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What are the best CRM systems for a small startup or business?

I need to choose a CRM system. This is for a small and growing consulting business. I need client/contact management including the ability to track contacts and deliver email newsletters and materials. Any ideas or recommendations?

34 Replies

Ken Kaisen
2
0
Ken Kaisen Advisor
Managing Director at CAI, Inc and Chairman of Billmizer, LLC
Zachary,

I've implemented/used Salesforce.com at both big and small companies. I can't say enough about it. Low-end pricing is reasonable, it'll grow with you, and the AppExchange has a huge assortment of handy extensions, so you'll probably never need to write a line of code or do a risky customization. I also used Zoho at a start-up...it works great and there is a free version with the basics, but I always worried how scalable it would be, how robust the company was, etc. Using SFDC these days is like buying IBM...you can't go wrong. But if "free" is a must, look at Zoho.
Eric Sullivan
0
0
Eric Sullivan Entrepreneur
CEO at FoundationLab
It sounds like you really need two systems. One for your website which is the CMS and one would be for sales & marketing like a CRM. Wordpress and SharpSpring would be my recommendation for the type of business you are in. I am sure a lot of people will says Salesforce as well on the CRM side but I think for the type of engagement you will be doing SharpSpring would be a better fit.
Denise DeSimone
1
0
Denise DeSimone Entrepreneur
Growth Strategy | Revenue Enhancement | Corporate Strategy
I chose Nimble. It is easy to implement and integrates well with other applications
Oscar Jung
3
0
Oscar Jung Entrepreneur
CEO & Co-Founder BookBuses.com
Stay lean. I used Salesforce for 1.000 employees and for 8. It suck for 8 people. Use something simple like Pipedrive. And if you want to email people use a simple email program like mailchimp. You can always invest in better email later. Most CRM systems can sync automatically or export the contacts.
Ellie Ereira
1
0
Ellie Ereira Entrepreneur
Business Development Manager at OpenSignal
Hello, I'm in a startup in a team of 12 and we've just signed up to close.io. We're pretty new so still evaluating it but it seems good so far. I wrote a blog about the process of choosing a CRM here in case its helpful:
http://opensignal.com/blog/
Earle Richards, Jr.
7
0
CEO of Earle & Co. Consulting
Zachary, I had a client with your exact question and I found a great resource with a comprehensive comparison of CRM tools on the market and their available features.

Take a look at this Google Sheet and pick out the CRM tool that best fits the needs for your business.

I also agree with Eric that you may need to consider investing in two systems: a CRM tool to track contacts and a marketing automation tool to send out marketing materials to your contacts.

Good luck and let me know if you have any follow-up questions. Cheers.
Sean Sheppard
1
0
Sean Sheppard Advisor
Founding Partner at GrowthX & Lead Instructor at GrowthX Academy
Most legacy CRM's are overkill for Startups. I suggest products which work inside of gmail such as Insigtly, YesWare & Streak. If you want "click to call" features within CRM, then Close.io is best.
Faun deHenry
1
0
Faun deHenry Advisor
Strategist and Innovator
Over the years, I've seen companies use Zoho, Nimble, and Salesforce. We use Salesforce. For newsletters, we've used Constant Contact, Vertical Response, and Mailchimp.

However, salespeople track their pipelines in Excel. It doesn't matter which CRM tool is implemented. Sales holds this data "close to the vest." The response I've received most often when letting salespeople know about the capabilities of a particular CRM tool, "That's great! I'll load everything into the CRM system when I'm certain that the opportunities are real."

Think of your CRM tool as a management solution. The tool you select should be the one that provides you with solid insight from that perspective -- reporting and analytics capabilities are key.
Jason Green
1
0
Jason Green Advisor
SVP Global Operations at Gravity4, Visionary Entreprenuer, Open Source Enthusiast, and Gamification Pioneer
Being the co-founder at Zurmo, i am a little biased :) Zurmo is sales, marketing automation, and project management CRM software.Since Zurmo is also open source, you can always download and try the community edition for free.

Since you are a consulting business, you need to choose a CRM that does well handling service based businesses not just products. Something to keep in mind.
Chris Heuer
3
0
Chris Heuer Entrepreneur
Futurist, serial entrepreneur and change agent
I use Nimble connected to Mailchimp and it works great. You can also use Zapier to do some even cooler integration on the backend pretty easily. Nimble is super robust, but also easy to use. With all systems, remember you need to invest time in understanding the system, designing your own, setting it up and integrating the data and ultimately in creating a new behaviour pattern that will lead to regular usage.... Chris Heuer Catalyst, AdHocnium Blog: http://chrisheuer.com/ Strategy: http://AdHocnium.com/ Thoughts: http://twitter.com/chrisheuer 'Resume': http://www.linkedin.com/in/chrisheuer m.[removed to protect privacy]
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