Customer relationship management software systems, or CRM, are software solutions designed to facilitate the customer service process of businesses and organizations.
CRM software can help maintain good relationship quality between the business and its customers. This is done by providing businesses with a centralized platform, an integrated approach to managing customer data and streamlining key processes.
Good CRM software solutions allow marketing teams and customer service personnel to effectively manage, track, as well as nurture leads and customers through a variety of tools and features. Whether it’s paid or free CRM software, the application should possess four key characteristics: productivity, mobility, scalability and support.
Paid CRM software solutions can be costly, especially for startups and small businesses across different industries. If a small business is going to invest money in this type of application, it should be given the opportunity to fully utilize the product in real-world scenarios without significant cost. Later on, the company can decide whether to go with a paid solution or keep on using free software.
CRM software can help different businesses in different markets. While bigger companies utilize more comprehensive, user-specific software systems to facilitate their needs, SMBs and startups will often rely on inexpensive tools that provide all the basic software capabilities at little to no
Just like any custom-built CRM solution, free CRM software like HubSpot CRM, Freshsales CRM or Really Simple Systems CRM—all provide users the ability to prioritize leads through lead scoring.
You can easily define rules to properly score each of your leads. The rules you define may be based on simple parameters such as industry, job title, or geographic location. You may also choose more advanced triggers to score leads (like when the contact opens an email).
If your lead is the head of purchase or product acquisition, for example, you can define a rule that automatically assigns 15 points to that particular lead by default. And if they open your email, they get an additional 10 points and you’re effectively one step closer to getting their business. Remember that the higher the score, the hotter the lead; the hotter the lead, the higher the chance of conversion; and the closer the lead is to conversion, the more important they become to your organization.
Lead scoring can help you decide which of your leads need your immediate attention and which ones are ready for conversion, which is the reason most free CRM software systems offer this kind of functionality to all its users.
Free CRM software may also be useful in launching sales campaigns. If you’re a sales rep, for example, you can create campaigns that work based on the behavior of your recipients. Say a particular lead or prospect normally replies to your email within 2-3 days, you can set up a call reminder to take the relationship higher up the ladder. If a prospect doesn’t reply to your initial email, you may schedule a follow-up email to get their attention.
The bottom line is that all your responses are executed automatically according to the schedule you set up. Using the CRM software, your campaigns remain personal, relevant, and on time.
Free CRM software solutions like Really Simple Systems CRM offer a number of key features and capabilities to help users manage customers and prospects more efficiently. These features include:
Manage suppliers, clients, and leads with complete visibility. Track every lead and every customer, locate a contact and the correspondence in an instant, set up tasks and schedules to follow up, and share important details with your team.
The contact management feature will allow businesses to organize their entire contact/customer database, provide better customer experience, and unify all pertinent data in one centralized repository for quick and easy access.
Track leads and opportunities during the whole sales process and prioritize leads with the highest score to prepare them for conversion.
Pipeline management is where businesses can effectively manage lead scores and keep track of every opportunity throughout the entire sales process. With sales pipeline management, users can create sales opportunities showing the estimated value of the deal, identify and update the probability of the sale as well as add weighted values. This process will help you create more accurate predictions and forecasts as to the likelihood of converting a lead or closing a deal.
This is also where you will be able to identify hot leads through effective lead scoring. Lead scoring is a good way for smaller businesses and startups to accurately track leads so they can allocate their time and effort more efficiently across different aspects of the business. Any free CRM software that provides lead scoring capabilities is an advantage for SMBs and startups when it comes to qualifying leads in the sales funnel.
Business intelligence and powerful reporting is very useful in any CRM software solution. Such capabilities are crucial to any business, big or small, across all industries, especially those in highly competitive markets.
CRM software with BI and reporting tools will help businesses generate detailed management data reports, which then provide valuable insights as to the performance of lead conversion efforts, sales campaigns, and other critical aspects of the business.
Maximizing your marketing potential is another goal that can be achieved through effective BI and reporting tools. Marketing insights, which is a huge selling point for Really Simple Systems CRM, will allow you to understand who exactly your customers are and what drives their behavior when buying products and/or services.
A good free CRM software solution should also provide users with task, event, and scheduling tools. This will help ensure better and more personal customer relationships. Tools that allow you to manage tasks and activities easily are vital components in any CRM software.
Many of the top free CRM software available, such as Really Simple Systems CRM and HubSpot CRM, provide useful tools for making sure your team stays on top of your customer relationships. HubSpot CRM, for instance, tracks customer interactions automatically across multiple channels, whether on voice call, in an email, or across the social media landscape.
Task management tools will also allow users to sync customer data with Gmail or Outlook, as well as seamless integration with other third-party applications like Calendars and more.
Depending on the free CRM software you use, diverse benefits can be gained from the software solution. If you go with a fully-featured CRM, you are essentially getting a CRM solution that will scale alongside your business. With lead scoring functionality, record management, integration capabilities, and mobile access, small businesses and startups will find these types of CRM to be very useful.
Having the ability to easily manage customers, prospects, and suppliers from a single platform like what most free CRM software solutions offer, is an advantage worth mentioning, especially if you’re a small business or a startup.
Real-time notifications and the ability to log in new schedules, activities, and customer information updates automatically is another benefit that smaller businesses with limited resources can truly appreciate. You will know the instant a lead opens an email or clicks on a link to download an attachment. This will allow you to follow up on that lead while you’re still fresh in their mind.
Mobile CRMs are a popular feature in many CRM software solutions. This is because of the growing demand for mobility. Having the ability to access data, log activity, or update information is not exclusive to CRM solutions. A number of software systems in the market, across different industries, started embracing the mobile-first approach in the development of their software applications.
Free CRM software is ideal for small businesses, startups, as well as solo-entrepreneurs with limited manpower and financial resources. While paid CRM can be extremely useful to any business or organization, their capabilities and features are often found in many free CRM software available.
If you’re a startup business, for example, and you want to invest in good CRM software but you’re not sure which features and tools are most useful for your specific needs, instead of paying for your first CRM software system, you can try free CRM software like Really Simple Systems CRM, Freshsales CRM, and HubSpot CRM. This way, you can get acquainted with CRM systems without exhausting your resources.
The bottom line is finding the right CRM software that fits the standards and the requirements of your business are important. But this doesn’t mean you have to pay a hefty sum to get what you need for your customer relationship and customer service efforts.
Sometimes, all the features and capabilities you want in the product are actually provided by free CRM software. You just have to figure out what your CRM needs are and look for them in the CRM solutions you’re looking to try.
While there are stories about free software causing more problems than solutions, you need to remember it’s all about the software you’re using. Research and careful consideration are important when choosing the right free CRM software for your business.