Category: Choosing a CRM

Choosing a CRM

The 11 Best CRM Tools for SMBs & Enterprises…

Sales efficiency: the metric that pits your sales team’s gross revenue against its cost of operation.

It’s a gold standard for measuring how well a sales team, department, or process is performing. It’s a simple, straightforward benchmark that can tell you how well your sales efforts stack up to your goals and your competitors.

It goes without saying… but I’ll say it anyway… you want your salespeople, teams, and processes to be as efficient as possible.

That’s why you should constantly be exploring the strategies and technology that will put you in the best position to boost revenue without incurring disproportionately high costs.

Efficiency doesn’t always come easy, but there are readily available resources that can certainly help your case — namely, all-in-one CRMs.

All-in-one CRMs, or customer relationship management systems, integrate a variety of marketing, sales, and support resources into a company’s day-to-day operations.

Why do you need a CRM?

Customer relationship management doesn’t really capture the full scope of what a CRM is capable of. Sure, CRMs are designed, first and foremost, to help you better serve your customers

But they could just as easily be called “MLEFEABOS” or “Make-Life-Easier-for-Employees-and-Business-Owners Systems.” (It’s a working title, but it gets the point across.)

That’s because a CRM makes your day-to-day smoother and saves you valuable time while making your business operations more efficient. An all-in-one CRM is a holistic solution to your business’s needs — it helps with processes like attracting prospects, qualifying leads, closing deals, contact management, and retaining and delighting customers.

With so many software options across a range of price points (which we’ll review shortly), it’s clear that investing in the right all-in-one CRM for your business is something that’s both useful and attainable.

Speaking of those benefits, let’s talk about a few major ones next.

Benefits of CRM for Sales

An array of benefits result from implementing a CRM — these benefits are often felt across an entire organization, considering the software can be applied to Sales, Marketing, and Service.

For a sales team specifically, here are some of the benefits of using a CRM:

  • Automatically store prospect and customer contact information in a central location.
  • Streamline cross-team and cross-department communication and collaboration.
  • Organize information about current accounts, leads, and previous customer communications.
  • Automate monotonous and time-consuming tasks like updating contacts and creating or sending reports.
  • Streamline your company’s sales lifecycle and boost team-wide efficiency.
  • Save money and time.

Next, I’ll introduce you to some of the best all-in-one CRMs available for sales teams and offer some guidance on whether they’re right for your business.

1. HubSpot

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HubSpot Sales Hub is a sales CRM with sales analytics, sales engagement, and CPQ tools. The all-in-one nature of HubSpot makes it highly-valuable for users. Why? Because it eliminates friction — a.k.a the (natural) result of your business’s growth. And although that growth is a good thing, the friction can stall or prevent it from happening.

The HubSpot CRM combats the issue of friction by supercharging your sales process with unmatched efficiency, precision, and expertise.

That’s because HubSpot can help 1) automate the sales process so reps are able to spend more time assisting and supporting prospects and customers, 2) give you total visibility into success with sales analytics and reporting so reps can offer customers a consistent experience, 3) streamline and personalize outreach by keeping customers front and center, and 4) close more deals faster with the support of CPQ.

Price

  • Free forever.
  • There are also paid versions of the all-in-one CRM that you can upgrade to or start with depending on your needs.

Who is HubSpot suited for?

  • Sales Hub is built for all sales teams — whether you have two or 500 members.

How simple is HubSpot to use?

  • Users find HubSpot’s simplicity and ease of use to be a key differentiator when stacked up against competition.

2. Nextiva CRM

nextiva crm tool

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Nextiva is a cloud-based CRM that consolidates company communications into a single platform — this allows sales, marketing, and support teams to stay on the same page. The platform’s comprehensive experience scoring and AI tools give a holistic view of your customers while helping develop seamless and satisfying customer experiences.

Nextiva’s biggest draw may be how well it handles multi-channel customer communication. If your business is looking for a CRM that can provide a solid communication infrastructure for sales and customer support reps, you should explore Nextiva as a potential option.

