What is CRM software, exactly? It’s a tool that enables you to manage your relationships with customers better. You can track and access key data like customer tenure, purchase history, and additional interactions with your business. As you can imagine, these insights enable you to target your marketing and ensure that your sales strategies connect with your base. You can leave the shotgun approaches behind and begin to reach individuals in a way that truly resonates. “Developing strong customer relationships is a priority for businesses of all sizes,” says a business report from Inc. “And one of the best ways to do this is by using customer relationship management (CRM) software. CRM software can help your company organize important customer information into one convenient resource. It gives you the ability to track and analyze every interaction with a customer or prospect. And when used effectively, your CRM increases customer engagement by putting the customer first in all of your business efforts. Research has shown for every dollar invested in a fully integrated CRM, you'll see an ROI between $2.50 to $5.60.” Because it offers so many advantages, this software has become a staple of the modern world. CRM software for small business helps you develop stronger consumer relationships in ways that directly influence your bottom line. Finding the Best CRM Options for Small Business Historically, CRM software has been inaccessible to small businesses due to its ever-increasing complexity and high price points—until a number of CRM companies took note of the market need and jumped at the opportunity. So say hello to the new era of free (or at least very reasonably priced) CRM options for small business. Let’s look at 3 popular options: \tHubspot offers a CRM service that’s completely free. For entrepreneurs on a budget, it’s a real godsend. The free version of this CRM connects with Gmail, G Suite, and Outlook, making it optimal for email marketing. If the service isn’t quite enough for your business, additional features can be purchased. \tSalesforce has new sales and customer service software designed for the needs of small businesses in the form of its “Essentials” apps, which are simplified versions of their larger products. The Salesforce service costs about $25 a month—a very reasonable price to pay for a CRM, but not the cheapest around. \tAnother CRM competing in the entrepreneurial market is Zoho. This CRM offers a great deal of functionality at a reasonable price point, making it a great option for a lot of business owners to consider. It’s a modern, clean, and intuitive service that also has an easy learning curve. If price is a major obstacle for you, there are other free CRM for small business options other than Hubspot. Examples include Bitrix24, EngageBay, Insightly, Zoho CRM, Streak, Agile CRM, Capsule CRM, and Freshworks CRM. Choosing Your Ideal Match All this competition in the small business CRM market is a breath of fresh air for business owners looking to modernize the way they interact with customers—but it doesn’t necessarily make your choice easy. The main consideration for any CRM small business software is ease-of-use. You’ll never be able to enhance your performance if you can’t figure out how to utilize the software’s features. Many CRM software providers offer a free trial, so you should always take a product for a test drive before paying money and initiating a full-scale implementation. Not only will this cautious approach save you money, but it can also prevent other issues. Your employees could rebel if they feel that you’ve complicated their lives with a complex tool that doesn’t help their day-to-day tasks. You should also consider the price of upgrades. Let’s say that you get free CRM software that works for the first year, but you then realize that you’re ready for some more advanced features. If those upgrades carry a steep price tag, you might have been better off paying a low monthly fee all along for a CRM solution that already included those features. It’s always annoying to switch CRM systems and learn a new interface, so look ahead and make sure your choice can scale with your business. Finally, you’ll want your CRM software to give you flexibility in how you enter and manage your contacts. Each business has its own details to track, so be sure that your solution works with them. When your CRM software matches your needs and priorities, it will simplify your life, increase your ROI, and help foster customer loyalty. Yes, this technology can be a game-changer—so if you haven’t incorporated it yet, get on board. And if you already have it in your business, review your current situation and see if an upgrade is in order.