A CRM that’s easiest to use will be the one most successfully implemented. However sophisticated its features are, if sales, support, or marketing teams find them difficult, the features will be seen as an inconvenience, not tools. Spurred by the increase in spending on cloud computing tools (Worldwide Semiannual Public Cloud Services Spending Guide 2018), vendors are churning out more and more intuitive CRMs today.
But how easy is easy enough? Usability is just one aspect. In this article, we compare three very easy to use CRM software solutions, but we also consider other attributes that can make them highly useful tools for your company, including:
HubSpot is a 100% free CRM app that completes the vendor’s sales and marketing suite. It’s one of the most robust yet intuitive freemiums for any business size and industry. HubSpot CRM offers all core functionalities at no cost. The app lets you manage contacts, tasks, and deals across a neatly laid-out sales pipeline. It also allows for document sharing and email notifications.
Together with HubSpot’s paid Sales Pro and Marketing Pro systems, this CRM app really makes your sales pipeline run more efficiently. It is ideal for small and medium businesses and large enterprises with focus on inbound marketing tools. If you want to try out the software the signup is easy and intuitive. You can easily get HubSpot for free here.
It’s another popular social CRM that also natively integrates with other Zoho business apps. Widely used by freelancers and small businesses, Zoho CRM focuses on culling leads off Twitter and Facebook. It links to your customers’ social pages and sorts the information as potential leads. You can also send invites and post comments to engage them based on these insights. The app has reliable Android and iOS apps that allow you to access customer data and sales records on the go. It is available for free for up to ten users which is often more than enough for small businesses.
It’s a new solution from the same developer that brought us Freshdesk, the popular, highly intuitive help desk. Freshsales exhibits very similar usability attributes. The app helps you manage the traditional aspects of the sales process, including identifying opportunities in your customer database. Its analytics is good enough for straightforward sales reporting. If you have a structured sales workflow with no complex scenarios, Freshsales can handle your needs. It’s ideal for freelancers, small and medium companies and is also available for free for up to ten users.
We compared the three CRM apps on critical aspects like ease of use, integration, and mobile access. Likewise, we pitted them against each other based on the essential CRM functions, mainly how they manage contacts, leads, deals, tasks, emails, and documents. The solutions are closely matched, but check our takeaway for each comparison attribute to appreciate the nuances.
A CRM solution should be easy to use for salespeople, support, and marketers. On this note, all three solutions we tested are generally intuitive to set up and navigate. HubSpot CRM is the fastest to set up; it takes under a minute and you’re good to go.
Both HubSpot CRM and Freshsales have clean UI, the tools are easy to access from any window you’re on. On the other hand, Zoho CRM is more complex and may require more time to get used to some of the functions. This includes using bulk upload and role approvals. Its UI also seems a little wide and the tools spread out.
Meanwhile, we found an integrated HubSpot CRM a very convenient place to centralize social media posting, blog publishing, and email marketing. The suite gives you full control over your sales and marketing automation and insights. Freshsales, on the other hand, has plenty of features, but they tend to clutter the dashboard in some cases.
But Freshsales has great customer service in case you’re confused with the tools. As for HubSpot’s support, you can turn to its community for a comprehensive knowledge base of FAQs and best practices. Zoho CRM has had some complaints on ignoring customer calls or that its how-to guides are incomplete.
Takeaway: HubSpot CRM is not only the easiest to set up (in under a minute), but its functions have clearly defined goals.
Zoho CRM outnumbers its competitors in terms of number of features, but it has the tendency to overwhelm users with disparate tools. HubSpot and Freshsales have more defined goals for their features.
For instance, HubSpot has solid inbound marketing focus. Embedding a tracker on your site is a simple copy-paste process. This lets you track who is currently visiting which of your pages. On the other hand, Freshsales has great email marketing tools, such as, email tracking and automatic email follow-up.
Zoho CRM also has web forms to get leads off your site, but the app is more appreciated for capturing leads on Twitter or Facebook or using it as a social help desk. Meanwhile, Freshsales’ forms are best to track engagement on your app; it’s quite costly if you use it just for a website.
All three CRM solutions have clear lead management tools. In this respect, Freshsales’s lead scoring is worth noting–it’s handy and useful to prioritize the most promising and profitable prospects. Hubspot’s sales pipeline is basic but can be customized to your workflows.