Price

  • Plans start at $15 per month per user.

Who is Nextiva suited for?

  • Nextiva has plans for small-to-enterprise-level companies.

How simple is Nextiva to use?

  • Users say Nextiva is anywhere from fairly simple to use to slightly complex.

3. Capsule CRM

capsule crm software

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Capsule comes with a variety of customization options to help suit individual companies’ specific needs and challenges. These features include custom fields, tags, and branding options.

One of Capsule’s biggest perks is its accessibility. It has a simple, straightforward interface and easily integrates with third-party applications, including G Suite and MailChimp.

Those factors — coupled with its competitive pricing — make Capsule a great choice for small to midsize businesses looking for an effective CRM without much hassle.

Price

  • Plans start at $18 per month per user.

Who is Capsule suited for?

  • Capsule has plans for small-to-enterprise-level companies. These versions of the CRM work for companies who have anywhere from 250 to 200,000 users.

How simple is Capsule to use?

  • Users find Capsule CRM to be intuitive and easy to use.

4. Benchmark One

benchmark one crm

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Benchmark One (formerly known as HatchBuck) CRM is a versatile solution that fits a wide variety of business needs. Its email marketing, marketing automation, and sales automation tools stand out both in the field of CRMs and as its strongest features.

Companies in almost any sector — from advertising to hospitality to real estate — can benefit from leveraging Benchmark One. Though the platform can suit organizations across a variety of industries, it’s still tailored to SMBs.

Price

  • Plans start at $39/ mo, billed semi-annually.

Who is Benchmark One suited for?

  • HatchBuck has plans that work for two, four, ten, and unlimited users.

How simple is Benchmark One to use?

  • Users find Benchmark One to be an easy-to-use CRM.

5. Agile CRM

agile crm software

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Agile CRM features a simple, streamlined drag-and-drop project management tool. Its interface makes managing tasks and passing information between your support, sales, and marketing departments straightforward and seamless. It also contains features like lead scoring and segmentation tools.

Agile generally suits SMBs better than enterprises, and its pricing structure reflects that. Its free plan is a great option for smaller businesses and startups that may lack the resources to pay for premium plans elsewhere.

Price

  • Free for up to 10 users, plus an option to upgrade.

Who is Agile CRM suited for?

  • Agile CRM works for a wide range of teams from fewer than 10 people to enterprise-level companies.

How simple is Agile CRM to use?

  • Users find Agile to be fairly simple to navigate but some have challenges with initial installation and set up.

6. Accelo

accelo crm software

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Accelo’s CRM features tools for lead scoring, drafting quotes and proposals, segmentation, and task management. It also has an impressive range of integrations with other leading platforms, including Salesforce, Jira, Quickbooks, and Hubspot.

Accelo focuses on the professional service sector. The platform is tailored for smaller businesses that employ professionals like architects, accountants, engineers, and designers.

Price

  • Plans start at $39 per user/ mo.

Who is Accelo suited for?

  • Accelo is ideal for SMBs businesses and plans require a minimum of three users.

How simple is Accelo to use?

  • Users find Accelo to be an easy software to set up, navigate, and use.

7. GreenRope

greenrope crm software

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GreenRope is a CRM that strives for simplicity. The platform includes features like territory management, segmentation, lead scoring. It also has a straightforward interface that doesn’t require much setup or training

GreenRope has a wide variety of pricing plans to suit an equally wide variety of business sizes. The platform is slightly pricier than most, so it may not be best for very small business and startups.

Price

  • Plans start at $149 per month.

Who is GreenRope suited for?

  • GreenRope is suitable for any business that has between 1,000 and 50,000 contacts — all plans allow for unlimited users.

How simple is GreenRope to use?

  • Users find GreenRope to be easy to use and intuitive.

8. WORK[etc]

work[etc] crm software

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WORK[etc] is a cloud-computing CRM that emphasizes collaboration. The platform consolidates virtually every aspect of a business’s operations and enables easy communication between different departments.

