Research shows that about 91 percent of customers stop patronizing a business or company when they don’t have a good experience with them. These customers tend not to complain—they just leave.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software or service helps companies track all their interactions with individual customers to ensure they have a consistently positive experience with the company. CRM software is an expensive but important investment. Business decision makers should carefully consider their options before purchasing the tool.
Top 10 Best Rated CRM Software Companies
Insightly was established in 2012 and now provides CRM tools to more than 1.2 million users. It also offers project management SaaS and caters to small and medium businesses. Insightly’s headquarters are in San Francisco.
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Zoho designs business tools, including CRM tools. It has been in business since 1996 and has offered a CRM system for over a decade. The company serves more than 20 million users globally and is headquartered in California.
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Infusionsoft makes and supports business software for small businesses. It was established in 2001 and is headquartered in Chandler, Arizona. It offers CRM and e-commerce tools as well as marketing and sales automation software.
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SugarCRM designs software to help businesses with sales and marketing automation as well as consumer support. It’s been in business since 2004 and now has more than 1.5 million users. The company’s headquarters are in California.
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Founded in Ann Arbor, Michigan. in 2009, Nutshell focuses on offering CRM to small businesses so they can make sales more quickly. It serves customers in over 50 countries. The SaaS is designed with user-friendliness in mind.
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Established in 2006, PipelineDeals’ CRM tool makes it easy to track sales engagement as well as customer service. The company is headquartered in Exton, Pennsylvania and works mostly with small- and medium-sized businesses.
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Headquartered in San Francisco, Salesforce sells cloud-based software for marketing, service and support, analytics, sales and other business needs. The company was founded in 1999 and is now a leader in the CRM industry.
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NetSuite, founded in 1998, provides many types of cloud-based business software. Oracle acquired the company in late 2016. More than 30,000 businesses use NetSuite’s CRM tools.
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Bitrix25 has been in the CRM business for nearly 20 years. The company currently provides millions of organizations with cloud-based business software. Some software is also available with an on-site option for security.
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Oracle is a computer software and hardware company that offers tools to help businesses succeed. Its CRM tools are designed to reduce information silos. Oracle is based in California and operates around the world.
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How to choose a CRM software
Most CRM products have multiple functions; the three most common are customer management, sales automation and marketing automation. By assessing company needs, decision makers can get software or software-as-a-service (SaaS) that meets their needs without paying for unneeded features.
- Customer service: CRM tools exist primarily to help companies provide better customer service. If decision makers are looking to fill a gap in their existing technology, they should look for a CRM tool that can easily integrate with their existing software and their website.
- Sales automation: CRM products with sales automation features can provide lead scoring to help sales representatives follow up with the right potential customers at the correct time, schedule and track appointments in the sales team’s calendars, track incomplete deals and more. Sales automation is a central part of most CRM tools.
- Marketing automation: CRM SaaS and on-site software with built-in marketing automation help companies create a demand for their product and generate potential leads.
After deciding what kind of CRM tool they need, decision makers should think about their budget. They may be billed in different ways, so they should make sure they understand all the fees associated with a product.
- Free trial: Many CRM providers offer a free trial of their programs so companies can see whether they like the tool before purchasing it. If the provider doesn’t advertise a free trial, they may offer a free demo or personalized consultation.
- Purchase price: Businesses that want on-site software may only have to purchase a product as opposed to subscribing to an ongoing SaaS. If they aren’t getting ongoing client support or cloud storage, they likely won’t pay a monthly fee associated with the product.
- Licensing fee: Companies that purchase a SaaS or have online service of some sort from the CRM provider will have to pay a monthly licensing fee for each user.
- Subscription fee: Some CRM companies charge a one-time subscription fee when a client initially subscribes to their service. Others charge a yearly subscription fee in addition to licensing fees.
- Initial services: Most CRM providers offer a package of initial services to help new customers implement their CRM tools. These packages may include on-site training, data importing and other onboarding services.
For CRM tools to be as efficient and beneficial as possible, they should work with a company’s existing data, software, services and website. The ability for a CRM product to work in conjunction with other tools is referred to as integration.
- Business website: If CRM tools integrate with a company’s consumer-facing website, then the CRM works not only as a storage location for consumer information but also as a data collection tool. When consumers enter information into a website that is fully integrated with a CRM, their information can be automatically pulled into the CRM.
- Other software: If their company is heavily reliant on on-site software, decision makers should talk to CRM sales representatives about how the CRM tool will integrate with that software.
