Whatever your reasons for using a CRM, having them stacked up like a totem pole in order of priority would more likely get the right CRM software that matches your needs. That’s because many CRM apps are designed with a value proposition addressing a specific priority.
In the examples of CRM below, you’ll realize how these software solutions are classified in a general way, so you get to narrow down your options to a specific type that suits your business. The classification is not fixed, however. Instead, many CRM solutions have a diverse set of features or regularly introduce new features so that they cannot be boxed in one type alone.
Many businesses today have CRM at the core of their enterprise system. That’s not surprising when you consider that business revolves around customers. And their loyalty is one of the most important business success metrics.
Consider, too, that 13% of companies see the act of investing a matter of priority. Why is that?
With the right CRM strategy and technology in place, businesses do improve the bottom line by reaping CRM benefits, resulting from streamlining if not automating customer-relevant processes, such as contact management, lead generation, pipeline management, and customer service.
Improve Customer Relationship74%
Increase Sales Quota65%
Improve Team Productivity50%
Increase Leads Conversion47%
Source: IBM 2017 CRM StudiesDesigned by
But CRM solutions come in a variety of types, as we mentioned earlier. We’re not talking about deployment or business type or even CRM pricing models; these are easily described. Rather, what we are presenting to you below are CRM types by function. What your priority function is will dictate the software solution of your choice.
Let’s break down the examples of CRM by their priority function:
Some CRM can be classified by their specific thrust towards a main function, like promoting inbound marketing or the traditional sales-stage approach. While these CRMs also provide standard features and adapt to horizontal uses, the vendors position their product along particular expertise or thought leadership.
In other words, they promote a specific sales or marketing approach around which their product is designed. These tools, coupled with sound inbound CRM marketing strategies, can positively impact your business.
HubSpot CRM stems from the vendor’s solid positioning as a leader in inbound marketing—the use of content to pull customers in (as opposed to advertising, which pushes your brand out to a target audience). A prolific content publisher, HubSpot presented its own marketing brand as the better approach in the digital space, using its own experience as a case. One of its strongest pull strategies is offering free tools, and this is where HubSpot CRM is coming from.
The CRM is 100% free. It is not a free trial or freemium with a limited feature set to tease you to a premium plan. You get the whole thing at no cost. And like any premium CRM, its feature set is robust. The app has the deals pipeline to help you visualize the entire sales funnel. You can sort deals by value, name, stage, or customized filter. The deals are bi-directionally associated with contact management. Any update from both ends is synced, giving you the latest on customer data. The app can capture customer interactions in your email (it has good integration with Gmail and Outlook), social media, phone, and website channels and automatically updates relevant leads, deals, and contacts.
You also get free tools like live chat, team inbox, and bots. The team inbox is shared with your marketing, sales, and support reps, so it’s easy to track conversations and events across the customer journey. To start using this free CRM, you can simply sign up for HubSpot CRM free app.
HubSpot CRM helps you grow your customer base, but as it grows, you’ll need more sophisticated tools like marketing and sales automation. HubSpot provides both apps through paid plans, HubSpot Marketing, and HubSpot Sales. The free CRM natively integrates with these two systems, giving you a more robust architecture to generate leads, convert them into deals, and increase your win rate. But it’s the free CRM that makes the whole engine whirling.
Detailed HubSpot CRM Review
Most solutions will fall under general CRM, providing standard features for contacts and deals. They almost always have plans for small businesses and large enterprises, and they adapt to a wide range of industries.
When Salesforce started to popularize cloud-hosted CRM in the early 2000s, it established the key CRM features that have become the industry benchmark. These Salesforce features are standard today on top of built-in tools for collaboration, email integration, and communication.
What can be a better example of a general CRM than the one that started it all? Salesforce CRM redefined the sales space when it launched a cloud sales system with tools that today has evolved into the standard CRM features we mentioned above.
Over the years, CRM software has ballooned with more functions as internet, cloud computing, and mobile technologies improve, and business processes become more integrated. If you want to check its comprehensive feature, set you can easily sign up for Salesforce free trial.
Salesforce CRM today is part of Sales Cloud, the over-arching cloud solution that includes AI-powered sales tools, integrated sales workflow management, custom app development for sales, CPQ tools, and data integration with other systems like support, marketing, and ecommerce. You’ll also find built-in or add-on help desk tools, productivity apps, and marketing automation features in this CRM. In short, this CRM adapts horizontally across industries and use cases, and is very flexible price-wise.
