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6 must-have features to choosing the right CRM for small businesses

minute read
Updated on:
July 13, 2023
July 13, 2023
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Discover Bonsai all-in-one business management software.
  • Small businesses have vastly different needs than enterprise CRM.
  • Flexibility, support, reporting and efficiency criterial make all the difference in your CRM selection.
  • Small business CRMs are not one-size fits all so choosing a CRM that is purpose-built for you will accelerate your growth and help you run your business better.

As a small business owner, you're constantly juggling various tasks, from managing client relationships to handling day-to-day operations. It's no wonder that finding the right customer relationship management (CRM) tool is crucial to your success. With a wide variety of CRM options available on the market, it's essential to understand what to look for in order to select the best software for your small business.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll outline six key features to consider when choosing a CRM for your small business, and how these capabilities can improve your customer management and overall business growth. Whether you're just starting out or looking to upgrade your current system, this article will provide valuable insights to help you make the right decision.

Easy CRM Integration and Adaptability

1. Seamless Integration with Your Existing Tools

When considering a CRM for your small business, one vital factor is its ability to seamlessly integrate with your existing software and tools. Your chosen CRM should effortlessly connect with your email, calendar, project management, and invoicing & billing applications, among others. This smooth integration streamlines your workflow and minimizes disruptions to your operations, allowing you to focus on what matters most – growing your business.

For small businesses, Bonsai offers an all-in-one solution that allows you to manage all aspects of your business within one platform. With Hello Bonsai, small business owners can easily handle project management, client tracking, invoicing, and payments, all from one simple, user-friendly interface.

2. Adaptability to Evolving Business Needs

As your small business grows and evolves, so too will your CRM requirements. Choose a CRM that offers the flexibility needed to accommodate your changing needs. Ideally, your CRM should provide scalable options, such as customizable features or pricing plans. This ensures that your software remains a valuable asset as your business expands or shifts focus.

In addition to adaptability, consider choosing a CRM that is suited for small and growing businesses. These CRMs often come equipped with features tailored to the unique challenges faced by small business owners, ensuring that the tool is both powerful and intuitive to use.

Strong Contact and Task Management Capabilities

1. Robust Contact Management Features

A CRM's primary function is to streamline the management of customer information and interactions. As such, robust contact management features should be at the top of your list when reviewing CRM options. The ideal CRM for small businesses should easily store, organize, and categorize your client data, as well as track all customer interactions.

Features such as the ability to filter and segment contacts, attach files or notes, and automatically log communication history are crucial components of a strong CRM system. A comprehensive contact management system enables you to quickly access customer information and gain insights on client preferences, ultimately improving your ability to build solid and lasting relationships with your customers.

2. Efficient Task and Project Management Tools

Your CRM should also provide efficient task and project management tools. Whether it's assigning tasks and deadlines, tracking progress, or collaborating with team members, having a CRM that supports your project management needs will significantly boost your overall productivity.

When evaluating CRM options, consider if the software offers features like task assignment, due date reminders, progress tracking, and team collaboration tools. A powerful CRM will help you stay organized and on top of your projects, ensuring nothing slips through the cracks, and leaving you with more time to focus on your core business activities and growth.

Effective Sales and Lead Management Functions

1. Streamlined Sales Pipeline Management

Sales and client retention are the lifeblood of your business. A CRM for small businesses should offer a simplified yet powerful sales pipeline management feature. This capability allows you to easily visualize your sales pipeline, track opportunities, and monitor the progress of deals at each stage. Ideally, the CRM should allow you to create custom stages that reflect your unique sales process and help you target areas for improvement.

A clear and detailed view of your sales pipeline will enable you to make better-informed decisions, strategize, and allocate resources accordingly. This, in turn, will empower you to close deals more efficiently, increase revenue, and grow your business.

2. Efficient Lead Tracking and Management

Effectively tracking and managing leads is crucial in establishing and maintaining a successful sales process. A CRM for small businesses should provide tools for capturing, tracking, and nurturing prospective customers. Look for features like lead capture forms, lead scoring, and automated follow-up sequences.

