May 23, 2022
How to Use monday.com as a CRM in 7 Steps
monday.com is known for its project management and team collaboration features, but can be easily customized into a customer relationship management (CRM) by designing boards, items, and columns that meet your business’ unique sales needs. It also has a more affordable price point than many traditional CRMs, making it an excellent alternative for users who want a simple tool for managing sales opportunities and customers. We’ll show you how to use monday.com as a CRM in seven steps and offer other user-friendly alternative CRM solutions. 1. Determine Your Sales Process To use monday.com’s visual project and work management platform as a CRM system, you need to customize the elements of the interface for sales-related operations. This requires you first to establish what chronological activities go into your operations to produce deals and revenue. Those repeatable sales steps specific to your business are known as the sales process. Having a standardized system from initial introduction to deal-closing activities makes it easy to track your progress on various sales opportunities. It also helps make evaluations as to which stages are effective and which could use improvement. This process will be incorporated into your CRM as you create your boards. Below are some examples of stages or statuses you might have in your sales process: Introduction: Making the first connection with a lead by cold calling, emailing, or in-person at a networking event or trade show. Lead qualification: Determining whether a prospect is a good fit for your products or services and if they are potentially interested. Lead nurturing: Continuously remaining in contact and following up with a prospect via email or by phone to keep your brand fresh in their minds. Product demo: Showcasing your product’s features and how they work in-depth, and addressing questions from potential customers. Underwriting/Quoting: Reviewing a potential client or customer and their needs to formulate price estimates. Sending proposals: Generating and sending a business proposal to a prospect with pricing, deliverables, and terms of services to acquire their signature. Negotiation: Back-and-forth conversations to find agreement between the customer and the provider on pricing, product or service deliverables, and terms. Client onboarding: Transitioning new customers through activities such as setting them up with the product or service, training, and connecting them with their account manager. Cross-selling or Upselling: Attempting to sell complementary products or services to what they already purchased and/or upgrade them to a more premium product or service. Re-introduction of offerings: Re-introducing products or services to prospects who were lost deals previously, especially if there are changes to your offerings that may interest them. 2. Create Your monday.com Workspace The first thing you’ll create in regardless of how you’re using it is the “workspace.” Think of the workspace as the centralized system that will store all of the modules you use to run your business like a CRM or project management software. The module(s) are essentially the main software features while the workspace is the central place where your organization or specific department can find the company-wide systems and tools. Once you log in, select the “Add workspace” button, name your workspace, and set the privacy setting. Workspace privacy options include “Open” for all team members with a monday.com account to join or “Closed” where only users specifically invited to the workspace have access. Privacy settings are important to keeping your company and customer data secure. Once created, you can start creating your CRM by adding “boards” to it. 3. Create a Board With Groups The next step to learning how to use as a CRM involves creating boards. From your workspace, click the “Add” tab and select “New Board.” Each board is the equivalent of a module within a software system and is where you start your CRM. When prompted, you’ll be asked to name the board, choose a privacy setting, and then select the types of items you’re managing. Since you’re using this to track sales opportunities, we recommend either “leads” or “clients.” Once the board is created, start renaming and adding “groups.” Groups are subsets of leads, prospects, or customers that you want to track separately. For instance, you might have multiple sales reps, product or service lines, or regional teams you want to monitor individually. In these cases, each rep, line, or team can have their own group inside your CRM board. 4. Customize Your Columns Once you have your board and groups established, you’re ready to customize your columns. Columns represent the types of information you want to organize for leads or customers. Things like pipeline status, potential deal size, contact information, or lead source are common examples, and all need to be configured from the column. From the board, your groups will already have default columns you can edit. You also have the option of adding new ones by hitting the “+” sign on the far right column. From there, you have numerous options on the data type, such as numbers, dates, people, text, or a drop-down from which to choose, as well as the ability to rename the column header. Note that some column types require you to add or customize labels. If you are doing a drop-down option or a status, you need to add options or stages relevant to that type of information. You’d use drop-downs when your users need to select one piece of data from a certain list of options, like when you’re indicating the lead source of a contact. You would only have so many options to choose from, like online, trade show, or referral, and you can only pick one. The status data type is the best place to incorporate the sales process you designed in step one. By clicking on any of the status stages, you’ll see each of the options and a button called “Edit labels” to add the stages in your sales process. 5. Add 'Items' When all the information you want to collect is set and configured on the columns on your board, you’re ready to add leads and customers to your CRM in the form of items. In each group, if you click the “Edit” button, you can customize the name of lead, prospect, customer, account, opportunity, and so on. Once the name is added, go through each column to change the item’s status and enter the data relevant for each category. You may enter information like the date created, lead source, deal value, contact information, and anything else your business wants to track. The default view on monday.com is spreadsheet-style, which makes it easy to enter data and customize columns. As you add information and have a larger pool of records, however, you may want to view the information using different visuals. Toward the top of the board, next to “Main Table,” there’s a + sign titled “Add View.” From there, you see the drop-down of all the views you can choose from, such as a dashboard, Kanban-view, Gantt chart, or cards. The type of plan you subscribe to dictates which views you have access to. Upon adding the new views, you can go back and forth between each one and customize the types of information you want to appear in the view. For instance, in the Kanban-style, you can check the boxes for the columns that you want to appear on each card. 6. Implement Board Power-ups (Optional) For more advanced functionality from your CRM, use board power-ups by integrating monday.com with external applications or configuration automation within your board. monday.com integrates with tons of popular software, including , , , and , to let you use some of your favorite tools within monday.com. From the board, select “+ Add to board,” where two of the options are called “Integrations” and “Automations.” The integration center lets you search, browse, and integrate external apps into your system. The automation center allows you to search and create automated workflows such as auto-notifications, automated item assignments, or board changes based on status updates. 7. Run Your Sales Operation Once your CRM is designed, you’ve added your leads, and incorporated optional integrations and/or automation, you are ready to fully utilize your new CRM. As you contact leads and make progress in your sales process, update the item’s cards with information on activity or files that are associated with your process, such as proposals, contracts, quotes, applications, and so on. Throughout the item updates, you can mention team members and view activity logs to enhance sales team collaboration. You also have the ability to drag and drop item cards on your Kanban view to move them down the sales pipeline into their new stages while easily adding new leads as more are generated. monday.com CRM Templates It should be noted that if you wish to save time by having a general CRM system designed in monday.com, they do offer premade CRM and sales templates. These let you organize leads and pipelines while tracking potential revenue from the start. Furthermore, you can manage other aspects of your business with additional premade templates for things like project management, marketing, human resources, and content development. Alternatives to Using monday.com as a CRM Even though monday.com offers a robust CRM alternative in itself, you may prefer another visual collaboration tool you’re already familiar with or find easier to navigate. and are great options for those who don’t wish to invest in a traditional CRM. They both offer product simplicity as well as multiview and integration options similar to . Airtable is better suited for businesses that want a dynamic view of their sales opportunities and operations. Trello, on the other hand, offers power-up features to help automate workflows, integration with other apps, and even predesigned visual boards for sales management professionals looking for easy-to-add advanced CRM features. For businesses looking for traditional CRM software with some of the appealing attributes of , like cost-friendliness and strong project management tools, we recommend Bitrix24. has a free plan for an unlimited number of users to organize contacts, manage leads and deals, collaborate with team members, and manage projects as well as the budgets and tasks associated with them. Bottom Line monday.com is best known for its visually appealing and easy-to-use project and workflow management capabilities. When the boards, columns, and items are customized properly, however, monday.com can become a cost-friendly, simple CRM alternative to investing in a traditional CRM software system. Additionally, users can incorporate optional integrations and automation into their systems to replicate some of the advanced features of a typical CRM.
