5 Best CRM Softwares for a Small Business in Australia
In the Article (Quick Access)
Various estimates suggest that getting a new customer through marketing campaigns can cost around 6 to 20 times more than retaining existing customers (source: Xero).
And, I can write this as someone who invested a fortune in marketing without realising that retaining old customers is the key.
Old customers give you ongoing business and also refer new clients.
All new customers that come through existing clients don’t cost you a dime in marketing and sales.
Therefore, maintaining customer relationships is far more financially viable for small businesses with limited budgets.
But how do you give top-notch customer service so that your existing clients keep renewing your service and recommending you to new clients?
That’s where customer relationship management (CRM) software comes in.
A Good CRM software offers Australian Businesses the opportunity to keep track of their customer interactions while providing tips for improvement as well.
With the world getting used to normal life after two years, small businesses need to enhance their customer service to find new customers and regain old ones.
That’s something they can do by making use of CRM software.
In this blog (written specifically for Australian small businesses), we look at how you can use CRM software to improve your small business’s efficiency.
We also review the five best CRM software for a small business in Australia.
Let’s get rolling!
How can a CRM Software Help Your Small Business?
A CRM is essentially a customer and prospect database that stores the details of all your customers and records your interactions with them.
How you use this information depends on what you want to get from all of this data. Your only limitation with CRM software is your vision.
For example, they can help improve sales forecasting by 32% (source: Salesforce).
Here are some applications for CRM software:
- Storage for customer details: the most mundane application for CRM software is to use it as a contact list for all of your clients.
- Manage customer interactions: CRM software allows you to schedule meetings, log calls, store and track customer emails, maintain contacts, handle customer complaints, etc.
- Scheduling client interaction: you can use CRM software to set reminders for when to call a client or send them an email.
The software can notify you if a customer hasn’t been contacted in some time while also summarising the information you should provide them.
- Create discounts and special offers: you can set up special offers or events to get back customers who seem to have drifted away from your brand.
- Track your marketing campaigns: CRM software offers various tools to help track marketing campaigns and assess their performance.
You can check on the results of bulk mail advertising while also figuring out which marketing campaign works the best in different customer segments.
- Sales management: CRM software tools offer you sales statistics to track your sales team’s performance and make necessary changes based on pure data.
In short, most CRM applications offer you the opportunity to keep your current customers while also maintaining data of the new ones.
The above features make CRM an indispensable part of every small business.
How to Choose the Right CRM Software for Your Small Business?
CRM softwares have been around in the market for more than twenty years, with several options readily available at competitive prices.
However, there is always scope for improvement. With concepts like big data management and AI becoming a part of the CRM ecosystem, new entrants are challenging the old companies in this competitive market.
Though suitable for end customers, it does create a headache for small business owners who are confused about selecting the right option.
Having worked with many Australian small businesses, I understand their requirements and have looked at the parameters that should help them decide on the best CRM solution for their small and growing business.
Here’s what small business owners need to look for when selecting a CRM software:
- Competitive Pricing
A CRM software will not be of any use to you if its cost is more than what it earns for your small business.
Look for a CRM that gives you the value for the bucks.
The term ‘expensive is always good’ might be good for big companies, but you need to find the right fit for a small business.
- The Offered Features
It is tempting to splash the money and get the best, most expensive CRM in the market – however, the tools that work for a multinational may not necessarily suit a small business.
You need intense research to look at what other small businesses and your competitors are getting from their CRM applications (source: Super Office).
Follow your research by assessing what you require for your business and looking for the software that offers those features.
A common saying inside the industry is, ‘Your software should be able to grow with your business.
In short – you need a scalable solution.
Scalable because you do not want to be shopping for a new solution after your company grows from1 0 to 100 employees.
From my personal experience, I can tell you that data migration is a pain in the backside.
Have your business’s plan in place before you select a solution.
- Cloud Connectivity
Cloud technology revolutionizes business management and operations, allowing stakeholders to stay in the loop even when they’re not in the office.
You need to look for CRM software with cloud connectivity, which allows you to update the result of calls and client meetings from anywhere on this planet (source: Formstack).
- Good Customer Support
You will want to deal with a company that offers support to you similar to the one you want to give your clients with their CRM software.
Look for a company that is there to answer your queries at any time of the day.
You can easily find out if they do by looking at reviews given by former clients (source: Tech Target).
List of 5 Best CRM Software for a Small Businesses in Australia
You have learned the hows and whats of finding the right CRM solution. Time for the main course (what you read above were starters :)).