The CRM works for smaller businesses across virtually every industry — from digital advertising firms to real estate agencies. The pricing is a bit more expensive than similar CRMs, but it’s worth exploring for small companies looking to streamline all aspects of their businesses.

Price

  • Plans start at $78 per month.

Who is WORK[etc] suited for?

  • WORK[etc] works for small businesses with up to 20,000 contacts — the starter plan is for businesses with 1-2 users.

How simple is WORK[etc] to use?

  • Users find WORK[etc] to be intuitive and simple to use for the most part.

9. VTiger

vtiger crm software

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VTiger is an affordable CRM with particularly strong sales and marketing automation tools for its relatively low price. The platform also offers solid project and inventory management infrastructure, and boasts a total of over 300,000 customers worldwide. The platform has a robust suite of features across marketing, sales, and service. VTiger is a great option for small businesses running on a tight budget.

Price

  • Plans start at $30 per month.

Who is VTiger suited for?

  • VTiger is ideal for SMBs but there is an enterprise plan for larger teams, too.

How simple is VTiger to use?

Users say VTiger is overall an easy to use software — however, some point out it has a complex UI.

10. Keap

keap crm software

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Keap provides the resources to help you organize information about leads, clients, business communication. Its email and sales automation features speed up day-to-day processes.

Keap has invoice and payment integrations which allow you to accept credit cards, send invoices, and track outstanding payments. That’s where the platform really stands out. It’s an ideal CRM for small businesses that conduct online transactions on a consistent basis.

Price

  • Plans start at $40 per month.

Who is Keap suited for?

There are plans for businesses with 1,000 to 50,000 contacts, all with a minimum of one user.

How simple is Keap to use?

Users say Keap can be difficult to learn at the beginning.

11. Glue Up

glue up all in one crm

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Glue Up is an all-in-one event management cloud-based software and CRM. You can select which type of event suite you want to use — all of which come with an integrated CRM. The event suite options include a standard event management suite as well as virtual, training, membership, community, and donation events.

With Glue Up’s CRM, you can keep your contacts organized, automate sales workflows for your events, manage all of your audiences and business opportunities, keep data and information secure, and gain insight into engagement and performance.

Price

To get an idea of cost, you must contact Glue Up for a quote. You can get a quote for any of the specific event management suites they offer.

Who is Glue Up suited for?

Glue Up is ideal for businesses who need support with one of the specific types of events they have a suite for.

How simple is Glue Up to use?

Users say Glue Up is user-friendly and simple to get started with.

Choose Your CRM

Now that you have the information you need to make an educated decision, go ahead — hop online and get yourself a MLEFEABOS (or CRM).

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in December and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Choosing a CRM

The Ultimate List of CRM Features & Integrations for…

So you’ve decided to get a CRM software. Congrats! Determining when it’s the right time to get a CRM can be a momentous decision in itself.

You’ve cleared one major milestone, but then you’re faced with a second, even bigger hurdle — choosing which system in particular to adopt. How can a first-time buyer sort through the bells and whistles to parse out what features are truly necessary?

If you’re a CRM newbie attempting to navigate the sometimes confusing CRM landscape, don’t go it alone. This guide can give you perspective to separate the essential from the extraneous.

CRM Features

Before all else, a CRM system should be useful to its end users: sales reps, managers, and leaders. Choosing a CRM system with the following eight features will both enable and empower a sales team.

1. Contact Management

A choosing a CRM system without contact management capabilities wouldn’t really serve much of a purpose. All CRM systems allow sales reps to create contact records and store prospect and customer information. However, the best CRM systems reduce and streamline contact data entry as much as possible. Judge this feature with ease of use in mind.

2. Deal Stages

Most CRM systems can be customized to operate on a specific sales process. Whether your company has three deal stages or 15, you should be able to program these levels into the software and attach associated values.

