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Customer relationship management (CRM) software has come a long way in the 15 or so years since I started using it. Today’s CRMs are incredibly versatile, and because of strong competition, have remained a relatively low-cost investment for businesses of any size.
With dozens of options—from the very sales-focused to the do-it-all types that combine multiple business functions into one platform—finding the right CRM can be tricky. So I spent dozens of hours researching and testing every one I could get my hands on.
Based on my experience with the apps, here are 10 best CRMs. Click on any app to learn more about why I chose it, or keep reading for more context on CRMs.
Free CRM Software With Something for Everyone
Think CRM software is just about contact management? Think again. HubSpot CRM has free tools for everyone on your team, and it’s 100% free. Here’s how the free HubSpot CRM makes your job easier …
Get full visibility into your sales pipeline in real time.
Get an up-to-the-minute view of your entire sales pipeline on a clean, visual dashboard.
With detailed reports on sales activity, productivity, and individual performance, you’ll never be in the dark about how your team is tracking toward quota, and you’ll have all the data you need to coach your team to success.
Best of all, enjoy unlimited users, data, and up to 1,000,000 contacts with no time limit or expiration date — whether you’re a team of 1 or 1,000.
Securing marketing budgets is one of the biggest challenges for any small business marketing manager. That’s why a small business marketer needs to be extra cautious when making marketing-related investment decisions.
One such investment decision is about which marketing automation solution to purchase. If you invest in the wrong solution, not only will it fail to meet all your business needs, you’ll also lose all your investment. That’s the last thing you want when you have limited investment capital.
To avoid the above risk, we recommend testing a free or freemium product before you purchase a solution or marketing automation software suite. Here’s what these options allow you to do:
- Get a hands-on experience of a marketing automation solution to assess whether you really need the software or not (this is especially helpful for first-time buyers).
- Evaluate a product before purchasing its full version.
- Move to another product at no cost if the existing product doesn’t fit your business needs.
- Invest only in the features that are relevant to your business.
Trying out a free solution before purchasing a paid one will help you be a better judge of the available marketing automation software suites. It’ll also be cost effective for your small business, as you’ll avoid wasting precious funds.
As with many industries hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, marketing automation software is poised to transform its core practices for the long haul. Even for those who were late adopting work from home arrangements, the pandemic meant valuable experiences going forward to a largely digital world looming ahead.
In terms of automation, it’s a good idea to find the best that will give your business an edge over the competition. This is why we’ve compiled ten of the absolute best in the field—and the good news is, all of them are free!
CRM systems are used throughout many B2B and B2C companies in order to organize business processes and make complex tasks easier to do. They help manage customer data, support marketing teams, integrate with sales to increase customer satisfaction, deliver actionable insights and help with customer support. That’s a lot of areas, and for every place the CRM software delves into, there’s a human who is, most likely, juggling important tasks mixed in with repetitive, mind-numbing cut/copy/paste work.
Integrating an automation platform takes out the drudgery: the time-consuming prospecting and customer management tasks that, although necessary, are redundant. Automating your customer relationship management system takes care of daily tasks such as calendar management, updating customer information and data entry, among many others.
CRM automation streamlines the entire marketing-to-sales process through a series of workflows. It includes:
Marketing automation tools, such as helping with the handling of email marketing campaigns, using beautiful templates, and data syncing
Sales automation tools, such as call scheduling, workflow automation, and automatic assignment of qualified leads
Software bots such as AI chatbots for customer service automation
CRM automation also facilitates the conversation between the various marketing and sales teams, which is a common business issue.
What are some of the benefits of CRM automation?
We’ve talked about how CRM automation works to empower your sales and marketing teams. But what does that mean in a less generalized sense? Here are a few of the many ways automating your CRM can make a difference to your business:
The ability to streamline tasks is a huge benefit. By taking the time (once!) to build workflows and triggers, redundant, monotonous tasks can be relegated to a single click. In turn, this allows marketers, sales reps and customer service reps to turn their minds to more important things than paperwork: like lead generation, lead nurturing and phone calls… to leads.
Improve Pipeline Performance
Because teams are able to follow up faster, automating your customer relationship management can help them generate more MQLs and SQLs with better qualification rates.
Shorter, Better Sales Cycle
Automation allows teams to make more out of your CRM data. It can handle customer research, quote creation, even legal paperwork, making the sales process shorter. Because all the potential customer’s data is at their fingertips, lead scoring is better. So, it’s easier to match high performing sales reps with high value leads.
Better Data, Bigger Picture
When you can pull in multi-source marketing data and have it at your fingertips, it means greater accuracy for marketing campaigns. The big data picture of metrics you use to focus your marketing efforts is much more filled in, providing powerful insight for complicated decisions.
Higher Customer Engagement
Greater data accuracy means more tailored sales interactions. Just like matching sales with leads, you can also match strong account managers with prize acquisitions for better customer retention.
Improve Customer Satisfaction
One functionality of many CRM automation tools is the integration of chatbots as part of the customer service process. These handy software bots can help quickly identify customer issues and address them promptly with the appropriate action, whether that means triggering a phone call request from a CSR or answering a question.