Best CRM Software Systems
Are you looking for the best CRM software? GoodFirms has listed the best customer relationship management (CRM) software solutions to help you in your search. A CRM tool helps businesses build a profitable, long-lasting customer relationship. However, not all CRM systems claiming to optimize your customer communications are up to the mark. GoodFirms has listed the leading names in the CRM system industry to aid software buyers with the purchase decision. Explore the below list of CRM software along with the reviews of individual software, and choose the one that is apt for your business CRM solution requirements:
Buyer’s Guide to CRM software
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software provides a 360-degree view of the information related to customers and prospects. It helps in cultivating relationships with the customers and improving the operational efficiency of a business organization.
CRM is consistently augmenting the software market. The driving force behind the growth in CRM software is the requirement of businesses to manage their data perfectly, provide excellent customer service, and acquire real-time information that can help them make smart decisions and achieve sales goals.
Furthermore, in this competitive business scenario, delivering exceptional customer experience has become mandatory if you want your organization to sustain and expand. Whether you are planning to invest in your first CRM system or changing your existing one, choosing a CRM is a challenging process.
Fortunately, this buyers' guide provides you complete information about CRM, as below, that can help you in selecting the right CRM and achieve your business goals.
CRM is a combination of practices or a strategy followed by businesses for building better customer relationships, improving revenue, and providing a flawless customer experience. The CRM philosophy is simple - "Customer is the King." CRM enables you to prioritize your customers, helps your organization to follow a customer-centric approach, which results in increased customer loyalty, exponential growth in sales, and ROI.
Why is a prioritizing customer relationship important?
To acquire and retain customers; it is important to build and nurture relationships with them. It is quite crucial to building healthy customer relationships to keep them happy. One unhappy customer can result in several unhappy customers, especially in this era of social media, where everything gets viral so quickly.
According to a research report by Deloitte, customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than the companies not focusing on the customers.
How to deliver exceptional customer experiences?
The answer is simple - "See with the eyes of your customers," in other words, "Step into the shoes of your customers."
The customer’s perception is your reality - Kate Zabriskie (Renowned Business Trainer)
Besides following the right philosophy for providing exceptional customer service, you need to use the right tools and technology too. A streamlined CRM system deployed in an organization helps the employees who are directly dealing with the customers. It helps sales, marketing, and customer support teams to take action in terms of selling, communicating, improving the quality of the products/services, coordinating, and everything else which can benefit the customers and business both.
CRM or Customer Relationship Management software is a tool that helps in improvising contact management, client communication, orders management, operations, and productivity. Whether it is about the last conversation with a client, or understanding the likes and dislikes of a potential buyer, a Customer Relationship Management software helps you in accessing all the information promptly with a single click or a tap.
Elements of a CRM Software
- Organizing Campaigns
- Generating Leads
- Maintaining Customer Database
- Assigning Leads
- Converting Leads to Customers
- Upselling & Reselling
- Resolving Customer Queries/Complaints
- Managing Service Requests
- Maintaining & Growing Knowledge Base
- Delivering Products
- Generating Invoices
What Does a Customer Relationship Management Software Do?
Earlier, CRM was used to store customer data and information, but now, it has changed over the years. Now, CRM can accomplish many tasks like -
The entire information about the customers, like their contact details, purchase history, payments, preferences, demographics, etc., are stored in one place. It becomes easy to access the required information whenever required.
Keeping track of leads and assigning them to the specific sales team/executive is very important to ensure efficient management and high conversions. A CRM system helps to streamline the process involving marketing campaigns, communication with the prospects, and designing customized marketing strategies.
CRM adds tasks and deals automatically into customer information. It helps in assigning and monitoring tasks in your sales pipeline. Moreover, data updated in real-time ensures that you are accessing the latest information.
CRM assists in the entire marketing and promotion activities like bulk emailing, customer segmentation, campaign creation, etc., and enhances their effectiveness helping to achieve sales goals.
