A CRM for your SMB - what you need to look for in 2023

As a small or medium-sized business (SMB) owner/operator, adopting a customer relationship management (CRM) system can significantly enhance your business operations and drive growth. In 2023 we see the CRM landscape evolving rapidly, offering new features and capabilities. This blog post will guide you through the key factors to consider when selecting a CRM for your SMB. Whether you’re adopting a CRM for the first time or looking to upgrade your existing system.

What should my Small Business CRM be looking to do?

Investing in a CRM system is possibly the most valuable investment your SMB will make. It serves as a powerful tool that centralises customer data, enabling a comprehensive understanding of your customer base. With streamlined sales processes, automated tasks, and improved efficiency, your team can focus on building meaningful relationships and closing deals.

A CRM empowers data-driven decision-making, providing valuable insights to optimise sales strategies and drive growth. It enhances collaboration, enabling seamless communication and coordination among team members. Moreover, a scalable CRM supports your SMB’s expansion plans. It will adapt to your evolving needs, and gives you a competitive edge by delivering exceptional customer experiences.

By investing in a CRM, you equip your SMB with the tools to succeed, foster growth, and stay ahead in today’s competitive business landscape.

Ease of Use and Implementation

Look for a CRM that offers a user-friendly interface and straightforward implementation process. A solution with intuitive navigation and customisable features ensures smooth onboarding and minimal disruption to your daily operations.

Scalability and Flexibility

Choose a CRM that can grow with your business. Ensure the CRM can accommodate increased data volumes, support additional users, and adapt to your evolving business needs. Scalability is crucial for long-term CRM success.

Integration Capabilities

Consider a CRM that seamlessly integrates with your existing software and tools. Look for integrations with popular email clients, marketing automation platforms, accounting software, and other business applications. These can simplify your IT stack, streamline your workflows and avoid data silos.

Mobile Access and Offline Functionality

In today’s fast-paced business environment, mobile access to your CRM is essential. Look for a CRM that offers a mobile app with offline functionality. This allows your team to access and update customer data even when an internet connection is not available.

Customisation and Workflow Automation

Every business has unique processes and requirements. A CRM that offers customisation options and workflow automation capabilities empowers you to tailor the system to match your specific business needs. Furthermore, automating repetitive tasks saves time and ensures consistency.

Reporting and Analytics

A CRM’s reporting and analytics capabilities are crucial for making informed business decisions. Look for a CRM that provides comprehensive reporting dashboards, customisable reports, and real-time analytics. These give you the ability to easily track sales performance, customer behaviour, and other key metrics.

Customer Support and Training

Evaluate the level of customer support and training provided by the CRM vendor. Look for a responsive support team and ample training resources. Resources such as video tutorials, documentation, and user forums, can help your team maximise the CRM’s potential. More importantly, it gives you the opportunity to address any challenges effectively.

Data Security and Compliance

Ensure the CRM prioritises data security and compliance with industry regulations. Look for features like data encryption, role-based access control, and compliance with privacy standards. Essential features, such as GDPR, are essential to protect your customer information and your business.

What are your options for a CRM for your SMB?

As an SMB owner/operator, you have several options for CRM solutions that cater specifically to small and medium-sized businesses. Here are some popular CRM options to consider:

Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM is a comprehensive CRM platform designed for SMBs. It offers a range of features such as lead management, contact and deal tracking, email marketing, workflow automation, reporting, and mobile access. It provides scalability and integration capabilities with other Zoho applications and third-party tools.

HubSpot CRM

HubSpot CRM is a user-friendly and free CRM solution that offers contact and lead management. It also features email tracking, deal tracking, task management, and reporting. It seamlessly integrates with HubSpot’s marketing and sales tools, allowing for a holistic approach to customer engagement.

Salesforce Essentials

Salesforce Essentials is a CRM solution specifically designed for small businesses. It provides contact management, opportunity tracking, email integration, lead management, and basic reporting. It offers scalability and integration options with other Salesforce products.


Pipedrive is a CRM platform known for its intuitive interface and pipeline management features. It offers contact and lead management, deal tracking, email integration, task management, and reporting. Pipedrive focuses on sales pipeline visibility and helps SMBs streamline their sales processes.


