Do you currently use CRM software?
Customer relationship management (CRM) software stores, organizes, and analyzes business contact and customer information. Within the CRM platform, sales, marketing, and customer service teams automate the collection and organization of customer, lead, partner, and key business relationship data. The processes and systems that help improve a business’s relationships with their contacts may also be called customer relationship management.
CRM software tracks relationships with customers, manages key sales and marketing processes, and helps teams deliver efficient service to customers. Advanced CRM platforms automate contact data collection and apply insights via custom filters and advanced algorithms.
Sales teams improve pipelines with CRM technology plus artificial intelligence and machine learning features that analyze contact data and give sales teams focused business intelligence. They perform sales and pipeline management, inform marketing automation, prioritize and answer support tickets, and smooth internal collaboration. By using the customer information database, CRM tools analyze customer behavior and sales processes to directly improve revenue.
SMBs and single business departments are best served by standalone CRM systems with integrations to other SaaS products. The most successful teams research vendors with API or native connections with email marketing software, social media marketing tools, and web conferencing software.
While CRMs provide powerful features for businesses of all sizes, enterprise resource planning (ERP) software or marketing automation software options support several departments and may be a better option for some multinational, enterprise, and growing companies.
CRMs platforms contain powerful tools that give companies an insight into the buying habits, targeting, and critical needs of their audience. Savvy teams translate these data points into critical actions that result in increased revenue, shortened sales pipelines, and personalized marketing. They provide context and insight into deals and customer requests. And companies can track and plan customer interactions to make the entire sales funnel intentional.
CRM software typically offers these features:
The most advanced CRM platforms serve multiple business units with contract management, project management, document management, sales goal planning and tracking, invoicing and billing, sales performance and activity monitoring, and campaign mapping and analytics.
monday.com CRM is your all-in-one solution to closing more deals and managing your entire sales pipeline. Automate repetitive manual work and streamline all sales activities from start to finish. Easily capture and import leads, seamlessly centralize all deal and contact information, log, send and receive emails, record every interaction, and build long-lasting client relationships—all in one place. Keep everyone aligned so you can finally focus on actually closing more deals in less time.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM's automated features and AI help sales teams better understand their customers, know the best time to send an email, and monitor social channels better than ever before. MS Dynamics also includes a direct connection to the business social platform LinkedIn. Their core CRM package—Dynamics 365 Sales—is focused on sales force automation and helping teams find and close opportunities, and comes as a single tool or can be bundled with other business operations tools.
HubSpot CRM is everything users need to organize, manage, track contacts, and build better relationships with customers. Eliminate spreadsheets, manage pipeline, get better customer insights, and speed up sales. The CRM will also let your entire company operate off of one source of truth about the contacts in your database instead of sharing spreadsheets or finding emails. Every interaction is stored in a timeline, including notes about the contact and the content they’ve consumed.
Nimble combines the strength of a traditional CRM with contact management, social media, sales intelligence, and marketing automation to deliver relationship insights to help professionals build better work relationships in a multi-channel world. The software integrates productivity apps to gather user contacts, communications, calendar, and collaborations in one platform and draws data from popular social media channels including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Apptivo is a powerful sales & marketing tool. This CRM includes lead management, an opportunity pipeline with intuitive dashboards, campaign management, and flexible workflow tools including marketing automation. Apptivo starts with a simple contact management system with slick integrations such as automated email conversation tracking, or automated call logging. We offer a complete set of sales tools for lead management, activity tracking, pipeline visualization, and automated workflow.
Less Annoying CRM (LACRM) is a simple CRM built from the ground up for small businesses. Manage contacts, leads, notes, calendar, to-do’s and more, all from one simple web application. Less Annoying CRM is founded on three core principles: simplicity, affordability, and outstanding customer service. All of the tools and information are easy to find from any page in the CRM. LACRM was designed specifically to be intuitive, even for users who aren’t tech-savvy.
