If you are in the market for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, this article will provide you with information on pricing, features, and benefits for the best CRM software for salespeople.
What is CRM Software?
In the days before the Internet, a CRM was a Rolodex and/or an address book. Their origins online have evolved from simple contact managers to robust solutions that can manage their entire sales process. Initially, many CRMs tried to do it all, including integrating accounting software features into their suites but are now distancing themselves from these behemoths in order to focus specifically on sales, sales, sales.
Why Use CRM Software?
A good CRM allows your salespeople to stay on the same page, regardless of how geographically spread out they are. Sales activities can be streamlined. Centralized in one tool for best practice and full visibility, it is about having documentation of everything. What you are doing, what you have done, and what you want to do in the future, all without expending any additional effort.
Great CRM software allows you to sell smarter. A sales tool that can handle complex scenarios will allow your team to reap the benefits. They will be able to clearly see sales goals, sales processes, access a knowledge base of best practices, and helps to keep everyone on the same page.
A CRM that has been properly implemented throughout your business will increase sales. It is imperative that you do the necessary pre-work recommended in order to ensure proper implementation, Not implementing the tool correctly will result in lost sales and inefficiencies.
Basic CRM Features
In general, CRMs improve and streamline the sales process, marketing campaigns, and customer service. This is done by simplifying workflows, creating sales pipelines, automating tasks, and performing data analysis.
A good sales CRM manages the customer-facing elements of your business. This includes chat, email, voice, and social media, all from a single repository. This results in improved efficiency across your organization.
With increase visibility of your team’s performance, your customers, and the market, you will be better positioned to make positive decisions to better serve your customers, thereby increasing sales.
Sales automation aggregates and sorts of information across multiple channels. Sales inventory tracking eliminates much of the work of manual data entry.
Lead management features allow you to better identify potential sales opportunities.
Lead and contact management features, centralize customer data across social media channels, and internal data sources. This allows you to nurture leads, regardless of where they are in the sales cycle.
Account management tools centralize client information for easy access. This includes customer activity, pending sales, and payment status.
Quotation management allows you to generate quotes quickly and track those in progress.
Opportunity management enables you to see potential sales as they develop.
Before You Begin
Investing in good CRM software can be a significant monthly investment and should not be entered into lightly. Even before starting one or more free trials of any of the CRMs listed below, it is imperative that you identify your business needs.
Gather your team for a brainstorming session and develop a features list. Include not only your salespeople but also those in your sales support teams as well. Features should be listed as either "Need to Have," "Nice to Have," or "Not Necessary." Look at your current sales processes and tools to determine what you are doing and how you are getting those things done. Ask your staff what tools that they do not have that would help to boost their productivity.
This would not be a one-hour meeting. It should be carried out over the course of several days (or even weeks). in order to ensure that your company chooses the right CRM for the way you do (or want to do) business. In the end, this will be time well spent.
After determining your "Need to Have" features, review the software listed below to find a CRM that delivers the features that you need, along with as many "Nice to Have" features without a lot of "Not Necessary" features. Contact the companies and view demos prior to signing up for a free trial. Some choices may stand out as unpalatable even before trying them out. Then, sign up for a free trial of your top two or three picks to see which one will work best for you.
Questions to Answer
- How many users do you have?
- What functions does each user/team/department perform?
- What tools (if any) are currently being used to perform those functions? These represent potential integration points.
- Do you require quoting tools? (Not all CRMs offer them).
- Do you require integration with accounting software in order to generate automated sales reports?
- Do you want to integrate your CRM with your website and social media?
- Sales is distinct from Marketing — do you need a CRM that can handle both?
- Are you prepared to purchase an annual subscription in order to receive a discount?
- What are any unique needs your business has, and can the software accommodate customized implementations (normally for an additional investment)?
- Why do you want to invest in a new CRM? This particular question normally sheds light on the biggest pain points in your current process.
Here are the top seven CRM software packages for salespeople. They are presented in alphabetical order to allow you to decide which one is the best for your organization.
