A solid CRM database can help your company with prospecting, marketing, sales, customer service, accounting and much more. 

But finding the right choice to meet your business needs can be challenging. There are so many options, each with different strengths and features. 

Learn more about what a CRM database is now, and check out our list of the top options for 2021.

What is a CRM Database?

CRM stands for customer relationship management. A CRM database helps you manage relationships with more than just customers though. You can house vendor information, prospect data and important details about other business contacts.

Most databases have standard information, such as first and last name, company and other geography and demographic information. 

A good database allows you to customize fields to have greater insights into your customers. This might tell you products they’re interested in or have purchased in the past. Or you might have a log of customer service data that shows challenges they’ve faced or areas of frustration.

Custom data fields can prove to be extremely valuable in reaching your customers and delighting them in new ways.

The best CRM databases on the market today are cloud-based, so they’re accessible from anywhere, on any device with valid login information. Cloud-based tools allow organizations to be more agile and respond to customer needs quickly. This improves relationships and avoids having your customers shopping around at your competitors.

CRM database software helps coordinate efforts and provide greater clarity into your business operations. For example, software can help avoid situations where sales reaches out to a prospect the same day as marketing does. And with greater insights into your customers, your outreach can be more coordinated and tailored to your customers.

One of the greatest benefits of a CRM is that it serves as the foundation of automation. Automate follow-up communication after a prospect signs up for more information on your website. But also think about ways you can grow and improve your relationship with your customers through automation.

After a purchase, check in a few days later to see if there’s anything you can do to help onboard the customer or ensure their total satisfaction. Sending out messages like these can be time-consuming and just another thing to do to manage your business operations. That’s why automating it can be so helpful. 

Best CRM Databases Right Now

There are many excellent and easy-to-use CRM databases on the market today. Take a look at the best CRM database system for 2021 now. 

1. Best Mobile App: Salesforce

Without a doubt, Salesforce is the leading CRM tool on the market. But it also comes with a big price tag and the need for serious training to customize the system to meet your needs.

Organizations who need a totally custom tool love Salesforce. Smaller teams with smaller budgets struggle to get the software to a good place to meet their needs.

Because Salesforce is so well-known, it connects to many other software tools and website CMS systems. This makes it simpler to coordinate your efforts across your business functions and various channels to reach customers where and when they want to be reached.

With mobile apps, your team can stay connected at all times and get notifications when a customer takes a certain action or shows interest in your company. That way, you never miss an opportunity due to a lack of awareness.

2. Best for Ease of Use: Zoho CRM

The per-user cost of Zoho CRM is extremely affordable for organizations of all sizes. But that doesn’t mean it’s a cheap CRM in any way. In fact, it’s quite robust and offers tools for your sales, marketing and help desk teams all within one platform. 

Zoho is incredibly easy to use and implement. The tool scales and grows with your organization easily, so if you’re looking to grow your business quickly, this is a great option for you. 

In addition, the software is highly customizable. For example, your sales team can create a custom sales funnel to meet your organization’s needs.

3. Best for New Businesses: HubSpot CRM

HubSpot CRM is excellent for businesses just getting started. It has all the basic tools you’ll need to house your customer information and act on changes and interests from your customers. 

The tool comes from a marketing and sales thought leader, so it’s no big surprise that their CRM is solid. You’ll see the greatest benefit if you use all HubSpot tools, from the website CMS to the email marketing functionality. 

You’ll find incredible ease-of-use with HubSpot products. And you can use the CRM for free. 

The setback for growing small businesses is that as you add tools and functionality, HubSpot can become quite pricey in comparison to its main competitors.

4. Most Affordable: Apptivo CRM 

Apptivo is a full-feature CRM that’s affordable. Users find the interface easy to navigate and can get started using it quickly. 

You’ll be able to customize fields, contact flows and information to meet your company needs. The mobile support is outstanding, which will help your business stay connected while on the go. 

The one setback to Apptivo is that it doesn’t have as many API connections to other tools as some of its competitors. This can limit the usefulness of your CRM if you don’t research your needed integrations before signing up. 

