If you're reading this, you're likely already familiar with Customer Relationship Management software or CRM. However, if you're not, I would recommend you check out our blog post "5 Ways CRM can help Small Business" or download your FREE copy of CRM for Beginners before reading further. For the rest of you, you're probably either thinking about investing in CRM or making a switch. In either case, deciding on a CRM is a crucial decision as it's both integrated with both front and back end functions of your small business when implemented correctly. However, not all CRMs are created equal. Your industry needs, type of customer or budget can impact which CRM is best for your small business.
We've spent a lot of time researching, testing and understanding the benefits and features of many different systems on the market. With so many options out there, it can sometimes be overwhelming especially for the entrepreneur with an already full plate. Understanding this, I thought I would help to make your decision easier by ranking the top 5 CRM software platforms, specifically as it relates to small business.
Customer Support As with any free software, customer support can be an issue. It's not that HubSpot doesn't offer support but you'll have to get used to using their customer forums and blogs for answers. Don't get me wrong, the information is extremely informative however, when you have an issue, you don't want to read about it, you may want to talk to someone. (Personally, I find I get answers faster looking them up through Hubspot's search bar than picking up a phone.) Depending on your level of comfort with technology, you may have a lot of questions. There's certainly a learning curve with implementing any CRM into your business. While Hubspot is very easy to use, for those less technically inclined, consider hiring an agency or an on-boarding consultant (we provide these services if you need) to help you properly implement Hubspot CRM into your business so you can hit the ground running.
Fresh Sales is a high-performing CRM designed for medium to large businesses with high-velocity sales teams. It's easy to use while chewing through thousands of leads and contacts. While Freshsales is a relatively new product, it's the brainchild of Freshdesk, the respected customer support software and ticketing system. It's easy to set up and fully cloud-based. Freshsales offers a full suite of auto-dialers, call recording, call routing and is a leader in providing revenue analytics and reporting.
Send emails and view reports of opens and clicks. This is great for improving future content and gauging who's currently interested in your product or services.
If your business is one that fields a lot of calls, this is a really cool feature. Freshsales allow calls to be transferred to it directly, no assembly required. You also create personalized welcoming messages, ID callers, and monitor live calls for quality assurance.
Freshsales is a leader in reporting offering default reports and customization options to cater it more to your business. You can also use filters to run reports over any specific period of time.
Customer support is not only offered on paid packages but free versions as well via phone email or live chat. There is also an extensive knowledge base and customer forums that you can train on get up to speed with the software.
Piperdrive was built by app developers for sales people. However, this doesn't mean it's not a useful tool for small businesses. It's a lead nurturing machine. Pipedrive organizes your leads, prioritizes them for you and provides an overview of your current sales outlook. It's very easy to implement and shows results instantly.
Salesforce CRM is the industry standard in CRM solutions. It is by far the most powerful system on the market. Its fully customizable and is the engine that powers most of the world's largest Fortune 500 corporations including such giants as Google, T-Mobile, Vodafone, American Express, Toyota, and others. According to a 2015 research by Mintigo, around three fourths of Salesforce customers have annual revenue between $1M and $50M.
Salesforce was the first to deliver CRM as a software as a service CRM which appeared to the Small and Medium Business (SMB) market. They disrupted the large, expensive and clunky on-premise CRM software systems and was user friendly allowing businesses to start seeing results in days, not months or years.
Every four months, Salesforce automatically delivers updates to its products all while leaving all user data and customization intact.
While you're not only paying for the brand-name, as an entrepreneur you'll likely never use most of Salesforce CRM's most useful features. It's almost entirely too powerful for most small businesses. Salesforce bills annually upfront and charges per seat (or per person). The basic package starts at $25/ user per month and ranges up to $150 per user. For most, Salesforce is an aspiration product and prices most small businesses out of the market.
Zoho has been a leader in contact management but has come a long way in how they've helped small businesses manage their sales pipeline and lead nurturing. Zoho has revamped its interface to integrate all facets of its tools in one place. The new Zoho CRM promises to cater to small businesses, solopreneurs, or a large enterprise by automating daily business activities, tracking sales, and engage customers.
Zoho's roots are undoubtedly in the social media world. While it's now a comprehensive solution, there is no better solution for managing your leads through social platforms. Zoho CRM's social integration is so intuitive that it reads visitor behavior and can categorize them appropriately as a contact or hot lead allowing sales to take the appropriate action.
Zoho CRM has been a player in the marketplace for some time. It's a very solid product. So why is this a con? Support is OK. Features are fine. Reports are on par with others. It's also a very safe product...it doesn't try to be an innovator. It's never first to test out a new feature but as such, is never going to fall flat on its face. It gives you what it promises, a solid CRM. It has very few distinguishing characteristics from other CRMs and at the same time very few limitations.