HubSpot is unlike any of its competitors on this list because its best features are free and by organizing its tools into separate functional "hubs" it is infinitely customizable.
- Hubspot's Marketing Hub includes lead generation, marketing automation, and analytics.
- The Sales Hub includes advanced CRM, scheduling tools for meetings, and quotes.
- A Service Hub provides tools for tickets, customer feedback, and a knowledge base.
- Hubspot's CMS (Content Management System) Hub has a drag-and-drop editor, SEO recommendations, and website themes.
- In addition to these (and other) hubs, you will have access to the HubSpot user group, a large group of individuals who use HubSpot for their businesses.
- The HubSpot Academy provides training on how to use the tools and features of the various hubs.
HubSpot offers many of its tools and features for free, forever. In fact, it is almost impossible to determine how much its premium features cost from their website. In order to get that information, you will have to sign up for a free trial of one of its hubs. However, considering how much they are giving away for free, it is worth signing up to learn more about all of their powerful features before deciding which Hub (or Hubs) you wish to subscribe to.
Insightly offers three different plans — Plus, Pro, and Enterprise, each with its own feature set. They also allow you to build your own bundle. You can extend their capabilities by adding their Voice and/or Marketing products to their CRM tools.
Plus offers the following features:
- Find and manage leads using the lead assignment and routing tools, email templates, outbound email scheduling, Kanban lead visualization tools, web to lead capture tools, and automatic social profile enrichment.
- Build stronger customer relationships with contact management, organizational management, task management, event management, relationship linking, and attaching files from cloud storage.
- Sell more productively with opportunity management, customizable sales processes, applying task sets, applying event activity sets, assigning sales teams, and batch update records with ease.
- Work from any device using native Android and iOS mobile apps, utilize real-time mobile data synchronization, do mobile business card scanning (15), integrate mobile contacts, integrate calendars, and create mobile voice notes.
- Access a business intelligence platform for built-in business intelligence dashboards.
- Collaborate across the company with integration with Google G-Suite login, Google calendar, Google docs, Microsoft Office 365 login, Microsoft Office calendar, Microsoft OneDrive, Slack integration with an AI bot, Insightly Outlook add-on, or Insightly Gmail add-on.
- Model and automate business processes with two sets of roles and permissions, configurable profiles, and two-page layouts.
- Connect to any application with over 250 integrations to business apps, published web services APIs, calendar sync, contact sync, Gmail integration, Outlook integration, and cloud file storage integration.
Pro offers all of the features of Plus, along with the following features:
- Additional lead management tools such as lead assignment, lead routing, and scheduling of outbound emails.
- Additional Mobile business card scanning (25) are available.
- Business intelligence platform offers customizable real-time insight cards (100), the ability to build and share customized BI dashboards, configurable reports, customized report scheduling, and emailing.
- Model and automate business processes with complete workflow automation, custom object creation, products, price books and quotes, custom validation rules, calculated fields on any object, unlimited roles, and permissions, and unlimited configurable profiles and page layouts.
- Connect to any application with configurable outbound webhooks and schedule serverless lambda functions.
Enterprise offers all of the features of Pro, along with the following features:
- Additional mobile business card scanning (50).
- Deliver projects with integrated project management tools, milestones, associated task tracking, calendar synchronization, configurable project processes, and tools to convert won opportunities to projects.
- Business intelligence platform offers unlimited customizable real-time insight cards.
- Model and automate business processes by deploying custom apps on any platform, lambda function authoring and execution, configurable webhooks, and dynamic page layout rules.
Insightly offers a free trial and three pricing plans, Plus, Pro, and Enterprise. The subscription is per user/per month, billed monthly or annually. They also do custom integrations of their various products and offer add-on services as well. Contact Insiginify for more details.
Keap (formerly Infusionsoft)
Keap has three plan/feature sets available: Keap Grow, Keap Pro, and Infusionsoft. The various features of each plan option are described below.
Keap Grow offers the following features:
- Client management (CRM), email marketing, business phone line and text messaging, appointments, quotes, invoices, payments, and easy Automation.
