Practical Ecommerce

5 Social Customer-management Tools for Small Business

Digital marketing is data driven. Merchants can now use data to market to their prospects with greater insight and more intelligence than ever before.

Customer relationship management tools can help with this. The benefits of using CRM tools include:

  • Deeper insight into a customer’s interests, purchase history, social network connections, and interactions with the company;
  • Multichannel marketing automation, which gives merchants the ability to create personalized, relevant marketing messages at each stage of the customer’s buying journey;
  • Sales opportunity process flow and tracking;
  • Unified flow of information between departments and business lines.

While CRM platforms are commonly associated with larger companies, any business, regardless of size, can benefit from them.

Here are five CRM tools for smaller businesses.

1. Batchbook

At $35 per month, Batchbook is the most expensive of those on the list.

At $35 per month, Batchbook is the most expensive of those on the list.

Batchbook is a cloud-based social CRM platform that provides an organized way to make sales and build customer relationships. It enables merchants to keep track of important customers, partners, and deals using any device — desktop computer, tablet or smartphone.

From a marketing standpoint, Batchbook integrates with a number of tools and platforms across a range of categories that include:

  • Email. MailChimp, Mad Mimi, ActiveCampaign, and Yesware;
  • Social. Facebook, Twitter, HootSuite, and Disqus, a blog commenting platform;
  • Direct mail. Direct Mail Manager;
  • Events. Eventbrite.

Even though it is affordable for most small business, with prices starting at $35 per month Batchbook is the most expensive of those on the list. A free 30-day trial is available.

2. ContactMe

ContactMe enables companies to update contact lists from a single source.

ContactMe enables companies to update contact lists from a single source.

Many small business owners use a system of email, documents, and spreadsheets to manage contacts. ContactMe, part of the Webs Online marketing platform, enables companies to update contact lists from a single source and organize contacts into categories such as leads, potential prospects, and customers.

ContactMe offers integrations with Facebook, WordPress, Webs, Constant Contact, and MailChimp.

A free version is available. Paid versions start at $3.95 per month. Small businesses would likely benefit from the Pro version, which costs $7.42 per month.

3. Zoho CRM

Marketing automation is internal to Zoho CRM, enabling more highly targeted email marketing.

Marketing automation is internal to Zoho CRM, enabling more highly targeted email marketing.

Zoho CRM includes features such as sales tracking, Salesforce automation, Google service synchronization, and social profiles.

One important feature is the Opportunity Tracking tool, which gives businesses a complete view of all sales activities. An editable Notes section displays the time and content of past customer interactions.

Zoho supports social media engagement through integration with Twitter and Facebook. Marketing automation is internal to the system, which enables more highly targeted email marketing campaigns based on customer profile and history. Users can also track marketing expenditures in real time.

Zoho CRM is free at the base level; premium packages start at $12 per month.

4. Nimble

Nimble manages all contact information and history via a single screen.

Nimble manages all contact information and history via a single screen.

Nimble, a cloud-based social CRM, helps businesses better manage social network contacts including all online conversations you have with them over email, Twitter, Skype, Facebook, and other services.

The platform manages all contact information and history via a single screen, which gives users a more inclusive, comprehensive view of customer interactions.

Nimble integrates with a variety of marketing tools including MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, AWeber, HootSuite, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Unique to Nimble are integrations with ecommerce platforms Magento and Shopify.

Pricing is $15 per month per user. A 14-day free trial is available.

5. Insightly

Insightly offers the most robust social media integration of all those on the list.

Insightly offers the most robust social media integration of all those on the list.

Insightly helps small businesses deal with managing contacts, organizations, partners, vendors and suppliers. Users can see everything about contacts, including their backgrounds, email histories, important dates, and any projects or opportunities in which they have participated. Features include Salesforce automation, marketing automation, order management, sales forecasting, and more.

The platform offers the most robust social media integration of all those on the list. Once you enter a contact’s email address, the platform detects virtually every social media profile related to it. Supported social networks include Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Foursquare, Picasa, Klout, and nearly any social channel where the contact has participated.

Insightly offers free and paid versions, which start at $9.00 per month.


Paul Chaney
Paul Chaney
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Comments ( 8 )

  1. Didi May 22, 2014 Reply

    Have a look at InTouch CRM as well. It is specifically designed to serve small and medium sized businesses http://www.intouchcrm.com/

    • Paul Chaney May 22, 2014 Reply

      Didi, checking out InTouch now. From all appearances, it seems like a very robust, comprehensive tool that fits well within a small business budget. Thank you for recommending it.

  2. Yvonne A Jones May 22, 2014 Reply

    Thank you for sharing these tools. I use Insightly and really like it so I share it with the businesses I work with. It’s great to know what other customer-management tools and resources are available to provide support to small businesses.

    • Paul Chaney May 22, 2014 Reply

      Yvonne, there are so many out there that it’s difficult to narrow the field to just a few. I have tried each of these and felt they were worthy of consideration. Thank you for your comment.

  3. Christelle May 22, 2014 Reply

    Hi Paul,
    Thanks so much for including Batchbook! We appreciate your thoughtful review. I just wanted to mention that our pricing includes unlimited users, so depending on the size of your team Batchbook may not be the most expensive after all.

  4. Sarah Matista June 2, 2014 Reply

    Paul, thank you for featuring ContactMe! We are delighted to be included among the other great options you listed.

  5. Rick McElroy June 2, 2014 Reply

    It’s great to see Zoho CRM make the top 5! As a Zoho Alliance Partner, we see Zoho CRM growing leaps and bounds as they have 20+ other apps like Hosted Email, HR, BOOKS, SUPPORT, RECRUIT, SITES, etc…And too many 3rd party apps that integrate with many of the Zoho Apps.

  6. Anita Holley June 30, 2014 Reply

    Great post Paul, thank you. I totally agree, smaller businesses need tools to support social media marketing & customer service (which is a must, as Angela Hausman mentions in her blog http://www.business2community.com/customer-experience/brand-needs-social-customer-service-0885726). However I am surprised you didn’t mentioned Maximizer CRM! Maximizer CRM has been the well established CRM solution for Small and Medium business for over 25 years and with its unique integration with HubSpot all in one marketing solution, it truly is a product that can not only support social media management, but social sales management too… check it out http://www.max.co.uk/our-software/maximizer-crm-12-summer-2013/hubspot-connector

    Anita Holley
    Maximizer CRM
    http://www.max.co.uk

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