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Top CRM Software Choices for Startup Businesses

Posted June 26, 2018 by AdamWright to Small Business / Entrepreneurship 1 0
This post was written by a EasyFinance.com Community member. The views expressed below may not reflect the views of EasyFinance.com.

Today we are going to talk about the “Top CRM platform choices for startup kinds of business” yet before we dive in, it`s important we know first what is a CRM in functionality, what is a startup business & how do they benefit from obtaining a reliable CRM tool on their arsenal, and finally, what are the elements to seek in a suitable CRM to reach the best choices & achieve ultimate level of success.

• What is CRM?
CRM or customer relation manager systems are the engines that speaks for you when you need a hundred tongues, a thousand ears, and a million eyes to listen to people`s talk around your brand or business, monitor each step clients take on a specifically tailored campaign, and speak in return to action with each prominent prospect you can turn into lead, customer, and a sales opportunity that drives in revenue eventually.
Consider it the ultimate tool for building new friendships in business that leads to more trust and confidence in whatever business you`re ahead of & whatever service you have to offer. Now you know how important a CRM tool is.

• How do we benefit from it?
1. Organizing & centralizing data: This helps for easier access and interaction with clear statements & reports concerning customers personalized information putting both marketing & sales teams on same page for faster & highly improved revenue impact.
2. Reporting & Analytics: This is the process of keeping a close track on Leads or prospects` personal behaviour & robust data driven from a collective silhouette for marketing campaigns triggered according to it. In addition to holding magnified eye on both marketing & sales initiation and efforts affecting the whole marketing cycle terminally.
3. Sales forecasting: A good CRM provides business with deep, well-informed insight through funneling & pipelining collaborative data driven & efforts included, enabling such business to build up mature & smart decisions with short & long-term business estimates & predictions.
4. Segmentation: Organizing contacts into featured data queues (Demographically, socially, timely, by profession…etc.) for easier Lead nurturing & management, & faster up-selling & cross-selling engagements.
5. Sales scaling & evaluation: Using powerful campaign performance measuring tools and clean dashboards for accurate measuring of sales campaigns hotspots & low spots and their impact on the overall sales management process and ROI.

• Elements of choice:
CRM for startup kinds of business with specific criteria such as tight budget plans, minimum tech savvy levels, and limited number of users or team members should aim for specific features on whatever CRM system they choose according to their respective business nature or needs; so they are not swallowed by the tide of hundreds CRM software & platforms available on market today. Such features as:
1. Ease of use: CRM platform should be simple, organized, and UI friendly to the lowest level of users` expertise without the need to call-in an IT for running up or organizing the system. It also should allow an acceptable level of optimization with other platforms or devices such as smart phones, android, and iOS systems.
2. Affordability: Micro to small business with somewhat 5 to 10 employees or less doesn’t necessarily run in such high revenue, that’s why it’s essential to obtain a CRM software that doesn’t break their budget so they can keep their spends at scale.
3. Reliability: Be it a downloadable self-hosted kind of software, or running on cloud as a SaaS which is the modern trend for business type of software generally, a CRM is a crucial element for each business; means it should be offering a robust and ever available service with unlimited access to personal data.
4. Continuity: A successful business is that kind of business with bigger plans and higher expectations, that’s why growing up is inevitable, so it is considered a smart choice to have a CRM system that grows with you and help your business always stay on track.
5. Customer support & tutorials: The best CRM providers today are offering near 24/7 support on various channels such as phone or email or even webinars, in addition to pre-set tutorials & free guide books. Some of these choices can be expensive though, so the trick is to find a suitable provider who offers such valuable package of good service & support for a free or as affordable & reasonable price as possible.
Now that we are more focused and organized, let’s see what CRM software we got on our list based on previous criteria:

Top Startup CRM systems:  (A features to pricing plans related discussion).

