As the economy attempts to recover from a deep-rooted recession, business owners and managers have turned to modern technology as a means for managing their company’s most important asset, its customer base. Over the past decade, Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) software has become a vital tool used to help monitor sales, marketing and customer service efforts within the company.
The reality is that there are well over 100 different CRM providers on the market. With such a competitive industry, business owners and managers look to CRM software reviews to help them identify some of the best contact management software providers available.
These CRM reviews are essential to help businesses compare a CRM software package in order to find the best CRM software that will meet the organizations needs. For most companies, the best CRM will the one that offers the features and pricing most aligned with the organization’s business goals.
Top CRM Systems
This CRM software comparison has identified some of the top CRMs based on features offered, pricing and general popularity on the market place. This CRM comparison will also try to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each of the top providers.
At this point in time, Salesforce is unquestionably the market leader in the CRM industry, especially in the small company customer market.
The first thing a new customer realizes is how easy the software is to use and navigate. Most CRMs have a decent base customer tracking module, but Salesforce also has one of the top sales tracking and marketing modules on the market.
The ability to generate leads and identify potential customers is quick and efficient, and the number of canned reports is quite comprehensive. The software even has a decent employee tracking module to help identify which employees are interacting with which companies in what capacity.
As a cloud provider, the site is accessible via the internet and through the use of mobile devices that are compatible with iOS and Android. Finally, the site is integrated with social media, which is becoming an increasingly more important attribute for companies that want to establish a presence on sites such as Facebook or Twitter.
- Both the customer contact module and the sales tracking module are very easy to customize, giving companies a lot of flexibility to modify the software to its business needs.
- When using mobile access, employees have access to real-time information, which is a great feature for salespeople who are constantly working in the field.
- When doing a price comparison, it becomes evident that Salesforce is one of the highest priced options.
- While there are sufficient standard reports, the software needs to offer a better custom report writing option.
NetSuite CRM offers a solid option for both small and mid-size companies (to get in contact with a sales associate and find out more, click here).
They have a cloud-based option with mobile access. One of the sites major advantages is it allows for a “360 degree view” of customer information.
With this feature, a company’s employees can see everything that is available regarding a customer relationship on one screen. This offers significant efficiencies by cutting down on navigation time.
The software is customizable, and fairly easy to use. The sales and marketing components are automated and the report writer is sufficient. Retail businesses will appreciate the e-commerce option that tracks customer online activity and allows for it to be upload and integrated with the CRM software.
At $129 per user, the pricing is a little above average for the industry.
- The comprehensive 360 view of customer contact information is very unique to the industry.
- The e-commerce plug-in provides an opportunity to track customer purchases and anticipate future needs
- The mobile app access is currently restricted to iOS, but there are plans to expand this in the future.
- There is currently no integration with social media.
SugarCRM is considered to be a lighter version of the other top providers.
The software works best for smaller companies that don’t need a great deal of functionality. While the interface is very easy to customize, many customers that fall in SugarCRM’s target group will find that the standard layouts are quite sufficient.
The software is accessible through a cloud option with a mobile app interface that is compatible with iOS, Android and BlackBerry. It is also one of the stronger mobile apps offered within this group of top CRM providers.
As an open source software package, customers with specialized needs have the opportunity to customize other components that can be integrated with the standard package. Overall, the package is more sales driven than customer service driven.
- With the open source capabilities, small companies in unique industry’s can develop components to meet specific needs with a bit of programming.
- At $35-$150 per user, the pricing is very affordable if the company can suffice with generous limitations on users and users, contacts and space.
- Unfortunately, the reporting function is rather weak and needs improvement. The number of available standard reports is small and the report writer is cumbersome.
- Mid-size to large companies will find the lack of features to be difficult to overcome, despite the open source capabilities.
One of the best things about Zoho is that small start-up companies with three users or fewer can take advantage of Zoho’s comprehensive software package for free with some limitations and restrictions.
Overall, the software is actually strong where other top packages are weak.
This includes having a very good and easy to use report writer. The sales and marketing functions work well together allowing for efficient email marketing programs to be initiated. There is even an inventory management component that targets small manufacturing and retail organizations, and it is easy to integrate into the sales and customer contact components.
The software has solid integration with social media, which allows employees to track customer comments and conversations in the social environment. The software is also available over mobile devices that use iOS, Blackberry and Android operating systems.
- The pricing is incredible for small companies with budget limitations. Aside from the free base account option, upgraded accounts are offered with monthly rates of only $12-$35 per user. There are some features that need to be purchased separately, but small companies may not need them.
- The inventory management tool offers efficiencies for companies that can’t afford a separate inventory tracking software package.
- Processing is done in batches, which prevents the software from offering real-time information to employees using mobile access.
While Maximizer CRM offers a solid base contact package, its the extra features that will draw companies to its doorstep.
One of those extra features is a marketing campaign wizard that allows users to develop marketing programs that are easy to initiate, track and pull reports from.
Another prominent benefit of the software is its high level of compatibility with Microsoft products like Excel and Outlook. This allow users to do tasks such as making customer mailing lists for marketing campaigns without having to download information.
Also, Maximizer’s mobile app interface may well be one of the best on the market because it allows for real-time access to information, plus the app acts like the software’s standard dash-board, which gives the user access to the statistical data as well.
- The marketing campaign wizard takes users through a step-by-step process to develop email marketing campaigns that can be used to efficiently reach more customers.
- The mobile app allows users to view and manipulate a lot of data not not usually available with other CRMs.
- The social media integration is very weak and needs a lot of work to be competitive.
Choosing the Right CRM
When people compare CRM software, it becomes evident that the best choice for any given company is going to be based on the extra features since most of the top CRM providers have strong base customer contact and sales tracking modules.
It is incumbent on the business owner and/or manager to look at special features and determine which ones best serve the company’s interest. As technology moves forward, viable businesses are showing much more interest in having solid mobile access and the ability to interact through social media.
As this review shows, some of the top CRM providers are not quite up to speed on these features as of yet. Before a business selects a CRM, they might want to look beyond what the CRM software provides today, and try to find out what each provider has planned for the immediate future.