Customer relationship management (CRM) isn’t some kind of obscure software. It’s actually a business strategy with a handful of tools that will help you acquire, multiply and maintain profitable customer relationships.
What the heck does that mean? It means that need to look at your CRM as an overall process and not just a fancy new icon on your desktop. In short a CRM strategy is a glorified sales funnel that when used correctly will pull together information about customers, sales, and marketing from each aspect of your business, and put it into a simplified software program, helping you to see and do all everything below in one dashboard on your computer or sometimes even on your mobile device:
Track and manage your business’s performance.
Improve team communication.
Keep your existing customers by improving customer service.
Automate marketing and sales processes.
Track interactions with customers.
Sell more to current customers.
Make faster sales by tracking key information.
Today there are many different kinds of CRM software programs available to help you gather and organize relevant information about current and potential customers. Much of these CRM tools are free or low-cost, but here are 5 of our suggestions for CRM tools that will help you create more leads for your business:
Capsule is low cost; in fact, it’s free for up to 2 users, and you have 10 MB of storage available to you, with a limit of 250 contacts.
To upgrade beyond these limitations is only $12 per user a month, and you get 2G of storage and a total of 50,000 contacts. With the upgrade you’re also allowed integration with applications like MailChimp.
Reviews boast that Insightly is a great free program with a very user-friendly website. Their free package includes 2 users, 2,500 contacts, 200MB of storage and 10 custom fields. If this isn’t impressive enough,
Insightly offers their free users complete product support via email. The upgrade fee is $12 per user a month, and with this you get 25,000 contacts, 1G of storage and Mailchimp integration.
Really Simple Systems
Really Simple Systems offers a free 2-user system that includes 100 accounts (businesses you deal with). You get unlimited contacts within those accounts, as well as tasks, 100 MB of storage and free full customer support.
The pricing system is really flexible, so you can upgrade for $15 per user a month to pay for 3 more users with the same functionality, or take a pass on certain features and get pricing as low as $8 per user a month.
Raynet advertises itself to be an easy-to-use, we-do-it-all CRM system. Its free version allows you to have 2 users, 150 accounts (businesses you deal with) 50MB of storage and full customer support.
You can upgrade to 20,000 accounts and a full TB of storage for just $19 per user a month.
Zoho is considered by many to be one of the “big dogs” of CRM software, so it’s a great idea to take advantage of their free program. Their CRM version is free for 10 users and 5,000 records (or contacts). It comes with a mobile app and social CRM among other things.
Their first step upgrade is only $12 per user a month, and comes with more users, features, and as many as 100,000 contacts.
The world of CRM's is a landscape rich in free and open-source programs. These are just five suggestions to help you start your exploration into this territory. There are a host of other affordable CRM options for you to consider that, although they may not free, they may be the perfect fit for your business. The most important part of this journey is discovering which CRM tool is the best for you, to help your business, increase your sales and improve your efficiency. Explore and weigh all of the options before choosing one to find the best fit, for the best price.
A word to the wise though, even though a CRM has a low fee, if you find that you've paid for the program but aren't using it, or decide to switch to another instead, make sure you take the time to cancel the original one. You don't want to be paying out more than you need to on a monthly basis, simply for not taking the time to request a cancellation to re-coop those original fees.
Work Smarter... Not Harder.