Top 54 Small Business CRM Software (Jan 2023)

2023's Best 55 Small Business CRM Systems

Shlomi LaviShlomi Lavi / Jan 25, 2023

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1. Pipedrive

  • Best for: Small businesses and start ups
  • Price: starts at $9.90 per user/month
  • Dec 29, 2022
Compare Pipedrive Vs. Pipedrive

Pipedrive is sales pipeline management software for small demanding teams. It is simple to use yet very powerful. Pipedrive CRM is able to organise leads in a way that users can have great overview of sales at the same time ensuring that important deals are not dropped. Pipedrive handles people and ...


2. Zoho CRM

  • Best for: Small, medium and large size businesses
  • Price: starts at $14 per user/month
  • Jan 25, 2023
Compare Zoho CRM Vs. Pipedrive

Zoho CRM is cloud-based customer relationship management and customer engagement solution designed for businesses of all sizes. The core features include artificial intelligence, pipeline management and team collaboration and more.


3. Nimble

  • Best for: Small, medium and large size businesses
  • Price: starts at $19 per user/month
  • Dec 29, 2022
Compare Nimble Vs. Pipedrive

Nimble CRM is a web based customer relationship management solution for small and medium businesses. Its capabilities include contact management, lead management, sales forecasting, and others. The software was designed and launched by Nimble Inc headquartered in California, United States.


4. Keap

  • Best for: Small businesses and start ups
  • Price: starts at $169 per month
  • Jan 09, 2023
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Keap is a cloud-based client management solution designed to help the user keep track of every important detail, get organized and become more efficient. The Keap core features include client management, appointments, invoices/payments, and quotes.


5. Nutshell

  • Best for: SMBs
  • Price: starts at $19 per user/month
  • Jan 09, 2023
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Nutshell is a cloud-based customer-relationship management solution that is designed specifically for small-sized businesses as well as medium-sized businesses.


6. Microsoft Dynamics CRM

  • Best for: Small, medium and large size businesses
  • Price: starts at $65 per user/month
  • Dec 29, 2022
Compare Microsoft Dynamics CRM Vs. Pipedrive

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a customer relations solution developed by Microsoft. This tool mainly targets large business enterprises but may also be a good fit for smaller businesses. Microsoft Dynamics CRM can help improve sales and marketing in any given company, with unlimited user scalability. Th...


7. Mhelpdesk

  • Best for: Small businesses and start ups
  • Price: starts at $374 per 10 users/month
  • Mar 09, 2022
Compare Mhelpdesk Vs. Pipedrive

MHelpdesk is a web-based field service management that systematizes requests, customer data, billings and reports. It takes pride in providing complete visibility to field staff all in one place. MHelpdesk is developed by the company of the same name. It was released in 2007 and is headed by Ry...


8. Capsule CRM

  • Best for: SMBs
  • Price: starts at $18 per user/month
  • Mar 09, 2022
Compare Capsule CRM Vs. Pipedrive

Capsule CRM is a customer relationship management solution for small and medium businesses. It features various management, analytics, and reporting services as well as add-ons and integrations. The software was designed and launched by Capsule headquartered in Manchester, United Kingdom...


9. Constant Contact

  • Best for: Small businesses and start ups
  • Price: starts at $9.99 per month
  • Mar 09, 2022
Compare Constant Contact Vs. Pipedrive

Constant Contact is a software solution that provides online survey tools, email marketing, event marketing, and social media marketing, for its clients. Member associations, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations, rely on Constant Contact's affordable and easy to use tools to make and...


10. Freshdesk

  • Best for: Small, medium and large size businesses
  • Price: starts at $15 per agent/month
  • Mar 09, 2022
Compare Freshdesk Vs. Pipedrive

Freshdesk is a cloud based help-desk system designed to ensure good customer relations between and an organization and its clients. The solution core features include ticketing, collaboration and automations.


Pricing Guide - Small Business CRM Software:

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software Price Range

Most CRM software in the market are priced on a per-user, per-month basis; hence, businesses can expect to pay between the range of $10 to $200 per user monthly. There are also some CRM products with yearly pricings and others with perpetual licenses.