May 23, 2022
6 Best Salesforce Alternatives for Small Businesses in 2022
Salesforce is a customer relationship management (CRM) system with solutions for managing leads, automating workflows, and receiving advanced AI insights. However, it lacks some desired CRM product attributes like an intuitive interface to navigate, a freemium plan, and low-cost features for generating quotes and proposals. We evaluated dozens of popular CRM software with similar and contrasting attributes to Salesforce to arrive at the top six options. Here are the six best Salesforce alternatives for those looking for a small business CRM: : Best overall Salesforce alternative with a cost-friendly phone system : Recommended for businesses looking for an all-in-one business management CRM solution : Excellent choice for businesses that want scalable business reporting and analytics features : Solid Salesforce alternative with low-cost sales automation features : Ideal for small businesses that already use Google Workspace apps : Best Salesforce alternative with project management features Are you looking for more information on the best CRM options for your small business? Check out our top picks for the best CRMs for small businesses. Best Salesforce Alternatives Compared See fullscreen table × Freshsales: Best Overall Salesforce Alternative While both products are great for managing contacts and the sales pipeline, stands out for low-cost VoIP telephony solutions with call tracking, logging and recording. Furthermore, Freshsales beats out in the system usability and total price category as it offers both free and low-priced paid plans. The free plan also has additional channels to communicate with prospects like email and live chat. Since it is a sales-specialized CRM system, Freshsales does not have default features for something important to a sales rep—invoice, quote, onboarding, and contract proposal management tools. The software requires a Configure, Price, Quote add-on for $19 per user, per month. and are excellent alternatives that include this functionality in their standard plans. Freshsales Pricing at a Glance* Free: Unlimited users (limited features) Growth: $15 per user, per month Pro: $39 per user, per month Enterprise: $69 per user, per month Free Trial: 21 days *Pricing is based on an annual billing option. Monthly subscriptions are available as well for those who prefer shorter-term contracts. Freshsales Low-Cost Built-in Telephone System The built-in, cloud-based telephone Freshsales offers is free with local phone number assignment and inbound caller ID. When you upgrade to the Growth plan, you expand your phone capabilities to call recording, masking, voicemail drop off, and basic call queues to manage the availability of sales and service reps. As sales teams get more advanced and scale up the Pro plan, they can conduct conference calls and bring their own carrier (BYOC) to use their phone number within the CRM. Lastly, the Enterprise plan gives reps the option to warm transfer calls to another rep while also sending information and insights regarding the call. This is a helpful feature for both sales and customer service agents to reduce customer frustration. Check out our comprehensive Freshsales review to learn more about its features, plan comparisons, and best-for scenarios. Apptivo: Best Salesforce Alternative to Manage All Aspects of Your Business Comparing and mostly comes down to whether you want a simple solution to manage all your business functions or an advanced solution to focus on sales and marketing. Apptivo has all-in-one management capabilities but lacks some of the critical attributes of Salesforce. This includes an automation designer, the Lightning App Builder for creating web and mobile pages with point and click, or the AI CRM reporting insights. Access to advanced features such as AI or unlimited workflow configuration is arguably the main downside of this platform. is a solid Salesforce and Apptivo alternative with affordable plans, AI analytics, and robust workflow automation features. Apptivo Pricing at a Glance* Free: Up to one user Lite: $8 per user, per month Premium: $12 per user, per month Ultimate: $20 per user, per month Enterprise: Contact for pricing Free Trial: 30 days *Pricing is based on an annual billing option. Monthly subscriptions are available as well for those who prefer shorter-term contracts. Apptivo All-in-One Business Management Solutions While Salesforce has many advanced automation tools and AI features, Apptivo is a low-cost, simplified, full-service business management platform. With Apptivo, you can oversee all aspects of your organization, including sales, marketing, human resources, project management, supply chain management, and product management. There are even field service modules for tracking and fulfilling work orders. Check out our Apptivo review for best-for scenarios, detailed pricing information, usability insights, and a comprehensive look into its full-feature set in our Apptivo review. Zoho CRM: Best for Salesforce Alternative for Reporting & Analytics Tools In terms of sophistication of sales and automation features, arguably aligns the best with compared to the other CRMs, making it one of the top Salesforce competitors. Like Salesforce, Zoho CRM has robust automation capabilities, AI features for recommendations, predictions, and reminders, and excellent system customization for modules, fields, and pages. Most of the Zoho CRM contrast comes down to the cost of subscribing. While it does outperform Salesforce in the price category by offering a free plan, Zoho CRM’s freemium subscription is limited to basic features for up to three users. and are ideal alternatives that have a free plan available for unlimited users. Zoho CRM Pricing at a Glance* Free: Up to three users (limited features) Standard: $14 per user, per month Professional: $23 per user, per month Enterprise: $40 per user, per month Ultimate: $52 per user, per month Zoho CRM Plus: $57 per user, per month *Pricing is based on an annual subscription. Monthly billing is available as well. Zoho CRM Reporting and Analytics The reporting and analytics tools of Zoho CRM, most of which are offered for a lower cost than Salesforce, are a product attribute that cannot be overlooked. Zoho CRM users can generate and schedule standard, advanced, and customizable reports on production, KPIs, and activity. The elaborate dashboard also displays real-time information and the Zia AI feature lets you design your predictions for sales forecasting and give you tons of custom insights. These include things like the ability to detect sales anomalies, enrich email messages, and suggested automations based on how you use your CRM, just to name a few. Read our comprehensive Zoho CRM review to learn more about its features and how it helps small businesses grow. Pipedrive: Best Salesforce Alternative for Low-cost Automation Capabilities is a sales-focused alternative to that has functions for direct relationship building such as lead management features, meeting scheduling tools, customizable sales pipelines, and document management features. Where it stands out as one of the top Salesforce CRM competitors is that while both platforms are great for automation, Pipedrive is the more cost-friendly option. Pipedrive does not offer a free plan or project management features—something important to new businesses that offer project-based services like software development or content creation. is the ultimate alternative for those attributes as it has project management modules built into the CRM which are free for unlimited users. Pipedrive Pricing at a Glance* Essentials: $14.90 per user, per month Advanced: $24.90 per user, per month Professional: $49.90 per user, per month Enterprise: $99 per user, per month (10 user minimum) Free trial: 14 days *Pricing is based on an annual billing option. Monthly plans are available as well. Pipedrive Automation Features On the lowest-priced Essentials plan, Pipedrive offers automation capabilities, including the AI Sales Assistant for notifications and sales and CRM recommendations, API access, and webhooks to push information to your endpoint choice. Once upgraded to the Advanced plan, you can create up to 30 workflows to automate tasks, auto-enrich your contact data, and automatically indicate critical fields within various records. Learn more about this CRM system and explore other features it offers in our in-depth Pipedrive review. Copper: Best Salesforce Alternative for Google Workspace Users offers basic features businesses benefit from in a CRM such as contact management, project management, pipeline tracking, team collaboration, email marketing, and basic workflow automation. While not necessarily much cheaper than Salesforce, it's easier to use and integrates with many popular business applications like Mailchimp, Slack, DocuSign, Zapier, and QuickBooks. Copper does not have AI features, nor can you automate complex business processes or workflows without integrating with an external application. This is something Salesforce and other CRMs on this list offer as built-in features. is a cost-friendly alternative that gives sales teams robust automation capabilities, AI recommendations, and advanced analytics. Copper Pricing at a Glance* Basic: $20 per user, per month Professional: $46 per user, per month Business: $93 per user, per month Free Trial: 14 days *Pricing is based on an annual billing option. Monthly subscriptions are available as well for those who prefer shorter-term contracts. Copper Google Workspace CRM What makes unique is its status as the “Google Workspace CRM” because of its integrations with Google apps and its Chrome extension. Users can sync their Google calendar, drive, Gmail, and contacts and integrate with Google Data Studio for reporting and analytics. This helps teams create records from the Gmail system, automatically populate contact information in the CRM, and schedule calendar events with one-click capabilities. Explore if this CRM system is the best option for your business and learn more about its comprehensive feature set in our Copper CRM review. Bitrix24: Best Salesforce Alternative for Project Management Like Salesforce, has modules for managing leads, opportunities, the pipeline, accounts, and deals. There are also similarities in creating, tracking, and sending invoices and quotes directly from a lead or contact record. Bitrix24 contrasts mostly in price as it offers a free plan and all-around business solutions. Users can manage sales, marketing, projects, and even some financial and human resources functions in the CRM. Bitrix24 has excellent features and cost-friendly attributes but, like Salesforce, requires a slight learning curve to figure out. and are ideal alternatives for users who prioritize simplicity in navigating their CRM platform. Bitrix24 Pricing at a Glance* Free: Unlimited number of users (limited features) Basic: $39 per month (up to five users) Standard: $79 per month (up to 50 users) Professional: $159 per month (unlimited users) *Pricing above is based on annual plans. However, you may also pay monthly, quarterly, or biannually. Bitrix24 Project Management Bitrix24 stands out for its built-in project management modules available for free. Users can collaborate with team members, automate the sales process, and track the progress of tasks and their associated projects. Multiple viewing options are available, including Gantt charts, Kanban boards, calendars, and timeline views. The projects are fully customizable, account for task dependencies, and can be created from a premade project template. Check out our in-depth Bitrix24 review to explore how this CRM system helps small businesses scale. How We Evaluated the Best Salesforce Alternatives for Small Businesses The best CRM for Salesforce should have CRM features, or product attributes comparable to Salesforce, such as artificial intelligence, advanced automation, and robust system customization. Additionally, it should include features, usability traits, or pricing attributes that Salesforce is lacking. Based on our evaluation, we found to be the best Salesforce alternative. It offers a free option and low-cost subscription plans as well as AI and automation features. Additionally, Freshsales has a free built-in telephone in their CRM to make and receive calls, while Salesforce requires integration with a third-party app or native software for that capability. The tabs below offer insight into our evaluation process for choosing the best CRM alternatives to Salesforce:
