Some businesses start using Excel to manage their clients. Although Excel has a lot of great capabilities, there are other tools better suited to helping you manage your sales pipeline, track your clients, and a place for you to see all the touchpoints your team has with any given contact. These CRM tools often have free versions, which we recommend starting with if you’re not familiar with them. If you have used CRMs before, ensure you do an audit of your current state, what’s working, and your processes.
If you’re looking for a list of tools, here are 10 that can get you started:
Salesforce is one of the most beloved CRM solutions out there. Although typically used in larger organizations, if you are seeing fast growth in your company, this may be a preferred system to select for your small business as it will support your business in a huge way as you scale. They offer a more basic, out of the box package, called Salesforce Essentials. This includes easy set up, Sales Cloud Essentials and Service Cloud Essentials.
One of the more popular systems, HubSpot was built for larger enterprises but is super flexible to scale for smaller businesses. We love it because it’s built with the marketer in mind and can grow with you as needed. Forms, templates, online chat and marketing automation are all available. There is also a sales module, that allows you to track your leads and connect directly to your inbox. You can then sort your contacts into certain categories, allowing you to build marketing campaigns from there.
The free version is a great starting place, and if you’re not thrilled, you can export all of your information to load into another CRM.
This is one of most basic and simple to use CRM systems. It’s perfect if you’re just getting started – they offer a free trial and their starter plan is cheap. One thing we like to see CRM systems have, is the ability to have more than 1 active pipeline per lead and we were surprised to see this functionality in such a basic system. Another bonus is that it’s mobile friendly and doesn’t require an app. Forecasting is a feature most CRMs have – but unfortunately this is one of the few where forecasting isn’t available.
Freshsales is easy to use and also very affordable. It’s ideal for companies who aren’t really sure what their CRM needs are. Use this to get started while you figure things out. Beware, it doesn’t come with an API or a lot of third party integrations if you’re looking to make your life a lot easier.
Built for small businesses and easy to use, Pipedrive has some great mobile apps and web forms to collect leads. You can also have more than 1 pipeline per lead which we love seeing. It has all the standard features you would expect to see and is a great option at a great starting price. Their customer service isn’t as great or readily available as other providers are.
We love how customizable Pipeline’s deal is – they have over 220 custom data fields. It’s an easy-to-use system and works similar to excel, which many people are already comfortable with. Keep in mind, their third party integrations are quite limited. However, this is still a great, affordable option if you’re sticking to their starter package. If you need more than their starter package offers, we’d recommend looking at another provider. They offer a free trial so you can always check it out for yourself before committing.
What’s really cool about Copper is their compatibility with all G suite products. If your business uses G Suite, Copper would be an easy integration for you. Loaded with productivity & collaboration tools like prioritization, goal setting, activity tracking, easy forecasting, VoIP calling and team activity management – it’s built for enterprises but adaptive and priced to any size. We also like that it has social network integration.
This is a great system for tracking and managing communications – including storage of communication history. Through PieSync, you can integrate with many common business apps such as Quickbooks, Google Apps, Office 365, Xero and more. You can add multiple pipelines per lead through their web-based interface. We recommend bypassing their basic plan as it doesn’t include standard features you would expect to have. However their Business plan is still great value!
The coolest part about this CRM is its ability to adapt to your business sales model – whether that be outbound, inbound or relationship based. It’s super flexible and great for teamwork. You can choose from multiple view options to assist in improved pipeline management.
On the pricier side of the CRMs we’ve listed here, it’s also a little more complicated to use. However, it’s an all-in-one system, which includes email templates, email tracking and webforms for gathering leads. Their reports are very robust and it includes tools for project management and data gathering – huge plus!
We highly recommend hiring a consultant to ensure you end up with a system that supports the needs of your business and can help with adaptation and integration. It may cost a little more upfront, but will save you money in the long run.
Often, we also find that the issue isn’t necessarily the tool, but rather the processes and the way people are adopting the tool. Ensure you have room for training and managing the transition to a CRM tool. If you need help, contact us to see how we can help you get the most out of a CRM tool and streamline your work.