Everyone knows that a business can’t survive without its clientele, so understanding, maintaining, and nurturing customer relationships must be prioritized. That’s where CRM software plays its part, helping companies manage these relationships with tools that allow marketing, sales, and customer service departments to work collaboratively.
From capturing leads to closing deals and providing post-sales support, CRM platforms help teams create, manage, and view the customer’s entire journey in real time. With this, understanding clients’ needs, directing marketing strategies, and consequently improving sales become far more straightforward.
Best CRM Software of 2023
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With so many options available, choosing the CRM platform that best fits your company’s demands may be challenging. However, it’s worth putting in the effort to save precious time and money in the long run.
Fortunately, Best Reviews is the right place to find reliable information and make a well-informed decision. Our expert reviews, comparisons, guides, and blogs provide everything companies need to know to choose the best CRM software for their needs.
Types of CRM Software
Some sources categorize CRM software into many different types. However, the main three to focus on are analytical, operational, and collaborative.
As the name implies, analytical CRM platforms are centered around displaying data so that businesses can analyze customers’ behavior and trends. Having this information broken down into insightful reports helps companies capture and convert more leads, customize goal-oriented marketing campaigns, and develop strategies to meet sales targets. This is the best type of software for data-driven large businesses, such as service providers and account-based sales organizations.
Operational CRM platforms focus on streamlining marketing, sales, and customer service operations. They usually provide automation tools that help save time with repetitive tasks. Such tools let workers automate actions according to customers’ behavior, sales processes, and marketing strategies. As facilitating operations is at the core of CRM, it fits businesses of any kind, but it’s especially useful for those with linear sales processes.
Also known as strategic, collaborative CRM is all about making data visible to anyone in marketing, sales, and customer service teams, so they’re able to work collaboratively. For example, it’s essential for customer support representatives to have visibility of the client’s purchase history and preferred communication methods to improve assistance. For this reason, it’s most suited to businesses that require effortless cross-department collaboration.
Benefits of CRM Software
Whether it's an enterprise with thousands of employees or a freelance photographer flying solo, anyone can benefit from using a CRM system. For starters, most platforms gather all customers’ information in only one place. They also let users create and share contact forms to capture clients, manage leads, streamline sales pipelines, and receive online payments. This eliminates the need to juggle different platforms to access data in spreadsheets, email inbox, text messages, meetings calendar – the list goes on.
Managing clients solely from one platform also increases customer retention rates because staff members are able to access their information and keep up communication with ease. Performing these client-centered actions using only one web or mobile app is essential to save time and organize data, but, above all, to provide a better service and consequently make your business thrive.
What To Look for in CRM Software
Specific aspects to look for in a CRM platform depend on the company’s needs, usage, size, and many other variables. However, the core features to consider are those related to marketing, sales automation, and customer service.
Marketing Automation Features
Firstly, it's important to search for features that help your business improve its marketing strategy. For instance, CRM platforms should allow lead-capturing contact forms to be brand-customized. They also must offer dedicated spaces to manage clients' product preferences, contact information, and interests. What’s more, users should be able to see this data in insightful analytics that show which sources generate more leads, for example. After considering all this, be sure to check if you can set automations so that marketing-related actions are triggered by certain variables.
Sales Automation Features
It's essential to check whether the platform allows you to create contracts, send invoices, and receive online payments. However, it’s even more vital to consider aspects related to the sales pipeline, such as its visibility, how it's divided, the kind of information displayed, and how customizable it is.
It's also worth seeing if the sales process stages are automatically updated according to customers' actions, such as project approvals, signed contracts, and payments. Finally, it's a bonus if the platform provides sales data insights, such as revenue forecasting and purchase history.
Customer Service Features
It’s also key to identify which modes of communication with clients are available. Ticket system, live chat, chatbot, social media messaging, and email are essential for customer assistance. Plus, it’s a good idea to search for tools that assess customer satisfaction levels and carry out surveys.
Additionally, it’s worth considering which integrations the software facilitates and if there’s a mobile app available. Other common yet important aspects to reflect on for all types of software are how easy it is to use the platform, pricing structures that fit the company’s budget, and how reliable customer support is.
How To Implement a CRM System Effectively
Time and attention need to be dedicated to the setup process for any CRM system to work successfully. It's important to carefully upload customers' contact information and purchase history data, as well as customize sales pipeline stages according to the company's unique processes.
Then comes integrating the platform with the essential communication, document management, meeting scheduling, and accounting apps already in use. Next, repetitive manual processes should be automated. Lastly, it’s time to add users and configure their permissions.
Once these first steps are made, the team needs to be trained to use the system. Staff members already familiar with the platform’s tools can help, but most CRM platforms offer training programs. Plus, for the CRM software to be implemented successfully across the organization, all personnel should be educated on how to use it to boost their productivity and collaboration with coworkers.
Finally, bear in mind that CRM software can increase sales by 29%, productivity by 34%, and forecast accuracy by 42%. So, as the numbers show, applying the right one isn’t just helpful for businesses to prosper, it's vital.