Managers will also like the timeline feature in HubSpot and Zoho. You can quickly look up in chronological view the sales team’s customer interactions. Sadly, this feature is not very intuitive in Freshsales.
HubSpot and Zoho also have unique features that are not available in Freshsales. Zoho features sales-driven gamification that pushes sales reps to close more deals. Meanwhile, HubSpot can measure which email templates are giving you the most leads. This tool is useful to A/B test first-touch emails.
Takeaway: HubSpot CRM and Freshsales are more focused on their niche–inbound marketing and email marketing–while Zoho CRM has plenty of features, but not all of these may be useful in your situation.
Freshsales’ dashboard is very intuitive. You need only a few minutes to get the hang of it. But they lack the sophistication of the dashboard offered by HubSpot and Zoho as you can deploy multiple dashboards on both apps.
We liked the visual ticklers on key performance indicators on HubSpot, including visuals for campaign success rate, conversion rate, and sales rep performance. On the other hand, you can use Zoho CRM’s prebuilt or custom dashboards to get a quick lookup on how near deals are to closing.
Freshsales isn’t lacking in insights, though. Its email metrics are helpful to gauge the success of campaigns. Beyond that, you have more reporting options with HubSpot and Zoho. When integrated with sales and marketing automation, HubSpot CRM gives you a 360-degree view of your marketing efforts, from contacts to traffic and, ultimately, to sales. Likewise, you can generate revenue reports based on different income streams.
Zoho CRM, in the meantime, has myriad graphical options to interpret data, such as, donut charts, area graphs, bar, pie, and funnel charts. This allows you to mash up data in different ways to unlock insights.
Takeaway: CRM doesn’t work in a vacuum. When integrated with sales and marketing processes, HubSpot CRM delivers more focused insights that zero in on your key performance indicators. Zoho CRM is great if you have more complex reporting scenarios, while Freshsales could improve its lead analytics.
The best solutions should integrate with key apps that complement CRM functions. These include mailers, analytics, web builders, and help desk. All three solutions have native integration to their respective product lines. Zoho has over twenty-five apps under the brand, from invoicing to project management to spreadsheets, wikis, and word processing. Many of these apps however are not necessary to CRM, though can still be useful in other areas of your business process.
On the contrary, HubSpot CRM fits to the tee the functions of HubSpot Sales and HubSpot Marketing. Together, the three apps give you a solid sales and marketing suite that helps you run an efficient sales pipeline closely linked to your campaigns. From campaigns to leads to sales and back, your sales cycle keeps humming with the HubSpot suite. Meanwhile, Freshsales works with Freshdesk, the popular help desk app from the same vendor.
As for external apps, Zoho CRM is notable for its Google Apps integration. It smoothly works with Google Calendar, Tasks, Contacts, Docs, and Gmail. Freshsales also works well with Gmail and Calendar. On the other hand, HubSpot has native integration with Zapier, linking it to hundreds of third-party business and productivity apps.
Takeaway: Zoho CRM has nearly 150 integrations with a wide range of apps, from mailers to social media apps and analytics tools. But integration isn’t a numbers game; rather, apps should closely complement each other’s functions. In this regard, HubSpot CRM does a good job integrating with mainly customer-facing solutions. Keep in mind though that in the end it all comes down to which apps you are using in your company.
Many SaaS vendors are now implementing mobile-first apps to drive user adoption. For example, Emergence Capital Partners (ECP) study lists more than 300 companies offering mobile platforms.
All three solutions we tested have reliable mobile apps. Both Freshsales and Zoho CRM have free Android and iOS apps. HubSpot CRM only works on iOS. With Zoho CRM mobile you can check reports, retrieve contact information, and edit accounts. Similarly, you can access the most important data on Freshsales mobile, including leads, deals, and contacts. You can also move leads in Freshsales, which is useful for in-the-field developments.
HubSpot has a solid iOS app, which is designed for field sales. You can customize it to display the key sales and marketing metrics, check sales leaderboard with real-time data, and track deals across the pipeline.
Takeaway: Both Freshsales and Zoho CRM have free Android and iOS apps. On the other hand, HubSpot CRM’s iPhone app looks solid but the lack of Android version may be limiting to sales reps who don’t have an iPhone or iPad.
Overall, Hubspot CRM beats the two solutions for excelling in four of the six comparison attributes. These include ease of use, core CRM features, reporting and dashboards, and integration. Freshsales got our nod for core features and mobile access, while Zoho CRM has integration and mobile access as its winning attributes.
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