What we really learned from Software Advice’s 2016 CRM Software Report

Small businesses need these three basic CRM features
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After conversations with hundreds of small businesses over the last year, a small business CRM comparison company, Software Advice, just published their 2016 CRM Software Small Buyer Business Report. The Less Annoying CRM team took a look at the data ourselves and came away with three key points we thought small businesses looking for a CRM will find valuable:

1. Small businesses need software that helps keep them organized and track data.

Top Pain Points for Prospective Buyers

Top pain points for prospective buyers

This may sound really simple, but it’s important to recognize the real reasons your small business should be using a CRM. It’s not because you need to automate everything or have the most robust technology to compete with the big guys— it’s actually smarter to use CRM software that helps your company and its challenges now. If your business isn’t organized, if you’re not tracking data, and if you currently have no system in place (or your system is a spreadsheet), a CRM can help.

If you feel overwhelmed by post-it notes, and leads have been falling through the cracks, you’re not alone. Most of the small businesses surveyed were hurting because of their lack of organization and efficiency; 15% of them had no system in place to track leads and sales. Wondering if you need a CRM too? Ask yourself these 10 questions to determine the answer.

2. The features that soothe small business pain points are contact management, interaction tracking, and scheduling.

Top-Requested CRM Software Features

Top-requested CRM software features

Another simple— yet not always obvious— truth is that the features most small businesses need are really simple and included in almost all CRM systems: contact management, the ability to track interactions and communications, and a scheduling or reminder tool. The top requested features in this year’s report aren’t salesforce automation or integrations; they are the bare-bones basics of good CRM. When we relate this finding to our last point, you see that big pains often have easy solutions:

Contact management

Contact management in Less Annoying CRM

If you’re disorganized, you need a centralized place to put contact information.


Leave notes and details on a contact in Less Annoying CRM

If you’re not tracking data, you need a way to leave notes on contact records.


Calendar in Less Annoying CRM

If you’re inefficient or losing track of leads, you need a way to schedule out your tasks and events.

Contacts, notes, and a calendar sound elementary, but when you put them all together, they can turn a chaotic, inefficient business into an orderly one.

Take a look at the essential features of CRM systems, and make sure your CRM product has them.

3. Most small businesses don’t actually need much more than that; they often overestimate their needs and price point.

Prospective Buyer’s Monthly Budget

Prospective buyer's monthly budget

A common trap small business CRM buyers fall into is thinking that they need more than the basics. They buy a robust, expensive CRM meant for an enterprise and struggle to use a complicated system that isn’t designed to serve their needs. If a CRM is too hard to use, it won’t be; data will go stale, and the CRM won’t help you make money like it’s supposed to.

Instead of buying an expensive, bloated CRM that has features you think you might need, go for a simpler, easy to use system that actually has the tools your business needs to grow. As we covered in our last point, those must-have features are pretty basic; if your pain points are being soothed by keeping contact records with notes and a calendar, then you probably don’t need fancy automations or integrations.

Finally, make sure you understand the pricing structures of the CRMs you’re looking at. It’s easy to over or underestimate your final bill when you don’t understand the total cost of owning a particular CRM system. If you focus on simple core features and the number of users you need on your account, you’ll narrow down the CRMs you want and be able to better pinpoint the price or pricing tier you’re at for a given CRM.

Less Annoying CRM has the features every small business needs at an affordable price point. Our pricing structure is simple: $15/user/month, for a fully-featured CRM with great customer service included. We really mean it: that’s the total cost of ownership for our CRM. All accounts get a free month-long free trial, too, whether you’re one user or ten. Check out these testimonials and case studies from real CRM users in a myriad of industries and see how using Less Annoying CRM transformed their business.

Now that you know what you’re looking for in a CRM, how do you select and purchase the perfect CRM?

If you’re searching for a CRM or in the process of adoption, check out our free ebook: CRM Bootcamp! Our guide will take you from the initial stages of your search, all the way to successfully implementing and adopting CRM at your company. Find great advice, a step-by-step selection plan, and more!

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