- Other services: Most services that employees use every day, like email and document back-up, use the cloud or are SaaS. To ensure their work isn’t interrupted or disturbed, business decision makers should make sure the CRM tool will integrate with those services or that it provides those services within the CRM itself.
Keeping company and customer data safe is essential to maintain customer satisfaction and ensure a company’s good reputation. Decision makers should keep security in mind when selecting a CRM software.
- On-site: Much CRM software allows consumers to store all their business’ data in the cloud. Users who are not comfortable with this method of storage should consider purchasing software that can be installed on their own servers and remain behind their company’s firewall.
- Password requirements: Consumers should look for a software that lets the administrators create character requirements to ensure all employees who use the CRM software use strong passwords.
- Encryption: Business decision makers should ensure the data stored in the CRM program is strongly encrypted. To read encrypted text, you access a key to decipher it. Many CRM providers use the same type of encryption used by banks and other financial institutions.
Whether a company is new to CRM tools or is switching between providers, many users will likely need training to benefit fully from all the new program’s features. CRM providers should provide plenty of resources to help new clients.
- Blogs: Many companies have blogs that feature articles on CRM tools in general and/or their program specifically. Decision makers should read some blog posts for each company they’re considering to see if the posts seem to be for businesses like theirs.
- Knowledge base: Nearly all companies have an online knowledge base to help clients learn about the program and troubleshooting any problems. These may include how-to articles, FAQs, community forums or other informational resources.
- On-site training: Many companies offer on-site training during which the CRM provider sends representatives to the client’s location to train employees to use the new tool. This service will incur an additional charge.
- Classes: Many CRM providers have online courses and/or training courses at their headquarters. New clients may have employees attend these classes and then train other employees. In-person classes usually incur an additional fee.
To should make sure the CRM tool meets all their needs, consumers should ask the sales representatives plenty of questions. They may want to discuss any minimums or limits on the number of users allowed as well as any customizable features the program has.
- Number of users: SaaS CRM programs may require a minimum number of users. Startups and very small businesses should select a program that won’t require them to pay a licensing fee for more users than they have. Alternatively, large companies should make sure the software or SaaS can handle the number of users they will have.
- Customizable: If a decision maker doesn’t like a particular feature or option when they use the free trial or watch the demo, they should ask about whether the CRM tool can be customized to better meet their needs or preferences.
Types of CRM software
CRM programs installed on clients’ servers that do not rely on the provider’s cloud service are usually a standard software program. Some clients may prefer these for security reasons. Only select CRM programs are available as on-site software.
Cloud-based, or software-as-a-service (SaaS), CRM is by far the most popular type of CRM programs. These tools can be accessed from computers and mobile devices as long as they’re connected to the Internet, making them highly versatile and especially beneficial to users who frequently work away from the office.
Some CRM programs can connect to or integrate with a wide variety of other online tools or software. These programs allow clients to keep using their existing tools.
CRM programs with built-in email, calling and other features can be useful for clients who only want to work with a single tool. This type of CRM tool can simplify things for users.
CRM software users
Entrepreneurs and startups
Those just starting businesses can benefit from a CRM tool that will help them generate leads, make sales and offer consistent customer service while building their business.
Small business owners
Small business owners can use CRM services to grow their business or make sure that customers feel like they’re getting the personalized service associated with small and local businesses.
Medium-sized businesses can use CRM to prevent churn by offering good customer service and continue to grow with lead and sales automation features.
Enterprise-sized businesses can use CRM tools to make sure customer information is accurately tracked and consumers feel valued.
Nonprofits can use CRM tools to track potential donors and make sure those donors know they’re appreciated.
Colleges and universities
Colleges and universities can use CRM tools to recruit students, remain in touch with alumni and interact with donors.
CRM software company reviews
Insightly offers cloud-based CRM service and project management tools to businesses of all sizes. The company was founded in 2012 and is headquartered in San Francisco. Its CRM SaaS fully integrates with many other tools, and Insightly makes resources available for free to help clients get the most from their CRM investment.
- Resources: Insightly’s website features a variety of free resources to help consumers understand CRM tools and how they can help businesses. Resources include videos, e-books and informational articles.
- Plan options: Insightly offers five different plans for different sized companies. They offer one free plan for consumers who will have one or two users. More advanced plans have a flat annual fee and a monthly fee based on the number of users. Paid plans start at $12 per user, per month.
- Free trial: Interested consumers can sign up for a 14-day free trial of the professional plan. The professional plan includes all available features, but consumers can select a different plan after the two-week trial if they realize they don’t need all those features.
