September 20, 2022
5 Best CRMs for LinkedIn Integrations in 2022
LinkedIn is a business social media platform that helps sales teams find, connect, and engage with contacts who could help in referral marketing or be potential customers. When integrated with customer relationship management (CRM) software, teams can manage LinkedIn ads, publish content, and identify, generate, and message leads. We evaluated dozens of CRM products and identified the top five options for the best LinkedIn CRM system. : Great LinkedIn CRM for free LinkedIn integrations : Best overall CRM for LinkedIn; ideal for marketing teams who want to run LinkedIn ads from their CRM : Best CRM option for social profile enrichment : Solid CRM for LinkedIn with excellent automatic, two-way syncing for contacts, notes, and message data : Excellent CRM for LinkedIn Sales Navigator Best LinkedIn CRMs Compared See fullscreen table × *Based on annual billing. Monthly billing is also available for slightly higher rates. **All CRMs with LinkedIn Sales Navigator capabilities require users to already have a subscription to at least one of the Sales Navigator plans; pricing varies. Agile CRM: Best Free LinkedIn Integration *Per user monthly pricing is based on annual billing. Monthly billing is also available at a higher cost. An excellent scalable CRM option, offers tons of value with a free plan for up to 10 users and low-cost paid plans that give teams sales, marketing, and customer service management capabilities. The system is easy to use and even has excellent free tools you don’t often find in other CRMs, such as a built-in telephone, appointment scheduler, and landing web page builder. The Agile CRM LinkedIn integration is mostly done through a Chrome extension that provides a widget on the CRM interface. From there, users can search LinkedIn for leads and contacts to add to the CRM or message directly. Additionally, the integration allows you to receive LinkedIn update alerts on contact records who change jobs, locations, or job titles. While it can integrate with the LinkedIn platform, Agile CRM specifically does not integrate with for advanced lead connection, recommendation, and messaging features. or are great alternatives for teams looking for that capability. Agile CRM Plan Summary Agile CRM Key Features Contact searching widget: Ability to search and view LinkedIn profiles directly from the CRM system of contacts and leads by using the Chrome Extension. Profile updates: Options to receive update notifications for LinkedIn profile changes such as workplace, location, or job title and promotions. System data sync: LinkedIn profile data, messages, and activity data sync directly into the CRM. LinkedIn messaging: Users can send LinkedIn messages directly from CRM contact records. Agile CRM Customer Support Agile CRM has a somewhat tiered customer support system, offering 24/5 email support on all plans and phone support for paid plans during standard business hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time). There are also online resources for self-help, including blogs, workshop videos, infographics, setup guides, and onboarding assistance. Want to learn more? Check out our Agile CRM review to get insights on its features, integrations, usability, and best-for circumstances to see if it's right for you. HubSpot CRM: Best Overall CRM for LinkedIn *Monthly pricing is based on annual billing. Monthly billing is also available at a higher cost. **CRM Suite includes sales, marketing, customer service, content management system (CMS), and operations software. Individual modules can be purchased at lower monthly costs. is well-known for its easy-to-use CRM system in terms of setting up, operating, and navigating the interface. It offers a free-forever plan for unlimited users and also has bundled product package options that include sales, marketing, customer service, a content management system (CMS), and operations modules. The HubSpot LinkedIn integration allows users to create, deploy, and monitor LinkedIn ad campaigns to customer segments and customizable audiences. Additionally, with the LinkedIn Sales Navigator integration, teams can view recommended leads based on CRM records, send direct InMail messages, and get introduced by a mutual connection all from the CRM system, which the data syncs to its database. Though it offers a great integration option, both the LinkedIn Sales Navigator and ads management interaction are expensive. Each requires the Professional plan or above, which would be $1,600 for the bundled deal. There are also options for $800 per month for the Marketing plan (which is just the ads features) or $450 per month for the Sales and LinkedIn Sales Navigator features. is the best alternative for low-cost Sales Navigator tools, which starts at $14 per user, per month. HubSpot CRM Plan Summary HubSpot CRM Key Features LinkedIn Ads: Ability to create and customize LinkedIn advertisements and lead generation campaigns from the CRM Recommended connections: Users can use their CRM records and LinkedIn network to find recommended leads and connections that sync to the CRM. Mutual connection introduction: Easy messaging requests to mutual connections to have them introduce you to a LinkedIn contact. InMail outreach: Direct outreach capabilities from HubSpot to message lead or contact records through InMail HubSpot Customer Support In addition to phone, email, and live chat support from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time, offers an array of online resources. This includes the HubSpot Academy, a community page of platform users, and an online library of tutorials and guides. Learn more about how this CRM helps sales teams manage leads, track conversations, collaborate, and close deals in our HubSpot CRM review. Insightly: Best LinkedIn CRM for Social Enrichment *Per user monthly pricing is based on annual billing. Monthly billing is also available at a higher cost. offers users excellent product attributes like free project, task, and event management tools. The system also takes lead and contact management to another level by offering relationship linking to other profiles, automatic lead assignment, and automatic duplicate detection to avoid having multiple profiles. While it requires , a third-party data sync and workflow tool to integrate with LinkedIn, users can take full advantage of the simple lead search tools from within Insightly to find LinkedIn profiles. They can also take LinkedIn profiles and sync their data with Insightly’s record. This lets teams easily add new leads into the CRM system and enrich them with automatic updates as LinkedIn profiles get updated. Insightly’s main weaknesses are that the tools can often be difficult to operate, and it cannot integrate specifically with . is an excellent alternative that is both easy to operate and navigate and integrates directly with LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Insightly Plan Summary Insightly Key Features LinkedIn data enrichment: Automated updates on lead and contact profiles by scraping data from LinkedIn. Insightly Sidebar search: Ability to run name searches in LinkedIn by opening a side tab within Insightly. Data match and save: Simple lead search tools to find LinkedIn profiles then save their data directly in Insightly. Custom profile views: Users can adjust Insightly profile views to only see LinkedIn information important to them. Insightly Customer Support Insightly has tier-based support with a help center available for Free plan users and above. There’s also email support for the paid plans with varying response times depending on the package and phone support during extended business hours for Pacific Time. Read our Insightly review to learn more about pricing, features, and usability ratings and see if it's the best CRM for your business. Salesforce: Best for CRM-LinkedIn Data Syncing *Per user monthly pricing is based on annual billing. Monthly billing is also available at a higher cost. is among the most popular CRMs on the market and is well-known for its advanced reporting, analytics, automation, and lead management capabilities. In addition to the built-in features available, Salesforce has thousands of third-party and native integration options as well as a powerful mobile application that nearly mirrors the web app in functionality. The CRM integration with Salesforce mostly stands out for the data syncing capabilities. For instance, it will automatically import contact and lead information from the CRM to LinkedIn, and vice versa. It also takes InMail message data and syncs it with the CRM notes section of a contact record. Additionally, Salesforce has the LinkedIn Sales Navigator integration for connection recommendations and requests for