Keap Pro offers all of the features of Keep Grow, plus the following:
- Marketing and sales automation, recurring payments, a landing page builder, smart forms, smart reports, and advanced sales and marketing automation.
Infusionsoft offers all of the features of Keap Pro, plus the following:
- Client management (CRM), marketing automation, sales automation, lead scoring, company records, advanced reporting, analytics, e-commerce, advanced sales automation, and advanced marketing automation.
Keap offers Keap Grow (500 contacts and 1 user); Keap Pro (500 contacts and 1 user); or Infusionsoft (500 contacts and 1 user), along with an option to purchase additional expert coaching on how to use the software.
Both Nutshell plans offer unlimited contacts, unlimited data storage, and unlimited technical support from live human beings.
Starter offers the following features:
- Contact management with unlimited contact records, unlimited data storage, a centralized customer database, automatic contact syncing, automatic customer data scouring, intelligent search functions, and a business card scanner.
- Pipeline Management through customizable sales pipelines, unlimited pipelines, drag-and-drop board view, an interactive map view, list view, and chart view.
- Communication and task management includes communication histories, team @-mentioning and alerts, unlimited bulk email templates, activity reminders, and unlimited click-to-call and phone recordings.
- Reporting and performance tracking tools include at-a-glance activity, at-a-glance results dashboard, sales report, forecast report, new leads report, losses report, and snapshots.
- Automate email by sending work emails directly from Nutshell, shareable email templates, one-click bulk emailing, and an email health score.
- Apps and integrations include native iPhone and Android apps, email and calendar syncing with Gmail, Office 365, Outlook, and Microsoft Exchange, one-click integrations with Constant Contact, MailChimp, Slack, QuickBooks Online, Unbounce, Intercom, and many other timesaving business tools.
Pro offers all of the features of the Starter, plus the following:
- Additional reporting and performance tracking with an activity report and funnel report.
- Additional sales automation through automated lead assignment, automated pipeline distribution, automated lead advancement, automated tasks, post-sales lead management, team guidance, team coaching, and Constant Contact and MailChimp integrations for automated email nurturing.
- Email Automation with personal email sequences, reply rate tracker, and view counter
Nutshell offers a free trial and two pricing levels, Starter and Pro. The subscription is per user/per month, billed monthly or annually.
Pipedrive offers three plans — Essential, Advanced, and Professional, along with an Enterprise version that offers large companies custom onboarding support.
All plans offer the following features:
- They are GDPR-compliant, offer 150+ apps & integrations, provide 24/7 support (chat & email), US & EU data centers, iOS Android mobile apps, and an open API.
Essential offers the following features:
- Tools to manage leads and deals such as deal management, customizable pipelines, custom fields, data import, data export, merge duplicate data, and deal routing.
- Track communications with contact and org. management, data import and data export, an email inbox, two-way email sync, emails linked to both contacts and deals, a meeting scheduler, calendar view and activity management, activity reminder notifications, a contacts map, and file attachments.
- Automate and grow utilizing sales assistant, activity reminder notifications, API access, and webhooks.
- Insights and reports including deal reports, activity reports, 1 visual dashboard, shareable dashboard links, company and user goals, an open API, and integrations.
- Privacy and security with user access and device logs, two-factor authentication login, world-class data storage, SOC 2 compliant, and AES-256 encryption.
- Mobile apps and integrations including native mobile Android and iOS apps, real-time syncing across all devices, caller ID linking to deals and activities, automatic call logging, client location on maps, contact syncing with Google and Microsoft, calendar syncing with Google and Microsoft, Google Drive syncing, a Chrome extension for Gmail, and an apps marketplace with 200+ integrations.
Advanced offers all of the Essential features, along with the following:
- Manage leads and deals through a products catalog.
- Track Communications with customizable email templates, merge fields, email open tracking, click tracking, sales docs, auto-filled templates, offline docs, Google Drive integration, OneDrive integration, document open tracking, and customizable signatures.
