Customer Relationship Management Systems are Essential for Small Businesses
A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System is essential for your business because solid, lasting customer relationships are undoubtedly the most valuable asset your company can have. Gone are the days when you could keep a simple excel spreadsheet and day planner to remember events or milestones, nurture leads, manage your client data base and keep up with communications; not if you want any kind of serious business, that is. With information overload in today’s business world, success depends on efficient communications and nurtured relationships.
I’ve said a million times that systems are absolute key to your success and that goes customer relationships, as well. Finding a good CRM that suits the needs of your business can be a tough job. With dozens to choose from out there, from the very basic to the robust and complex, it is important that you research your options well. Here is a quick review of a four of the best on the market, including Infusionsoft, the one we use at REWW.
Nimble offers the most basic and common functionality that one would expect from a good CRM today, but in addition to that it integrates well with social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to include what it calls “social listening”, thereby enabling you to track conversations and information no matter where they take place. Web-based, Nimble is pretty affordable at just $15 per month for one user and includes a 14 day free trial. With an increasing cache of add on applications for advanced tasks, Nimble is quickly becoming a well-rounded CRM.
ZohoCRM is one system of a suite of office products by Zoho, and relatively new to the CRM marketplace. Cloud based, ZohoCRM integrates with many Google Apps and also syncs with some more commonly used applications like QuickBooks and Outlook. At $35 per month, per user, you can automate your daily business activities, track your sales cycles, connect and engage with customers, and integrate with other applications to customize your business solution. ZohoCRM also offers a free, barebones version for fewer than three users.
Insightly offers a forever free account for up to 3 users which includes all the same features as their paid subscriptions, but with more limited storage and contacts. What makes Insightly special is its robust integration with all things Google such as Google Apps, Google Drive and Gmail, as well as outlook, Office 365 and email service providers like Mailchimp. Insightly also includes an integrated, basic project management system.
Infusionsoft is what I like to call the granddaddy of all CRMs. Highly functional and robust, Infusionsoft includes all of the most common functionality one can expect from a CRM but goes further to integrate email and social media marketing, e-commerce, lifecycle marketing and more; it is basically an all in one automated sales and marketing software solution. Not the least expensive on the market, coming in at $219 per month for the most basic solution, plus a set up fee, Infusionsoft nevertheless has proven to be an invaluable asset to many small and medium businesses out there, including mine.