The above price range depends on the sophistication of the CRM products feature-wise, as well as the number of user accesses or accounts paid for. Some CRM software within the above price ranges are Zendesk Sell, which starts from $19 monthly per user, FreeAgent CRM pricing starts from $25 monthly per user, and GreenRope costs between $149 for up to 1,000 contacts to $699 for up to 50,000 contacts.

In addition, CRM products target different sizes of organizations, and their price ranges are as follows:

  • Small Businesses can expect to pay between the range of $10 to $25 for CRM software. The prices are set on a per user per month basis. For example, Zoho CRM costs $12 per user per month, Fresh Sales costs $13 per user, per month, and Copper pricing starts $19 per user per month. In addition to this, some products offer small businesses very basic packages which can be gotten for free.
  • Medium Businesses can expect to pay between $25 to $50 for CRM software. While most products for medium-sized businesses are priced on a per user, per month basis, the number of employees or registered users will determine the prize of the software per user. For example, Hubspot costs up to $30 per user monthly but $50 monthly for two users. Others are Benchmark ONE, which costs $40 monthly per user, and Skynamo, which is priced at $46 per user monthly.
  • Large Businesses can expect prices that fall within $50 to $200 for CRM products. CRM offerings for large business organizations typically come with more features; hence, there may be separate fees for installation, setup, or training. Some CRM software within this tier are FreeAgent CRM, which costs $130 price monthly per user; GreenRope costs between $149 for up to 1,000 contacts to $699 for up to 50,000 contacts , and Quick Base pricing falls around $500 monthly for a number of users.

CRM best of breeds and their price ranges are as follows:

  • Marketing Automation Software Marketing automation products can be divided into three tiers, each carrying prices that range from $0 to $19, $19 to $50, and $50 upwards, respectively. For instance, Active Campaign pricing starts from $15 monthly per user, Hubspot Marketing Automation costs up to $50 per user monthly, and Integrated Marketing Portal pricing is around $50 per user monthly.
  • Lead Management Software The pricing for Lead management products in the market usually varies between $11 and $60 upwards. These price ranges depend on the level of the products offerings and the number of registered users per month. For example, SalesExec pricing starts from $65 per user monthly, Salesforce Essentials costs around $25 per user monthly, and Lead Capsule pricing starts from around $500 per month for a number of years.
  • SalesForce Automation Software SalesForce automation products pricing ranges from $13 to $50 upwards, depending on the level of their offerings and the number of registered accounts per month. The prices are set per user, per month; hence, SAA software pricing like Really Simple System starts from $14 per user monthly, Pepperi pricing is around $48 per user monthly, and Cliently costs up to $39 per user per month.
  • Contact Management Software Most contact management products in the market are priced on a per month basis, and there are typically set limits to the number of contacts each user can manage on the software. Depending on the level of offers, prices may fall between $0 to $14, $14 to $25, and $25 to $400. For example, Infloflo pricing starts from around $100 per month, DejaOffice PC CRM costs up to $50 monthly, and AirTable pricing starts from $14 per month.
  • Email Marketing Software Email marketing products are priced per month, and there are usually limits on the number of subscribers or emails for each user monthly. The prices range from $0 and $30 upwards, depending on the package level. For example, Constant Contact pricing starts from $20 per month, SendinBlue pricing starts from $25 per month, and Campaigner costs around $19 per month.

11. JobNimbus

  • Best for: SMBs
  • Price: starts at $99 per month
  • Dec 18, 2022
Compare JobNimbus Vs. Pipedrive

JobNimbus CRM is a cloud-based CRM that also incorporates project management, thus simplifying daily organizational tasks and management issues. This solution is a product of JobNimbus which is committed to delivering the best user experience to all clients.


12. Zoho Support

  • Best for: Start up, Small business, Medium business, Large business
  • Price: starts at $12 per user/month
  • Mar 09, 2022
Compare Zoho Support Vs. Pipedrive

Zoho Desk is a cloud-based help desk solution designed to cater to businesses of all sizes. Some of its core features include customer support portal, contract management, and report creation.


