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The 4 best CRMs for SMEs from our extensive acquisition experience.

We have mined all our previous deals, reviewing all the CRMs that we inherited, then kept or replaced to give you our top 4 CRM picks for your SME business.

First of all, yes you need a CRM, I don’t care who you are! It should serve as the single source of truth enabling better collaboration, data transparency and an easy way for you to gain insight into how your business and your clients are performing. It is fundamental for any businesses that works on a recurring revenue / subscription basis i.e. operates an ongoing customer relationship model.

Second, your sales team will be more productive with the tools and insights that a powerful CRM can provide and ultimately it will help you close more deals. Really.

There are many options to choose from when implementing your CRM and ultimately your choice will depend on what you prefer, other systems you use and the nature of your sales team. Here are our top picks for SMEs:

- Pipedrive: great value for money and intuitive to use. If you are looking to get going quickly you can hit the ground running with Pipedrive. Unfortunately, it offers less customisations and integrations than other systems.

- Zoho: a great option for small businesses and is competitively priced. Zoho also offers a suite of other business tools which integrate with each other. If you are looking for a cheap, out of the box all-in-one solution that can go beyond CRM this is a great choice.

- Hubspot: a strong all rounder, but especially around the marketing/lead gen space. The costs ramp up quickly as soon as you want to push beyond the basics, but if you are willing to pay for a quality system combined with ease of use then Hubspot will impress and scale well with you.

- Dynamics 365: this is Microsoft’s CRM solution, and it is strong choice for users who are already committed to the Microsoft tech stack and want deep integration. Dynamics will integrate well with Outlook and Teams and the Power Platform engine behind it offers infinite customisability. Be warned though, Dynamics 365 is not for the faint of heart - customising the system will require considerable patience and deep technical knowledge of the platform (likely 3rd party support).

No Not for SMEs. Yes, it’s the grandfather of SaaS and it’s very complete, but has a price tag to match and has been overkill for every SME that we’ve seen it in.

We opted to implement a custom Dynamics 365 set up for Fordhouse as we needed a very bespoke, multi sector and company setup. We were lucky enough to be supported by Zenzero, who have great technical capabilities and helped us achieve our goal.


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