There’s no shortage of CRM options out there. As a small business owner, you can find systems that range from single digits to well over $100 a license. Likewise, in terms of features and functionality, they vary from basic tools to advanced automated systems. To give you an idea of how much CRM software costs, we’ve selected 3 diverse systems that are great for small business. Together, they reflect the wide range of options available.
Insightly – $120/month for 10 users
Coming at a cost of $12 per user per month, Insightly is one of the most cost effective CRM systems on the market. There’s also a free version you can use for up to 3 users, but you get limited storage and its missing some features, which we’ll get into later.
Insightly gives small businesses a simple and easy-to-use platform to manage their contacts, deals and projects. There’s a contact book where you can track email correspondence with your clients and quickly add notes, attach documents or schedule follow up appointments. As with most CRMs, contacts, the individuals you do business with and organizations, the companies they represent, are listed separately. However, contacts can be linked to organizations and vice versa. Also, both are searchable (along with the rest of your data) using a universal search bar.
There’s a separate menu to track your potential deals. With Insightly, you can create templates for your sales process. This is done by defining a series of stages (i.e. “give demo,” “negotiate price,” “send contract”) and, as an additional option, creating a set of tasks for each. When you, or a member of your team, updates the stage, tasks will be sent out automatically. This can help your business avoid lost productivity due to communication gaps.
Insightly has project management tools where you can also apply templates and predefined sets of tasks. All of this is available in both the free and paid version. However, only the paid version has integrations with Mailchimp & Quickbooks, which lets you sync your contacts and customer data with Insightly. Click here for a complete review of Insightly, and other firms mentioned in this article.
Nimble – $150/month for 10 users
Nimble is for businesses who rely on social media as their main way of conducting business. Nimble unifies your connections across LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Email into a single contact book. You can send emails, Facebook messages or Twitter direct mail without leaving your Nimble dashboard, saving you the time and effort of logging into multiple accounts.
Where Nimble really shines, however, is in lead generation. Each day, Nimble mines your social media accounts for birthdays, recent job changes (via LinkedIn) and mentions of you or your business across all channels. These reminders are intended to show you opportunities to engage with clients and leads. Also on the homepage, Nimble displays 3 new contacts each day and asks you whether or not they are important. Over time, Nimble learns exactly who are key clients and uses this to find more specific opportunities to engage.
Nimble is available for $15 per user per month. Along with it’s social media integration, Nimble also has basic sales tracking and task management: You can create “deals” and link them to clients. View your pipeline by tracking deal stages and organize all your notes, emails and tasks by saving them directly on a deal. There’s no workflow automation, however, like there is with Insightly. Sales reports, also, are pretty basic. Read user reviews for Nimble.
Zoho – $200/month for 10 users
Zoho is an advanced and customizable CRM system. What that means is it goes beyond basic CRM tools, letting you customize how it processes your data and how it interacts with other systems. Lets give some examples:
With Zoho, you can build an HTML form to place on your website for users to fill out their contact information. Once they click “submit” all that information will be automatically added to your system as a new lead. You can also do this with customer service cases, for example, if you want a put a support ticket form on your website. You can up Zoho to automatically notify employees when a lead or customer service case comes in or have the system automatically assign tasks. This means you can have employees on it the minute a customer or lead submits their information.
Another strength of Zoho is in the reporting. While Insightly and Nimble give you a few standard reports about the productivity of your staff and status of your deals, Zoho lets you build custom reports using any metric in the system. So if there’s a specific report you need to give to your sales managers, you can bank on finding it with Zoho.
Both Insightly and Nimble let you save custom data fields if, for example, you need to save more specific client data, like their product preferences or birthday. Zoho, however, takes this much further by letting you customize entire pages (i.e. Contacts, Accounts, Deals, etc.) which are also called modules. With an Enterprise level account ($35/user/month) you can even build new modules from scratch. For example, if you worked as a real estate agent, you could have a custom module titled “Listings,” and another titled “Rental Properties.” Each would be a separate list with unique data fields and workflow rules.
At $20 per user per month for the Professional edition, or $35 or for the Enterprise edition, Zoho is a little more expensive than the other programs, but still much cheaper than other high-powered CRMs. There’s also a free version for up to 10 users, but you have limited storage and features. There’s no custom reporting, email marketing tools or sales forecasting. Read user reviews for Zoho.
When it comes to choosing a CRM, most small businesses only need basic contact and deal management. Depending on your specific situation, you might also want close integration with social media (as you find with Nimble) or customization and automation (as you find with Zoho.) Either way, small businesses should be weary of CRM providers asking for more than a few hundred dollars for 10 users, like Salesforce, which costs $125 per license. As you can see above, there are powerful systems available for much less.
*Prices mentioned correct at time of publication
Images: “Customer relationship management concept man selecting CRM/Shutterstock.com“
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