When you launch a startup you must give careful consideration to the tools you will use. Your cash burn rate will keep you up at night. You want to have everything you need to conduct your business without wasting valuable resources on non-essentials.

One of the most important tools you’ll need to implement is a customer relationship management (CRM) system. A CRM gives you a centralized platform to store customer information and manage every interaction regardless of the touch point. While you may not have many customers right now, you are growing. A CRM is essential to satisfying customers, and it is easiest to implement earlier rather than later.

In this post, you’ll learn what you should look for in a CRM for a startup and why Insightly is the best solution for getting your business off the ground.

Why your startup needs a CRM

200512 buy or build inset3 insightly blog

Your new startup doesn’t come with customers. As such, it may seem like a waste of capital to invest in a platform for managing customers when you don’t have many. It is natural to believe that you can wait until your business is established with a solid number of customers before you can see tangible rewards from a CRM. 

However, every startup can benefit from a CRM. The reason is that the success of every business, regardless of industry, is based on providing the best possible customer experience. By taking on a customer-first approach early in your business, you establish a strong precedent and ensure that every customer you add has the experience that will allow you to move forward in the market.

Here are some of the things you can achieve by adopting a CRM for your startup:

Prioritize and organize your work

In a startup, there is no shortage of responsibilities to juggle. How do you know what is important enough to merit your utmost attention? And, how do you keep track of everything so that your business can operate efficiently?

A CRM tool gives you a centralized place to store all your important tasks and the information about leads and customers. When you have all your customer data in a single place, you get a clear picture of where to spend your time and energy. Founders, managers, marketers, and sales teams will all be on the same page, regardless of location or time zone, and your team can act quickly to foster your business’s growth.

Generate new leads and customers 

A strong sales pipeline is key to gaining your first customers. A CRM system helps you capture leads and move them through your sales process while automatically routing leads to the best sales rep. You get a detailed understanding of how effective your sales pipeline is. You can see where you are losing potential customers in your sales process and which activities are yielding the best results.

Manage contacts and partnerships

In the digital world, organizations rely on a variety of communication methods to engage their customers and business partners. A CRM connects all interactions across touch points for you so that you can manage your contacts from a single platform. Sales, marketing, customer support, and any other team working to build strong relationships will have this information at their fingertips.

You don’t have to worry about losing track of a conversation. CRM software can store details from every conversation in one place instead of spreading them out in spreadsheets and notebooks. You can also use a CRM to set up automatic reminders to ensure you regularly check in with your valuable contacts.

What to look for in the best CRM for startups

201027 unified crm inset4 automated workflows insightly blog

Now that you know why your startup needs a CRM, let’s look at some of the key features to look for in CRM software for startups:

Affordability

First, you should evaluate CRM platforms on affordability. Every dollar counts in the early stage of your business, and you don’t want to overspend on any of the tools. A CRM price should reflect the level of functionality the platform offers. 

Many CRM providers scale their pricing based on the number of users you enroll. As a new business, your initial costs should be on the lower end as you won’t need spots for many users.

Be sure to keep an eye out for hidden charges. Some platforms don’t make their key features available unless you purchase additional add-ons. Others will charge for integrations if you want to connect the CRM to your other tools.

It‘s also beneficial to look for a tool with a free trial (or even a free plan for 1-2 users). This will allow you to try out the platform before committing to paying for the software.

Flexibility

No other business is quite like yours. The intricacies of your operation are what makes it special. The right CRM will be flexible and customizable to add fields, pipelines, processes and the like to fit to your organization – not the other way around. 

Task and email automation

In the fast-paced startup environment, making the most of your time is critical. Everyone on your team can benefit from reducing the amount of tasks needed throughout their daily activities.

A good CRM for startups lets you set up automated workflows to handle routine tasks. Generating reports, sending email follow-ups, and scheduling tasks are some of the common functions you can automate with a CRM.

This automation helps everyone on your team increase their productivity so that the startup can move with greater agility.

