This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of SharpSpring CRM. All opinions are 100% mine.
In my 20+ year marketing career, the most powerful and necessary tool by far has been CRM. The technology has changed (for the better), but the core principles remain; if you don’t take tracking your marketing and sales efforts seriously, you’re destined for failure. You can have the greatest product, content, people, etc., but without an engine powering all those day to day efforts, you’re going to lose out on business.
Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, but there are so many choices, and often many of them are never a good fit. Finding the right CRM for your small business is no easy task, and I’ve spent years working with a variety of them. In most cases, businesses don’t make the right choice often going with the most common known names in the game which are typically more than what they need, and spending thousands of dollars more than they should.
So how much should a small business pay for a CRM with the needed marketing tools to grow the pipeline? How’s about FREE?
Words like free or no cost typically turn off business owners because the expectation is that either you’re getting something very sub-par, or a bait and switch where you’ll get barebones service out of the gate and get hammered with expensive add-ons.
For the past few weeks I’ve been testing and using the free version of SharpSpring CRM and I’m incredibly impressed with what I’m seeing so far. I can confidently recommend them as a solid CRM solution for small businesses for some very key reasons.
1. They have history. SharpSpring is not new to the game. They’ve been around for 5+ years and have more than 1,500 agencies and 7,000 businesses that currently use them to manage their sales and marketing CRM with affordable marketing automation (similar platform to HubSpot, Marketo and Pardot).
2. The free sales CRM version is more than you’d expect. SharpSpring CRM offers pipeline management, lead scoring, sales reports, instant notifications, appointment scheduler, mail sync with platforms like Gmail and Outlook, and much more.
3. Incredible community and support. I love when companies not only provide timely, helpful support, but having an active community of users not only validates the product, but provides another avenue of support.
4. The user experience is fantastic. Often times, CRM solutions can be bloated, ugly and difficult to use. One of the things I love most about SharpSpring CRM is how despite there being plenty of features, it always feels light and easy to use. This is incredibly important for small business users to quickly and easily be able to manage their customer relationships within the platform and never feeling like it’s a chore.
5. Integrations and extensions. Another sign of a solid CRM solution is how flexible and extensible it is. Being able to work with the technology you already use is critical so that you’re not having to reinvent the wheel with how you do what you already do. Thankfully SharpSpring has plenty of integrations and extensions that can take advantage of what you’re already using.
Finding a free CRM for small businesses that not only is useable as a free product, but also fits the bill across the board is a pretty rare thing. SharpSpring CRM has really impressed me thus far, and I highly recommend any small to medium sized business seriously consider their platform and take it for a spin. There’s no risk, and set-up is a breeze. Regardless of what direction you go with your CRM technology, the most important thing is that as a business, you integrate CRM period. Otherwise you’re missing out on new opportunities.