- Integration: Insightly’s CRM product integrates with a wide variety of other tools and programs, including Evernote, Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, Outlook 2013, Office 365, QuickBooks and more.
- Non-profit discount: Insightly offers a 50 percent discount on per-user licensing fees for 501 c3 organizations. Non-profits can contact the sales team for more details.
- Best for small and medium businesses and non-profit organizations.
Zoho was founded in 1996 as AdventNet Inc., a network management company, and Zoho CRM launched in 2005. Today, the company offers a wide variety of software and cloud-based tools to help businesses with sales, marketing, email, human resources, IT, finance and other collaborations. The company is headquartered in Pleasanton, California.
- Free edition: Zoho offers a free edition of its CRM tool that allows ten users to use the CRM tools. The free edition includes features for tracking and managing leads, contacts, accounts and more.
- Plan options: Zoho offers five different plans, so clients only pay for what they need. There is a monthly per-user licensing fee, but clients who elect to be billed annually receive a discount. Prices start at $12 per month for each user.
- Free trial: Interested consumers can sign up for a 15-day free trial of any Zoho plan. Signing up for a free trial does not require a credit card or other form of payment.
- Free extensions: Zoho offers several extensions to help clients benefit from their CRM tools. Some extensions were created by Zoho and are free to existing users. Several extensions are available to those in the education industry and those who rely on donors or volunteers.
- Certified Consultants: Clients who want extra professional support integrating CRM tools into their business practices can find a list of Zoho CRM Certified Consultants on Zoho’s website. These individuals have experience with CRM tools in general and Zoho specifically.
- Best for small-, medium- and enterprise-sized businesses.
Founded as eNovasys in 2001, Infusionsoft is headquartered in Chandler, Arizona. The company offers CRM, marketing automation and sales automation tools designed for small businesses. It also has e-commerce tools, including payment processing SaaS. Plans start at $199 a month.
- Small-business focus: Infusionsoft focuses on providing tools to small businesses. This focus means their tools are designed with entrepreneurs in mind.
- Demos: Interested customers can view a demo of Infusionsoft’s CRM tool online, through a webinar or with a one-on-one consultation with a customer service representative.
- Client education: Infusionsoft makes it easy for clients to use their products. Clients can sign up for an intensive three-day training class or schedule a personal consultation online. Those who want to implement Infusionsoft tools more quickly can have a trainer come to their location.
- Plan options: Infusionsoft offers five plans for businesses with three to ten users. Plans start at $199 a month. All plans include Infusionsoft’s CRM tools. Those with more than ten users should contact the company to discuss their options.
- Blog: Business owners can visit Infusionsoft’s website to read the company’s blog. It includes free articles and posts that will be useful to all readers, not only Infusionsoft clients. Topics include improving company culture, increasing sales, using free technology and more.
- Best for small business owners and entrepreneurs.
SugarCRM offers a CRM service that helps businesses with marketing, sales, customer service, productivity and more. The company serves more than 1.5 million users globally. It was established in 2004 and is headquartered in Cupertino, California. Plan options start at $40 a month.
- Security: Clients can choose to operate SugarCRM in the cloud or on-site, behind their company’s firewall. The software also features several built-in security features, including the ability for administrators to set password requirements, automatic logout if the user’s IP address or browser changes and more.
- Integration: SugarCRM integrates with hundreds of other tools and extensions, including DOMO, Dropbox, Gmail, Clicktools and many more. Interested customers can see a full list on SugarExchange.
- Resources: SugarCRM offers a wealth of resources to help consumers understand the benefits of and select the right CRM software. Interested consumers can download whitepapers, e-books and case studies for free.
- Plans: SugarCRM offers three plans so clients can select the one that best meets their needs. Prices start at $40 per month for each user. Each plan has a minimum annual fee.
- Free trial: Those considering SugarCRM can get a free trial of the software by visiting the website and entering their information.
- Best for businesses of all sizes, especially those interested in security.
Nutshell was founded in 2009 and now serves users around the world. The company designs user-friendly CRM tools for use by small businesses. It is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan. and offers plans starting at $20 per user, per month.
- Integration: Nutshell integrates with many other business tools and platforms, including G Suite, MailChimp, Office 365, Dropbox, Twitter, RingCentral and more. If Nutshell doesn’t currently support integration with a particular product, consumers can request that the company works to do so in the future.
- Security: Nutshell offers several features to help keep client and client customer data safe. These features include one-way user password encryption, so Nutshell employees never have access to them, and bank-grade SSL/TLS encryption.
