May 16, 2013

Top 5 CRM platforms for small business

CRM

Insightly, SugarCRM, Nimble, Zoho CRM lead way

Guest post by Megan Totka
Chief Editor, ChamberofCommerce.com

MeganTotkaAt some point, a growing small or medium-size business comes face to face with a basic question: How do we manage our relationships with our customers?

By using customer relationship management (CRM) software, a business owner can track customers’ shopping and buying habits, information about new prospects, sales, vendors, past interactions via social media and more. A good CRM system organizes all this information and makes it easily accessible, allowing team members to work more efficiently and productively.

CRM software was once reserved for corporations and enterprise-level businesses that had access to the technology — and the resources to use it. But as more software vendors have developed CRM platforms, adding features and honing both functionality and integration, this powerful business tool has been refined into versions easier to use and more affordable for companies of all sizes.

Today, there are many CRM solutions designed especially with small businesses in mind. Continue reading

February 7, 2013

Streak: The best CRM system for small business?

crm

CRM, public relations and small business unite

Shonali BurkeRemember when someone would say “CRM” and your eyes would glaze over?

While it’s now a huge industry, good CRM (customer relationship management) is a practice that many of those who are forward-looking-and-thinking marketing and public relations pros are meticulous about.

When it comes to those of us who are business owners as well … well, we have to know how to manage relationships with not just the media, bloggers, and our community, we also have to keep track of our business relationships that make a good CRM system for small business a necessity. Continue reading

March 9, 2011

Free ebook: ‘New Trends in CRM’

New-Trends-in-CRM

Report offers insights into the state of customer relationships

JD LasicaCustomer relationship management, or CRM, has become a misused term of art by those who focus too much on software tools and lose sight of the internal business processes where customers are lost or gained.

A new 24-page ebook, New Trends in CRM, has just been released by The Customer Collective — a community of sales and marketing professionals — as a free download.

I contributed one chapter, “Four Experts on How to Turn Social Media into Sales,” with insights from Becky Brown, Director of Social Media Strategy, Intel; Rob Fuggetta, CEO, Zuberance; Michael Brito, Vice President of Social Media, Edelman Digital and Tony Lee, Vice President of Marketing, TiVo. I quoted Becky Brown in the report:

“Be resourced,” Becky said. “Use employees and advocates and agencies.” She said it was important to use listening tools “to find people who are not your brand advocates, who are negative advocates.” And take it on yourself. You cannot ask an agency to read all your posts for you. You cannot get college grads to handle your Twitter account. These are real customers talking about your brand, so engage with them directly.

From the report’s preface:

CRM software (and its trendy offspring, social CRM) can’t substitute for clear, effective strategic thinking. Before they can leverage the power of CRM, in other words, businesses must first identify business priorities, define departmental roles, drive performance and create value for customers.

To clarify these issues and help you map out a strategy that works for your business, we gathered perspectives from smart folks in the sales, marketing and CRM industries. We hope this e-book will help you make informed choices on selecting and leveraging a CRM solution that boosts your company’s bottom line.

Other contributors include David Brock, Charles H. Green, Cheryl Hanna, Esteban Kolsky, Ben Bradley and David Tyner. Download “New Trends in CRM” after filling out a 15-second registration form.