October 17, 2018
Businesses live and die by their customers. Build a healthy customer relationship, and you’ll thrive. But, consistently offer sub-par experiences and your business will fail, no matter how great the product. One type business software is centered entirely on tracking and addressing this core business need: CRM, or Customer Relationship Management.
With the right CRM, you’ll ramp up your ability to convert leads while cutting down on churn at the same time.
Not only is the CRM software market competitive, with over a half dozen top-quality options available, but the array of features and add-on integrations can be confusing. Each CRM is different, with unique functions and potential extra costs.
Which is best? We’re glad you asked.
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Best CRM Software to Choose
Finding the right CRM is a task that depends on your specific needs: The best CRM option for you will offer the features you need at a cost that justifies your purchase. You can check out Tech.Co’s explainer ‘What is CRM Software?‘ for more information.
Once you’re ready to comb through the top CRM options, read on for our overviews (or click on each vendor title for an in-depth look).
- Salesforce— The biggest and best known brand in CRM, and one that’s trusted by thousands of businesses worldwide. It combines various platforms, such as Sales Cloud and Marketing Cloud, for its different functions, and has a modern, simple interface plus powerful data functions.
- Hubspot — A “freemium” CRM service, this software’s basic package is available for free, and comes with a simple learning curve. Additional platforms address more specific CRM categories, such as marketing or sales. This is a good option for businesses just dipping their toes in the CRM market, though they’ll need to upgrade to a monthly payment plan to access the most worthwhile features
- Microsoft Dynamics — A great choice for companies already well-versed in Microsoft products, this offering comes with features beyond just CRM: It can provide an integrated platform for finance and talent recruitment as well. However, third-party integrations beyond Microsoft are limited.
- Zendesk — Originally known for its ticketing and call desk tools, this software also helps usher leads down pipelines and close deals. Structured as a suite of apps under a single platform, Zendesk lets users pick and choose which features to focus on, and integrates easily with other CRM services. A good pick for a business in need of a customer support desk for tickets, live chat, and phone.
- Zoho — A feature-rich CRM option with support plans that scale with a business: The smallest plan is free and available to three users, while the mid-tier plans offer access to unique abilities, most noteably an AI that analyzes sales data to form predictions. It supports 20 languages, making it an attractive option for international operations.
- Apptivo — This CRM is a serviceable option that no-frills customers should enjoy: It includes the basic features in a simple, intuitive interface with a low learning curve. Strong security options are a stand-out feature.
- amoCRM — This CRM offers the basic CRM features and it also supplements them with robust integration options for third-party apps from Facebook to MailChimp. With just three service plans, all at a low price point, amoCRM is an easy-to-understand option.
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Best CRM Software Providers
Here’s our closer look at the pros, cons, and unique abilities of the best CRM software vendors available today.
- Plenty of features
- A popular CRM option
- Intuitive user interface
- Phone and email support will cost extra
- Features can be overwhelming
Hubspot’s CRM is available for free, though users will need to upgrade to a paid plan in order to access the best features. However, a free CRM is nothing to sneeze at: Hubspot’s free tier offers better functionality than any other major free CRM software on the market. The service splits its features into three “hubs,” Sales Hub, Service Hub, and Marketing Hub, all of which come with free tiers and can be accessed through a main dashboard interface.
Noteable core features of the three hubs include the ability to import, customize, and create new contacts, deals, and leads; Gmail and Outlook email integrations; the ability to create and publish SEO blog posts or social media posts from within the interface; report-building features; flexible support tickets; a mobile app available on iOS and Android; and email campaign tracking. You can read a more complete breakdown of the free and paid features in our detailed Hubspot CRM review, or check out a direct comparison to Salesforce in our Salesforce vs. Hubspot breakdown.
The three hubs can be purchased separately at three different tiers beyond the free one, or all three can be purchased together as the Growth Suite, also in three tiers. The Growth Suite offers the best bargain, offering a tidy 25% discount. The Growth Suite’s Starter tier starts at $113/month, the Professional tier starts at $1,200/month, and the Enterprise tier at $3,600/month.
- Great for businesses looking for a free option
- Easy learning curve
- Functional mobile app
- Free plan has limited functionality
- Extra features can be expensive
- Training is largely online
- Integrates easily with Microsoft products/services
- Flexible pricing so you don’t pay for features you don’t need
- 24/7 live support
- Limited third-party integrations
- Interface may not be intuitive
- Starts with competitive pricing
- Great ticket management features
- Good third-party integration options
- Not a complete CRM solution
- Live support not available at lowest tiers
- Starts with a free plan
- Good G-Suite integration
- Supports 20 languages
- Limitations of free plan may be reached quickly
- Strong security
- Prices are below industry average
- Third-party integrations
- Limited customization options
- Infrequently updated
- Strong sales pipeline
- Simple learning curve
- Third-party integrations
- Primarily focused on sales
- Limited storage space
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