Small business ideas need small business software

You’ve got a great idea for a small business. To support that idea, you’ll likely need technology and tools, in addition to gusto and gumption.

While the SMB needs many of the same software solutions as the enterprise-level business (albeit, with far fewer seats), there are some solutions it can easily get along without, such as ERP systems. However, there are others it absolutely requires — especially if it’s a B2B-focused SMB — such as quoting systems, also called a configure, price, quote (CPQ) solution.

Here’s a quick look at some of the software solutions that can help transform your SMB idea into an SMB reality. They’re solutions you can easily use and afford, and we’ll take a deeper dive into the singular benefits a sales quoting system gives the SMB that’s focused on B2B sales and relationships.

Quickbooks: Need a sales report? Need to track a sales rep’s overall activity and time? Need to better manage your budget? For these tasks and many more, today’s SMBs lean heavily on this software solution from Intuit. (The only things it looks like QuickBooks can’t do are automate the sales proposal process and make you a cup of coffee.)

Office 365: Cloud-based, scalable, affordable, and addressing nearly every business need a B2B SMB may have: document creation (Word!), presentations (the one and only PowerPoint!), spreadsheets (Excel), and email/contact management/calendaring (Outlook). There’s no substitute for Microsoft’s award-winning subscription package.

Hubspot: Marketing automation made easy. The tools in Hubspot are the same kinds of tools you’ll find in enterprise-level solutions like Marketo and Pardot, but the pricing structure and simplicity of the interface makes getting started a whole lot easier. And as HubSpot adds quoting systems and sales tools, more robust reporting and contact management, and further extends what it does into the CRM space, you can bet that big dogs like Salesforce and Dynamics will sit up and take notice.

Zoho CRM: Customer relationship management solutions are no longer just for the multi-million dollar enterprise. After all, SMBs have Customers whose Relationships need Managing, too.

And while Salesforce and Dynamics are still capturing a lion’s share of enterprise-level business, Zoho CRM (partly due to its ease of use, and the ease with which it integrates with other applications, such as its CPQ CRM integration) is gaining traction, and customers, every day.

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iQuoteXpress: Pardon us while we toot our own horn. While we have large deployments with dozens of seats across multiple locations, IQX remains the go-to quoting system for the SMB specializing in B2B sales.

One reason is that the software can be used as a standalone solution: some SMBs may not be ready for a fully featured CRM system and integrating a CPQ system therein. But every sales rep wants a faster, cleaner, and more accurate way to send sales quotes, and that’s the core strength of IQX: sales proposal templates, product and pricing configuration, and the means to almost completely automate every RFP response process.

Additionally, as IQX provides contact management and sales reporting tools, it can serve as a CRM for the SMB that may not yet have enough business to require the power of Zoho, Salesforce, or Dynamics. Rest assured, once every rep is using IQX to create, send, and track quotes, “enough business” is right around the corner.