13. SolarWinds

  • Best for: Start up, Small business, Medium business, Large business
  • Price: starts at $19 per technician/month
  • Dec 11, 2022
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SolarWinds Help-desk is cloud-based help-desk and customer service solution designed for businesses of any size. The solution features include change management, IT asset management and incident management and more.


14. 8x8 Contact Center

  • Best for: SMBs
  • Price: starts at $15 per user/month
  • Mar 09, 2022
Compare 8x8 Contact Center Vs. Pipedrive

8x8 Virtual Contact Center is a cloud-based call center solution that delivers greater productivity and flexible call center management. It works with 8x8 Virtual Office VoIP phone service to give users an easy-to-use yet extremely powerful contact center.   8x8 Virtual Contact Center was develope...


15. Nextiva Business VoIP

  • Best for: Start up, Small business, Medium business, Large business
  • Price: starts at $11.95 per user/month
  • Jan 16, 2023
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Nextiva Business VoIP is cloud-based communication, collaboration, call center and telephony services designed for small businesses in multiple industry verticals. The solution helps the user eliminate the need for the traditional phone system.


16. Zendesk

  • Best for: Small, medium and large size businesses
  • Price: starts at $49 per agent/month
  • Dec 28, 2022
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Zendesk is a SaaS and a cloud-based customer service software that help the user to manage customers. The solution enables the user to build more meaningful productive as well as personal relationships with customers.


17. Less Annoying CRM

  • Best for: Small businesses and start ups
  • Price: starts at $15 per user/month
  • Jan 06, 2023
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Less Annoying CRM is a customer relationship management solution for small and medium businesses. It also features analytics, marketing, and sales automation services. The software was designed and launched by Less Annoying CRM LLC headquartered in California, United States.


18. Marketo

  • Best for: Small, medium and large size businesses
  • Price: starts at $895 per month
  • Mar 19, 2022
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Marketo is a marketing automation and management solution for small and medium businesses. It also offers solutions for campaign management, CRM and reporting aspects. The software was designed by Marketo, Inc., headquartered in California, United States.


19. Chatra

  • Best for: Small, medium and large size businesses
  • Price: starts at $17 per agent/month
  • Mar 21, 2022
Compare Chatra Vs. Pipedrive

Chatra is a growing cloud-based CRM software, it is designed to support small, medium and large size business. Chatra received a rating of 4.8 from ITQlick team. The software cost is considered affordable (1.5/5) when compared to alternative solutions.


20. SugarCRM

  • Best for: Start up, Small business, Medium business, Large business
  • Price: starts at $49 per user/month
  • Dec 29, 2022
Compare SugarCRM Vs. Pipedrive

SugarCRM is a complete customer relationship management software that is offered on the cloud and serves businesses for any size. The software helps businesses to handle various functions such as sales automation, account management, marketing automation, as well as customer relationship management...


21. Bitrix24

  • Best for: Small, medium and large size businesses
  • Price: starts at $61 per month
  • Jan 04, 2023
Compare Bitrix24 Vs. Pipedrive

Bitrix24 is a social enterprise platform for small businesses that can create a unified workspace for a company for handling the daily tasks and operations. The software can be used as a project management, social collaboration and social intranet solution and includes more than 35 tools. Bitrix...


22. Daylite

  • Best for: Small businesses and start ups
  • Price: starts at $42 per seat/month
  • Jan 16, 2023
Compare Daylite Vs. Pipedrive

Daylite is a cloud-based solution and on-premise business intelligence solution that is designed for small-sized businesses as well as the medium-sized businesses. this software is ideal for businesses that require to manage their project and their employees in a simple way.


23. Desk-com

  • Best for: Small, medium and large size businesses
  • Price: starts at $25 per user/month
  • Apr 18, 2022
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Provide answers faster and deliver smarter service in any channel with the world’s #1 customer support solution – no matter the size of your business.


