In fact sometimes it competes for attention with another acronym I don’t like, SMB (small business or small and medium sized business).
Regardless of the acronym slinging, CRM is one of the most powerful tools a growing business needs to be competitive: to nurture prospective customers to a “yes” and to nurture customers into being loyal (repeat) customers and who refer other customers.
Recently Campaigner, makers of email marketing software, released Campaigner CRM -which comes with contact management, opportunities, lead management (such as lead qualification and more), social CRM (integrating your customers social content so you can know more about their social activities), email marketing and more. Campaigner has a base price of $30 per month per user which does not include additional fees for service and support and email marketing services.
Here’s what’s happening – the email services such as Vertical Response and Constant Contact have focused on building their social marketing services. With this announcement, you’re now seeing companies offer more and better CRM services just for small businesses.
There are several companies competing in the CRM space, I’m only focused on the online applications here:
Infusionsoft (my employer) differentiates itself by enabling you to automatically NURTURE your entire communication with prospective customers and customers. Infusionsoft includes email marketing, analytics, lead scoring, contact management, and more.
Nimble differentiates itself by letting you engage with customers through social media and being able to track your individual email conversations with them in Nimble.
BatchBook differentiates itself by enabling you to simply identify customers, track communication with customers and communicate with your team.
ZohoCRM – differentiates itself by providing an extensive array of tools including lead capture from your web site (as do BatchBook and Infusionsoft), automatically assign leads to the right sales person, and the ability to track all email correspondence from with in Zoho CRM.
Maximizer CRM Live – Maximizer started out as traditional software and over the years (not sure when) migrated to an online service as well. It differentiates itself through business intelligence and marketing automation.
Sales Force – targeted at larger enterprises, is the most famous CRM application of these services. It provides a range of core sales, marketing, lead and contact solutions.
Sugar CRM – has social connectivity, email marketing and campaign management (and more) are included. Sugar CRM also integrates with 3rd party email services.
HighRiseHQ – One of the oldest CRM services for small businesses, HighRiseHQ specializes in dozens of 3rd hooks to 3rd party applications to give it a robust feature set.
SageOne – Recently launched SageOne is NOT meant to be a CRM solution, but a small business management tool (projects, finances, etc). However, one might consider it CRM “light”, hence I’ve included it on this list. Of course ACT! (contact management) and other Sage solutions are CRM focused offerings.
So what are the 5 reasons every small business needs CRM?
- To give you ONE view of your customer. Only a true CRM system enables you to see the overall interaction of your customer across your web site, sales funnels, and beyond. Silos of customer information are no good.
- Enable you to nurture the prospects who are not quite yet ready to buy.
- Enable you to keep in touch with customers and treat them all as special as if they were one person.
- Enable you to focus on the prospects who are ready to buy while your CRM system works on those customers who are not yet ready.
- Give you insight on how your customers have engaged with your business and/or it’s products or services. This enables your entire organization to treat each customer with the appropriate level of service.
Lifecycle Marketing – November 28, 2012