Reporting

Visual reporting gives you a real-time overview of the current state and success of your business. This helps you understand the number of deals you have open, the value of opportunities in your sales pipeline, how well you convert deals to sales, where your best leads come from, and more.

Integrations

A CRM gives you a powerful tool for managing many parts of your business, but it is not the only tool you will need to use. To extend the efficiencies afforded by a CRM to every area of your business, you want a platform with ready-made integrations for other popular tools. For example, integrating your CRM with accounting software like Quickbooks can streamline record keeping and invoicing. Or integrating your CRM with Slack can improve communication throughout your organization, allow you to act on new leads fast or share wins in real time.

Scalability

Your business may be small now, but it won’t be forever. As your startup grows, you will have bigger teams, more leads, and more contacts. You need a CRM solution that can grow with you as your business expands. You’ll want to map out the features you’ll need down the road and see if you can get them now while staying within your budget. Even if you need to pay a little more upfront, it could end up being less of a hassle than needing to migrate platforms in the middle of more extensive operations.

Ease of use is a key part of scalability. When you need to onboard a lot of sales reps, you want to get them up and running quickly so that they can spend time engaging customers. Plus, you don’t want to add more work for your experienced team to take the time to train new team members.

CRM first 

There is a distinct difference between a platform designed for managing customer relationships versus one that is designed for marketing as a whole. There are many marketing platforms that were built as a marketing tool that retroactively added CRM functionality.

Two good examples are Hubspot and ActiveCampaign. One was designed as a more generic marketing platform, while the other originated as an email autoresponder that eventually added more traditional CRM features.

A ‘CRM first’ platform that was built around the needs of sales leaders and is much more effective in building quality relationships with your customers. It prioritizes pipeline management and visualization, so you always know exactly where you stand when it comes to winning new deals. Plus, it will provide you with unified profiles for each contact so that you can engage them in a more meaningful manner, all from a single platform.

Insightly is the best startup CRM

200406 customer feedback inset1 1

Insightly is a powerful CRM for startups of all sizes. The platform is easy to get started with, customizable, and it provides you with a single, comprehensive tool for managing every aspect of your customer experience. Here are some of the key reasons Insightly is the best CRM for startups.

Highly customizable

Your business is unique. You should have the flexibility to create and name fields that work just for your business without writing lines of code or hiring an integrator. Insightly lets you tailor the CRM to your business (read: geeks love us). You can add unlimited custom fields to your records, and you can customize each stage of your pipeline to match your sales process.

The interface is highly customizable, allowing you to apply various views and filters to make the platform easy to navigate. You can create stunning data visualizations with simple drag and drop builders so that the information you need is always at your fingertips.

Start for free

You cannot overstate the importance of affordability for a startup CRM. Insightly removes any worry from a potential purchase by letting you use the platform for free for up to two users. Your free account includes all the CRM’s key features for you to get a real understanding of the platform’s capabilities before you buy. No commitment or payment method is required.

As you add teams, don’t add more vendors

You shouldn’t have to complicate your startup with too many vendors as it will inevitably slow down your growth. When you add a marketing team and a customer service team, Insightly has you covered with Insightly Marketing, a full-featured marketing automation solution, and Insightly Service, a help desk ticketing solution to service your accounts.

Insightly unites these functions so all of your teams can work from the same tool. Data is centralized to provide a complete 360-degree view of each lead, contact, and customer to keep everyone on the same page.

The AppConnect integration suite lets you seamlessly connect the CRM to the tools that you already use (e.g. HR, accounting, and communication apps). With the no-code integration engine, you can create automated workflows between apps without the need for technical expertise.

Grow faster with Insightly

200623 calculating roi inset5 total investment insightly blog

The right CRM can help your startup find early success and set the stage for future growth. Insightly understands the unique needs of startups and has created a fully customizable platform that can be tailored to your business.

Don’t wait until you’re no longer a small business to make the most of a CRM. Get started with a free trial today to start your business on the right foot.