perfect sales management tools geared to be your sales representative’s personal log for easy and efficient management of potential leads.
Why you should check it out: if you are looking to enable and enhance your sales representative’s capabilities by offering them a personalized and customizable tool, then Pipedrive is where you ought to place your bet.
Core Features: Simplicity is the keyword when it comes to Pipedrive CRM as it is geared to make the life of your sales team easier than ever. It boasts of a minimalistic user interface that is customizable as per your company’s needs and demands. One of the best visual intricacies of the tool is that it offers the sales team the chance to understand the stage and level of interaction pertaining to a lead at one glance itself. Some of the other core features include goal setting modules that are customizable for each lead, as well as sales reporting, email integration, and other features that most CRMs offer.
- Intuitive and easy to use UI
- Built to allow flawless lead management without the fluff
- Deal pipeline is built with increased visibility and collaboration in mind
- High degree of customization that extends to all parts of the tool
- Complete mobile optimization along with a dedicated mobile app
- Limited Social media integration
- Limited customization options for lead management
Free trial – 30 days
Essential – $15 per user/month
Advanced – $29 per user/month
Professional – $59 per user/month
Enterprise – $99 per user/month
Get started with Pipedrive CRM for Free.
Freshsales is an upcoming CRM for small business in the SaaS space (software-as-a-service) that has focused on certain core areas that other CRM software still haven’t ventured into. One of these is the ability to develop extensive contexts around leads, especially about their preferences, in-app interactions, email activities, and more.
Why you should check it out: Freshsales CRM is perfect for small businesses who want the fundamentals of CRM software without having to put a lot of time and money into its management. The ability to understand your initial audience deeply via website and email interactions is also a crucial aspect that small businesses need to grow and mature.
Core Features: This CRM tool offers the ability to develop intricate profiles of your leads by delving into the intimate aspects of their behavior, including web application events tracking. Freshsales has also developed extensive mobile device-based communication actions, such as voicemail integration, click-to-call functionalities, and more. Moreover, the CRM software also offers unlimited storage space along with free 24/7 customer service capabilities.
- Simple and fast onboarding
- Extremely efficient and clean UI
- Supports extensive call-based functionalities, including direct call, call masking, etc
- Easily access contact/lead history to mold future interactions
- AI-based lead scoring systems spanning industries and territories
- Limited Marketing ROI Analytics
- Functions such as issuing quotes, invoicing, and order management are not included.
Sprout – Free for unlimited users
Blossom – $12 per user/month
Garden – $25 per user/month
Estate – $49 per user/month
Forest – $79 per user/month
Get started with Freshsales for Free.
4. ZOHO CRM
Zoho CRM stakes it’s claim as being the epitome of efficiency, simplicity, and ease. At the time of writing this article, Zoho CRM boasts of an audience base of over 50 million users, most of which are startups and small businesses. Some of the core features that it provides to small businesses include automation and customization of workflows. With its AI-powered sales assistant, Zia, managing leads becomes easier than ever.
Why you should check it out: The Zoho CRM is specifically built for businesses that are looking to not spend too much time on managing their leads so that they can focus on other more important things, like creating content. As a CRM for small businesses, Zoho allows you to have a lean mean machine to streamline your workflows.
Core Features: Zoho CRM offers the core features of contact management as Hubspot does, but above and beyond that, it also offers sales forecast tools as well as the ability to create your own lead scoring rules. The CRM also offers order management capabilities, which is not a feature offering in Hubspot.
- Conversational AI
- In-depth forecast reports
- Customizability of lead management norms
- Automation capabilities for various tasks
- Simplicity and ease of use
- Free plan is for up to 3 users only
- Social media functionality is only available in the paid plans
- A considerable amount of customization is needed before starting
Standard – $12 per user/month
Professional – $20 per user/month
Enterprise – $35 per user/month
Get started with Zoho CRM for Free
5. Agile CRM
Agile CRM is known for offering some of the functional benefits that big businesses swear by, to small businesses. This sophisticated CRM tool is perfect for businesses looking for affordable options and extensive features.
