Managing a sales team is hard work. And if you run a small business and manage a sales team, you have even more on your plate. You know that your sales and marketing teams are the heart and blood of your brand, but it’s not always easy to give them the attention they deserve. That’s why it’s crucial that small to medium-size business (SMB) owners take advantage of all the help they can get. Many a times that help comes in the form of an app.

Managing a sales team is hard work. And if you run a small business and manage a sales team, you have even more on your plate. You know that your sales and marketing teams are the heart and blood of your brand, but it’s not always easy to give them the attention they deserve. That’s why it’s crucial that small to medium-size business (SMB) owners take advantage of all the help they can get. Oftentimes that help comes in the form of an app.

Brief History of CRM for Small Business

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has come a long way in recent years, and the idea of a stand-alone customer relationship management software is relatively new in the business world.

CRM hasn’t always been the robust, stand-alone software that so many businesses rely on today. Over the past four decades, it has evolved out of a variety of other business programs. During that time, the CRM industry has undergone sea changes and shakeups (sic) that could have derailed the entire concept. (CRM Switch)

In the ‘80s, marketing pioneers Bob and Kate Kestnbaum established a process called database marketing, whereby customer data was collected and analyzed to help companies personalize communications with existing and prospective customers or clients.

By the ‘90s, companies like Brock Control systems had led the charge to bring contact management software (the original ”CMS”) to full sales force automation (SFA). This giant leap for sales and marketing technology combined features from database marketing, task automation, and contact management, to lay the framework for what would become the template for today’s CRM, though that acronym had yet to be coined.

CRM for Small Business Use

From humble beginnings, CRM solutions have tunneled their way into all walks of business. CRM brands understand that they must be unique in order to stand out from the crowd. The resulting variety of crm tool available on the market can be overwhelming for SMB owners.

Despite this, CRMs are integral to successful strategies. Sales and marketing teams depend on the automation they provide and the analysis they facilitate, though the process of finding the perfect CRM for your brand’s unique needs and challenges can be daunting.

And so, our experts at CRM.io have put together a list of critical steps you can take when selecting a small business crm, as well as steps to help you ensure a smooth transition to your new software.

Tips on Selecting a CRM for Small Businesses

1. Choose a Flexible CRM

Oftentimes, business owners will only consider their current situation when preparing for an investment of this nature. But unless you’re against growth in the future, you’ll want to select a crm that’s capable of growing with your brand.

”What new sales channels might you add? How much do you expect your business to grow, and what does that mean for the size of your sales team and your customer base? Make sure you choose CRM software which is scalable and can adapt to your changing needs over time.” (Small Business CRM Coach)*

2. Select a SaaS Based CRM Software

CRMs come in two formats. On one hand, you have CRMs that are sold as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). On the other, you have CRM solutions that you purchase, download, and install outright. For SMB owners, there’s almost no reason to choose anything other than a SaaS solution.

SaaS solutions offer a host of benefits all their own. Some of those benefits include:

For small and medium-sized businesses, the more flexible SaaS model is almost always the best choice.

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3. Consider Your Budget

Among SaaS-based CRMs, there’s a wide variety of sizes and price points to consider. You know your brand better than anyone else. When selecting a crm system, take your time to find one with the features you need. Avoid bells-and-whistles you’ll never use but that drives up the cost.

Talk to your team member to find out what features they need most to boost results and productivity. After all, they’ll be using the software more than anyone else.

Above all else, make sound decisions based on what you can safely afford to invest. Though crm for small businesses can return a huge profit, only when they’re used correctly, and only when the cost doesn’t outweigh the benefits.

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4. Take Advantage of Free Trials

It’s never a good idea to commit to the first app you see on Google. Even though a company has prime real estate on Google results pages, they might not be the best fit for your needs.

Most reputable brands offer free trials for their services. If the solution you’re considering doesn’t, move on to the next. While we’re on the subject, CRM.io is free for first 10 users and is perfect for small to medium-size businesses.

5. Know the Requirements of Your Team

It’s important to include your team in a decision that so heavily impacts their day-to-day. CRMs can provide automation, data collection, analysis, optimization, customization, and much more. But you and your team should decide the importance of each feature as a unit.

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Conclusion

No matter what industry or vertical you’re in, there’s a good chance that competition is more fierce than it's ever been. Your brand depends on members of your sales and marketing teams working together, and working productively, to grow through good times and bad. CRM for small businesses can facilitate that growth and mitigate the daily obstacles that slow you down.

But competition is not exclusive to your industry. New crm brands launch all the time, adding to the endless list of potential selections for your business. These tips will help you navigate the waters and find the perfect fit for you and your team.

If you’re in the market for a new crm software for small businesses, we’d like to encourage you to give CRM.io a try. It’s part of a family of productivity-boosting apps from 500apps.com, and you can try it for free.

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