Updated: May 2, 2021
As closing sales deals and generating leads gets tougher by the day, using the right CRM software is a key factor in the success of your business.
What is CRM?
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management and is defined as strategies that businesses use to manage their interactions with customers. Using CRM programs, organizations can streamline business processes, increase sales, build customer relations, increase business profitability, and improve customer service.
CRM tool does not only aid the relationship between organizations and customers but also with employees, suppliers, and other service users. In business, as they say, "the customer is king", hence it is important you choose the best-fit CRM software for your company.
What is CRM software?
When talking about CRM software, we go beyond the simple definition of what it does. The essence of having CRM software for a business is beyond just initiating contact with potential customers. Besides nurturing contacts that have been proven to be vital for the success of any business, CRM software aids in building customer loyalty, which is essential for maintaining contacts and client history.
CRM platforms help the organization record important information such as telephone numbers, social media accounts, email, website, etc. Besides simple contact information, the software also helps pull off more important details concerning the company, including recent news, activities, personal preferences on clients, etc.
With this information, you can have a complete record of companies and people you’re dealing with to understand the relationship you have better.
What are the Benefits of CRM Software?
• Enhancing communication
CRM helps make detailed customer information available to organizations that may need them. This way, customers don’t have to start afresh when they have to work with a new representative. Their data will already be available as the new service provider will be working with the same information others used.
CRM is cloud-based and readily accessible on any device as long as there is a reliable internet connection.
• Improved Customer Service
Customer service is the biggest asset any organization can have at their disposal. CRM software helps saves time for the organization and the customer by ensuring everything works as fast as possible.
Using CRM enables fast retrieval of customer information to aid fast service. Customers deal with experienced representatives who can locate the solution to the problem by accessing all past client databases.
• Increased Productivity
CRM software cuts out some time-consuming administrative tasks such as follow-up emails or management systems. The software auto-generates responses and is tested to be effective.
Your sales team can access recent details regarding the customer. They can also learn everything they need to know about the customer's background from previous information stored by CRM software.
• Helps Improve Sales Metrics
With CRM programs, you don’t have to waste time on leads that will not be of help to your business. The software will nurture the right prospects where you can only narrow down to leads that matter.
CRM data will give insights into the conversation necessary for various points of the sales funnel. Understanding how various customers interact is the easiest way for your business to get additional customers and retain available ones.
• Guaranteed Marketing ROI
For any business, marketing and gaining more customers is an essential aspect. CRM systems help track, understand market activities, and see to it that campaigns become effective. With all these, the business will understand the types of marketing that work with what type of customers.
How to Use CRM Software?
Running your business and ensuring success is solemnly on the hands of humans. If you adopt the best CRM practices, your business will likely reap a high return on investment.
However, CRM is just a technology, and it is the people who know how to use it effectively to succeed. Here are a few points that will help you make good use of this technology.
• Customize CRM to Suit Your Business Needs
A good CRM tool is the best way to connect with your prospects, but this won’t be possible if the system doesn’t suit your business. You need to customize this software to meet your business needs effectively.
You must have an elegant and vibrant theme that aligns with your business. Figure out what you want the CRM to offer your business and customize it to fit the business needs perfectly.
• Keep Your Database Information Updated
The data determines how well your CRM software will serve you. Your organization needs reliable and accurate data for various activities, including customer service, campaigns, and marketing purposes.
Ensure your CRM supports mobile functionality so that your reps can collect accurate information and update them on time. The success of your organization depends on how accurate and organized your data is.
• Ensure Your Employees Understand CRM System
For your CRM software's success, you need to ensure your employees are skillful and have all the knowledge needed to effectively use the CRM system. You must organize CRM training and make sure they understand all the aspects of it.
They should also understand how the concept will benefit them as well as the organization. Let them understand how their input will help boost the productivity of the business and enhance their performance.
What are the Best Practices for Using CRM Software?
