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How to choose the right computer equipment for your business to increase your productivity and efficiency without it costing the earth.

Business software helps you complete a range of tasks. Choose the right software, provide support and train your staff with our introduction.

It is highly likely that you depend on the internet for some aspects of your business. Find out how you can use the internet more effectively.

Good communication with customers, partners and suppliers is vital for business success. This summary explores business communication methods.

How would you cope if your IT system failed or was breached? We cover the main IT security issues and how to protect against them.

Good IT management can help you choose, use and implement IT. Our overview helps you manage IT in a way that maximises the return on your investment.

IT support is vital if you rely on your IT system. But how can you set up an effective safety net in case things go wrong? We explore the options.

Getting the right IT is just the first step. Appropriate training, policies and working practices can help you maximise return on your IT investment.

The best small business CRM software in the UK

CRM (customer relationship management) software helps you win and keep customers. Simple software packages offer small businesses easy sales pipeline and customer management, while more powerful solutions add increasingly sophisticated functionality.

Here's our guide to small business CRM software and our review of some of the UK's most popular CRM software packages.

What CRM software can do for your business

CRM software recognises that the more you know about your customers, the easier it is to sell to them and strengthen the relationship. CRM software does this by helping you keep track of every contact you have with the customer (or potential customer) and everything you know about them.

CRM software can be particularly helpful for larger businesses - where many different employees come into contact with each customer - and for small businesses which need to keep track of large numbers of customers and prospects.

To help you choose the right CRM software for your business, identify what you want the software to be able to do and how you plan to use it. For example:

  • Which employees will use the CRM software?
  • Is your focus on prospecting for new leads, managing existing customer relationships, dealing with service requests - or all three?
  • What processes do you want the CRM to help with - for example, automating mailshots or analysing customer behaviour?
  • How will you CRM link in with your existing customer data and IT systems?

The larger your business, the more sophisticated your requirements are likely to be: for example, you may want to be able to automate various processes. Smaller businesses may prefer a simpler solution rather than unnecessarily advanced functionality - and higher complexity and costs.

Find out more about these popular CRM software packages:

monday.com

For small businesses with relatively simple CRM requirements, monday.com is both affordable and easy to set up and use.

Key benefits:

  • easy to set up and use
  • simple automation tools
  • straightforward tracking of individual contacts and overall progress

Disadvantages:

  • lacks the advanced tools offered by more sophisticated packages

Pricing:

  • £9 - £18 per user per month, discounts for annual billing

Read about monday.com sales CRM.

Pipedrive

Pipedrive's sales focus will appeal to many, but you'll need to integrate other tools to help you manage existing customer relationships and marketing activity.

Key benefits:

  • great for results-driven sales teams
  • optional lead generation tools with B2B database and online lead capturing tools
  • 24 hour online support

Disadvantages:

  • little support for managing existing customers

Pricing:

  • £20 - £60 per user per month, discounts for annual billing
  • optional lead generation tools from £39 per month

Read about Pipedrive sales CRM and pipeline management software.

Zendesk

If customer service is a priority, Zendesk is well worth a look – particularly if you've raised outside funding.

Key benefits:

  • strong customer service functionality across multiple communication channels
  • fully scalable for larger businesses but sometimes at the expense of complexity

Disadvantages:

  • less well-established sales and marketing packages
  • packages offering full CRM functionality relatively expensive

Pricing:

  • Zendesk service £15 - £79 per agent per month, billed annually
  • Zendesk sales £19 - £79 per user per month, billed annually
  • startups that have raised outside funding may qualify for six months free credit and support

Read about Zendesk customer service software and sales CRM.

HubSpot

HubSpot offers a wide array of marketing, sales, customer service, content management and operations tools – but paid packages may be too complex and expensive for many small businesses.

Key benefits:

  • free plan offers useful tools – provided you can work within the 1,000 contact limit
  • 'starter' bundle offers more than enough CRM functionality for most small businesses

Disadvantages:

  • quickly becomes expensive if you move beyond free or 'starter' levels

Pricing:

  • free plan offering limited use of 'lite' versions of many tools
  • starter CRM suite from £42 per month (extra charges for more than 1,000 marketing contacts or more than two paid users)
  • discounted plans available for start-ups working with approved HubSpot partners (eg incubators/accelerators

Find out more about HubSpot inbound marketing, sales and service software.

Freshsales

The Freshworks family of powerful products – sales-oriented Freshsales, Freshmarketer for marketing automation, and Freshdesk for customer support – can be a good option for medium-sized businesses.

Key benefits:

  • relatively easy implementation compared to some other higher-end CRM software
  • nice integration across the product range
  • AI-powered insights (in more expensive plans)

Disadvantages:

  • can be difficult to work out which product will best suit your business

Pricing:

  • free plan for basic contact management
  • £15 - £66 per user per month, discounts for annual billing

Find out more about Freshsales,  Freshmarketer and Freshdesk support.

Keap

A fully-featured CRM, sales and marketing platform – but at a price.

Key benefits:

  • ease of use and time-saving automation
  • integrated invoicing

Disadvantages:

  • steep learning curve requiring onboarding support
  • aggressive pricing

Pricing:

  • UK pricing typically starts at £39 - £159 per month
  • higher monthly charges for more contacts or extra users
  • additional charge for onboarding coaching service

Read about Keap CRM, sales and marketing automation.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales Professional

Part of the Microsoft Dynamics portfolio of business applications, this will appeal to mid-sized businesses that want to work with an integrated set of Microsoft applications.

Key benefits:

  • integration with Office 365 and other Microsoft tools
  • relatively easy setup for a higher end CRM solution

Disadvantages:

  • need to invest time and effort in initial set-up / training
  • small business version lacks data insights of higher-cost enterprise products

Pricing:

  • £49 per user per month

Find out more about Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales Professional.

Salesforce

Possibly the world's leading CRM software, Salesforce has got it all – but it's mainly aimed at larger businesses.

Key benefits:

  • small business package offers good capabilities across sales and service
  • easy upgrade to more powerful versions for fast-growth businesses

Disadvantages:

  • not as user-friendly as many competitors
  • more expensive than some similar small business offerings

Pricing:

  • small business CRM from £20 per user per month, maximum 10 users

Find out more about Salesforce small business CRM and contact management software.

Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM offers comprehensive customer management, while the cut-down, more sales-focused Bigin will be attractive to many smaller businesses.

Key benefits:

  • competitively priced Bigin offers attractive sales pipeline management functionality for smaller businesses
  • customisable interface to suit your business in Zoho CRM
  • easy integration with other Zoho tools

Disadvantages:

  • limited integrations with third party tools, particularly in Bigin and lower-priced Zoho plans

Pricing:

  • free editions of both Zoho CRM and Bigin offering reduced functionality
  • Bigin £7 - £12 per user per month, discount for annual billing
  • Zoho CRM £12 - £42 per user per month, discounts for annual billing

Read more about Bigin for small businesses and Zoho CRM sales CRM software.

It's worth checking up-to-date information on pricing and features for individual CRM software packages before making your choice. If you are looking for a higher-end solution, you may want to speak to individual providers about what they can offer to meet your particular needs.

The pricing details in this guide do not include VAT, any introductory discounts or free trials, or the more expensive 'enterprise' plans for large businesses.

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