The bottom line, a general CRM like Salesforce is an excellent long-term investment, that is, you get to utilize it for various sales and marketing goals, whether to get more leads, close more deals, shorten sales cycles, or get more insights from your sales operations.
Detailed Salesforce CRM Review
The typical tech setup of how marketing, sales, and support cooperate goes like this. Leads from a marketing software, which handles campaigns, are qualified and fed into the CRM. The CRM converts them into won customers. Post-sale complaints are then handled by another software, a help desk app. These three apps are closely integrated but are often sold separately.
However, some CRMs today evolve into a platform that fully integrates the three functions in one place. Inside the system, marketing can launch email campaigns; sales can follow up deals via phone, chat, or email, while support can answer tickets. This is an example of a fully integrated CRM.
Freshsales unifies marketing, sales, and support tools in one platform. Its basic plan has a built-in phone (other vendors only allow integration), email integration, lead scoring, sales pipeline, contact management, campaign management, and standard reporting. From campaign to customer complaints, the app covers the entire customer journey.
Premium plans add more tools like web forms, event activity tracking, and IP whitelisting. You also get to access the system via mobile app, ideal for on-the-go sales reps, and remote working. You can check its full features at no cost when you sign up for Freshsales free trial.
The advantage of an integrated setup like Freshsales, as opposed to stacking up your apps gradually, is you get the essential customer engagement tools at once in a neat price bundle. The minor drawback is, you better have people using all the tools you’re paying for to get your money’s worth. In short, Freshsales works best for companies with a clearly defined marketing-sales-support workflow in place.
Detailed Freshsales Review
Operational CRM streamlines the business process. Apart from the regular CRM functions, it also automates sales, marketing, and services. This CRM captures leads and converts them into contacts by capturing all their details and maintaining the relationship throughout the customer lifecycle. CRM has been shown to boost conversion rates by as much as 300%.
NetSuite CRM is a robust CRM solution that can bring a comprehensive view of your entire business process and automate it. With NetSuite, you receive a continuous stream of information from all points of the customer lifecycle, allowing you to deliver tailored customer experience, all the way from lead generation to fulfillment and post-sales support.
You can try all its premium features at no cost when you sign up for NetSuite free trial.
As an operational CRM, NetSuite can give you total control over all aspects of the automation process. It can automate your sales channels by setting standards for customer acquisition and retaining them. In addition, it can also automate your marketing campaigns and offer customer support. One unique example of how NetSuite CRM’s does this is knowledge management. This can give any organization the tools to create, publish, and organize their content, making it easier for both customers and employees to find what they need.
Lastly, NetSuite CRM plans are available on a quote basis.
Detailed NetSuite CRM Review
You would think that CRM, being a sales tool, is all about selling. But selling today is more complex and requires closer cooperation with management, marketing, support, and other departments to manage customer experience across the buying stages. The result is robust CRMs like Salesforce and HubSpot that try to cover all customer-facing processes in your operation.
Some vendors stick to the selling proposition, and these are ideal if your revenues come mainly from the skill of your top sales reps. But of course, you will need to come up with an effective sales process to optimize your use of CRM.
Pipedrive CRM focuses on the function of the sales rep. And what tool do sales reps use? The sales pipeline.
It is Pipedrive’s banner feature and where its other tools connect. It is a clear visual interface that gives sales reps the whole picture: deal owner, deal value, activities, action to be taken, bottleneck issue, close probability, and more. The pipeline is based on sales stages that your team can customize to follow contacts from lead to deal to won. It features a smart filter for stats that matter to the health of your sales like conversion rate, win-loss ratio, and best performers.
You can try all its features at no cost when you sign up for a Pipedrive free trial.
The visual pipeline gives clarity to your sales reps’ daily activities and allows you to forecast goals with accuracy. Again, this works best if your revenues come mainly from below-the-line selling, riding on the strength of your reps’ contacts, and less on your campaigns.
Detailed Pipedrive Review
With a clear picture of the different CRM types, it is easier to gauge now a software solution for its value proposition and not for a feature it is not designed for. You’ll also have a more meaningful way to compare products.
Still, if you dig deeper into our list, you can find that HubSpot CRM is the best software of its kind. It’s free, lightweight, and can integrate into its other sister products to expand your reach. Don’t be fooled by its “inbound” type, however, as it can do more than just inbound marketing efforts. It can do everything that its competitors can do, all while being totally free. If you want to know more about the features, you can easily sign up for HubSpot CRM free trial.
That said, if you’re ready to match products, you can read this list of best 20 CRM solutions to fast-track your product research.
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