The success of a company, regardless of its size and industry, is highly dependent on its relationships with its customers, suppliers, service providers and other contacts. A customer relationship management system (CRM) not only helps to document, organize and coordinate address data, appointments and the correspondence with company contacts, but also helps users with a structured and professional handling of these contacts. Start-ups in particular should focus on maintaining their customer base and contacts right from the start. Contact management, customer acquisition, customer care and customer loyalty are four essential tasks of CRM software. CRM tools are suitable for companies of all sizes. For start-ups and small businesses as well as for enterprises.
Now, of course, the question is: Which is the best CRM for the needs of your company? Our reviews provide detailed insights into the performance of the best CRM software. Our CRM comparisons of the most powerful tools will help you find the best CRM software. In addition, our guide and our CRM reviews explain the advantages of a cloud-based CRM software in detail. Our checklist "How to choose the right CRM system" also shows what potential users should look for. At the end of the text we also briefly present some excellent CRM solutions to help you find the best CRM for you and your company. Thus, after reading our guide and the detailed CRM reviews, you should find it easy to pick one among the best CRM systems and implement it successfully into your company.
A comprehensive database of all customers and contacts forms the basis that enables a CRM software to actively advance various business areas and to increase customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. This includes the following areas:
Companies that use CRM software always have an overview of their customer base, i.e. how many new customers they were able to acquire, how many existing customers they have and how many customers they might have lost. They know the purchasing behavior of each individual customer, for example by linking the CRM solutions to online shops. Furthermore, they can analyze the success of a marketing campaign in detail according to various parameters and draw conclusions regarding any future actions. If the customer has any queries, the customer service department has all data of previous transactions ready. The sales team has a concrete starting point for submitting up-, cross- and after-sales offers.
Prognosis tools operate on the basis of a historical sales data analysis and calculate expected sales as well as declining market segments. Marketing, sales, customer care and product development are bundled up by the CRM solutions as the sole sources of information, eliminating time-consuming coordination processes between departments. The HR department can use the CRM software to manage personnel data, the PR department to manage its press contacts. Contracts, including all customer billing details are directly available to the finance department as a basis for invoicing. Our CRM reviews show you exactly where the best CRM systems have their strengths and weaknesses.
CRM software as a web-based application in combination with the appropriate mobile app allows access to the system by any authorized employee from any location. Sales representatives in the field even receive customer suggestions in their direct environment after linking their CRM solutions to other services.
The basis of a CRM is a central database into which the employees of the company enter all interactions with customers in a digital customer file. Thanks to the cloud, users of CRM software have access to the data from anywhere. Many cloud CRM systems have extensive compatibility with other products and can be easily integrated into the use of common office software. According to SuperOffice.com , only 12 percent of companies used cloud-based CRM solutions in 2008, compared to 87 percent in 2018. But still especially small businesses are often afraid of the effort and costs that will inevitably result from the implementation of new systems. Cloud-based CRM systems like those you can find in our CRM reviews can help to remedy this situation. In this context, reliability is also an issue. Companies often fear that access to their data is no longer possible in the case of a breakdown. Although this scenario is possible, it is unlikely with the best CRM thanks to the use of modern replication and failover techniques by cloud providers. If a cloud server should actually break down, a backup system usually intervenes immediately. In the best case, the user does not even notice anything or only has to accept a very short service interruption. However, this does not apply to disruptions to local Internet access – even the most reliable cloud CRM tool has no influence on an interrupted internet connection.
Thanks to cloud-based systems, combined with further developments in mobile technologies, the usage of mobile CRM solutions has also risen in recent years. ReadyCloud.com reports that 65 percent of companies that use mobile CRM solutions reach their sales quotas. For companies that do not use mobile CRM solutions, only 22 percent of the sales quotas are realized.
Linking to IP telephony enables users to make telephone calls, a connection to email services lets them send emails directly from the application. The subjects and contents of conversations are being filed as a transcribed protocol or directly as an audio track. Templates, email, quotation and invoice templates reduce the time required for personalized interaction to a minimum. The time, content and data exchange of each interaction are thus transparently available as a timeline in CRM solutions. The offer and booking history show the individual preferences and needs of each customer.
Scheduling functions, coupled with reminder services and automatic prioritization functions, make it easier not only for the sales team but also for employees in all departments to plan their daily routines optimally. All planned contacts and tasks appear daily in a clear list as a pipeline. Every employee can write notes on a contact, plan follow-up appointments or transfer a lead to an employee with just a few clicks. An integrated chat feature allows all employees to exchange and coordinate relevant information quickly and easily.