introductions. A weakness of Salesforce is that there’s no free plan and the paid plans get expensive. is the best alternative on this list, with a free plan for 10 users and a paid plan starting at just $8.99 per user, monthly. Plus, the LinkedIn integration to search and manage contacts in both systems is available for free. Salesforce Plan Summary Salesforce Key Features Automatic data import: Contacts and accounts from open opportunities in Salesforce can be imported into LinkedIn Sales Navigator for personalized outreach. InMail messaging: Ability to send InMail messages from Salesforce as well as have the messages and notes logged in Salesforce records. LinkedIn search widget: Extension widget lets users search for contacts and leads on LinkedIn from the Salesforce interface. Sales Navigator introductions and recommendations: Extension widget lets teams see lead recommendations and request introductions from mutual LinkedIn connections. Salesforce Customer Support uses tier-based support that gives more channels and availability depending on the plan. This includes phone and email support with some 24/7 availability on the higher-priority plans. There’s also no shortage of online resources like Trailhead, webinars, tutorials, user guides, and certification classes. Read our in-depth Salesforce review to learn more about its integrations, built-in features, add-ons, and mobile applications to see if it's the right fit for your business. Zoho CRM: Best for LinkedIn Sales Navigator *Per user monthly pricing is based on annual billing. Monthly billing is also available at a higher cost. is a highly customizable CRM platform that offers excellent native software capabilities, scalable pricing options, and robust workflow automation capabilities that are easy to configure. On each of its plans, this CRM gives plenty of sales, marketing, customer support, and inventory management capabilities for many use-case scenarios. The Zoho LinkedIn integration stands out the most for the value users can get out of it. It has the lowest-cost integration for , which is available on the Standard plan for $14 per user on a monthly basis. With it, users get lead recommendations from LinkedIn, generate their records in the CRM, and message contacts through InMail. You can also auto-enrich contact or lead data through Zia, an artificial intelligence (AI) sales assistant tool that collects and analyzes online or CRM information, by pulling updates from LinkedIn. Unfortunately, does not allow content management without subscribing to the native software Zoho Social. is the best option for users looking to get a CRM with ad management capabilities for LinkedIn. Zoho CRM Plan Summary Zoho CRM Key Features LinkedIn lead generation: Options to receive lead recommendations from LinkedIn and add their data into the CRM. LinkedIn widget view: Widget extension to view the LinkedIn Sales Navigator interface from within the CRM system. Contact enrichment from LinkedIn: Ability to auto-update lead and contact information using Zia AI, which pulls recent data from LinkedIn. InMail messaging: Users can directly message contacts and leads from Zoho as an InMail message and save information in the CRM solution. Zoho CRM Customer Support uses a tier-based system where customer support options are dictated by the package you select. Users receive email support on all plans as well as phone and live chat support on paid plans either 24/5 or 24/7, depending on your plan tier. They also offer online resources, including documentation, guided tours, videos, webinars, and tutorials. Learn more about this CRM product by reading our in-depth Zoho CRM review, where we explore its features and best-for scenarios. How We Evaluated the Best LinkedIn CRM Integrations To determine the best CRMs for LinkedIn, we only considered products that integrate with the LinkedIn platform. Additionally, we evaluated niche-specific features such as lead prospecting, communication, and workflow automation from within LinkedIn as well as the ability to directly integrate with LinkedIn Sales Navigator. We then looked deeper into each product in terms of typical attributes such as price, general CRM features, ease of use, and customer support. We found that is the best CRM for LinkedIn as it offers a free plan for up to 10 users, the system is user-friendly, and it integrates with LinkedIn at no cost. Plus, the CRM offers sales, marketing, and customer service modules for a robust, comprehensive platform. The tabs below offer insight into our evaluation process of the best LinkedIn CRMs:
September 19, 2022
Industry-specific CRM or General Use CRM: Which to Use in 2022?
Customer relationship management (CRM) software provides businesses with a centralized location to input, store, and manage leads and customer interactions. Industry-specific CRMs offer more niche and specialized tools to help particular business types, including insurance, healthcare, and hospitality, move customers and prospects through sales cycles more quickly. Meanwhile, general-use CRMs provide more universal features applicable to most businesses. In this article, we compare general-purpose CRM systems with industry-specific CRM solutions, helping users determine if a niche CRM is suitable for them. We also explore the most popular types of industry-specific CRMs and the top providers for each. Most Popular Industry-specific CRM Solutions Finding industry-specific CRMs entails a lot of considerations, including the need for niche tools, level of expertise, and budget. If you work in industries like insurance, healthcare, real estate, hospitality, mortgage, call centers, and construction, read on as we provide overviews of the most popular industry-specific CRMs. We also include links to our guide articles, including our top choice for each industry. Accounting CRMs for accounting professionals are designed to help accountants, bookkeepers, and financial services staff manage invoicing and billing in a centralized platform. Fundamental features include invoice creation, payment processing, tax computations, access to open balances, subscription management, payment reminders, and financial report generation. is a robust platform with features specifically helpful for accountants and bookkeepers. It has tools that enable users to generate quotes, invoices, and purchase orders. It also allows users to create product inventories and manage subscriptions for repeat customers. Property Management CRMs for property management make it easy for landlords and property management firms to manage multiple properties in their portfolio, as well as their occupants and tenants. Some of its most essential features include payment collection, lease contract management, and lead generation for finding potential residents. is a basic, straightforward CRM solution to manage properties with useful features like contact management, record filtering, and task management. It's great for property managers with no technical expertise as it provides simple yet robust customization options for designing data fields, tables, lists, pages, and dashboards. Call Center CRMs for the call center industry offer robust telephony functionalities for tracking and making business calls, as well as tools for contact and lead management. Essential features include voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP)-level in-app calling, call recording and routing, workflow automation, contact management, contact profile enrichment, and call analytics and reports. is an intuitive CRM with cloud-based, call center-specific tools, including a feature-rich in-app caller, call recording, and call masking. It allows users to purchase local and toll-free numbers based on their location. It also has a “smart escalation” feature that lets users configure a sequence of conditions and rules to route calls to the most appropriate agent or team. HIPAA-compliant HIPAA-compliant industry CRMs adhere to regulations the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) put in place to create privacy and security standards for those providing health or wellness services. Besides this, HIPAA-compliant CRMs also include tools to manage healthcare operations, such as patient record management and patient service support. offers HIPAA-compliant tools that allow users to build a system for patient data management, medical equipment management, and medical inventory tracking. It also has HIPAA-compliant appointment scheduling and reminder applications and features an easy-to-use business process automation design. Real Estate CRMs made for real estate professionals, including brokers and real estate firms, provide tools for managing property transactions, generating homebuying leads, and monitoring listings. It also