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With a fledgling business, it is easy to manage your client information in the early days. Once the workload increases (you bring on more customers and add members to your team etc.) things can get a bit more complicated. Suddenly those spreadsheets, sticky notes, whiteboards, notepads and the old memory banks are just not doing the trick. You need something more dynamic, agile, and responsive to keep track of things.

This is where implementing a Customer Relationship Management tool (CRM for short) can really take your business/client management capability to the next level. But wait! Before you dive right in, it is important to note that not all CRM systems are created equal. They are all tailored for slightly different purposes, so before you subscribe to a costly programme that is not 100% fit-for-purpose, read on to discover some

of the pros and cons with three popular CRM tools.

Before you can choose the best CRM tool, you need to understand what a CRM system is designed to do. We have narrowed this down to five main tasks:

1: Store Client Information: Not just their contact details, but the last communication you had with them, the things you have discussed, and everything to do with their account. Every time you contact a customer or follow up a lead, you gain new information that needs to be recorded.

2: Share Information With Your Team: Your CRM is a centralised place that everyone in your team can access the information they need to perform their role.

3: Track Leads: See where leads are in the sales pipeline, what step you need to take next to convert the sale, or when to deliver the service.

4: Forecast Sales: Provides reporting that gives visibility on the sales pipeline, qualifies leads, and shows how close you are to your sales targets. Much of this information is displayed on a dashboard style screen.

5: Share Files: Easily upload files and documents for storage and sharing. Many also integrate with your email system so you can upload directly from Gmail or Outlook.

Which Ones Are Available? Priced anywhere from free, to a significant financial investment, there are many CRM options available – all with slightly different functions and capabilities. In this article, we are breaking down three of the most popular options to help you establish the best CRM tool for your business. (The one we use here at Virtual Assistants is OnePageCRM.)

Hubspot: Hubspot is a fantastic beginner’s CRM as it is simple to use and the whole system is free. Often when you start out with a CRM, you aren’t sure which of the features you will use the most, so Hubspot is a great way to explore this before committing to a monthly fee. Probably its best benefit is that it allows you to pull data from your email and social media directly to your contact, keeping your interaction records up to date and centralised.

Its core features are:

  • Customer Management

  • Deal Management

  • Task Management

  • Gmail Integration

  • Email Scheduling

  • Email Tracking

The drawbacks are that you don’t receive live customer support or workflow management unless you subscribe to a plan that includes a large monthly fee.

Insightly: Insightly is a very user-friendly CRM tool that is perfect for small businesses. They do have a free option, but it is quite limited, so you would probably want to invest in a paid plan which begins at US$29 per month.

Its core features are:

  • Customer, Sale and Task Management

  • Gmail, Xero and Mailchimp Integration

  • File Storage Capacity

  • Workflow Automation

  • Web forms on your website to capture leads

  • Reporting on projects

  • Pre-written email templates

  • Lead assignment rules

  • Role-based permissions

  • Mobile Capabilities

The downside to Insightly is that it does not cater to businesses with more than 20 employees and does not include financial functions like quotes, invoices or purchase orders.

OnePageCRM: If you have a standard sales process, then OnePage is the CRM tool for you. You quite literally control everything in your business from one page; there is no data entry needed. It turns your complex CRM into a to-do list that helps you to move sales forward.

  • Shows your contacts in a prioritised list

  • Sales Management

  • Contact Management

  • Lead Capture

  • Sales Team Collaboration

  • Integrates with MailChimp, Unbounce, Skype, Xero, Evernote, Outlook, Zapier and more

  • Sales Forecasting

  • Mobile Capabilities

There aren’t many drawbacks to OnePageCRM, other than it does differ from traditional CRM tools that you may be used to, and there is no free plan.

Hopefully, this article has helped you understand how a CRM tool could work in your business and which is the best CRM system for you. Setting up a CRM tool can be a lot of work, so if you can’t face the task, get in touch with us here at Virtual Assistants. We are experts at organising your data into the right CRM programme for your business and have experience in all three of these programmes plus more.


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