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Making the Right CRM Choice For Your Business

business concept of making the right CRM choice
Reading Time: 10 minutes

With so many CRMs on the market, companies need to look closely at what would be the best CRM Choice for their specific business requirements. Making the right CRM choice is an investment in your company.

There are several considerations to make when looking at investing in Customer relationship management (CRM) software and with them being incredibly versatile, with strong competition to gain your business.

CRM used to be just about being a tool to record customer data and provide customer support, but today they have become much more. They are now about being fit for purpose as companies have refined their sales processes and go to market strategies. The CRM must align with the business goals and support business growth.

With so many CRM companies offering CRM solutions, choosing the right CRM tool can be challenging.

We looked beyond the functionality and put together a list of software based on its intention to work with your company. The following CRM Software companies have an intention of their fit to your companies’ purpose. All the listed CRMs operate on the Web, iOS, and Android.

View of Zoho CRM dashboard

When it comes to scaling a business, Zoho CRM delivers an affordable option with the ability to scale from a team of one too well over 100 people. In addition, Zoho CRM provides access to add-one applications of Finance, Marketing, Help Desk, Social, plus Forms, Custom Apps. Each is easily accessible through the main CRM dashboard.

If you are a fast-growing business, providing a 360-degree view for every contact is extremely beneficial. Each contact record shows you all the activities and touchpoints related to that contact person, with information about sales activity, including sales communication such as emails, meetings, customer service help cases and their outcomes, and social and marketing campaigns, among other features.

You gain a complete picture of the contact, who interacts with them, and when employees respond to them.

The leads module (vs. contacts) allows salespeople to focus on qualifying those prospects from marketing campaigns with the added benefit of their activity captured by SalesIQ to personalise the interactions. You can simply click on (phone, email) to start a conversation. Contacts can be filtered easily to sort the ones salespeople need to target.

Zoho further includes one of the more comprehensive reporting features of all CRMs with dozens of pre-made reports that can be easily configured to show a range of views (chart, table, tabular, and more), all of which are fully customisable.

Zoho CRM may be the right CRM choice for your company.

image of Salesforce Dashboard

Companies that require many customisation options in their CRM need to consider Salesforce Sales Cloud. Between its internal customisation options and third-party AppExchange, the possibilities for developing a bespoke platform are nearly endless. The Flow Builder lets you create custom process management automation to customise specific actions.

Salesforce provides the control of who can access different modules and functions to view or edit fields. So, for example, you can easily restrict employees, depending on their roles, from being able to see or edit fields in a contact record that is outside their scope.

Another powerful feature is SalesForces AppExchange providing hundreds of third-party integration options, provided for both paid and free apps.

The strength of this CRM is the dozens of pre-built reports related to deals, activities, top accounts, conversion rates, win ratios, and many other KPIs you want to measure.

For sales managers everywhere, the struggle of engagement is a real challenge. Salespeople are not updating their opportunities. Salesforce’s solution is the Login Wall of Shame, where sales management knows which salespeople are not logging in to make those updates.

SalesForce CRM may be the right CRM choice for your company.

Image of Dashboard of Bitrix24

Companies are now aware remote working will remain part of the business process in the future, and this software is geared to support remote workers. Bitrix24‘s CRM is a solid platform for companies with dispersed, remote teams, providing multiple channel options for keeping in touch, collaborating, and sharing information.

This application delivers full CRM plus marketing automation and project management capability, web design, and many communication options such as video, messaging, and chat.

The platform sets up workgroups for individual employees or contractors, departments, or specified groups to collaborate on projects or ongoing work. Each workgroup has its own tasks app, calendar, chat, images, plus a knowledge base, Wiki and custom options like mini-websites where users can create pages and post articles). In addition, the group’s progress is shareable/viewable by all teammates and their management.

Like messenger, an internal chat feature lets teammates communicate individually, as groups or in departments. In addition, users can add links, tagging, record and send videos.

Bitrix24 offers integration with over 70 VoIP providers such as RingCentral, Nextiva, and Vonage for traditional telephone communication.

Bitrix24 CRM may be the right CRM choice for your company.

image of the dashboard of PipeDrive CRM

Without a doubt, Pipedrive is the easiest to use CRM software and a very popular smart choice.

