Article

Mohit Sharma
Mohit Sharma 13 September 2021

How to Choose the Best Value for Money CRM for Startups and Small Businesses

When it comes to managing and nurturing customer relationships, the first thing that comes to mind is CRM software. Here, we will discuss CRM applications solely tailored for small businesses and startups. If you're an entrepreneur then you should definitely read this article.

Fast-growing small businesses and startups need to allot their capital mindfully. Therefore, they should invest in software that can help in quickly achieving the desired goals. A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system is an all in one solution for startups. Like any other business software, CRM software is also designed to streamline and improve the business processes. 

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Initially, the purpose of a CRM system is to manage the customer’s interactions with the company. But with ever-evolving technology, a CRM is now doing a lot more than that. Particularly CRMs for startups and small businesses, as it helps them in centralizing data, building a brand, managing finance, and a whole lot more.

Business Expert's Tips for CRM for Startups

Here, we have written down tried and tested strategies that can help startups in bringing out most of the CRM software. Besides that, you’ll find more insightful information from this article. All this vital information will help you in nurturing leads more effectively, creating a loyal customer base, forecasting revenue, etc.

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Choose a Scalable, Flexible, and Affordable CRM

Startups should have a CRM that can improve the customer experience, interaction, and retention rate. But they can’t afford to splash out money on unnecessary tools. Even after that, most newcomers commit this mistake while searching for software. They opt for an overpowered CRM software that comprises tons of features which are of no use for startups.

Instead of this, you should find a CRM according to your requirements and at an affordable price. A CRM system that comes with all the essential features and ability to upgrade with business growth. One such option could be SuiteCRM which is the best free CRM for startups and MSME (Medium, Small, and Micro Enterprises).

Collaboration Between Departments

This is one of the major reasons due to which 90% of startups fail. Lack of collaboration between various departments within an organization leads to poor customer service and satisfaction. Perfect CRM software bridges the gap between the two departments quite easily.

For example, if demographics data collected by the marketing department does not reach the sales department on time then it will be impossible to create an effective strategy. That’s why it is important to avoid possible silos and connect various touchpoints. Only in this way, a business can get an entire picture and work more efficiently. Team collaboration can provide a competitive edge to fast-growing startups.

Quick and Easy to Use

The purpose of a CRM is to reduce efforts and improve workflow productivity rather than complicating the existing processes. Therefore, watch out for CRM software with a small learning curve and easy to understand by all users.

Top-Notch Security Features

CRM software records the customer’s information; it could be email conversations, chats, transactions or anything else. And, it’s your responsibility to keep that vital data safe and secure. You should look for some advanced security features that can ensure the safety of client’s data. For example, two-factor authentication so that no one can access data without authorization or tracking of user’s activity.

Optimal use of CRM Data

Most startups underestimate the value of CRM data, instead, they focus on third-party services to provide data. Usually, this option is costly and data provided by them is hard to evaluate. By leveraging the data available in CRM, you can easily up the sales and target the customers who are not completely developed yet.

Let’s understand this with an example, Retail CRM has been utilizing the data to understand the buying patterns and customer behaviour. They have witnessed immense growth by analysing CRM data.

Attract Customer with High LTV (Lifetime Value)

The big enterprises and firms primarily use CRM for building a long-lasting relationship with High LTV customers. For that reason, it is imperative for a CRM to have functionalities that can help in identifying such customers and clients. Most of the CRMs, especially, CRM for hotels are tailored for centralizing the customer’s communication, retaining customer’s history, and providing future follow-ups.

Opt for a CRM software based on the number of users

As we said earlier, startups can’t afford to spend money on resources that they won’t exploit in the coming future. So, it will be wise to determine the number of users before investing in software. However, the CRM system you opt for should be capable of scale as per your business growth.

Industry Oriented CRM Software

Different types of business have different requirements from CRM software. That’s why it is important to understand the customer base and after that, you choose a CRM for the startup accordingly. A B2B business model will have completely different obligations from a B2C model. For example, a Call Center CRM is more effective when it comes to sending bulk SMS messages than any other software.

Alignment Between Sales and Marketing Teams

Seamless interchange of data between sales and marketing teams could be crucial for business success. No matter if you’re a growing startup or well-established company, you have to make sure that CRM doesn’t become an exclusive property of one particular team. Data collected by sales teams while closing deals can help the marketing team in creating a more effective campaign.

Seamless Email Integration with CRM

Emails are the most used and effective way of communication. Most customers prefer to use emails for getting solutions to their problems. Not just them, about 28% of employees' working hours are either spent in reading or responding to emails.

A good CRM system is capable of integrating with advanced extensions like Email to Lead or BCC archive. Such plugins can save a significant amount of time and efforts of users.

AI-Powered CRM for Startups

Undoubtedly, AI is the future and the true key to automation. Experts have been predicting that AI-powered CRM can unlock great potential whether it’s related to sales or customer service or any other thing. Therefore, you should be proactive and adopt an AI-based approach as well. It doesn’t mean that you should go for an expensive AI-based CRM, but you should be open for possibilities.

Social Media Integration

There is a saying, “Social Media is the reflection of a person” and it is accurate to much extent. You can say a lot about a person by just looking at social media activity. Social CRM or CRM integration with social media channels holds a great value and helps in understanding customer behaviour as well. Startups and small businesses can avail lots of benefits by using CRM which is optimized for collecting crucial data from social platforms.

Topmost Reliability

The one way to grade a Customer Relationship Management software is by looking at its ability to collect data. And the reliability of software depends on the accuracy of the data that it provides. Inaccurate data can lead to inefficient actions and eventually catastrophic results. These factors could negatively impact the growth and revenue of startups.

Accessibility

Software accessibility is a huge concern and especially in the recent scenario when most of the workforce is working remotely. There is only one solution when it comes to accessing software remotely i.e Cloud-based CRM. But, make sure not to compromise the software performance while looking for flexibility. There are a lot of CRM applications that can easily work on smartphones but lack some crucial functionalities.

Easy Integration with Existing Business Softwares

The primary aim of CRM for Startups is to lower the burden by creating a centralized space for its users, not the other way around. It will be a whole lot easier to assess the entire picture at once than connecting the dots. Therefore, you should opt for a CRM for startups that can easily sync with your existing business technology. Putting extra efforts will only decrease the productivity and efficiency of workflow.

Personalization and Customization

Software personalization is important in order to stand out from the crowd who offer or sell the same products and services as you do. A personalized touch is also important for brand building. A customer is more attracted towards a business who is providing a personalized experience, it makes them feel special. CRM software should be capable of doing such things without any issues.

Manage Tricky Customers

A smart CRM should identify the customers who are standing on weak foundations. It means those customers who are likely to fall apart if actions are not taken on time. These customers will pitch in increasing the customer retention rate. Even a 5% increment in the customer retention rate can lead to a 95% growth in business revenue. We hope you understand how crucial it is not to lose even one customer.

The Bottom Line

In a nutshell, we can say big and established firms are continuously improving their customer experience by investing in the latest technology. So, it represents a signal to startups to shift their focus on providing top-notch customer service and experience. CRM for startups is the only way possible to achieve all these things.

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