Best CRM for Small Business: Why You Need One Today

Confused about CRM

Written by David Pickett


CRM for small businesses help build relationships with customers. A good CRM can be the number one way to increase business revenue. Have you found yourself wondering whether you need a CRM software for your business? You have reached the right place. I’m going to talk all about CRM Software and how they can help you. We will also take a look at the types of CRM and the problems it solves. I’ve also added a list of the best CRM for small businesses, so read on till the end!

What is CRM software?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. It’s a no brainer then that it is one of the most important business software to invest in. At its core, CRM software encompasses all customer-oriented strategies and technologies. Moreover, it directly helps improve customer relationship management with existing as well as potential clients and security. So if content is king, the customer is basically the kingdom.

CRM software enables three main activities:

  • Building customer relationships
  • Creation of customer loyalty
  • Retention of customers

What is CRM small business?

While core of CRM will be the same for large or small company, CRM for small business have some unique features. Additionally cost plays a major role in the final choice for CRM software. Unlike large enterprises, small businesses do not have a dedicated team for software evaluation. Read on till the end as to how a small business can quickly evaluate the best CRM software. Finally the software implementation time and complexity plays a big role in the final decision for businesses. A small business may not have dedicated custom implementation team so a highly flexible CRM software will do well. Finally, a CRM for business which is cloud based also reduces operational hassles.

Which are the types of CRM?

CRM software can be differentiated into 5 categories:

1. Operational CRM

This CRM is called operational is because it supports operational activities. These include sales, customer service, and marketing automation. Operational CRM software structures contact information and set procedures that result in automated processes. Another feature of this CRM software is that it can integrate leads coming through different channels. This is possible due to integrations with MailChimp or Outreach which accelerate the sales cycle.
Two popular operational CRM software are Hubspot and Salesforce.

2. Analytical CRM

As the name suggests, this CRM software carries out customer data analysis. This data includes consumer preferences, interests, points of contact, etc. Furthermore, the analysis done can help to understand customer patterns through data mining. So you’re basically eliminating your chances of building incorrect user personas. How amazing is that!
The best examples of analytical CRM software are Zoho Analytics and Salesforce Wave Analytics.

3. Collaborative CRM

You guessed it, this one enables collaboration. Collaborative CRM software truly is the epitome of customer service. This is because they enhance information sharing across different departments. How many times have you felt pain at answering queries due to difficult inter-departmental communication? My guess is at least a few times.
For better customer interaction and management, try Pipedrive or Copper.

4. Campaign Management CRM

This CRM software basically helps run your marketing or sales campaign more efficiently. Since it is a blend of both, operational and analytical CRM, it provides both data and insights. As opposed to the operational CRM, you can use this one to run your campaign and then distribute it via email.
Have a look at Active Campaign if this functionality is more up your alley.

5. Strategic CRM

Strategic CRM software also focuses solely on customers. It provides consumer information to improve your relations with them in the long run. How does this happen? It practically customizes your relationships with customers.
If your business banks on long-term relations instead of short campaigns invest in this one.

6 signs your small business needs a CRM software

All this is well and good. But when do you need a CRM for a small businesses? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.

1. Overwhelming Lead Flows

Having tens and hundreds of leads is wonderful. But what happens when those become thousands? You get flooded with leads. In such a situation, a CRM for startups helps you prioritize your leads. This not only makes taking actions on leads efficient but also results in an organized database of leads generated.

2. Complicated Consumer Database

Manual data collection methods such as excel work well in a business’s early stages. But as the business grows, you need to invest in smart tools. A CRM software acts as the singular source for data access. This can drive success rates while at the same time retaining customers by making quick decisions.

3. Sales Ambiguity

With the sales team more or less on the road, it can be hard to keep track of progress. A good CRM software allows for real-time updates across devices. In addition, it helps to forecast future sales and resource allocation.

4.Poor Customer Service

Getting a customer is just half the work, keeping them is the main challenge. If your business is becoming more of addressing complaints and less of the above-par service delivery, get a CRM now. Effective customer retention begins with ease of managing case flows alongside customer service. A powerful CRM software routes cases to the corresponding agents thus increasing efficiency. At the same time, setting up customer-based communities enable them to answer their own queries.