The CRM offers plenty of flexibility; its simple focus is to assist salespeople in winning deals. There are no other apps such as marketing or service features to distract the sales team from selling.

Pipedrive is straightforward to encourage even the most sceptical salesperson to use the software. It is easy to navigate, enter new deals, and drag and drop for updating deal close timelines with a simple layout. An expandable menu on each page for quickly adding deals, activities, leads, etc.

Email providers can be connected, allowing team members to email directly from the inbox or a contact record. In addition, the system tracks opens and email communication history. The platform can also sync your Outlook or Google Calendar and manage your meeting availability, a link to send to contacts within the app.

Calls can be made from individual records, and those calls can be recorded. When the call is complete, an outcome list categorises the outcome. All call activity is noted in a contact’s record, including the recording.

Three great add-ons Pipedrive offers are:

  1. LeadBooster provides chatbot, live chat, forms, and prospecting capabilities, connecting salespeople with prospects.
  2. Prospector is a data source on companies and contacts, letting salespeople search by size, industry, keyword, and other attributes that fit your target prospects.
  3. Adding a tracker code to your website provides real-time data on the companies visiting your website and the pages they visited. It will also identify specific contacts you already have in your system.

The reporting capabilities include forecasting, conversion, deals won, and deal duration through the standard of customisable dashboards. Additionally, the app can track the average deal value and revenue each week. The easy to customise reporting lets you add conditions from each data field, so you can get as granular as you want.

Pipedrive connects to other apps through the Marketplace, offering some 300 third-party native integrations with apps such as Zoom, Slack, Trello, and QuickBooks.

PipeDrive CRM may be the right CRM choice for your company.

Image of the Ontraport CRM Dashboard

Designed for businesses that sell online products, services or memberships, Ontraport software offers many features to integrate the entire customer experience. It captures sales opportunities from marketing interaction to transactional sales/payment processing, plus cross-selling and coupon codes.

Once a customer, the platform has post-sale follow-up and customer nurturing for the next or many sales.

Using Ontraport is unlike other CRMs and can take some getting used to. There is no save button. Instead, you type in a piece of information in new contact, and it saves the record or updates it.

This aside, from a contact record, you can see the potential touchpoints the platform includes in its capabilities: campaign history and actions, purchase and membership history, credit card info, subscriptions, and coupons, as a start. From a contact record, you can email, text, create tasks, and process a transaction with a credit card.

A payment gateway (e.g., Authorize.net, PayPal, Stripe) is easily set up using one of their vendor integrations, and it enables you to take payments manually and automatically.

The marketing suite offers businesses pre-built and custom automated campaigns using a visual drag-and-drop editor, with the capability of setting triggers, actions (emails, texts, postcards), with filters of “if/then” branching logic to customise the customer’s experience.

All campaigns can then be tracked for common stats, such as conversion rates, monthly recurring revenue, lifetime value, and the flow of contacts activity.

Third-party integrations include eCommerce platforms (e.g., Shopify, WooCommerce), video, voice/text, forms, memberships, shipping fulfilment, webinars, etc.

Reporting for sales is based primarily on eCommerce transactions: sales by product and by subscription, to name a few. Dashboards include tracking for conversion rate, the average time between two things happening, the total value of something across contacts, and the average value for a numeric across contacts.

Ontroport CRM may be the right CRM choice for your company.

image of Nimble CRM Dashboard

A CRM platform providing salespeople with what they need to organise their contacts and action lists and find opportunities, along with a social tracking feature. Nimble keeps prospecting sales teams organised and increases their efficiencies as they can manage all prospects without slippage.

Its Prospector engine browser extension assists salespeople to uncover and connect with more leads in less time, close deals faster, and manage all their contacts from anywhere on the web.

An easy to use platform that has a playful quality to the UI makes it enjoyable to use. In addition, the platform provides plenty of instructions within the UI, particularly when you first sign up. This encourages users to get started and become up to speed quickly.

The dashboard provides a high-level view of important daily updates on deals, activities, tasks, email tracking, and social engagements. The menu includes these same items when you’re ready to dive in.

If Nimble has a limitation, it would be its limited reporting capabilities, such as forecasted deals and revenue, deals won and lost, and opportunities by stage related to the pipeline.