No matter what industry you’re in, you probably need a customer relationship management (CRM) system to organize and track your company’s contacts and conversations throughout the sales cycle. The CRM market is chock-full of great software, so we’ve highlighted several of the best solutions below to help you make a faster decision. For a free, custom list of CRM recommendations based on your individual needs, use our Product Selection Tool at the top of this page.
CRM software, much like ERP software, has become business-critical. CRM tools that form the foundation of a business often provide many feature sets that support user behaviors outside of the core sales, marketing, and customer service roles. The most useful CRM systems will include all of these features either as a native tool or a direct integration.
Contact management tools capture and store a contact’s information for easy follow-up later. At the most basic level, contact management features act like an address book, where salespeople and internal stakeholders can add names, email addresses, and physical addresses for important contacts. A good CRM will allow you to classify your contact as a lead, customer, prospect, or set a custom classification.
The most advanced contact management tools will automatically capture contact information when a salesperson interacts with someone on a chat tool, via social media, or through email. These tools require integrated tooling, but they can be intensely useful to save time and effort to keep the CRM up to date.
Sales, client success, customer support, and marketing should all be in the habit of sharing documents and sales assets amongst departments, but often these assets get siloed. This results in out of date or inaccurate sales tools and can ultimately hurt your bottom line. A CRM should contain a centralized source of truth where your teams can upload, update, and share documents from a single location.
Calendar tools help salespeople quickly see when they could fit in a quick call with a new prospect, when they need to follow up with existing clients, and when they might be able to fit in a couple of outreach emails. Automated calendar tools either within the CRM or with an API integration can give salespeople more control over their calendars while spending less time actually putting meetings on their calendars.
These tools read the salesperson’s calendar and provide slots for customers and prospects to sign up according to their own schedule. Calendar integration features save hundreds of email responses with proposed times on both sides, and give customers the control to ask for a meeting that fits their timeline.
Your team communicates with customers in a ton of ways: messaging, email, chatbots, direct mail, video calls, and social media. A good CRM will give your company the avenues to connect with customers and contacts in a way that reduces friction and speeds responses. While not all CRMs will include all communication tools, most will give you email integrations and some form of instant messaging integration with tools like Slack, Skype, or Microsoft Teams.
Advanced CRMs will include their own chatbot tools, support for individualized video emails, and direct integrations with all of the social media tools you need to effectively communicate with your customers.
Nothing kills a sale faster than missing a meeting. A CRM software that includes notifications and alerts can prompt sales and customer-focused teams to reach out, follow up, and get to meetings on time.
These tools can also work as reminders for sales teams to update the day’s contacts, build out quarterly reports, and pretty much any task that your team may need a little nudge to get started on.
With a full book of business, your customer teams may be swamped with tasks to manage, so a good CRM will also include basic task management tools. These features often mirror project management software, but will include sales and client-specific tools that help sales teams close deals and customer teams retain clients. Look for task lists with notifications, pipeline tools that mimic Kanban boards, and to-do lists that automatically generate reminders.
The best customer relationship management software should include pipeline and lead management tools to help you take more meetings and close more deals. At the most basic levels, a pipeline and lead management feature will let you set the contact’s stage in the buyer’s journey and report on the number of contacts that live in each of those stages, so you can better understand how your sales funnel works.
The most complex and advanced pipeline and lead management tools integrate marketing automation features that help you move customers through the sales funnel. These tools may include content distribution, direct outreach, or automated follow-up features. These tools will perform automatic lead scoring and notify sales teams when a lead is ready for a personalized outreach.
While there are many kinds of CRM systems designed for enterprise use, they are all intended to serve large-scale business needs across a variety of departments. Enterprise platforms typically have numerous integrated features, the ability to add features by purchasing apps and add-ons, and/or the ability to custom-design new features by using a developer toolkit.
Enterprise CRMs help teams improve contact management through a set of predetermined channels—both inbound and outbound—and automate sales processes to nurture old and new customer relationships.
