You’ll find dozens of options when shopping for a CRM. But if you are a for-profit business, a few CRM systems stand out among the rest. That’s because some CRM systems are specifically focused on helping teams manage customer relationships from the moment they enter the sales funnel right through to customer service inquiries.
A CRM helps your for-profit business organize contacts and log important interactions with those customers. One of the greatest benefits of the best CRM for profits is that it offers the ability to automate sales and marketing interactions for improved outcomes.
Learn what the general business functions that CRM software serves, the key features to look for in a system and the top options available for your business.
What are the Three General Business Functions That CRM Software Serves?
CRM software serves many purposes within your business; but the main functions it provides are automation for sales, marketing and customer service interactions. Here’s a look at these business functions and how they impact your organization.
Sales force automation
Salespeople have a big job. They have to follow up on leads, answer customer inquiries and manage hundreds of relationships. Not only that, but they have to remember the last time they touched base with a customer and when it’s time to interact or check-in again.
Automation takes some of that burden off of your sales team to help them focus more on the relationship side of things. Using a CRM, you can set up automatic emails that go out from your sales team after a customer or prospect shows interest in your products or services.
That way, you never miss an important touchpoint with your customers, but your sales team can also focus their efforts on lead generation and closing sales.
Allow your marketing team to pre-set specific interactions and touchpoints with your prospects and customers to ensure timely and regular communication. Set up lead nurturing programs that guide your prospects from initial interest through to closing the sale.
Marketing automation helps you support your sales team while also building relationships with your customers and ensuring no gaps in communication.
Instead of having to hit send on marketing emails, text messages and other communication, a CRM can trigger these messages when a user takes a specific action with your company.
Customer service automation
Managing customer service inquiries is a big job. And accidentally letting even one email fall through the cracks can have a massive impact on your ability to serve your customers effectively.
Customer service automation allows you to send help articles and responses to customers when they submit an inquiry. You can notify customers that you’ve received their inquiry and offer details about when they should hear from you again. This will set clear expectations with the customer.
And within the CRM, your customer service team will be able to view inquiries and log responses. That way, if any inquiry goes too long without a response, you can set up notifications and alerts as reminders to your internal team to follow up.
What to Look for in the Best CRM for Profits
The best CRM for profit businesses offers five crucial features. Here’s a look at the essential, must-have features that will ensure the software provides the greatest benefit for your team.
The primary function of a CRM is contact management. Make sure your CRM offers easy ways to import new contacts or automatically add them as they express interest through your website or other platforms.
Customization in contact fields is essential to getting the most out of your CRM. You want to be able to tag and categorize customers so that it’s easier to see where they’re at in their relationship with your business.
Contact management includes being able to add contacts to various lists for marketing purposes or assigning a salesperson to the contact for faster follow-up. Evaluate why you are purchasing a CRM to ensure the contact management functions work for you.
Managing leads is essential to increasing your sales team’s close rates and building better relationships with prospects and customers. A CRM for small business should allow you to set up sales funnels to manage relationships from the moment you add a new contact.
Automate different sales and marketing messages to the prospect throughout their journey with your business. Get alerts and notifications for new leads so that the sales team can follow up promptly.
You might be surprised to find out that the best sales results come from following up with prospects within 5 minutes of their inquiry. Without an effective CRM, those fast turnarounds simply aren’t possible.
Integrating your CRM with your email program will provide additional benefits. When your sales team sends an email to your prospects or customers, the system will automatically log that interaction. That way, your team can coordinate efforts so that you don’t send too many messages to the same customer and overwhelm them.
With automatic email logging, you can also track how many days it’s been since you last interacted with a contact so that you can follow up accordingly and set reminders for those follow-up interactions.
Business interactions require collaborating on many different documents. Managing where those documents are in the process of preparation or final signing can be a big job. A CRM can help you manage that process.
Collaborate on preparing documents and then send them off to customers with built-in follow-up based on the customer’s interactions with the document.
The more automation your CRM includes, the greater value and benefit you’ll experience from it. Consider your various software systems and how your CRM might integrate with those. This might be everything from your marketing automation software to accounting.
When you integrate your various systems, you’ll have a more holistic view of customers and prospects. This powers more informed automations to build relationships with customers.
