Some people might assume that customer relationship management (CRM) software and solutions are aimed strictly at large sales forces (no pun intended) at large multinational companies with operating budgets to match. And that’s simply not the case. Whether you’re a company of one or a company of one thousand, sales are what drive your business. And you need to keep tabs on all your leads, prospects and customers alike.
In order to keep up with the agile and dynamic nature of today’s marketplace, entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners should look for at least two things in a CRM solution. First, it should be accessible anywhere, as cloud-based solutions are much more versatile and flexible. Second, it should be scalable, growing alongside your business to accommodate your growing needs. All of the services listed below fit these two basic criteria and then some.
As a small business owner, you likely already take advantage of a range of other online services. You might use Mailchimp for your email marketing, Zendesk for your customer support and Freshbooks for your bookkeeping. And Capsule integrates with all of those, along with some 30 other software programs. Dubbed the “easy online CRM for doing business,” Capsule lets you track history, manage tasks and share contacts with co-workers. The free account allows for up to two users with 250 contacts and 10MB of storage. The $12 professional plan (per month, per user) adds premium integrations, among other features.
Are you a fan of Basecamp? You’ll likely feel right at home with Highrise, the CRM program developed by the same team that delivered your favorite project management solution. While 37signals may not be involved anymore, their DNA is still there. You can share everything with your team and manage your communication in one convenient place. The $24/month basic plan accommodates up to 6 users, 5000 contacts, 10 deals and 5GB of storage.
A robust system that combines project management with CRM, Insightly gives you everything you need to manage your leads, contacts, partners, vendors and suppliers. Add your contact’s email address and the system will even detect every social media profile connected to it. To get the most out of Insightly, you’ll need to create your own set of pipelines and stages for contact management. The free plan can get you started with up to 2 users, 2500 records and 10 advanced reports.
Is social the name of your marketing and lead generation game? Then Nimble might be the right CRM for you. They call it a “social sales and marketing CRM,” leveraging smart contact technology to automatically update itself based on a dozens of data sources. The “Signals” function is particularly compelling, alerting you of “engagement opportunities” like job changes. Get everything you need for $25 per user per month.
Providing seamless integration with your Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs and whatever else you do with Google, Pipedrive empowers you to “take control of your sales process.” Targeting small sales teams in particular, Pipedrive features an easy-to-understand “pipeline” interface that highlights your weaknesses and strengths, keeping track of every lead and the progress you’ve made on closing the deal (and for how much money). Always be closing, right? The entry-level silver plan is $12 per month per user, offering full sales management features and 2GB of storage per user.
It’s time to address the elephant in the room. No conversation on web-based customer relationship management would be complete without mentioning Salesforce. The platform has evolved and grown with the times and one of the most robust iterations to date is SalesforceIQ. Striving to provide a “smart” and “simple” CRM to grow your business, SalesforceIQ integrates with your Gmail or Exchange account, intelligently filters your best opportunities and delivers data-driven insights to maximize your sales. The mobile app means you’re only a “slide to unlock” away from closing your next deal too. It is the most expensive option on this list though, with prices starting at $25 per user per month for up to five users, going up to as high as $300 per user per month for “unlimited CRM power and support.”
Perhaps at the utter opposite end of the spectrum from Salesforce is Zoho CRM. The free edition allows for up to 10 free users and even the most expensive plan is still only $50 per user per month. All plans include automation for your leads, contacts, accounts, opportunities and tasks, as well as integration with Twitter, Facebook and Google+. The gamification feature provides added motivation and custom reports keep your numbers moving in the right direction.
Image credit: Markus Spiske / raumrot.com (via Flickr)