Enterprise CRM software also provides powerful tools for data analysis and insight, which can help managers take massive amounts of stored data, make sense of it, and put it to work. In large companies where customer data can be stored in vast databases and translated into predictive customer journeys and interactions, it’s crucial to have CRM software for transforming information into strategy. During your CRM comparison, look for products that include built-in reporting or analytics.
For companies interested in extending the value of their data, enterprise CRM systems often include AI and machine learning tools that augment reporting and analytics and give sales reps actionable steps to improve processes and close more deals.
Ready to find your next enterprise-ready CRM system? Click on the banner at the top of the page to get fast, free recommendations, or call a TechnologyAdvisor today at 877.702.2082 for a shortlist of the top CRM software for your company’s needs.
A market full of “mega vendors” like Salesforce and Oracle can be intimidating to small businesses that work in niche industries or have limited budgets. Some of these businesses simply can’t afford a product like Oracle. Others find the large feature sets of enterprise CRMs too complicated or unnecessary for their business needs.
Luckily, there are innovative vendors that offer impressive CRM systems built specifically for these businesses. From industry-specific (retail, nonprofit, real estate, financial services) to less complicated and more affordable platforms, there are lots of contenders in the market for the best CRM for small businesses.
And as the CRM market expands, the race to attract the most SMB software subscribers means that those CRM solutions often include some highly advanced features once only found in enterprise tools. Look for automated workflows, detailed reporting, and straightforward integrations to popular third party software within SMB CRM systems.
If you’re ready to find the right CRM for your small business, click on the image at the top of the page to enter your requirements. We’ll send you a curated list of custom recommendations to simplify your search.
With mission-critical functionality, it’s clear why CRM has become one of the most widely-adopted solutions in business IT. By 2025, CRM is projected to hit more than $80 billion in revenue, likely increasing its lead as the largest software market. Thanks to a wave of cloud and mobile innovation, this broad category has expanded far beyond sales into other job functions and industries like financial services, real estate, and nonprofit.
Companies are expected to upgrade and adopt new CRM software to keep up with a renewed focus on targeting the right customer and retaining them for the long term—jobs traditionally managed by sales and marketing. It’s no coincidence that these departments are expected to be the top two software spending areas for 2021.
Interestingly, Salesforce’s revenue projections have skyrocketed to at least $20.7 billion for the 2021 fiscal year. Salesforce’s investment in low-code technology has allowed them a wider reach, serving teams who don’t have professional developers. The variety of modules Salesforce offers also highlights a tech trend that many companies already understand: CRM lives at the core of any customer-driven company, with other software forming a galaxy of apps around it.
As the CRM software market has become more crowded in the race to build bigger-better-faster CRM and integrated tools, it’s become harder than ever to choose the right CRM system for your team. Gene Marks, formerly of KPMG says, “The cloud is steadily turning applications into commodities.”
Technology has progressed so much in the past few years that consumers can’t use feature lists to differentiate between options because so many vendors can offer the same features. To distinguish and find the right product for your company, you have to look at all of the surrounding factors like support, community, and your own IT infrastructure.
CRM tools systems are rapidly changing to encompass more business-critical features and make managing sales, marketing, and customer success easier than ever. The market can feel overwhelming to any buyer, but we’re here to help. In this guide, we’ll look at primary CRM categories, industry specializations, top CRM software, and current technology trends impacting the CRM market today and in the future.
If you’re ready to start browsing the best CRM systems, complete the form at the top of the page. We’ll provide you with recommendations based on your company’s needs.
CRM software has changed the way companies do business because of the numerous benefits it offers. It’s made remote work easier through mobile features and SaaS offerings, while AI and customer experience management have improved the quality of customer interactions. Here’s a breakdown of some common CRM features and the benefits they offer:
Sales reps have not traditionally been tied to desks, but their freedom has expanded more than ever as CRM software has improved for mobile use. This proliferation, in many ways, parallels a growing interest for CIOs to pursue “customer experience management,” which requires businesses to meet customers where they are and react to their needs rather than simply push products.
