Post-it Notes, email inboxes, random scraps of paper—when it comes to managing customer relationships, how do you make sure nothing falls through the cracks?
For many small business owners, the idea of implementing a CRM (customer relationship management) system can be incredibly overwhelming.
First there’s the perception that it’s probably going to cost an arm and two legs. Then there’s the challenge of finding the time to add “one more thing” to an ever-growing list of daily tasks.
When done right, a CRM system can be an incredibly powerful tool. In one centralized place, you can manage all of your touchpoints with current and prospective customers, capture their unique preferences, and use that information to really build customer loyalty and generate more business.
Best of all, you can do it without breaking the bank or spending countless hours trying to figure out how to set everything up.
Here are 5 affordable CRM solutions for small businesses...
Used by over 350,000 small businesses and freelancers in 100 countries, insightly is a simple and powerful CRM solution designed specifically for small businesses. With their system, you can quickly and easily access information about a contact including their background, email history, and any important dates.
insightly also offers seamless integration with Gmail, Google Drive, Outlook 2013, Office 365 and social media accounts which means you can capture a snapshot of conversations with your customers.
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I've been taking insightly for a test drive. So far I really like the clean interface, terminology that's easy to understand (even if you're a beginner with CRM), and how easy it was to set everything up initially. One of the biggest hassels when implementing a CRM system for the first time is adding another task to your day. So far I've found insightly to be really easy to use.
As their name implies, Nimble is all about helping businesses find smart and simple ways to track and nurture contacts with current and prospective customers.
Similar to other solutions, they provide all of the functionality you need to manage information and relationships across multiple touchpoints.
Their system also automatically identifies social media profiles of contacts on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter which means you don’t have to go searching for them.
Pricing: Simple. One plan. $15 per month per user. Unlimited number of customer contacts.
Batchbook offers an easy-to-use CRM system designed specifically for small businesses. Import and organize contacts, track your communication history, see social profiles, and manage tasks and events all in one place.
Batchbook integrates with a wide range of customer communication, productivity, marketing, and invoicing software including: FreshBooks, QuickBooks, MailChimp, Gmail, and Google Docs.
4. Zoho CRM
Zoho CRM gives you all of the tools and resources you need to capture leads from your website, track your sales activity, manage your email marketing, and access customer information without having to scroll or search.
Drag and drop customization means you can easily make changes which is huge if you’re not tech savvy or don’t have a dedicated IT person on staff. Zoho CRM works with Gmail and Google Docs, Contacts, Calendar and Tasks.
Vtiger is a cloud-based CRM solution built on an open source foundation for small- and medium-sized businesses.
Using their system, you can easily manage interactions with customers and leads, build and send emails, assign tasks to different members of your team, and provide customers with a personalized web portal where they can submit service requests.
Vtiger integrates with MailChimp, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Outlook, and Gmail among others.
Pricing: $12 per month per user. Additional charges can apply to email marketing campaigns.
Managing Your Customer Relationships
Whether you’re looking to grow your team, or your customer base, or both--the right CRM solution can help you manage all of your relationships from one place. And that means you’ll be able to save time and improve your customer experience.
I’d say that’s well worth the cost of some of the solutions above—wouldn’t you?
Ready to select a CRM solution for your business?
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[Image: Flickr user Reedz Malik]
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