24. Spiceworks

  • Best for: SMBs
  • Price:
  • Mar 22, 2022
Compare Spiceworks Vs. Pipedrive

Looking for simple but powerful help desk software? Something that lets you manage user tickets, organize your work, and assign tasks to your helpdesk team? Spiceworks is completely free…and you can get started in less than 5 minutes.The procedure of getting IT help is like: Receive tickets via web ...


25. LeadManager

  • Best for: Small, medium and large size businesses
  • Price: starts at $60 per user/month
  • Mar 03, 2022
Compare LeadManager Vs. Pipedrive

LeadManager is a growing cloud-based Social Media Management software, it is designed to support small, medium and large size business. LeadManager received a rating of 4.6 from ITQlick team. The software cost is considered affordable (1.2/5) when compared to alternative solutions.


26. NetSuite CRM+

  • Best for: SMBs
  • Price: starts at $129 per month
  • Mar 18, 2022
Compare NetSuite CRM+ Vs. Pipedrive

NetSuite CRM+ software is a cloud-based, complete customer relationship management system that helps businesses to achieve an actual, 360-degree view of their customers. The CRM+ integrates the customer-focused activities of the user with accounting, warehousing, e-commerce, and shipping application...


27. Spark by Marketo

  • Best for: Small, medium and large size businesses
  • Price: starts at $895 per month
  • Mar 04, 2022
Compare Spark by Marketo Vs. Pipedrive

Spark by Marketo is a marketing automation solution to help users secure customers faster by automating marketing campaigns. Users can execute better campaigns using the flexibility and power of this software and target more revenue with less effort. The marketing automation solution offers multi-ch...


28. Act-On

  • Best for: Small, medium and large size businesses
  • Price: starts at $900 per month
  • Mar 03, 2022
Compare Act-On Vs. Pipedrive

Act-On is a cloud-based marketing automation software solution that is geared towards aiding companies, as well as marketers, streamline their marketing processes and projects.


29. Velocify

  • Best for: Small, medium and large size businesses
  • Price: starts at $60 per user/month
  • Mar 24, 2022
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Velocify intelligent sales automation solutions include Velocify LeadManager and Velocify Dial-IQ products that deliver clear, repeatable processes that can systematically accelerate sales performance through rapid lead response, increased selling discipline, improved sales team productivity, and pr...


30. Anaplan

  • Best for: Small, medium and large size businesses
  • Price:
  • Apr 11, 2022
Compare Anaplan Vs. Pipedrive

Officially launched in 2011, Anaplan is becoming one of the most prominent players in the budgeting software field, with a customer base increase of 500% in 2012 around the world, and clients such as Jive, Pandora, McAfee and Kimberly-Clark. Anaplan stands out with its scenario planning and power...


31. amoCRM

  • Best for: Small, medium and large size businesses
  • Price: starts at $15 per user/month
  • Apr 26, 2022
Compare amoCRM Vs. Pipedrive

amoCRM is a web based customer relationship management solution for businesses of all sizes. Its capabilities include sales automation, analytics, productivity management, security, and others. The software was designed and launched by QSOFT LLC headquartered in California, United States...


32. Donarius

  • Best for: Start up, Small business
  • Price: starts at $63.97 per license
  • May 06, 2022
Compare Donarius Vs. Pipedrive

Donarius is a church and business management software for churches and business owners to enhance member tracking, track and make donation entries, make prints, and communicate with various individuals through letters and emails.


33. Base CRM

  • Best for: Small, medium and large size businesses
  • Price: starts at $19 per user/month
  • Dec 12, 2022
Compare Base CRM Vs. Pipedrive

Base CRM is a sales and CRM software that can help boost sales team productivity and business growth. The software can help users to manage their customers, work with leads and can be accessed from almost any internet enabled device. Base, the developers behind Base CRM, offers the first CRM sol...


34. Pardot Marketing Automation

  • Best for: Small, medium and large size businesses
  • Price: starts at $1,250 per month
  • May 06, 2022
Compare Pardot Marketing Automation Vs. Pipedrive

Pardot offers a cloud based marketing automation software for quality lead generation along with effective marketing campaigns intended to increase customer sales by focusing on better lead qualification, shorter sales cycles and multiple marketing channels to ensure a high Return on Investment (ROI...


