Top 5 CRM software and their key features

Published on 30/05/2022 by Sukanya Awasthi

Managing the relationship businesses have with their customers may get tedious if it is done manually. Customer relationship management (CRM) software can help solve that by consolidating client and customer data in a single database for better communication and improved cross-team coordination and personalisation.

CRM software can help businesses build a relationship with existing and potential customers

The CRM industry is a fast-growing one. According to an article by Fortune Business Insights, the CRM software market is expected to globally grow from US$63.91 billion in 2022 to US$145.79 billion by 2029, at a growth rate of 12.5%. One of the potential reasons behind this could be the fact that businesses have started to pay more emphasis on how they approach their customers to build a better and lasting relationship. In this article, we will look at the top five CRM software along with the key features they have to offer. Before we do that, let us first understand what CRM software is.

What is CRM software?

Gartner defines CRM software as technology that helps in identifying and managing the relationships a company has with its current and potential customers, either in person or virtually. It further classifies the functionalities provided by CRM software to companies in four verticles: sales, marketing, customer service, and digital commerce.

With the help of CRM tools, companies can collect insights regarding customer behaviour, use that data to send them personalised communications, manage potential customers, and also provide them with support in case of issues.

In this article, we have curated a list of the best five CRM software that small to mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) can use to convert more leads —potential customers— and manage customer interactions. These software have been chosen based on the following factors, while the full methodology can be found at the bottom of the article:

  • Have an overall rating of at least 4/5 stars by users
  • Have at least 500 user reviews between May 2020 and May 2022
  • Meet the market definition of customer relationship management software

1. ActiveCampaign

Lead qualification can help businesses generate, track, and nurture leads
ActiveCampaign’s qualified leads dashboard helps users view the status of current and potential leads [Source: Capterra]
  • Ease of use – 4.3/5
  • Customer service – 4.5/5
  • Features- 4.5/5
  • Value for money – 4.5/5

ActiveCampaign is CRM software that caters to eCommerce, business-to-business (B2B), and business-to-consumer (B2C) companies. The platform offers marketing automation services through a drag-and-drop automation builder which helps in setting up automated workflows. This feature allows businesses to follow up with contacts —interaction tracking— who have engaged with the website, automate lead scoring to find the most qualified leads, automate email marketing using 250+ pre-built templates, and various other steps of the customer lifecycle. The tool also provides a reporting dashboard to the users where they can track the overall performance metrics for their campaigns.

Their email marketing feature is built to launch email campaigns through a variety of email types such as targeted emails, broadcast emails, autoresponder emails, schedule emails etc. Using email marketing, businesses can segment contacts and send them personalised emails for chances of higher engagement.

Additionally, the tool also provides the option to create internal notifications for tracking and managing existing and potential contacts. Using this feature, businesses can set alerts for whenever a lead is added to the pipeline, or when a contact reaches a step in their purchase journey, or when a contact subscribes/unsubscribes from their marketing communications. This CRM tool also offers third-party integrations as an add-on to support features like accounting, payments etc. The software offers a paid version and more information on the pricing options can be found at activecampaign.com.

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2. ClickUp

Calendars can help in organising work schedules and providing a consolidated view of the task status
ClickUp’s calendar view, where users can plan and schedule their upcoming tasks and meetings [Source: Capterra]
  • Ease of use – 4.3/5
  • Customer service – 4.6/5
  • Features- 4.6/5
  • Value for money – 4.7/5

ClickUp is project management software which can be used to manage leads, customer relationships, the organisation’s sales pipeline etc. It allows businesses to collect a client account’s data and showcase that data in the form of a hierarchy of lists and folders. The tool provides a dashboard with 50+ widgets and custom charts which can be used by businesses to visualise and analyse customer data. ClickUp also offers task automation to automate mundane tasks like changing the task status after each task has been completed. Users can either create their own automation recipes or pick from pre-built customisable automation templates. The software can also be integrated with 3rd party external apps to create a joint workflow.

Additionally, ClickUp also allows users to set triggers on certain actions and send notifications to all the stakeholders involved to keep them up-to-date with any progress. Moreover, businesses can manage their sales and account pipelines using workflows —a series of step-by-step tasks designed to accomplish a task— which can be customised to manage leads, clients, project deliveries etc. ClickUp comes with a free version and more information on their paid version can be found at clickup.com.

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3. Dynamics 365

Using Dynamics 365, sales reps can perform tasks like sending emails, taking notes during a meeting, planning their day etc.
Dynamics 365’s Sales Hub acts as a virtual assistant for sales professionals and helps them engage with customers [Source: Capterra]
  • Ease of use – 4/5
  • Customer service – 4.2/5
  • Features- 4.3/5
  • Value for money – 4.1/5

Dynamics 365 is CRM software which provides visualisations, reports dashboards, document management, goal management etc, to businesses and their various departments like sales, marketing, customer service, and more. Using the tool, users can automate workflows to send pre-configured emails, schedule activities, and trigger SMS alerts, among others. Users can also get a holistic view of their data —like behavioural and demographic data— in their Dynamics 365 dashboard. Along with that, users can also set alerts to stay informed about critical events they are interested in tracking like task closure and customer interest, through notifications. 