By having a dedicated system for lead tracking and management, you'll be better positioned to identify high-potential leads, prioritize your sales efforts, and convert prospects into paying customers.

Comprehensive Reporting and Analytics

1. Customizable and Detailed Reports

Another essential feature to look for in a CRM is customizable and detailed reporting capabilities. These tools provide valuable insights into your customer data, sales, and business performance. A comprehensive CRM should offer a variety of reports, including sales performance, lead sources, revenue forecasting, and customer segmentation, to name a few.

Additionally, the capability to create custom reports ensures that you can access the precise data and KPIs needed to make informed decisions about your business. With accurate and detailed reports, you'll be better equipped to analyze trends and track your progress toward achieving your business goals.

2. User-friendly Dashboards and Analytics

A user-friendly dashboard is an integral component of a CRM for small businesses. A well-designed dashboard allows you to gain a comprehensive overview of your business at a glance while also providing a user-friendly interface for navigating through the CRM's features.

In addition to providing informative visuals and quick access to vital data, a CRM's analytics tools should enable you to monitor your performance in real-time. As a small business owner, having access to up-to-date data and insights allows you to make proactive decisions and take actions that drive your business forward.

Mobility and Cloud-based Access

1. Access Your CRM Anywhere, Anytime

As a small business owner, you're likely always on the go. Very few businesses can survive using just an on-premises solution. It's crucial that your CRM is accessible from anywhere, at any time. A mobile-friendly and cloud-based CRM not only offers convenience but also ensures that you have access to the most current information, regardless of where you may be.

Ensure that the CRM you choose has a mobile app or is easily accessible from all devices, including smartphones and tablets. This allows you and your team to stay connected and informed, enhancing collaboration and productivity both in and out of the office.

2. Reliable Security and Data Protection

When dealing with customer data, it's crucial to choose a CRM that prioritizes security and data protection. A reputable CRM should comply with industry-standard security measures, including data encryption, automatic backups, and compliance with data privacy regulations.

Before selecting a CRM, research their security policies and ensure they meet your requirements for safeguarding customer information. With the increasing number of cybersecurity threats and data breaches, investing in a secure CRM is a fundamental aspect of protecting both your business and your customers' information.

Exceptional Customer Support and Resources

1. Responsive and Helpful Support

A CRM is a critical tool for your small business – if you encounter any issues, you want them resolved quickly. Exceptional customer support is an essential feature for any CRM. Choosing Bonsai as a CRM solution ensures that the CRM you choose offers multiple support channels, such as phone, email, and chat, as well as a responsive and knowledgeable support team that can provide timely assistance when needed.

2. Extensive Knowledge Base and Training Resources

In addition to a responsive support team, look for a CRM that offers an extensive knowledge base and training resources. This includes documentation, tutorials, and even webinars or workshops to help you and your team fully understand and utilize the CRM's features.

The right CRM for your small business should not only provide a powerful tool for managing your customers and projects but also empower you to learn and grow alongside the software. By selecting a CRM with the features mentioned above, your small business will be well-equipped to handle its current needs and prepared for future growth and success.


In today's competitive business landscape, having a reliable and feature-rich CRM is vital for small businesses looking to stay ahead of the curve. The right CRM allows you to manage your customer relationships, streamline your sales process, and ultimately drive your business towards growth and success. By keeping in mind the six essential features discussed in this article – easy integration, contact and task management capabilities, sales and lead management functions, comprehensive reporting and analytics, mobility and cloud-based access, and stellar customer support – you'll be well on your way to selecting the perfect CRM for your small business needs.

Ready to experience a CRM workflow automation software tailored specifically for small businesses? Start with Hello Bonsai, a powerful and easy-to-use tool that combines all the essential CRM features you need in one platform. Begin your free trial today and discover how Hello Bonsai can transform your customer management, streamline your workflow, and put your business on the path to success. Try Bonsai now.

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