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Top CRM Software Options for Small Businesses

Last week, an SEO client asked if there was a way to track incoming leads to hold both himself and his staff accountable. He wanted to make sure that no leads were “slipping through the cracks”. I fully supported his idea, and we talked about the need for lead management tactics. But, it doesn’t always happen like this.

Unfortunately, it’s far more common for the business owner to pay a digital marketing agency to bring in more business and do things like:

  • Not answer the phone
  • Let leads go to voicemail where prospects frequently just move on to the next provider
  • The lead gets lost in the shuffle

While we could tell you stories (we’re STILL waiting for a water heater repair company to return a call from one of our SEO team members who desperately needed his services!), a simple solution to helping your business not lose valuable information about prospects is to include a customer relationship management software (CRM) into your process.

The old saying goes, “What’s measured, improves” and a CRM begins with tracking your inbound leads in order to help you better understand how you are doing with managing and, ultimately, closing the leads you get.

A good CRM centralizes your customer data, helps you track interactions, and gives you insights to improve sales and marketing.

With so many CRM options out there, how do you choose the right one for your small business? Here are my top recommendations based on ease of use, features, and affordability:

1. HubSpot CRM

HubSpot offers an incredibly robust free CRM that’s perfect for small businesses. You get access to powerful features like:

  • Contact management
  • Email integration and tracking
  • Sales pipeline and deal tracking
  • Marketing automation
  • Reporting dashboards
  • Email and live chat support

Beyond the free version, HubSpot also offers affordable paid plans with more advanced features. Their platform makes it easy to scale as your business grows.

2. Zoho CRM

Zoho is well-known for its affordable yet feature-rich business software. The Zoho CRM doesn’t disappoint. It provides excellent contact management, sales automation, marketing tools, reporting, and mobile capabilities.

Pricing starts at just $12 per user per month for the basic plan. Zoho also offers a free version for up to 3 users. This makes it very budget-friendly for small teams.

3. Insightly

Insightly is a user-friendly CRM focused on small businesses. It covers all the CRM basics like managing contacts, tracking interactions, reporting, and automating workflows.

Where Insightly excels is with its intuitive interface and strong integration capabilities. It also offers excellent project management features.

Plans start at $29 per user per month, with bulk discounts available. There’s also a free version with limited features.

4. Salesforce Essentials

Salesforce is the 800-pound gorilla in the CRM world. Salesforce Essentials packages its powerful platform into an affordable CRM for small businesses.

Key features include contact and account management, opportunity tracking, customer support tools, sales force automation, and mobile access. Reports and dashboards provide valuable insights.

At $25 per user per month, Salesforce Essentials offers robust capabilities without the complexities and expenses of larger Salesforce editions.

5. Pipedrive

Pipedrive is a sales-centric CRM designed for small teams. It focuses on visual sales pipeline management and forecasting.

The interface is simple and intuitive. Useful features include activity reminders, customizable pipelines, sales leaderboards, and email integration. There’s also a mobile app so reps stay connected.

Plans start at a very reasonable $12.50 per user per month. Pipedrive offers a free trial to test it out.

6. Capsule CRM

Capsule CRM is a streamlined CRM platform designed for small sales teams. It provides excellent tools for pipeline management, contact management, and sales automation.

The interface is clean and simple to use. Handy features like sales pipelines, Kanban boards, and call logging help reps stay on top of prospects. The mobile app allows access on the go.

For small businesses, Capsule CRM’s affordable pricing really stands out. Plans start at just $15 per month per user. Bulk discounts are also available.

7. Really Simple Systems/Spotler

As the name suggests, Really Simple Systems offers an easy-to-use web-based CRM perfect for small businesses. It covers all the essential CRM capabilities at an affordable price. They recently rebranded and are now called Spotler CRM

With Really Simple Systems, you get features like contact management, sales pipeline management, task scheduling, and reporting. Email integration and collaboration tools make it easy to stay aligned with colleagues.

Pricing starts at $19 per month per user. Really Simple Systems also offers a 30-day free trial to test out the platform.

8. VTiger

VTiger CRM is an open-source platform built for small and midsize businesses. The free, open-source option provides robust CRM functionality.

Paid versions of VTiger add enterprise-grade capabilities like advanced reporting, multi-department management, and automation workflows. Pricing starts at $10 per user per month.

For small teams on a tight budget, VTiger’s open-source CRM is a full-featured option. As your needs grow, the paid editions provide scalable upgrades.

Key Factors in Choosing a CRM

When evaluating CRMs for your small business, keep the following factors in mind:

Ease of use: The system should be simple for your team to learn and use. Complex platforms lead to a lack of adoption.

Core features: Ensure the CRM provides the essentials like contact management, sales/pipeline tracking, and reporting.

Affordability: Pricing should fit comfortably within your budget, especially as you scale users.

Mobile capabilities: A mobile app lets your team access contacts, see notifications, and log interactions on the go.

Support: Look for responsive customer support via email, phone, and chat.

Scalability: As your business grows, you want a system that can easily add more users and features.

By selecting a CRM that aligns with your specific needs and budget, you’ll see major benefits to your sales, marketing, and customer service efforts. Just make sure to invest the time to train your team and reinforce consistent usage. When implemented properly, a CRM can transform how your small business operates.

Get Started with CRM Today

The main point here is that nearly every business needs to track how inbound leads are handled in order to improve the process.

With the right CRM software, your small business can streamline sales processes, boost marketing efforts, and improve customer service interactions. This ultimately drives revenue and profitability.

The CRMs highlighted above all have affordable pricing, excellent features, and usability tailored for small businesses. By selecting the platform that best fits your budget and requirements, you can start transforming your customer management right away.

Cliff Tillery, MBA is the Chief Operating Officer and SEO Director at Make It Loud which is a digital marketing firm located outside of Atlanta Georgia. More than 14 years ago, he started search engine optimization at this award-winning agency and has taught digital marketing skills to business owners at the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, the Gwinnett Entrepreneur Center, and other groups.

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