Based on the points I listed above, I looked for the best CRM that would be the right fit for a small Australian business, and here it is – the five best CRM solutions for small businesses in Australia.
Rating: 4.5/5 on Capterra
Testimonials: “Great for smaller businesses”, “Tons of Potential!”
Famous Clients: Ceros, Handled, Airstream
No CRM solution list goes complete without the mention of Hubspot CRM.
I have friends from my entrepreneurship days (Don’t forget, I am a retired entrepreneur) who still swear by Hubspot CRM.
Hubspot, is one the most famous and biggest tech companies in the world.
The software (by the name of Hubspot) is easy to use and simple to learn.
It’s the top choice for startups and small businesses.
The solution also offers you an intuitive user interface.
Most importantly – the solution is easy to deploy.
Coming to the features, Hubspot CRM comes with a plethora of features such as email tracking, e-signature, and workflow automation.
Its free plan has made Hubspot a darling of small business owners (Australians included).
As I mentioned earlier, scalability is an essential factor in selecting a CRM software – something Hubspot CRM has at the heart of its solution.
The CRM solution comes with a free plan for a limited number of users.
So, in essence, you use the solution until your business is small in size, and as your business grows, you upgrade to a paid plan.
Before I forget – the basic plan is free to use for as long as you need.
As you upgrade, you unlock many other features as you keep upgrading your account, with the Starter plan offering features such as goal tracking, Stripe payment integration, and Slack integration.
Moreover, the Hubspot Academy is a fantastic resource to acclimate yourself to each future and learn how to use Hubspot for your business.
I will stop!
Time for some shortcomings.
Yes, shortcoming because nothing in this world is ‘ideal’.
And if Hubspot didn’t have shortcomings, this blog would have only 1 CRM, not five on the list 😉
You get the gist!
The biggest shortcoming of Hubspot CRM is that its Basic and Starter plans do not offer a complete suite of features.
You upgrade to these plans, and you still have that feeling ‘i am missing something.
For example, the sales forecasting tool, which is imperative in assessing the growth potential of your business and strategising, is only available in Professional and Enterprise plans.
Furthermore, you only get two pipelines per account, even with the Starter plan.
So, by the time you start falling in love with the software – they want you to upgrade to an expensive plan.
The upgraded plan might be acceptable with a company on steroids, growing at a fantastic pace.
However, small businesses growing at a standard trajectory might feel the pinch.
Still, then the argument to support the expensive plans is that your small business might not even need all the fancy features.
So, while it’s a fantastic resource for startups and is excellent to use as your first CRM software, Hubspot CRM can be a bit expensive to scale as your business grows.
However, it does offer a 14-day trial period, allowing you to cancel your subscription if you do not like Hubspot CRM.
What HubSpot Gets Right!
Free Plan for Small Businesses
Easy-to-use Features & Excellent User Interface
Stripe Integration for Payment Processing
What Is HubSpot Missing?
Plans past the Starter plan are costly
Easy-to-use Features & Excellent User Interface
Basic and Starter plans do not offer Sales forecasting
How Much Does Hubspot CRM Cost?
- Free Plan
- The Starter plan costs $60 / month for two users and $31 per month for every additional user
- The Professional plan costs $600 per month for five users and $120 per month for every additional user
- The Enterprise plan costs $1,600 per month for ten users and $160 per month for every additional user
Rating: 4.3/5 on Capterra
Testimonials: “Zoho has played an important role in standardising our program”, and “Seamless integration is another best feature of Zoho.”
Famous Clients: Amazon India, Purolite, Agoda
Zoho CRM offers the perfect software for businesses and startups looking to get the most out of social media to connect with their customers.
Yes, your read it right – if social media is where your customers sit, sleep and eat – Zoho CRM is your partner to help grow your business.
Zoho CRM helps you integrate with popular social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Zoho’s social media tools further allow you to generate leads, monitor conversations, create special offers, and share content.
Zoho CRM and its add-on, Zoho Bigin, have been developed to be simple CRM software for small businesses and micro-sized startups.
The solution offers basic contact, dealing, and product management features for small businesses.
In addition, Zoho CRM also has a free option that allows businesses to collaborate through direct message, sync team calendars, and manage leads.
However, the social media tools and features are only available to startups once they purchase the Standard plan of Zoho CRM.
And this is where the solution differs from Hubspot.
Unlike HubSpot’s free plan, Zoho CRM’s free plan restricts businesses to just three users.