To get the most out of your CRM platforms, you need to learn how to use it. Here are some of the best practices you need to employ if you need your CRM software to serve you well.
• Understand What Your Business Needs to Achieve
Before you start using this software, you must have some goals. Understand that your business is unique, and the success of your neighbor doesn’t determine yours. Understand the problems your business needs to solve, the visions it has to achieve, and how you can improve your sales process.
• Ensure Customer Information is Updated
You must work with your team to optimize data entry and get the necessary sales metrics. Keeping your customer data updated and making changes whenever you get new information is one of the best practices to effectively employing the CRM software.
• Follow the Latest Trends
As always, technology keeps changing, and if you don’t focus on trends, you might lose business. Follow up on the latest CRM software versions and update your system. You can also make your software mobile for easy accessibility and to enable you to stay updated with everything you need.
• Lay Down Rules
For your CRM software to effectively perform its roles, it needs a dedicated team ready to adhere to strict rules and be disciplined. Therefore, your business needs to establish some rules regarding using the software and make it company policy. This way, you will benefit from a smoother transition and even work with a collaborative team.
• Keep it Simple
You don’t have to go over the moon about it. Don’t get tempted to invest on something complex. All you have to focus on is to find a system that fits your needs without getting you to do very complex work.
Last but not the least data integrity is a key factor in getting the benefits of implementing CRM software in your business. Your team needs to adhere to data integrity compliance to ensure the right decisions are taken based on the right data.
So, let us dig into the topic of the day. In my opinion, the best CRM software for 2021 are as follows:
17 Best CRM Software for 2021
1. HubSpot CRM
If you’re running a small business, HubSpot should be your number one software consideration, thanks to its effectiveness. With this software, your business will gain a good reputation in various areas, including social media campaigns, marketing and sales automation, and CRM.
• Free package
• Starter marketing hub $45/month
• Professional: $450/month
• Enterprise: $1,200/month
• HubSpot academy
• Click to call and call recording feature
• Features both marketing and sales hub
• Easy to set up
• Great customer service
• Risk-free option
• The paid tier is too pricey
2. Zoho CRM
Zoho CRM software is the most recommended among top CRM software for service-based businesses. The software is designed with SaaS solutions for smoother end-to-end business running. The software comes with a host of functionalities at affordable prices with an extensive solution perfect for every small business looking for CRM for sales.
• Free of charge for up to three users
• Pipeline-centric for small businesses: $7/month
• Standard tier: $12/month
• Professional tier: $20/month
• Enterprise tier: $35/month
• Ultimate tier: $45/month
• Free marketplace extensions
• Artificial Intelligence-driven features
• Online documentation support
• Collaborative tools
• Features customer and vendor options
• Comes with a set of features
• Free for up to 10 users
• Inexpensive and SMB-friendly
• Easy to implement
• No polling service provided
• Can be quite tricky to use for a beginner
Salesforce CRM is fully established software with incredible features perfect for meeting the needs of large businesses. The software is employed with an international that benefits from its SaaS customer relationship management solution.
Small businesses can also benefit from its functionality that offers enterprise-level CRM packages for a faster upgrade. There is a trial package for you to try out before you subscribe to the paid packages.
• Lightning Essentials: $25/month
• Lightning Professionals: $100/month
• Lightning Enterprise: $175/month
• Lightning Unlimited: $325/month
• B2B marketing tools
• Click-to-call feature
• Easy to customize the dashboard
• Advanced analytics available as add-ons
• Advanced features
• Solid performance
• Perfect workflows
• Powerful social collaboration
• Too many packages making it hard to sort out
• Packages may be too expensive for small or midsize businesses
4. Agile CRM
Agile CRM is the best software for business yawning for perfect sales and marketing. The app allows collaboration between the sales teams, where different tools manage them but meet at the contact level.
The software provides modern ways for a business to operate while offering perfect value, mostly helpful for SMBs.
