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According to the World Bank, seven out of every ten jobs worldwide are generated by SMEs (small and medium enterprises). Medium-sized businesses are crucial to the world economy, but many of them are struggling without the tools they need to grow effectively.
It usually works like this.
You’re an entrepreneur with big dreams. You build a business with your bare hands from the ground up with maybe just a few friends to help you. You start to get traction, and your products or services start selling.
Eventually, you wind up with a significant customer base, and you’re employing hundreds of people. What’s the problem?
Scalability. You’re still using the same hodgepodge of pen-and-paper processes along with whatever Excel spreadsheets you made when you started the business. Your sales processes are too slow and lack automation. You don’t have the analytics to effectively manage customer data. Plus, your tools lack integration, making it difficult to get the visibility you need to achieve goals like customer segmentation, marketing automation and effective communication across departments.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way. The answer to all of these problems is a single piece of software – a customer relationship management (CRM) system. The right CRM platform can help you better manage customer data, streamline your sales process, and achieve better collaboration throughout your organisation.
If you just read the above and were nodding your head all the way along, you’re in the right place. I’m going to help you shortcut the long, tiresome comparison journey by giving you the top five CRMs I would recommend along with detailed explanations of their key advantages.
Let’s get into it.
Salesforce is an indisputable leader in the CRM space and provides one of the largest selections of customizable solutions for medium-sized businesses. It’s a cloud-based CRM that works by pulling data from a variety of sources, including social media, email and website interactions. It then organises this data it into a single, comprehensive view of the customer. This makes it easier for sales teams to manage their pipelines, track their leads and close deals more efficiently.
- Contact management
- Cloud-based (with mobile support for sales professionals on the go)
- Powerful data management tools
- Strong integration with other tools and customizable apps that can be added or removed based on changing needs
Salesforce offers a Starter package for $25 USD per user per month. However, this only includes its base CRM features. Full access to all Salesforce’s features requires the Unlimited Plan ($330 USD per user per month). You could start with the smaller package and then move up as you find the features useful or your budget grows.
Why choose Salesforce?
It’s almost impossible to ignore Salesforce in any discussion of the top CRMs. It has quickly risen to become one of the best choices for businesses of nearly any size and nearly any industry. One of the biggest reasons I chose it for this list was because of the scalability it provides. Because Salesforce can support full-scale enterprise operations, it possesses the infrastructure to support a medium-sized business in its growing phase and far into the future.
I also wanted to highlight its customizability. The Salesforce ecosystem features a variety of free and paid applications on its AppExchange that can expand the functionality of the platform based on your unique needs. This makes Salesforce a true standout option among CRMs.
Pipedrive is a cloud-based CRM provider that was founded in 2010 and is recognised as being the fifth “unicorn” to come out of Estonia. A “unicorn” is a term used by investors to describe a startup valued at over $1 billion USD that remains privately owned. Pipedrive’s enormous success has come from its highly effective CRM system, which has been designed to target growth-minded small to medium-sized businesses but also features support for larger enterprises. Pipedrive includes all the modern features and solutions that you can expect from a CRM and is used by well-known brands such as Amazon and Vimeo.
- Represents your customer data in a visual pipeline that’s easy to understand
- A simpler UI than other CRM platforms makes it easy to get up and running
- More affordable than rivals
- Clear and powerful reporting and insights
- Revenue forecasts
- Streamlined lead routing
Pipedrive’s pricing model starts at just USD $14.90 per user per month. This plan gives access to its basic sales management features. Medium-sized businesses would likely go with the “Professional” plan, which gives you access to the lion’s share of powerful features at only $49.90 per user per month. Full access to the entire platform can be secured at $99 per user per month, which is still more affordable than other CRM options.
Why choose Pipedrive?
Going from Excel spreadsheets to a CRM system can be a difficult transition. For example, training salespeople who are used to pen-and-paper processes is often expensive and time-consuming. However, these difficulties can be reduced if the transition is to intuitive software. Pipedrive has an interface that was designed specifically for salespeople and is easy to pick up. It’s also highly affordable compared to other CRM options.
Then we come to money: your budget may not be able to stand a full-scale enterprise CRM. However, Pipedrive gives you a wealth of CRM features reinforced by artificial intelligence for a fraction of the cost of rivals. These are just some of the reasons Pipedrive is currently being used by over 100,000 customers worldwide — and why it made it on this list.
