It's likely that you're familiar with the term CRM, but you may not be aware of how instrumental a CRM system can be in the growth of your small business or family-owned business.
According to How to Use Customer Relationship Management Software by Inc.com,
"An effective CRM application provides an organized, comprehensive view of a company's customers and prospects, and employees' interactions with them. Once a large-business luxury, CRM software packages have come down in price and scale as they have migrated to hosted applications or software as a service (SaaS) solutions, making CRM available to a growing number of small and mid-size businesses."
General benefits of a CRM include the following.
- The capacity to have all contacts in one, organized place: Having contacts in a centralized location gives everyone access to updated information, notes from previous conversations, and all actions associated with each contact.
- The ability to track and manage interactions with both potential and current customers: When everyone can see where clients are positioned in the sales funnel, the probability of moving them through the buying process greatly increases.
- The potential to align sales and marketing efforts and eliminate miscommunications: When marketing and sales teams have access to the same information (updated contact info, date of last contact, where they are in the sales funnel), using a joint CRM assures that everyone is on the same page and can best serve each customer.
Where can a dependable and affordable CRM be found?
To save money some companies choose to create their own CRM system by using spreadsheets which require manual updating. However, this process can become cumbersome, time-consuming, and marked by human error. Who wants sales and marketing teams to waste time on data entry when they can be bringing in and closing leads? A CRM that automatically updates and tracks information saves time, money, and unnecessary frustration.
As you begin your CRM search, ask yourself these questions. They will help guide you to the CRM system that's right for your small business.
- What core competencies do you need your CRM to have? Can it track leads and lead activity, maintain an extensive customer base, track opportunities and closing rates, offer connectivity between sales and marketing teams, and generate customized reporting?
- What are your integration needs? While compatibility with multiple systems is becoming less of an issue as more applications are connected through APIs, it’s still important to find out if the CRM system you’re considering can interface with the applications you already have in place.
- Can the CRM grow along with your company? You can get a CRM system that fits your current needs, but what about five or ten years down the road? It’s important to know your growth projections and how the CRM can handle them.
- Will your team actually use it? One of the biggest problems with CRM systems is that people feel overwhelmed by them. Consequently, they don’t use the system properly or tap into its full potential. Find a system that works for your team and is intuitive to use.
- What reports are important to you? Make sure your CRM system can produce the reports that you need like a sales funnel analysis, incoming deals volume report, sales forecasting, sales revenue goals, won deals, etc.
- Is the system mobile? Mobility is crucial in today’s world. Look for a tool that can be accessed using a variety of web-enabled devices.
- What is the monetization plan of the software company? Will they be around 3-5 years from now? A lot of free or cheap platforms come and go quickly; conduct proper research. Find out HOW they're able to offer their services for free.
Here's a list of top-rated CRM systems. There are many to review and there's a wide range in pricing, so take your time and keep this checklist nearby as you figure out which option best fits your needs. There's nothing worse than investing money and time into a system that ends up frustrating your team and not performing to expectations.
We use HubSpot's CRM and love it. Some key features include note-taking capability, automated email tracking, call logging, and an up-to-the-minute dashboard view of your entire sales funnel.
BTW, as you read through the fore-mentioned list you're going to see HubSpot's CRM listed. Are you noticing a theme? We use HubSpot and it's listed as a top-rated CRM system. Coincidence? Nope. There are good reasons. One of which is that fact that it's FREE. Yes, free! #smallbusinesseslovefree
Learn more about HubSpot's FREE CRM.
Looking beyond customer relationship management and CRM systems
If you need help narrowing down a CRM system that would be best for your company, give us a call. We'll be happy to answer top-level questions you may have. However, if you're interested in HubSpot's free CRM, fill out this form to schedule a free 1-hour consultation with us. We'll make sure you get the software up and running and that you understand how it works as well as its full capability.
If you don't want to embark on the marketing journey on your own (selecting a CRM is only a teeny tiny part of the puzzle), consider partnering with us. We're a full funnel marketing agency and HubSpot partner that excels at Inbound Marketing. Did you catch that? If you choose to work with us, you'll also be working with the most powerful Inbound Marketing platform in the world!
In short, this is what we, as an agency, can do for you.
Onsite and offsite SEO
When a website is optimized by onsite and offsite SEO, organic (non-paid) search engine results improve and website traffic increases. Holistic Inbound Marketing employs content marketing and SEO to attract leads and close sales.
HubSpot can integrate with all your content tools so you never miss a ranking opportunity. Easily monitor key SEO metrics and measure how many visits, leads, and customers you’re generating from organic search to your site as a whole, or to individual site pages, landing pages, blog posts, and campaigns.
Blogging increases website traffic while establishing authority within a given industry. And just like every blog post written is another indexed page, each post is another opportunity to generate new leads.
HubSpot makes this easy by offering the ability to write, schedule, publish, and measure results all in one place. Publish relevant, engaging, conversion and search engine optimized content with tools that speed up creation, keep formatting consistent, and make it easy to optimize for search.
Social media strategy and management
Social media is an important ingredient in the Inbound Marketing recipe. It's helpful for awareness and branding, but it can also be leveraged to drive traffic to your website.
With HubSpot, scheduling content for most major social platforms and analyzing results is a breeze. You can even monitor brand mentions and relevant conversations, track engagements automatically, and schedule your socials posts to be published when the right people will see them.
Taking this a step further, we know how to advertise on all these platforms. Advertising on social platforms takes top-level strategy and some know-how. Social media advertising isn't always intuitive or convenient, but it's valuable.
When creating workflows, strategy is just as important as implementation. Building out workflows with Hubspot is not only easy to do but is easy to monitor and analyze. Having impactful, automated workflows in place will help deals to close more quickly and revenue to grow more steadily.
Use this list to compare top-rated CRM systems. There are many to review and there's a wide range in pricing, so take your time and keep this checklist nearby as you figure out which option best fits your needs.
If you're interested in HubSpot's free CRM, click the button below to schedule a free 1-hour consultation with us. We'll make sure you get the software up and running and that you understand how it works.