As a small business owner, time is a precious commodity. You work hard developing and marketing your product, nurturing leads, developing relationships with customers, and building a team to help you with it all. But if you’re not using all the tools available to you, you could be missing out on some key opportunities to increase your customer base. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems and email marketing platforms can help your sales and marketing teams stay up-to-date on leads and current clients and provide affordable and efficient ways to communicate with customers. Here, we’ll take a look at three CRM systems and three email marketing tools for small businesses that can free up time and help you reach a wider audience.
What is CRM?
CRM systems are a great tool for your sales team to help manage data on your current and prospective customers. In recent years, they have become more affordable and simple to use, so they are quickly gaining in popularity with businesses of all sizes. They help your business stay current with qualified leads and track your contact with clients, including past sales, phone calls, meetings, email exchanges, etc…Below are three of the most popular CRM systems for small businesses.
The best CRM systems for small businesses:
- Salesforce: A hybrid of CRM and marketing automation, Salesforce is highly rated by most reviewers, including Forbes and Fortune magazines. The cloud-based system makes for easy set-up and management, and their website claims that customers boost their sales by an average of 37%. The system manages customer accounts, tracks confirmed sales leads, create reports to monitor marketing campaigns, and provides post-sale services. Pricing starts at $25/month per user and increases from there, depending on additional services and users.
- ZoHo CRM: Business News Daily calls ZoHo the “best free customer relationship management software for small businesses.” Features include lead gathering, contact management, analytics, and social collaboration. Streamline sales with quotes and sales order processing, integrated inventory management, and stored price lists. The system integrates easily with third-party apps and is highly customizable. Prices vary, starting at $12/month (per user) after a free trial period.
- Nimble: In addition to the services offered by other CRM systems, Nimble tracks your customer’s social media activity to create a more detailed customer profile. Users like the easy-to-use interface and social integration, and the receptive support system that reacts quickly to user requests. They also offer group messaging and email templates. Rates are comparable to other CRMs, starting at $25/month per user.
While CRM systems help streamline your sales force and monitor your contact with clients, marketing automation services help you find those clients and create those contacts. These marketing tools for small businesses will help you lazar focus your marketing efforts and start generating sales so you have something for the CRM to track. Email marketing offers the ability to reach a lot of potential customers; when interested parties opt in or subscribe, you know they will see the content. It is a flexible strategy that works for almost any type of business and comes with minimal risk and cost. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of automated marketing tools just a click away. Three popular ones are listed below and are able to be integrated with many CRM systems to link your sales and marketing efforts.
The best email marketing tools for small businesses:
- Mailchimp: Probably the most well-known marketing automation site on the market, Mailchimp also delivers the highest deliverability rate of its competitors (98%, according to their site). They offer email and newsletter templates in a range of clean styles and have a user-friendly interface that customers appreciate. Automated campaign set-ups, strong segmentation, and a responsive support team make them a top choice for mass email marketing. You can get started with Mailchimp for free, and basic services run about $10/month. As your contact list grows, prices increase.
- iContact: Similar to Mailchimp, iContact offers autoresponder emails and easy set-up and management of your marketing communications. They offer plans for a variety of budgets, and their basic services are similar to those listed above. Great segmentation of your contacts, easy-to-read reports and analytics, and a responsive support team make this a good choice for small businesses. Prices are a little higher, starting at $52/month and going up from there as you add services.
- Constant Contact: Much like the platforms listed above, Constant Contact offers contact management, autoresponders (with personalized emails, based on customer data), and a high deliverability rate. They also work with social media marketing, and offer trackable coupons and online surveys to monitor your marketing plan’s effectiveness. It’s free to start with Constant Contact, and after the trial, basic services start at $15/month. Prices increase depending on the size of your contact list and the available add-on services.
In a technology-driven world, you need to take advantage of the many types of communication tools at your disposal. CRM and marketing automation systems are just a couple of ways you can stay organized and monitor the effectiveness of your sales and marketing force. The companies listed here are just the tip of the iceberg; with a little research, you can find the platform that is perfect to grow your small business. Did we miss a tool that you know and love? Share it with our community in the comments section below!