Nevertheless, my personal opinion is Zoho CRM’s add-on features (in addition to basic CRM) like:
- In-built sales forecasting tool that allows you to check your business’ prospects and growth at any time.
- Artificial intelligence tools help with profile searching, launching automatic chatbots, creating insights, and generating sales predictions.
- Seamless integration with several other Zoho products, such as Zoho Workspace and Zoho Calendar.
Makes ZohoCRM a perfect tool for growing small businesses.
What Zoho Gets Right!
Zoho CRM is incredibly cost-friendly, with a very low cost per user
Social Media Management features are unmatched
Sales forecasting tool in the Standard plan is a game changer for small business (comes at an affordable cost)
What Is Zoho Missing?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) features on its Cheaper Plans
Free and Standard plans do not offer 'quote and invoice features'
The Free Plan only allows 'Three Users'
How Much Does ZohoCRM Cost?
- The Standard plan costs $19 per user / month
- The Professional plan costs $31 per user / month
- The Enterprise plan costs $53 per user / month
- The Ultimate plan costs $68 per user / month
- The Bigin add-on costs $9 per user / month
Rating: 4.5/5 on Capterra
Testimonials: “Best program we have used for tracking sales”, “Easy to use, reasonably priced, and ensures I don’t drop the ball on following up with my leads!”
Famous Clients: CircuitMeter, Financial Lifeguard, Group Benefit Solutions
In a world full of CRM solutions, Pipedrive has carved out a niche for itself by focussing on being good at ‘a sales-focused CRM application’.
So, if your Australian small business’s requirement is a sales-driven CRM, you cannot miss what Pipedrive offers.
To start with, Pipedrive allows users to customise and manage leads, sales pipelines, and deals.
With their Advanced plan, Pipedrive offers built-in features to help you schedule and manage appointments with sales contacts.
This is important for startups looking to make solid first impressions with their new sales contacts.
And when it comes to scheduling – the tool goes a step further.
It integrates with video conferencing applications such as Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams, helping set up sales communication channels.
Along with its flagship CRM software, Pipedrive also offers add-ons such as LeadBooster.
LeadBooster allows users to generate and engage with inbound leads through live chat, chatbot, and online web forms.
It also helps find leads with the use of a prospecting tool. Website Visitors, another add-on, identifies the different organisations browsing your website and which pages of the website they have gone through.
Pipedrive offers startups and small businesses all the right features and tips to increase their business performance and expand.
Furthermore, Pipedrive offers tools for document management and obtaining e-signatures, a customisable products catalogue, and a built-in video conferencing option.
As you might have guessed from its features, Pipedrive does not offer a free version.
Having said that, one of their crucial feature, ‘AI sales assistant,’ is in their lowest-tier plan, which I think is a good bargain for a small Australian business looking for some ‘AI help’ in their business.
What Pipedrive Gets Right!
Pipedrive has a highly customisable solution, offering the ability to personalise pipelines, data fields, email templates, and email signatures
The AI sales assistant that comes with the Essential plan offers insights and sales tips
The built-in meeting scheduling tool makes life much easier
What Is Pipedrive Missing?
Pipedrive has no 'Free Plan'
Pipedrive offers no lead generation plans
Low-tiered plans do not offer phone support for customer service
How Much Does Pipdrive Cost?
The Essentials plan costs $17 per user per month
The Advanced plan costs $33 per user per month
The Professional plan costs $66 per user per month
The Enterprise plan costs $132 per user per month
The LeadBooster add-on starts at $40 per user per month
The Website Visitors add-on starts at $55 per user per month
Rating: 4.5/5 on Capterra
Testimonials: “We adopted Freshdesk because it is a highly adaptable solution with a lot of metrics that allows us to track and follow up on our customers and agents efficiently.”, “We recommend Freshdesk because it’s great and their agents are determined to make it fit their customer’s needs.”
Famous Clients: Bridgestone, Pearson, TeleResult
In the Small Business CRM world, Freshdesk’s strength lies in providing a 360 degree CRM solution – offering messaging centre, help desk, and call centre (all in one).
Freshdesk CRM is one of the most advanced customer service software options.
The platform has been specifically designed to make customer interaction more efficient with an easy-to-use interface and several tools.
The Freshdesk CRM is divided into three modules: Messaging, Support Center, and Contact Center.
The Support Center handles customer support tickets, which can be set up across multiple platforms, including your business’s app, website, social media, etc.
The tickets can be handled by individuals and sent to multiple people for collaboration.