offers marketing features that allow businesses to market to their leads via email, phone, online advertising, and social media. , while commonly used as a general-purpose CRM, also offers industry-specific solutions particularly useful for real estate professionals. These include document management tools, email marketing functionality, and integrations with real estate platforms like , , and . Construction CRMs for construction or contract labor businesses provide tools to manage contract leads, bids, and construction projects. They usually cover general contracting and specialty trades business operations, such as carpentry, demolition, plumbing, electric work, restoration, and welding. offers general contractors industry-specific solutions, including easy-to-use templates for work estimates and tools for proposal building and job site picture sharing. It also integrates with for invoicing, payment processing, and budgeting automation. Insurance CRMs made for the insurance industry can be used by independent insurance agents, brokers, and insurance firms. They typically include tools to help insurance professionals prospect and nurture leads, track new deals and goals, and manage policies and plans. It also logs activities like emails and meeting interactions between agents and customers into the system. is an insurance industry-specific software solution that offers voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) and call center features in addition to lead and sales management tools common to CRMs. It also features lead and pipeline automation tools, including automated workflows, lead distribution, and relationship nurturing. Customer Service CRMs designed for customer service focus on improving the quality of users’ customer service activities to increase retention and satisfaction. It allows users to communicate through multiple channels, build a unified team, and create a centralized database for customer interactions. It is typically a part of an integrated CRM system that also covers sales and marketing activities. , which can be purchased on top of its free CRM, offers a wide range of customer service tools, such as chatbots, team email, canned snippets, and email templates. It provides various customer service-related reports, including tickets closed reports, agent rep productivity reports, and time-to-close reports. Nonprofit Organizations CRMs for nonprofit organizations help charities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) raise funds, manage donor campaigns, and build volunteer relationships. Its common features include a centralized database for contact and donor information, communications history, and financial transactions. It must be able to pull and mine data to understand trends and use that information to attract prospective donors. offers industry-specific solutions for nonprofits and tools for fundraising, donor management, and grant management tools. It has features for event planning and membership management, as well as tools for reporting and analytics. Its built-in email platform allows users to create and track mass email campaigns for existing and prospective donors. Mortgage CRMs for businesses in mortgage sales offer a centralized platform to manage broker real estate properties and sell mortgage loans. It includes essential features to help users generate leads, market their product offerings, and automate clerical tasks. A robust mortgage CRM should also integrate with various loan origination software (LOS) for managing customer applications. is a CRM for mortgage providers that integrates with LOS, like , , and , to manage and approve loan applications on the mortgage side. It has a built-in customer review database where brokers can look up previous successes based on factors like interest rate and date of purchase for mortgage review presentations. Hospitality CRMs for businesses in hospitality services, such as restaurants and hotels, provide tools to engage potential customers, schedule reservations, and manage event-based projects. They may also include marketing tools to increase sales through promotions or generate leads through online web forms and advertisements. is a CRM specifically designed for catering and restaurant businesses. It lets users manage delivery services through driver tracking, delivery schedule reporting, and the ability to obtain orders through a customizable, online ordering interface. It also allows users to generate leads through web forms and email campaigns and design systems for referral generation and loyalty programs. Fitness & Wellness Fitness and wellness industry-specific solutions let you track memberships, monitor inventory for exercise-related products, and market to new members in one system. These features, combined with general CRM software capabilities like integrations and analytics, make them useful for overseeing a studio or fitness center. offers industry-specific services that let you communicate, track lead activity, and organize member information and documents in the system. It also allows users to create personal training sessions or events for members to sign up for and check in. There are also options to process payroll from the CRM for your staff and trainers. Beauty & Salons Beauty and salon industry CRMs enable users to manage various aspects of their business—from scheduling bookings and tracking product inventory to managing rewards programs and processing payments. It also includes marketing tools for social media, email, and SMS, as well as unlimited booking allocation and low transaction fees. is a beauty and wellness industry CRM used to manage salons, spas, and tattoo parlors. It provides a centralized solution for users to manage customer profiles, schedule bookings and appointments, process payments, and track inventory. It also has administrative features, including payroll, staff, and rental fee management. Pros & Cons of Using an Industry-specific CRM Industry-specific CRMs are designed to address specific business needs, helping sales teams perform better. However, while it offers features designed specifically for certain industries, using an industry-specific CRM should not always be the default choice. Below, we share some pros and cons of using an industry-specific CRM. Pro: Provides Highly Specialized Features While some niche businesses benefit from using general-purpose CRMs, others require highly specialized features due to their industry’s specific processes and workflows, such as hospitality and construction. For example, hospitality CRMs built for restaurant businesses typically offer features like delivery schedule reporting, online order tracking, and management of reservations and bookings. Construction industry CRMs, on the other hand, provide features for proposal building and work order management. Pro: Addresses Specific Requirements for Highly Regulated Industries One of the benefits of using an industry CRM is that it is designed to address specific needs and challenges of particular industries. Hence, it doesn’t only offer niche features, but also designs the system to be compliant with specific regulations an industry might have. For example, healthcare CRMs are designed to be HIPAA-compliant and include features and restrictions that ensure and protect patient record privacy. Con: Not Ideal for Those Who Only Need Basic CRM Features Some users belonging to niche industries who mostly use basic lead and contact management tools, pipeline tracking, and email marketing are better off with a general-purpose CRM. Unless you require highly specialized features, it’s not a cost-efficient business decision to subscribe to an industry-specific option. You may potentially end up not maximizing the niche tools included and would spend more on expensive subscription costs. Con: Could Be Expensive to Purchase Industry-specific CRMs typically cost more than general-purpose CRMs due to the specialized features they offer. A handful of general-purpose CRMs are free; paid plans can cost as low as $10 per user, per month, and already come with robust sales and marketing features. Meanwhile, industry-specific CRM costs often start around $25 per user, per month or more for basic plans and reach enterprise-level pricing based on the features needed. Bottom Line Industry-specific CRMs offer features extremely helpful for specific types of businesses. They address needs and challenges that general-purpose CRMs may not be able to answer, especially those in highly regulated industries. However, if your team mostly uses basic and fundamental CRM features, such as lead management and pipeline tracking, you may be better off with a general-purpose CRM.
September 16, 2022
Freshsales vs Salesforce: Which Is Better for You in 2022?
