Be careful when selecting a Customer Relationship Management Solution (CRM Solution) for your business.
I have recently started my own business and like every entrepreneur I’ve turned to web-based tools to streamline my processes.
Until recently I was a spoiled in-house marketer with a nice budget to spend on fancy marketing solutions. If you have read my blog you know that I love Marketo, the marketing automation solution. I also like Salesforce.com as a CRM. Now these tools are often a little bit too expensive when you are launching your business.
Zero Marketing Budget
I have great news for you: the web has tons of free tools for small businesses!
Picking a CRM Solution
As a marketer, you need to turn leads into customers in order to grow your business and a CRM solution will be your mission control.
You will track your lead progress in the CRM and when qualified you will convert them into prospects before opening an opportunity.
Every interaction (call, email, meeting, document, task) will be saved in your CRM so you can report on sales cycles and pipeline growth.
I then turned to HubSpot which I knew for its incredibly rich (and very useful) library of marketing content and for its marketing automation solution.
HubSpot offers a completely free CRM solution.
I was stunned at first. No limit, just free! The icing on the cake, the CRM tool comes with two great add-ons.
The add-ons are:
1. Leadin: a form generating tool which you can integrate with most emailing solutions including my favorite: MailChimp. When people fill a Leadin form on your website, their details will end-up in your HubSpot CRM and if you have integrated it, details will be shared with your emailing solution. What’s more, these contacts will from now on be tracked by HubSpot which means that you will get information on the number of visits to your website and number of pages views.
2. HubSpot Sales: When you add the email extension (Gmail or the desktop version of Outlook for Windows) you will be able to log email activities and automatically add new contacts that you email into the CRM. That is already great but the extension does something else, something people are paying for with solution like Yesware, the extension let you track email you send so that you get a notification once people have read your email. You can also set-up templates and reminders.
This email extension is a real time-saver. I could not recommend it enough!
The free version of HubSpot does 95% of your small business’ needs. Start monitoring your sales activities in your CRM and report on your key KPIs. Remember to focus on what really counts to grow your business, i.e. cost to acquire a customer (CAC), customer lifetime value (CLTV). Interested in finding the right KPIs to engage with your CEO? Watch this space. My next blog post will cover KPIs in depth.