When running a business, it is important to keep track of your clients and all of your interactions with them. It is equally important to give attention to investors, pay vendors, track employee workflow and much more. Technology trends have made it easier to keep track of all of these and many more tasks on a daily basis, but customer relations management, or CRM software, is the best way to keep track of everything in your business without drowning in multiple software programs and apps. While CRM was originally created to help keep track of client information, it has grown and evolved into multifaceted programs that can track sales and create custom marketing opportunities.
As we compared CRM software, we paid close attention to how well each program connects each aspect of the customer interaction experience, its ability to share files between multiple users and departments, the ease of installation and use, and the overall quality of the customer service experience with support personnel. We ranked Salesforce, NetSuite and OnContact as the best CRM software on the market. We've also included articles on CRM software in our Learning Center that have more hints and helps.
When buying CRM Software you have the option to purchase a program that is hosted on your own server or cloud-based. Both have great advantages and can provide unlimited access of users and the number of customer accounts. Several CRM programs have mobile capabilities, so you can access important client information on the go. Here are a few other points to think about when looking at CRM software.
Every CRM software solution includes features that let you create individual client accounts and track interactions with them. The best CRM software lets you connect with other company users, such as tech support or sales staff, in real time to get help answering a client's question. The ability to dial out and connect with important contacts from within the CRM program is helpful if you have the right equipment and setup.
It’s important to know how many departments and employees in your company will be using the CRM software. While some solutions allow as many users as you want for one flat price, most charge per user per month, and prices tend to go up when you add more users. Additionally, some CRM software caps how many user accounts you can add to the program while others have an unlimited threshold.
Sales & Marketing Features
In addition to contact management, some of the CRM software we reviewed includes sales and marketing features. Others include these applications for an additional fee. These features include ways to forecast marketing campaigns, generate sales quotes, follow leads and track your competition. These are helpful tools in growing your customer base and increasing company revenue.
Employee Tracking & Support
One great feature found in the best CRM software is the ability to track your employees' interactions with your customers. You can see when a client had a technical issue or a service question, which employees had a hand in the solution and if the concern was taken care of in a timely manner. You can use this information to assign tasks and to complete annual performance evaluations.
Some CRM software solutions have the ability to create a social media network within the program so employees can collaborate and learn more about their job functions, the focus of the company and sales tactics.
Ease of Use
Whether your data is stored on-premise or in the cloud it is important that you can easily locate your information quickly and not get lost clicking through too many steps. Most of the CRM software we reviewed includes field prompts and other embedded guides to help you as you learn the ropes of the software. Some of these helps are easy to follow, or include step-by-step instructions with illustrations or video tutorials. These helps can be invaluable, especially if you are not very familiar with CRM software.
Help & Support
It is important to be able to connect with someone if you are having trouble with your CRM software. After all, it contains very important information that is vital to your company's growth and operations. Not all CRM software has live chat or telephone support available. Email is available for some while others have an email form on their website that will place your question in a queue to answer when your number comes up. Most companies are able to get an answer to you within 24 hours.
Buying CRM software an important decision that will greatly affect the operations of your company. Use our CRM software review to help you decide which solution fits best with your business goals and needs.