Freshsales and Salesforce are popular customer relationship management (CRM) software platforms that serve businesses with excellent lead management, analytics, and workflow automation features. Freshsales stands out for free-forever plans, which offer phone, chat, and email communication with contacts. Salesforce, however, is better for tailoring the CRM to an organization's needs through system customization and integrations. When comparing Freshsales vs Salesforce, first evaluate your specific business CRM needs: : Better option for small businesses seeking free communication tools across multiple channels : Excellent choice for larger sales teams needing high-level customization for unique sales processes Freshsales vs Salesforce Compared *Based on annual billing. Monthly billing is also available at higher prices. Most Affordable: Freshsales *Per user, per month billing based on annual billing. Monthly billing is also available at higher prices. is highly affordable—offering a free plan for unlimited users for contact management features, contact lifecycle monitoring, and a built-in phone. The starting price is $15 per user on a monthly basis, which then adds automated sales sequences to help nurture and convert leads, lead scoring, and a visual pipeline. The Pro and Enterprise plans cost $39 and $69 per user, per month, respectively, for artificial intelligence (AI) analytics, territory management, and modular customization. One thing to keep in mind is that configure, price, quote (CPQ) features—which let users generate branded invoices, quotes, onboarding documents, and contracts—require an add-on for $19 monthly, per user. Meanwhile, starts at $25 per user, per month, with a cap of 10 users for the Essentials plan, making it ideal for small teams. There is no free CRM option, but it has comprehensive features on the Unlimited plan, which costs $300 per user monthly. Another important thing to consider is that many features usually included in regular subscriptions for most CRMs, like quotes and payments, require subscriptions to Professional or Enterprise plans or optional add-ons for Salesforce, just like Freshsales. Some of these other add-ons include: CPQ and Billing: Used to send quotes and prices; the cost is $75 per user, every month (included on the Professional plan and above) Sales Cloud Einstein for Artificial Intelligence (AI) analysis: $50 per month, per user (included on Enterprise plan and above) Sales Engagement: Productivity management features with scheduled activity sequencing, work queues and to-do lists, and lead scoring for inside sales teams; costs $75 per user on a monthly basis (included in Enterprise plan and above) Sales Enablement: On-demand gamification features cost $25 per user each month Winner: wins the affordability category in Salesforce vs Freshsales as it offers a free plan for unlimited users and scalable paid plans going from $15 to $69 per user on a monthly basis. starting and higher-tiered plans are less affordable, and it does not offer a free plan. Most User-friendly: Freshsales is known for its product usability ratings in terms of setting up, operating the CRM, and navigating the interface. It is even ranked in our best simple CRM systems guide, specifically for its easy-to-use, built-in telephone dialer. Alternatively, while isn’t necessarily a difficult CRM to use, its advanced features and wide range of capabilities can make the system tricky to navigate, particularly for users new to the CRM world. Winner: While it's a close call, edges Salesforce out in the usability category. It provides intuitive usability in all categories—setting up, operating, and navigating thanks to its clean interface and simpler design that strategically uses menu icons rather than text. Best Customer Support: Tie Both CRM systems have a solid arsenal of online resources—such as blogs, documentation, product update pages, and self-help tour guides. , however, offers 24/5 phone, live chat, and email support in all its plans. There’s also a dedicated account manager assigned to you if you subscribe to the Enterprise plan. Salesforce uses a tiered-based system where your customer support channels and hours are dictated by the customer success plan you select. This feature includes phone and live chat channels, which have 24/7 support for the Premier and Signature success plans. Winner: The customer service category results in a tie because both CRMs can offer similar customer support value in their own way. provides all lines of communication during standard business hours, while does not offer email support but has 24/7 capabilities on its chat and phone channels. Best Integration Features: Salesforce Both and offer integrations with popular outside software products, such as , , , , and Facebook. They also provide native software options for service desk, marketing, IT support, and human resource management that easily connects with the CRM system—giving users a similar “feel” when it comes to their interface and features. When placed head-to-head, however, is more robust in integration capabilities with thousands of third-party options. Additionally, because of its popularity and size, it has worked its way into numerous industry verticals, such as healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, and IT management. As a result, it can integrate with platforms used in those particular businesses, giving it a wider range of use-case scenarios. For instance, integrates with , a popular enterprise resource planning (ERP) software used by manufacturing and wholesale businesses. With this industry-specific integration, customer account data syncs two ways into both systems, letting teams view and manage purchase orders, invoices, and account history in both systems. Winner: wins the integration category because it has far more third-party and native options for businesses to incorporate into their CRM. Plus, it can act as both a general use and niche-purpose CRM with its industry-specific integration capabilities. Best Mobile Application: Salesforce A mobile application allows teams to use their CRM to manage leads, communicate with contacts, and track opportunities during client-facing activities or at networking events. Both options provide a mobile application but differ in some of their capabilities. For example, lets users manage and track lead, contact, and account records, view tasks, make calls, and send emails. Users can even book Uber rides from the mobile app. Alternatively, lets you do nearly all web application functions on the mobile app. Users can search and view all types of deals and lead records, message teammates and contacts, pull up reports and dashboards, manage tasks, and organize customer cases. Users can also edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations and fully customize their entire mobile system with layouts, design, and custom application modules. Winner: wins in the mobile category of Salesforce vs Freshsales due to the wider range of capabilities that nearly mirror the web application offered by the CRM. While still a solid mobile CRM product, , relatively speaking, is limited to mobile record management, calling, emailing, and task management. Best Workflow Automation Features: Salesforce CRM workflow automation lets businesses complete tasks or sales activity hands-free. Through automated data updates, communications, task assignments, and lead qualification, teams can exclusively focus on the key aspects of sales—developing and maintaining relationships with leads and customers. automation features consist of lead scoring and data enrichment to keep records up-to-date using online information. There’s also auto-lead nurturing to auto-deploy emails and text messages to contacts as well as reminders to users to call someone or complete a task. Additionally, Freshsales lets you automatically add or update records as pipeline activity takes place, send personal emails, and invoice customers. Meanwhile, has nearly unlimited automation custom capabilities, thanks to the Lightning Flow Automation Builder module. Users can customize any type of work or sales process to meet their needs. There are also built-in workflows for automated lead assignment, lead scoring, data enrichment and deduplication, and automated email campaign deployment. Winner: Though it may be tougher to learn how to use, the Lightning Flow Builder gives users nearly unlimited capabilities for creating automated workflows. This, along with the amount of process customization offered, makes Salesforce the winner of the vs Freshsales automation category. Best Lead & Deal Predictions: Tie Lead and deal prediction tools let teams forecast revenue, evaluate pipelines, qualify leads with scoring, and give analysis into deals for their likelihood to close. has excellent, simple features powered by its Freddy AI tool for predicting revenue, scoring opportunities, and giving deal insights, including recommendations on what to do next to close a deal. Alternatively, with the dashboarding, reporting, lead qualification, and Einstein AI features, is a powerful lead and deal analytics solution. Teams can create custom predictive forecasts for revenue, total deals, and other key performance indicators (KPIs) an organization wants to estimate. There’s also lead and opportunity scoring, a comprehensive analysis of the pipeline and its stages, and insights into deals and sales activities, such as interactions and calls. Winner: offers more lead and deal prediction functionality as it provides more features than Freshsales, including pipeline health analysis. However, if you are looking for easier-to-use tools for a lower price to lead score, forecast, or evaluate deals, is the better option. What Users Say About Freshsales & Salesforce Both platforms are popular, and users of and are happy with their features and usability. Per review scores from popular software evaluation websites, here’s how each CRM is rated: G2: 4.6 out of 5 based on around 990 reviews Capterra: 4.6 out of 5 based on over 500 reviews G2: 4.2 out of 5 based on more than 12,880 reviews Capterra: 4.4 out of 5 based on about 17,240 reviews users report poor customer service and issues with the reporting features as common negative Freshsales reviews. However, teams give positive reviews about the CRM’s communication tools, intuitive interface, and simple workflow automation capabilities for nurturing leads and setting up sales sequences. biggest flaw, according to users, is the user experience (UX). Many find the interface difficult to navigate and tough to use some of the features. On the positive side, users find the feature capabilities, add-ons, and integration options valuable to their growing businesses. Best Alternatives to Freshsales & Salesforce While the match-up of vs is close and both systems are beneficial in their respective ways, there could be a feature or product aspect missing that necessitates looking at other options. Here are some of the best alternatives to Freshsales and Salesforce: *Based on annual billing. Monthly pricing is also available at higher rates. How We Evaluated Freshsales vs Salesforce To compare vs , we looked at critical product attributes small businesses and sales teams consider when comparing CRM systems. In a direct, apples-to-apples comparison, we evaluated pricing, features, usability, customer support, our expert score, and what users are saying about the products. Bottom Line Both and are excellent CRM solutions. Freshsales is far more affordable and easier to use than Salesforce—ideal for small teams needing basic communication and lead management tools. Salesforce, however, has advanced analytics and automation capabilities for larger firms that also need high-level system customization and plenty of outside integrations.
September 15, 2022
Zoho CRM Review: Is It Right for Your Business in 2022?