May 23, 2022
Best Business Account Management Software for 2022
Business account management software helps businesses continuously provide solutions and build relationships with their clients after a deal is closed. To streamline some of your account management activities, it’s essential to have tools to organize existing clients by market segment, handle customer support cases, and easily find and communicate with contacts of an account. We’ve reviewed dozens of account management customer relationship management (CRM) tools to arrive at the top six options. Based on our evaluation, the six best business account management software platforms are: : Best overall account management CRM for businesses looking for comprehensive features at a great value : Excellent for businesses that want to use artificial intelligence (AI) tools for account management : Great choice for startup retail or ecommerce businesses with its inventory, order, payment, and shipping management tools : Solid CRM for sales teams that need remote or mobile account management tools : Best choice for customer support teams that need case management tools : Ideal sales account management tool for businesses looking for free account management tools Best Business Account Management Software Compared See fullscreen table × *Premier success plan costs 30% of the subscription price and adds 24/7 phone support, developer support, training sessions, and coaching. Freshsales: Best Overall Account Management CRM *Pricing based on annual billing. Monthly billing is also available at a higher cost. is an excellent CRM option for both managing deal opportunities and accounts after deals are closed. The combination of the built-in voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) phone system and customizable product catalog makes it easy to call your clients from the CRM to discuss their needs and find additional solutions that can help them. Account managers can also take advantage of the account tagging and profile avatar features, making it easy to find account records. Standout features of Freshsales include the deduplication capabilities that merge account records, so there are no unnecessary records in the system. There's also sales team grouping that can be used to organize sales teams by a segment like product line or territory. These teams can then be auto-assigned accounts as new deals are closed. Invoicing your clients is a crucial and frequent activity of account management, one that Freshsales doesn’t offer unless a user purchases their add-on. For an account management platform that allows you to generate and send invoices in its low-cost CRM subscription, we recommend . Freshsales Plan Summary Freshsales Features Built-in phone system: Allows users to make calls directly to contacts in account profiles Freddy AI insights: Deduplicates account data in multiple records Sales teams tools: Reps can be organized into groups based on territory or market segment then be auto-assigned accounts as they come in Account profile avatar: Gives each account record a visual representation, making it easier to spot in a crowded account list Team email inbox: Any sales rep can view and respond to assist with an account’s needs Read our Freshsales review to learn everything need to make a sound purchasing decision, including CRM features, plan comparisons, and product usability. Zoho CRM: Best Customer Account Management Software With AI Tools *Pricing based on annual billing. Monthly billing is also available at a higher cost. is software to manage customer accounts that offers functionality in its platform for organizing client information. It enables users to segment accounts based on behaviors, territory, product or service line, or any other attribute of a client you want to sort into groups. Users can also manage their inventory from the CRM system to handle orders that come through so they can inform a client about order status or if something is unavailable. Much of Zoho’s unique account management capabilities stems from the artificial intelligence (AI) feature, Zia. With Zia, account managers can auto-enrich account data through information found on online web pages or through email. AI can also help suggest which accounts should be assigned to whom, and the best time to contact a person of an account based on their availability history. Zoho CRM does have a free plan, but only for up to three users. For an account management system that’s free for an unlimited number of users, we recommend . Zoho CRM Plan Summary Zoho CRM Key Features Best time to contact feature: Powered by AI, shows the best times to reach out to an account contact Data enrichment feature: Uses Zia AI to update account information in a record found online Customer and client segmentation: Organizes accounts into modules based on account traits like territory, size, or product line Invoicing tools: Ability to send invoices through integration with Zoho Invoice Inventory management features: Used for tracking inventory levels, purchase orders, and order statuses Our Zoho CRM review offers additional information on the features, plans, usability, and integrations of Zoho to see if it's the right fit for your business. Apptivo: Best Account Management Software for Ecommerce & Retail Startups *Pricing based on annual billing. Monthly billing is also available at a higher cost. is robust CRM software with account management capabilities well-suited for startup businesses in the ecommerce space or retail industry. All of its plans are priced relatively low, with their Ultimate plan being only $20 per user, per month and a free option to help a new business get started. The account management features useful for a retail business include inventory management tools to monitor inventory count, track shipping statuses, and view purchase orders. Businesses that use Apptivo can also send invoices and accept payments while at the same time, easily segment customers into territories to organize which account managers are responsible for them. Apptivo falls slightly behind compared to other CRMs on this list when it comes to the range of integration options it offers. For businesses that require a CRM that integrates with most of their favorite applications, we recommend or . Apptivo Plan Summary Apptivo Key Features Integrates with : Allows for a phone system in the CRM for calling account contacts Invoicing capabilities: Invoicing options by integrations with , , and Inventory management: tools Allows users to manage both inventory and purchase orders Account list filtering: Lists can be filtered by attributes like account name, contact name, contract type, or title of contact Take a look at our in-depth Apptivo review to learn about its features, pricing, and overall usability. Zendesk Sell: Best for Mobile Account Management *Pricing is based on annual billing. Monthly billing is also available at a higher cost. is a sales-focused CRM system with prospecting and lead management features, such as email tools, SMS texting, and voice call communications. Users can also manage their accounts by storing data that also has duplication detections as well as a product and price book for managing your catalogs. Businesses that require their account managers to be in the field or to work in a mobile environment especially gain value from what Zendesk offers. Teams can manage their accounts using the mobile application. The mobile app also has features for locating contacts on a map to provide directions and log client visits by tracking the account manager’s location. Though Zendesk is a great solution for managing client and customer accounts, the platform is notoriously difficult when it comes to operating the features, especially for those new to using a CRM. is an alternative to Zendesk Sell that offers useful features and is easy to use. Zendesk Sell Plan Summary Zendesk Sell Key Features Companies hierarchy feature: Allows you to organize and visualize accounts based on parent-subsidiary relationships Account auto-assignment: Uses a round-robin rotation to assign new accounts to account managers Mobile visit tracking and GeoVerification: Tracks locations of reps and account managers during client visits Geolocation tool: Can be used in the mobile app to get directions to customer locations Want to learn more about everything Zendesk Sell offers your business? Check out our comprehensive Zendesk Sell review to see if it's right for you. Salesforce Essentials: Best Account Management Software for Customer Support Operations is a small-business-focused CRM that combines features from its sales and service clouds into one platform. Within each account record is the ability to store contact information, view previous communications, track activity history, and communicate with other members of your organization on a particular account. Arguably, the most valuable account management features Salesforce Essentials offers is the built-in system for managing customer cases that are submitted. Users can view the cases in the queue and then select which ones they want to assist next. Account managers can engage these customers through multiple channels, including phone, live chat, email, and even social media. Even though Salesforce Essentials is great for managing customer case inquiries, it does not include features for managing sales orders, quotes, or catalogs without purchasing an add-on. As this type of function is important to many account managers, we suggest considering , which has catalogs on its free plan as well as quotes and sales order management on the paid plans. Salesforce Essentials Plan Summary Salesforce Essentials Key Features Data management features: Account data organization with data duplication prevention tools Account history tracking: Stores information on previous account communications and internal discussions among sales and account management teams Customer case routing: Submitted customer service inquiries can be managed and routed to account managers Multichannel inquiry response: Capabilities to respond to customer inquiries via email, phone, chat, or social media Read our in-depth review of Salesforce