Analysis tools evaluate interactions or contracts according to different parameters per user, per deal, per product or per activity of an employee over flexibly filterable time periods and visualize this data in an appealing way. This allows, among other things, to measure the productivity and performance of employees, to make sales prognoses and to provide impetus for future focus setting and strategic orientation on the part of superiors. In our detailed CRM reviews, you can read how exactly and to what extent the best CRM systems on the market implement these useful features.
When choosing the right CRM software many questions usually occur. The most important questions and answers are summarized below and. To find out more about the concrete implementation of these features in the best CRM, read our CRM reviews.
To start from scratch, let's briefly explain what a sales pipeline is. The sales pipeline is a methodical and visual approach to selling a product or service. The sales pipeline shows you precisely where the most revenues are in your sales process. Thanks to a sales pipeline users can understand at which stage any deal is, whether they have enough deals on the board to achieve their goals and quota, as well as to understand whether certain deals need special attention. Ideally, the sales pipeline has a drag and drop function. This is e.g. how deals can be moved easily anywhere in the sales pipeline. Moving between stages or toggling between pipelines is no longer a problem.
Among others in our CRM comparisons the following CRM programs have a sales pipeline with drag and drop function:
A seamless integration of telephone systems and email programs in CRM solutions saves time and manpower. Can emails and telephony solutions only be integrated into the CRM program if they come from the same provider, users should look for a more contemporary solution. In case that no integration is possible and the user always has to go outside the CRM program and handle email with the native email client, work becomes unnecessarily complicated. Thankfully, today both phone and email programs can be easily integrated into most CRM solutions. The following programs from our CRM comparisons can easily be used with existing email and telephony solutions, and of course, you may want to check out our other CRM reviews as well for further information:
When choosing a CRM system, the management of costumer data often has the highest priority. Only if the management is fast and simple, CRM solutions are worthwhile. Three of the most important features a CRM software should include are explained briefly below.
Filter functions simplify the users' work in many ways. This feature pays off both in the pipeline and in contact management. Concerning customer data, the predefined filters allow users to filter their customers according to specific criteria. The filter criteria can be the company’s name, the location, but also sales and revenues. Our CRM reviews provide you with all the necessary information on the best CRM systems. With HubSpot, for example, users can filter their chronicles. This means that they select which activities are to be displayed in the chronicles of the data records of their CRM. With Zoho CRM, users filter leads and transactions based on their predicted value and see which deals in the pipeline have not made any progress and which are on the verge of closing. With Pipedrive's CRM, it is possible to use filters to create different types of reports on deals, contacts, and organizations. Users can even combine fields with different elements in a filter, making full use of the connections and custom fields you have already created in Pipedrive.
Duplicate records can appear in leads, contacts and account objects. A duplicate check helps finding duplicates in all objects. Contacts are created only once and spelling mistakes in names are detected automatically. Thanks to duplicate prevention, users are directly alerted when they want to create a customer in the system that already exists. In this way, the best CRM systems avoid both unnecessary work on the user side and duplicate addressing of customers, which is quite uncompetitive.
Merging of records
Most CRM programs consist of separate modules. A module saves, for example, companies, contacts or offers. Each of these modules contains individual data records. Each record consists of individual fields, such as a field for the phone number and a field for the email address. The records are linked together. For example, contacts (employees of the company) and business opportunities (products or contracts that are still being negotiated) are assigned to a company. Linked records are displayed – sorted by module – under the individual fields of a record. However, every CRM software is different. Freshsales, for example, completes the dataset with as much information as possible that is freely available on the Internet. Company logo, address, number of employees, telephone number and email addresses are automatically added. Of course, it is also possible to change this information manually. At HubSpot, the system deduces the company affiliation from the domain name of the email address and automatically creates a link to the company or adds the company in question if no data record exists yet. Our detailed CRM reviews tell you how exactly the best CRM work in this respect.
Integrated helpdesk software improves service performance and makes work easier by quickly capturing and processing support requests. Forgotten entries and unclear processes remain a thing of the past. The combination of CRM solutions and helpdesk software enables users to gain even more insight into customer history. Therefore, in the best case a helpdesk software should be easily integrated into the CRM tool. Helpdesk software can be easily integrated into the following programs from our CRM comparisons, for example:
The implementation or change of a CRM system usually starts with the import of existing data. Existing contacts and companies should be imported with all master data (telephone number, email addresses, etc.) in order not to have to transfer all the data manually. But also the export of customer data or similar is very essential. For example, if you want to export the customer data from your CRM database to a CSV file for later editing or printing. Thankfully, with most CRM solutions, data can be quickly imported and exported. A few of them from our CRM comparisons are listed here:
Besides the fact that you shouldn't choose the next best provider, there are some points you need to pay attention to, looking for the perfect CRM tool – regardless of whether you own a small business or are part of large corporation. The most relevant points are presented below. In addition, our CRM reviews for each individual product can also be useful to make the right decision.