Zoho CRM is one of our top-recommended customer relationship management (CRM) systems for small businesses. Based on our evaluation of the best CRMs, Zoho CRM scored high in the areas of pricing, general features, specialized features, ease of use, and expert score. It got a lower score in customer service, as it requires users to subscribe to paid plans or premium support packages to get access to phone and live chat support. is a CRM system that enables businesses of all sizes to manage their sales, marketing, customer service, and inventory needs in a centralized platform. It provides users with essential features such as lead and deal management, lead scoring, sales forecasting, email marketing, social media marketing, and analytics. It is best for growing organizations looking for a scalable, all-in-one CRM solution. Zoho CRM Deciding Factors offers a free version with an allocation for three users, and four paid plans that range from $14 to $52 per user on a monthly basis, billed annually. It offers essential CRM features, such as deal and opportunity management, multiple sales pipelines, workflows, sales forecasting, social media tools, and email marketing. Apart from its standard pricing plans, Zoho CRM also offers two special editions: Zoho Bigin and CRM Plus. Zoho Bigin has a free version and a paid plan that starts at $7 per user, per month billed annually. It is a pipeline-centric CRM with basic features made especially for small businesses. Meanwhile, CRM Plus costs $57 per user, each month when billed annually, and offers tools for a help desk, campaign management, analytics, and social media marketing. For more information on subscription options, select a plan from the drop-down menu below: Aside from the pricing plans listed above, Zoho CRM also offers two special CRM editions: Zoho CRM Features In this review, we gave this provider’s general features a score of 5 because it provides sales teams with a wide range of sales management features all in one platform. This allows them to manage sales force automation, workflows, CRM reports, inventory, and emails in a single place, even from a mobile app. It also has robust reporting and analytics capabilities, team collaboration tools, and third-party integrations. Check out Zoho CRM’s general features below: Lead management Contact management Deal management Opportunity management Sales forecasting Email automation Email marketing Analytics Sales reporting Social media management Territory management earned a score of 3.13 out of 5 for its customer service because of the limited support options available in the lower-tier plans. Free plan users only have access to self-help resources and 24/5 email assistance with a 24-hour turnaround time. For paid plan users, phone support for critical requests is available during business hours. For paid plan users who want more immediate and hands-on assistance, Zoho CRM offers two paid support plans: Premium and Enterprise. Premium support is priced at $114 per month or $1,128 per year or 20% of the recurring license fee, whichever is higher. Enterprise support is priced at 25% of the recurring license fee. We gave a score of 4 out of 5 for ease of use because its intuitive interface and simplified admin controls make it easy to use and implement. However, it is best suited for mid-level users who have technical skills as its deep customization options can be overwhelming for novice users. It offers a comprehensive knowledge base, guided tours, online training, and webinars for those who want a deeper knowledge of the platform and want to learn how to get the best out of their subscription. This review yielded a score of 4 out of 5 for expert scores because the majority of its recent customer ratings online are positive. Most of them recommend this platform for its wide range of options for different types of businesses, scalability, powerful features, and robust integration options. While it is feature-packed, most users say it is easy to learn and use once you get past the initial learning curve. Some users reported encountering lags and glitches in areas like lead uploads, account lists, and workflows. Others recounted being overwhelmed with its customization options and processes. Nevertheless, they found its online resources to be very helpful in troubleshooting common issues. At the time of this publication, Zoho CRM had the following scores from popular user review sites: G2: 4 out of 5 based on 2,202 reviews Capterra: 4.3 out of 5 based on 5,846 reviews Gartner: 4.4 out of 5 based on 705 reviews Methodology: How We Evaluated Zoho CRM To evaluate against other CRM software, we tested each system ourselves. We examined different and crucial areas, such as pricing, core CRM features, quality of customer support, and ease of use. We also looked at recent CRM ratings about Zoho CRM from credible review sites. Click through the tabs below for our Zoho CRM review evaluation criteria: Bottom Line greatest strengths are its lead and contact management features, reporting, email marketing, social integration, and conversational AI capabilities. Aside from offering a full set of features for large organizations, it is also great for startups and growing companies. It lets users start with a lower plan and then upgrade to a higher tier when they scale their business. You can sign up for a free trial or get started with its Free plan to see Zoho CRM in action. You Might Also Like… Do you want to refine the way you make business decisions to improve your customer relationships? Follow our step-by-step guide on how to create an effective CRM process. Check out our list of the top CRM solutions for startups. Are you ready to create your own CRM strategy? Read our guide on how to formulate one and download our free CRM strategy worksheet.
September 12, 2022
Pipedrive Review: Is It Right for Your Business?
is one of our most recommended customer relationship management (CRM) systems for small businesses. In our evaluation of the best CRMs, Pipedrive scored high in general features and ease of use. We scored Pipedrive lower in some areas, particularly pricing—as it doesn’t offer a free plan—as well as specialized features, as it lacks a lead scoring tool. is a CRM system that offers visual pipelines and sales process automation. Its key features include lead and deal management, communication tracking, activity and deal reports, and an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered sales assistant. It is best for sales professionals and teams that need an easy-to-use CRM with visual sales pipeline tools. Pipedrive Deciding Factors . Are you interested in learning more about the best CRM platforms for your organization? Check out our guide on the best CRMs for small businesses. Pipedrive Alternatives If doesn’t meet your business needs, below are some alternatives you can consider: earned a pricing score of 4.5 out of 5 in our evaluation. Pipedrive pricing has four paid plans ranging from $14.90 to $99 per user, monthly. All the tiers offer basic contact and deal management, deal and activity reports, visual dashboards, an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered assistant, mobile apps, and 24/7 customer support. Sign up for a 14-day free trial to explore its features and capabilities. Pipedrive Features offers features that simplify your sales team’s processes and communications. It helps you sort and narrow down the deals using filters and labels to determine which ones you need to prioritize. It also tracks your opportunities and sales activities to find patterns that improve your performance. Plus, it is equipped with privacy and security features to protect your business data. We gave ’ features a score of 5 out of 5. Pipedrive’s core features include tools for managing deals, leads, contacts, and organizations. You can import and export your CRM data from a spreadsheet or another CRM system. It also allows you to create a customizable catalog of your company’s products and pricing. Its deal rotting feature notifies you when a deal stays in a stage longer than a defined time period to ensure no leads fall through the cracks. Deal and lead management Contact and organization management Customizable pipelines Custom fields Products catalog Deal rotting Pipedrive earned a score of 3.5 out of 5 for its specialized features as we saw some areas that need improvement, such as the limited availability of multiple sales pipelines to expensive tiers. As this feature is crucial, we would like to see it across all plans. Meanwhile, some of the standout features we like include customizations, automations, artificial intelligence (AI) tools, and pipeline management. Third-party Integrations has integration capabilities with many third-party applications, giving you the ability to synchronize all your customer data into the platform. These include tools for email marketing, document management, project management, analytics, live chat, and accounting. Some of its most popular integrations include: Slack DocuSign Asana Trello Calendly HubSpot CRM QuickBooks Zendesk Google Analytics LiveChat SmartReach.io Zoho Nice Reply We scored Pipedrive 3.5 out of 5 for its customer support. offers 24/7 customer service via email and chat across all plans. Only the Enterprise plan has phone support. You can also submit a support ticket when you are logged into your Pipedrive account. Just click on the Quick Help question mark icon and start a conversation with the support team via chat. Aside from that, you can learn from sales and marketing experts in Pipedrive’s community forum. There’s also a knowledge base for self-help resources on how to set up and configure Pipedrive. We scored a perfect 5 out of 5 as Pipedrive is easy to learn and use, even for beginners. It has a clean, simple layout, plus the configuration options are not overwhelming. All your menu options are visible at a single glance, so you don’t need to select multiple actions to achieve a certain task. You can also migrate your data from another CRM with a single click. Its drag-and-drop functionality makes it easy to customize pipelines and dashboards. We gave Pipedrive a score of 5 out of 5 in this area. Most users like its simplicity, intuitiveness, and visual sales pipelines. They also appreciate its reporting capabilities, workflow automation, and customizability. Some users said its email management features could be buggy at times, especially on the mobile app. Others mentioned that the lack of its free plan prevents businesses from trying out its features extensively as the free trial is not enough. As of the date this article was written, it has earned the following scores from the most popular review sites: Capterra: 4.5 out of 5 based on 2,450 reviews G2: 4 out of 5 based on 1,554 reviews Gartner: 4.3 out of 5 based on 313 reviews TrustRadius: 8.5 out of 10 based on 368 reviews Methodology: How We Evaluated Pipedrive CRM Reviews To evaluate against other CRM systems, we test each system ourselves. We look at crucial areas, such as pricing, the core set of features every CRM should have, as well as the level of customer support and ease of use. Click through the tabs below for our Pipedrive review evaluation criteria: Pipedrive Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Bottom Line is an easy-to-use CRM that offers a visual sales pipeline and tools for managing leads, contacts, deals, and activities. It also has a built-in dialer, email and document tracking features, and an AI-powered sales assistant. Visit Pipedrive’s website to sign up for a 14-day free trial.