CRM can automate the entire sales process, including tracking client interactions, analyzing sales opportunities, sales team performance tracking, forecasting sales, and many more, which can provide clear visibility of market trends, patterns, and behavior.
CRM can be used to automate and streamline various processes in an organization and enhance its efficiency. It saves time, money, paperwork, and also eliminates the repetition of tasks and improves accuracy at the same time.
CRM can generate different types of reports which can provide visibility of overall business from different angles. Whether it is about tracking sales performance or marketing expenses, customer relationship management software can provide quick & accurate reports.
Evolution of CRM
Even before technology took its place, businesses used to take care of their customers in the best possible manner. Though they had limited clientele, they used to have one-on-one conversations, to know the requirements of their clients and keep them happy by fulfilling their expectations. Here, we will have a look at exactly how CRM evolved from manual processes to the high-end use of technology.
Before 1970, Pen, paper, and registers were used to store, track, and access information relating to the customers. After the concept of customer relationship management was introduced in 1970, businesses started relying on Standalone Mainframe Systems to automate sales. Spreadsheets were used to segment customers at that time. For the first time, contact management service was provided in 1986, using a customer evaluation system known as ACT! which was based on the principle of digital Rolodex. In 1993, Tom Sibel designed the first CRM product known as Siebel Systems. In 2004, SugarCRM developed the first open-source CRM system. In this era, CRM was migrating to the cloud due to which even small businesses and sole entrepreneurs started using it. In 2013 & 2014, Most of the CRM systems were linked to business intelligence systems and communication software to enhance customer experience and improve the quality of corporate communication. Finally, in 2019 the use of Wearables and Mobile CRM gained popularity.
Industry Wise Use of CRM Solutions
If your business requires dealing with customers, you require a CRM tool to record customer details, interactions, purchase history, etc.
- Information Technology
- Business Services
- Travel & Hospitality
- Wealth Management
Regardless of the type of business sector you are in, your customers are valuable assets of your organization, and you cannot afford to lose even one of them. Have a look at some of the predominant features of CRM.
Benefits of a Customer Relationship Management Software
Keeps Information Organized
Using CRM means keeping all the information about your customers organized, to make it more accessible. Every interaction with your customers needs to be identified, documented and recorded. For that, you need to think beyond paper files, excel sheets, and sticky notes, and deploy the best CRM tool.
Many times your customers may have to communicate with different people in your team. In that case, it can become a hassle for the customer if they need to explain their issues and preferences every time they speak to a new person. The customer relationship management tool can eliminate this problem as it ensures that everyone in the team has the same customer data.
Improves Customer Service
With CRM, customer service becomes quick and easy. If your customer comes with a problem, and your representatives don't have important information like their past purchases, payments, etc., on their fingertips, it may take a lot of time to solve their issues. Providing quick resolutions to your customers' problems can help in improving customer services, ultimately enhancing the reputation of your organization.
Automates Repetitive Tasks
There are some tasks like filling out the forms, completing legal formalities, etc., which are monotonous but are vital in a sales process. A CRM helps in automating these repetitive tasks and helps your representatives to focus on the tasks like closing deals and solving the queries of the customers.
Increases Efficiency Within Multiple Teams
CRM helps in accessing the calendar, emails, phone call details, etc., keeping the multiple teams updated about the information relating to meetings & conferences. The marketing, sales, and customer service teams can share valuable data easily using CRM and accomplish their common goals successfully.
Encourages Smart Decision Making
Miscalculated data accessed from excel sheets or guesswork can lead to wrong decisions and failures. The best CRM tool can provide accurate data in the form of customized reports providing information about the current status of your overall business. Based on that, you can design strategies that really work and grab the opportunities that yield long-term profitability in your business.
Types of CRM Tools
Every business is different in terms of goals, requirements, and obstacles. Selecting the right CRM that fits your business specifically can become easy if you are aware of the types of CRM tools differing in terms of functionality, departments, and deployment.
