Business Tech Does your Small Business Need a CRM? Some Choices

Does your Small Business Need a CRM? Some Choices


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Actively managing your customers and potential product users is something that is usually reserved for larger companies who can pony up the money for tools like Salesforce and Oracle. It uses data analysis about customers’ history with a company to improve business relationships with customers, specifically focusing on customer retention and ultimately driving sales growth.

You have taken your business out of the incubator stage and now have a dozen or so employees and have a basic understanding of customer resources. You don’t have to spend the big bucks anymore to get in the game. Microsoft has partnered with Nimble, a powerful CRM application that’s targeted and priced more for small businesses. The pricing structure for Nimble is pretty simple, with the two plans that are available: “Nimble Contact” is $9 per user, per month and “Nimble Business” is $25 per user, per month.

Nimble is currently available as a CRM, but its alignment with Microsoft and an Outlook add-in have made the application much more user-friendly to Windows users. Nimble provides Office users the features you would expect from a good CRM application; contact, lead, and pipeline management, while incorporating information from both Office and its own database.

Third-party applications like Nimble fill a product niche for companies like Microsoft who want to provide a CRM service to small businesses but want to maintain their focus on where the big money is. Microsoft’s flagship Dynamics products are excellent, but they’re pricey for a small company. Enter Nimble. Gretchen O’Hara, a vice-President at Microsoft states that, “We do have a small business Dynamics CRM package, but sometimes when a business is at the very small end, one to seven, one to ten employees, they need to walk and grow really learning how to use CRM at the beginning level. As they need additional capabilities, Nimble is a nice on-ramp into Dynamics.”

However, the advent of cloud technology has brought lower priced competition to the small CRM market, including Salesforce. Here are a couple of price-competitive options for you.

PipelineDeals: PipelineDeals offers flexible pricing and a great free trial plan that lets you test the software on your own and see if it can actually fit your needs. The product is intuitive and user-friendly, and can help businesses create long-lasting customer relationships. The Standard plan costs $24/user/month and includes features such as sales pipeline management, activity and sales reporting, Google and Outlook integrations, unlimited document storage and more.

Salesforce Sales Cloud: The industry standard has all customer interactions and information in a single location to follow more leads. It offers such features as lead management, marketing automation, sales data, and partner management to follow the leads until they are ready for conversion. The basic sales and marketing plan starts at $25 a month for up to 5 users.

Workbooks: This cloud CRM can help you with your sales, marketing, customer support, and order fulfillment tasks. One cool feature of Workbooks is that it integrates with Google Adwords, allowing you to monitor your most effective online campaigns. The basic cost is in-line with its competitors at $30/user/month.



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