Customer relationship management (CRM) software is no longer optional. It’s imperative. Regardless of size, almost every business needs a CRM system to help manage sales, marketing and customer service operations.
Today’s most popular CRM systems are extremely sophisticated, but costly, which is why many small businesses are wary of investing in CRM. However, there are plenty of CRM systems on the market targeted specifically at small business owners, offering them the right mix of features and functionality. Many CRM solutions are now offered in a web-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) model – providing simplified access at a subscription price that is digestible for the budget conscious.
To help you sort through the many available options, we have put together a list of five CRM software solutions for small businesses: Sage ACT!, Sugar CRM, Salestrakr CRM, Maximizer CRM, and Infusionsoft.
Most small business CRM systems offer the same core functionality, including contact management, lead management and basic reporting, but there are other features to consider. Below is a side-by-side comparison of the primary features most buyers will need.
|Sales force automation|
|Reporting & analytics|
|Social media integration|
Sage ACT! is one of the most powerful contact management and CRM solutions for the small business owner. It boasts millions of customers across multiple verticals, with a large number in the financial services and real estate industries. The 2011 edition, released late last year, introduced a more user-friendly interface, advanced integration with Microsoft Outlook, and a new feature called Sage Business Info Service. This add-on pulls business contact information from Hoover’s and imports it directly into ACT! Sage ACT! is offered in both a Pro and Premium edition.
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SugarCRM is the leading open source CRM solution for small-to-mid-sized companies. The Community Edition of Sugar is offered for free and has basic features for managing leads, contacts and tracking campaigns. For more advanced features such as enterprise reporting, sales forecasting and mobile integration, users should look into the paid editions. SugarCRM is available in either traditional on-premise installation or in the web-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. It also offers a choice of 22 languages, making it is ideal for small companies with a global reach.
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Salestrakr is a web-based CRM solution that is targeted at helping sales and marketing teams generate more leads, track opportunities and close more sales. There are several neat features for keeping your operation organized. You can import your contacts from just about any CRM, contact management system or email provider. You can also organize data access with the sales hierarchy, ensuring that each salesperson has the right information at the right time.
Maximizer CRM comes in four editions, but Maximizer CRM 11 Entrepreneur is ideal for the small business owner. This system offers sophisticated contact management and sales opportunity management. The stand-out feature of this system is its mobile integration. Maximizer CRM allows users to access vital information such as contact details, to-dos and appointments directly from any mobile device. Whether you have a BlackBerry, iPhone or Andoid device, you’re covered. And as your company expands and grows, Maximizer makes it easy to upgrade to a more comprehensive edition.
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Infusionsoft supports CRM, email marketing – and it’s one of the only vendors in this category to support e-commerce. With this system, users can centralize their top business functions into one system and manage them easily with automated workflows. Small business owners can often be intimated by how to best utilize a CRM system’s bells and whistles. But Infusionsoft eases that anxiety by providing a dedicated marketing mentor that will help you map out a plan for implementing and using the system to best support your business. Over 6,500 small business use Infusionsoft, making it a leader in small business CRM.
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