How do CRM tools differ in terms of functionality?
Strategic CRM puts the requirements of the customers first. Its job is to collect, segregate, and apply information about the customer and market trends to come up with the business strategies benefitting the customers.
Operation CRM is focused on recording the interactions with the customers, and allowing sales & marketing professionals to access that information and communicate accordingly. It ensures that all the sales opportunities, contacts, and tasks are attended efficiently at the right time.
Analytical CRM is oriented towards analyzing the data required to make informed decisions for future business strategies. For example, an analytical CRM can provide answers to questions referring to the details about the customers positively responding to the previous marketing campaigns. This helps in analyzing the target audience and launching new marketing campaigns accordingly.
Collaborative CRM keeps your sales team, marketing team, partners, management, production team, and all the stakeholders on the same page. It allows smooth communication and transactions between the teams involved in a sales and marketing campaign, production, or a task.
How do CRM tools differ in terms of deployment?
Many companies prefer on-premise deployment of their CRM tool, as they get full control over it in terms of data and security. Also, on-premise deployment of the Customer Relationship Management software allows you to configure and customize the tool as per your requirement. The companies opting for on-premise deployment of their CRM software usually need to have a robust infrastructure in terms of servers, networking capabilities, storage, and human resources.
A cloud-based deployment, also known as Software-as-a-service (SaaS) or Cloud CRM, is hosted by the service provider and can be accessed from anywhere as long as there is internet available. Several companies opt for Cloud CRM because of its cheaper setup, low maintenance costs, and quick deployment.
Can You Get An All-In-One CRM Solution?
There are many all-in-one CRM solutions available in the market which can integrate everything that your business needs and not just manage your contacts.
Many times an all-in-one CRM solution having too many features might not be suitable for your business, as it is including the features you are never going to use, and its cost is crossing your budget limit. This means you are spending unnecessarily on the features you don't require. The trick is to choose a CRM that includes the features your business requires, is intuitive & scalable, and not eating away your profits.
So, what are the features to look for while selecting a CRM software? Well, that depends on your business. Still, we have listed down some must-have features of a CRM you can consider before buying one.
Features to Look for While Buying a CRM Software
All the CRM solutions facilitate the users to feed the names, contact information, social media accounts of the customers, suppliers, prospects, etc. But, the important features you need to consider are - the fields should be logically organized, the interface should be appealing and user-friendly, and you should be able to access that information quickly.
This is the most important feature when different team members are working with the same contacts. If you don't know what your colleague last spoke to one of your customers, you cannot move on with the conversation with him/her. Customer Relationship Management software should allow you to view the history of interactions done with the customers, to communicate accurately and effectively.
The process of converting leads to users in a smooth manner is important for any type or size of business. Proper lead management can do that. The key to the best selection here is to make sure that the CRM follows the process which can work as per your business logic. Your sales team can test CRM software to determine this aspect.
Every business is distinctive, and so is yours. You need to ensure that the CRM you are planning to invest in allows integrating the applications and software you frequently use, like email marketing software, marketing automation, software, social media marketing software, etc. If it has the in-built capability of managing the tasks you are getting done by using different tools, then that can be a better choice for you.
Collecting, storing, and sharing documents from a centralized hub benefits directly to your team members and indirectly to your customers. Keeping the entire sales team on the same page helps in providing an excellent customer experience. A centralized hub for knowledge obviously is an asset to an organization, and if your CRM includes that, it definitely can be a major reason for your business growth.
If your business requires creating, printing, and managing the quotes and proposals you send to your customers, then this feature in your CRM can be quite helpful to you. You can easily create and email the quotes/proposals, check the history of contracts with your customers/suppliers, and manage these documents at a centralized location.
Sales Pipeline Management
Want to check the buyers' journey of a specific contact? A CRM allowing you to manage the sales pipeline can help you in that task. You can check the status and progress of each individual at each stage of the sales pipeline and design a customized marketing strategy for your prospects for successful conversions.
