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    Customer Relationship Management Software

    Customer relationship management (CRM) software is a category of software that covers a broad set of applications designed to help businesses manage many key business processes including customer data, customer interactions, access to business information, sales automationlead tracking, contracts, marketing automation, customer support, clients and contacts, vendor/partner relationship support, employee records, workforce knowledge and training, and asset/resource management.

    We’ve compiled a list of some of the best general-use CRM systems on the market. These solutions generally work well for businesses of any size and industry, but they can still be customized to meet the specific needs of your organization.

    Top CRM Software Recommendations

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    Compare Features of The Best CRM Software

    monday.com

    monday.com logo

    monday.com is a highly visual CRM for tracking clients and opportunities. It has features for:

    • Contact and opportunity management
    • Task management
    • Gmail, Outlook, and LinkedIn integrations
    • Social media integrations
    • Mobile access

    Wrike

    wrike logo

    Wrike is a simple yet effective CRM with built in project management capabilities. It has features for:

    • Contact and opportunity management
    • Task management
    • Gmail and Outlook integrations
    • Mobile access

    Freshsales

    freshsales logo

    Freshsales is an all-in-one CRM solution with AI-based lead scoring. It has features for:

    • Contact and opportunity management
    • Lead scoring
    • Task management
    • Sales forecasting
    • Marketing automation (as a paid add-on)
    • Gmail and Outlook integrations
    • Social media integrations
    • Mobile access

    Pipeliner

    pipeliner logo

    Pipeliner is an on-premise and cloud-based CRM with extensive visualization tools. It has features for:

    • Contact and opportunity management
    • Lead scoring
    • Task management
    • Sales forecasting
    • Marketing automation (available with a third-party integration)
    • Gmail and Outlook integrations
    • Social media integrations
    • Mobile access

    Salesforce

    salesforce logo

    Salesforce is a household name in the software industry with a CRM solution that lives up to its reputation. It has features for:

    • Contact and opportunity management
    • Lead scoring
    • Task management
    • Sales forecasting
    • Marketing automation (as a paid add-on)
    • Gmail, Outlook, and LinkedIn integrations
    • Social media integrations
    • Mobile access

    Today’s CRM Software

    CRM software is designed to help businesses meet the overall goals of customer relationship management. Today’s CRM software is highly scalable and customizable, allowing enterprises and small businesses to gain actionable customer insights with a back-end analytical engine, view business opportunities with predictive analytics, streamline operations and personalize customer service based on the customer’s known history and prior interactions with your business.

    While CRM software is most commonly used to manage business-to-customer relationships, CRM software systems are also used to manage business-to-business relationships. In the past, CRM software was mostly used by enterprise-sized companies, but today, companies of all sizes and in all industries use CRM software.

    Features vary depending on which system you go with, but most CRM solutions include modules that integrate contact management, opportunity management, pipeline management, task and project management, interaction history, sales forecasting and reporting, email integration, and marketing automation.

    CRM systems geared towards larger organizations will usually include more advanced features, which might include territory management, role permissions, and voice over internet protocol (VoIP) or integration with a third-party VoIP provider. Additionally, some CRM systems built for certain industries offer special features such as connections for real estate lead sources for real estate CRM software.

    CRM Software Installations

    Customer relationship management software is offered in a number of installations including on-premises (where the software resides inside the corporate firewall and is managed by IT operations) or as web-based (cloud applications), where the software is hosted by a CRM provider and accessed by the client business online. Enterprise-grade systems sometimes also offer several hosting choices for software-as-a-service (SaaS) models. These may include the option to deploy the CRM on a public, private, or hybrid cloud.

    In terms of how long it takes to implement a new CRM system, results vary. According to a report from TechnologyAdvice, it can be both easy and difficult to implement a new CRM system. This often comes down to how much data a company owns and where they will be moving it from.

    Companies with more data to move will see longer implementation timelines, and companies that need to move from a legacy CRM system to a new one will need more time than companies who are moving straight from spreadsheets to their first CRM. Generally speaking, it usually takes bigger companies longer to find and implement a new CRM system than it takes smaller companies.

    Learn more about CRM in this Webopedia definition.

    Primary CRM Users

    CRM software was built for sales teams, but salespeople are not the only users you should account for when planning how many users you might need. Here are a few other common CRM user types.

    CRM in marketing

    For marketers, a CRM system can be an invaluable resource. A CRM stores a variety of customer information, and that doesn’t only include contact information and purchase history. Marketers stand to benefit from a number of features offered by CRM, including interaction history, geographic location, demographic information, and social media profiles. Tools built specifically for marketing will already give marketers a clear picture of who their audience is, but CRM makes for a powerful supplement.

    CRM in customer service

    While there is an entire category of software devoted to customer service needs, many organizations also use their CRM for customer service or client success. Giving customer service agents access to CRM systems can help agents process support tickets faster and give salespeople more context around navigating future customer interactions. For example, if a company uses a CRM that offers interaction history, a salesperson could see if a customer’s experience has been mostly positive or negative before reaching out to them.

    CRM in recruiting

    Many companies use software like human resources management systems (HRMS) to assist with recruiting, but not every HRMS includes recruiting features. Luckily, CRM solutions can perform many of the same functions that recruiting software systems do. From handling candidate contact information to interview scheduling to compensation negotiation, common CRM features like contact management, appointment setting, and deal management can be easily used for recruiting purposes.

    Recommended Reading: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Reports Explained

    CRM Software FAQs

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    The CRM software market includes a wide range of vendors. Some of the top solutions, like Salesforce, Hubspot, and Freshsales, are highly flexible and can be customized to fit a variety of situations. Other vendors, like Less Annoying CRM, Apptivo, and Zoho were designed to fit the needs of growing small businesses.

    Additionally, some CRM solutions are purpose-built for specific industries or business goals. Drip, for example, is a CRM for online retailers who want a tool that integrates directly with their ecommerce platform. Similarly, Blackbaud was developed with the unique needs of nonprofit CRM software in mind. Financial services, real estate, healthcare, and are industries that also commonly have specialized CRM solutions.

    Other CRM software examples include:

    • Infusionsoft
    • Salesforce
    • Pipedrive
    • Insightly
    • Oracle
    • Nimble
    • Netsuite
    • SAP
    • Microsoft Dynamics
    • DonorPerfect
    • Kindful
    • AgencyBloc
    • WiseAgent
    • Athenahealth
    • Kareo

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    As the name implies, customer relationship management software is meant to help businesses manage their relationships with their current and prospective customers. In some cases, CRM software also helps organizations manage members, patients, clients, and other unique types of relationships.

    Depending on the business’s goals, CRM software can help find new customers, win new business, increase sales value, and accelerate the sales pipeline with automation tools. CRM software also helps engage existing audiences and uncover deeper patterns and insights when it comes to customer interactions. All data can be aggregated to create a birds-eye view of an organization’s customer base or a zoomed-in view of the finer details of a specific customer record.

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    Any segment of an organization that engages with customers can benefit from using CRM software. Sales people and account managers are the primary CRM users, as they are the ones who engage with customers most frequently. However, marketing and customer experience teams can also use CRM software to manage customer engagements and access customer records.
    With this in mind, a business looking to implement CRM software should consider the needs of sales, marketing, and CX departments altogether to maximize the software’s value add. A solid CRM strategy will help prevent silos, increase cross-departmental buy-in, and ensure the CRM tool accomplishes its goals.

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