What are the best SaaS applications for customer relationship management?
There are many reasons to choose SaaS applications, but in this article, we are going to look at the advantages of using it for customer relationship management (CRM), together with some of the leading providers.
First of all, reducing costs is a key benefit, since most providers will allow subscription fees to be paid on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis. Savings include the cost of outright purchase, the hardware infrastructure and wasted licenses commonly seen in traditional corporate software purchases. Additionally, ongoing software upgrades will be provided by the chosen supplier.
Secondly, SaaS solutions enable staff to access a CRM system on the move, and team members can also share information and be updated in real-time.
Finally, modern CRM software can have a huge impact on sales. CRM apps will track all prospect and customer touchpoints and integrate that data into other systems. This can mean not only the timely management of new sales opportunities but also in customer retention and up-selling, introducing new services or products.
In no particular order here are ten of the most popular SaaS CRM apps on the market.
Insightly is an easy to use and yet powerful tool which integrates with Office 365, Gmail and MailChimp. It allows companies to track contacts throughout the sales process, manage customer relationships and check sales. It currently costs £20.99 per month per user, which is mid-range, and a free trial is available. Insightly helps organisations to get the most from customer data.
Apptivo offers a free starter plan and a premium service for around £8 per user per month which reduces if billed annually. It represents a reliable CRM platform and should suit any SMEs looking for a tailored CRM solution. In addition to several integrations, Apptivo offers excellent support for mobile platforms which is essential for sales staff out on the road.
A pioneer of the CRM industry, Salesforce has built on its original success. Salesforce Sales Cloud begins at £20 per month per user and is a market leader rather than a budget option. It provides everything you need in a CRM system and offers an extensive range of add-ons. There is also a useful dashboard facility. On the downside it is relatively expensive, the Lightning Professional tier costing up to £58 per user per month. If your budget fits, this is a sophisticated system.
With a wide range of business solutions on offer from Zoho, it is interesting that the CRM app is considered the company’s flagship product. Three editions range in price from £12-£30 per user per month, while if you really need enterprise-class functionality, ZohoCRM Ultimate Edition comes in at £100 per user per month. SME’s looking for an affordable, proven system may do well to consider Zoho. It offers solid integration and an intuitive interface. A downside for some is that it needs some customisation at the outset.
Hubspot is suitable for companies who want to keep contacts in a customised space, manage the pipeline and follow up leads. Easy to get going and intuitive to use, Hubspot integrates with popular software and takes over repetitive tasks. Core aspects are free, but the downside is that if you want to add on premium features, it can quickly become expensive. The company is well known for its sales software, and thus its CRM system was an obvious addition to the stable.
Produced by Freshworks, Freshsales allows businesses to manage leads. It offers intuitive UI, AI-led lead scoring, phone and email links, customised reporting and a useful dashboard. The basics come free and paid additions begin at just over £9 per user per month. If you are new to the idea of CRM this is a great entry-level product and easy to use.
Pipedrive is attractive to SMEs new to the CRM concept since it is easy to use and prioritises access over a bewildering array of features. The Silver entry-level package begins at £10 per month per user if billed annually. Two higher levels have additional features but you may want to trial the first level before deciding on additions. It has a simple, well-designed user interface which contrasts sharply with the complexity of some of its competitors.
Beginning at around £35 per user per month Zendesk is suitable for SMEs and offers an interface which is accessible to first-time users. There are some issues over customisation, however, and it is far from the cheapest option. Additional features also push up the cost and so it is essential to understand what you need from the system to avoid paying for features you don’t require. You may also have to configure the reporting system to make sure it provides the information you need.
Aptly named Less Annoying is a CRM solution which offers a clean interface and a good set of features. Starting at just under £8 per user per month, it will be attractive to new businesses and SMEs. If you are looking for a low-cost CRM product and lead-management package, Less Annoying CRM could be for you. Ease of installation and use are essential to the success of any CRM solution.
All the above apps will deliver good CRM functionality. As always, it is a question of which best suits your needs and budget. Whilst it is not a CRM, but an expense management solution, Soldo combines prepaid corporate cards for small business with a smart, intuitive app and admin tools. It allows you to budget more effectively.