Monday.com‘s Work OS is a rapidly growing cloud-based platform designed to support team collaboration and document management. In August 2022, the company introduced a new offering called the Monday Sales CRM. This shoots for a combination of simplicity with advanced features and strong functionality. Plus, it provides all the modern features of a CRM at one of the lowest price points you’ll find.
- Powerful no-code automations that are easy to deploy
- Social media integration
- Complete sales pipeline management plus post-sales management
- Client onboarding
For unlimited pipelines, contacts and boards, your business can buy Monday Sales CRM for just $10/user/month. Medium-sized businesses would probably prefer to go with either the Pro plan ($24/user/month) or the Enterprise plan (custom quote), as these plans include advanced features such as sales forecasting, sales analytics, 25,000 monthly CRM automation and more.
Why choose Monday.com?
Of all the CRMs on this list, Monday Sales CRM is probably the most small-business-friendly system that is also an effective choice for medium-sized businesses. One of the things that makes Monday’s CRM unique is its significant knowledge base and advanced customer support, including a wealth of documentation and videos, along with live online support and webinars. The interface is easy to understand, and you can quickly set up a dashboard to highlight key performance indicators like expected revenue, closed deals, and team progress.
Overall, Monday Sales CRM is a great choice for medium-sized businesses on the smaller side with tighter budgets that still want the functionality of a powerful CRM system.
Another all-star, it’s time to talk about HubSpot. HubSpot CRM is an all-in-one customer relationship management system designed to help small and medium-sized businesses manage their sales, marketing and customer service operations.
The platform offers a range of tools, including contact management, lead tracking, email marketing, sales automation and customer analytics. HubSpot CRM also integrates with various third-party platforms, such as Salesforce and Shopify, making it easy to manage all aspects of a business from a single dashboard. Additionally, the platform offers a free plan.
- Free option with contact management features
- Fully fledged CRM solution
- Customer support supplemented by HubSpot Academy (free training)
- A variety of integrations
HubSpot stands out in the world of CRMs because of its free plan. However, this plan is targeted more towards smaller teams and individuals. A medium-sized business would likely go with either the Starter (starting at $20/month with just two paid users) or the Professional (starting at $1,600/month for five paid users) to get full access to the CRM features they need.
Why choose HubSpot?
With less power than a larger provider such as Salesforce, but arguably more flexibility, HubSpot earned its place on this list chiefly for its all-in-one solution and powerful tools. Instead of requiring additional applications or add-ons, HubSpot provides an easy-to-use CRM with all the trimmings right out of the box. It’s easy software to use yet has the scalability and power that a medium-sized business needs. Implementations are quick, and it gets great reviews on sites like G2.
Zoho CRM offers a range of tools, including lead and contact management, sales forecasting, reporting and analytics. It’s also got workflow automation features so that you can automate your sales processes and improve productivity. Plus, the platform integrates with a variety of third-party applications, including G Suite and Microsoft Office, making it easy to manage all aspects of a business from a single dashboard. Zoho CRM offers both free and paid plans, making it a flexible option for businesses of all sizes.
- Great value for your money
- Powerful AI assistant
- Automated task scheduling
- Multiple sales pipelines
Medium-sized businesses would likely go with either the Professional ($23 per user per month) or the Enterprise ($40 per user per month) plans to get access to all the features they need. There is a free trial if you want to take it for a spin. Also, it should be noted that Zoho’s maximum price plan to get everything it offers is only $52 per user per month, in line with some of the most affordable CRMs available.
Why choose Zoho?
Zoho is a well-known and highly respected CRM provider that has been helping businesses grow for several years. Its software features strong integrations, automation and anything else you might need from a CRM. Additionally, all of Zoho’s plans provide access to its AI-powered sales assistant, Zia. This tool can help streamline your sales department, automating certain tasks and making other jobs easier with step-by-step recommendations and rapid data access (no need to dig through your database, just ask Zia). Overall, Zoho is an excellent, secure option for a growing business.
Eyeing the future of CRM development
A CRM is a critical component of your organisation’s success. As the future brings continual evolution to this space, it looks like we’re going to see the increasing adoption of AI as well as new collaboration tools to bring more and more data into the sales process.
Remember, the better you understand who your customers are and where they’re coming from, the better you’ll be at selling to them.
The best way to do that is with a CRM platform.
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