There are several tasks in an organization that needs to be done repeatedly — for example, sending promotional emails, birthday greetings, etc., to your customers. The CRM allows you to automate the workflow and ensures that your sales team focuses on productive tasks instead of utilizing their time in monotonous tasks.
With the reporting feature, you can generate customized reports relevant to sales figures, individual salesperson or team, customers based on geographical location, buyers' journey, etc. You just need to ensure that the CRM you select allows you to generate customized reports as per your business requirements.
CRM allows you to follow a proactive approach based on the predictive data it provides. It helps you in solving the issues before they even arise. For example, from predictive data, if you find that you are not going to get more projects this year, you can follow a proactive approach by hiring more resources required to complete those projects, and save your business from disruptions.
Besides the features mentioned above, mobility is one feature that has become mandatory for businesses these days. Let us have a look at what exactly is Mobile CRM, and why is it required?
Mobile CRM: Why Is It Required?
Mobile CRM allows sales, marketing, and customer service teams to manage and access key information from any place using their mobile devices. Precisely, it helps users to run their business from anywhere and anytime. Below mentioned are some benefits a Mobile CRM software provides;
- Provides employees the flexibility of working from anywhere
- Customers get prompt services and answers to their queries
- Allows opening, sharing and updating files on the go
- Enables updating information about leads, contacts, and opportunities in real-time basis
- Provides access to updated information all the time
Adapting mobile CRM into your business means making your business work 24/7 that adds to the enhancement of customer experience.
How to Choose the Perfect CRM System for your Business?
There are several CRM tools available in the market, but not all can suit your business. Below listed are some factors which you need to consider while selecting the right CRM for your business.
Before investing in a CRM, you need to understand the problem you need to resolve using a CRM. You need to prioritize your goals to determine which CRM would suit your business. For example, if tracking customer interactions is of prime importance to you and your CRM doesn't allow that, then investing in it would be of no use.
Implementing a new CRM system can be tedious if it is not matching with the existing resources of your organization. You need to ensure that the new CRM tool you are investing in doesn't require you to provide time-consuming training to your employees or hire new ones to implement it. That would increase your cost and add to your problems instead of solving them.
Regardless of the system you choose, your employees are always resistant to change. This is a common issue faced by most of the organizations that the employees are not ready to get trained or acquainted with the new system. In this case, it is always better to take suggestions from employees before purchasing a CRM tool.
Compatibility to Integrate
Whether it is for social media marketing, email campaigns, or automating any other task, you are already using several tools in your organization. Before buying a CRM tool, you need to check how compatible it is with other tools and how well it can integrate with those systems to make your jobs seamless.
The data stored in CRM is highly valuable for an organization. Before selecting a CRM system, you need to ensure that it has high-end security with role-based access permissions for the users to ensure that the crucial and confidential information is secure.
Product Demo or Trial Period
It is always better to purchase a CRM system after using it for a certain time. You can ask your employees to take a product demo of CRM software or try using it within a trial period to get an idea of whether it would work for your business or not.
The Customer Relationship Management software you pick should allow you to generate customized reports as per your business operations and logic. The reports would help you in making informed decisions and set you apart from your competitors; thus, it becomes necessary to consider this aspect without fail before investing in a CRM.
Factors to Consider While Evaluating a CRM Vendor
After identifying the major factors to consider while selecting a CRM software, the next thing that comes is to pick the right CRM vendor. Here is the list of major aspects that you need to look into while evaluating a CRM vendor.
By going through the website and client list of the CRM vendors, you would get an idea of whether they have served with CRM tools to companies similar to yours. An experienced vendor should be able to match your demands.
Configuration & Training
Customer Relationship Management software is of no use to you if it is not configured properly, and your staff has not been provided training on how to use it. So, when you are asking for other details of a CRM software from the vendor, ensure that you ask whether they would be providing configuration services and training to your employees or not.