Your company might also want to look into a CRM system specifically designed for mobile use. In industries where sales reps go to the clients—not vice versa—mobile CRM tools are instrumental in organizing and updating leads and client data, connecting salespeople with management, and optimizing daily operations. For example, many mobile CRM tools incorporate geolocation features, helping your reps plan the quickest route between multiple contacts on their smartphone and providing live GPS directions to get them there.
Real estate, merchant services, and energy/utilities commonly use mobile CRM, since their employees are rarely in the office.
As with the mobile CRM category, integrated social features are becoming increasingly commonplace in the software market, especially as companies look to better engage with their customers on more than just a few predetermined channels. Social media marketing has affected both customers’ relationship expectations and companies’ obligations now that customers have direct access to companies through social messaging features.
As more companies move their customer service models out of email and into chat functions, social media CRMs and social integrations with mainstream CRMs are gaining importance. You can find solutions ranging from platforms with basic social media integrations up to entire enterprise suites designed to help grow a successful community around your brand.
Many companies find it helpful to tether social media access with back-end programs so that reps can not only reach out to clients and know what they’re saying, but also respond with targeted marketing or business responses like recommending a product via email or completing a service request. Social CRM makes this possible.
Top CRM software companies like Salesforce and Oracle have added social listening and social CRM features to their existing products, but lightweight, standalone products still exist that can provide social CRM services.
We’ve got more details and product recommendations for social CRM tools at that overview page, or you can click the banner at the top of the page to get fast, free CRM recommendations based on your needs.
For mobile sales teams, mapping software can make the difference between closing deals or sitting in traffic hoping to make it to an appointment on time. Most modern sales mapping tools will locate current and potential customers on a digital map where sales managers can assign territories and suggest sales routes, and reps can find potential leads on the fly.
Combined with geolocating services and mobile access apps, sales mapping software often includes tools that give field reps the freedom to file contracts and line up deals from the road without checking in at the office every night. These tools save reps on gas money, commuting time, and paperwork. Find sales mapping software included as a feature of full-service CRM solutions or as stand-alone sales enablement software.
Some CRM companies are backing a new field of technology and strategy, which could eventually replace traditional CRM solutions. Customer experience management offers a new, more customer-centric engagement approach to relationships. In this approach, it is a company’s responsibility—not the customer’s—to reach out with new opportunities and ways the customer can deepen their experience with the company.
Interactions are focused on catering to the needs and questions of customers and take place on social media, web sites, instant messaging, email, and even SMS. This trend follows the rise of customer expectations. According to a 2019 Microsoft survey of [Microsoft’s] survey respondents have higher expectations for customer service than they did just a year ago.” To stay head of this growing trend, look for a solution that will help you stay connected to customers across a number of different channels and track customer interactions throughout their lifecycle instead of simply focusing on the sales pipeline.
Building off the trends of integrating social CRM and customer experience management tools, many CRMs look to fully encompass a company’s customer relationship landscape by enabling connections through all customer channels, including phone, email, social media, in-person interactions, and live chat. Keeping all of this data in one place where it can be easily tracked and analyzed is crucial to a higher sales conversion rate.
Because they monitor and incorporate information from so many sectors, omnichannel CRMs bring together the sales, marketing, and customer support teams over data in ways that previously seemed impossible. This greater cooperation between teams and proliferation of data can be found in AI and automation-enhanced CRMs, many of which integrate directly with marketing automation or ERP tools that aggregate data and transform it for business use.
Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and automation have surpassed being just a trend and are now fully making contributions to the software market in general and CRMs in particular. By the end of 2021, artificial intelligence included in CRMs is expected to be responsible for an extra $1.2 trillion in revenue over the past four years.
These three technology advances serve to augment and remove much of the manual work that sales reps have traditionally performed in the administrative side of their jobs: updating contact records, finding new leads in networks, remembering to follow up with prospects, and analyzing sales for trends can all be handled by automation, AI, or machine learning—and much faster and better than busy humans can manage. That leaves human sales reps free to focus on the customer interactions that drive revenue growth.
