Marketing Tech Friday: Choosing the Right CRM

Are you thinking of getting a Customer Relationship Management platform (CRM for short)? Or maybe you’re just trying to learn a little more about it?

Well don’t worry, because today we are looking at CRMs and comparing a few different options.

What is a CRM?

 
A CRM is a platform that companies use to manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout the Sales Lifecycle. The goal is to improve business relationships with customers, assist in customer retention, and drive sales growth (both upsells and new accounts).

CRM platforms are really just large, expensive databases, designed to store everything you know about your customers in one place. It includes data about customer interactions with your company, i.e. marketing and sales. However, it can do a lot more. It can be used for product usage, billing history, and a slew of other uses.

To say the least, a CRM can be a big help for many companies. Not only does it boost your sales and potential revenue performance, but it can also help your marketing team create better campaigns.

So now that we know what a CRM is, let’s look at a few different systems.

Fair warning, many of these CRMs have very similar functions, but they do differ in a few different features. They also provide different features for their different pricing models and editions.

Salesforce CRM

 
Salesforce is a powerful voice in marketing technology. Not only do they provide CRM platforms, but they also provide powerful marketing automation and analytics platforms. They’re by far one of the most well known CRM vendors, and they practically invented the cloud-based CRM platform.

While they do provide a few different CRMs (one for customer service and another for sales), we’re only going to look at the Sales CRM for now.

Features:

  • Account and Contact Management
  • Opportunity Tracking
  • Lead Scoring
  • Customizable Reports
  • Mobile Access
  • Order Management
  • Outlook Side Panel and Sync
  • Campaigns
  • Customizable Dashboards
  • Forecasts
  • Products, Quotes, and Orders
  • Report History Tracking
  • Territory Management
  • Custom App Development
  • Integration via Web Service API
  • Online Database
  • 24/7 Support
  • Unlimited Training
  • Data Storage and Import

Salesforce can be expensive. While there are a host of factors including in pricing, if you’re really interested in finding out more about Salesforce, you can find their website here.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM

 
Microsoft Dynamics is another powerful contender in the marketing technology sphere. Their CRM is a direct competitor with Salesforce. One major benefit of using the Microsoft Dynamics CRM is that it integrates with all of your other Microsoft products, which for many businesses can be extremely beneficial.

Features:

  • Account and Contact Management
  • Opportunity Tracking
  • Lead Scoring
  • Customizable Reports
  • Mobile Access
  • Order Management
  • Outlook and Sync Integration
  • Campaigns
  • Customizable Dashboards
  • Products, Quotes, and Orders
  • Territory Management
  • Custom App Development
  • Data Storage and Import
  • 24/7 Support
  • Unlimited Training
  • Social Media Monitoring
  • Online and On-premises Database

Microsoft Dynamics CRM can also be expensive. Always remember, there are costs beyond the initial per month or purchase price. If you’re interested in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, you can find their website here.

ZohoCRM

 
ZohoCRM is a relative newcomer in the wide world of CRMs. But Since Zoho has produced a number of other business applications, this isn’t their first rodeo. A major benefit to Zoho is its growing army of developers who are creating a number of new tools and system integrations.

Features:

  • Account and Contact Management
  • Opportunity Tracking
  • Lead Scoring
  • Reports
  • Order Management
  • Outlook Integration
  • Quickbooks Integration
  • Campaigns
  • Google Integration
  • Products, Quotes, and Orders
  • Territory Management
  • Web Service API
  • Social Media Monitoring
  • 24/7 Support
  • Data Storage
  • Online Database

As ZohoCRM is still a relatively new product, there are fewer features than what is offered with Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics, for instance. However, it’s also a little less expensive than the two previously listed CRMs. If you’re interested in ZohoCRM, you can find their website here.

Nimble

 
Nimble is another CRM newcomer, having only been in the market for the past 2 years. That isn’t to say it lacks compared to other CRMs. Actually, it has a pretty big following and has positioned itself as a social listening CRM (with all the features of a CRM but with impressive integration with social media).

Features:

  • Account and Contact Management
  • Opportunity Tracking
  • Lead Scoring
  • Reports
  • Order Management
  • Google, Hootsuite, and Mailchimp Integration
  • Outlook Integration
  • Campaigns
  • Products, Quotes, and Orders
  • Territory Management
  • Social Media Monitoring
  • 24/7 Support
  • Online Database

Nimble is also quite a bit cheaper than the other CRMs. It is affordable for many businesses, but it doesn’t have some of the more advanced functions of a few other more established CRMs. However, it’s biggest selling point is the social listening and massive amounts of 3rd party app integrations. You can also find their website here.

A Word of Warning

 
A CRM sounds like a great platform that every company needs to use, right?

There are tons of functions that can increase the capabilities and effectiveness of both marketing and, especially, sales. That being said, not every company is ready to implement this system. Before you invest in a CRM, you have to understand that this doesn’t mean that you’re getting a bunch of magical applications that improve everything immediately.

You have to have the right processes in place to ensure that your big, expensive database can really improve your organization’s effectiveness.

Remember, we’re always looking for new Marketing Tech Friday post ideas. Feel free to reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to suggest a topic for next Friday!
 

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