35. Pipelinedeals

  • Best for: Small, medium and large size businesses
  • Price: starts at $25 per user/month
  • Dec 30, 2022
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PipelineDeals is a customer relationship management solution for businesses of all sizes. It offers a variety of administrative, collaboration, marketing automation, and support features. The software was designed and launched by PipelineDeals headquartered in Pennsylvania, United States...


36. ACT! Premium

  • Best for: Small businesses and start ups
  • Price: starts at $37.50 per user/month
  • Jan 09, 2023
Compare ACT! Premium Vs. Pipedrive

Act! Premium is a customer relationship management software that can help users to organize customer details and prospect in one single solution. Users can drive sales results and market services and products in a better way using this software. The CRM solution also includes mobile access. Swift...


37. Activecampaign

  • Best for: Small, medium and large size businesses
  • Price: starts at $9 per user/month
  • Mar 06, 2022
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ActiveCampaign is a survey and email marketing service for small and medium businesses. It also offers campaign management and social network delivery options. The software was designed and launched by ActiveCampaign, Inc headquartered in Illinois, United States.


38. LeadMaster - Lead Management / CRM

  • Best for: Small, medium and large size businesses
  • Price: starts at $15 per user/month
  • May 24, 2022
Compare LeadMaster - Lead Management / CRM Vs. Pipedrive

LeadMaster CRM is a cloud based CRM (customer relation management) and lead management system. The software provides a sales and marketing solutions suite that includes Call Center Management, Lead Management, Marketing Automation, and Sales Force Automation. The LeadMaster CRM application is availa...


39. Realty Lead Pro

  • Best for: SMBs
  • Price: starts at $10 per license
  • Jun 07, 2022
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Realty lead pro is a cloud-based customer relationship management software that is designed to help real estate companies in the collection of management of leads from various leads on a singular platform.


40. BigContacts

  • Best for: Small businesses and start ups
  • Price: starts at $5 per user/month
  • May 26, 2022
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BigContacts is a customer relationship management solution for small and medium businesses. It offers marketing and sales automation along with collaboration and analytical capabilities. The software was designed and launched by BigContacts LLC headquartered in Georgia, United States.


41. Insightly

  • Best for: Small, medium and large size businesses
  • Price: starts at $29 per user/month
  • Dec 30, 2022
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Insightly is a cloud-based customer relationship management and project management solution designed for small and medium-size businesses. The solution core features include lead management, project management, and contact management solution and more.


42. Freshservice

  • Best for: Small, medium and large size businesses
  • Price: starts at $19 per agent/month
  • Jul 07, 2022
Compare Freshservice Vs. Pipedrive

Freshservice is an IT asset management solution for businesses of all sizes. It offers help in such domains as compliance, service management, reporting, and asset management. The software was designed and launched by Freshservice Inc headquartered in California, United States.


43. TeamSupport

  • Best for: Small, medium and large size businesses
  • Price: starts at $49 per agent/month
  • Jun 30, 2022
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TeamSupport is a cloud-based customer service and help-desk solution which is designed for business to business. Some of its primary features include omnichannel support, task management, and SLA management.


44. The Raisers Edge

  • Best for: Medium and large size businesses
  • Price: starts at $499 per month
  • Aug 25, 2022
Compare The Raisers Edge Vs. Pipedrive

The Raiser’s Edge is a complete fundraising software solution with retention, efficiency, acquisition and upgrading features. Using this fundraising tool, users can run annual fund giving, major giving, planned giving and online giving via one system. The mobile app of The Raiser’s Edge also offers ...


45. Legrand Crm Pro Edition

  • Best for: Start up, Small business, Medium business
  • Price: starts at $8 per month
  • Sep 16, 2022
Compare Legrand Crm Pro Edition Vs. Pipedrive

Legrand CRM Pro is an On-Premise and Cloud-based Customer relationship management solution tailored to serve small and midsize B2B businesses. The software is highly configurable, allowing it to fit in any business, depending on the requirements of the business.


