An introduction to CRM Software
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a methodology for managing all of a company’s relationships and interactions with customers, and potential customers. A CRM system helps companies stay connected to customers, streamline processes, and improve profitability.
A CRM Software solution helps users focus on an organisation’s relationship with individual people – including customers, service users, colleagues or suppliers – throughout their lifecycle with them, winning their business, and providing support and additional services throughout the relationship.
The 13 most popular CRM Software products
1. HubSpot CRM is a cloud-based CRM platform which helps companies of all sizes track and nurture leads, and analyse business metrics.
HubSpot offers a visual dashboard with a real-time view of the entire sales funnel. Users can track customer interactions automatically through email, social media or phone calls, and every interaction is stored in a timeline organised by lead.
The solution enables users to create and manage email templates and track how well those emails are performing. The program can also send real-time notifications for events, such as when a contact opens an email or downloads an attachment.
2. Pipedrive is a web-based CRM and pipeline management solution which enables businesses to plan sales activities and monitor deals. Pipeline streamlines every action involved into converting a potential deal into a successful sale.
The solution provides full visibility to sales personnel of different sales pipelines, with an interface displaying the progress stage for each deal, with complete details of the next actionable items. Users can track the pending activities in each pipeline through the activity & goal feature. Pipedrive also offers custom sales reporting tools to monitor individual and team targets, analyse sales and data, and generate visual reports.
Its emailing system integrates with multiple email service providers like Outlook, Gmail and Yahoo. Users can send and receive emails from multiple accounts using their Pipedrive account. The solution also integrates with leading CRM tools and applications, like MailChimp and Google Maps.
Pipedrive is cloud-based and can be accessed from any web-browser or through a dedicated mobile app.
3. Freshsales is a cloud-based CRM solution that helps businesses in different industries manage interactions with existing and potential customers. The solution integrates with Freshdesk, Segment visit tracking and Google calendars.
Subscriptions are offered on a monthly basis.
Key features include one-click phone, sales lead tracking, sales management and more. Users can send professionalised bulk emails, and then monitor activities on those emails. The inbox automatically prioritises emails from contacts and leads that are waiting for a response.
Freshsales tracks the webpages that sales prospects are interacting with, and then segments based on their behaviour. A lead scoring feature ranks leads based on that data, and will prioritise those with a higher score over those that require nurturing. The 360° customer view offers full details about customers and prospects, including conversations, touchpoints, appointments and tasks.
4. Bpm’online CRM is a CRM solution for marketing, sales and service automation. The solution allows companies to manage the customer lifecycle, from lead to sales, and ongoing customer service.
The solution provides users with the ability to view marketing, sales and service activities through a single CRM platform. It consists of three integrated products, which can be used together, or as separate applications.
Bpm’online Marketing is a multi-channel marketing application which enables marketing specialists to seek and support ongoing communication with clients.
Bpm’online Sales is a sales force automation tool for managing the sales cycle from lead generation to managing repeat customers.
Bpm’online Service provides customer service tools to help with customer engagement.
The software can be deployed on-demand as a cloud-based solution, or on site, where data is hosted in-house on a company’s servers. The system is both Windows and iOS compatible, and is supported by a mobile app.
5. Monday.com CRM formerly known as daPulse, is a visual management tool designed to help transform how teams work together. It is a simple but intuitive tool which enables users to manage work, meet deadlines and act in a culture of transparency. A single board allows users to see who is working on what tasks at any particular point in time and, from this board, they can add tasks, projects and to-do items, assign teammates to specific projects and determine the exact status of a project in real-time.
Features such as @mentions allow direct communication to individuals and entire teams, and real-time notifications allow everybody on a project team to be brought up to date, whether they are using a desk top or a mobile device. There is also the facility to invite clients as guests on the system in order to promote a better and more streamlined collaborative process.
Monday.com manages and tracks leads and projects from the same dashboard, so users can track prospects, clients and deals easily, and administer the lead pipeline up to the post-project phase. The CRM module allows them to sort, filter and customise data as they need it.
6. Zoho CRM is a web-based CRM solution tailored to the needs of small and mid-sized businesses. Its interface includes CRM tools such as sales and marketing automation, customer support and a help desk, product configuration and reporting and customer analytics.
Zoho CRM offers multi-channel support, allowing businesses to connect with their customers via email, live chat, phone, and through social media. The gamification feature allows businesses to gamify their sales process and reward employees who meet their targets. The mobile edition gives users access to sales activities and customer information on iPad, iPhone and Android devices.
The solution’s CRM Blueprint helps in automating sales processes by defining workflows and macros for regular activities. Zoho can integrate with a number of existing software solutions, including Google Docs, Microsoft Office and SharePoint. It also offers add-on applications designed for specialised business, collaboration, and productivity needs.
7. ProsperWorks is a cloud-based CRM tool which gives users a complete view of their customers. It is applicable for any industry, including real estate, advertising and distribution.