While many organizations choose their CRM software based on size or price, some industries have more customized needs. Industry-specific CRM systems include specialized features built to ease customer relations and speed work for companies with strict regulatory requirements or unique customer demands.
Nonprofit organizations have specific needs for member management and donor relations that demand specialized tools to manage lists and outreach. Nonprofit CRM solutions are specialized to cater to the requirements of nonprofit organizations who are looking to sustain membership and grow their donor books.
When looking for the best nonprofit CRM software, consider platforms that include email marketing, social integrations, and artificial intelligence. These tools are perfect for increasing donor engagement, managing current and prospective donor lists, and analyzing organizational improvements. Traditional CRMs can work for nonprofits, especially if they give users the flexibility to define custom categories or tags for leads and prospects. However, they often don’t include the right features for a price that fits within a nonprofit operating budget.
Ready for custom recommendations on the best CRM for your nonprofit? Click the image at the top of the page for a list of vendors who meet your organization’s requirements.
A financial services CRM organizes contacts and provides insight into sales pipelines for financial services outlets including insurance, banks, and investment firms. Since many financial organizations don’t directly provide products to consumers but rather work as third party connections, the top CRM software for financial services helps sales representatives grow their clients’ portfolios, take on new business, and create networks of clients within these restrictions.
Financial services companies operate under strict government regulations concerning the privacy and security of their client’s personal data. Plus, they need to keep detailed records for audits and investigations. The best CRM for financial services will include security features, document management for contracts and tax forms, and integrated analytics that help reps build relationships and keep records safe.
Real estate CRM software helps real estate agents and brokers manage the complicated relationships between property owners, sellers, buyers, lenders, banks, brokers, and lawyers. With property as the product, real estate CRM solutions help agents track relationships through the sometimes lengthy and difficult process of finding, contracting, and closing deals in the housing and commercial real estate sectors.
A solid real estate CRM will provide contact management, contract and document management, sales pipeline visibility, and task automation. It should also include or integrate with marketing tools, like email marketing. Many real estate agents use their CRM as a central hub to track and manage both incidental and ongoing relationships with buyers and sellers as well as third party vendors. Connections to other sales enablement and support tools are vital with real estate CRM systems as well.
Field service management software helps those in the construction, utilities, and service sectors organize their relationships with a widely dispersed customer base and field technicians who are constantly on the move. Nearly 80 percent of all field service management software includes some form of CRM software. Depending on industry or company needs, some companies might adopt a FSM or ERP software that does not include CRM capabilities. In these cases, the company should look for a CRM that integrates closely with their FSM dispatch, work order, and inventory software.
CRM solutions that work for field service organizations include features like mapping, quote management, invoicing and billing, and mobile applications. Some big-name CRMs like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics have FSM-specific extensions and capabilities—but may be overkill for small teams with tighter budgets. Small teams may fare better by customizing a small business CRM that integrates with their other field service technology or adopt a full-service FSM software that includes CRM features.
Commonly known as patient management and medical practice management software, healthcare CRM software is on the rise among modern healthcare groups that adopt sales and marketing techniques long used by businesses to stay relevant in a highly competitive marketplace.
Healthcare CRM will include many of the standard tools like contact management, billing, purchasing habits, and network records. Normally, it will also include features unique to the needs and regulatory compliance inherent in healthcare. Look for HIPAA-compliant databases and security features, user-friendly patient portals, and billing tools ready-made for insurance inquiries. Many healthcare CRM software options also include patient education and outreach tools similar to what one would find in a marketing automation tool.
Now that you have a better picture of some specific applications and vendors, it’s time to choose one for your business. Luckily, TechnologyAdvice has already done the hard part for you. When you use our product selection tool banner at the top of the page, you’ll find organized information and reviews on 100+ different CRM software vendors. We’ll help you connect with the right solution for your business according to the features you value most.