All businesses, large and small, depend on customer satisfaction. No matter how good, or novel, or innovative your product offerings are, the overall experience your company provides is just as important. Simply put, it's not simply a question of 'what' you deliver, but also 'how' you deliver it. Maybe that's where things get a little tricky for some business owners. Maybe after focusing all the company bandwidth on delivering the 'what,' hearing that an equal amount of focus must be paid to the 'how' seems like a nuisance. After all, shouldn't a good product sell itself? Luckily, there are businesses whose 'what' is a solution to everyone else's 'how.' Those are CRM providers.
According to Gartner, CRM is the fastest growing enterprise software category, and should retain the top position over the next few years. In fact, the CRM market hit $39.5 billion in global sales in 2017.  A fair amount of that growth comes from CRMs for startups or those that service the small- to medium-sized business sectors. CRM is how any business can learn to improve customer relationships, and level the playing field between themselves and larger competitors with more resources. Properly configured, a quality CRM software for small business can seem almost magical in how transformative its benefits can be.
The truth is, even the best CRM for small business is just a semi-automated database with a customizable user dashboard. That means customized processes must be set up with a high degree of diligence and attention to detail. Setting up a CRM solution for a small business is a heavily front-loaded process. Just check any CRM review; the wide range of user ratings demonstrates that even the best simple-CRM for startups and small business is only as good as the methodologies its users put in place. But that’s no reason to be put off by the prospect of upfront labor, because the rewards definitely make it all worthwhile.
In 2014, Nucleus Research reported that CRM delivers an average ROI of $8.71 for every dollar spent , and that number is growing steadily. However, it's still important for small businesses to choose the CRM that best fits their needs. Large enterprises often go for total-package, turnkey solutions, and many CRM software for small business platforms are built to deliver that. Small businesses, on the other hand, often need a combination of customizability, affordability, user-friendliness, and scalability — including the ability to add features — to keep the ball rolling with all the growth they're hoping a CRM will create. That’s why choosing the correct CRM for your startup or small business, not just any CRM, can play a key part in small business success.

Choosing the Right CRM

Beyond checking the occasional CRM-review site, how should you go about determining which CRM is best for you? The most important thing you can do is to identify the most valuable features, and what they can do for your business. Below, we’ll outline a few comparisons drawn from CRM’s on the market that target small and medium-sized businesses, focusing on the categories that help define what makes a CRM solution ‘effective.’

Features

  • Rated the top CRM system for small business by businessnewsdaily.com, the basic Salesforce package is a contact management platform that features accounts and contacts, as well as integrations that include task & event tracking, Microsoft Outlook sync, Salesforce1 mobile app, content library, customizable reports, and a company social network. Group packages add opportunity tracking, lead scoring, routing and assignment rules, and email templates & tracking in the $25 package. The $65 package adds mass email, campaigns, customizable dashboards, and Outlook Side Panel to all the lower package features. Taken together, these options provide a complete CRM solution.

  • Other packages may include features such as sales forecasting, pipeline management, reports and dashboards, document library, roles and profiles, mass email, call center connectors, and up to 100,000 customer records. Additional features would be email integration, social CRM, Google AdWords integration, workflow sales automation, inventory management, macros, plus territory management, custom modules, custom applications, custom buttons, workflow approval processes, time-based actions, and multiple currencies.

Benefits

Every small business (as well as large and midsize business) has its own unique set of needs. However, there are certain needs that remain constant throughout — such as the need for a CRM software platform that offers sales automation and productivity tools to move leads through your pipeline and make closing sales faster and easier. Of course, pricing is always going to factor, but when CRM yields an ROI in the $8.00 ballpark, pricing becomes less of an issue. What’s most important is having the right package of tools and integrations to make businesses more organized and on top of activity tracking and gathering insights, allowing them to make informed business decisions about how best to serve customer needs.

All businesses, large and small, depend on customer satisfaction. And in order to make that happen, you need the right CRM solutions. Salesforce is the top CRM system for helping your small (or even large or midsize) business achieve your CRM goals, so that you can rest easy knowing that your customers are receiving the kind of attention that will keep them interested and engaged for years to come.

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