Customer relationship management (CRM) software is a system that businesses use to manage and improve their lead interactions and relationships with leads, prospects, and customers. It is generally equipped with tools for contact management, sales automation, reporting, and productivity. Here, we discuss the reasons why you should use a CRM and what it can do for your small business. We also explore the general pricing range of CRM solutions.
What Is CRM?
CRM software offers single storage for all data related to your business’ contacts, leads, prospects, and customers. You can use it to manage customer information, pipeline stages, and customer communication. In addition, it provides your marketing, sales, and support agents access to relevant data whenever they are logged into the system. This allows them to offer consistent service whenever they interact with customers.
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Why Your Business Should Use CRM Software
Customer relationships are the foundation of a successful business, but they have many aspects such as pipeline stages and customer communication that need to be monitored and managed. CRM strategies and solutions help you make sure nothing falls through the cracks. Managing your contacts, leads, deals, and pipelines can get tricky as your business grows. Below are some of the most common pain points that CRMs address.
Difficulty Managing Influx of Leads & Prospects
If there is a sudden influx of leads and prospects and you are having a hard time managing them, it’s a sign you need to start using a CRM system. It will automatically sort your leads and point you to those that your sales team needs to prioritize. If you overlook some leads, you may lose them to your competitors. CRM solutions’ pipeline management feature ensures that you reach out to prospects in a timely and effective manner.
Limited Visibility Into Customer Data
Once your leads and prospects increase exponentially, it gets difficult to locate customer data using manual spreadsheets and notes. CRMs, on the other hand, provide you with a central database that everyone in your organization can easily access whenever they need to. In addition, it allows you to save every form of interaction with your customers. This means that all your sales, marketing, and service reps can view the same set of data.
Monitoring Activities & Performance of Multiple Teams
It is important to monitor the activities and performance of all your sales reps so you can foresee the need for additional resources in certain areas. This also helps you make more accurate sales forecasts. A robust CRM system allows all team members to update customer data even when using a mobile device.
Time-consuming Manual Generation of Reports
Without a CRM system, salespeople have to spend a lot of time manually entering data to create reports. A CRM, however, allows you to access all your data and automatically generate reports. In addition, the reports can be easily shared with other team members. This gives your sales reps more time to sell and interact with your customers.
Subpar Customer Service
If you are getting an increased number of customer complaints, you’re likely to lose them to your competitors because of poor customer service. A good CRM solution helps you manage case flow and provides agents with the information they need to anticipate your customers’ needs. You can also build self-help communities that provide customers with answers to simple queries so that your agents can concentrate on resolving more complex cases.
Top Benefits of a CRM System
A CRM solution simplifies your customer relationship management process. It is equipped with tools and features that automate some aspects of your business operations and make customer interactions more efficient and effective. Click through the tabs below to take a closer look at some of the top benefits of using a CRM system.
Higher Productivity & Sales
A CRM platform’s automation feature simplifies sales processes and reduces the time it takes to fulfill manual and repetitive tasks. Among the processes that it streamlines through automation are lead scoring and marketing campaigns. Some systems use artificial intelligence (AI)-powered chatbots to handle customer inquiries about pricing, the status of an order, and the features of a product.
The automation features many CRMs offer ultimately help businesses close more deals by taking care of repetitive tasks. As a result, marketing agents can allot more time for creating customized campaigns for their target audience. Sales agents can focus their efforts on selling the right products or services based on the research of the marketing team. Customer service agents, on the other hand, free up more of their time to handle more complex queries from customers.
Easier Access to Information
CRM software provides you with a centralized database for all the information related to your customers. It is easily accessible to any authorized employee in your company, and many CRMs offer role-based permission levels. With this, it is easier for your sales reps to view the products your customers are interested in. The database also stores customers’ interactions with your business. Service reps can immediately see a customer’s inquiry status and act on it quickly with accuracy.
A CRM system provides your company with statistical information and can conduct complex data analysis. Both of these are needed to make strategic business decisions. Analysis of customer data helps uncover patterns and problems in the business process. Once you know where the bottlenecks are, you can take data-driven actions to improve your business processes and profitability.
In addition to storing records of customer interactions, some CRM platforms also feature built-in collaboration tools, allowing employees from different departments to work on a shared file. Examples of these files are customer contact information, sales quotes, and customer support requests. Reps can also add notes about certain deals so other team members can refer to them in future transactions.
There are some CRM systems that use tagging to notify a specific sales rep of a task. This can also be used to label and segment records. For example, one rep tags a manager in a pipeline stage whenever a deal needs approval. You can pull up all the other records or tasks with the same tag. These tools simplify the collaboration process between team members without worrying about permission to access certain records.
Improved Customer Satisfaction Rate
As mentioned in the first part of this article, a CRM system consolidates all of your customer data and interactions in a single database. Since agents from different departments have access to the same set of information, they can customize their interactions based on the customer’s individual journey and preferences. This helps improve the overall customer experience and satisfaction rate.
CRM Software Costs
CRM systems can cost anywhere from free to more than $100 per user, per month, depending on the type of CRM and the features included in each package. Free and low-cost CRMs usually support a limited number of users and have lower data storage capacity. These also include only the basic CRM functionalities, such as contact management, lead management, and pipeline management.
CRM packages for mid-range companies can range from $50 to $150 per user, per month. These usually offer additional features for lead generation, collaboration, and reporting. Others offer more extensive CRM integrations. More advanced plans for large enterprises can cost as much as $300 per user, per month. The most expensive CRM systems include deeper customization options and more advanced business phone features.
Pro tip: Some CRM providers advertise low per-user fees, but there are often additional fees for training, onboarding, and implementation. Some options also have separate charges for support. Ask your provider about these factors before committing to a CRM plan to ensure that the package you choose meets both your needs and budget.
Read our article on how to choose the right CRM for your business if you want more detailed tips. It also features a free interactive guide to choosing a CRM solution.
Examples of Top CRMs for Small Businesses
Small Business CRM
Recommended Use Case
Best CRM for social media integration and inventory management
Free or $7 per user, per month
Best overall for small businesses needing a robust CRM with free and affordable plans
Free or $15 per user, per month
Best scalable, free CRM for unlimited users
Free or $45 per month
Best CRM with a built-in phone for in-app calling
Free or $19 per month
Best CRM with project management features
Free or $29 per user, per month
Best small business CRM with advanced features like lead generation, customizable reports, and case management
$25 per user, per month
*Based on annual pricing. Monthly billing is also available at slightly higher rates.
For a closer look at the features, strengths, and weaknesses of each provider mentioned above, read our guide to the best CRMs for small businesses.