When you add a contact, Nimble collates information that will show suggestions for the prospect’s LinkedIn and Twitter accounts, which you can confirm or reject where multiple options exist. It pulls in all related information, such as the person’s work experience and displays a smart summary of the prospect. The prospect’s social feeds will display in the record, letting you monitor and interact without leaving the screen.

Nimble CRM may be the right CRM choice for your company.

image of Nutshell CRM Dashboard

Nutshell is a sales-driven CRM platform with features designed to make the lives of sales managers and their teams easier and more productive.

Designed to include highly-specific customisations to match how your company sells and who you sell to, this customisation is excellent. Additionally, you can tailor team and territory management, and the reporting options ensure you can measure any data point for KPIs and transparency.

Sales managers can customise the many notifications (e.g., new leads, new activities or updates, tasks, and watched leads), keeping them informed on their team’s work. Customised pipelines provide management with the options to set the transparency of confidence percentages, days overdue in a deal stage, and overdue deals. In addition, there are company-specific features for competitors, industries, and markets.

This platform simplifies the creation of territories for teams by area code, city, state, and postal code. When a lead is assigned based on the geography, it will automatically distribute all leads based on a defined territory. Multiply this activity by a say, ten territories and a hundred leads monthly, which is a time-saving feature for management. The lead distribution feature also works with industry, market, and sources.

When a contact is added for sales team members, the platform finds the appropriate LinkedIn profile and links to it, along with other social accounts. Going a step further, it will also add the employer and pull in the prospect’s job profile.

There is comprehensive reporting for sales value, average value, lost sales, and new leads, among others. You can draw each report by territory, assignee, or source. In addition, forecasting is included for the pipeline, sales quota, and projected sales. Custom reports are also available outside the pre-built versions, providing a nearly infinite combination of filters gathered from data fields.

One of Nutshell’s newest features is its marketing platform, which allows you to design and send drip email campaigns to defined audiences. Your campaign emails are tracked in engagement for opens, clicks, and bounces.

Nutsehll CRM may be the right CRM choice for your company.

Image of Close CRM Dashboard

Inside sales teams are challenged as they work with thousands of contacts, making calls and sending follow-up emails. As a result, they can spend excessive time sifting through contacts and quickly become unproductive and inefficient.

Close platform focuses on making communication uncomplicated and deciding who to contact as easy as clicking a button.

Close believes the easier it is to perform these core functions of inside sales agents, the more productive they will be.

To call a series of leads quickly, the Power Dialler will automatically call through its proprietary Smart View list. As a call begins, the contact record is automatically opened if someone answers. If there is no answer or the conversation ends, the dialler alerts you that the next call is starting. If you’re still making notes in the record, the dialler pauses, and you can also pause it yourself if needed. This creates a productive call flow for agents.

Additional phone features include call recording, call coaching, and pre-recorded voicemail messages. Texting and emailing from the contact record is simple, with a timeline recorded in real-time, tracking all communications. An inbox displays all of your incoming calls, texts, emails, and tasks, and it lets you respond and filter based on done and future activities.

The Smart Views feature show sales agents who to call and when to follow up. Some categories include leads to call, leads never called, and no contact in over 30 days. According to Close, the purpose of these lists are so you don’t have to think: 1) Should I call this person? 2) What should I say? Instead, you set the parameters of the lists using statuses (e.g., in a trial), best times to call, and other filters that build only the most relevant leads. You can also send them a bulk email or a pre-made email sequence.

Close CRM may be the right CRM choice for your company.

Companies should choose wisely based on their business’s refined sales process and go to market strategies. In addition, the customisation capability of most software makes them ideal for creating a seamless customer experience to enhance your brand and customer loyalty further.

Making the right CRM choice is a large investment for many companies. CRM implementation is a time-consuming project, and we recommend using either a CRM vendor or CRM Implementation Consultant to assist in managing the project and customisations.

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About the Author: Adele Crane

A leader in Implementation Consulting.
CEOs and Managing Directors have relied on Adele Crane to solve challenges with the performance of their sales and marketing since 1990. Her consulting experience in delivering results in 90-120 days is unprecedented by any other known sales and marketing consulting professional in the world. As an author of 3 acclaimed books, appearances on major media, and publications in USA, NZ and Australia, Adele’s experience brings fresh thinking and contemporary practices to business.