Customer Relationship Management systems are available for small businesses
Customer relationship management, or CRM, is the process of centralizing customer data so that it can be shared among sales, after-sales, and customer support departments. All the big corporations invest millions in CRM systems, which gives them a marketing edge. However, the emergence of smaller, cheaper online CRM systems means that small businesses can now compete on a level playing field and offer the same type of customer tracking that benefits the big boys. You do not have to be a web-based business to use these systems. This review will highlight a range of CRM tools currently available on the web.
HubSpot is a producer of digital marketing software. Its products mainly focus on website design and search engine optimization. It has recently been working on its Sales Platform, which includes a CRM tool. The first part of the Sales Platform at HubSpot is called Sidekick, which is an email contact management tool. You can get many CRM features just by using Sidekick, because it includes the ability to make notes in the email contact entry for each customer. The Sidekick analysis reports also track what emails went to which customers and what the customer’s response was to each email. HubSpot is now adding on a CRM package that will integrate with Sidekick, although it isn’t available yet. You can sign up to get HubSpot CRM on its release, and if you are already a Sidekick user, you will get access to the CRM tool ahead of the general public.
2) Salesforce Sales Cloud
Salesforce Sales Cloud is focused on supporting sales opportunities. The main feature of the system is a mobile app that allows a sales team to coordinate its efforts at responding to leads while out in the field. The CRM tool embedded in the Sales Cloud is a customer contact database. The product is a little light on tools for customer services and marketing functions normally associated with CRM systems. It does, however, integrate social media signals into its presentation to the sales team.
3) Zoho CRM
Zoho CRM, like Salesforce Sales Cloud, is more focused on lead conversion than customer support. Also, like Salesforce Sales Cloud, the Zoho CRM tool extends to a mobile app to support a sales team on the move. If you are interested only in CRM to support your sales team, which would probably be more in the realm of B2B sales, Zoho CRM might be the perfect solution for your needs.
Infusionsoft’s package covers time scheduling and appointments for sales staff and a central contact database. There is also a billing mechanism and a shopping cart and payment-processing function for online businesses included with the CRM tool. The Infusionsoft system includes integrated email functions that enable a sales campaign to be carried out over a series of emails. These campaigns can be tailored to contact groups, and the system gathers responses to these mail shots. You can grade leads in the customer profile module, generate quotes and orders, and email them out. Like Salesforce Sales Cloud and Zoho CRM, Infusionsoft is accessible from smartphones.
Hatchbuck stresses its simplicity and ease of use. It has many fewer features than do CRM tools such as Salesforce Sales Cloud, but it is cheaper. The system is centered on a sales and marketing analysis tool, and it integrates with email to enable email campaigns. The CRM focus of the system is a contact database that includes a panel to record contact with the customer. This product offers no whizzy mobile access.
6) NetSuite CRM+
NetSuite produces a range of business software, including entity resource planning (ERP) systems, which track financial data through an organization. It also produces a CRM tool called NetSuite CRM +. NetSuite’s profile is similar to big software houses such as Oracle and SAP that produce CRM systems for multinationals as add-ons to their ERP systems. The NetSuite system has all the bells and whistles of a big business system, so if you are just starting out as a small business, you may find this option a little over-comprehensive. A small business on the verge of breaking through to middle size would probably benefit most from a boost to employee productivity from this package. A one-man band or a mom-and-pop business probably wouldn’t have enough hands or hours in the day to fully exploit all the features of this CRM tool.
7) Infor CRM
Infor is very similar to NetSuite in that the company produces ERP systems and other corporate software with which its CRM tool can interact. The company offers a series of modules to build up a tailored CRM package, so you need to read through all the options on the company’s CRM page.
8) LeadMaster CRM Services
LeadMaster is a software consultancy that specializes in CRM systems. The company offers to produce a customized CRM tool for your enterprise, which is the path usually taken by big corporations. If you are a very small business, you may find this option too costly to consider.
Small businesses range from sole traders to relatively large organizations with many employees and assets. Whether you have a sales force, a marketing team, an accounts department, or a website will dictate which of the above solutions is the right CRM tool for you.
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