August 16, 2011
Ten years ago, it was not uncommon for small businesses to run their company on spreadsheets and post-it notes. Customer relationship management (CRM) software was available, but the cost, maintenance and risk associated with implementing a large, on-premise system made most solutions out of reach for the small business (SMB) space. However, times have changed. Today’s CRM market consists of a variety of systems designed to meet the needs of companies of any size or vertical. Many of these systems operate in the cloud, removing the up-front cost issue, as well as other financial risks associated with implementation.
The good news is that the systems are out there. The bad news is there are quite a few to choose from. Software Advice recently did a review of their top 5 CRM solutions for small business. Below is a feature comparison chart of those systems to give you a better idea of what each one offers.
Zoho CRM – With more than 50,000 customers worldwide, Zoho CRM is a leader in web-based productivity applications for business of all sizes. It is fairly intuitive and simple to use but provides a comprehensive set of features to meet your marketing, sales and customer support needs. Zoho provides mobile integration with your iPhone, and with a starting price of “free,” it is highly accessible to businesses with even the tightest budgets.
GoldMine CRM – Goldmine CRM is consistently rated as a top system for small businesses for its rich feature-set that helps automate the tasks of your sales, marketing and service teams. A stand-out feature is its integration with Microsoft Outlook. This is particularly valuable as many small businesses will be transferring from contact management via Microsoft Outlook to a more robust CRM system.
aimCRM – This system was made with the sales person in mind. It is one of the most intuitive systems on the market, with strong features in both marketing automation and sales force automation. To make it even easier, aimCRM provides extensive training to help get your organization up and running. Another stand-out feature is the computer telephony integration (CTI) that helps manage inbound and outbound calls, tying all of that valuable client information back into your CRM.
Epicor – Epicor is a highly customizable solution targeted at the SMB and midmarket. With over 20,000 customers in more than 140 countries, Epicor has the expertise and flexibility to grow with your company. Epicor also excels at vertical solutions, with specific expertise in the fields of manufacturing, distribution, hospitality and enterprise service automation.
Batchbook – Batchbook is a relative newcomer to the CRM playing field, but they have already garnered quite a bit of attention. Batchbook is designed for the company that has outgrown their email contact management, but needs a solution that will fit into a limited IT budget. One of the neatest features is the “Search Social Network” button that allows you to find social media contact information for anyone in your contacts. This gives a more holistic, 2.0 view of your customers.
Authors Note: This guest post was written by Lauren Carson from Software Advice. She writes about various topics related to CRM software, with particular interest in sales force automation, marketing automation, and customer service. She is a graduate of the University of Texas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.
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