The best CRM for small businesses and freelancers

The best CRM for a small business should be simple, intuitive, easy to use on a smart phone, action-oriented rather than statistics-oriented, it should identify the customers you’ve worked on the most and where you’re most likely to sell easily and quickly. The best CRM must enable you to stand out from your competitors and…

The best CRM for a small business should be simple, intuitive, easy to use on a smart phone, action-oriented rather than statistics-oriented, it should identify the customers you’ve worked on the most and where you’re most likely to sell easily and quickly. The best CRM must enable you to stand out from your competitors and beat them. The tool should be at your service, not the other way around.

What to avoid

Every company needs to avoid a number of CRM pitfalls, especially small businesses. Please note that almost all known large systems have the following shortcomings, which should be avoided at all costs:

  • Complex for salespeople to learn, resulting in regular errors
  • All systems requiring prior training. Clearly, if that’s the case, it means they’re neither intuitive nor logical.
  • Time-consuming to fill in, sellers refuse to fill in certain fields, rightly believing that there is no point.
  • Exasperatingly large number of interfaces, menus and submenus
  • Analysis-driven systems at the expense of efficiency and sales
  • Overly comprehensive systems with procedures for very rare cases.

Basically, a perfect CRM shouldn’t be too perfect. Systems that want to cover everything are a blight on sales representatives, self-employed workers and SMEs. We don’t want to cover all the cases that almost never happen, we want to easily cover what happens the majority of the time, we want to focus on what pays off, not the exceptions that cost money and slow down the system for regular customers. And this is the case with systems designed by IT specialists who want to cover every possible scenario in detail, as opposed to an SME that wants to focus on what pays and not the exceptions. We want to make money, not go bankrupt covering irrelevant details.

So don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you haven’t covered such and such a case, or of following up on the requests of such and such an agent or customer.

The best CRM doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be simple.

It should increase sales

The best CRM must remain sales-driven: that’s its primary objective. Be careful, then, to respond to requests from different parts of the company to add functions for delivery, accounting and statistics. This can be done on one condition: that it is automated and does not require additional work from the salesperson.

The worst are often marketing people who ask for statistics that require asking irrelevant questions to the customer, putting the sale at risk, and monopolizing sales people after the contact to fill in the system when it should have been filled in simultaneously. A call and a sale should be followed by another call, another customer contact to make another sale, not administrative work.

The best CRM makes it easier for salespeople to sell more and better.

It must improve the customer experience

The best customer, the one who earns the most money and speaks the most about us, is the repeat customer. CRM must therefore help the salesperson to improve the customer experience, to serve him or her in the best possible way. This means knowing the customer’s history, including relevant details, but not irrelevant ones, motivations, preferences and objectives.

The system also needs to be fast and simple enough for the company representative to navigate easily without keeping the customer waiting. As a customer, you’ve no doubt all experienced those unpleasant moments when you’re put on hold to find the right information. This is the case with most large systems, and it’s not what you want.

The best CRM focuses on the customer and his or her needs, to deliver the best possible experience.

Ergonomic and sales-oriented

To sell more and provide excellent service, CRM needs to make the salesperson’s job easier, not harder, as is almost always the case.

This means:

  • Smartphone capability
  • Few interfaces and screens
  • Minimize the number of clicks required to obtain information
  • Have a floating horizontal navigation bar that allows you to navigate anywhere on the site, no matter which page you’re on.
  • The use of attractive, ergonomic presentation and colors. Many of the best-known CRMs still have gray pages with tiny, hard-to-read characters and ridiculous vertical sub-menus in little boxes. In some administrations, we’re still using MS-DOS-style presentation, and it’s unimaginable that we could still be there.

The best CRM must be intuitive, easy and pleasant to use, especially for prospecting.

Key features

Choosing your CRMA good CRM needs to focus on the features the salesperson needs to make access quick and easy, and all these functions MUST be immediately accessible with a horizontal bar, wherever you are, and reached with a single click. Another click takes you to the details by customer or prospect

  • Ongoing proposals: these are the customers in which you have invested and which are the most important.
  • Customers, who must be able to be classified by priority 1, 2, 3
  • Prospects can also be prioritized
  • Customer and prospect categories for follow-up or prospecting by customer type
  • Lists of prospects, so that you can go out and find new ones if necessary
  • The lists of customers on hold are not very interesting customers at the moment, but we don’t want to delete them, because the person blocking them may be replaced within a year.
  • It is also possible to add a customer/prospect ranking:
    • in descending order of sales
    • in descending order of potential
    • A filter to search for specific target customers or prospects

Each customer or prospect must have :

  • Organization name
  • Contact name
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Category
  • General information about the customer/prospect
  • Information to be noted at each contact, with the option of deleting it when no longer relevant.

The best CRM has all the key sales and customer experience information at its fingertips.

The best CRMs for small businesses

The best CRM for a small business is the one that increases sales most easily. If we take the key criteria for a good CRM, here are the best ones:

In conclusion

Choose a tool that’s simple, easy, practical, without the need for complex training, and that your salespeople love. Like a racing sailboat, it must be able to be used simply in a competitive situation to optimize the use of each person’s talents. Remember, we only do well what we like well!

The best CRM is the one you like to use to beat the competition!

Jean-Pierre Mercier