- User-friendly interface: Nutshell prides itself on offering a product that sales reps like. The company believes much CRM SaaS is unsuccessful because sales people dislike it. Nutshell’s software helps sales representatives stay informed and meet their quotas.
- Plan options: Clients can choose from three plans. Prices start at $20 for each user per month if customers pay annually. There is a slight price increase if consumers choose to pay monthly.
- Free trial: Interested businesses can use a two-week free trial without entering any credit card or payment information.
- Best for small business and discerning sales representatives.
PipelineDeals was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Exton, Pennsylvania. The company offers products that focus on fully integrating customer service tools with sales tools. It caters to small and medium-sized businesses by offering multiple plans and client training.
- Plan options: Consumers can choose from three plans from PipelineDeals with various features. Each plan has a required minimum number of users, and prices start at $25 a month per user.
- Integration: PipelineDeals tools integrate with other tools and apps so business can enhance their current processes. Clients can integrate Pipeline with Google Apps, MailChimp, Excel, QuickBooks, Callmaker and more.
- Client education: PipelineDeals offers online courses and videos to help clients learn how to use the CRM service to help their business. All these resources are free, and interested customers can watch videos before purchasing the product.
- Initial services: Business owners who want to implement CRM tools as quickly as possible can choose from three different offerings. These packages, which incur an additional fee, include training sessions, goal setting, customization and more.
- Free trial: Interested businesses can sign up for a 14-day free trial of PipelineDeals without providing their credit card or payment information. During the trial, they can use all the SaaS’s features and invite an unlimited number of users.
- Best for small- and medium-sized businesses.
Salesforce is one of the most well-known companies in the CRM industry. It designs cloud-based software to help businesses with sales, marketing, customer service, analytics and other tasks. The company was founded in 1999 and is headquartered in San Francisco. Salesforce prides itself on giving back one percent of its profit, product and employee time to communities in need of assistance.
- Integration: As a leader in the industry, Salesforce integrates with most other platforms and tools. Interested consumers can visit Salesforce’s AppExchange to see all the apps and extension options.
- Solutions: Salesforce makes it easy for different types of businesses to find the software solutions they need. The company’s website has sections with products recommended for startups, medium- and enterprise-sized businesses, non-profits, universities and more.
- Products: Most of Salesforce’s tools and other platforms are available either as a bundle or a la carte. This division makes it easy for customers to select only the products they actually need.
- CRM plans: Choose from three plans that include only customer service related tools. These packages have many features, including live chat, automation and workflow tools. Plans start at $75 per user, per month.
- Security: Salesforce has many built-in security features and optional features to help keep data secure. Decision makers can require two-factor authentication, create specific password requirements, limit the IP addresses from which users can log in and more.
- Best for small-, medium- and enterprise-sized businesses as well as nonprofits and educational institutions.
NetSuite entered the cloud computing industry early. It was established in 1998 and was acquired by Oracle in November, 2016. Today, the company offers several SaaS and cloud-based tools for businesses, including CRM products. NetSuite’s CRM tools help clients with marketing and sales automation and client and partner relationship management.
- Online demo: Interested consumers can visit the NetSuite website to watch a free demonstration of the software. They can also schedule an online consultation for more information.
- Resources: NetSuite provides a free e-book on buying CRM products. Decision makers can download the book after providing the company with some basic information.
- Industry recommendation: The NetSuite website has individual pages for a variety of industries. These pages help decision makers understand how different NetSuite tools might benefit their specific industry.
- Cross-functionality: NetSuite prides itself on the cross-functionality of its CRM software, which makes it easier for salespeople to cross-sell and upsell to consumers.
- Datasheet: Potential customers can download a NetSuite CRM Datasheet on the company’s website. The Datasheet includes all features and benefits of the software. Contact the company for pricing.
- Best for medium-sized businesses and nonprofits.
Bitrix, Inc. was established in 1998 and launched as Bitrix24 in 2012. More than one billion organizations now use Bitrix24’s tools. The company is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia. It provides many types of cloud-based and on-site tools, including CRM tools. The company prides itself on the social network-like features built into its software.
- Integration: Bitrix’s CRM software easily integrates with other business tools and platforms, like MailChimp, Gmail, Dropbox and more. A full list is available on the Bitrix website.
- Plan options: Consumers can choose from four plan options, depending on their storage needs and desired features. The most basic plan is free, and paid plans start at $39 per month.
