Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are invaluable tools for businesses wanting to efficiently manage their customer relationships, retain and acquire customers, and increase their productivity. But with such a vast offer of CRM systems out there, it can be challenging and time-consuming to research solutions. In this guide, we provide business owners and decision-makers with some elements to consider before deciding on a CRM for their UK small business.
How CRM helps small businesses?
What is the best CRM system for a UK business
Choosing the right CRM for your small business
Small Business CRM reviews
How CRM helps small businesses?
It’s painful to use spreadsheets to manage customer data. Not only is it ineffective and dated, but it can also pose challenges from a GDPR-compliance perspective. Any small business that doesn’t want to stay small forever, needs to invest in a CRM software. Not only will it help them manage customer data and interactions easily, it will also help their sales and marketing teams build effective marketing strategies and tailored sales plans. Let’s take a look at 5 key features of a modern CRM application that can bring a paradigm shift in the way a business operates:
- Data Organisation: Customer information stored in a CRM is organised in a way to facilitate and enrich customer engagements. All your team members will know (with just a few clicks) what a customer’s history with your company has been. They will know personal details about which can be brought up within a conversation to make the customer feel remembered. All in all, the central management of data allows all your team members to be on the same page about every customer, which is vital in enhancing efficiency and productivity.
- Sales Activity Scheduling: Jotting details down on sticky notes, or worse yet, making mental notes of meetings with prospects or customers is no longer the way to go. A CRM system can not only give you a holistic overview of all your ongoing campaigns, it can also help you manage your schedule effectively. Most CRM solutions include sales automation features allowing you to automate sales activities and setting up reminders about upcoming meetings. This will ensure that you never leave a customer hanging.
- Customer Segmentation: It’s the age of targeted marketing and using CRMs to segment your customer base on the basis of age, location, demographic, buying preferences, or any other filter that you deem relevant. By doing so, you will be able to create targeted lead generation campaigns which will be focused on prospects that have the highest level of interest in your offerings.
- Sales Pipeline Management: Having a trackable sales pipeline allows small businesses to create a snapshot of current clients and prospects and the position they are in the sales process. This can help you analyse the health of your pipeline and assess critical business metrics from across your business to gain a deeper understanding of individual and team performance and make strategic decisions that positively impact your bottom line.
- Business Reporting: CRMs make the lives of business owners and team managers a whole lot easier. They can keep an eye on important metrics like calls made, prospects converted, emails sent, and meetings scheduled, to gauge the productivity of the overall sales force and every individual agent. This allows them to fix what’s wrong and reward the high achievers.
What is the best CRM system for a UK business?
If you are looking for the best CRM system for a UK small business, then there are a few key points that you need to consider. Since there are many companies claiming to offer the best CRM software for small business, it’s easy to get spoilt for choice. Make sure the service provider you choose has:
- A physical presence in the UK: The CRM is going to be at the heart of everything your business does and your team members will use it daily. Choosing a CRM provider that has an office in the UK ensures that you can contact their sales and support teams during UK office hours. You will often face technical difficulties while using an enterprise application, so choosing a UK based CRM provider can be particularly useful when you need to raise issues that need immediate attention. It can also be beneficial if you require on-site onboarding or training. Doing so is a good way of having your team members fully geared up to use the customer relationship management tool to maximise the benefits it can bring your business.
- A GDPR-compliant solution: If you are based in the UK or the EU, you will have to be GDPR compliant. This means that any piece of software you use, and any company you purchase a solution from, needs to be GDPR compliant. Most top CRM providers offer solutions that are flexible enough to help you comply with GDPR. However, to avoid any bad surprises, it can be good to check or enquire about a company’s commitment to data protection before making an investment.
