The lead nurturing process is critical to the success of your business. Like a caterpillar transformed into a beautiful butterfly, leads have the potential to grow into profitable customers. And the recipe is time, patience, finding the right product or service, and add a strong business relationship.
One of the easiest ways to manage these relationships is with a customer relationship management (CRM) system. These tools aren’t just for sellers. But, agencies and freelancers alike can benefit from using a CRM in their daily work routine.
What’s a CRM system?
As a business owner or freelancer, you’ve probably heard of CRM. CRM generally refers to the strategies, best practices, and tools companies use to nurture their existing and potential customer relationships.
This includes all the information needed to maintain those relationships – the data and documents essential to building the customer’s entire story. A CRM system (or software) is the portal where all this valuable information can be stored.
- Import contacts and identify them as Leads, Prospects, or Accounts (definitions of each are provided below)
- Add tasks to each contact. This includes task lists (e-mail, phone calls, contract renewals)
- Uploading documents to the appropriate accounts (agreements, invoices, etc.)
- Tracking customer and prospect outreach activities
- Assign contacts to different people in your company
Benefits of Using a CRM System
If you have never used a CRM before or have relied on a manual system to organise your leads, accounts, and important sales documents/contracts, implementing a CRM system is the way to go. has many advantages. Work with your CRM. These include, among others:
1. Building the Pipeline
Know which projects are completed, which are being worked on, and which are pending (with or without signed contracts). This information will let you know how your business is doing financially and let you know if you should look for new business in a particular month.
2. Manage Your Time
You may already have a time management solution, but none are as effective as a CRM. Depending on the system you’re using (some have better project management features than others), your CRM will tell you what you and your colleagues are currently working on and the total design time spent on the project. You can view the overview. To date (and how many times it has been spent within the specified range) and the next project that needs to be worked on.
3. Know Your Customers
CRMs give you access to a steady stream of customer information and timelines so you can optimize your marketing efforts around demographics, psychographics, and micro-moments.
This information also opens up the possibility of selling specific products or services to customers based on the data collected in the CRM.
4. Improving Customer Relationships
Happens. When business is good and work is plentiful, some clients may be late due to work size, budget, or schedule. Because we are so focused on the here and now, it is easy to lose sight of nurturing these relationships. CRM can solve this situation. Set up tasks in CRM to interact with existing customers
5. Increase accountability
Seeing all your customers in one place (documented deadlines and written milestones) is a great way to stay accountable to yourself, your work, and your customers. Excellent method.
6. Strengthen internal communication
Keep everyone on the same page by giving everyone access to the same information. A CRM gives each member of your team the meaningful information they need to communicate with customers and others.
This setup allows anyone in your company to quickly build customer relationships.
7. Create a paper trail
Upload all contracts and other important documents to CRM. This way, it’s all in one place and readily available when you need to refer to it.
Today here is a list of 10 of the best CRM tools you should start using in 2023
1. Capsule CRM
Capsule takes all business relationships, not just customer relationships, to the next level. It’s also easy to follow, with a clean UI and an easy learning curve.
Instead of piling on advanced features. This CRM focuses on simply getting the job done. Instantly know what’s happening in your sales pipeline (bidding, prospecting, offers, customer data, etc.) and what your team needs to do and when.
It also makes it easier to find important information. Contact lists can be imported from Gmail, Outlook, and CSV spreadsheets and database files.
If you run your business alone or with a partner, the free version of Capsule (up to 2 users) is enough. The Professional version offers Zapier, Google Workspaces, Zendesk, Freshbook, and Mailchimp integrations to help you gather information and generate leads from all your apps.
The free plan is limited to 250 contacts, so suddenly you hit a glass ceiling and have to commit to a purchasing a paid plan. Apart from that, to track and automatically generate contacts from emails, don’t forget to copy them to Dropbox which is often forgotten.
Price: Free for 10 users, then it’s start at $18.00 per user/month to $54.00 per user/month
Really Simple System (RSS) CRM used to be simple. However, the software has grown and now includes a wide variety of sophisticated CRM software.
This tool has a set of functions in his three standard divisions: Marketing, Sales and Service. Marketing brings lead management and campaign management. There is also email marketing and automation. Sales software includes account and pipeline management. It also handles tasks, calendars and sales forecasts. Customer service includes case management, SLA, and case reporting.
Price: Free up to 2 users, but then it’s starting at $14.00 per user/month to $46.00 per user/month
This is the Less Annoying CRM (LA CRM) which is designed as a comprehensive CRM solution for small and medium businesses. They offer a long 30-day free trial, after which a single low-cost paid plan is available.
The CRM handles task management, promotions, contact management and follow-up. And manage all your customer data and track leads through your sales pipeline. Track events and tasks (in an easy-to-use calendar and agenda format). It makes for a great real estate CRM.
Emails created and received outside the CRM platform can be logged in LA CRM. This app provides each user with a unique email log address. You can create contacts with any email provider you use.
Price: One price at $15.00 per user per month
4. Nimble CRM
This is an easy-to-use and lightweight CRM system. This CRM system works with Office 365 and Google Apps.