Essentials to learn more about its features, pricing, and best-for scenarios. Bitrix24: Best Free Account Management Software *Pricing based on annual billing; monthly billing is available at a higher cost or pay every two years for the lowest cost. is the best free CRM option on this list because the free plan is available to an unlimited number of users. It provides essential account management tools, such as data deduplication, product catalog customization, and the ability to track activity history and contact information among accounts. If a business does subscribe to a paid plan, they can take advantage of video calling with their clients and sharing their screen to present information. There’s also access to the built-in phone to call clients, and contact routing to agents or other account managers for live chat and phone calls from clients. Relative to some of the other CRM products on this list, Bitrix24 is often found to be difficult to set up and operate without some prior knowledge of using a CRM. is an alternative on this list that gives users some of the appealing invoicing and inventory management features of Bitrix24 without the product usability challenge. Bitrix24 Plan Summary Bitrix24 Features Contact center feature: For communicating with contacts includes channels such as phone, email, live chat, and social media messengers Data storage and deduplication: Lead, contact, company, deal, and duplicate detection to find records that need to be deleted or merged Invoices and quotes: Can be generated from a deal or opportunity and set as recurring Product catalog: Built-in the CRM system and customizable Client conversation ratings: Customers can rate their account manager or customer service rep on their effectiveness after a live chat inquiry is resolved Check out our Bitrix24 review to learn about its features, pricing, usability, and what other users say about the platform. How We Evaluated the Best Account Management CRMs To determine the best CRM system for account management activities, we evaluated customer relationship management product attributes, such as pricing, usability, and customer support. We also looked at features useful for managing sales processes and client accounts, such as invoicing capabilities, contact management tools, and account data management functionality like the ability to deduplicate account records. We found that is the best overall CRM for account management because of the value it provides to its users with the availability of a free plan and scalable subscription options. In terms of features, Freshsales provides account managers a built-in phone system to easily call clients, a customizable catalog to help organize potential solutions to offer customers, and tools for tracking activity history with each account. The tabs below offer insight into our evaluation process for choosing the best account management software:
May 20, 2022
5 Best Customer Database Software Options for 2022
Customer database software for small business helps teams organize client data and manage interactions. There are standalone database solutions, but they can also be incorporated as a feature of customer relationship management (CRM) software. This second option allows you to access customers’ sales and marketing data from a single place. We’ve compared several options to narrow it down to the six best client database software, including the best overall. The top solutions and their best use cases include: : Best overall customer database software for sales teams : Great option for growing teams looking for a free customer database solution : Ideal for teams that want multiple ways to visualize data, including Kanban views, charts, and calendar views : Excellent choice for creative agencies or project-based firms that need to organize data into customizable spreadsheets : Solid choice for companies looking for a customer database software with support suite options Best Customer Database Management Software Compared See fullscreen table × Take our quiz to find out which is the best customer database software to organize your client data. Freshsales: Best Overall Customer Database Software *Pricing is based on an annual subscription. Monthly billing is also available at slightly higher rates. streamlines your customer data management needs by organizing your client information and interactions in a single access point. Its event tracking feature keeps you informed about your customers’ activities, helping you decide on your next step and ensuring that no deal falls through the cracks. This CRM system also allows you to collaborate with your teams on tasks using its appointment scheduling, calendar sync, and notes features. Some of Freshsales' weak points are its limited email integration options and cap on per-user file storage. While it offers a free tier, it has limited features, such as a visual sales pipeline. If you’re looking for a free CRM with robust features, consider . Freshsales Key Features Has a user-friendly interface Contact and account management features include customizable lifecycle stages, marketing lists, basic segmentation, and auto-profile enrichment Customizable workflows, fields, and product catalog Email marketing campaign and tracking tools Create desktop and mobile responsive landing pages with a drag-and-drop builder Sales pipeline management and sales forecasting capabilities Built-in phone has inbound caller ID, call masking, call recording, conference calling, holiday routing, and voicemail features Freddy, an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered assistant, provides insights, predictive contact scoring, and sales forecasts Engage with website visitors in real time using embedded chat widget Mobile apps for Android and iOS 24/5 customer support via phone, chat, and email, plus a dedicated account manager for Enterprise users Learn more about how this CRM software helps sales teams' organize contacts, and customers to ensure no deals fall through the cracks in our Freshsales review. HubSpot: Best Free Sales Database Software *Based on annual billing. Monthly subscriptions are also available at slightly higher rates. is an all-in-one CRM, offering modules for sales, marketing, customer service, content management, and operations for an unlimited number of users. It is an excellent choice for teams looking for a free customer database solution because it has a free CRM with robust contact management, website activity tracking, deal management, and task management capabilities. While HubSpot offers a free plan, its main drawback lies in its costly pricing model. Plan upgrades, such as adding sales automation and multiple deal pipelines get expensive. offers more features in one plan for a lower price. HubSpot Features Easy to set up and operate Contact management, website activity tracking, deal management, tasks, and meeting scheduling features Deal pipelines, simple automation, custom properties, and quotes Landing pages, live chat, conversational bots, forms, contact website activity, list segmentation, and email marketing Marketing features include optimized content, social media tools, A/B testing, website traffic analytics, and campaign reporting Bulk email sending, email tracking, and templates Track and improve customer experience using ticketing, canned responses, surveys, and insights Help center includes community support, a knowledge base, and video training; paid tiers offer email, chat, and phone support Integrated payment features built-into the CRM platform Check out our HubSpot review to learn more and find out if it is the right fit for your team. monday.com: Best Customer Database With Multiple Data Views *Pricing is based on an annual subscription. Monthly billing is also available at slightly higher rates. is a customizable collaboration and internal project management tool that allows team members to work on tasks and projects together even when working remotely. It organizes data and displays them using Gantt charts, calendars, Kanban views, maps, and calendars. This software is recommended for teams—like those in the service, retail, IT, and small manufacturing industries—that want to visualize data. In contrast to , monday.com does not have a 3D model option and only offers board views of organized data. It also has simpler project management tools and fewer third-party app integrations. However, it gains an edge with its customizable task automations, 24/7 customer support on paid plans, and in-app walk-throughs. monday.com Features Intuitive user interface, simple setup, and easy navigation Unlimited number of seats and data rows for paid plans Essential features include file storage, activity log, unlimited data boards, and more than 200 templates Collaboration tools include embedded documents, collaborative whiteboard, updates section, integration, and guest access Productivity tools include shareable forms, automations, time tracking, and formula column Kanban, timeline, calendar, map, and chart views of tasks and projects Enterprise plan features work performance insights, dashboard email notifications, and pivot analysis and reports Mobile apps for Android and iOS Self-serve knowledge base, daily live webinars, and dedicated customer success manager (Enterprise plan) 24/7 customer support via email and phone on paid plans, 245 on the free plan Read our in-depth monday.com review to learn more about how this software helps small businesses grow. Airtable: Best Customer Database for Organizing Data by Spreadsheet *Based on annual billing. Monthly subscriptions are also available at slightly higher rates. is a collaboration and project management software with a spreadsheet-based user interface—helping users define relationships between sets of data. Its centralized database serves as a unified location for your team's records, projects, and ideas. You can transform your spreadsheet data into a Kanban board or a calendar. It also has an extensive tracking system that lets you follow all the edits done to your records. However, Airtable lacks the customizable automation features has. The software could also be more costly on a per-user basis. The platform’s most standout feature is its Blocks function, offering powerful collaboration tools that you can use to design webpages, invoices, organization charts, documents, and even 3D representations. Airtable Features Visually appealing interface makes it easy to use and implement Rich field types include attachments, checkboxes, and drop-downs Grid, calendar, form, Kanban, and gallery views Native apps include tools for chart visualization, pivot table, CSV (comma-separated values) file import, page designer, time tracker, SMS and email sending, and organizational chart Customized formatting, calendar, and forms Mobile apps for Android and iOS Email support, self-serve knowledge base, priority support response, dedicated success manager, and individualized onboarding and training Learn more about how to use Airtable as a customer relationship management platform in our step-by-step guide. Zendesk Sell: Best Client Database Software for Customer Service Options *Based on annual billing. Monthly subscriptions are also available at slightly higher rates. offers lead management, productivity, sales automation, and deal management tools. It provides a ticketing system that integrates