The Best CRM for Profits
Now that you have a good understanding of the key business functions a CRM provides and the must-have features to look out for, here’s a look at some of the best for-profit CRMs available.
Salesforce offers a variety of CRM software options to help businesses of all sizes and types manage their contacts. Nonprofits, for-profits, small businesses, enterprises and everything in between will find a solution for their needs with Salesforce. The customization and plan options make it a top pick for a CRM. And, the software boasts many integrations to add value to your software.
- Advanced features and customizations match your company’s workflows and needs
- Large third-party app marketplace connects Salesforce to your other software systems
- Outstanding CRM performance and ability to create custom workflows
- Expensive CRM system
- Can be challenging to learn since it’s so feature-rich
Best for: Companies of all sizes, but especially large enterprises needing in-depth insights into customer relationships
Pricing: Because Salesforce has so many plan options based on the features and number of users you need, you have to reach out to sales for pricing information.
Zoho CRM is a great all-in-one solution to help you manage your sales, marketing and customer service interactions. The software integrates incredibly well with other Zoho products. If your organization has other Zoho products, we highly recommend using the CRM to get the most out of your software subscriptions.
- Get started for free with up to 10 users
- Enjoy feature-rich software
- Built-in email marketing is robust and valuable
- Some advanced features are only available with the highest subscription level
- Voice assistant integration is still under development for improvements
Best for: Companies using other Zoho products
Pricing: You can purchase Zoho CRM for sales, customer service or marketing individually based on your company’s needs. For the full suite of services, it’s $57 per user per month.
Zendesk Sell makes it easy to manage leads and customer inquiries all in one place. Companies that use Zendesk for various functions benefit the most from the software since it is best when used with the full suite of software systems.
- Offers a full view of customer interactions
- In-depth analytics provide deep insights into customers
- Software performs well on various devices
- Not great for small businesses looking for a simple CRM solution
- Best value is only available when using other Zendesk products
Best for: Companies using Zendesk for other software solutions
Pricing: Plans start at $19 per user per month. Or you can get access to Zendesk Suite, which includes tools for support across various channels.
HubSpot is another product with great supporting software integrations to help you get the most out of your CRM. Small businesses enjoy the free tools that help power their business while they grow their operations. It’s a software that easily grows with your organization from startup to enterprise.
- Free version helps small businesses get started
- Easy-to-use interface is simple to learn
- Integrates with sales, marketing and customer service tools from HubSpot
- Once you outgrow the free model, paid plans can get pretty pricey
- The more tools you add to the software, the more complicated it gets to manage
Best for: CRM software for small business
Pricing: Get started with the CRM for free. The CRM Suite starts at $68 per month to get access to more advanced features.
Freshworks is a light CRM software that fulfills a company’s basic needs for contact management. You can customize a fair amount within the software, but you won’t see some of the more advanced features that competitors offer.
- Fewer features mean a simpler user interface and training for getting started with the CRM
- The software integrates with many other systems to add further value
- Customize the software to meet your company’s unique needs
- Reporting is limited
- Choosing a plan that fits your business is somewhat challenging and not straightforward
Best for: Fulfilling basic contact management needs
Pricing: Prices start at $29 a month.
Less Annoying CRM
Startups and small businesses will enjoy the simplicity of Less Annoying CRM. It gets its name from the fact that it only has one pricing tier, which means it’s incredibly simple to sign up and get started. You won’t find hidden fees and you don’t have to sign a contract to get started.
- Highly intuitive user interface makes the software easy to use
- Excellent customer support options with good help documentation
- Mobile website experience is excellent and doesn’t require a separate mobile app
- Reporting features are extremely basic
- Because the software has one pricing tier, the software doesn’t grow with your company
Best for: Startup companies looking to get started with a CRM fast and simply
Pricing: Subscribing to Less Annoying CRM costs $15 per month per user.
CRM Tools Improve Sales, Marketing and Customer Service Outcomes
Start improving the 3 key areas of your business that interact with customers: sales, marketing and customer service. A CRM will have a massive impact on your business and help you manage customer interactions while closing more sales. Test out some of the software options listed above to see if they might be right for you.