1. Hubspot CRM.
As an ever free solution, the CRM platform from HubSpot directly enrich and enhance sales teams operations through nurturing their pipelines with endless data smoothly & intuitively as a beautiful sunshine on the beach. It runs quietly on the back stage of your already functioning other tools and showers sales reps with powerful insight capabilities unrivaled by any other free CRM solution (and even best most of the paid ones for that matter). So whichever kind of relation you have with your customers (individual, B2B, or B2C business) & whatever your industry maybe, rest assured, with HubSpot CRM module you will be able to do a lot, doing it fast, and as easy & complex free as it can ever be.
Pricing plans:
Believe it or not, it`s forever free. Well, at least for their CRM module, which is a fully capable one and by no means lacking.

2. Insightly. 
Insightly was designed by a group of CRM experts to help small business stay ahead of the line with a simple straight forward functionality and a group of powerful features including Email tracking, project & opportunity management, and a list of powerful integrations with various types of software such as Gsuite, dynamics 365, MailChimp, Xero and more. Yet Insightly prides itself most in its accelerating sales & delivering projects capabilities.
Pricing plans:
Insightly offers an ever free plan for up to a couple users, rather than that they have 3 different pricing plans as follows:
•  Plus plan: $29 per user/month (billed annually).
* Limited features plan: (100,000 records/ 2,500 emails/ 50 custom fields/ custom Kanban sales pipeline/ custom task & project manager/ custom report & charts/ mobile CRM app/ Standard dashboards).
• Professional plan: $49 per user/month (billed annually).
• Enterprise plan: $99 per user/month (billed annually).

3. Less annoying CRM.
This cloud based CRM platform is all about simplicity. It functions as a centralized dashboard that includes every essential aspect that defines a CRM tool, such as basic contact info, tasks, events, leads, notes and more. All is kept on a single interface they call it “your work space”. In addition to pipeline reports and email reminders to help you stay vigilant & organized. Less annoying CRM offers a free beginner’s guide list of videos, beside free phone & email support.
Pricing plan:
Just A flat $10 per user per month for gaining access to their complete list of features. It’s that simple.

4. Nimble.
Nimble is a social CRM, means you get to feel intimate using this software which is capable of tracking and socializing customer profile & interaction on email and social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or twitter. They have a clear focus on nurturing customers` life cycle through focusing on social events and to-do lists using their smart automated widgets. That, in addition to Nimble` s “Rules Engine” that works as the core of all Nimble social listening & interaction tools for creating more sales opportunities based on social behavior & millstones detected, helping for robust engagements with targeted clients.
Pricing plans:
• Nimble contact: $9 per user/month (when paid annually)
* This plan is limited on features such as storage (1 GB), group messaging (unavailable) pipeline management, sales & forecast reports, & social media signals (disabled) only up to 5 license allowed and no API.
• Nimble business: $19 per user/month (when paid annually).

5. Nutshell.
As an extremely intuitive & customizable CRM solution, Nutshell is built to fit all kind of business, with various levels of complexity. Yet supporting sales reps is where this platform really outshines itself; with sales process and collaboration tools, email sync with Gmail and Outlook, & a wide range of integrations with various business tools like Google Apps, Mailchimp, & salesforce. Nutshell is also offering real-time synchronization across all devices, allowing sales reps to create, search and edit contact information instantly. Reps can also use these apps to log activities and meetings using audio or video recording. All this makes Nutshell an ultimate CRM solution for Sales teams & representative personnel.
Pricing plans:
• Starter: $19 per user/month (paid annually).
* Limited features plan (single sales pipeline/ sales activity & results dashboard/ standard sales reporting/ team collaboration capabilities).
• Pro: $35 per user/month (paid annually).
• Pro+: $69 per user/month (paid annually).