- Automate and grow with 30 workflow automation, smart contact data, and important fields.
- Insights and reports include recurring revenue reports.
- Privacy and security with SAML SSO (single sign-on) login and two sets of advanced user permissions.
- Web to mobile call integration for mobile apps.
Professional offers all of the Advanced features, along with the following:
- Track Communications with group emailing, caller tracking, and eSignatures.
- Automate and grow with up to 60 workflow automation.
- Insights and reports utilize custom fields, custom reports, revenue forecast reports, unlimited visual dashboards, team management, and team goals.
- Privacy and security through a security dashboard, security alerts, security rules, three sets of advanced user permissions, and advanced deal and contact visibility settings.
Enterprise offers all of the Professional features, plus the following:
- Automate up to 100 workflows, and additional privacy and security features such as unlimited advanced user permissions.
Pipedrive offers a free trial and four pricing levels, Essential, Advanced, Professional, and Enterprise. The subscription is per user/per month, billed monthly or annually. There are also options to purchase additional features as well.
Salesforce Sales Cloud
Salesforce Sales Cloud is a robust CRM offering four plans. At its most expensive layer, it offers development tools and either partial or full sandbox environments to be used for testing custom processes and apps developed for the platform. This goes far beyond what most small businesses will need.
Salesforce Sales Cloud Essentials offers these features:
- Find and manage leads better with lead management, lead assignment, lead routing, duplicate blocking, web-to-lead capture, mass email, campaign management, and email templates.
- Manage customer and sales details through account management, contact management, opportunity management, customizable sales processes, task management, and an activity feed.
- Sell from anywhere on any device with the Salesforce mobile app, which offers full offline mobile functionality.
- Get real-time sales insights through customizable reports and dashboards.
- Collaborate across your company by sharing files, topics, recommendations, and chatter.
- Cross-sell and upsell more easily with case management and knowledge (read-only).
Salesforce Sales Cloud Professional offers all the features of Essentials plus the following:
- Additional lead tools such as rules-based lead scoring, lead registration, and campaign influence (3 per opportunity).
- Manage customer and sales details with person accounts and a sales console app (1 custom app per org).
- Forecast sales more accurately through collaborative forecasting and a forecasting mobile app.
- Create and track quotes and orders for contracts, orders, products, price books, and quotes.
- Connect sales info to any app using email integration with Outlook and Google apps integration.
Salesforce Sales Cloud Enterprise offers all the features of Professional plus the following:
- Find and manage leads better with additional campaign influence (5 per opportunity).
- Manage customer and sales details using sales teams and calendar all features.
- Forecast sales more accurately with custom opportunity fields in forecasting, opportunity splits, and Enterprise territory management.
- Get real-time sales insights through advanced reporting features.
- Connect sales info to any app using Lightning Sync, and web services APIs.
- Salesforce Sales Cloud Unlimited offers all of the features of Enterprise and appears to offer a better price for large organizations along with development tools.
Salesforce Sales Cloud offers a free trial and four pricing levels, Essentials, Professional, Enterprise, and Unlimited. The subscription is per user/per month, billed annually.
Zoho CRM offers a free version for up to three users and the basics like leads, documents, and mobile apps.
Zoho Standard offers the following features:
- Scoring rules, workflows, multiple pipelines, mass email tools, and custom dashboards.
Zoho Professional offers all of the features of Standard, plus the following:
- SalesSignals, Blueprint, web-to-case forms, validation rules, and inventory management.
Zoho Enterprise offers all of the features of Professional, plus the following:
- Zia Artificial Intelligence, a command center, Canvas, multi-user portals, advanced customization tools, and mobile SDK & MDM.
Zoho Ultimate offers everything in Enterprise, plus the following:
- Advanced Business Intelligence, bundled with Zoho analytics; enhanced feature limits and a 30-day trial.
Zoho CRM offers a free version and four additional pricing levels — Standard, Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate. The subscription is per user/per month, billed either monthly or annually.
Although "Best" is a subjective term, what works best for your business may not be the best for another.
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