In addition, the module allows teams to collaborate over a ticket and split up tasks as well.
The Messaging module allows you to set up chatbots across various platforms while also notifying your teams about tickets through notifications.
Finally, the Contact Center is a voice-over-IP (VoIP) service that helps your business respond to incoming calls from customers.
The service offers support in over 90 countries and records and transcribes each call.
The solution also enables shifting from a call to a live chat.
Freshdesk CRM records each interaction with your customers and offers detailed insights into each customer’s interaction history.
You can view transcripts of past calls, agent notes, current tickets, and archived tickets at any time.
Freshdesk helps improve your customer interaction by keeping your previous interactions handy through built-in analysis and reporting tools.
What Freshdesk Gets Right!
Simple user interface makes it very easy to use
Integrated customer service options
In-depth analytics to help you improve your Business
What Is Freshdesk Missing?
Freshdesk's premium plans can get a bit pricey
Using Advanced reporting can be quite complicated
Customer interaction tools are limited in the basic plans
How Much Does Freshdesk Cost?
The Growth plan costs $24 per user per month
The Pro plan costs $79 per user per month
The Enterprise plan costs $126 per user per month
The Omnichannel options range between $47 and $158 per user per month
Rating: 4.1/5 on Capterra
Testimonials: “I chose Agile because of their value and incredible superior customer service.”, “I’ve used Agile CRM since 2015. The marketing automation features are powerful and so much better for handling advanced email campaigns than other CRM SaaS solutions.”
Famous Clients: WebReception, IKO System, Espresso Logic
Agile CRM stands out amongst its competitors because of its impressive sales and marketing features.
The solution’s free plan offers several sales tools and features that you would typically expect to be on a paid plan.
These special sales features include a built-in appointment scheduler, a lead scoring tool, custom deal milestones, and up to 1,000 company or contact records.
However, Agile CRM is not as giving with its marketing features as with sales ones.
You will need to move to the Starter plan if you want to access the software’s email integration features and marketing automation tools.
Similarly, you will have to go one step further and get the Regular plan if you’re looking for telephone services with your CRM software.
What holds Agile CRM back is the fact that it is not as easy to use as Hubspot or Freshdesk.
Its cluttered interface will leave non-tech savvy people confused, making it a relatively poor fit for a startup that is not dealing with tech or is not experienced with it.
Still, Agile CRM makes up for its lack of user-friendliness with its extensive services.
Agile CRM also offers a mobile marketing tool with SMS text campaigns and its two-way telephone service and lead scoring features.
Moreover, the solution’s email integration feature enables you to design and develop 5,000 brand emails.
What AgileCRM Gets Right!
The free plan allows up to ten users
Appointment scheduling and lead scoring can be used in the free plan
Offers unlimited tasks, deals, and document storage
What Is AgileCRM Missing?
The complex user interface can make it challenging to use
Automation tools and triggers are only fully available in the Enterprise plan
No phone system integrated with the low-price plans
How Much Does AgileCRM Cost?
- The Free plan allows up to 10 users
- The Enterprise plan costs $86 per user per month
- The Starter plan costs $13 per user per month
- The Regular plan costs $53 per user per month
Which CRM Software Should Your Small Australian Business Choose?
Choosing a CRM software for your business depends on what you are looking for and how much you can pay.
With that in mind, the two best options among the five discussed above are Hubspot CRM and Freshdesk CRM.
Both have a simple user interface that makes them more accessible than their competitors.
Furthermore, they offer a wide range of features that help you monitor your business’ progress and develop it using the insights offered by your CRM software.
While Hubspot’s premium plans get pretty pricey, its free plan allows unlimited users to access the platform, something you will not find in any other CRM software.
On the other hand, Freshdesk is a complete package that essentially gives you everything you need at a very reasonable price.
In addition, its analytics allow you to make informed decisions without spending hours looking at raw data.
In my opinion, Hubspot is the best option for small businesses looking for their very first CRM software.
At the same time, Freshdesk is better suited to startups or small businesses looking to grow.
However, if you have specific small business needs, then:
- For a sales-focused CRM, You might be looking for something more sales-oriented like Pipedrive and Agile CRM
- For a solution that is more social media integration focussed and also integrates with other suites of Zoho apps (you are an existing Zoho user), Zoho CRM is your choice
As I mentioned earlier, you should look at your small business goals and then map them to the CRM that best meets your specs.
If I were a first-time CRM small business owner, I would go for Hubspot CRM for its complete suite of features.