As a business owner, you're spinning a lot of proverbial plates at the same time: customer communications, sales figures and projections, scheduling, invoicing, and marketing, to name a few. Plus, as the number of pieces of software to manage all this multiplies, the mental energy and time required to keep it all straight increases, too.
If this sounds familiar at all, it's time to begin using customer relationship management (CRM) software, which can roll many, if not all, of these tasks into a single application.
With that in mind, here are our picks for your best CRM software options :
What to look for in great client management software
If you're not familiar with client organization software, it can seem a bit daunting when you see all the things it can do in addition to relationship management: lead qualification, lead scoring, sales metrics, and customer analytics. That's why, especially when you're getting started with contact management software, you need to consider the following points.
1. Ease of use
The first critical factor is how easy the software is to use. All the great features and capabilities in the world don't matter if no one wants to use the CRM client tracking tools you've chosen.
People from different departments, including marketing, sales, service, and billing, will be using it, so good client management software must be equally accessible for them all.
Every business is different, so your CRM software must be flexible enough to accommodate your individual needs. If you're a small business, you'll want to dial back the available options to those you'll regularly use.
At the same time, you'll want to be able to scale up the features you're using as your business and customer base grows, so a flexible client management software solution is key.
3. Integrations and automation
Finally, while a robust CRM system can combine many of your tasks into a single software package, there are some individual applications, such as email, you might want to keep using. In that case, your CRM software needs to easily support integrations of this type.
Plus, you'll want to be able to automate tasks such as customer follow-up communications and social media marketing to save even more time.
The top 6 client management software picks for your small business
Even a cursory online search will turn up a large number of CRM providers, all of whom claim to be the best. To make your choice easier, here are our top six client management software providers in 2020.
With a score of 8.4 out of 10, Insightly is our top-rated account management software. That's due to its robust customer support, easy-to-learn interface, and scalability from small businesses all the way to large enterprises. Plus, it offers customization options that even tech novices can set up and use.
Key features: As you can see from the sales analytics screenshot above, the drag-and-drop customizations allow you to create graphs, charts, and visualizations to share throughout your organization. In addition, Insightly offers multiple integration options with applications such as MailChimp, QuickBooks, Microsoft Outlook, and Gmail. It's also integrated with Zapier, so you can still connect with other web-based services even if Insightly doesn't do so natively.
Still needs improvement: Integrations are not as stable as would be optimal and can break. In addition, many of the marketing options are only available with the higher-tier plans.
Pricing: Plans range from a "forever free" option for two users that offers a limited number of features all the way to an enterprise plan for $129/month per user. The top tier comes with unlimited storage as well as dedicated tech help whenever you need it.
2. Agile CRM
Next on our list is Agile CRM, which we rated as the best value for client organization software. It's designed for small to midsize companies, offers gamification to motivate your employees, and easily integrates with Facebook and Skype. Plus, it includes Telephony, a built-in calling feature.
Key features: Agile CRM is designed to be your all-inclusive client management software for sales, marketing, and service. Lead management will be easy as its major features are accessible with a single click. You can also manage your social media marketing as well as create visually arresting landing pages.
Still needs improvement: Customer support is lacking at the lower-tier levels, which can be an issue given the scarcity of tutorials for advanced features. Plus, the automation options can be challenging to set up, and customization features are limited.
Pricing: Agile CRM has multiple pricing levels, including a free option that allows up to 10 users. The $48/month per user enterprise level supports over 50 plug-ins and integrations with third-party websites and apps.
3. Redtail CRM
Out of our top three client management software picks, Redtail CRM is rated the easiest to use. It's designed for finance industry professionals and is suitable for small sales operations that include both consumer and business-to-business (B2B) sales.
Key features: Your sales team will love Redtail CRM with its robust contact cards as they move each prospect or lead through the sales funnel. Even better, it tracks and archives client emails to meet compliance standards of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Still needs improvement: The learning curve to use all the features is initially steep, and it's $425/person to attend Redtail University, which offers additional support and training at in-person events around the country. In addition, the mobile app, which will be of use to those working out of the office, is lighter on features than expected.
Pricing: While there is a free 30-day trial period, the baseline cost after that is $99/month per 15 users. After that, it's another $99/month to add 15 more users at a time.
Another easy-to-use CRM system, Pipedrive, integrates your sales and marketing activities. There is extensive customer support, and it also tracks all communications with your clients.
Key features: You can easily track the sales process on the sales dashboard. Plus, Pipedrive offers a wide array of automation features, including chatbots as well as schedulers, to help capture leads from your website. There is also a sales forecasting feature to help you maximize your sales pipeline. All plans are compliant with the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulations.
Still needs improvement: There is no way to separate new leads from the rest of your contacts in this client management software. It’s also not possible to integrate directly with most social media applications. Instead, you'll have to use a third-party application like Zapier to do that.
Pricing: The essential plan is $12.50/month while the enterprise level is $99/month.
5. HubSpot CRM
HubSpot CRM is one of the most popular client management software options available, thanks to its robust features and the integration of sales and marketing efforts. It also has impressive automation options that will free up you and your sales team to focus on outside or inside sales.
Key features: HubSpot includes an online chat feature as well as a universal inbox so that the first available team member can respond to customer inquiries. In addition, you can create email templates and track their performance, including notifications when emails are opened and attachments are downloaded. You can also make calls and update activity logs within your CRM dashboard.
Still needs improvement: Getting a handle on the wide-ranging set of features can be initially intimidating. Plus, the costs begin to add up if you import more than just contacts, and you'll need a higher-level plan to use the marketing automation options.
Pricing: This client management software offers options ranging from "forever free" all the way to an enterprise level that's $1,200-$3,200/month.
6. Capsule CRM
Great for small businesses or even sole proprietorships, Capsule CRM has limited features compared to some of your other choices above, but this client management software offers powerful functionality for what it does include.
Key features: When you're prospecting for leads, you can save a lot of time by uploading CSV spreadsheets of contact or company information into Pipeline. Plus, you can track potential deals, called cases, on cards similar to your contacts. You can also make calls from within the interface and add notes with sales tips and other information.
Still needs improvement: Capsule CRM's strength — its simplicity — is ultimately its weakness as reporting features and integrations as well as customer support are limited.
Pricing: There is a free option which allows for two users, 250 contacts, and 10 megabytes of storage. The professional version of this client management software is only $12/month per user and comes with two gigabytes of storage and up to 50,000 contacts.
Choose your client management software today
The quality of your customer account management is a key driver in determining how successful your business will be.
To generate the best results over the course of the customer life cycle and journey map, everything from customer acquisition to invoicing repeat sales, it's never too early to begin using client management tools like the ones detailed above.