6. Pipedrive.
Have you ever paid for a one way ticket on a train? Probably did, then you must know how it feels, to want to reach you destination the fastest, safest, and most sure way possible right? Now, that`s exactly what Pipedrive is offering you. A sure one way sales interaction that leads sales reps to closing deals the fastest & most accurate way ever. Pipedrive gives you a one way enjoyable ride through its highly intuitive and UI friendly platform with optimized drag & drop contacts capability and the pleasure of importing you customer lists from any previous platform with a single touch. The process on Pipedrive is categorized as: Idea – contact made – needs discovered – proposal presented – in negotiation – Won. This is how Pipeline train looks like, so hope you enjoy the ride.
Pricing plans:
• Silver: $12.5 per user/month (annually).
* Limited features plan: (calendar/ contact timeline/ smart email BBC/ customizable dashboard/ chat & email support).
• Gold: $24.2 per user/month (annually).
• Platinum: $62.5 per user/month (annually).

7. ProsperWorks CRM.
Another excellent CRM platform which is extremely easy and friendly to use, with deep integration to GSuite allowing all tasks & interactions to appear on Gmail, beside the ability to use google various reporting and analysis tools to leverage the overall customer, opportunity, & sales management experience. ProsperWorks also offers dynamic interaction with customer`s data through auto saving, profiling, and offering suggested actions based on previous initiations. Beside lead tracking and past/future calendared events and much more, all makes ProsperWorks one of the most preferred and affordable CRM tools available.
Pricing plans:
• Basic: $19 per user/month (annually).
Limited features plan: (up to 3 user/ up to 30,000 records/ 2 GB storage/ basic reporting/ basic integrations/ online support/ sales forecasting/ google integration – extension/ mobile app).
• Professional: $49 per user/month (annually).
• Business: $119 per user/month (annually).

8. Close.io:
Same as its name indicates, Close.io is a CRM dedicated platform using a simple & UI friendly platform with all focus and means for closing deals the easiest and faster way possible. One of its strong features the call.in capabilities which allows sales rep to clear direct phone calls with opportunities showing on their working preface named “the Inbox” which represents a full list of clients and their respective data all in a follow up sequence list of actions.
Pricing plans:
Close.io follows a monthly and yearly payment plan which offers a 10% discount on all pricing plans.
• Basic: $59 yearly with unlimited access, unlimited contacts, & unlimited opportunities. This plan offer as well a 2 way email sync, custom roles & permissions, and API access.
• Professional: $99 yearly. Besides basic plan features, this plan offer powerful call in features such as unlimited calls (US & Canada) phone number & power dialer caller automation.
• Business: $149 yearly. This is the full-featured plan from close.io including such features as voicemail drop, call transferring, & call audio recording.

9. Highrise:
This CRM is built around tasks. First thing you start on is importing contacts, then you are asked to link up a Gmail or outlook mail and Walla! You’re good and running. This is how simple and straight forward Highrise is. Yet the most trivial aspect of this online platform is its cheerful interaction built on friendly gestures such as Hello, Welcome, and its wonderful feature Good morning which allows users to display incoming messages they haven't responded to yet. Which is “a great way to manage a help desk or group inbox.” According to Highrise.
Pricing plan:

    Highrise is a free service for up to 2 users and 250 contacts.
    $24/month for up to 6 users gets you 5,000 contacts, 10 deals, and 5GB of storage
    $29/month for 1 user, 20,000 contacts, unlimited deals, and 5 GB of storage
    $49/month for up to 15 users gets you 20,000 contacts, unlimited deals, and 15 GB of storage
    $99/month for up to 40 users gets you 30,000 contacts, unlimited deals, and 30 GB of storage
    $149/month for unlimited users, 50,000 contacts, unlimited deals, and 75 GB of storage

When we are talking customer relation management solutions there can be no one-fits-all kind of choice. Each of these tools or platforms have its own way to do things. Then it`s better to have our eyes set on what we really need in a CRM instead of what these tools has to offer. Starting from that point, everything becomes simply a matter of scaling & adaptation. Then even a software with a thousand integrations won’t be that much appealing, as long as we understand what integrations suits our specific kind of business and which type of service really worth paying for.

Thanks for reading and please share us with your thought & reviews.

About AdamWright: Professional blogger passioned about startup businesses and marketing hacks.

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