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The Top 6 Best CRM Software Services and Tools


CRM Software and tools


Our team has over twelve years of experience helping companies boost sales and productivity. We’ve found some common factors that always help boost our clients overall performance. Finding and implementing a CRM that fits the company is almost always our first recommendation. But which CRM software is the best? That can depend based on your companies needs. Whether it’s a startup or a larger company with 300+ employees, all organizations will benefit from a well implemented CRM. The goal of a CRM is to give your organization control over your data. A great CRM software gives your salesforce and marketing department everything they need to maximize productivity.


A well implemented CRM helps you in every stage of the customers journey- from lead generation to closing the sale. It also automates communication, not just between customers but within your organization as well. Your chosen CRM should also let your employees find and manage customer data quickly and give your teams a common meeting place to plan and implement projects.


What is a CRM?

A CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, is a software or system that helps businesses manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle. It typically includes a suite of tools for managing and automating sales, marketing, and customer service processes.


The primary goal of a CRM is to improve the relationships a business has with its customers. It does this by providing a centralized location for storing and analyzing customer data, such as contact information, purchase history, and communication logs. This information can then be used to improve customer service, target marketing efforts, and increase sales.


A CRM can also automate repetitive tasks such as sending follow-up emails, scheduling appointments, and tracking leads, allowing businesses to work more efficiently and effectively. With the help of a CRM, businesses can better understand their customers' needs, preferences and behavior, this helps them to personalize their interactions and to optimize their sales and marketing efforts.


Things to consider when looking for a CRM:


When looking for a CRM, it's important to consider a variety of factors to ensure that you choose a system that best meets the unique needs of your business. User-friendliness should be at the top of your list, as the CRM should be easy to use and navigate, with a clean and intuitive interface. This will make it more likely that your employees will actually use the system and enter the data that it needs to be effective.


Customization is also key, as no two businesses are exactly the same. Your CRM should be customizable to fit the specific needs of your business. This may include custom fields, automation, and custom reports. You should also consider if the system can be integrated with other tools and software that your business already uses such as email marketing platforms, accounting software, and other systems. This will ensure that the data from different systems is seamlessly integrated, providing a complete view of your customer interactions.


Reporting and analytics are another important consideration. The CRM should provide robust reporting and analytics capabilities, allowing you to track key metrics and make data-driven decisions. This will help you understand how your business is performing and where improvements can be made. Security is also crucial, as the CRM will likely contain sensitive customer information. Make sure the CRM has robust security measures in place to protect customer data.


Support is also an important aspect to consider, as you will likely need assistance at some point. The CRM should have a dedicated support team that can help with any issues or questions that may arise. Scalability is also important to consider, as your business will likely grow over time. The CRM should be able to grow with your business and handle an increasing number of customers and interactions over time.


Pricing is also a major consideration, as different CRM's have different pricing plans. Make sure to choose a CRM that fits your budget and business needs. Finally, it's important to read online reviews and testimonials from other businesses that have used the CRM to get a sense of their experiences. This will give you an idea of the pros and cons of different systems and help you make an informed decision.


What are the Best CRM Tools?


Capsule


Capsule is a flexible, easy to rollout CRM that offers an affordable system to both smaller and mid-sized teams. Capsule doesn’t try and focus on just sales and marketing, instead offering tools for both project management and marketing. While not as robust as Hubspot its strength is in its flexibility and user-friendly interface. If you’re a small enterprise or even a midsized organization Capsule is worth checking out.


Pros

  • Integration friendly: Capsule actively supports integrations, including Quickbooks, Freshbooks, Xero, Sage, Mailchimp, Outlook and more. This lets you easily fill in the blanks if you find the CRM is lacking in some departments.

  • Easy to use and Mobile friendly: A streamlined CRM with a lightweight UI. Capsules home consists of a minimalist design. We especially like the contact history features. Which leaves a trail of the most recent activity and notes. Capsule also supports IOS and Android applications.

  • Customizable: Along with the integrations the CRM itself can be tweaked to fit your needs with impressive but easy to understand configuration options. However we find that to really get the most out the CRM you may need to dive a little deeper into the settings.

Cons

  • Reporting and Analytics: While Capsule does have analytics reporting we find it limited when compared to other CRM tools. This shouldn’t be a problem for smaller businesses, but larger companies may want to go with a more robust CRM.

  • Customer Support: A full wiki and knowledge base is offered but you won’t start getting priority support until the Enterprise level at $54.00 a month.


Capsule is a strong contender in the CRM software field with a simple to use UI and a plethora of customization options. It’s a great choice for small-mid size businesses and can become your central tool for your business, although you may need a few external integrations. Its business model is free for two seats, giving you access to basic features and up to 250 contacts.


As usual for most CRM’s, pricing comes in 3 tiers- Professional at $18.00 monthly, 50,000 contacts and all the base features a smaller business would need. Teams is the next tier at $36 monthly, 100,000 contacts + additional features like email templates and multiple project boards. Finally Enterprise tier at $54.00 monthly, 200,000 contacts with custom training and priority support.