September 12, 2022
6 Best Pipedrive Alternatives & Competitors for 2022
Pipedrive is one of the most popular customer relationship management (CRM) systems for small businesses because of its affordability, ease of use, and sales-focused features. However, it lacks a free plan and features such as advanced workflow customizations. To discover the best Pipedrive alternatives, we analyzed dozens of top providers and considered factors affecting small businesses’ decision-making process. Check out each of the best Pipedrive competitors below and their best use cases: : Best overall for companies needing an advanced in-app phone to communicate with prospects : Ideal for businesses that want free, robust marketing tools : Great Pipedrive competitor for agents who are always on the go and need a solid CRM mobile app : Excellent choice for users who need analytics and an artificial intelligence (AI) sales assistant : Better alternative to Pipedrive for those needing strong project management tools : Ideal for businesses that want robust sales process automation functions Best Pipedrive Alternatives Compared See fullscreen table × *Pricing is per user, per month, based on annual billing (HubSpot's monthly price includes two users) Freshsales: Best Overall Pipedrive Alternative With Advanced Phone Features *Pricing is per user, per month based on annual billing. Monthly subscriptions are also available at higher rates. and both offer in-app phones. However, Pipedrive’s calling features are available only in higher-tier plans. Meanwhile, Freshsales’ dialer is included in all of its plans and offers advanced tools like caller ID, voicemail, call recording, call escalation, and conference calling. Users can also get call summary reports to analyze activities, such as agents who made the most calls or average call time. It offers additional features, such as call masking, call routing, and virtual hold. It also has a Bring Your Own Carrier (BYOC) function that allows you to use numbers from an external carrier and maintain the benefits of the CRM’s built-in dialer. However, free plan lacks the marketing list segmentation feature, and the system can only accommodate up to 5,000 contacts per month. Consider if you’re looking for a CRM solution that offers free list segmentation and allows users to store up to 1 million contacts. Freshsales Features is an easy-to-use CRM that provides extensive tools to engage prospects, close more deals, and monitor sales growth. Check out some of the features we find most beneficial: Pipeline management: Track and monitor multiple sales pipelines, set the probability for deals, and view revenue forecasts for each deal stage. Reporting and analytics: Provides data-backed insights that let you know how long it takes to convert leads into customers, as well as the roadblocks to conversion. Territory management: Segment customers based on geography, industry, and company size, and assign them to specific agents. Voice notes: Record conversations with leads or contacts and save them as voice notes in the system for future reference. is a powerful, scalable sales CRM system packed with features for contact, account, sales pipeline, and deal management. Learn more about how this software helps small businesses thrive in our comprehensive Freshsales review. HubSpot CRM: Best Pipedrive Competitor With Free Email Marketing Tools *Pricing is per month based on annual billing. Monthly subscriptions are also available at higher rates. Both and offer email marketing tools. However, HubSpot CRM offers these tools for free, while Pipedrive only provides access to this feature in its Advanced Plan. HubSpot has professional-looking email templates, distribution list segmentation, email reply tracking, and email health reporting. Users who want to remove the HubSpot branding on their marketing emails can sign up for a paid plan. You can also leverage HubSpot's A/B testing and analytics function to ensure your emails adequately engage your contacts. A/B tests reveal data like how and when your contacts interact with your emails, which subject lines get opened the most, and which calls to action yield better sales. However, is expensive to scale up from the most affordable paid plan to the mid-tier level plan, going as high as $450 per month. Users who want more affordable pricing options should consider as an alternative. It offers a free plan, and its pricing plans range from $15 to $69 per month. HubSpot CRM Features offers extensive sales, marketing, and service tools, making it a well-rounded tool to manage customer relationships and grow your business. Check out some of its standout features below: Contact management: Provides an overview of your communication history with your contacts and leads, as well as sales activity logs like active deals and customer service tickets. Pipeline management: Create custom pipelines that fit your sales processes and provide an overall view of expected revenue. Live chat: Offers a live chat function accessible via its desktop or mobile app to communicate with your website visitors instantly. Real-time notifications: Alerts you about any updates on your deals and leads through real-time alerts, such as pipeline movement and closed deals. HubSpot CRM offers a simple, intuitive user interface to manage leads and customers, understand their behavior, and improve marketing automation strategies. Check out our HubSpot CRM review to learn more about its full feature set. Zendesk Sell: Best Pipedrive Alternative With a Robust Mobile App *Pricing is per user, per month based on annual billing. Monthly billing is also available. mobile app is intuitive and designed to mirror the desktop app, allowing agents to toggle between their desktop and mobile easily. However, Zendesk Sell offers the same and more. It helps agents access their most crucial sales and CRM data anytime, anywhere by providing a mobile-friendly view of their sales key performance indicators (KPI) dashboard, where they can access charts that track activities, metrics, reports, and goals. Furthermore, its geolocation feature helps users locate nearby prospects or customers, obtain directions to a meeting, and log client visits. Users can also use the app to track in-person visits and verify if the lead or contact’s saved address matches their current location. However, while provides a robust mobile app, it does not offer a free plan—which users can get from providers like . It also lacks extensive marketing tools to nurture leads, and this is something users can easily access by subscribing to . Zendesk Sell Features Zendesk Sell provides sales tools that offer well-rounded insights on projects, accounts, and deals in a centralized dashboard. Some of our favorite features include: Mobile app customization: Lets you organize how you want to view your app’s features, so you only see the data you need to see daily. Messaging: Stay connected with clients, managers, and sales team members with in-app messaging, where you can share and store essential information about meetings, deals, and tasks. Lead and contact management: Contact information recording, lead duplicate data detection, lead tagging, list filtering, and automated lead assignments. Omnichannel communications: Reach out to your leads and contacts through in-app phone, SMS, email, and live chat. Zendesk Sell helps users optimize their sales processes through its lead management tools, mobile app, and communication features. To learn more about what it can do for your small business, read our Zendesk Sell review. Zoho CRM: Best Pipedrive Competitor With Robust Analytics & AI Capabilities *Pricing is per user, per month based on annual billing. Monthly subscriptions are also available at higher rates. Both and offer AI-powered sales assistants. Pipedrive’s Smart AI assistant lets users analyze historical performance to predict upcoming sales. However, Zoho CRM takes this further by not only predicting upcoming sales but also providing a conversational AI assistant called Zia. Users can ask Zia to provide sales data by calling the bot through their Zoho CRM mobile app or typing on their desktop. Zia helps users with virtually anything—from requesting lead and deal information, taking notes, and providing sales numbers to scoring leads and giving recommendations based on a deal’s status. Zoho CRM’s free plan, however, is limited to three users, and its advanced analytics features are only accessible to subscribers of the more expensive plans. For those who prefer unlimited user allocation in a free plan, is the best alternative. Those who need advanced analytics tools within a lower-priced plan should also consider . Zoho CRM Features Apart from its excellent AI and analytics features, provides user-friendly tools to manage leads, track deals, and monitor sales growth. Below are some of its standout features: Sales forecasting: Analyzes both your