with all your communication channels, making it a great choice for companies looking for customer database software with support suite options. One of Zendesk Sell’s disadvantages is its steep learning curve, making it inferior to in terms of ease of use. Its pricing scheme is also complicated and can get expensive for those who want to add more capabilities like lead generation or customer support. Zendesk Sell Features User interface is suited for intermediate-level users Account management features include document storage, data imports, duplicate entry detection, and automated lead distribution Sales tracking functionalities include customizable sales pipelines, custom data fields and filters, lead and deal scoring, and product and price books Task automation, appointment setting, and calendar integrations Email tracking, bulk email, and unlimited email templates Built-in dialer, call tracking and recording, and text messaging Customizable sales dashboards, sales forecasting, activity reports, goal tracking, performance dashboard, and advanced sales insights Mobile apps for Android and iOS Find out more about what this platform can do for your organization by reading our Zendesk Sell review. How We Evaluated the Best Customer Database Systems Excellent customer database software must be able to streamline data recording, track customer interactions, and import and export data. The best solutions include additional features like behavior analysis, lead and pipeline management, email marketing, and reporting. We found is the best overall choice for businesses looking for customer database software because it offers the best value considering the combination of its pricing, data storage and management features, and reliable customer service. It also comes with excellent data storage, file storage, data import and export, and data migration capabilities. We selected the best software by considering the following factors:
May 19, 2022
10 Effective Customer Service Best Practices for 2022
Excellent products and service offerings attract customers to your business, but robust customer service is the most effective way to keep your customers loyal to your brand. It is also an organic route to tap into your customers’ network through positive word of mouth and referrals. In this article, we explore 10 effective customer service best practices—from optimizing your response times to incentivizing your customer service team. Check out some of these customer service best practices you can apply to your business today. 1. Be Quick & Efficient in Responding to & Resolving Cases As the world becomes more connected and omnichannel communication has become the norm, customers expect businesses to respond to their queries quickly. Based on research conducted by HubSpot, 90% of consumers rate an “immediate response” as very important when trying to get help from a business’ customer service team. However, speedy customer support alone is not enough. Aside from aiming to get back to your customers as fast as possible, it is also essential to provide customers with quality customer support to resolve their issues and concerns. 2. Make It Easy for Customers to Find Answers on Your Website A knowledge base is a collection of helpful information about your products or services customers can refer to. It typically includes a page for frequently asked questions (FAQs), instructional videos on your products’ features and functionalities, and other educational resources. Having a knowledge base or resource page on your website not only proves beneficial to your customers but also saves your agents time from answering common questions. Customer service software providers like offer tools to help users create their own knowledge base. For example, you can draft an FAQ page including information on products, pricing, refunds, returns, exchange policies, and general questions. When creating your knowledge base, there are preset categories to choose from, so information is properly segmented and organized, making it easy for your customers to find answers on their own. 3. Deliver on Your Promises & Commit to Timelines While it is ideal to resolve customer cases as promptly as possible, you must also ensure you can deliver on your committed resolution or next step of action. For example, if you promised a refund to a customer and transfer back the money in two working days, make sure you do so. Always remember to make a commitment you’re confident you can deliver, and don’t make promises you know you can’t keep just to appease a disgruntled customer. It’s always better to over-deliver and surpass your client’s expectations rather than not following through with something you previously promised. 4. Genuinely Help Your Customers When resolving customer cases, don’t treat it as a simple transaction. Instead, adopt a service-oriented mindset that encourages you to genuinely help your customers in answering their questions or addressing their concerns. Remember, your customers are the key to your business growth; hence, treat them as your “business partner” as they are an important contributing factor to your business performance. 5. Incentivize Your Customer Service Team Rewards and recognition are two of the most effective ways to motivate your agents to provide the best quality of service and support to your customers. When your agents know they will be rewarded for going the extra mile to resolve a ticket as quickly and as efficiently as possible, it not only motivates them but also directly impacts the quality of support they provide to your customers. Software providers like offer an agent leaderboard that shows all the agents in a customer service team. It has a gamified format that gives agents quests to unlock—from resolving a ticket to earning high ratings from customers. Agents move up the leaderboard as the month progresses and see their performance against their peers, promoting healthy competition among the team. 6. Assign a Dedicated Customer Service Team Unless you run a micro-business that only processes a small volume of customer queries, assigning a dedicated customer service person or team within your company is a crucial customer support best practice. Doing so ensures all queries are managed in a proper and timely manner, and nothing falls through the cracks. Below are some of the most common members of a customer service team for small businesses: Customer service agents: Your customer service team’s frontliners and the ones responsible for working on case resolutions Customer service manager: Oversees a team of agents and is typically responsible for training them; steps in when cases need to be escalated to someone senior Technical support agents: Agents who have a more technical role such as troubleshooting or diagnosing issues Customer success manager: Responsible for establishing long-term relationships with customers by rolling out activities that nurture your relationship with them Customer experience manager: Oversees customer service touchpoints and comes up with solutions on how to improve customers’ experience every time they interact with your company 7. Do a Follow-up Check With Customers While following up with a customer after resolving a case is not always possible for all types of cases, it is ideal to do when you’re offering a high-value service and have a smaller customer pool. For example, check in with a client after a week to see if they are still having problems with their product after having it repaired. While a simple call only takes a few minutes, it shows the client you’re genuinely concerned about resolving their issue and making sure they are satisfied. This is the type of action customers remember when someone in their network asks for a referral and it helps keep your clients loyal because they know they will be taken care of. 8. Send a Customer Satisfaction Survey or Feedback Form One of the best ways to improve the quality of your customer service activities is to learn from customer service analytics via feedback from your clients. Send customer satisfaction surveys or forms after cases are resolved and ask them to rate their experience, as well as leave comments for improvement. Satisfaction surveys can help you identify your happy customers and spot unhappy customers who need nurturing. Service Hub enables business owners to measure their customer satisfaction (CSAT) score by providing tools to create satisfaction surveys. Customers can answer satisfaction surveys after their case is closed, and users can send the survey through email or share a link in the live chat. The system then captures the data and provides an overall view of a business’ customer service activities over a set period. To learn more about improving the quality of your customer service activities, check out our guide on how to measure customer service satisfaction. 9. Record Your Customers’ Details & Offer Personalized Service The best customer service is personalized because it makes your customers feel valued. In fact, according to Microsoft, 72% of consumers expect customer service agents to “know who they are, what they have purchased, and have insights into their previous engagements.” Therefore, knowing who you’re talking to by having your customers’ profile and activity history on hand is imperative to providing superior customer service. Having a record of your customers’ past communication with your company also saves them time from repeating their concerns, especially if they have to deal with different agents within your organization. According to HubSpot, 33% of consumers find repeating their concerns to other agents one of the most frustrating aspects of getting customer service help. Software providers like capture and store all related customer information, which helps agents personalize their service to customers. Agents can easily view past purchases, conversations, and activities on a single page so they know what the issue is they need to resolve when they talk to their customers. 10. Take Advantage of Customer Service Software Customer service software helps business owners centralize customer communications in a single platform as it typically utilizes an omnichannel communication approach. By using customer service software, you capture all the questions and queries from your customers and turn them into tickets. It also enables you to get in touch with them through various channels, including live chat, in-app phone, social media, and email. , our top pick for the best customer service software, offers multichannel communication tools, including a help desk, live chat, email, and ticketing. It has a round-robin ticketing assignment tool that directs cases to readily available agents, so customers’ queries are addressed promptly. In addition, Freshdesk provides agents with 360-degree customer views, including profile and historical information, as well as guided resolutions to increase productivity. Bottom Line Providing an excellent customer service experience is a no-fail strategy to increase your customer retention rate. Simple practices such as improving your response time or committing to feasible timing are things you can implement quickly. Remember, it is easier to retain a customer than to find a new one, so take care of the ones in your existing customer pool by observing these customer service best practices.