The most important thing is to choose a CRM program that is ideally tailored to your company's needs. For example, if you want to improve your company’s sales conversion, you would look at functionalities that help you prioritize customers who are likely to make purchases. Small businesses in particular should be aware that they may need more features in the future than they do now. It is always worthwhile to compare all CRM softwares with one another. Our CRM comparisons are a help for you. Among the CRM reviews of the best CRM systems you will surely find a program that fits your company’s needs perfectly.
Two of the main features that a CRM system is supposed to provide are saving of labour and time. The biggest advantage of CRM solutions is that they save time in customer communication. Users should therefore ensure that this target is achieved in any case. In this situation too, our detailed reviews and CRM comparisons help you to make the right decision.
Most CRM tools are made to work automatically. Some CRM systems are therefore designed to automate communication with clients who need a little more time to make decisions. While other CRM programs focus on sellers who want to spend their time more on customers who are ready to buy or who have questions. Here, too, it is best for users to find out individually which CRM suits them and their needs perfectly. Our CRM reviews help you to make a preselection from the best CRM as a basis for your purchase decision.
When choosing a CRM tool, all programs that have been used by a company up to now should also be considered. This means that the CRM system should be compatible with all previous programs. Especially small companies save a lot of time and money in this way. Our CRM comparisons of the best software are worth a closer look.
If questions or problems arise, it is recommended to have a competent support team at hand. While the best CRM systems provide 24-hour support, others only offer customer service that you have to pay for. Our detailed CRM comparisons show you how comprehensive the support of a software is.
The price is of course a key criterion but should not be the most important factor. Much more important is that the CRM tool fits to your company. Besides, users should pay attention to the payment option. While some providers charge monthly, others charge one year in advance. However, it is usually financially worthwhile to conclude a contract over several years, as this is cheaper than a contract that only runs for a few months.
Many small businesses choose small and free CRM systems. However, this is not always the best way, because even small companies grow and in the worst case the features of the CRM tool then no longer do justice to the company. So, check out our CRM reviews to find out more in the matter; the detailed CRM comparisons will be helpful for you.
Now that you have gained an insight into the functions of CRM software, you will find an overview of the best providers here. The following CRM tools are also perfectly suited for small businesses. Further information about the functions and operation of the best CRM systems can be found in our CRM reviews.
Pipedrive is an incredible easy to use CRM tool. Setup takes less than 2 minutes and is easy to understand. Pipedrive starts from $12 per user per month, including support. Pipedrive is a good and easy to use CRM that can be implemented in both small businesses and large companies. For more information please click here.
Freshsales is the perfect CRM software for start-ups, small businesses and enterprises. Over 10,000 satisfied customers already use Freshsales. Not by chance the software is one of the best of our CRM comparisons. The CRM tool impresses with its simplicity and intuitive user experience. A clean interface minimizes the time required to get started. All tariffs can be tested free of charge. For more information see our detailed review of Freshsales.
HubSpot provides an excellent user-friendly, free basic product. More than 21,000 customers from 90 countries already rely on HubSpot. The user interface is clear and easy to understand. The handling of the individual functions is largely intuitive. The product is available in a free version that allows users to test it without obligation. For detailed information see our review of HubSpot.
More than 100,000 service-oriented companies already use vCita to manage and grow their customer base and business. vCita comes with a free trial version. Apart from that the cheapest tariff starts from $24 per month. The user interface is designed to be simple and intuitive. The user selects one of several designs, inserts the text, and places various interactive elements on the page. You want to know more about vCita? please see here.
With over 12 years of experience in CRM software and over 150,000 satisfied customers who rely on Zoho CRM, the Indian provider is rightly at the top of the rankings. The CRM software of Zoho is great for companies of all sizes (e.g. small businesses and enterprises) and industries. Furthermore, users can get a 15-day free trial – no credit card required. For more information click our Zoho CRM review.
To get more information about CRM software please look at our comparison of the best CRM tools above. There you find detailed reviews of the top CRM systems. In addition, our articles provide answers to numerous questions about CRM software. Furthermore, our reviews show for which company size the CRM software are suitable. Thus, there is something for both small businesses and large corporations.