Core Features: Agile CRM offers sales support, lead management, marketing automation, and service integration within one easy-to-use interface. Some of the core features include the ability to create custom appointments as well as drag-and-drop enabled customization of reports. With big business functionalities, small businesses can leverage the sophistication and advanced features that make promote scaling up of existing capabilities, not to mention the immense advantages they offer to workplace culture. Being a CRM for small business, it also supports a vast reservoir of plugins that an organization can use to extend its functionalities.
- Integrate exit intent pop-ups on your landing pages to increase conversion rates
- Contains a dedicated Chrome Extension for scraping leads off of social media
- Enhanced via the use of gamification to make lead generation more fun
- SMS and Video Emails are also supported by the CRM
- Free plan (for up to 10 users) offers limited features such as support for a maximum of 5 campaigns
- Customer support is available only 24/5 ( and not 24/7)
Free plan – up to ten users
Starter – $8.99 per user/month
Regular – $29.99 per user/month
Enterprise – $47.99 per user/month
Get started with Agile CRM for Free
6. Copper CRM
When deciding upon a CRM for small businesses, some of the core benefits to look for include simplicity, ease, automation, comprehensiveness, and collaboration-friendliness. Copper CRM nails all of these aspects with a visually appealing, simple, and intuitive user interface, along with third-party integration capabilities that allow it to seamlessly align its functionalities with that of GSuite. This means not only is it easy to adapt to Copper CRM, but it also contributes to the efficiency of existing functionalities sending emails to leads.
Core Features: Aesthetically pleasing pipeline management, ability to manage communications with leads and contacts via text, voice as well as email, along with the voice transcription functionalities for notes, are some of the defining features that make Copper CRM perfect for a small business. You can also use Copper to develop better coordination amongst your team members through custom alerts, while also making it easy for them to customize their workflow using filters and drag-and-drop functionalities.
- Integrates very well with G suite and all other Google products
- Copper CRM can work from directly within the Gmail inbox
- Simple and visually appealing UI makes it a breeze to use for daily functionalities
- Increased visibility in terms of lead journeys
- Built-in communication tools in Copper make it especially easy to coordinate with team members and even departments
- Gamification via the use of leaderboards encourages increased rates of lead conversion
- Even though the UI of Copper is intuitive, learning about its intricacies can take some time
- Attachments are allowed for emails being sent through Copper CRM and hence, a back-and-forth synchronous movement between the CRM and Gmail has to be maintained
Basic Plan – $19 per user/month
Professional Plan – $49 per user/month
Business Plan – $119 per user/month
Get started with Copper CRM for Free
7. Capsule CRM
Capsule CRM offers the ability to store data about your leads under numerous categories, thereby enabling you to create a vast knowledge reservoir of each potential customer you are pursuing. This makes it an especially powerful B2B CRM tool. Moreover, it provides critical information on the opportunities for your business, based on the interactions with the leads.
Core Features: Periodic data backups, integration with multiple third-party applications such as Xero and Mailchimp, report generation and opportunity reminders for leads, to-do lists for team members, and easy import and export functionalities for contact data are just some of the core features of Capsule CRM.
- Easy to use and aesthetically pleasing user interface
- Seamless integration with GSuite and associated Google Apps
- Customizable pipelines for deals
- Sales forecasting, sales reports and activity-based reports for each team member
- Custom reporting functionality
- Limited native integration with third-party software and services
- Limited marketing functionalities
Basic Plan – Free
Professional – $18 per user/month
Teams – $36 per user/month
Get started with Capsule CRM for Free
If you feel that investing the time and effort for maintaining CRM software outside your existing workflow is a cumbersome proposition, Streak CRM is for you. Integrated directly and seamlessly with Gmail, it captures leads, allows automation of marketing workflows, and provides a holistic lead management system, all based on the communications that your business does through your official email account.
Core features: you can use the Streak CRM to know in real-time as to who has opened your emails, curate personalized emails to potential customers, schedule email conversations according to set temporal goals and utilize a vast library of snippets and commonly written mail to up you follow-up game.
