Over the years, CRM has transitioned from technical jargon to an absolute necessity for almost every business. The growth of CRM has paralleled the evolution of technology and is the fastest-growing software category in the world, CRM will continue to spread its footprints, especially under trends like automation and AI. Top CRM companies continue to deliver solutions that help businesses engage and grow their customer base, the CRM market is expected to grow up to $80 Billion by 2025. Meanwhile, customers enjoy a more targeted and personalized interaction with their preferred brands.
What is CRM?
CRM represents Customer Relationship Management.
Anyone who has ever been at the forefront of a growing business knows how chaotic things can get. Between everything that competes for your attention as a small to medium business, from product development to marketing, finding the time to manage and improve your customer interactions can be much more difficult than it sounds. Add to the fact that customer interaction often occurs across multiple channels, like social media, email, chat messages, and managing customer interaction begins to feel like an impossible challenge.
Multiple software and solutions have emerged and improved over time to address this issue. CRM systems essentially act as centralized databases that pull together customer data points from various communication channels. Allowing easy access to integrated customer data has massive applications within sales, marketing, and services.
For instance, tracking customer experience translates into detailed customer personas, extremely useful for marketing. Effective communication with leads makes it easier for brands to deliver what they desire, turning leads into customers and boosting sales. And improved customer interaction allows for better customer service, generating customer loyalty.
Finding the right CRM for your business
So yes, using CRM tools can be extremely beneficial, but they can also be difficult to choose from given their wide availability and use. There is a multitude of robust, well built, highly functional CRM software out there. But it is essential to choose the right one for you that suits your specific business needs.
While trying to find the right CRM tool, it is essential to consider factors such as pricing vs. offered features, learning curve, usability, smooth integrations with current systems, etc. Major players in the CRM industry do not provide standalone solutions but an entire ecosystem of integrated apps that work together as a whole. Consider and compare systems that offer integrations specifically beneficial to your business; doing so lets you make the most out of your CRM investment.
Below is a list of 5 leading CRM solutions that could benefit your business. Each comes with different features and pricing so make sure you find the one most compatible with your needs.
Salesforce has been an industry leader within the CRM world for quite some time now. Easy to set up and equipped with robust features for leads and contact management, opportunity management, workflow management, remains the CRM solution of choice for around a hundred and fifty thousand customers worldwide. Salesforce offers a wide range of customization options, third party social media integrations, and solid workflows.
Salesforce further offers advanced options like einstein analytics, comprehensive sales forecasts, integration over email via salesforce lightning, etc. They also have a mobile app, which makes the service much more user-friendly and accessible. As far as the cons go, salesforce offers a $25 per person per month base price, but the premium plan can get a bit expensive, and the learning curve can be steep for beginners.
Hubspot CRM is an innovative solution based on a freemium pricing model, with extendable functionalities with the use of add ons. As indicated by its friendly pricing, the HubSpot CRM seems designed for young businesses starting out in the CRM arena. The free version is very much usable and offers everything a small business could need. One can also easily upgrade to three tiers of the paid subscription: business, pro, and enterprise, as their business grows.
The option to select add ons allows one to choose and pay only for the features one needs rather than an upfront cost for a host of options small businesses might not even use. The pro version allows for advanced features like A/B testing and Analytics, while the enterprise version is tailored for large-scale initiatives with advanced lead generation, nurturing, and prediction options. Hubspot shines for its user-friendly interface and wallet-friendly price.
3. Zoho CRM
Zoho’s CRM offers a wide variety of quality features such as lead management, omnichannel customer interaction, contact management, analytics, etc., at a reasonable and competitive price. Seamless integration with other Zoho apps and services make Zoho CRM a natural choice for those already a part of the Zoho ecosystem. The choice is further reinforced by the Zoho one subscription plan, which offers access to all Zoho apps and services for $30 a month per user.
But even in and of itself, the Zoho CRM is a reliable tool for your business needs equipped with a multitude of robust features like email and AdWords integration, workflow automation, and even Zoho’s own AI tool, Zia, which analyzes sales processes. The user interface is also very straightforward and highly customizable, promoting productivity.
4. Agile CRM
Agile CRM is a compact and user-friendly CRM solution. With features like seamless social media integration and a landing page builder, Agile is built to hold marketing and sales efforts together. Equipped with options like triggers and web rules, Agile makes customer engagement and campaign automation easy and intuitive.
Agile is free for up to ten users. And the basic plan begins at $8.99 per user per month, making it a solid choice for small and medium businesses. The enterprise plan priced at $47.99 can sometimes fall short, further underscoring that agile works best with small and growing businesses. Features like contact level analysis, two-way telephony, custom deal milestones, and marketing automation offer a wide range of options your business can benefit from. Agile CRM is praised for being super friendly to use with its drag and drop campaign creator and easy setup.
Apptivo feels like the jack of all trades within the CRM world. It may not specialize in a particular area, but it does everything else reasonably well. Often seen as an intuitive, affordable, and functional CRM solution, Apptivo is regarded as a balanced all-rounder. Apptivo offers a 30-day free trial, a free basic version, three tiers of paid subscription, and customizable pricing for the final enterprise tier. Such a flexible pricing structure implies Apptivo’s intention to become a reliable solution for businesses of all scales and sizes.
Apptivo’s premium plans offer many standard features like campaign management, email tracking, marketing automation, etc., along with access to 40+ Apptivo apps (included in the basic version) that you can utilize and choose from, based on your specific business needs. Despite such customizability, Apptivo strikes as an intuitive and easy to use solution. Add to it the availability of the free version, and we have a reliable beginner-friendly CRM option.
Bonus tip: Third-party Integration
As functional and robust CRMs have gotten over the years, they still aren’t a complete solution for your business needs. You’ll always be using other critical third-party apps and services for things like email marketing, accounting, business intelligence, scheduling, social media operations, and so much more. Thus before opting for a CRM system, make sure your preferred options are compatible and scalable with the third-party solutions you’ll be utilizing. CRMs are meant to simplify our workflows making businesses more efficient. Any incompatibility within the process only comes out as a needless distraction defeating the whole point of having a CRM.
CRMs have taken over the business world and are now essential for all companies, no matter their scale. If you are a young startup unsure about investing in a CRM system, then consider giving this in-depth pricing guide for CRM software a read.
Either way, business-customer relationships are critical for every business’s growth, and utilizing every tool and tactic available to improve the same has become a must. Adopting a CRM solution compatible with your business can be one of the deciding factors when it comes to your company’s long-term success.
Author Bio: Darren Mathew is passionate about Tech, Business, and the evolving relationship between the two. He is a content curator at GoodFirms – a leading B2B review and rating platform that lets businesses compare and choose the right service provider for their needs.