- No user fees: Bitrix does not charge a user fee, meaning clients will pay the same price regardless of how many employees use the software. The free plan and the least expensive paid plan do limit the number of users allowed. Price is based on features and cloud storage.
- On-site option: Clients can choose to have the software installed on their own servers instead of using the cloud. This option gives them greater control over their own and their customers’ data.
- Resources: Clients have access to an extensive knowledge base that includes user manuals, helpful tips and FAQs. The site also features videos to help clients learn how to use their CRM software.
- Best for small-, medium- and enterprise-sized businesses.
Oracle has an extensive number of hardware and software tools for businesses. It is a leader in the business technology industry. The company’s cloud-based CRM application brings together tools to ensure clients can offer consistent, high-quality customer interactions. Oracle was founded in 1977 and is headquartered in Redwood Shore, California.
- Multi-functional: Oracle’s CRM tools are designed to fully integrate all interactions with customers and reduce the number of information silos within a company. Its CRM software includes tools for marketing, sales, customer service, social media and commerce. Interested consumers can contact Oracle for pricing.
- User Groups: Oracle User Groups help clients get additional value from the products. Groups exist all over the world and meet both online and in person. Interested consumers can visit the company’s website to find the nearest group.
- Social media: Oracle has social media pages devoted to their different applications and products. Follow Oracle CRM on Twitter for related tips and news.
- Resources: Decision makers who are interested in improving customer service can download a free Forbes Insights report to help them determine where they stand compared to their competitors. Other resources include videos, e-books and research articles about a variety of business technology topics.
- Analytics: Many of the tools associated with Oracle’s CRM SaaS allow clients to capture data to improve customer relationships and increase sales. The company prides itself on offering products that gather data and make it useful.
- Best for medium- and enterprise-sized businesses and those already using other Oracle applications.
Base was founded in 2009 in Mountain View, California. It now provides CRM service to more than 7,000 clients. The company’s CRM tool has many built-in features, so clients don’t need to integrate multiple programs.
- Plan options: Base offers three different plans for clients to choose from: Starter, Professional and Enterprise. Plans start at $25 a month for each user. The Starter plan accommodates up to five users.
- Free trial: Interested consumers can sign up for a free trial of Base. They do not need to enter credit card or payment information.
- Included features: Base includes an email tool, phone dialer, reporting package, document storage and lead scorer so clients don’t have to integrate multiple tools. For those who want to integrate other tools, Base includes plugins to allow them to do so.
- Initial services: Customers who want help implementing the CRM software can purchase a la carte onboarding services.
- Buyer’s Kit: Interested customers can download a Base Buyer’s Kit to help them understand CRM tools and what Base offers. The kit includes a sales self-assessment, tips for evaluating sales software and more.
- Best for small-, medium- and enterprise-sized businesses looking for a stand-alone CRM platform.
Pipedrive was created in 2010 by two formers sales managers with the goal of creating CRM SaaS that sales representatives liked. It now operates around the world, with offices in New York and Tallinn, Estonia. The company specializes in CRM tools with strong sales automation features for small teams.
- Integration: Pipedrive integrates with many other popular business tools and software programs, including Google Apps, MailChimp, Trello and more. It also includes technology which makes it easy to connect to proprietary software and websites.
- Security: Pipedrive keeps clients’ data secure by creating multiple backups and by storing each client’s information on a separate server, which decreases the likelihood that one client will accidently gain access to another client’s data.
- Customization: Pipedrive offers clients the option to customize their CRM program in several ways. They can add custom fields, disable unused features and connect the CRM software to a wide variety of other software.
- Plan options: Consumers can choose from three different CRM plans from Pipedrive. Plans start at $12 per user each month. Those who have more than 50 users can contact the company to create a custom plan. Free trials are available.
- Pipeline Academy: Clients can sign up for a two-week class to learn how to use Pipeline, called Pipeline Academy. The free course is taught via email.
- Best for businesses with small sales teams.
Information in this guide is general in nature and is intended for informational purposes only; it is not legal, health, investment or tax advice. ConsumerAffairs.com makes no representation as to the accuracy of the information provided and assumes no liability for any damages or loss arising from its use.
11 – 12 Best Rated CRM Software Companies
Base offers a stand-alone CRM software service for all sizes of businesses. Its product includes features to help sales teams. The privately-held company was founded in 2009 in Mountain View, California.
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Pipedrive’s cloud-based CRM program offers customer service and sales tools to companies with small sales teams. The company was founded in 2010 and now has more than 30,000 customers. It is headquartered in New York.
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