Dynamic 365 also offers artificially intelligent (AI)-powered sales process automation capabilities which can help the sales executive to focus on the relevant customers and ideally efficiently close deals by tracking data related to sales opportunities.

Additionally, consumers can also share a remote real-time view of the roadblocks or issues they encounter with experts to get help. Dynamics 365 also provides third-party integrations with external apps. The tool offers a free trial and more information on the paid version can be found on dynamics.microsoft.com.

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4. HubSpot

A sales pipeline is a visual representation of the process of tracking potential buyers through different stages in the sales process
HubSpot’s Sales Pipeline feature, where users can see the overview of a sales rep’s account [Source: Capterra]
  • Ease of use – 4.4/5
  • Customer service – 4.4/5
  • Features- 4.3/5
  • Value for money – 4.4/5

HubSport is CRM software that helps businesses track, nurture, and manage leads. It is intended to be used by people from different departments like sales, support, marketing, operations etc. Through HubSpot, users can get a detailed view of their sales pipeline and sales activity in real-time and create upto 300 dashboards to build custom reports. The tool also offers a template library which has a collection of pre-built sales, marketing, and service dashboard templates to choose from. HubSpot also provides sales automation tools which can be used to automate workflows and send automatic sales emails to prospects.

In addition, users can also see real-time notifications whenever an event is completed like website visits by a lead, clicks on emails, or the viewing of a shared document, and manage these notifications in the activity feed. Moreover, HubSpot offers third-party integrations to connect external tools to enhance the potential of sales, marketing, and finance efforts. The tool comes with a free version and more information on their paid version can be found at hubspot.com.

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5. Salesforce Sales Cloud

Sales Pipeline Dashboard via Salesforce helps businesses gain a 360-degree view of their deals
Salesforce Sales Cloud’s Sales Pipeline Dashboard provides an overview of sales metrics to users [Source: Capterra]
  • Ease of use – 4/5
  • Customer service – 4.1/5
  • Features- 4.4/5
  • Value for money – 4/5

Salesforce Sales Cloud offers sales and customer relationship management tools for SMEs and enterprises. The platform comes with a process builder which can be used to automate business processes using their drag-and-drop functionality. Using this feature, users can also set automatic email alerts whenever a desired action is performed —for example, the transition of a deal from one step to the next. Using Salesforce, businesses can manage their contacts by tracking important customer data like communication history, interests etc. The CRM platform can also be used to manage leads by tracking the origin of a lead along with its details and once that is done, the leads can be assigned to the relevant sales reps for further follow-up. 

Moreover, the CRM tool comes with pre-built templates which can be used by businesses to create and build responsive websites. The templates also come with themes which can be changed in accordance with specific brand guidelines. Additionally, the platform provides a dashboard with key business metrics like sales forecasting reports to get a real-time and analytical view of the data. Salesforce also allows users to integrate their data and processes from third-party systems. It comes with a free trial and more information on their paid version can be found at salesforce.com.

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Looking for CRM software? Check out our catalogue!

Methodology
The software mentioned in this article are listed in alphabetical order. For the CRM software listed above, the following factors were considered:
  • A minimum 4/5 star average overall rating.
  • The existence of at least 500 reviews of the software over the past two years (May 2020 – May 2022).
  • All of the above software match Capterra’s definition of customer relationship management software: customer relationship management (CRM) software is a tool that enables businesses to track customer interactions and manage relationships throughout the entire lifecycle from a single, centralised platform. CRM tools are designed to deal with customer support issues, manage leads and the sales pipeline, and oversee long-term relationships with past, current, and potential customers. CRM systems can help integrate marketing, sales and customer service departments, ensuring that organisational processes are coherent and well-aligned. Typical features of CRM platforms include document storage, lead management, communication tracking, calendar coordination, and social media integration. CRM software is related to Contract Management software and Online CRM software.
  • All the above software have the following core features: contact management, interaction tracking, and lead qualification.
  • Out of our resultant list of tools, we selected five best tools with the top average overall ratings of more than 4.5/5 stars in the last two years.

This article may refer to products, programs or services that are not available in your country, or that may be restricted under the laws or regulations of your country. We suggest that you consult the software provider directly for information regarding product availability and compliance with local laws.

About the author

Content Analyst for the UK market. Committed to offering insights on technology, emerging trends, and software suggestions to SMBs. Plant lady, café hopper, and dog mom.

Content Analyst for the UK market. Committed to offering insights on technology, emerging trends, and software suggestions to SMBs. Plant lady, café hopper, and dog mom.

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