May 18, 2022
Customizable CRM: The 6 Best Options for 2022
A customizable CRM is used by businesses with unique sales operations—giving users the ability to design their own CRM system. Robust custom CRMs offer a broad range of program, dashboard, and report customizations. Furthermore, they allow you to efficiently tailor data fields and adjust functionalities to match business-specific workflows. We’ve reviewed and compared dozens of custom CRM software options to discover the best choices for small businesses. Here are our picks for the six best customizable CRM systems: : Best overall customizable CRM for comprehensive system customization capabilities : Great choice for larger businesses looking for a customizable platform to manage their entire business operation : Excellent customizable CRM for small business with a unique sales pipeline process : Solid custom CRM for sales managers who want customizable CRM software to manage their sales teams : Top pick for businesses that want free, customizable CRM software : Ideal for sales teams that want customizable activity tracking tools Not finding what you’re looking for? Check out our in-depth guide on the best CRMs for small businesses. Best Customizable CRMs Compared *Pricing is based on annual billing. Monthly billing is also available at slightly higher rates. See fullscreen table × Zoho CRM: Best Overall Customizable CRM *Pricing based on annual billing, monthly billing is also available for a higher cost offers a robust customizable CRM for small business because it offers more customization than any other CRM on this list. The capabilities range from customization of data fields, product catalogs, and dashboard design. There are even custom data validation rules within individual records that require certain fields to be within a specific numeric range to ensure the information is full and accurate. Zoho also makes it easy for businesses to configure automation rules tailored to whatever processes they want to put on autopilot. Within the various lead or deal modules, a range of custom options can be used to trigger and execute an automated process. For instance, a user can configure their workflow to automatically notify their manager via email if a deal comes in that's over a specific value while assigning them a task to look at discount options. Unfortunately, when it comes to the data fields customization options—a feature heavily desired in a customizable CRM—Zoho does not offer it on its free plan. For a CRM that allows you to label a data field and create rules within what can be added to that field for free, we recommend as an alternative. Zoho CRM Plan Summary Zoho CRM Key Features Custom data validation tools: These tools ensure data is accurate and allowable. For example, on a deal record, you can add a discount field and create validation rules that the discount cannot go above or below a specific percentage Custom web links: Ability to add customizable web links inside lead or contact records to allow users to navigate to websites about the company or person Native software integration options: CRM system integrates with other Zoho software including Zoho Calendar, Zoho Workspace, Zoho Desk, and Zoho Social Customizable workflow automation: Configurable rules for process and workflow automation Customizable charts: Ability to create charts for the system dashboards and reports Our Zoho CRM review offers additional information on the features, plans, usability, and integrations of Zoho to help you determine if it’s the right fit for your business. Apptivo: Best Customizable CRM for Managing All Business Functions *Pricing based on annual billing, monthly billing is also available for a higher cost is a CRM that extends its functionality past the needs of sales and marketing teams. Businesses who purchase an Apptivo plan get access to features for managing invoices, product orders, projects, service tickets, marketing campaigns, quotes, expenses, and even tools for ecommerce business management. In terms of system customization, businesses can take advantage of the cost-effective options to design data fields, module applications, charts, dashboards, and reports. There’s also a custom mapping feature, so information in one record can be duplicated in another if it belongs in multiple module applications, such as when a contact is also a lead and an opportunity. Apptivo lacks any form of customization on its free Starter plan. Businesses that want basic customization capabilities for free should consider or as solid options with some free customization options. Apptivo Plan Summary Apptivo Key Features Custom data mapping: Allows data in one module to be attributed to another. For instance, if a lead is also an opportunity, you can map the data to make sure the relevant information in the lead application is added to the opportunity application. Customizable charts: Ability to create charts for reports and dashboards Customizable system views: Allows users to observe data based on criteria of which records and types of information the user would like to see Integrates with popular third-party applications: Includes Google Workspace, Office 365, Dropbox, RingCentral, Paypal, Stripe, Facebook, and QuickBooks. Want to find out more about this CRM and see if it's right for your business? Check out our in-depth Apptivo review to learn about its features, pricing, and overall usability. Pipedrive: Best Customizable CRM for Sales Pipeline Customization *Pricing based on annual billing, monthly billing is also available for a higher cost is a sales-focused CRM system due to its heavy emphasis on pipeline management, deal management, and tools for managing leads. Within Pipedrive is a scheduler that includes video conferencing, email scheduling features, and SmartDocs tool for sending quotes and proposals. When it comes to customization, users have the ability to alter data fields, email templates, product catalogs, and the way the dashboard is laid out. The customizable feature that stands out the most, however, is the ability to create sales pipelines and visualizations of those pipelines. If a business needs to account for internal sales activities not typically involved in a traditional sales pipeline, they can do so with Pipedrive’s custom pipelines. The customizable pipelines allow users to account for the unique stages, conversion probabilities, and how many days a lead can be in a stage before the system indicates it has become a rotten deal. While Pipedrive is an excellent CRM and one of our picks for the top small business CRM systems, it lacks the option for businesses to create automated workflows on its lowest-tiered plan. If low-cost automation features are important for your business, we recommend , which allows you to set workflow automation rules on free and lowest-priced plans. Pipedrive Plan Summary Pipedrive Features Email customization: Useful for generating and storing premade email templates and designing email signatures Pipeline customization: Tailorable stages and conversion probabilities Data field customization: Allows users to indicate data fields that are important or required to create a record Customizable teams: Ability to put sales reps into groups to monitor and compare team performance Custom reports: Users can generate reports for monitoring sales activity for calls placed, emails sent, and appointments generated Read our Pipedrive review to explore everything you need to know about pricing and features of this CRM platform to determine if it’s right for your business. Nutshell: Best Customizable CRM for Sales Management *Pricing based on annual billing, monthly billing is also available for a higher cost If you’re looking for a CRM that offers both customization and robust features for managing a sales operation, is an excellent choice. Users can generate custom reports for insights on things a manager typically wants to see. These reports include sales activity, sales performance, sales forecasts, sales funnel success, and information on the best lead sources to focus on. Sales managers can also put lead assignment on auto-pilot with auto-lead assignment features. This gives them the ability to notify a team member of a new lead or lead stage change. They’re also able to assign tasks associated with that lead to a specific sales rep depending on the rules you set. With mass email marketing tools being extremely desirable, and Nutshell only offering these kinds of tools through an add-on, we recommend considering as an alternative. Pipedrive can send mass emails and store pre-made email templates your sales and marketing teams can access. Nutshell Plan Summary Nutshell Key Features Nutshell Marketing add-on: It allows you to send professionally designed marketing emails to thousands of contacts at once that are stored in your CRM Guided sales process builder: Helps users design and customize their sales process by pre-setting auto-lead assignments and creating tasks that need to be completed for each stage Automated lead assignment: Ability to create automation rules for auto-assigning leads to sales reps Custom sales funnel reports: Can be customized and generated to view stage conversion rates Bitrix24: Best Free Customizable CRM System *Pricing based on annual billing; monthly billing is available for a higher cost or pay every two years for the lowest cost. is a great customizable CRM option for those seeking a free-forever option. Not only does Bitrix24 offer a free plan for an unlimited number of users, but many of the customization capabilities it has are available on the free plan. These include the custom products catalog, data fields, sales pipelines, reports, online web forms, and even minimal automation rules can be set for deal management. Plus, the platform offers a white label option where you can resell the platform under your own business brand and get a 50% commission from each license you sell. Though the free plan accommodates up to an unlimited number of users, the biggest issue that arises from Bitrix24 users is the ease of use and ability to navigate the interface without getting lost. For CRM options that are notoriously easy to set up, operate, and navigate, check out or as viable solutions. Bitrix24 Plan Summary Bitrix24 Features Custom Google Maps field: Lead records can include Google Maps location of a lead Custom deal automation: Options to create automation rules and triggers for managing deals Custom online webforms: Ability to create and customize online web forms from the CRM system for inquiry submissions Customizable report generation: Create reports for sales data trends, performance tracking, and activity monitoring Built-in project management tools: Ability to manage projects and tasks within those projects for free Read our Bitrix24 CRM review to learn about its features, pricing, usability, and what other users say about the platform. Close: Best Custom CRM for Activity Tracking *Pricing based on annual billing, monthly billing is also available for a higher cost Between the contact organization capabilities, built-in phone system, email tools, and meeting scheduling functionality, gives sales teams an all-in-one CRM solution for conducting outbound sales activities. Some of its system customizations include a custom voicemail greeting, email signatures, email templates, reports, and data fields for leads, contacts, and opportunities. The unique customization capability, however, is the ability to create and monitor custom sales activities. This lets users design a specific activity as a data field, such as sending a invoice, conducting a lead qualification call, closing a service ticket, or any other activity unique to their operation and input information about that activity. For example, if you finished a sales call, you can add information about that activity, such as whether they are qualified, what current company they are using for the solution you offer, and how many users or employees they have. All of this is recorded in the CRM system within the lead or contact record. Close receives sub-par ratings for the ease of setting up the CRM system as well as operating its features. If top-notch usability is a main priority for your team, we recommend considering or . Close Plan Summary Close Key Features Built-in telephone: Includes outbound calling, power dialing, call logging, and custom voicemail creation Record customization: Capabilities for customizing records for leads, opportunities, and contact data fields Activity customization: Allows you to record sales actions by a sales rep, such as a call to qualify a lead, an email introduction sent, or a delivered invoice Email customization: Options for designing custom email templates and email signatures. How We Evaluated the Best Customizable CRMs To determine which CRM system is the best for teams who value customization tools, we evaluated product attributes specifically related to altering or redesigning a CRM system. These traits include data field customizations, the ability to automate workflows for unique processes, and options for altering the system’s dashboards in terms of color schemes, and layouts. Overall, we found as the best CRM for customization because of the broad range of customization options the system offers its users. This includes customization for data fields, dashboards, data validation rules, catalogs, and individual records that let users put in custom web links. Zoho CRM also has an excellent workflow automation feature built into the system so businesses can set rules, triggers, and actions to automate various processes. The tabs below offer insight into our evaluation process for choosing the best custom CRM platforms:
May 18, 2022
The 5 Best B2B CRMs for 2022
Business to business (B2B) customer relationship management (CRM) software enables users to manage their leads, accounts, and deals in a centralized system. It allows businesses to track all revenues accurately and generate sales reports that provide data-backed insights to understand their business performance. In this article, we evaluated dozens of the best B2B CRM software in the market and arrived at the top five options. Check out each of the best CRMs for B2B companies below: : Best overall CRM for B2B businesses with robust sales workflow automation tools : Ideal for users who need advanced reporting and AI capabilities : Great for sales managers handling multiple territories, as well as those needing an excellent in-app phone : Most mobile-friendly choice for agents who are always on the go : Best B2B CRM for Google Workplace users who want simple visual sales pipelines Best B2B CRM Software Compared See fullscreen table × *Based on annual billing If this list of B2B CRMs doesn’t meet your business needs, check out our guide on the best CRMs for small businesses to find a more suitable option. HubSpot CRM: Best Overall CRM for B2B Businesses With Sales Workflow Automation Tools *Based on annual billing. Monthly subscriptions are also available at higher rates. offers tools for lead management, opportunity tracking, and sales forecasting. One of the key features that makes it a great CRM for B2B companies is its sales workflow automation tools, which help businesses move high-value opportunities along various sales stages in a timely manner. Users have the option to create various workflows ensuring no activity goes idle, such as lead qualification, deal management, and email marketing workflows. While HubSpot CRM offers excellent sales automation tools, the main drawbacks of using this software include the lack of analytics tools in more affordable plans, as well as expensive plan upgrades. Users who need access to affordable analytics tools can subscribe to , while those who want a more affordable range of pricing options can consider . HubSpot CRM Features offers a handful of free sales and marketing tools to help users manage their leads and deals better. Below are the features we like best from this provider: Sales workflow automation: Provides users with easy-to-create workflows to automate lead rotation and task creation, as well as streamline prospect follow-up with automated sequences. Sales forecasting: Get visibility on potential incoming sales and revenues with forecasting tools that analyze historical sales trends based on factors like seasonality, lead quality, and the number of active opportunities. Deal and company scoring: Evaluates the quality of a lead and its likelihood to convert based on a number of factors such as interaction with email marketing campaigns, job title of the main lead contact, and business industry. Meeting scheduling: Allows reps to send meeting links to prospects, so that they can choose their availability in your calendar based on their schedule preference. Conversation intelligence: Provides real-time insights to calls with recording, transcription, and call analysis to help managers coach their teams better when talking to customers. offers free tools that include lead, project, and task management. Its intuitive interface makes it an easy-to-use CRM for any user, no matter what their level of experience is with using CRM software. To learn more about this provider, check out our HubSpot CRM review. Zoho CRM: Best B2B CRM With Excellent Reporting & AI Capabilities *Based on annual billing. Monthly subscriptions are also available at higher rates. is intuitive, all-in-one CRM software with sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) and sales analytics tools. Its conversational AI sales assistant, called Zia (works like Apple’s Siri), can easily fetch CRM data and information upon request, predict the probability of winning a deal through lead scoring, and even forecast a drop in sales so users are prepared and can make recovery plans. Its AI features make it ideal for businesses that operate on a B2B model as it can predict sales trends that may have significant effects on a company’s bottom line—especially since these companies have fewer clients with expected higher profit margins. Additionally, it has advanced reporting tools that provide users with data-backed reports to help them process raw data and extract actionable insights to improve overall sales performance. However, Zoho CRM’s plan is limited to three users and its premium support requires a separate purchase. Those who want access to unlimited users in their free plan should consider , while those who need 24/7 live chat support can check out . Zoho CRM’s Features Apart from its AI and reporting tools, provides access to other helpful CRM features like omnichannel customer communications and a mobile app. Below are some of its standout features: Sales anomaly detection: Through Zia, you can spot dips or spikes in sales performance in real time, so you act on them quickly—whether to look for replacements or request additional human resources. Competitor alert: Another feature of Zia—you are alerted when your leads or clients mention competitor names so corresponding actions may be taken such as monitoring competitor activities or being alerted about their new products or services. Reporting and analytics: Insights-driven reports are generated based on a variety of metrics such as sales performance, trends, marketing campaigns, and activity reports. Task management and reminders: Shows all the upcoming tasks including following up a lead, sending out an email, moving a deal in the pipeline, or setting up a meeting with clients. is an easy-to-use CRM system that lets users manage sales activities and processes, create CRM reports, and generate leads. To explore if this provider addresses your business needs, read our in-depth Zoho CRM review. Freshsales: Best B2B CRM With Robust Territory Management Functionality & In-app Phone *Based on annual billing. Monthly subscriptions are also available at higher rates. territory management feature makes it ideal for businesses servicing B2B clients because it can segment their leads’ companies according to their business industry. It also enables sales agents to specialize in specific segments to deliver more targeted and personalized services. This entails serving customers in specific segments such as business industries or geographical locations, making the agents experts in their assigned territories. In addition, Freshsales’ in-app phone is one of the key features agents servicing B2B businesses find highly beneficial. Since B2B businesses require long-term relationship building, conversations through phone calls are essential. Freshsales’ in-app phone offers advanced features like call recording and conference calling. You can also connect your voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) phone to your account for easier management of phone calls. Users planning to subscribe to Freshsales must take note that its customer profile enrichment feature is only available on the most expensive plan. Its free plan also doesn’t include document storage allocation. Users who want access to both should consider . Zoho’s social profile enrichment is included in its most affordable paid plan, while storage allocation is available even in all plans—including the free plan. Freshsales’ Features Not only does offer excellent territory management features; but it also provides fundamental CRM tools such as sales forecasting, analytics, and reports. Check out some of its notable features below: Territory segmentation: Apart from business industries, you can also segment leads based on the business industry, geography, size, and ZIP codes. Freddy AI tool: AI sales assistant tool that provides insights, predictions, and recommendations based on historical customer data. Sales reports: Monitor key metrics including leads’ website behavior, marketing campaign results, deal insights, and sales activities to grow sales. Customizable sales pipelines: Create sales pipelines with unique stages based on your internal business process. is a feature-packed, scalable CRM that’s easy to use and offers features for contact, account, sales pipeline, and deal management. Learn more about what this software can do for your business in our comprehensive Freshsales review. Pipedrive: Best B2B CRM With an Excellent Mobile App *Based on annual billing. Monthly subscriptions are also available at slightly higher rates. mobile app reflects the layout and settings of its desktop app, making it one of the easiest CRMs to use. Like the desktop version, you can update leads, deals, and tasks straight from your phone, access sales reports, and move deals through various pipeline stages. As the B2B business model requires constant nurturing of relationships with clients, accessing their data and communicating with them whenever needed contributes to building trust. While Pipedrive is one of the easiest CRM systems to use, it has its share of drawbacks, including the lack of a free plan and an in-app phone in its lower-priced plans. You can access both by subscribing to . Pipedrive’s Features offers customizable sales pipelines and automation features to help users move their opportunities along various sales stages more efficiently. Below are some of the features we like most from the platform: Email campaigns: Nurture your B2B clients through sustained content marketing campaigns that offer valuable content related to their business industry. Email tracking: Shows real-time activity such as emails being opened and links clicked to provide insights on the interests of leads and contacts. Insights and reporting: Has pre-built or customizable sales reporting templates that show sales trends, revenue, and active leads and opportunities Extensive CRM integrations: Can be connected to 300+ third-party apps that include project management, email marketing, ecommerce, and invoicing and accounting boasts a clean and sleek interface, as well as essential tools like an automated sales assistant, workflow automation, and deal reports. To learn more about its features, read our Pipedrive review. Copper: Best B2B CRM for Google Workplace Users With Visual Sales Pipelines *Based on annual billing. Monthly subscription is also available at a slightly higher rate. main selling point is its seamless integration with , as well as its similarity to the app, which makes it easy to use and navigate among Google users. However, the