5. Account Management

All clients are different. Customers that have been associated with you for a long time require more attention and appreciation. But it doesn’t have to be as tedious as it sounds. A CRM software system can remind you of special events and milestones. Thus, you can send your valuable customers’ personalized communication on time. This shows that you care and are grateful for their support and business.

6. Inefficient Reporting Processes

As I said a while ago, avoid using manual processes. Manual data entries take up too much time and are prone to human error. The best part about CRM systems is that they not only store data in one place but also break down reports into minute details. Therefore, there is an increased scope for accurate data analysis and reporting.

Key features of CRM

Not every CRM has all features. But most software tend to have variations of functionalities across 7 main areas:

1. Customer Support

This is the first and foremost feature of CRM for small or big businesses. Since provision of customer support is intricately linked with building relations, most CRM software tend to have most of support features. These include:

  • Case management techniques
  • 24*7 customer service portal
  • Live chat or call center support
  • Rich knowledge base with listed FAQs
  • Dedicated support analytics options

2. Sales Automation

Another key feature of most CRMs is the enablement of automating sales processes. Thus, it helps save valuable saves time which would otherwise be spent on administrative tasks. Sales automation involves the streamlining of manual or tedious tasks such as data entries. However, it can also include several other functionalities:

  • Contact management
  • Account management
  • Pipeline management
  • Task management
  • Product and Price management
  • Order management

3. Marketing Automation

Marketing automation refers to any technology that can help a business to market on different online channels. This is again a time-saving feature as it automates repetitive tasks. Marketing processes that a CRM software can automate include:

  • Email marketing
  • Lead management
  • Marketing campaign management
  • Data analysis of marketing efforts

4. Reporting Measures

Most CRMs will also have dedicated dashboards to display different data reports and analytics. These not only help understand business outcomes but also predict future sales through forecasting options.

5. Mobile and Social Support

Mobile devices generate about 51.3% of global web traffic. This makes it imperative for software like CRMs to be designed for mobile support. In the same way, CRMs must also have features for collaboration on social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. An added social network integration ensures that you are making the most out of information sharing through social media.

6. Integration

This feature includes but is not limited to tools for data import and exports. A good CRM software will also have integration application programing interfaces (APIs) and the option of integrating with a large range of third-party applications.

7. Platform

For any software, its platform is the deciding factor for how it supports user interaction. Let’s go over a few fundamental CRM platform attributes:

  • Customization
  • User and Access Management
  • Test Environments
  • Content Management
  • Overall Performance
  • Document Generation

What is Agile CRM?

Agile CRM delivers all the business solutions on a single platform. Everyone in your system—sales reps, marketers, customer support reps—has access to all of the data from their colleagues, all contained on a single page with an overall view. Everyone shares the same insight, from one source of data truth.

You get a slick, customisable, highly-intuitive user interface designed around ease of use for the end user.

Features of Agile CRM:

All-in-One CRM

Automate your sales, marketing, and service in one platform. Avoid data leaks and enable consistent messaging.


Make the most of Agile’s modern features & integrations, easy implementation and great support at an affordable price.


Cloud based SaaS service that is mobile-ready, fast, and simple to use.

Which business applications should your CRM integrate with?

In the previous section, we discussed how a key feature of CRM is its ability to integrate with applications. Let’s look at some crucial applications your CRM software must work with.

Integrate your website with CRM

A CRM software thrives on data. A lot of companies fail to pay attention to the most important integration of all. Your Business Website!

Website integration takes place with all kinds of software; CRMs, accounting solutions, payment gateways, etc. Merging your CRM with your website provides for better customer experience as it puts them on the centre of your service delivery.

In addition, it helps in enhanced profiling of your website visitors. This happens through the process of collecting information on the website through contact or inquiry forms. Not just that, integrating CRM with a website can earn you more sales through the chances of getting accurate customer data. As a result, you can get better leads that improve conversion rates.

How to integrate CRM with WordPress?

WordPress has a number of CRM plugins that you can choose from. While looking for one, make sure that it has a contact capture system to build forms, widgets, etc. Also, check for messaging tools and reporting modules. Another thing you want in your WP CRM plugin is filtering and search bars along with integration extensions to link to other CRMs or platforms.