current and historical forecasting and performance data to recommend the most accurate targets for your business. Task management and reminders: Shows all your upcoming tasks like following up on a lead, sending an email, meeting with your team, or moving a deal in the pipeline. Social media management: Monitor brand mentions and interact with customers in various social channels like Facebook and Twitter directly from your CRM dashboard. Lead scoring: Prioritize sales leads based on their quality and level of engagement with your business. Zoho CRM is simple, yet feature-packed software that helps teams manage leads, sales pipelines, deals, and workflows. To learn more about its features and functionalities, read our in-depth Zoho CRM review. Insightly: Best Pipedrive Alternative With Strong Project Management Tools *Pricing is per user, per month based on annual billing. Monthly subscriptions are also available at slightly higher rates. is a visual CRM platform that does not have advanced project tracking features outside of sales. On the other hand, built-in project management tools let users monitor project milestones and organize tasks. It lets them manage and configure work processes and convert won opportunities to projects. Users can also integrate with third-party apps like and to allow seamless team collaboration. Insightly is an easy CRM to use, but it also has its share of limitations. For instance, its free plan is limited to two users, and its in-app phone is only available on higher-priced plans. We recommend for users who want an unlimited user allocation. Meanwhile, offers in-app phone features like local and toll-free number purchasing and caller ID, even on its free plan. Insightly Features integrates sales automation with project management in a centralized platform—enabling users to manage their deals and accounts in one dashboard. Below are some of the features we like most from the system: Project pipeline customization: Customize pipelines to follow your internal business processes and project workflows. Insights and reporting: Has prebuilt or customizable sales reporting templates that reflect sales trends, targets versus revenue, ongoing leads, and active opportunities. Mobile app: Scan business cards, synchronize data in real time, and access the mobile app via Android and iOS. Workflow automation: Set up triggers and actions when certain conditions are met, such as sending a follow-up email to a lead when a certain amount of time lapses or archiving a stagnant deal. Interested in learning more about what this software can do? Check out our comprehensive Insightly review. Salesforce: Best Pipedrive Competitor With Robust Sales Process Automation Capabilities *Pricing is per user, per month based on annual billing. Monthly billing is only available on the Essentials plan. offers essential workflow automation tools such as lead and project management workflows. Meanwhile, also provides the same features with more advanced capabilities. It has a process builder tool that provides a simple point-and-click interface to automate business processes, enabling users to create automatic email alerts for deals over a certain size and auto-assign tasks as a deal moves through different sales stages. However, while Salesforce offers advanced workflow automation, its interface can be challenging to navigate for novice users—unlike a more user-friendly provider such as , which is easy to operate right out of the box. It also doesn’t offer a free plan for users with little to no budget—something provides. Salesforce Features offers users a wide range of tools to help them sell and market their business efficiently. Below are some tools that help users grow their business and improve their relationships with their customers. Task management: Create multiple tasks under an opportunity or project so no step is missed and follow-up actions are completed on time. Territory management: Allows users to segment accounts, contacts, and deals into specific territories to help users manage similar accounts and customers. Lead scoring: Define scoring metrics and conditions, such as location or purchase history, to easily identify hot leads. Lead management: Track the progress of all active leads and identify those who need follow-ups; communicate to leads using phone, email, and social media. Salesforce is an advanced CRM tool that integrates with the overall ecosystem of Salesforce apps. To learn more about its rich feature set, read our Salesforce review. How We Evaluated the Best Pipedrive Alternatives The best competitors should have a simple interface that is easy to use. It should also offer robust features, including lead generation and deal management, sales automation, a mobile CRM, and excellent customer support. We chose as the best overall Pipedrive competitor due to its ease of use, unlimited user allocation (even in the free plan), advanced in-app phone, and robust mobile app that mirrors the desktop experience. It also includes a handful of essential CRM features like contact, account, and deal management. Plus, Freshsales offers a range of affordable pricing options suitable for businesses of any size. The tabs below provide more insight into our evaluation process for selecting the best Pipedrive alternative:
September 8, 2022
What Is CRM Automation? Benefits & Examples
Customer relationship management (CRM) automation allows teams to better manage and complete sales activities by minimizing manual processes. It does this through a CRM system configuration that triggers certain actions based on preset conditions. In this article, we’ll discuss workflow automation, learn why you should use a sales automation CRM, and explore the main functions you can automate in your CRM—along with how to construct them. The Expert's Guide to Customer Relationship Management Small Business Use Cases + Pro Tips Download Now Top CRM Functions to Automate CRM software offers tons of capabilities for managing and organizing data, interacting with leads, tracking opportunities on the sales pipeline, and collaborating on tasks. Many of these CRM functions don’t need to be done manually—users can facilitate or complete them through automation. Here are the top processes you can automate in your CRM as well as how to set the workflows up. Marketing Automation vs CRM Sales Automation Marketing automation is used for managing leads early in their customer journey while CRM sales automation helps manage tasks once they’ve expressed interest and entered the sales process. CRM and marketing automation are often used simultaneously and as separate meanings—both of which are technically correct. The reality is, you can run marketing automation in certain CRM products, such as automated email deployment, ad retargeting, and search engine optimization (SEO) analysis. , for instance, has a CRM with marketing automation sequences like running email and ad campaigns and managing content. Defined as separate meanings, however, refers to how CRM vs marketing automation is used. Marketing teams typically use workflows for leads not yet qualified as sales-ready—demanding nurturing and brand awareness campaigns through website content, mass emails, online ads, and social media content. After a lead expresses interest and is sales-qualified, they officially enter the sales pipeline. This requires sales-specific tasks like cold calls and emails by reps, presentations or product demos, and quote proposals. Managing those types of tasks and data is where CRM automation comes into play to help streamline and organize sales rep activities. Why Use CRM Workflow Automation? Automating CRM workflows allows teams to be more productive because they don’t have to complete repetitive tasks like data entry or lead follow-up manually. In fact, teams that adopt automation tools report a 14.5% average sales productivity increase. This allows reps to focus more on building relationships with leads and getting deals through the pipeline. Sales automation CRMs are also vital for mitigating user errors and ensuring lead management activity doesn’t go uncompleted. By having an advanced system create, track, assign, and complete specific tasks, sales teams ensure all activities necessary to complete an entire sales process are not forgotten. This results in higher pipeline efficiency rates, including a 77% average lead conversion rate increase due to automation software. Bottom Line CRM automation allows users to save time by completing sales tasks or processing information automatically without requiring manual data entry, task assignment, or information transfer. Automation ultimately makes teams more productive and organized—allowing them to finalize deals more efficiently. Though you can use a CRM with marketing automation, one is often used for sales activities while marketing campaign automation applies to leads not yet sales-qualified.
