Best CRM Software & Tools for 2021
Customer relationship management (CRM) is essential for companies of all sizes as a business strategy. CRM software encompasses a wide area of interactions and activities between a company and its customers.
As a business strategy, it helps in understanding the customer, retaining them, attracting new ones, and winning new deals. It increases profitability and decreases customer management costs.
The Internet and advances in technology brought about new CRM software that is scalable and customizable, with powerful engines for prediction, analysis, automation, and streamlining of operations.
CRM software and tools are designed to help companies meet their goals of efficiently and effectively managing the customer relationships. With advanced features, they not only help sales teams sell more, but provide customers with the products and services they want.
Important features a CRM tool should provide are automation for customer support, marketing, and sales. Reporting and analysis are also critical features for monitoring key performance indicators. It should have tools for managing data, workflow, and/or inventory while allowing for customization, integration, mobility, and others.
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Here is our list of top 5 CRM software solutions for businesses to start with.
An Honorable Mention for CRM:
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Customer Relationship Management Software Guide
What is CRM Software? – Customer relationship management (CRM) software is a broad category of tools designed to keep track of their customer relationships, manage sales and marketing processes, and deliver a more efficient service. It functions as both a database and a productivity tool. It serves as a repository of customer contact information, and it also stores records of interaction data and helps facilitate workflow automation. CRM software, at its core, is a database of customer and business contacts. One example of this is cobrowsing software. Today, advances in technology have enabled sales, marketing, and customer support teams to use it for a wide variety of tasks, resulting in improved efficiency.
CRM Systems for Sales, Marketing & Support
Sales teams use CRM systems to build greater personalization and better relationships and track and plan better customer interactions. As a result, their entire sales funnel becomes more intentional.
Marketing teams make use of aggregated customer information within CRM systems to better personalize their marketing outreach. This allows them to target audiences and mine data more efficiently as they identify and fit customer profiles.
Customer support teams find customer information in CRM systems useful better in understanding the context and content of the sales deals. They make use of the system to serve the needs and issues of customers after sales.
The CRM Market
CRM software has become one of the most widely adopted solutions in the business. This broad category of software has expanded beyond sales into other job functions and industries. Companies are adopting or upgrading to new CRM systems to target and retain the right customer. As the CRM market becomes crowded, it has become more difficult for companies shopping for a product to find the right system. Aside from the features list, they also need to look at other factors, such as support, community, and their own IT infrastructure.
Enterprise CRM Software
Enterprise CRM software is designed to serve large-scale business needs across a variety of departments. Enterprise CRMs usually have numerous integrated features, the ability to add features by purchasing apps and add-ons, and sometimes even the ability to custom design new features through its developer toolkit. The product is focused mainly on contact management through a set of predetermined channels and automation of sales processes to optimize all customer relationships, old and new. Many CRM platforms include customer service software, but not all do.
Small Business CRM Software
Small businesses that work in niche industries have limited budgets. As such, most cannot afford products from big vendors like Oracle and Salesforce. Also, they find large feature sets too complicated for their basic needs. Today, many vendors are building CRM systems for SMBs. They range from industry-specific systems to less complicated and more affordable platforms. Sometimes, all they need is customer service software that includes trouble ticketing, knowledge management, self-service solutions, live chat, analytics, and reporting.
Current CRM Platform Trends and Innovations
Mobile Features – The capabilities of mobile devices continue to evolve. Harnessing those capabilities for customer relationship management has allowed sales teams to have greater freedom than ever. The mobile CRM innovation also has enabled businesses to meet customers where they are and react quickly to their needs.
Social CRM – Social media has a big effect on both customers’ relationship expectations and companies’ obligations. As more companies move their customer service models out of email and into chat, social media CRM systems and social integrations in CRM suites are gaining more importance and interest.
Sales Mapping Software – Modern sales mapping tools locate current and potential customers on a digital map. Sales managers can then assign territories and suggest sales routes. Sales reps can also find potential leads on the fly.
Software-as-a-Service – Businesses no longer need to house their software on-premise and purchase expensive one-time licenses. Instead, they can pay monthly or yearly subscriptions as they use the CRM software. The result is a lower upfront cost, faster rollout, and better scalability.
Customer Experience Management – Customer experience management (CEX or CXM) is a new field of technology and strategy that offers a more customer-centric engagement to relationships. Its principle is that it is the company’s responsibility, not the customer’s, to make advances by catering to the needs and questions of customers.
Omnichannel Features – Many CRM systems enable connections through all types of customer channels. These include phone, email, social media, brick and mortar, e-commerce, in-person interactions, live chat, and all other customer interactions that can be tracked. They bring together sales, marketing, and customer support teams resulting in greater efficiency and productivity.
AI, Machine Learning, and Automation – AI, machine learning, and automation innovations are now happening and making full contributions to CRM systems. They remove much manual work from workers, so they are free to focus more on customer interactions.
Nonprofit CRM – Some companies choose CRM solutions based on size or prize, but some industries have more specific needs. Nonprofit organizations need CRM software with tools for member management, donor relations, and others. They need to manage lists and their outreach on personal and mass scales.
Financial Services CRM – CRM for this industry should be able to organize contacts and provide insight into sales pipelines. Examples of companies that use this CRM are banks, insurance firms, investment firms, and others.
Real Estate CRM – Real estate CRM software enables agents and brokers to manage relationships between property owners, sellers, buyers, lenders, banks, brokers, and lawyers. The software helps agents track relationships in the course of finding, contracting, and closing real estate deals.
Field Service CRM – This type of CRM software helps users in the construction, utilities, and service sectors. They are able to organize relationships over a widely dispersed customer base with their field technicians constantly on the move.
Healthcare CRM – Also known as patient management or medical practice management software, healthcare CRM software adoption is on the rise. It includes many standard CRM tools, but also includes features unique to the needs and regulatory compliance in the industry, such as HIPAA-compliant databases and security features.
Customer relationship management provides many benefits. Improving customer relations can lead to an increase in revenues, opportunities for selling premium products, and understanding customer needs and behavior better. It also brings about improved internal communications within the company.
CRM software is an essential tool in today’s competitive, interconnected world. It has use cases not only for managing customers but also for employees, vendors, and other partners. Although every organization is unique in its needs, many CRM software solutions are available today that will address common basic requirements and also allow for flexibility and customizations. In addition, many CRM companies offer great client support, training materials to get started, and other services.