Some of the best CRM plugins for WordPress are:

  • WordPress CRM Plugin
  • HubSpot
  • Web-to-Lead for Salesforce
  • Bitrix24 CRM
  • Contact Form 7 Zoho

CRM integration with MS Teams

Another popular choice, MS Teams also works effectively when integrated with CRM software. MS Teams is known for its ease of collaboration. By integrating it with a CRM, team members can have access to the CRM dashboard instantly. Additionally, CRM system records can also be shared as cards in MS Teams conversations. 

How to choose a CRM for your small business?

  • Scalable Features

 Every organisation has unique processes, needs, and customer demands. You can’t spend on different CRM software over and over again as your business increases. Instead, invest in a system that is scalable. Before spending on a CRM, do your research on whether that model will be able to upgrade easily. Additionally, don’t get carried away by all the fancy features. Reports suggest that first-time CRM buyers often overestimate the functionalities they need. Look for features such as Outlook Integration along with basic ones like contact management. Evaluate the list of features based on your business needs and not on what’s trending.

  • Ease of Integration

Although CRM software has loads of benefits as a standalone product, it can truly be maximised only through integrations. Because you’re getting it to streamline processes, not to create separate work systems. With increasing remote working, this criterion is the most important one to consider. Here are some of the most important incorporations to look out for:

  • Outlook with CRM
  • CRM with G-Suite
  • CRM with Microsoft Office
  • Excel with CRMEase of Use

This one is crucial for all kinds of software. You want a CRM system that is intuitive and enjoyable to use. Moreover, there must a logical flow of action and task execution. It should also fit in with existing operations and kind of daily usage. The best way to test this out is by involving a sales member or customer service rep since they will be the primary users.

  • Industry-specific vendor

Your business may be part of a very general or extremely specific industry. Since CRM seeks to improve business operations, you need a seller who understands your industry well. Lookup vendor websites to get an idea of what businesses they cater to. Also, check whether the seller has sufficient CRM experience. In addition, a vendor with a local network can provide help after implementation as well. 

  • Training and Support

When installing the CRM, ensure that you focus on ease of configuration and ask for customizations. Your business has its own growth and customer dynamic so ask for personalised training sessions instead of basic online tutorials. Always ask for support hours and additional costs. Furthermore, get a CRM solution that is easy to operate across organizational levels.

Top 6 CRMs for small businesses

1. Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM is an all-in-one CRM for small businesses. It includes email, phone, social, and live chat communication channels. The software allows for social media analytics and account management. It also has advanced selling tools such as deals and leads. 

CRM for small business
          Zoho CRM interface

2. Salesforce

Salesforce has the best brand recognition when it comes to CRM software. Some of its features include workflows and approvals, sales automation and contact management. 

Salesforce CRM
Salesforce interface

3. Agile CRM

This one focuses more on lead management and marketing automation. It helps to close more deals through its contact and nurturing analytics. Agile CRM also includes email and campaign tracking and templates for marketing channels. 

Agile CRM
                Agile CRM interface

4. Hubspot

Hubspot provides features such as deal management and lead capture forms for budget-conscious startups. It has a built-in scheduler for meetings and is free for unlimited users. 

HubSpot CRM
 HubSpot interface

5. Salesflare

Think your team will never use a CRM because it’s too hard and too much work? Enter Salesflare: it’s a simple yet powerful CRM for small and medium-sized businesses that sell B2B. It automatically fills out itself by integrating closely with Google Workspace and Microsoft Office 365. And if you’re prospecting a lot, you’ll probably also enjoy its LinkedIn extension. Your sales team will love it.

Salesflare interface

6. Insightly

Insightly is known for its intuitive interface. Furthermore, it is easy to use and affordable and has the keyword, contact, and project tags. As a result, it enables fast search options and information sharing. 

Insightly CRM
                 Insightly interface


What is CRM?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. It is basically a software that improves customer relations, increases sales, and streamlines operations.

What are the types of CRM software?

There are 5 main types of CRM software. These are:
1. Operational CRM
2. Analytical CRM
3. Collaborative CRM
4. Campaign Management CRM
5. Strategic CRM

What are CRM skills?

CRM skills revolve around sales and marketing funnels, and customer relationship management. It automates processes and acts as a central information and profile database.

Who should use CRM?

Any business should invest in a CRM, regardless of size and revenue. This is because it helps in making core functions efficient and saves time.

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