5. Best for Onboarding: Insightly CRM

The interface for Insightly is extremely user-friendly and attractive. Onboarding your team is simple. 

The pricing is designed for more mid-sized companies, so smaller companies might find it unaffordable. But its robust toolset makes it evident why it’s so great.

A unique feature that Insightly offers is a built-in project management system. You can limit your software tools to allow your users to get everything they need all in one convenient place. 

You’ll also find it easy to integrate a wide variety of other tools and assets into Insightly. With built-in marketing automation, you can stay connected with your customers with ease while saving time.

6. Best for Enterprises: Sales Creatio

Sales Creatio software is mostly focused on midsize and enterprise companies. And you can certainly see that in the robust customization. But with any software, the more customization that’s available, the more complicated the tool becomes. 

You’ll find that with Sales Creatio. It’s certainly not as easy to get started with as some other tools, but it packs a powerful punch in creating an outstanding way for you to stay in touch with your contacts.

You’ll find all the functionality you need, but be ready to take some time on training and educating your staff about its features. One of the areas where Sales Creatio really stands out is in its deep analytics and robust marketing automation functionality. 

The price tag for this software is larger than some of its competitors, but you’ll certainly get a great product for the price.

How to Make a CRM Database Better?

Even with the best CRM database, you can make the tool more useful if you customize it. Learn more about some of the integrations and features that help your company perform at its best.

Software Integration

The more connected your various tools are, the better your insights will be. If you’re looking to get the most out of your CRM database, consider connecting it to other software, such as billing and accounting tools, your website and marketing software. 

You’ll be able to see a holistic view of your customers and their interactions with your company if you integrate your software tools. Something as simple as integrating your CRM to your online chat feature can make a huge impact in understanding your customers in a new way.

Having order information and account billing details within your database can have many benefits as well. One such benefit might be making it easier for your customers to checkout on your website for future transactions by saving them time to input data.

Automation

Maintaining customer relationships is a time-consuming job. Automation helps you manage those relationships with ease.

Set up customer flows and follow-up messages to ensure regular touchpoints with your customers. You’ll be amazed at the results and improved customer loyalty that an effective automation process can provide. 

But you can automate more than just customer communication. Consider automating your customer billing and alerts to update your customer profile. That way, you never lose contact with a customer due to a change in phone number, address or email. 

Team Collaboration

To save money, some companies only give CRM access to their sales and marketing teams. But that isn’t the most effective process. Your analytics team can help inform and guide your users to improvements and areas of opportunity to get more out of the software. The customer service staff can add valuable information to the software that helps tell you more about your customers.

Don’t forget to include other teams on the platform to improve collaboration to really bring value to the tool. While this does mean a larger subscription cost since CRMs are billed based on users, the value you get out of a full view of your customers is worth the added expense for more companies.

Analytics 

Do you know why customers don’t become repeat buyers? Do you understand at what point in the funnel you generally lose a prospect?

These insights can help you improve your customer relationships and close gaps you didn’t even know you had. Those analytics are likely within your CRM if you know how to look for them and if you’re tracking the right custom fields.

In today’s business world, analytics guide most operational decisions. Get your analytics team involved with your CRM to guide your other team members in tracking valuable information that will guide decision-making.

CRM Support

Take some time to review your CRM contract to look for the support that’s included. And even if you don’t have a support contract as part of your CRM, consider contacting the company to see what options you have.

If you aren’t currently using the CRM to its fullest, the support team will be able to guide you in improving that. Learn more about how to customize your CRM database to get more out of it. 

While this might mean taking on a temporary expense to work with a support specialist from your CRM, it could have big results. 

Sign On with a CRM Today

Adding a CRM database to your business can help you build better and more effective relationships with your customers. You can automate more of your processes to save valuable staff time to devote to delighting your customers.

The best CRM enables you to connect with your customers across multiple channels and helps coordinate your internal teams to better serve your clients. Customize your database to match your unique business needs and provide valuable analytics into your business operations.