• Free version up to 10 users
• Starter tier at $14.99/month per user
• Fully integrated and customized social CRM
• Landing page builder
• A telephony software
• Easy project and contact management
• Streamlined customer data
• Speeds up the sales process and marketing protocol
• Easy to manage software
• You can see your transactions at various stages
• Easy to use with drag and drop feature
• Not perfect for those with limited tech experience
• No on-premise deployment provided
Salesmate is one of the best CRM software for startups and large businesses. Salesmate software helps your team to increase their productivity, engage customers, and increase sales.
Businesses using SalesMate CRM can save more time, win more customers, and easily manage their pipelines.
• 15-day free trial
• Starter: $12/month
• Growth: $24/month
• Boost: $40/month
• Social collaboration
• Integrated calling and texting tool
• Reporting and analytics
• Extended trial period
• Mostly Suitable for small businesses
EngageBay CRM is an amazing software for acquiring, engaging, nurturing, and closing visitors, which later become customers. The CRM software is rich in features necessary for effective customer service. You need these features for better engagement and to ensure faster customer service.
Pricing (Yearly Plan)
• Free version and free trial available
• Paid version starts at $7.79
• Territory management feature
• Marketing Integration
• Document storage
• Task management system
• Easy to use
• Great customer support
• Both automatic and manual workflows
• Perfect email marketing and automation tools
• The user experience can be better
Insightly is another effective CRM solution for SMB that comes with a dynamic interface. The software does great at organizing key functions and ensuring you get them at a friendly and easy to understand way. Insightly recently expanded to project management functionality and marketing automation.
• 14-days CRM software free trial
• Paid version starts at $29/month per user
• Marketing Integration
• Social Integration
• Email marketing
• Lead generation Internal Chat Integration
• Dynamic and friendly design
• Integration options
• Powerful functionalities
• Businesses pay extra for leads
• Too pricey for SMBs
Freshsales is one of the best CRM for service-based businesses coming with the touch of modernity. You can get the software in different plans, with each coming with a host of features. The plans, versatility, and the support they provide suits small businesses so well.
• 21-day free plan
• Paid version starts at $29
• Click-to-call and SMS integration
• Freshsales is one of the best CRM with office 365 integration
• Good customer service
• Freshcaller and Mailchimp
• Proactive AI assistant
• Several integrations
• Simplified CRM process
• Customization options
• The reporting dashboard is not available below Estate plan level
• It does not have a landing page feature
Less Annoying is software that will help you take all the complexity from your customer relationship and project management. Less annoying is relatively new software without all the bells and whistles.
But it’s still worth it as it comes with pretty amazing features, including the SaaS ecosystem. It is a great CRM for small businesses due to its affordability and simplicity.
• 30-day CRM software free trial
• $15/month per user
• Mobile access available
• Administration tools
• One-click export
• Mailchimp integration
• Free automatic updates
• Consistent and simple to use design
• Ideal from startups and independent contractors
• Lightweight product
• Lacks many advanced features
• Less pricing options
• Limited API access
10. Keap CRM
Keap CRM was formerly known as Infusionsoft, but the change of name did not make it less important as it is still one of the strongest CRM for sales and marketing. The software has straightforward tools with a simple to understand Interface.
• Starts at $40/month
• Contact manager
• Sales automation
• E-commerce automation
• Workflows automation
• Comes with a complete assortment of features
• Covers a huge range of data
• Perfect for creating well-informed marketing
• It’s a drag and drop CRM
• No phone support at night or weekends
11. Zendesk Sell
Zendesk Sell, formerly known as Base CRM, is relatively easy to use solution falling under Zendesk’s marketing, sales, and customer service. Thanks to its simplicity, the software of perfect for small to medium-size businesses with a reduced admission price.