September 8, 2022
9 Free Sales Forecast Templates for Small Business
There are different free sales forecast templates available for Excel and Google spreadsheets and through customer relationship management software. These tools help you create projections you can use for things like goal setting, performance measurement, budgeting, projecting growth, obtaining financing, and attracting investors. To save you time, we’ve compiled nine free forecast templates you can download below. Each downloadable file contains an example forecast that you can use as reference. We also included a blank template that you can copy and fill in with your own sales data. 1. Simple Sales Forecast Template Our free simple sales forecast template will help you get started with sales estimates to plan and grow your business. This multi-year projection sheet can be modified in either Google Sheets or Excel. It can also generate future revenue estimates based on units sold, pipeline growth percentages, lead conversion rates, and your product pricing. This gives you an idea of how much your business can grow sales-wise in the next few years. 2. Long-term Sales Forecast Template Part of creating a sales plan is forecasting long-term revenue goals and sales projections, then laying out the strategies and tactics you’ll use to hit your performance goals. Long-term sales projection templates usually provide three- to five-year projections. These templates are accessible in both and . Long-term sales forecast templates are best for businesses looking to scale and want insights about how much working capital they can expect to be able to tap into for growth initiatives. This type of sales projection template is also often required when applying for commercial loans or through other channels such as outside investors or crowdfunding. 3. Budget Sales Forecast Template A budget sales forecast template shows expense estimates in relation to revenue to calculate how much you will be able to spend during a specified period of time. Budget templates allow you to enter income projections and available cash to indicate your spending capabilities for that period of time. This type of template is best for new and growing businesses trying to figure out their future available expenditures. Additionally, businesses interested in making a large asset purchase, such as a company vehicle, piece of equipment, or commercial real estate, can use this template to see how much of the asset can be self-financed. 4. Month-to-Month Sales Forecast Template The month-to-month (or monthly) sales projection template shows sales projections for a year divided into monthly increments. This type of revenue forecast template makes it easier to estimate your incoming revenue. This is because you can break down your pricing model, such as the average number units sold, on a monthly rather than an annual basis. This template is best for seasonal businesses that experience significant revenue fluctuations in some months compared to others. It’s also appropriate for businesses that want to view rolling 12-month projections as a key performance indicator (KPI). You can also use it to project one-year sales estimates before implementing major campaigns or initiatives, such as a growth strategy. 5. Individual Product Sales Forecast Template An individual product sales projection template can be used by businesses that sell one product or service or for projecting sales of a new (or any single) product or service. This forecast indicates how you expect the product to perform based on units sold and the price per unit monthly. An individual product forecast template benefits businesses that sell a product either through a storefront or ecommerce medium. It is useful for current businesses adding a new product to their arsenal that want to estimate sales exclusively for that product. It is also recommended for companies that need to track individual performance for the most popular or most profitable products. 6. Multi-product Sales Forecast Template This revenue projection template can be used to generate sales projections for a business that sells multiple products. Through this type of template, you can compare the estimated performance of distinct products by tracking the units sold and the price per unit. This will, in turn, yield a total sales revenue estimate. The multi-product sales forecast template is best for retail or wholesale businesses selling a variety of products. It can also be used to project revenue of multiple product categories. Here, each “Item” represents a category rather than an individual product, and price per unit is calculated in aggregate. 7. Retail Sales Forecast Template A retail sales projection template projects revenue for brick-and-mortar stores since it includes data related to foot traffic. The retail sales template calculates projected revenue by year based on foot traffic, the percentage of foot traffic that enters the store, and the percent of those who convert (make a purchase). Since it has a field for “other revenue,” it can be used by retail stores that also sell online. This template is mostly designed for brick-and-mortar retail businesses. However, combination ecommerce and brick-and-mortar businesses, as well as ecommerce operations, can also use this forecast template. The estimated customers passing store data field can be replaced with website traffic to convert this sales forecast Excel sheet into an ecommerce sales forecasting template. 8. Subscription-based Sales Forecast Template Businesses that rely on recurring revenue from sign-ups or contract renewals should use the subscription-based sales projection template. Enter data into the visitor and sign-up fields to show the visitor-to-sign-up conversion rate. Then, enter the number of new customers to show the percentage of sign-ups that convert to paying customers. This template also helps you track customer churn. It calculates your churn and retention rate based on the number of paying customers at the end of the period compared to the number at the beginning, plus the number of new customers added. Knowing your churn rate is essential, since a high or increasing rate of customer turnover could indicate problems with your organization or its products or services. The fields of this template can be altered for use by contract renewal businesses like insurance agencies, information technology (IT) companies, and payroll processors. For example, subscribers can be replaced with “leads” and new subscribers can be replaced with “presentations,” “free trials,” or “demos.” Then, change the churn rate to “non-renewed contracts” and you’ll be able to estimate new and recurring business revenue year-to-year. 9. B2B Lead Sales Forecast Template A business-to-business (B2B) lead forecast template is used to estimate sales revenue from current deal opportunities in the sales pipeline through business leads. Businesses can use estimated deal values and the percent chance of closing those deals to obtain a sales projection. This template is best for B2B organizations, aka businesses selling to other businesses or organizations, rather than business-to-consumer (B2C) organizations. It can also be used for direct sales prospecting activities and for businesses that submit business proposals in response to solicitation requests. CRMs With Built-in Sales Forecasting Features Spreadsheet-based templates are easy to modify. However, customer relationship management (CRM) systems generally offer more robust tools for managing revenue opportunities that can be converted into sales forecasts. They can be a valuable tool for providing sales predictions on premade charts through the data collected in the system. Below are examples of CRM platforms with built-in sales forecasting features. Providing the right tools for your sales team to organize leads, communicate with prospects, and analyze sales data is crucial for streamlining a sales operation, one of many responsibilities of a sales manager. Other insights for managing your sales team can be found in our ultimate guide to sales management. How to Create a Custom Sales Forecast Template Due to your personal preferences or having a unique business model, you may want to create your own sales forecast template for estimating future business revenues. Creating it requires you to consider your business model, forecast purpose, and sales process to design an easily fillable template. Here’s a step-by-step guide for creating a custom forecast template for your business: Bottom Line Sales forecasting templates are available in both and templates as well as other premade templates you can download, customize, and use. You may also take advantage of CRM features that organize, estimate, and visualize your company’s sales information, including sales predictions. A CRM can save sales reps time in making projections as well as optimizing your sales pipeline to generate more leads and close more deals. We highly recommend CRMs such as , , and , which all provide excellent sales forecasting features on top of robust sales management and lead nurturing tools.