46. ChangeGear

  • Best for: Small, medium and large size businesses
  • Price: starts at $46 per user/month
  • Apr 17, 2022
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ChangeGear is an IT asset management solution for businesses of all sizes. It offers such capabilities as approval process control, event monitoring, help desk management, and others. The software was designed and launched by Sunview Software Inc headquartered in Florida, Untied States.


47. Maximizer CRM

  • Best for: Small businesses and start ups
  • Price: starts at $55 per user/month
  • Jan 04, 2023
Compare Maximizer CRM Vs. Pipedrive

Maximizer CRM is a cloud-based as well as on-premise customer relationship management (CRM) solution. Maximizer CRM assists the sales team monitor their sales with the help of measuring criteria feature.


48. OnContact CRM 7

  • Best for: Small, medium and large size businesses
  • Price: starts at $60 per feature/month
  • Dec 13, 2022
Compare OnContact CRM 7 Vs. Pipedrive

OnContactCRM 7 is a customer relationship management software that can help companies to communicate with their clients clearly and precisely. The CRM solution can help your sales staff throughout all the sales processes starting from nurturing prospects to upselling old customers. The software can ...


49. Salesforce Marketing Cloud

  • Best for: Small, medium and large size businesses
  • Price: starts at $1,250 per month
  • Jan 25, 2023
Compare Salesforce Marketing Cloud Vs. Pipedrive

Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a web based marketing management solution for businesses of all sizes. It offers such services as bounce tracking, mailing list management, survey management, and others. The software was designed and launched by Salesforce.com Inc headquartered in California, United St...


50. GoldMine

  • Best for: Start up, Small business, Medium business
  • Price: starts at $65 per user/month
  • Oct 10, 2022
Compare GoldMine Vs. Pipedrive

GoldMine is a cloud-based and on-premise customer-relationship management software that is designed for use in businesses of all sizes starting from small-sized businesses, medium-sized businesses and large enterprises.


51. SalesNexus

  • Best for: SMBs
  • Price: starts at $45 per month
  • Nov 08, 2022
Compare SalesNexus Vs. Pipedrive

SalesNexus is a web based customer relationship management solution for businesses of all sizes. It offers such services as marketing automation, sales automation, collaboration, and others. The software was designed and launched by SalesNexus LLC headquartered in Texas, United States.


52. SAP Cloud for Sales

  • Best for: Small, medium and large size businesses
  • Price: starts at $248 per 5 users/month
  • Apr 28, 2022
Compare SAP Cloud for Sales Vs. Pipedrive

SAP Cloud for Sales is a cloud based customer relationship management solution for businesses of all sizes. It offers such services as sales automation, ERP integration, collaboration, and others. The software was designed and launched by SAP SE headquartered in Germany.


53. InvGate Service Desk

  • Best for: Small, medium and large size businesses
  • Price:
  • Apr 30, 2022
Compare InvGate Service Desk Vs. Pipedrive

InvGate Service Desk is a SaaS-based Field Service software that enables managers to handle a support team, from self-service through phone and email support services.


54. Qgiv

  • Best for: Small, medium and large size businesses
  • Price: starts at $25 per month
  • Apr 27, 2022
Compare Qgiv Vs. Pipedrive

Qgiv exists to help nonprofit and faith-based organizations raise more money with a comprehensive suite of fundraising tools featuring customizable donation forms, event registration, peer-to-peer fundraising, text giving with outbound messaging, and app-based auctions. Unlimited users with unlimite...



A Buyer's Guide to Business Software Solutions

How to Evaluate and Buy Business Software
 
If you’re somehow puzzled if this article is only for a specific size of business, no, it’s not. This is for you SMEs, MNEs and start-ups software buyers. Also, we’re not talking about a specific software solution here. Whether the software solution that you’re planning to buy is for Accounting, Business Intelligence, ERP, CRM, Help Desk, Maintenance Management or other types of application, one thing is for sure; with the help of this article, you will be able to know the right process in evaluating and buying a business software solution.
 