feature that makes it ideal for companies handling B2B businesses is its simple, visual sales pipeline, which allows users to see the stage in the sales funnel where each of their leads is—especially for B2B businesses with fewer, but higher-value leads. Its Kanban-style sales pipelines can be customized to adapt to a company’s internal business processes. Sales pipelines are laid out simply and can be easily updated through their drag-and-drop functionality. Copper doesn’t offer a free plan and its integrations with most third-party apps are only accessible to the more expensive plans. Those who want access to free plans can consider either or . Meanwhile, those who use other business tools to manage leads and need extensive third-party integrations can consider . Copper’s Features Apart from its integration with Google Workspace, offers an extensive range of CRM features that allow users to monitor their sales progress, nurture leads, and forecast revenue. Below are some tools that help users grow their business and improve their relationships with their B2B customers: Custom fields: Add and delete custom fields in opportunities based on your client’s industry. Deal length monitor: Provides visibility of a deal’s length of time spent on a pipeline stage, so agents can determine if they need to make a follow-up. Sales forecasting: Generate forecast reports that reflect incoming revenue, including expected close dates. Activity feed: Real-time feed that shows all updates and movements to active deals. seamless integration with Google makes it one of the best CRM providers for Google Workspace users. Its sleek and simple interface is easy to navigate for both beginners and experienced users. To learn more about the software, read our in-depth Copper review. How We Evaluated the Best B2B CRM Apps To determine the best B2B CRMs, we evaluated various aspects of dozens of CRM providers, including general features, pricing, and level of customer support. Users working on deals with companies that service other businesses require the utmost attention to their leads and deals—especially since these are mostly high-value opportunities. For this reason, we considered features such as sales forecasting, analytics, and lead management tools. We chose as the best CRM for B2B users as it has excellent sales workflow automation tools, which means no critical action points are missed and no activity is left inactive in certain pipeline stages. It also has helpful free tools critical for managing customers and sales activities, including meeting scheduling, sales, and revenue forecasting, as well as email marketing. The tabs below offer more insight into our evaluation process for selecting the best B2B CRM:
May 17, 2022
How To Measure Customer Service Satisfaction + Examples
There are various ways to measure customer service satisfaction. For example, you can review surveys, ticket resolution rates, net promoter scores, and social media sentiments. To get an overall picture of your performance, you will need to measure your performance using more than one method. We will discuss more in-depth how to measure customer satisfaction using the top performance indicators. We’ll also cover the top software tools for measuring these metrics and how they help businesses of all sizes. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) Determining your customer satisfaction score (CSAT) is the simplest way to gauge your customers’ sentiments after receiving support from your business. Getting your CSAT can be done through forms or surveys usually sent via email and are triggered upon the closure of a ticket or a case. It provides a straightforward sentiment evaluation asking customers to rate the quality of support they received from very good to very bad. Customers are usually asked to leave comments to provide better context to their chosen response. has tools for surveys and forms users can easily create to share with their customers each time they resolve an issue. In the dashboard, the system shows real-time tracking of sentiments based on responses received. It also shows the number of responses recorded versus the number of recipients who received the survey. Net Promoter Score (NPS) NPS stands for Net Promoter Score and measures customers' likelihood of recommending your business or brand to their peers. It’s typically used by businesses to evaluate their overall customer service quality to increase customer loyalty. NPS surveys typically ask customers to rate their customer service experience with the company on a scale of 1–10, with one being the lowest and 10 being the highest. You can also tweak the question and directly ask how likely they are to recommend you to their family and friends. Users can then categorize the respondents into three segments: detractors, passive customers, and promoters. includes an NPS tool that makes it easy for you to keep track of your customers' satisfaction level and likelihood to recommend—especially if you are using it together with the HubSpot CRM tool. Service Hub lets you easily create and share the survey with your distribution list, and the system will automatically calculate the score for you. Support & Call Abandonment Rate Support or call abandonment rate is a metric used to determine the number of customers who gave up trying to reach your customer service team before an agent even gets to entertain their call or query. There are a number of reasons for this—one of which is the customer finding out the answer to their questions on their own using information from your website. In some cases, they’ve simply gotten frustrated waiting for an agent to help them. No matter what their reason is for leaving the support queue, having a low abandonment rate helps improve your overall customer service quality as your agents can talk to your customers directly and understand their concerns. A high support abandonment rate can cause concern because it can leave an unreliable impression among your customers. It may also mean you don’t have enough agents to handle the volume of queries you receive. lets users process customer service requests through live agents chats or chatbots. For example, suppose a customer drops out of a queue while waiting to speak with an agent. In that case, the agent can always send a follow-up message to the customer as the chatbox requires customers to enter their contact information before being placed in the queue. Social Media Sentiments As the world becomes more social, customers often go to social media to recommend or speak negatively of their experience with businesses and brands. Monitoring customer feedback on social media helps you stay updated about what your customers are saying about you and measure their sentiments. It also alerts you of any issues that need attention so you can reach out to customers for a resolution. To monitor social media mentions, especially if you have a large customer base, use a social listening tool so you can sweep the online space accurately. These tools usually have advanced analytics capabilities that can measure sentiments through keywords from your customers’ social media posts. is a social media management platform that allows users to respond to customer mentions of their brands, as well as evaluate and measure their customers’ post sentiments. This will enable businesses to gauge if their customers are posting positively or negatively about their brand, which can affect your customers’ overall brand perception. In addition, Hootsuite alerts users of issues they need to address and come up with an appropriate response or customer service strategy. While it is not customer service software, it is a social media management tool that can be integrated with service CRMs or customer service tools. Resolution Rate & Duration To Solve Cases The goal for every ticket created in your customer service tool is to be resolved properly and promptly. Not being able to resolve a case doesn't give a good impression to the customer, and not being able to act on it quickly also causes frustration. One of the areas to look into when measuring the quality of your customer service activities is the total amount of resolutions and the average time to resolve a case. The goal is to increase the percentage of your resolution rate and decrease the average duration of your resolution time. provides customer service performance reports that show different aspects of your support activities, including several currently active tickets and communication channels used to raise an issue. Users can see their overall average ticket reply time in its dashboard, including the first response time and total time to resolve issues. Customer Churn & Retention Rate An excellent indication of a customer’s satisfaction and loyalty to your business is their willingness to keep purchasing your offerings. Therefore, it is important to learn why your customers are sticking with you or leaving you for your competitors. While customer churn and retention can be calculated manually, using AI tools for customer service is helpful because it can zoom in on the factors that affect your retention or churn rate. Cloud predicts customer churn rate through its artificial intelligence (AI) tool, Einstein. Its churn prediction functionality gets insights from customer data to predict customers’ willingness to continue buying products from a business. These factors include case history, resolution information, product purchase history, and customer communication. By taking cues from these data, the system can predict churn rate and highlight issues affecting it. Why It Is Essential To Measure Customer Service Satisfaction Business owners and executives know that providing excellent customer service positively affects your business. Below, we share tangible benefits your organization will enjoy by consistently showing up for your customers and giving them the support they need: Increase in Customer Loyalty Making customers feel valued increases their affinity for your business and brand. In fact, 89% of consumers are most likely to make another purchase from a business, and 83% are willing to give a recommendation to their peers after having a positive customer service experience. This means you’re not only strengthening your relationship with repeat customers—you’re also gaining brand ambassadors who will bring in more customers via referrals. While it is always important to expand your customer base and gain new ones, remember it is easier to retain good customers by providing excellent service. Identify Areas for Improvement Getting feedback about your customer service performance is one of the most effective ways to spot areas you need to work on. While it is important to get positive feedback from your customers, striving for constant improvement will also do wonders for your business. Hence, when you receive negative feedback from a customer, don’t be discouraged—instead, take it as constructive criticism and use it as a learning opportunity to improve. Improve relationships that need nurturing 50% of customers are likely to switch companies due to poor customer service. Therefore, this is where receiving negative customer feedback comes in handy. While getting unsatisfactory feedback is not ideal, it is the easiest way to spot your most unhappy customers. When you receive negative feedback, make an effort to reach out to your customers and learn about their concerns. This not only gives you a chance to dive deep into issues but also shows your customers that you are willing to fix the situation. When you know who these customers are, you can explore ways to reengage them, such as providing discounts, rebates, or special offers. Bottom Line Knowing your customers’ sentiment toward the quality of customer service you provide is essential in running a well-oiled business because one of your most important assets is your customer. While customer satisfaction surveys are straightforward, remember that it is not the only way to measure customer satisfaction—you can also explore other areas such as likelihood to recommend, customer churn and retention rate, and social media sentiments.