What is CRM Software? Analysis of Functions, Types and Prices
As more customers seek products and services that understand their needs and respond to their situations, companies find it necessary to personalize customer interactions to remain competitive. In fact, a Forrester study revealed that 72% of customers believe that “time is the most important thing a company can offer to provide good service.” Even with a large customer base, companies can control customer engagements, thanks to CRM software.
In this article, you will gain a better understanding of CRM and the definition of its different aspects. It will make you better informed so that you can make the right decision when browsing through hundreds of CRM solutions on the market today. Specifically, we will guide you through the following:
1. HubSpot CRM
The popular CRM platform HubSpot CRM is a leading tool from the HubSpot application provider. This intense popularity among users is due to the fact that the solution is free. It is a highly flexible and intuitive product that can be used immediately after completing the setup. This is because users do not need to make changes to their own workflows in order to optimally use HubSpot CRM. It was designed with SMBs in mind, of which the majority are known to want to test CRM systems. The platform is also known for its ease of use, which eliminates complex processes while providing all the basic functions.
The software can organize almost any customer detail so that users can build company and contact profiles. Assign and track transactions while giving full control over agent performance. Moreover, all activities are monitored by team members through the software. It has numerous integrations, such as Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Zapier, and Shopify, just to name a few.
You can easily sign up for a HubSpot CRM free trial here and see the features first-hand at no cost and without obligation.
2. Salesforce Essentials
Salesforce Essentials is part of the vendor’s CRM and customer support platforms for small businesses only. It is specifically aimed at small teams that are known to have limited time and resources, helping them sell faster and smarter. This is possible thanks to the built-in intelligence tool that comes with the software. Installation is very simple, it does not take weeks, as is known to happen with many other similar tools. Users get help setting up the system from the applications that come with the software, namely Trailhead and Einstein Artificial Intelligence.
What makes the product even better is that it has powerful integrations, including G Suite, Gmail, and Google Calendar. Salesforce Essentials also helps companies improve their customer service by centralizing and connecting a variety of support channels automatically. They can be accessed from any device, allowing them to be resolved as soon as possible. Apart from this, repetitive tasks can be automated, saving staff valuable time and effort.
Freshsales is a robust CRM system from application developer Freshdesk. It is designed to serve today’s sales teams, helping them track contacts while effectively resolving customer inquiries and concerns. The product was developed due to the vendor’s own need to manage their sales process and the need to empower users to perform numerous tasks using a single tool. This contact management program allows users to manage thousands of potential clients at once through a very intuitive interface.
It can also function as a dynamic analytical contributor, offering critical sales advice and insights on how to best leverage them. It doesn’t take much to set up the system as it doesn’t come with complex procedures. The platform has numerous integrations and the transactions are quite secure, as they all take place in the cloud. Other prominent features such as direct calls, email tracking, sales management, event tracking, reporting, lead management, and analytics are also included with the software.
Why use a CRM software?
You have learned what CRM software is, but what are its uses? There are many benefits to CRM software. It can be configured for information, automation, integration, visibility, accessibility, and collaboration — the result is increased productivity and greater efficiency for your business. Here are the main advantages of CRM software:
Generate ideas to make better decisions.
Similarly, you can translate customer data streams from different sources, such as social media posts, support calls, and sales data to see general sentiments about your brand.
Increase sales opportunities.
With more information at hand, you can qualify new leads faster and focus on promising prospects. You can also see which customers can increase your sales, cross-sell, or order and reactivate inactive customers. Similarly, better engagement means that customers remain happy and profitable in the long run.
Build a profile of your customers easily.
By organizing customer data in a centralized database, anyone with access has a 360-degree view of customers. Information such as contact details, demographics, transaction history, support engagement, are easily retrievable through tags and filters.
Align sales and marketing.
Sales can feed data into the field to aid marketing campaigns and brand messaging. Marketing can fuel sales with new leads in bulk. Both teams can share contacts, deals, and prospects that accelerate the sales cycle.
Make accurate sales forecasts.
With a clear sales flow, it’s easier to see which deals and tasks are coming in and going out, which ones are moving and stalling, giving you patterns for forecasting.
Keeps track of customer social posts.
You can manage your social media pages from one place, making it easy to quickly respond to customer reviews, praise, and brand mentions.
Collect data quickly.
Sales can quickly store customer data on site through mobile access. Support can save customer interactions on phone, email, or chat, with just a few clicks. Marketing can automate the classification of campaign comments. Staff do less administrative work and work more on their main tasks.