- Easy and seamless integration without the need for a different high-maintenance CRM
- Works exclusively with existing communication and hence, is simple and intuitive
- Helps in making email communication more streamlined as well as more effective
- Allows integration with GSuite apps such as Calendar
- Offers a wide set of reporting tools to help you better manage your email conversations
- Is specifically confined to Gmail
- Limited features when compared to other top CRMs in its space
- Deal pipeline not as well developed and intuitive as compared to other CRMs
Basic CRM – Free
Solo – $15 per user/month
Pro – $49 per user/month
Enterprise – $129 per user/month
Get started with Streak CRM for Free
The unique aspect that characterizes the Insightly CRM is its integrated project management functionality. The ability to approach contact interaction in the form of projects adds a whole other dimension of flexibility and intricacy to the customer engagement aspect of a business. The user interface of Insightly is built upon two fundamental elements, namely Objects (projects, leads, contacts, etc) and Fields (notes, email, website, phone, etc).
Core Features: The project management element of Insightly allows you to carve out niche opportunities and unique funnels for each contact through the use of Activity Sets – groups of tasks that can be aligned with a specific contact and assigned to different team members. The reporting feature of Insightly offers “insights” into various aspects, such as reasons behind the loss of a potential lead, funnel stage analysis, opportunity value of a lead, and more.
- Functional focus on time management
- Ability to help coordinate between teams and individuals employees
- Provides the chance to innovative and be creative with customer engagement
- Scans social media profiles and integrates the same for contacts/leads
- Integration possibilities with Gmail, Office 365, Google Drive, Outlook, etc
- Reporting capabilities are severely restricted in terms of customizability
- Limited features and options for free and lower-tier plans
Plus – $29 per user/month
Professional – $49 per user/month
Enterprise – $99 per user/month
Get started with Insightly CRM for Free
Why your small business or startup needs CRM software?
As per this research here, CRM software revenues are expected to reach over USD 80 billion by 2025. And hence it is currently the biggest and the fastest growing software market in the world.
What is the one common objective of all small businesses and startups?
Answer- TO GROW
Growth can mean different things for different companies- An increase in sales, an increase in profitability, getting new customers, having repeat purchases from existing customers, growth in customer satisfaction, increased customer loyalty, stronger brand connect, etc.
The good news is that all these things and much more can be achieved from a CRM software.
The problem is that often a lot of small business owners think that their business is not yet ready or not big enough to use a CRM system. They tell themselves that they will invest it in the future. However, they forget that the right CRM software can fast forward their business into the future!
According to Buyer Zone (now acquired by Business.com), 91% of companies with more than 11 employees now use a CRM software.
This is a staggering number, isn’t it?
1. Store and organize all your customer data at one place
2. Keep track of customer interactions from various channels like email, social media, phone, website, etc. in a single dashboard.
3. Allow you to segment your data. Eg. By age, past spend, interests, etc.
4. Identify leads for your business and give each of them a lead score
5. Tell your sales team which are the hottest leads and need to be prioritized
6. Run specific marketing campaigns targeting a particular customer segment
7. Monitor results of each campaign
8. Up-sell and cross-sell to existing customers
9. The service team can know the complete history of a customer when talking to them
10. Can easily develop a loyalty program for your customers
11. Can quickly get feedback from your most loyal customers using a survey
and so much more.
“You don’t close a sale, you open a relationship if you want to build a long-term, successful enterprise.”–Patricia Fripp
If you are a small business or a startup owner, you should invest in a CRM software today rather than tomorrow! Irrespective of the industry you are in, if you have customers, then you need a CRM software. The good news is that it can be efficiently used by all your teams- Sales, Marketing, Operations, Customer service, etc. Each of your different functions can interact with the existing and potential customers and ensure a smooth and profitable relationship for your business.
Hubspot is the best overall CRM for small businesses and startups. It has served more than 86,000 companies in over 120 countries across the world in the last 15 years. The best part is that they offer a FREE CRM for unlimited users with all the basic features. As a small business or a startup owner, take advantage of this opportunity and use the CRM yourself Free of cost to see how it can help your business grow (which it definitely will).