CRM Software: List Of Top 5 Solutions for Small Business 2017

aChoosing a smart CRM system is a necessary precondition for establishing and maintaining quality relationships with customers. This type of software allows companies to streamline interaction via many different channels, organizes and stores conversations in a centralized database, but most of all allows to monitor your campaigns and depict trends that could improve the services you provide.

Nevertheless, selecting a productive CRM is a multi-tier process that requires the companies to focus on several different aspects. The ideal customer relationship manager has to be:

  • Functional
  • Offer a streamlined and user-friendly interface
  • Track and monitor progress
  • Integrate with the right third-party systems such as email service providers and sales apps.

Most importantly, the CRM product you’re using has to be customizable, so that you can tweak its functions and make it more business-specific. Luckily, there are systems that meet all of these requirements. In this article, we take a detailed look at the top 5 CRM software for small business in 2017 and the features they offer.

1. Pipedrive

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Pipedrive won our Best CRM Software Award for 2016

Pipedrive won our Best CRM Software Award for 2016

Pipedrive is often qualified as the best performing CRM and sales pipeline management system, and has deserved the attention of our team on multiple occasions. Our team also recognized it with two prominent awards for Best CRM Software of 2016 and the Supreme Software Award for this year. The key business operation your company can perform using this solution is prioritization of leads, which is ensured to happen in seconds making it a very effective tool. Sales people also appreciate the fact that you can use Pipedrive on all browsers and mobile devices, and integrate it with your existing databases.

Besides, Pipedrive is by far one of the easiest and most convenient deal closure systems with top notch stats and reporting. We also really appreciated its advanced customization, as everything in this system can be tweaked to obtain a more business-specific form. In case you’ve prioritized security coverage and deal history as your selection criteria, Pipedrive will once again be a smart choice for your business. You can actually try out the service first at no cost with a great free trial plan they offer (no credit card is required to set up a free account).

2. Salesforce CRM

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Salesforce CRM is one of the best advancements from the company’s sales and marketing suite that adds value to clients’ lead tracking mechanisms. It consists of several modules (Lead Management, Marketing Automation, Sales Data, and Partner Management) focused on improving all aspects of slow and dead-end marketing strategies, while it also integrates with a number of third-party systems to ensure flexibility regardless of the industry where it is being applied.

Overall, Salesforce CRM delivers vital productivity insights, but what is really specific about it is the systematic lead-to-conversion pipeline. This feature ensures that the product will be applicable in all phases of the customer management process, but most of all emphasizes its effective role in lead generation. Large and remote teams will also appreciate the possibility to discuss activities and share data within the same platform where that data is stored.

3. Nutshell

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Nutshell won our Expert's Choice Award for 2016

Nutshell won our Expert’s Choice Award for 2016

Nutshell is another powerful customer management solution, recognizable by its intuitive and friendly interface as well as the quick setup that can save teams a lot of valuable time. Unlike most CRM software for small business, Nutshell requires little training to onboard the sales team. It was also selected as the winner of our Expert’s Choice Award for 2016.

What gets Nutshell a place among the CRM software leaders? To start, the system is devoted to helping sales teams better manage their prospect and customer information and sales pipeline. Each lead is displayed with the people, products, and sources assigned to it, and all data is stored in a centralized database where reps can access it at any time, from any device.

Most of all, Nutshell aims to help sales reps accelerate deal closure, recognizing that a CRM that isn’t built for sales reps will always be disadvantaged by the “garbage in, garbage out” phenomenon.

As with other products mentioned in this article, Nutshell is smartly integrated and mobile-optimized, with an affordable pricing scheme that invites small teams and startups to consider it for their CRM needs. Alongside the native integrations described in more detail in our full Nutshell review, users have access to Zapier-built integrations to automate Nutshell tasks with systems such as Slack, Pure Chat, Gravity Forms, Google Sheets, and more. You can also easily test this solution on your own with a 14-day free trial plan they offer.

4. Insightly

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At first sight, Insightly attracts its users with a beautiful and clean interface, but it takes scratching a bit deeper below the surface to see what it can really do for sales productivity. Insightly enhances collaboration both in and out of the company, and provides a 360-degree holistic view of current and prospective customers. Rather than keeping the manager focused on the whole picture, Insightly allows him to engage in real-time in any phase of the lead nurturing process, or simply obtain a micro-view of how opportunities are being used.

Just as the previously mentioned systems, Insightly integrates with many third-party apps and systems, pleases users with unobstructed mobile experience, and masters social networking for productive lead generation.

5. bpm’online CRM

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bpm’online offers another process-driven CRM that helps coordinate customer relationships across marketing and sales departments. What this system does particularly well is combining customer data with business process management tools, so that companies can customize operations in line with their specifications. This winner of our Great User Experience and Useful Trial awards will also help organize and supervise marketing events, drive smart analytics towards improved business decisions, simplify document processing, and extract useful practices from customer behavior.