Nimble is web-based and works within a web browser or other software. These include Microsoft Teams and Excel. Nimble has a decent contact structure. Get all your engagements across multiple channels in one unified history. Track projects and tasks.
There is standard sales process management to ensure all sales opportunities are in progress. There is also a great unified team calendar. Nimble also has iOS and Android software.
Price: $24.90 per user/month
5. Flowlu CRM
Flowlu is a cloud-based collaborative CRM to give you the best in project management and knowledge base features. The free plan in this product is limited to 2 users and provides 1TB of storage data. Create and store a knowledge base, track project costs and income, and manage finances and records.
This system allows you to quickly create personalised invoices, automatically insert your CRM data and send them with the app. You can also create bid estimates, generate leads, and invite customers to future events and surveys using custom web forms.
Free version includes Agile Scrum component that allows you to implement Scrum strategies such as sprints with a visual task management board. Stay on top of issues and bug reports, track and prioritise product requirements, and streamline your workflow with flexible project tools.
Price: As mention above, there is a free plan while the first paid plain starts at $29.00 per user/month then ends at $119.00 per user/month.
HubSpot is one of the largest providers (alongside with Salesforce), offering a CRM for unlimited users with basic functionality on a free plan.
Everything about HubSpot is very intuitive. It’s products are divided into Marketing, Sales, Services, and CMS. Marketing helps you generate leads, grow your network and save time. Marketing automation is there to keep you at the center of your customer.
Marketers can also get marketing analytics. In HubSpot’s sales module, you’ll get his advanced CRM and other software like a meeting scheduler. This service provides a help desk, tickets, knowledge base, and customer feedback.
A CMS is for managing content. HubSpot CRM really helps you deliver a great customer experience. You can also use the HubSpot add-on for Gmail or Office 365. HubSpot CRM comes in a variety of prices. The starter CRM and sales package costs $40 per user
Price: HubSpot CRM comes in a variety of prices starting at a cost of $40.00 per user/month
Salesforce is one of the longest running CRM solutions. There are many products and modules today. This includes customer relationship management software for the big three: marketing, sales and customer care. Overall, Salesforce is a solid and popular CRM software for medium to large businesses.
It covers all your business processes. For marketing, Salesforce offers software for creating email marketing campaigns. You can also set up marketing automation. There is a function to post and listen to SNS.
Sales teams using Salesforce achieve great customer relationship management. You can also get CRM software to streamline your sales lifecycle with Sales Cloud. For customer service, Salesforce has CRM tools for creating self-service resources. Account managers can also use contact details from Salesforce CRM to help customers in less time.
Its very effective at both lead generation and customer retention. The only thing is that Salesforce has a learning curve.
Price: Starting at $25.00 per user/month then it goes up to $1,250 per /month up to 10,000 contacts (billed annually)
8. Agile CRM
Agile CRM is all-in-one business platform with project monitoring, contact view, reporting, support/service, and timeline capabilities.
There’s a ticketing for support teams, help desk, knowledge base, and everything else you need to reduce customer churn. And it improve the customer experience. With integration with VoIP and Twilio enhances the telephony capabilities built into Agile CRM to track conversations, record calls, and conduct business over the phone very effectively.
Also, there’s a schedule online to automate future voice calls and follow-ups. You can also attach in-app documents within trading processes, company and contact profiles, and emails.
Price: Free for 10 users, then it’s start at $8.99 per user/month to $47.99 per user/month
9. Zoho CRM
Zoho CRM offers a small business platform with a simple user interface, customisable modules, actionable automation, and features for social media.
So, if you are looking for free option, there’s is but just for three user. It’s a good place to start. With this platform, you can build and define specific workflows, manage your leads, and start streamlining your daily operations. It’s also integrated with Twitter and Facebook, so you can reach out to prospects at super-perfect moments.
And when you outgrown the free plan, you can upgrade to the affordable standard version of Zoho CRM. Which it will improves usability with powerful forecasting and KPI tracking. The Enterprise version offers more features such as step-by-step sales funnel tracking, data comparison across users, teams, regions and products/services.
However, the drawback with with this CRM it has no email tracking or alerts for individual leads. This can be a problem for long-running one-on-one interactions with a particular users. The user interface may be sometime slow. You can extend this CRM by paying for Zoho add-ons can quickly increase the cost of ownership.
Price: Free for 3 users, then it’s start at $14.00 per user/month to $52.00 per user/month
EngageBay bills itself as a HubSpot alternative and sells three business process focused suites: marketing automation, live chat and help-desk, and CRM and sales bay. Last of these, CRM & Sales Bay offers contact management tools designed for simplicity and business growth.
The platform provides multi-channel listening and collects contact information from all customer touch-points. Track contact activity, web activity, email replies, open and click rates, and more.
Integrates with Gmail, Office 365, or other IMAP services with two-way sync capabilities. Zapier, SendGrid, Mailgun, Xero, and Mandrill integrations connect your CRM to other business processes to further streamline operations.
However, there’s some drawback if you choose EngageBay, there’s not a lot of native in integrations with third-party apps and limited Email template options.
Price: Free plan but it’s limited to 250 Contacts, then it’s start at $14.99 per user/month to $99.99 per user/month