Get data in real time.
Its reports and analysis use the latest data.
What are the types of CRM software?
We have defined what CRM software is, but what are the different types? Most solutions include all three categories, but are generally strongest in only one or two. What you consider to be your top feature will dictate your choice of software.
The main goal of CRM here is to simplify and automate workflows in sales, marketing, and customer service. The strong solutions in this area are that it has excellent lead management, contact management, helpdesk and sales channel. It is commonly used by managers, promoters, salespeople, and service and support representatives to offload repetitive tasks and speed up work.
Examples: Pipedrive, Zoho CRM, and HubSpot CRM.
A good analytical CRM can generate tons of data from multiple touch points and consolidate it into information useful for strategic planning. The software features robust dashboard and reporting, and can generate real-time data. Quick searches and drilldown tools are standard. This type of CRM is useful for CEOs and CEOs, department heads, and team leaders.
Examples: Salesforce CRM, Oracle CRM, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM
What does a CRM software do?
We have answered the question of what is CRM software, now we are going to consider its main features. There are several features of CRM software: you can organize contacts, manage deals and tasks, automate workflows, track leads in the sales cycle, run and measure campaigns, and generate reports on one platform. CRM software also aligns the workflows and data of various departments, primarily sales, marketing, and support, and promotes collaboration between teams. The operation of a CRM software will depend on the amount of these characteristics that it has.
Here are the Main features of a CRM software:
Organize customer data in a centralized location.
Reports and dashboard.
Significantly consolidate data streams that help you spot patterns, trends, behaviors, and other market insights. Many CRM solutions can also generate real-time data that makes reports more timely and accurate.
Manage leads from prospecting to conversion. It allows you to track sales activities, offers, and tasks, and move them through the sales stages. It also connects to contact management to allow you to view customer profiles and interactions in a single window. Most CRM solutions allow you to customize the stages of the information source.
Offers and Tasks.
CRM allows you to add, map and track actionable items and send them to the sales pipeline. Offers and tasks can be automatically populated with customer data or updated with real-time information.
Manage campaigns from start to finish, including setting up target customers, automating workflows, and measuring success based on clearly defined metrics.
It tracks open or marked emails and generally works with popular email senders and clients such as Gmail, Outlook, and MailChimp. Email tracking can be part of campaign management or sold separately.
Social media management.
Track your audience’s social media activity, preferences, comments, mentions, and actions. It can also be part of campaign management or sold separately.
Many CRM solutions have Android and iOS apps, while others have responsive mobile sites.
What Are The Factors To Consider When Getting CRM Software?
Whichever solution you choose, make sure it has the following aspects to meet the primary goal of CRM software: building customer relationships.
CRM software should do more than store and retrieve data. You need to be able to extract data, consolidate it, and analyze patterns to help you generate ideas for better decisions. The more complex your business, the more advanced the analysis you need.
CRM software must be customizable to suit your workflows or business scenario. It should give you control over data, access, approvals, and to some extent, the interface design.
Can more advanced features or users be added? The software should be able to expand its functionality as your business grows. You should be able to manage more contacts, leads, offers, tasks, and run more sophisticated campaigns or generate more complex reports. You may want to consider this when you think of free CRM software.
The software should work with other popular business and productivity applications that you are using. What are the most popular CRM integrations? These include popular email clients, mailer companies, document management, cloud storage, and calendars. It must also be integrated with other customer-facing systems, such as sales force automation, help desk, and content management systems.
Ease of use.
Setup should be quick, navigation easy to follow, and tools accessible. In general, CRM software should be simple enough for casual users to ensure that employees will use it.
How does CRM software work when you leave the office? You must have an Android version, iOS app, or mobile website that you can access via smartphone or tablet.
What are the potential problems with CRM software?
Hacking, identity theft and malware attacks can compromise sensitive customer data. In response, vendors use encryption to protect data, while companies must have internal security protocols such as permission controls and sharing rules.
Some customers disapprove of companies keeping their personal data. Giving the impression of being overly friendly, such as greeting someone on their birthday, can affect customers the wrong way.
Sales that do not use it.
CRM solutions with many fields, difficult navigation, and complex workflows divert sales staff. The lack of mobile apps also means that sales cannot access the software when they need it most, which is when meeting with customers.
Cost vs. return.
When managers or marketers view CRM software as glorified address books or spreadsheets, they view the software as a cost, not an investment.