The distinctive advantage of this system is flexible deployment, as companies get to choose whether to host it on local devices or in the cloud, which is how bpm’online manages to serve all businesses from startups to large enterprises. You should also consider it because of its flawless integrations, complete drag-and-drop customization suite, agile deployment, and success management.

Comparison of CRM features

All products mentioned on our list were selected with engagement and relationship maintenance in mind. Being able to test all of them, we can confidently claim that none would end up being a wrong choice for improving CRM related operations. Nevertheless, we attempted to define a user profile for each of these products, so that you have the ability to select one that best fits into what your company needs.

Pipedrive

Pipedrive is fully enabled to meet the deal tracking expectations of small and medium companies as well as sole proprietors, but it is not exactly the ultimate customer relationship solution enterprises could rely on. It specializes in direct sales, and while it is certainly a top choice for retaining buyers and delivering express service, it won’t do much to bring potential ones on board. Unlike Salesforce or Nutshell, Pipedrive’s lead generation capacity is limited to calls-to-action and third-party imports, and its effects are mostly visible once the contact is qualified as a potential buyer, scheduled in the calendar, and engaged in a dialog.

What Pipedrive does the best is managing sales, as it guides the buyer to closure without any difficulties, and tracks each process to detect trends and issues. At the same time, one shouldn’t neglect the seemingly infinite customization settings of this product, where the user can personalize everything from colors to final pipeline messages, and edit simultaneously all relevant fields. Pipedrive will also please stats fans with a Live Dashboard where all users can track critical metrics in real time, including People, Activities, Wins, and Loses. What is unique about this system is that it automates vital comparisons, including those between closed and lost deals. All traditional sales reports are readily available and exportable, while the user is also invited to create custom ones using all information that has been stored in the database.

Salesforce

Salesforce CRM, on the other hand, pays just as much attention to marketing as it does to sales, and combines four modules vital to any business: Opportunity Management, Contact Management, Sales Performance Management, and Sales Collaboration. Basically, Salesforce CRM uses a mechanism reverse to the one of Pipedrive: it accelerates productivity by tracking leads outside your sales cycle, and helps develop the most suitable campaigns for them. At the same time, it preserves its systematic lead-to-conversion pipeline, but offers a reporting system slightly less reminiscent of Pipedrive’s (traditional sales reporting remains in place, but customization is limited). Speaking of customization and flexibility, you must take into account that Salesforce is probably the least tweakable among these systems, unless you’re choosing a method to engage customers.

In terms of collecting leads, Salesforce offers an array of different possibilities: rather than simply inviting people to fill in contact forms, this system gathers social accounts, tracks clicks and website visits, and imports databases from a variety of sources. Its storage capacity also speaks in favor of enterprise-grade functionality.

Insightly

Insightly, on the other hand, can be defined as the ultimate collector of contact information, occasionally triggered for sales management purposes. Just as Salesforce CRM, it was designed to meet the needs of smaller and midmarket businesses, in particular remote teams that need centralized storage and easy access to information. Technically speaking, Insightly does cover each stage of the sales process, but just in order to enhance customer engagement.

The platform is not as concerned with reporting and performance metrics as Pipedrive and Salesforce CRM are, but will track pipeline activities and handle few opportunity summaries here and there. What we are trying to say is that Insightly directs 90% of its capacity to managing relationships, which is why we believe it is an all-in-one product for organizations and non-profits which are not interested in managing retail, or a handy addition for experienced vendors. What makes Insightly special is that it gathers contact details from literally everywhere: all dates, emails, tags, and background data is driven to this system form associated projects, email databases, social networks, web forms, partnerships, and auto-detected public sources.

Nutshell

Let’s take a look at Nutshell CRM now, being the efficient storage leader among the tested solutions. In a similar fashion, Nutshell brings together sales automation and customer relationship management, but further enhances this powerful combination with collaboration modules that are not available in the other apps. Basically, if you are running a small or medium team that needs to reconnect in order to manage contacts effectively, Nutshell is the ideal solution to your problem.

Nutshell and bpm’online CRM approached contact importing with a fairly similar mechanism: both apps rely on powerful configuration and email integrations to insert their existing databases, but Nutshell offers homegrown intelligence to select leads from sources that may not be available using another system. Plus, it categorizes all names arriving to the system as People, Companies, and Leads which facilitates both bulk editing and group nurturing. Despite of the large data volumes it assembles, Nutshell functions intuitively: instead of devoting a multi-page profile for each contact, it displays key details on a popup screen that opens once you’ve clicked on the contact’s name. Inclusively, Nutshell can be used as a customer support system, or integrated with the one you’ve already purchased.