Freshsales is a CRM solution designed for SMBs, offering features like lead management, contact management, deal tracking, email integration, built-in phone, and reporting. It provides automation capabilities and integrates with popular business applications.


Insightly is a CRM solution suitable for SMBs that offers contact and lead management, opportunity tracking, email integration, project management, and reporting. It provides customisation options and integration with popular business tools.

Custom solutions

An obvious but more costly solution is to use a custom CRM. This can offer whatever you want but will need significant development time and may not be agile for your evolving needs. Similarly there are a number of industry-specific CRM solutions but again they maybe limited in functionality and require more support than others!

Consider factors such as your specific business needs, budget, scalability, ease of use, integration capabilities, and customer support when evaluating these CRM options. Additionally, many of these solutions offer free trials. These offer opportunities to explore their features and determine which CRM best aligns with your SMB’s requirements.

What specific features should SMBs look for when investing in a CRM solution?

In an earlier blog we looked at the critical elements your business should look for when investing in a CRM solution. In addition to these factors SMB CRM buyers, have a few additional factors that hold significance. The following table looks at how Goldstar and Zoho CRM offer solutions and functionality that sets it apart from its competitors:

FeatureReasonHow does Goldstar add value to a Zoho CRM solution?
AffordabilitySMBs often have budget constraints, so they look for CRM solutions that offer competitive pricing, flexible payment options, and a good return on investment.Zoho CRM offers competitive pricing, flexible payment options, and delivers a strong return on investment, making it an ideal choice for SMBs with budget constraints.
Ease of implementationSMBs typically have limited IT resources, so they prefer CRM systems that can be quickly set up and implemented without extensive technical expertise or long deployment timelines.Zoho CRM is designed for SMBs, offering quick and easy setup and implementation, without requiring extensive technical expertise or lengthy deployment timelines.
User adoptionSMBs rely on user buy-in and adoption to maximise the value of their CRM investment. They want CRM solutions that are user-friendly, require minimal training, and offer intuitive interfaces to encourage widespread adoption across their teams.Zoho CRM is user-friendly, requiring minimal training, and offers intuitive interfaces, enabling widespread adoption across SMB teams and maximising the value of their CRM investment.
All-in-one functionalitySMBs often seek CRM solutions that encompass multiple functionalities, such as contact management, lead tracking, sales automation, and customer support, to consolidate their processes and minimise the need for multiple software subscriptions.Zoho CRM provides SMBs with a comprehensive solution that includes contact management, lead tracking, sales automation, and customer support, streamlining processes and reducing the need for multiple software subscriptions.
Scalability for growthSMBs aspire to expand and grow their business, so they look for CRM systems that can scale along with their needs, accommodating additional users, data volume, and advanced features as their operations expand.Zoho CRM scales seamlessly with SMBs, accommodating user growth, increasing data volume, and advanced features to support their expanding operations and business growth aspirations.
Integration with essential toolsSMBs rely on various software applications for different business functions. They prioritise CRM solutions that integrate seamlessly with their existing tools, such as email clients, productivity suites, accounting software, or e-commerce platforms, to streamline workflows and eliminate data silos.Zoho CRM offers seamless integrations with popular software applications, allowing SMBs to streamline workflows, eliminate data silos, and leverage their existing tools for enhanced productivity and efficiency.
Localised supportSMBs may benefit from CRM vendors that offer localised support and customer service, understanding the unique challenges and requirements of small and medium-sized businesses.Zoho CRM provides localised support and customer service, catering to the unique challenges and requirements of SMBs, ensuring a personalised and tailored CRM experience.

By addressing these specific needs of SMB CRM buyers, Goldstar can effectively tailor their messaging and offerings to cater to the requirements of this market segment. Working with you we can ensure you make the best choices for your business when investing in a CRM system.

A CRM for your CRM: The most valuable investment you will make

Selecting the right CRM for your SMB is a critical decision that can drive efficiency, productivity, and customer satisfaction. By considering factors such as ease of use, scalability, integration capabilities, mobile access, customisation, reporting, customer support, and data security, you can make an informed choice. A choice that aligns with your business goals and sets you up for success in 2023 and beyond. Adopting a solution, like Zoho CRM, with a trusted UK, Zoho Advanced Partner, like Goldstar, is an investment in your business’s growth. An investment to help you cultivate stronger customer relationships, achieve long-term success and launch your business to the next level.

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