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If you’re looking for a more effective way to manage or grow your business, purchasing a customer relationship management (CRM) tool can make all the difference. Still, we understand that researching and choosing the right system is a daunting task. So, we’ve decided to help you out. In this article, we rounded up the best of the best: from powerful software for a heavy duty workload to simple software designed with small businesses in mind, or even free versions to fit your budget. Whatever the case, there are plenty of options to choose from when learning about the best systems.

First, let’s decide if you’re the right candidate for CRM software. If the following three statements apply to you, your business could benefit from using this software.

#1 - You’re in need of a robust CRM management system for contacts

The purpose of CRM software is to keep information from various sources neatly organized and easily accessible. When growing a small business, simply relying on email, mobile or address books won’t be enough and are not good methods for long term success.

If you’re in need of a more efficient way to manage and store customer information, CRM systems are the best solution for your business. Think of it as a consolidated database for many different customer insights. This includes contact information, interests, demographics, personal preferences, purchase histories and how your customers browse your site. With these details filed in an organized manner, you can use the information to segment customers for marketing purposes, brush up on their personal data before sales calls, and more.

The software also acts as a contact management system for other connections you depend on to keep your business running smoothly, such as business partners, affiliates, and vendors. Just like the customer lists, all types of information can be labeled and organized based on their specific roles.

#2 - You’re interested in an automated way to boost sales

CRM is great for more than just keeping your contacts organized. It also offers several tools to help boost sales and deliver better marketing campaigns.

Leads can be generated automatically from various sources like website visitors, social media and newsletter signups. After finding these leads, you have the ability to nurture prospects by following up automatically or contacting them directly yourself. CRM can nurture these potential leads throughout the entire sales pipeline, starting with lead generation all the way to closing the sale.

The software also gives you the ability to automatically build email lists, launch email campaigns and measure performance. With this software you can send email reminders to customers and potential prospects and drive sales by suggesting products that they may be interested in based on purchase histories.

You also have the ability create and store sales quotes for customers. When the customers are ready to make a purchase, it can instantly turn those quotes into invoices which are then sent to your accounting and point of sale records. Tracking information for orders is easily accessible straight from your CRM dashboard.

By tracking the performance of your business and that of your competitors, you will always have a clear view of your long term company goals. The software gives each of your sales reps their own accounts which enables them to track their own sales numbers and quotas to help them reach their goals. The software also tracks your competitors including their social media activity, press releases and other news.

#3 - You’re ready to deliver better customer support

We can all agree that CRM is about managing customer relationships, which has a direct influence on helping you deliver the best possible customer support. Having every customer’s key information, such as purchase histories, past interactions, order information, preferences, and personal data, readily accessible and in one place makes it easier for customer service representatives to review customer problems and resolve issues as quickly as possible. Plus, it encourages team collaboration -- if more than one person is needed to help a specific customer, another team member can easily access the information on the CRM, without having to disrupt the initial support member.

So what criteria should you be using to decide which is the best CRM system for you?

Simplicity

Perhaps the most important aspect of investing in this technology is making sure that it is user friendly. Nothing hurts adoption more than a complicated to use application. Whenever you’re integrating a system into the daily routines of the people who work for your company, it’s important to keep motivation high by offering your employees tools that will make their lives easier. Thus, a system that is intuitive and easy to adopt into daily routines will be the most beneficial to your team.

Mobile Access

Being able to access the CRM on mobile devices , is crucial for sales reps in the field. A mobile CRM not only provides on the go access to the basics like contact information but being able to pull up information like full sales histories, stock levels and other back-office system data while with a customer increases both efficiency and productivity. In fact, according to Nucleus Research, organizations see a 14.6% increase in productivity when they provide their sales team with mobile access to CRM.

Customization

CRM systems should be simple when it comes to customization for specific business needs. There are several reasons for this. First, and most importantly, it will make the CRM easier to use. If you work with a vendor to match your custom data model and workflows, instead of relying on the default settings, you’ll find that that working on the system will be more intuitive and efficient. Second, customizing your CRM sets you apart from your competition. If you’re using the same workflows and settings and your main competitors, how do you expect to get better results? But, if you customize the workflows and automation settings to your needs, you can be sure to create or find insights your competition isn’t.

Actionable Customer Data

The more you know about your customer the more value you will add to your business. CRMs are great for aggregating complex data and pushing out reports that will ultimately help you better understand your customer base. Of course, each CRM system varies on its capabilities to provide this feature -- but small businesses and enterprises alike can benefit from custom reporting and actionable customer data. Such reports include: monthly sales, purchase behavior of top customers, loyal customers, customers with the potential to buy again, those who contribute the most to revenue, sales forecasts, goal progress, and more.

We hope this article helped you learn more about the best CRM systems and figure out which CRM is best for your company. Is there anything important we left out? Leave us a comment below!

About The Author

Stacey Woods
Stacey Woods
Stacey Woods is the Senior Business Development Manager at Pepperi. She has extensive experience in B2B sales and understands the many benefits that can be gained by automating and syncing the different sales channels in a company.