We’ve been into the software business for years and we’re seeing a lot of nitty-gritty things that often bring confusions and hesitations to many companies looking for better software solutions. Some companies can’t afford to let go their legacy systems while a few is encountering technological snags once the new system is in place. While this is the underlying truth behind software acquisition and implementation, what’s exciting about buying a business software solution is that there is a clear and obvious proof that thousands of companies and corporations today are happy with the benefits this technology is bringing into their respective businesses.  There is a significant increase in their revenue and the growth is on-going. And it’s easy to say; many from the Fortune 500 companies are making a lot of money because of their smartly-acquired business software.
 
So, let’s get straight to the point. What should you do in order to acquire that business software that could make your organization achieve its goals? The answer to this is pretty straightforward: evaluate and buy that right business software. Yes, that’s what you need to do and here’s the best manual from ITQlick.com that could certainly help you in doing that strategically.
 
Consider the Needs of Your Organization
Let’s assume that at this point, the entire management team agreed that you are ready to invest on a certain software application. The budget has been compromised and the key persons who will be involved in the acquisition process were already identified. Therefore, it’s time to approach things the project management way.
 
Define the Project
Every business software solution is categorized base on application type, features, deployment model, market size and pricing model. Remember that our objective here is to evaluate and buy a business software product that will fit into the size and present needs of your business. So what the project management team should try to deal with first is to define the real requirements of your business exactly base on the categories set by the software industry. Moreover, by doing this activity, you are already narrowing down your search for the right solution. Now, consider bringing this list of FAQs to the project management and aim to come up with clear-cut answers.
 
  1. What type of software is needed? Is it Integrated-Suite, Best-of-Breed or Industry-Specific? Ask your CEO’s main agenda and find the perfect match from these available options.
  2. What are the core and secondary features? Are you looking for basic, advanced or hi-end features? List down the specific features per category and allow the department managers and supervisors to give their insights on this list.
  3. How are you going to deploy the system? Would it be on-premise, cloud-based, hosted, or mobile-based? Weigh these options with the help of your CIO.
  4. Are you going for Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 3 vendors? Their offered solutions are base on the size of their target market - SMEs, MNEs or start-ups. Seek your CFO’s advice as it is important to match your financial capacity against the cost of the solution that the providers have for you.
  5. Are you willing to pay for the perpetuity software license or a subscription-based solution is way better? How many users are there and what would be their roles in using the system? Solicit feedbacks from future end users for they know better what challenges and risks might possibly come along their way when they’re using the system.
 
Finalize the BOM or List of Requirements
After providing definite answers on the above questions, we can say that the project has already been defined. Your procurement team is now ready to do their role in the acquisition process of this solution. However, in order for them to execute their job properly, they must have the complete list of requirements - features, specifications, hardware, and the software product. In other words, the Bill-of-Materials (BOM) that is final, complete and well-prepared must be handed over to the procurement director. Needless to say, it is very important that everybody is following the company purchasing and procurement protocols at all times.  
 
Request for Proposal (RFP)
The RFP process will bring everything into formality. Since you’re more likely in a line of business that doesn’t regularly buy software products, it is of critical importance that your RFP is well-structured before you send it to your prospect solution providers.
 
Draft the RFP
An RFP that contains all the relevant information as discussed during the project management meetings will enable the providers to return back to you their proposal that is complete and substantial. Therefore, your RFP should basically contain the following:
 
Brief Introduction
  • Company Name
  • Mission and Goals
  • Purpose of the RFP (or the need for software solution)
Business Background
  • Organizational Structure
  • Current Situation (IT infrastructure, system currently in-use, system issues and desired solutions, etc.)
  • Major Objectives of the Software Purchase
Request for Specific Requirements
  • Solution Functionality
  • System Specifications
  • Vendor Company Information
  • Price Model, Service Plans, Package Options
Other Important Inquiries (if necessary)
 
Send the RFP
Well-structured RFP will bring a lot of advantages especially when the proposals from various providers are received and then subjected for review and analysis. Send your RFP to at least three to five providers (or prospects which you have already shortlisted during the project definition phase). Depending on the complexity of the solution, most vendors will send their proposal in a matter of time, which could be around 4 to 6 weeks for Integrated-Suite solution.
 