- A UK datacenter: The majority of CRM offerings are Cloud-based solutions. A Cloud-based CRM essentially means that the customer data you keep in your CRM is hosted by the provider in a datacenter (or data centre) rather than being hosted on a server at your premises. To learn more about Cloud and On-Premise solutions, read our blog article: CRM: On-Premise or Cloud? If you are going to go down the Cloud CRM route, choosing a CRM provider with a datacenter located in the UK will not only help you meet current data compliance legislation, but also any future legislation that may come into force in the UK. With the uncertainties linked to Brexit, one cannot be prudent enough. Choosing a UK datacenter ensures you are prepared for any future changes to either UK or EU regulations.
Choosing the right CRM for your small business
In addition to the UK specificities mentioned above there are also other elements you should take into consideration when choosing a CRM system. To help you through the process, we have compiled a comprehensive guide to customer relationship management: How to choose the best CRM solution for your business. Don’t have time to go through the whole guide? Here’s a summary:
- Easy to use: The last thing you want is to buy a system that has a steep learning curve. Choosing a sleekly designed, highly usable CRM solution can help you avoid software training costs. It can also provide you with faster access to valuable metrics and actionable business insights, adding to sales productivity and seamlessness.
- Customer support: No matter how stable a system you might have invested in, you will need help with it, from time to time. So, choose a service provider that is well-known for its dependable, friendly, and vigilant customer support team. There must be multiple sources of help available, including knowledge bases, training videos, live chat and phone support etc.
- Easy Integrations: The maximum potential of a CRM is harnessed when it works in tandem with other enterprise software like marketing automation tools and accounting software etc. State-of-the-art CRM software have sophisticated integration solutions (like Act! Connect) that allow you to integrate seamlessly with hundreds of third-party applications.
- Access: A cloud-based solution can be accessed from anywhere, and from any device. If you want your staff to have access to contact management data on-the-go, then make sure to invest in a secure cloud-based CRM solution.
- Customisation: No two businesses are completely alike; not even two that have the same business model and target the same audience. Policies and processes for two apparently identical businesses can differ. So, join hands with a company that can tailor a solution according to your needs, and also accommodate you if you need a new feature in the future. Whatever you do, don’t settle for a solution that doesn’t allow you to add customisable fields at will.
- Free trials: Taking the software for a spin, before paying the bill, goes a long way in ensuring that you choose a system that’s just right for your business. Almost all top CRM software providers allow you to sign up for free trials, so it’s best not to trust anyone that doesn’t arrange a test drive for you.
Small Business CRM Reviews
You won’t find a single company online which speaks ill of their own products or services. So, if there is a hidden flaw, or a pricing gimmick, or a stability issue, they will probably not talk about it on their landing page. So, how do you avoid buying software that aren’t as good as they are advertised? Simple. You read what other people have to say about it.
90% customers claim that they only buy a product after they have read enough positive reviews of it; you should do the same. Websites like GetApp and Capterra have thousands of verified user reviews for almost all top CRM for small businesses, and it’s imperative that you consider them while making a decision. Small business CRM reviews can give you a chance to avoid mistakes other people made, or reaffirm the soundness of your own decision.
A Highly Rated CRM System
Act! is a highly rated CRM solution, trusten and recognised by millions of small businesses worldwide. You don't have to take our word for it! See for yourself what customers have to say about their successes with Act!.
Why Act! CRM?
For the last few decades, Act! has helped millions of businesses worldwide grow. It delivers a multitude of features in a simple interface. It’s flexible when you need customisation, intelligent when you need automation, universal when you need ease-of-access, and extensible when you need integrations.
Some reasons why Act! is the best simple CRM for small business, are:
- A flexible and customisable solution: From light personalisation to complete customisation, Act! is a highly adaptable CRM system that enables businesses of all sizes and industries to create a platform perfectly tailored to their sales teams’ processes and unique business needs.
- CRM with integrated Marketing Automation: Capture, score, and nurture leads automatically using Act! Marketing Automation. Use the interactive template editor to create a response-driven email marketing campaign once, and then let Act! manage your lead nurturing and customer engagement for you.
- A team based in the UK: Act!’s presence in the UK has been long-standing, and we are proud to be servicing our customers from our Newcastle office in the North-East of England. To learn more about us, check our corporate website.