The software includes email integration, opportunity management, and lead tracking amongst its capabilities. Customer data is automatically stored, and the system independently searches online to find relevant information. Every file that is sent in an email is immediately stored in a contact’s portfolio, and the system profiles each interaction so users know how recently they have contacted each customer.
Past and future calendar events, such as meetings and calls, are logged within the program, and the software also suggests possible contacts to make based on previous correspondence. Through the solution’s email integration, tasks are visible in Gmail, and the opportunities management feature allows users to visualise and manage the sales pipeline with drag-and-drop functionality.
8. InfoFlo is an integrated CRM solution that can be accessed online or installed on premise. The system provides content management, computer telephony integration, marketing and sales automation, and customer support.
Users can also access InfoFlo’s core features like email marketing, appointments and meetings, project management, Skype and Outlook integration, and task management.
InfoFlo works with clients to build a CRM that is customised for their business size and needs. It is designed for small to medium-sized businesses in industries like accounting, software, real estate and more.
9. Scoro is widely used by small and medium-sized companies working in advertising, consulting, IT and other industries. It is a is a cloud-based work and business management solution, which displays outstanding tasks, account information, calendar events, key performance indicators and other important data on a single screen. Among the key features of Scoro are Work Scheduling and Tracking, Project Management, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and Quoting, Billing Automation, and a Reporting and Dashboard module.
With Scoro, work can be planned or scheduled through the Scoro Planner, which gives users an overview of individual workloads, available time slots, potential overbookings, and deadlines. Each user has the ability to manage their own task list, based on deadlines, priorities, and projects. Completed tasks and calendar events are automatically added to employees’ work reports, eliminating the need for timesheets.
10. amoCRM is a cloud-based CRM solution that helps users manage the sales pipeline. Users can receive feedback and reports about the performance of sales people. The solution offers lead score and nurturing, email integration and sales analytics. It supports custom field creation and unique tags that allow users to organise deals and contacts. The mobile app is available for download on Android and iOS devices.
amoCRM delivers full visibility of the sales pipeline and can be broken out based on the lead count, revenue, sales rep or tags. Existing customers can be uploaded from contact databases such as Outlook and Gmail. Follow-up tasks keep users up-to-date on meetings, calls and emails, and are attached to the lead or contact cards.
Integrations include Facebook, MailChimp, Dropbox and Xero.
11. Really Simple Systems CRM is a cloud-based CRM system designed for small and medium-sized organisations. The solution comes in both a free and a paid edition. The free edition offers only sales force automation, whilst the paid edition offers additional tools for marketing and customer service.
Really Simple Systems is a modular solution comprising of integrated modules for sales, opportunity, activity, task, and document management. With the marketing module, marketers can organise and manage campaigns, send bulk emails, capture and segment leads, track opportunities and more.
The program provides advanced data security measures such as data encryption, and real-time data replication between two data centers.
12. OnContact is a mid-market CRM solution that can be deployed on premise or in the cloud. OnContact includes complete sales automation, marketing automation, customer service and contact center functionality in an interface that adjusts across all browser sizes and mobile devices.
The solution features statistical analysis, global search functionality, interactive reports and dashboards, customisation tools and integration with QuickBooks, Outlook, Gmail and more.
OnContact CRM allows users to adjust their screen formats and change toolbars, buttons and fields to fit their own individual workflows and business rules. It is suitable for industries such as technology, healthcare, banking and insurance.
13. eWay-CRM is a CRM solution which helps marketing professionals and small businesses track business opportunities and engage with customers.
The solution allows businesses to store contact information and engagements. The marketing module helps organise marketing campaigns and target potential customers. eWay-CRM automatically tracks communication history and creates a follow-up plan for sales people. Users can automate administrative tasks, such as sending pre- and post-engagement emails, assigning leads and sending quotes and documents to customers.
The program allows businesses to create contact categories based on relationships, geography, importance and other factors. The auto-reminder feature helps companies keep track of their payments, appointments, clients’ birthdays and anniversaries, and other milestones. Users can also track business activities on their mobile phone with the eWay-CRM Premium mobile app for Android. The solution also integrates with Outlook, allowing businesses to handle CRM activities from the Outlook interface.
How to choose the best CRM Software
As ever, the advice is to focus on internal needs and requirements, and to identify solutions that best meet those. Research in advance possible solutions, having consideration to factors such as cost and the level of support provided, both pre-, and, most importantly, post-sale.
Types of CRM Software
CRM software is categorised into three broad types.
Analytical CRM – these systems analyse data, using techniques like data mining, pattern recognition, and correlation to aid decision-making;
Collaborative CRM – such programs incorporate external stakeholders, like vendors, and shares valuable customer information with them; and
Operational CRM – applications which integrate sales, marketing and support. These include sub-categories such as sales force, marketing, and service automation.
CRM Software solutions covers a broad set of applications designed to help businesses manage processes such as customer data and interaction, the automation of sales, tracking leads and marketing and customer support. Such systems are used to manage business contacts, employees, clients, contract wins and sales opportunities.