Flexibility & Scalability
The CRM vendor you select should be able to provide you with scalable and flexible CRM solutions. Today, if you have opted for an on-premise CRM solution, it is not necessary that you will not need a cloud-based CRM in the future. Moreover, your business is going to grow, and so are your requirements. Your CRM vendor should be ready to match up to your software expectations in the future.
Customer support is required, especially when CRM software has been newly deployed in your organization. You need to ensure that the CRM vendor you have chosen has a local partner network and provides prompt customer support.
Don't purchase a Customer Relationship Management software from any vendor at its face value. Check the customer reviews, which will give you an idea about the quality of their CRM tools and services they offer. Get answers to the questions like - are they quick at responding to their customers? Or how is the quality of their CRM product? Because once you buy the CRM software from any vendor, you will not be able to change your decision until the purchase period expires.
Average Cost of a CRM System
Most of the CRM system cost is based on a monthly subscription and the number of users. The cost of a CRM tool can be as minimum as $5 per month, and can go up to $100 per month depending on its features. For example, you can use Asort CRM by paying only $5 per month or LionO360 CRM at $100 per month depending on the features you require. If you are not comfortable with monthly subscription plans, you can go for solutions like Conduct CRM which is for $150 per year or BusinessMan Enterprise by paying a one-time charge of $11995.
The CRM tools for large enterprises are usually by quote as their requirements are specific, and users can be unlimited. Usually, more features and number of users a CRM has, the higher the pricing of the system.
Some CRM solutions are available free for a specific period, thus providing you the facility of using it before you invest in it. The users and features can be limited in the free trial period, but it gives you an idea about whether that CRM software is compatible with your business or not.
Also, there are some free and open source CRM software available in the market, which you can customize and deploy without making huge investments. These free ones might not be having dynamic and robust features you are looking for, but you can check them out as some of them like Hubspot and Zoho CRM can provide many benefits free of cost.
Tips to Successful CRM Implementation
For any organization implementing a CRM system is a challenging task. Many times, companies invest in Customer Relationship Management software with high-end features and functionality, but lacking user-friendliness prevents users from adopting it. What is the point in investing so much in the software when your people are not using it? So, below given some tips that can help you in the successful implementation of CRM in your organization.
- Encourage top management to involve and motivate their subordinates to use the CRM
- Create enthusiasm within the teams to use the software
- Launching the new CRM system by organizing a party or posting motivational information
- Provide detailed usage guidelines of the new CRM system to the users
- Provide sufficient training about using the new CRM tool to your employees
- Be clear with the purpose of introducing new CRM system in your organization with your employees
Upcoming Trends in CRM
Leaving the history behind, CRM is evolving and will continue to evolve in the future. So, here are some upcoming trends of CRM which you need to consider -
- The use of AI in CRM would increase at an exponential level
- IoT would be a major advancement in the CRM market
- Mobility in CRM is here to stay
- Social media would continue to play a major role in customer relationship management
- CRMs would become much more user-friendly
Why Referring to GoodFirms List of CRM Software Can Help?
Selecting the best CRM system, when there are so many available can be confusing. The question remains - which one to select. You can refer to GoodFirms list of best CRM software solutions, which includes detailed description features, and also the reviews of the people who have already used them.
- After following the intricate research process, GoodFirms provides the listing of more than 9000 software and services with detailed information.
- GoodFirms can make your selection process easier by getting 15k+ unbiased reviews for different software and vendors.
- The research conducted by GoodFirms is based on the latest technologies and trends and thus has been successful in winning the trust of renowned companies and software vendors.
As mentioned in this buyer's guide, excellent customer experience can drive you towards the growth and success of your business. If you have still not deployed a CRM for your business or not happy with your present CRM, you need to act quickly and select the best one which can bring positive results and accelerate the profitability of your business. If you have used any of the CRM systems available in the market, please share your experience in the comment section below, as that can help other buyers also in their selection process.