Hubspot


Even though Hubspot has a stronger focus on marketing, it’s still an easy contender as one of our best choices for CRM systems to date. While user interface is more complex when compared to Monday or Keap its still consistently rated as one of the best beginner friendly systems. Established in 2006 Hubspot almost always finds a spot among the best CRM’s among yearly reviews. Hubspot is initially free to use with no cap on number of users and allows up to 1,000,000 contacts. But where it really shines is its marketing hub, which has tiered pricing based on number of contacts.


Pros

  • Superior Reporting and Analytics: Among all the CRM’s we’ve used Hubspot’s reporting and customizable dashboards are second to none.

  • Free to use until Marketing Hub: The CRM is virtually free to use, allowing unlimited users, no time limit and up to 1,000,000 contacts.

  • Workflows: HubSpot’s most powerful automation tool is the workflows system. Allowing users to create simple to complex workflows for every part of the system.

  • Scalability: The system scales easily especially with small to medium sizes companies. Since the initial software is free to use, you can pull your contacts over and setup the system before jumping into the marketing hub.

  • Built in sales software: Hubspot features a full marketing hub that allows you to grow traffic and engage with customers at every step of the customers journey. The marketing hub gives your organization tools for email marketing, social media, automated task reminders and a host of other great tools.

  • Affordable for small to medium sized companies: The initial CRM is free however if you use the marketing hub the contacts you add to the system will be added to both sections of the system. How Hubspot makes its money is through contact tier pricing, so keep in mind what contacts your adding to the system.

  • Customer Support: Another feature that we love is the Help center, which contains how-to articles, videos and a community forum – all for free. Email, Live Chat and Phone support are also offered for the paid tiers.

Cons

  • Easy to go overboard: In our experience, organizations that have used Hubspot for an extended period of time can go overboard on number of contacts, workflows and using all of the other great tools at your disposal. When this happens it creates a problem of scaling back your operations so that you don’t have redundant automation rules that hinder your user experience.

  • Expensive for large organizations: If you choose to use the marketing hub it can become expensive for larger companies or even medium sized companies with a large customer database.

  • Learning Curve: While not the most difficult CRM to use, Hubspot offers a lot of features that make it complex to navigate; which for some can be a good thing!

  • Integration Required: You might find that certain aspects of Hubspot might be lacking for you business, such as their phone dialer feature. Luckily you can integrate stronger third-party software to fill the gap.


Hubspots CRM is easily one of our favorite systems. It’s free CRM lets you try out and get use to the interface before jumping into the marketing hub, where it really begins to shine. The system can scale easily with any organization however it can get expensive for larger companies and those with large customer databases (1,000,000+).


While the initial CRM software is free Hubspot offers several “Hubs” Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, CMS and Operations. Each hub has a standard Starter, Professional and Enterprise pricing. Companies usually can expect to spend $100-$3,600 monthly based on the paid tools, number of users and customer contacts.


Keap


Keap is primarily a streamlined CRM software for small businesses that are focused on sales generation. Its web based and has its strength in an easy to pick up UI as well as its sales automation tools. They have a comprehensive set of tools for managing customer interactions and keep things moving down the sales pipeline. Keap is a fantastic CRM for small startups and organizations looking for a quick, powerful tool to help automate its sales and marketing functions.

Pros

  • Focus on growth: the CRM leans heavily into sales and marketing, and provides tools like email and SMS marketing, payment processing and lead outreach.

  • Streamlined Design: Keaps user interface is easy to pick up and use no matter the technical level of your team. You won’t need to spend lots of time training your users.

  • Flow Chart Tool: While Monday has its creation boards and Hubspot its workflow system, Keap has an easy-to-use flow chart tool that allows your team to plan its outreach strategy and automation.

Cons

  • Scalability: Keap is made with small businesses in mind and puts its focus on sales and marketing. It lacks the tools and features that larger organizations might want, specifically it’s lacking in project management that larger teams may need.

  • Limited Customization: Keap leans heavy onto functionality over looks.

  • Expensive: While it will be hard to find a CRM tool that is more streamlined than Keap, there are certainly cheaper options.


All in all, Keap is a strong choice for small businesses and solo entrepreneurs that want an easy to unbox, streamlined approach with a heavy focus on marketing and sales. While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of an all-in-one CRM, it’s a great tool for what it sets out to do. Keap’s pricing scheme takes a simple 3 tier approach with a Lite version starting at $79.00 monthly, a pro version for $169 monthly and Keap Max around $199.00 monthly.


Monday


Monday.com is fast becoming a leader in the CRM software field for a good reason. It initially saw popularity as a project management application but has recently saw success in branching out as a full-fledged CRM. It’s lightweight and affordable, making it a solid choice for most small businesses. Its strongest points are supporting team collaborations and task management but can also support sales tracking and customer data.

This CRM can be tuned to fit most businesses thanks to its intuitive UI and can scale upwards with your organization.

Pros

  • Creation Boards: Mondays defining feature is its creation boards, which allows for larger projects and client management tasks to be easily managed. Increasing team collaboration and accountability.

