The use of customer relationship management (CRM) software is on the rise. According to the Salesforce State of Sales, sales organizations using CRM software have grown from 59% in 2018 to 65% in 2020. As the industry continues to grow, more small businesses are asking themselves if they also need to invest in a CRM.
While CRMs are sometimes considered a sales tool, they’re much more than that. Many CRMs offer extensive marketing and customer service tools to help draw in new customers and reinforce a company’s existing customer relationships. And even that is just scratching the surface of what modern CRMs are capable of. With different companies offering content management features, analysis enhanced by artificial intelligence (AI), and industry-specific customizations, there can be a lot of information to process when choosing a CRM.
In our Best CRM for Small Businesses rating, we will give you insight into the CRM providers that may be right for your growing company. You will also learn what a CRM is, why small businesses need one, what features you will want, and how CRM pricing works.
#1 Less Annoying CRM
#3 Agile CRM
Best CRM for Small Businesses of 2021 in Detail
After extensive research, we’ve compiled a list of the top Small Business CRM Software of 2021. These CRM platforms, which are often web-based, offer features ranging from lead management to AI-enhanced chatbots. We’ve listed the Best CRM for Small Businesses below. Follow the links in the companies’ names to read our full reviews. You can also read more about the Best CRM Software here.
Less Annoying CRM: Less Annoying CRM is No. 1 in our Best Small Business CRM and Best CRM Software of 2021 ratings. It is a great choice for small businesses looking to make a simple CRM buying decision. Less Annoying CRM offers a single tier of service that is reasonably priced at $15 per user per month. It was designed for small businesses and includes access to all of Less Annoying’s CRM features for this price. You can try out Less Annoying CRM for free for 30 days, with full access to the CRM to see if it is right for your company.
Nimble: Also placing first in both the Best CRM Software and Best CRM for Small Business ratings is Nimble. Similar to Less Annoying CRM, Nimble provides a single tier of CRM service that includes access to all of its features. A month-to-month subscription costs $25 per user per month and an annual contract is discounted to $19 per user per month. You can also purchase more prospecting credits and add additional contact records for an additional fee.
Agile CRM: Agile CRM is in the No. 3 spot on our Best CRM for Small Business of 2021 rating. It also makes our list of the Best Free CRM Software. If you are a small business interested in purchasing a CRM but not ready to make a purchasing decision, you may be well suited by Agile CRM’s free plan. It offers 10 users access to 1,000 contacts and is a great way to test out how your team can benefit from using a CRM. You can easily upgrade to Agile’s paid Starter plan for $14.99 per user per month, which gives you access to more features and a total of 10,000 contacts.
Zoho CRM: Zoho CRM ties for the No. 3 spot in our rating of the Best Small Business CRM Software of 2021. Zoho CRM recently launched Bigin, a sales-focused CRM solution for small businesses. Bigin by Zoho CRM is the best budget CRM for small businesses. Free for a single user with some limitations, you can also purchase Bigin for only $9 per user per month, or $7 per user per month if you commit to a year contract. If you are looking for an inexpensive solution to your CRM needs, Zoho CRM may have a good option for your small business.
Apptivo: Rounding out our Best CRM for Small Business rating is Apptivo in the No. 5 spot. Apptivo offers five tiers of CRM service. Starting with a free Starter plan for one user, you can test out Apptivo’s capabilities. Its top tier plan is the Enterprise plan, which would not be recommended for small businesses. The rest of Apptivo’s plans add additional features, storage limits, and app integrations that may help your small business for a reasonable price. The Lite, Premium, and Ultimate plans all fall within the price range of the other CRMs to make the Best Small Business rating, which gives you the ability to pick and choose exactly what you need with your budget in mind.
What Is a CRM and How Does It Work?
Customer relationship management (CRM) software allows you to track and organize all of your interactions with customers and leads in one centralized place. Without a CRM, businesses often use notepads, spreadsheets, databases, and various other means to keep track of their customer interactions. And while these systems work, they lack the efficiency and reliability needed to ensure customers and prospects didn’t get lost. By using a CRM solution, companies can streamline the sales process and ensure that leads don’t slip through the cracks.
A CRM platform works by taking client leads and customer data, which it then organizes and analyzes in ways designed to strengthen existing customer relationships and bring in new potential clients.
Some basic functions of CRM software include lead and contact management as well as various automation features. These range from simple tasks, such as reminding you to contact a potential client or send out emails, to more complex tasks like customizing reports and creating marketing forecasts. Some CRMs can automatically add information from your teams’ emails and phone calls into the CRM, allowing your employees to spend more time working on leads or helping customers instead of entering sales calls.
Marketing-focused features may allow you to do A/B testing for potential marketing campaigns or use SEO to update your current marketing materials. Marketing automation can schedule the release of emails or posts to social media accounts at specific times. The results of these campaigns can then be analyzed and potential leads funneled to your sales team.
Sales-oriented features keep lead information organized with information such as the days and times your team contacted a lead and what was discussed. The CRM can then analyze this information and show where in the sales pipeline each lead is and when they might be ready to move forward to the next step of the sales process.
All the information for a lead stays in the CRM system after they become a customer so your customer service teams can use the details for added context. Customer service features may also include chatbots on your corporate website that can answer frequently asked questions or gather information before a customer speaks to an actual service representative. Saving each connection a customer makes with your company in the CRM means that if a customer has an ongoing problem, any service representative will have access to the full history of the issue and can see what has already been done or is currently being done to solve it.
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