It should also be easy to move a deal along the sales process, from one stage to the next. In the HubSpot CRM, advancing a deal is as simple as dragging and dropping:

3. Daily Dashboard

Reps need to be able to see certain data on a daily basis, such as their progress to date against quota, how many deals they have in their pipelines at which stages, and what tasks they need to complete. Similarly, managers and leaders need to be able to view these categories for the aggregated sales team. Evaluate this function based on visual appeal and simplicity.

4. Task Management

A rep who has to toggle back and forth between several different systems to view and complete their daily tasks is not a happy rep. CRM systems that include task management capabilities streamline salespeople’s day-to-day workflow, and help them keep on top of their follow up.

5. Content Repository

Salespeople spend a lot of time hunting for sales enablement content. If that doesn’t strike some fear into your heart, I don’t know what would. To cut back on wasted time searching for content, look for a CRM system with an embedded content repository. Not only can sales reps save the collateral they send to prospects most frequently in an easy-to-locate place, they can also file away customizable email templates so they’re not reinventing the wheel with each new contact.

6. Automated Data Capture

One of the primary reasons companies decide to adopt a CRM is to keep better track of customer and prospect touches. But beware: Many CRM applications require that sales reps copy and paste their emails into the system, or upload call recordings. And these extra steps can become maddening for salespeople making 50 or 100 calls every single day.

To ease this pain, HubSpot CRM automatically logs calls made and emails sent from the system, and posts them in a timeline-like view on a contact’s record page:

hubspot crm email timeline contact record

7. Reporting

A CRM system is only as good as the insights it provides. Be sure that your CRM provides reporting features that make it easy to export and distribute the trends the system reveals.

8. Mobile

Mobile capabilities are especially critical if you have a field sales team. Tying reps to a CRM system that can only be accessed via laptop is bound to annoy them if they’re constantly traveling. The majority of CRM systems today allow salespeople to log on to the application from mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones — make sure the ones you’re considering do as well.

9. Integration with Marketing Automation

If your company uses marketing automation software, make sure the CRM you choose can be tightly integrated with it. After all, the underlying concept of “customer relationship management” is to provide a complete lifecycle view into each prospect and client. A gap between marketing automation and CRM can lead to lost information and opportunities.

10. Personalized Sequences

Send targeted, timely email templates to your prospects exactly when they need to hear from you. More importantly, make sure your CRM will unenroll prospects from the sequence when they reply or book a meeting so you’re not sending canned email to contacts that have already responded — never a good look. 

Your CRM should also offer follow-up reminders that automate communication with your leads, so your next big deal doesn’t fall through the cracks.

11. Canned Snippets

These short, reusable blocks of text allow you to create reusable messages via email and chat. Use them on contacts, companies, and deal records and save valuable time in the early prospecting stage with canned answers to commonly asked questions or prompts such as, “Are you interested in learning more about our pricing?” or “Would you like to schedule a demo?

12. Email Integration

Connecting your email inbox to your CRM is crucial to streamline your outreach process and get the most from your system. Make sure your CRM integrates with your preferred email provider, such as Gmail or Outlook. 

From there, your CRM should log email addresses, names, and email messages to your contact records — making it easy to keep track of who, when, and what you’ve emailed — without ever leaving your inbox.

13. Custom Support Form Fields

Want to build custom forms that connect to your contacts database? Your CRM should be able to do that. Make sure yours has user-friendly form creation capabilities like a drag-and-drop functionality. 

Everyone who fills out your form should be automatically routed to your CRM making it easy for you to set up reminders to follow up with a personalized email sequence or phone call. And your CRM should allow you to embed these forms on your website in seconds — without needing a degree in computer engineering.

14. Meeting Scheduling

Salespeople set up a lot of meetings. So, shouldn’t your CRM handle that for you too? Make sure they have an app or integration for that, with a meetings tool that syncs to your Google or Office 365 calendar, shares your availability with prospects, and updates in real time.

Bonus points if that meeting tool can be embedded on your site.

Hopefully this checklist can help you buy not just your first CRM system, but the one that’s ultimately the best for your company.

By the way, if you’re into the CRM part but not so much the “buying,” HubSpot CRM is totally free. All you have to do is sign up and go.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in July 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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