• Starts at $19/month
• Unified user experience with multiple services
• MailChimp, Zandest sell, HubSpot CRM integration
• One-click installation
• Dynamic user interface
• 360’ view of contact interactions
• A well-organized layout
• Perfect for web and mobile apps use
• Difficult file upload
• Features might be overwhelming for SMBs
12. NetSuite CRM
NetSuite(from Oracle) is one of the best CRM software for startups, SMBs, and large organizations focusing on manufacturing, wholesale, and retail across numerous industries. The software features very powerful CRM capabilities perfect for running a business effectively. It offers quotes, sales forecasting, order management in addition to traditional CRM capabilities such as sales force automation(SFA), and customer service management.
• NetSuite CRM license starts at $999 with an additional $99 per extra user.
• Customer interaction 360-degree view
• Real-time CRM integration
• Marketing automation
• Partner relationship
• Helps you manage global sales
• Available on mobile and web
• Seamless flow of information
• Easy data access
• Easy to customize
• More internet demand due to constant upgrades
13. Capsule CRM
This new customer relationship management solution is built for simplicity and powerful performance. The software is perfect for businesses that need to grow as they will expand with the software. It is perfect for catering to small sales teams' needs with its focus on efficiency and improved sales.
• Free up to 2 users
• Paid version starts at $18/month
• Tasks and calendar functionality
• Extensive contact management
• Has mobile apps for both Android and iOS users
• Supports various integrations
• Reach out a reminder if you’re inactive
• Note-taking and sharing functions
• Several integrations
• Some features are only good for larger business
• Some functionalities need deeper digging
14. Scoro CRM
Scoro CRM is a platform that functions more like a control hub for various tasks, including task management, customer relationship, customer management, etc. With the software, you have complete control of everything happening on your business, and you can initiate everything with ease.
• Starts at $26/month
• Shared team calendar
• Task scheduling and prioritization
• Resource management
• Time tracking
• Document storage
• Budget dashboard
• Availability of phone support
• Easy reporting
• Financial management
• An extensive list of features
• Expensive plan
Pipeliner is a perfect platform that enables businesses to increase how customers interact and even acquire new ones. This takes place through emails, face-to-face interactions, phone calls, and social interactions. It’s also one of the best CRM with office 365 integration.
• 30-day free plan period
• Starts at $65/month
• Automatic download of the installation file
• Cloud-based data
• Local client access
• Integrated Google Apps
• You can work with it offline
• Strong social integration
• Simple pricing
• Good visuals and graphics
• Limited custom reports
16. Apptivo CRM
Apptivo is a perfect option for organizations looking for customizable solutions with an excellent mobile platform and strategic integration. The software is perfect for both small and midsize businesses looking for affordability and ease of use.
• 30-day trial
• Paid version starts at $8/month
• Reporting and third party integration
• One-stop customization
• Lead management
• User and contact management
• Various customization options
• Mobile applications available
• 24-hour reliable customer support
• Security controls
• Ease of use
• Performance can be faster
17. CRM Creatio
CRM Creatio is a process-driven platform that helps users combine customer data with business process management to improve their sales, marketing, and service efforts. The software comes with perfectly scalable features suitable for small and midsize organizations. There are 3 products in this software; marketing, sales, and service.
• Free trial
• Paid version starts at $30/month
• 360-degree view of operations
• Optimized CRM systems
• Data-driven strategy
• Sales management
• Budget planning
• ROI estimation
• Easy to configure
• Bridge of operation gaps
• Perfect for small to mid-size businesses
• Cumbersome payment plan
There is numerous CRM software available with each having its own unique features and benefits.
For instance, HubSpot is easy to set up with great customer service, Agile speeds up the sales process, and marketing protocol. On the flip side, Freshsales is known for its user-friendliness and Zoho is highly customizable.
You know your business better than anyone else, so you are in the best position to select the best-fit CRM software form your business. You need to look at the value offered and what you want the CRM software to do for your business.
You need to look at cloud vs. on-premise deployment, features and functionality, third-party integrations, ease-of-use, pricing plans, and more before choosing the best CRM software for your business.
Which CRM software are you planning to use or are currently using for your business? Let me know in the comments below.
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