The CRM vendors with the largest market share -- Microsoft, Salesforce, Oracle and SAP -- features designed to handle larger and larger data sets and to accommodate more complicated workflows as businesses become more dependent on this software. This is ideal for enterprises but ill-suited to the needs of SMBs.
Many larger vendors advertise that they cater to smaller customers, but the scope of their offerings -- along with the training required to use the CRM software -- can be intimidating for small businesses. Few of these big-name platforms designed their SMB offerings with small-scale operations in mind.
However, several products do stand out as SMB-friendly:
- HubSpot offers a free service, which includes basic CRM functionality; a dashboard and features for organizing contacts and customer profiles; and managing developing deals. It also integrates easily with larger platforms, such as Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics.
- Zoho CRM has lead scoring and sales forecasting, provides pop-up notifications on leads, and tracks and analyzes website visitors. Its dashboard is clear and well-organized, and even the most basic edition offers flexible workflows.
- Insightly offers a CRM for small businesses with extensive lead management features, such as task management; however, it does not have the breadth of features that Zoho does. It lacks dashboards and provides only preset reports.
- Agile CRM's customer experience features, such as its drag-and-drop marketing automation interface, customization and integration capabilities, are comparable to what many enterprise platforms offer. This product also includes lead scoring, advanced analytics and deal tracking management.
- Nimble CRM is a small platform for small businesses, bringing contacts, email and social media together in an easy-to-use interface that sorts tasks by priority. Nimble also uses a business rules engine to determine the most relevant contacts based on user behavior.
- Zendesk, formerly a customer service-only platform, recently a CRM suite that small businesses may find suits their scale of operations.
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