popcorn CRM

Tips, Advice & Articles

Specifically for small businesses interested in CRM and prospect management

child in cardboard car with megaphone announcing something for popcorn crm for small business
Simon Washbrook

How to choose the right CRM is right for my business?

Choosing which CRM is right for any business can be a tough, but if you understand why you NEED one, rather than what features you WANT – the decision process all of a sudden becomes a whole lot simpler.

Things you will learn on this page – How to choose the right CRM is right for my business?

The reason I say this is that the natural process when choosing any software, is to look at what features are available, and this is typically the way that you are led by many software providers. The problem is that when you do this you look at everything you can do, and it takes you down a very deep rabbit hole of ‘stuff’ that takes extra time and money to implement. When this happens it often leads to failure, as it is not addressing the NEED that the business had.

First Step to Success

So, to make this process simpler all you need to do is to write a list of everything you want the CRM to do, then separate it out into 2 separate lists – ‘NEEDS’ and ‘WANTS’. Once this is done look for the system that solves your business ‘NEEDS’.

Which CRM is right for my business?

Ok, so now you know what you need your CRM to do, which system should you choose?

From our experience when you understand the journey that a typical Small business takes when they choose CRM, you are then able to easily understand where you are in that journey and which type of system is right for your business now.

From our experience business typically fall into three clear and simple stages that are focused around sales growth:

  1.  Startups and micro businesses

These types of business are focused on closing sales and just want to know who they need to call and when, and have the ability to market to them. To do this they will be using multiple free systems, such as Spreadsheets, Trello, Outlook, MailChimp, etc… These types of system are usually designed to do one task and they do that task brilliantly.

Each one of these system answers a specific business ‘NEED’, but as they are all separate, Small businesses ends up having all their prospecting data spread out all over the place, which is not a problem until the number of leads / reminders and conversation grow past the point of being able to remember everything that is going on. This leads to lost sales and missed opportunities. When this happens, they realise how much it is costing their business. They then react, by looking to move to an Advanced CRM, as it will join everything up and they then focus on all the extra features / ‘Stuff’ that they ‘WANT’, as they think it will save them loads of time.

 2. Established larger businesses

An established company is very different from a Small businesses, they typically have multiple layers of management running different teams that undertake specific tasks that all need to be managed from a central place. They also have the budgets and resources to ensure that they are customised to address the companies ‘NEEDS’, rather than the off the shelf solution that they have purchased. This is exactly what advanced CRM’s like HubSpot, Sales Force, Zoho, Sugar CRM do for these types of businesses and they do it brilliantly.  They give large established companies all the complex reporting that they ‘NEED” to run their businesses and loads of extra ‘Stuff’ that they ‘WANT’ to be able to grow their business.

If an advanced CRM is going to fall over in larger businesses, it’s when each department is treated as having multiple Cost Centres. When this happens they are typically run independently, and experience exactly the same pains that a Small business does when they adopt a system change.

This failure comes from the fact that there is a massive culture shift for the staff who are used to using simple software, and do not see / value the benefits to the broader company that an advanced CRM brings. In addition all the new features that have been implemented take the focus away from the ‘NEED’ that the business and staff have. All of this leads to staff focusing on the fact that it takes them more time to do the same tasks that they were previously doing – you then get push back and a reduction in usage, and as we all know Rubbish in, Rubbish out…. This leads to a gradual failure as the company gives up trying to make staff use it. This is backed up by salesforce.com‘s own statistics, that say 72% of small business give up using advanced CRM’s as they are too complicated and too expensive, once they are out of the trial /free periods.

The companies then default back to the original free solutions that were/are failing. The cycle then starts again. Unfortunately, nothings changed and they end up repeating the same cycle of failure until they adopt a strategy that is focused around ‘NEED’.


3. Growth Companies

Typically, these types of company are the ones that have been going through the above cycle, and the reason for this is that their ‘NEEDS’ are still quite simple – to know who they need to call, why then need to call them and have the marketing tools to hand to market to them. But, they need all their data joined up in a really simple way, so that the team sees the benefits and embrace the change. 

The solution to choosing the right CRM for a small business 

From our experience, the companies that experience the greatest successes are the ones that implement the following solution:

They implement 3 mid range systems, that are brilliant at what they do, and still have the simplicity of the FREE systems, these are then joined up so that all the data is shared.

The 3 systems that are implemented are:

1. Finance – utilising systems like XERO, FreeAgent, Sage, Quickbooks to handle all as aspects of finance from Quoting through to invoicing and sales reporting, they are designed to do exactly this and can be easily modified by the companies.

2. Operations – Now, not all Small Businesses will need this type of software, but if you’re moving products around or making stuff, it will be vital to software like Simpro, monday.com (please note that this is project management software, not CRM) and Bullhorn to give them visibility on where everything is at each stage of delivery.

3. Marketing – this is critical for all business to manage the volume of that prospects that are generated from marketing and lead generation activities. It is a place where you can nurture all the contacts that are not ready to buy yet. When they do, they can be mapped into the Finance and Operations systems.

Marketing systems in this category are usually focused around a specific ‘NEED’, so if you understand your ‘NEED’, finding the right Marketing software is really easy. Here are a few systems based around ‘NEEDS’:

 – Prospect management popcorn CRM – Simple and visual tool for managing all your prospects in one place, it has the essential marketing tools built in so you can easily identify who is ready to buy, and why.

 – Sales ManagementPipedrive – Deal and Sales management, perfect if you are quoting on loads of jobs and need to have visibility on where everything is.

– eCommerce AutomationKlaviyo – Allows you to automate communications with contacts that engage through your online shop.

Once you have these 3 (or 2 if you don’t need op’s), then setup interactions so that they talk to each other, this way you will have the similar solution in place that an advanced CRM offers, but it will be addressed around your ‘NEEDS’, and you will be able to upgrade them, as and when your company ‘NEEDS’ change. And the team / company won’t be distracted by any of the ‘WANTS’ that get in way of them using it.


Understanding where your business is in its growth cycle is vital, because when you understand this you can choose the best level of software that will address your businesses ‘NEEDS’. You will also not get drawn into features / WANTS that cause distractions, that is costly to install from both a financial and resource perspective.

Remember Simplicity is always best…

Join over 7,000 small businesses to get monthly tips on nurturing your prospects

Liked this post?
Check out how popcorn CRM can simplify your prospecting and help you convert more sales, faster.  

Join over 7,000 small businesses to get monthly tips on nurturing your prospects

If you liked this, you'll love these...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Good things

…come to those that sign up to our emails. Get regular tips, guides and advice designed specifically for small business owners, on nurturing and managing your prospects.

We will NEVER sell, pass on, share, look the other way, loan or give your data to a random bloke we once met down the pub –  when you sign up, we always value and respect it.