Why still send RFP?
Is there really a need for RFP if your preferred solution (like cloud-based) and the service plans or packages are already displayed on the vendor’s website? Well, yes, you still need to undergo the RFP process. For most sales people, they certainly know that those figures appearing in the vendor’s website are usually the “list price” and not the “actual price”. More importantly, the vendor’s proposal (response to RFP) will serve as your main basis for the negotiation. Therefore, sending an RFP is a strict requirement.
 
Follow up questions relevant to RFP
More often than not, questions and concerns will be raised by the vendors to whom you send the RFP. You have to entertain them with utmost professionalism. Solution providers who are seeking further clarifications relevant to the RFP are consisting of professional software experts who wants to help your organization as much as they can. Entertain them but at the same time, always be cautious when providing additional information which you know is confidential or proprietary.
 
Evaluate the Proposals
Always refer to your finalized BOM when tabulating the contents of each proposal. Part of this process is to check the features that are available from this certain vendor and to cross out those that are not. While using spreadsheet aids the tabulation process, laying down the document proposals on the table and allowing your project management team to review them one by one should always be conducted. Evaluating the proposals in full force can help strengthen your decision-making process. Have another round of brain-storming session and come with the name of your preferred solution provider.
 
When selecting the final vendor, always promote the best interest of your organization. Consider answering these questions with full sincerity.
 
  1. Which vendor can provide the long-term benefits to your organization?
  2. Which vendor can provide the best and honest service from acquisition to full implementation?
  3. Which vendor is willing to devote most of its time in better serving its client?
 
Contact this solution provider and in your own strategic approach, try to get the answers to those three important questions above. In most cases, vendor who really wants to prove its craft will offer product demos on a higher level. Others will even invite you to check their already deployed and working systems. Feel free to connect with this type of vendor. Conduct simulation and testing, be it a cloud-based or on-premise solution. Examine all aspects and angles especially those that your project management team want to really know in-depth. For as long as it could help you arrive at a better decision, consider doing all the options available – for the interest of the organization.
 
Enter the Negotiation Process
Most solutions providers can be flexible in terms of pricing. Although the final say is oftentimes on the mouth of the sales person from the vendor’s side, a good negotiation process can always deliver a win-win situation to both parties involve. While negotiation sometimes cannot be settled in one sitting session, always be honest with your intentions whenever negotiating with your provider. If it’s about your budget, justify it with clarity. If it’s about their service plans, tell them what’s lacking or missing on their solution. At the end of the day, the most important event that should happen is that both of you are shaking hands because of a well done negotiation process.
 
Seal the Contract
So what are you going to do on a contract that involves a significant amount of investment? There are three project management approaches for this.
 
  1. Pass the ball to you legal team. They know what to do and more or less they will tell you if there is something wrong with the contract. Give them enough time to review before they affix their signature and then finally seal the contract.
  2. Hire a consultant base on the technical aspect that you want to clarify in the contract. If it’s the Scope of Work (SOW), a software implementation expert is the right person. If it is related to complex legal terms and conditions, a lawyer can help. If it has something to do with money, invite an accountant to conduct a thorough review and computation if necessary.
  3. Always consider consulting your project management team. Remember that the CIO, CFO and CEO are all team members. They will be the signatories and they know what’s best for the interest of the company when signing a contract agreement.
 
From evaluation to buying stage, it is important that the project manager must take full responsibility of monitoring all the works identified and distributed among team members. This is why delegating the right project manager is also an important consideration when buying a business software solution. And again, ITQlick.com wants to emphasize that whatever the size of your company is, using the project management approach will always lead you into a better outcome – that is getting what you paid for the right business software solution. 

Finding the right business software for your business
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Auditor - Shlomi Lavi

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Shlomi Lavi is an entrepreneur and founder of ITQlick.com. He holds a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Information Systems Engineering from Ben Gurion University in Israel. Shlomi brings 17 years of global IT and IS management experience as a consultant and implementation expert for small, medium and large-sized (global) companies. Shlomi’s goal is to share the best knowledge and news about information systems so you can make smarter buying decisions for your business.