CRM for startups is software that caters to the particular needs of companies in the early stages of growth. Those particular needs can be generalized. Startups generally do best with CRM software that:
• Prioritizes usability with intuitive UIs and workflows, allowing staff to get up to speed with minimal training or interruption
• Is highly scalable, working equally well with a dozen or a thousand customers
• Is flexible enough (through customizations, modules or add-ons) to pivot when the startup pivots and support changes in company strategy and policy (rather than hinder them)
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Pivotal CRM is a fully featured customer relationship management (CRM) platform suited to organizations of all sizes. Core modules include marketing automation, lead management, sales force automation, customer service and more....Read more
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Oracle CRM On Demand is a cloud-based suite containing integrated, business applications that enable organizations to make decisions and manage costs of operations. The suite includes customer relationship management (CRM) solutio...Read more
Keap (formerly Infusionsoft) is a cloud-based sales and marketing solution that offers customer relationship management (CRM), marketing automation, and e-commerce functionalities in one suite. Keap helps small businesses across v...Read more
Whether you’re a mid-market company looking for an on-demand CRM application or a large enterprise that needs a robust, end-to-end client management solution, SAP can meet the unique technology needs of your company. ...Read more
Fision provides web-based brand control management and automated marketing software to manage custom digital assets, maintaining business rules and user permissions for clear, consistent and compliant one-to-one communications....Read more
Maximizer CRM is an integrated CRM solution that can be installed both on premise and in the cloud. It features sales management, marketing automation, customer service and support and business productivity tools....Read more
An ideal sales automation solution for insurance, financial and educational entities, particularly those that primarily use telephone- and email-based sales techniques, Velocify has quickly amassed more than 5,000 customers. ...Read more
Omniprise is an on-premise as well as cloud-based customer relationship management solution designed to provide companies a view of all customer interactions on a real-time basis. The solution is suitable for businesses of all siz...Read more
An industry contender since 1998, LeadMaster is an extremely comprehensive, fluid sales lead management software, offering an arsenal of web-based solutions for sales force automation, lead tracking, and more....Read more
For architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) firms looking for a cloud-based CRM solution built specifically for their needs, Cosential has built a comprehensive information management solution....Read more
For companies looking to meet the high service expectations of their customers, Oracle Cloud CX ensures that each and every customer is valued and supported. The customer experience suite gives businesses the tools needed to deliv...Read more
With its cloud-based, customer relationship management (CRM) platform, HubSpot CRM helps companies of all sizes track and nurture leads and analyze business metrics. HubSpot is suitable for any B2B or B2C business in a variety of ...Read more
Startups—they're not just the youngest members of the business world. Their new ideas and limitless potential draw a lot of attention. And while it's easy to poke fun at their button-down cultures, the truth is: startups regularly face some of the business world's toughest and most high-stakes decisions. Fortune 500 companies rarely encounter make-or-break decisions. For a startup, every decision can be make or break.
The selection of a CRM system is one of the most important decisions a startup can make. It's also one of the most challenging. This Buyer's Guide helps startups meet these challenges by answering and explaining the following:
But what about startups? That's where things get complicated. It's easy to see how banks, insurance agencies and casinos would have different requirements for CRM. After all, their Cs (customers) are different, and their Rs (relationship with their customers) are different, so it's no surprise that they'd be managed differently as well.
A handful of vendors representing the tip of the CRM iceberg
But "startup" is a stage of growth, not an industry vertical. So unlike with banking and insurance, there's no way to generalize about the typical startup customer or a startup's typical relationship with a customer. Those things don't exist.
Instead, CRM for startups is software that caters to the particular needs of companies in the early stages of growth. Those particular needs can be generalized, so let's do that! Startups generally do best with CRM software that:
Prioritizes usability with intuitive UIs and workflows, allowing staff to get up to speed with minimal training or interruption
Is highly scalable, working equally well with a dozen or a thousand customers
Is flexible enough (through customizations, modules or add-ons) to pivot when the startup pivots and support changes in company strategy and policy (rather than hinder them)
With those priorities in mind, let's look now at some specific functionality.
Despite the great variation among CRM products, most will include some or all of the following core applications:
Central repository that stores customer information, such as contact details and any records (e.g., purchase orders, RFPs) associated with that customer's account.
Tracks customer interactions (usually across multiple channels) providing records of past interactions and reminders (scheduled or triggered) for following up.
Reduces the number of steps required for specific and commonly repeated processes, saving employees time and reducing errors and omissions.
Reporting and analytics
CRM platforms typically provide many basic data visualization tools, such as graphic reports (for example, of sales activity) and real-time dashboards to monitor KPIs and metrics.
Generally speaking, CRM software is used by any and all of a company's customer-facing departments, mainly sales, marketing and customer service. So, in addition to the core functions listed above, here are some other applications that can be included with CRM, organized by department:
Marketing: Including email marketing, event marketing, campaign management. Can also include tools for lead management, such as lead scoring and lead nurturing.
Sales: Including contact and opportunity management, workflow automation, territory management, sales forecasting, pipeline analysis and reporting.
Customer service: Including tools for trouble ticketing, knowledge management and knowledge base systems, self-service solutions, customer experience, live chat and opinion and feedback surveys.
Startups rely on CRM software to provide the customer experiences that improve metrics such as customer acquisition and churn rates. If those metrics don't turn heads, then the startup risks losing financial backing. A startup's success with a CRM implementation comes down to how well it can select and use the tools listed above to improve their key metrics.
Deployment and Purchasing Options for CRM for Startups
Software as a Service, or SaaS, is cloud-based software, meaning the software is hosted remotely. Compared to the traditional model of on-premise deployment—in which the software is installed on the business's own servers—SaaS is the more popular choice for most startups. It offers several benefits, including:
Much lower initial cost. SaaS CRM is typically priced on a per user basis. So if your startup is young and small and will only have two employees using the CRM, then the company only pays for two licenses, and more can be added as the company grows.
Simpler IT infrastructure. On-premise CRM installations can require a company to purchase additional hardware (servers, networking equipment). With SaaS, the software can be used from any computer with internet access.
Easier maintenance and security. On-premise software needs to be manually updated, while SaaS gets updated by the vendor behind the scenes. SaaS CRM platforms usually have cutting-edge IT security protocols built into the platform, but the IT security for on-premise software is the responsibility of the business itself.
Aside from those deployment options, CRM for startups usually offers several different purchasing choices. As mentioned above, SaaS is usually priced on a per user basis. There are also various freemium, free and open source and free trial options:
A CRM purchase is one of the most important decisions a company can make—it affects many of the most important moving pieces of business in the modern world. It not only helps determine how customers perceive a particular company (i.e., the customer experience), it also determines how efficiently and effectively customer-facing employees carry out their roles.
With all this in mind, startups are encouraged to choose their CRM carefully. Take advantage of the online demonstrations vendors offer, talk to the employees who will use it and consider trying the free trials offered by the vendors on your shortlist.
Of course if you need any help starting your search, completing your shortlist or setting up demonstrations or free trials, give our advisors a call at: (844) 852-3639.