Digital Communication


Digital Communication

CRM for SMEs: features, benefits and tools


CRM, short for Customer Relationship Management, optimizes the interactions between a company and its customers. Small businesses and start-ups should also get a flexible CRM solution with a suitable price-performance ratio. Recommended CRM tools are HubSpot CRM, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Pipedrive, and Zoho CRM.

What is a CRM?

Most companies are customer-dependent: they focus their activities on the wishes and needs of their (potential) customers, because it is well known that customer satisfaction has a positive impact on turnover. In order to retain your customers, you should therefore carefully choose the CRM tool adapted to your needs.

The abbreviation CRM stands for “Customer Relationship Management”, which is translated by “management of the customer relationship” in French. The main goal is the following: to manage the interactions between a company and its current or future customers. Customer relationship management is also great for small businesses, as long as the solution is right for the business and its needs. Fortunately, the offer in the field of CRM for VSEs and SMEs is very wide.

CRM: is it really important for startups and small businesses?

The fundamental approach of CRM for SMEs does not differ from solutions intended for large groups. The main objective is always toestablish a close link between the company or brand and its customers. To do this, customer data is first managed and analyzed, then arrangements are made to increase the reach of the business and to make the offer available to interested people.

A CRM for small businesses can also achieve this, but it differs from other solutions in its cost, functionality and resource requirements. Used well, CRM systems for SMEs not only facilitate daily work, but also actively contribute to the growth of the brand or company.

The open source CRM solutionSuiteCRM allows you to keep an eye on all your contacts and benefit from numerous integration and extension possibilities.

What features should a CRM system for SMEs offer?

CRMs for small businesses must meet some special requirements. You should give great importance to the following features and functions:


THE cost/benefit ratio is still important, but in the case of a small business CRM, it definitely needs to be considered. The marketing budget of an SME cannot measure up to that of a large company, but this is not a problem if the financial aspect is well managed. An overpriced CMS system is therefore not an option for small businesses. Instead, you can forego certain functions and thus limit costs.

Intuitive use

While every new system always requires a bit of learning, a good CRM for small business should be intuitive and must be able to be used quickly. Generally, few employees have the time to manage customer relations, which is a time-consuming daily task. A learning effort is therefore required, but a CRM tool makes it possible to limit and facilitate the work as much as possible.

Integration possibilities

The most effective use of a CRM for start-ups and small businesses is when the tool can be used with other programs and thus contribute to marketing automation, for example. Data management and analysis is greatly simplified when you do not have to recreate saved databases for each tool. Collaboration between different programs helps you get the best results.


In the event of a problem when using a CRM system for SMEs, it is important to benefit from a fast and quality assistance. Looking for the solution to a problem can take a lot of time, but also cost money. When choosing the right CRM for your small business, it is therefore worth taking a look at the help center on offer.


Even if you are looking for a CRM system for SMEs, you should keep in mind the potential growth of your business. Using this tool also takes some practice, and since expanding your business is probably one of your goals, the corresponding system should ideally be able to grow with you and adapt to higher demands. For this reason, the use of cloud computing can be useful.

With a cloud server from IONOS, you not only get a highly available server platform with unlimited traffic, but you also have the flexibility to choose the price and features that suit your needs.

What are the benefits of CRM for start-ups and small businesses?

A CRM adapted to your small business brings you many advantages. Here are the main ones:

  • Better organization: with a CRM for VSEs and SMEs, you will find all your customer data clearly organized and accessible at all times. This not only allows you to keep a good overview, but also simplifies many work processes and helps you analyze your target group.
  • A closer relationship with customers: you are not the only one to find advantages in the use of a CRM tool, your customers will also notice a positive difference. In e-commerce, and especially in the B2C area, the CRM system helps to respond quickly and purposefully to inquiries, to better handle complaints and to address customers individually. So your customers feel perfectly taken care of.
  • A needs analysis: Thanks to the analysis and classification of data, you can determine very precisely the products or services that certain customers need, or at least might need. This helps you plan requests in advance and allows you to approach and help customers on an individual basis.

The Five Best CRM Systems for Small Businesses


CRM system Price
HubSpot CRM Free basic version
Salesforce From €25 per month
Microsoft Dynamics 365 From €54.80 per month
Pipedrive From €12.50 per month
Zoho CRM Free basic version

There are many customer relationship management solutions suitable for small businesses. We recommend the following five CRM tools are:“

HubSpot CRM

The decisive advantage ofHubSpot CRM is its price. The software is indeed free at the start.which is perfect for the first steps of VSEs and SMEs that do not have sufficient income.

HubSpot CRM offers plenty of integration options, a strong connection to different social media platforms, and a clean and intuitive user interface. In addition, contact with the customer base is greatly facilitated by an online chat function and the possibility of contact by email. Costs appear as your business grows: from a certain number of contacts, monthly or annual fees must be paid.


Salesforce is a particularly flexible CRM for start-ups and small businesses. Not only is he perfectly modular, but it also offers different embeddable tools as needed. The solution is therefore suitable for growing companies. There are various possibilities to get in direct and easy contact with customers. The use is however relatively complicated at first and requires a little practice. The different modules cost €25 each.

Microsoft Dynamics 365

Microsoft also offers a CRM for SMEs with Microsoft Dynamics 365. The tool is very comprehensive and can be combined perfectly with all common programs from the manufacturer. Usage is very intuitive, which allows users to quickly become familiar with the tool. But this has an additional cost. So CRM for small businesses is certainly evolving, but it can also quickly become expensive.


Pipedrive is a CRM for the e-commerce sector. This cloud-based tool is very intuitive, integrates very well and is suitable for both B2B and B2C. Contacts can be scheduled in advance and handled later. With a starting price of €12.50 per month, the CRM is also affordable for small businesses. However, some functions are only available in the more expensive Enterprise version.

Zoho CRM

Thanks to its intuitive use, Zoho CRM perfect for small businesses. Only the configuration can be a bit more complicated. Of multiple presentation possibilities as well as a strong connection to social networks are also an asset, as is the very good support and the many language options. There is a free option, but it is not sufficient for medium-sized businesses.

E-commerce made easy: With IONOS, create your personalized and highly functional online store and choose from numerous designs and functions the elements you really need for your business.

Bottom Line: CRM Is Worth It For Small Businesses

A suitable CRM system is a cost-effective purchase for small businesses. If collaboration with MarTech, Data Management Platforms and other tools is possible, you can optimize your work processes and intensify contact with your customers thanks to a CRM for SMEs. However, it’s important to always keep program costs in mind, as they can increase as your business grows.

The perfect solution for mobile devices: Zurmo is an open source CRM that can be duplicated on different servers and makes contact management easier.

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