Why Different Businesses Need Different CRM Tools
Client Relationship Management (CRM) tools are helpful no matter what field you’re in. They empower business owners to manage their pipeline, stay on top of their hottest leads, and guide everyone through their customer journey in the most effective way. And as a consultant coming in to assist businesses with their marketing efforts, the data you collect from a CRM helps you to understand your client’s strengths and weaknesses and allows you to develop the best strategy for them moving forward.
But not all CRMs are created equal. There are a lot of providers out there, and each one has different areas of focus. Plus, not all businesses have the same set of needs.
Today, we’ll take a look the different features and functionalities that a business can use a CRM for, and identify the most effective CRMs for addressing each need. That way you can help your clients to find the CRM that works best for them and will provide you with the most valuable information about their business.
The Business On a Budget
Operating costs for a business can add up quickly. There are many systems and platforms you need to enable your team to do their work, and a lot of equipment and tech that must be purchased. If there’s not a lot of room in the budget for a CRM tool, that doesn’t mean that getting one should be passed over.
If you’re working with a client who says they don’t want to start using a CRM for their business because they’re concerned about the cost, there are still options available to them (and you).
HubSpot offers a comprehensive CRM that is completely free. Not only that, it’s a really great tool. It has all of the functions that you could need or want from a basic CRM, and it integrates easily with a lot of other platforms that are popular with small business owners. The only major downsides to HubSpot’s platform is that it is not entirely comprehensive—it doesn’t offer social media or internal chat integration—and it is also not as highly customizable as some of the paid alternatives on the market. But if your client is happy to forego some of the fancier bells and whistles it certainly gets the job done.
The Business With Thousands of Contacts
Depending on the type of business you’re consulting on, you’ll be dealing with clients that have very different contact lists. While a retailer with an e-commerce store might have emails for tens of thousands of prospects and customers, a local contractor will likely have a much smaller list of names.
Additionally, the ways in which these two types of businesses reach their audiences will be very different. The e-commerce store likely relies heavily on social media marketing and email campaigns, while the contractor might be more focused on calling prospects to follow up personally, and if they were to run an online ad campaign it would be much more targeted and directed at a narrower segment of the population.
ActiveCampaign, ONTRAPORT, and InfusionSoft are tools with comprehensive marketing automation functions, but they structure their pricing around number of contacts. The more contacts the business has, the higher the monthly price.
Meanwhile, Zoho has many of the same automation features, but their pricing structure is built around features rather than users. You can have an unlimited number of users regardless of which plan you select, but if you’re looking to get the most features, you’ll be paying more.
The Business Who Wants to Collect Payment
Many businesses have a separate platform for processing and collecting payments. B2C businesses have a plethora of options to choose from when it comes to managing their e-commerce or in-store payments, while B2B companies often rely on their payroll software to also manage invoices and billing.
However, if you or your client is looking to integrate the payment collection process with your CRM, InfusionSoft does provide that functionality, which is not a regular feature in CRM software.
The Business Focused on Sales Pipeline
Some businesses already have a strong approach to managing their sales pipeline. They understand their sales cycle, know how to go after only the most valuable and promising prospects, and have a clear-cut system in place for moving prospects further down the marketing hourglass.
For some, though, the sales pipeline is a scary place. Leads often get lost, prospects get fumbled between the handoff from marketing to sales team, and there’s no step-by-step process for converting prospects.
If your client is in need of help with prospecting and establishing a stronger sales pipeline, their best option might be Zoho. While pipeline management tools are included in most CRM products, Zoho includes sales forecasting, lead scoring, and webforms all in their basic pricing model. With other CRMs that are more focused on marketing automation, these features that help in assessing leads are included only in higher level packages.
The Business Looking to Unite Sales and Marketing
We’ve talked in the past about the importance of bringing sales and marketing teams together to get the greatest results for your business. One way to do this is to select a CRM that’s comprehensive from both a sales and marketing perspective. This kind of CRM is one that offers all of the information storing and analytics on customers that can help the sales team prospect smarter and stay in touch with leads and customers, and gives the marketing team assistance in audience segmentation, email campaigns, and automation.
If your client is looking to better unite their sales and marketing teams, then ActiveCampaign is a strong choice. Their reasonably-priced second level product offers all of the CRM contact management and analytics a sales team could want, plus marketing automation and the ability to customize domain and branding to meet the marketing team’s needs.
The Business with a Membership Program
If your client is an online publisher, they likely have created a membership program to monetize their content. Managing paywalls, passwords, and customer care, though, can be overwhelming without some support.
These clients might benefit from ONTRAPORT’s membership sites functionality. This integrates with WordPress and makes it easy for those businesses who rely on a membership model to manage all of the nuts and bolts that go along with that type of business.
CRMs really can benefit just about any business—regardless of their size, structure, industry, or business model. If you are dealing with a client who’s hesitating in selecting a CRM, talk to them about how it can benefit both their sales and marketing efforts, then direct them towards the platform that best aligns with their needs and goals. Not only will it make their business stronger, it will help you collect more valuable information on your clients so that you can continue to strengthen their marketing strategy.
If you liked this post, check out our Guide to Customer Relationship Management.