CRM companies: Their ‘What’ Is Everyone Else’s ‘How’
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 is expected to hit $36.5 billion in global sales by 2017. A fair amount of that growth will come from CRMs 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 can seem almost magical in how transformative its benefits can be.
CRM Features and Benefits
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. The best simple-CRM software for small business is only as good as the methodologies its users put in place. But there’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 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, not just any CRM, can play a key part in small business success.
Choosing the Right CRM
Small businesses benefit from CRM systems by way of a few basic categories. 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.’
- Rated the best CRM tool for small business by businessnewsdaily.com, the basic Salesforce package is a contact management platform that features accounts and contacts, 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 & assignment, 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, 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 automation, inventory management, macros, plus territory management, custom modules, custom applications, custom buttons, workflow approval processes, time-based actions, and multiple currencies.
- According to a study by Nucleus Research, sales representatives saw productivity increase by 26.4% when adding social networking and mobile access to CRM applications. Salesforce provides real-time data access on mobile, and easy integration into social platforms, making it the CRM solution best-suited for the modern technologies the world relies so heavily on.
- Neither as complete nor as user-friendly, other CRM solutions also offer robust email marketing tools, web forms, lead generation, and comprehensive reporting. Month-to-month contract options, may entice businesses that are unsure how much benefit they stand to draw from CRM. However, while it is great for businesses that don’t have time for complicated software, it has very-limited customized reporting capabilities.
Every small 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 everything to 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 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. Which is why Salesforce comes out on top of the competition in helping your small business achieve your CRM desires.