In terms of reporting, Nutshell can easily stand shoulder to shoulder with Pipedrive – you will benefit from detail-accurate Activity and Funnel reports and specify the metrics you want to compare. What is really specific about Nuthsell are the quarterly Success Plan Reviews which compare accomplishments to planned improvements in every three months.

bpm’online

Last, but not least, we have bpm’online CRM. This is probably the only system from the ones we’ve tested that genuinely meets the effective CRM needs for each company profile and each department. Similarly to Insightly and Nutshell, this product allows agile transformation of all marketing and sales processes, and supports most of Salesforce and Pipedrive’s sales management power. It has an easygoing RIA interface where users can manage their customers’ journey end-to-end, and maintain detailed accounts for continuous testing, and improvements that make it possible to keep in line with developing business trends.

Another feature that reminds of (and in particular cases surpasses) Pipedrive is customization, as bpm’online allows for easy moderation of complex, parallel, and branched processes using an advanced WYSIWYG visual editor. Thanks to its open configuration, you can import contacts from virtually any database, including ones that are not covered by the other 4 products discussed in this article.

A really specific and unique feature of bpm’online CRM is the free-of-charge Customer Success Manager program, which enables companies to make the most of their CRM strategies. The aim of this program is to connect all relevant marketing, sales, and customer service dots and ensure that end customers’ experience will flow undisturbed from lead to order. What is even more important, data is neatly stored and sorted by probability for reporting purposes, even if this system doesn’t offer premade templates such as the ones of Insightly, Nutshell, or Pipedrive.

Comparison of integrations & mobile optimization

All systems discussed in this article integrate with leading email service providers and customer support tools, and are fully mobile optimized to make contact data accessible on all devices. Some companies, however, went beyond traditional connections and considered the necessity to relate their product to ERP systems, sales apps and financial management products, giving us the nuances we need to distinguish between them.

Looking at the connectivity list, we concluded that Pipedrive is the best native-integrated system of the five, as you get to use it seamlessly with other CRM providers, help desks, business intelligence, project management, and marketing products. Prominent partnerships include Zoho CRM, PipelineDeals, Freshdesk, ActiveCampaign, Woopra, daPulse, and many others. Pipedrive is also integrated with Nutshell.

Secondly, we have bpm’online which has a unique connectivity story. The system can be integrated with virtually any third-party application as it provides open configuration and extensive API to allow for any customization and integrations required for your business. The company has an extensive experience of integrating with different systems during project implementation (accounting, legal, ERP, social listening tools etc.), as well as a number of out-of-the-box integrations, which include, but are not limited to: Twitter, Facebook, Google Contacts and Calendars, LDAP, IMAP, MS Exchange, Google Maps, OpenStreetMap, MailChimp / Mandrill and ore.  Bpm’online also offers email synchronization via IMAP and Exchange protocols, and simplified synchronization of MS Exchange and Gmail contacts and calendars.

The third choice in terms of native integrations would be Nutshell, as this system also goes beyond traditional email connections, and syncs easily with Olark, Zapier, QuoteRoller, RingCentral, and a variety of social networks. You can also rely on this system for Zapier-built integrations, which makes this system just as usable as bpm’online in any software architecture.

As expected, Salesforce CRM functions in harmony with other Salesforce products, but it will also blend seamlessly with Samanage, JIRA, Zendesk, and FinancialForce. Zoho CRM, also being a member of a powerful productivity suite, expands this list to social networks, survey software, and apps such as Constant Contact, ClickDesk, TeamSupport, and many others.

If we exclude social media from the list, Insightly will become the least connective tool of the five, as its current integrations include email, document management, and sharing & storage systems such as MailChimp, Google Drive, and Outlook. Despite of it, users shouldn’t neglect the fact that Insightly and bpm’online CRM are the only open API systems on the list, namely the ones that can blend in with every software ecosystem with a bit of coding knowledge.

Comparison of pricing

All five products offer a fixed pricing scheme with several packages for different users, as well as a free trial designed to help you explore key features before making a buying decision. A free-of-charge plan with limited features is offered only by Insightly (for 2 users). Migrating to a paid plan will be easy in all cases, as these products are priced with small, medium, and large businesses in mind. The most you’re expected to pay is $850 for bpm’online on-premise deployment (one time fee) and $300 for Salesforce’s cloud-hosted enterprise service.

Excluding Insightly which has the lowest prices available, the most affordable product would be Pipedrive ($10 for a Silver package) and Nutshell ($20 for a Starter plan) growing gradually to $75 for Pipedrive’s Platinum package and $70 for Nutshell’s Pro+ plan. Both vendors offer annual subscriptions which reduce monthly installments by approximately 10%.

Salesforce CRM, as we mentioned, is slightly more expensive, starting at $25/month, and moving to $300/month for the Performance Edition which bundles all Salesforce products in a single package.

Bpm’online CRM has a slightly more complex pricing scheme, as it offers separate packages for the Sales, Marketing, and Service module, while the CRM bundle that collates their functionality in a single package. The price per package also depends on whether you’ve chosen to deploy the system in cloud or on premise. Overall, the prices of all modules vary between $25 and $800 per user.

Category: B2B News

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