  • No-coding needed: Easy to start customizing the CRM to your needs. No coding or tech experience needed.

  • User friendly UI: Any team member that’s familiar with excel can jump on almost immediately and learn to use the system in a short amount of time. The ability to color code statuses is also a major plus.

  • Landing page creation options, although limited.

  • Easy data tracking: The CRM allows you to easily track customer interactions, including calls, emails and upcoming meetings.

  • Affordable: Monday is affordable and bases its pricing off a per seat basis. Making it ideal for startups and smaller organizations.

Cons

  • Integration Needed: You may need to use multiple external integrations in order to fully streamline your experience. While the base form of Monday is easy to use, we find most companies want to bring in outside applications and tools eventually.

  • Customization of UI: Some of the initial settings are difficult to change and work arounds are needed in some cases.

  • Limited Reporting: While the data is easy to find and understand, compared to more dedicated CRM software it's reporting and analytics are lacking.

  • No Mobile App: While they provide an App for team collaboration, it has no CRM uses.


Overall Monday is a fantastic CRM for small businesses and start-ups. It scales easily, is reasonably priced and user friendly. What it initially lacks can usually be made up for with external integrations but may take a little bit of work to build a fully seamless user experience. Larger companies or organizations with a more complex hierarchy may want to look at a more robust CRM.


Shape


One of the best CRM software on the market- Shape is a cloud based CRM software with lightweight UI that still manages to offer one of the best marketing suites we’ve seen to date. The systems pricing structure and features make it a great choice for small businesses all the way up to medium sized enterprises. While plenty of CRM’s can boast a sleek, streamlined user experience Shape is one of the only systems that offers powerful, but easy to use features underneath the hood.

Pros

  • Built in Marketing Suite: Teams can take advantage of Shapes robust marketing tools. Including 100’s of email, SMS and text templates. An easy to automate drip campaign feature as well as customer portals and targeted templated ads.

  • Automation Friendly: Shape’s pipeline management tools allow you to automate every step of the customer journey from lead to closing. You can also automate customer outreach through email and SMS. Or setup reminders for your sales team.

  • SMS and Phone options: Bi-directional text support for each customer as well as a call recording and automated triggers for call centers. No need for a separate phone software.

  • Document storage: Shape supports uploading of your organizations documents on the cloud. Store anything from your organizations training SOP’s to a company handbook so its available on the cloud. File sharing and esign are also supported.

  • Accountability: Each customer account is always tracked for any changes made to it.

Cons

  • Per seat pricing: Shape currently charges $99.00 monthly per seat. Which can get expensive for larger organizations.

  • New numbers needed: We love the SMS and phone features that really allow Shape to be an all-in-one CRM, however you will need to register new numbers for your softphone and text due to regulations.

  • Project Management: Shape leans heavier on the marketing and sales side, it lacks more comprehensive project management tools like you’d get from Monday.

  • Customization: While you can easily make customer lists, the UI itself is relatively rigid and most of it cannot be customized.


In our opinion, Shape is one of the best CRM’s overall on the market. It has the sleek, minimalist user interface of other CRM’s like Capsule or Keap with more robust marketing and automation support. Shape is able to scale seamlessly and can support small businesses to midsized enterprises. Where the system needs a little support is in the project management department. While the system offers an internal chat system and lets you create tasks, the task system is customer centric. The pricing for Shape is a simple $99.00 monthly per seat with an additional charge if you’d like to register for a softphone number.


Salesforce


Salesforce has been around for a while in the CRM market for a while, and has been always been at the top of the game. They provide anything you could want from a CRM. Contact management, lead tracking, sales forecasting and more! Many users appreciate Salesforce's flexibility and customization options, as well as its integration with other business tools. Businesses of all sizes can grow their cliental and revenue with ease using Salesforce.

Pros

  • Wide range of features for managing customer relationships and sales processes

  • High level of customization and flexibility

  • Good integration with other business tools

  • Large and active user community

  • Many third-party apps and add-ons available

  • Cloud-based, so accessible from anywhere with an internet connection

  • Can be used by small and large businesses

Cons

  • Can be complex and difficult to navigate for some users

  • High cost for some of the more advanced features

  • Some users have reported performance issues

  • Steep learning curve for new users

  • Some features can be difficult to set up or implement

  • Requires a significant commitment in terms of time and resources to fully utilize its capabilities.


While Salesforce can be difficult to get a grasp on at first, it's an amazing CRM Tool. We recommend Salesforce for those who are invested into CRM, and interested in learning one of the worlds bests CRM services. It's at its strongest when users take advantage of it's strong, collaborative integration possibilities with other business tools. If you're looking for a fast solution, Salesforce might not be for you as it might take some time to get a solid grasp on. If this doesn't dissuade you, then Salesforce can be beneficial for businesses of any size.


Conclusion

These are the 6 best CRM software services that can help you improve your customer relationships. All of these CRM software services offer free trials, so you can try them out for yourself to see which one works best for you.


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