In a world of Walmart(s) and Amazon(s), startups and small businesses are ever-wondering how they can compete against million dollar establishments if they are incapable of spending more on marketing, sales and customer service for the growth of their business.
This is because; enterprise companies can easily afford to throw in thousands and even millions on finding the right customization, and spend on robust CRM software solutions, while on the other hand small businesses, are always on tight budgets and therefore cannot afford to spend on CRMs like Salesforce but look for same feature-rich solution in Salesforce Alternatives CRM solutions like ConvergeHub and others in the easy to use CRM space.
Now, it might seem like increasing the budget on your CRM software will also increase the benefits of the software, which explains as to why according to Keap (a private company that offers an e-mail marketing and sales platform for small businesses) more than 13% of startups and small businesses plan to augment their spending on cloud based CRM software solutions in 2019.
However, SMB establishments should be cautious of buyer’s remorse, especially when it comes to adopting costly CRM software like Salesforce, as according to Amazon Web Services nearly 50% of its CRM licenses remain unused.
Hence, where is the disconnect?
Why is it that so many startups and small businesses are leaving their hard earned money on the table?
This is because, more often than not, small businesses are using a piece of software that was not built with them in mind.
The Power of Simplicity
In the past, CRM vendors sold feature-rich and pricy CRM software platforms because at that point of time Customer Relationship Management software solutions served only large organizations that needed the complexity.
However today’s CRM solutions are accessible to all businesses of all sizes, but nevertheless what works for an enterprise does not necessarily translate to the SMB space.
For example, there are CRM companies that started by marketing their products to small businesses, since the early versions of their CRM software solutions were too simple for enterprise needs.
However, with the passage of time it is not uncommon for these CRM companies to move up-market as their CRM platforms became more complicated in order to acquire those enterprise level sales, which when happens makes the CRM that once fit a small business just right becomes excessively expensive and complicated, and ultimately unusable for the initial users of their software.
Admittedly, bleeding-edge CRM features are not going anywhere. Large establishments can afford more complex software solutions as organizations of their stature demands high-tech solutions, but it must also be remembered that a product is only valuable as long as it meets your needs.
Therefore, here are three CRM features that are usually not needed by small businesses and so indicate that these features might be designed for a business having a bigger budget and different needs.
Over the next couple of years, we will see more and more business software companies promoting AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Machine Learning in their cloud based CRM software solutions with the promise of delivering dead accurate forecasting in sales, lead scoring and for predicting the future health of a company.
However, the question that immediately comes to our minds is how much of this is a marketing hype with very little payoff for startups and small businesses?
Considering that Machine Learning is capable of combing through massive data-sets in order to find patterns, ML and AI might be valuable for big enterprise-level organizations; however, SMB(s) do not have enough data in their CRM database to justify this investment.
This is because, as a startup or a small business, you simply do not need a CRM with ML to understand which lead to focus on and which ones are most likely to close.
In fact, what you need for your SMB setup is a bird’s-eye 360-degree view of all your deals, with a customizable sales pipeline feature that permits tacking of existing customers, prospects, and projects which is readily found in most easy to use Salesforce Alternative CRM software and so using easy to use CRM solutions like ConvergeHub and others that are exclusively designed for small businesses you can use its sales pipeline to sort or filter your leads by priority and glean other insights from reporting.
Large organizations require AI-powered automation since they are trying to turn their processes into an assembly line and they need to make sure that their individual employees is adhering to a specific procedure.
However, heavy automation is not only expensive but it is also most confusing to many and most importantly it eliminates the human touch that is required for the growth of small businesses.
This is because startups and small businesses require personal interactions rather than lightening-speed efficiency to provide them with a competitive edge.
Therefore, instead of relying on your AI-powered computers to tell you when and how you should interact with your leads, prospects, and customers it is more pragmatic to rely on simple reminder feature in the CRM software to schedule purposeful and effective follow-ups.
According to a study by a leading Salesforce Alternative CRM platform on lead management studies, sales reps should call their leads and prospects at least 6 times before giving up and therefore by staying on top of the reminder tool in your easy to use CRM, most small businesses will be more likely to close their deals more effectively.
In large establishments, executives, departmental heads and managers require a plethora of sartorial and customizable reporting dashboards in their CRM make sure that they hit their business goals.
However, in a small business, managers and entrepreneur(s) often do not require complex reporting, but just need a quick snapshot of all the prospects and leads, a summary of their last month’s deals, each support and sales rep’s activities, which are not vanity metrics but data that you can actually work on.
Therefore, as a startup or a small business, you need to invest in an easy to use CRM that works for your business, and not against you.
It is natural that companies like Salesforce and others will never stop from developing CRM solutions that are bloated with features (it is how they make money), but you as an entrepreneur of an SMB you need to understand and evaluate what you require out of your best small business CRM software and what you do not for rapid business growth .