Customer relationship management (CRM) systems help businesses collect data and track interactions with their customers and prospects. This data comes from a variety of sources, including website activity, social media, customer support and sales leads.

These systems offer insights into customer interests, purchases and stages in the buying journey to guide teams in managing relationships. The best online CRM allows businesses to retain existing customers while nurturing and converting prospects.

What is an Online CRM System?

An online CRM system stores contact information for customers and prospects. But it doesn’t just show sales and marketing teams how to reach customers. It also houses this crucial information that guides interactions with customers.

  • Interactions with various teams, including sales, marketing and customer service
  • Previous purchases or subscriptions
  • Interest in various products and services
  • Demographic information, such as age and estimated income
  • Stage of the customer buying journey
  • Notes and information your team finds relevant about the user
  • Attendance at previous and upcoming events

Using a CRM can help prevent poor interactions with customers, such as more than one salesperson reaching out in a short period. It can also help you automate interactions with prospects by sharing relevant follow-up emails, event notifications or product updates.

Know when customers are having recurring issues with your products or services by tracking all customer service interactions. This allows sales to reach out to repair and maintain relationships before they become an issue. Also, send out automated reminders to customers about events, subscription renewals and more using insights from your CRM. 

In today’s marketplace, an online CRM system is essential for showing that you know and understand your customers’ needs. Customers who have a clunky experience with your company are less likely to return and refer your business to their friends. 

Show that you understand their needs by using a CRM to maintain a strong relationship with your customers.

Why is Online CRM Important?

An online CRM connects you to your customers anytime, anywhere, from any device. Web applications enable you to log into your software securely using any device with a web browser.

So whether you’re at the office preparing for a sales call or on the soccer field and run into an old business acquaintance you want to keep in touch with, you can update contact data to manage relationships. 

Customer insights

More than likely, you’ll need to interact with your customers and prospects several times to really get to know them. Filling out one interest form on your website or having one conversation with sales will not provide the full details about a customer.

A CRM allows you to progressively learn about your customers and log that information over several months and even years. That way, you can show how well you understand their needs in the products and services you provide them.

Cross-functional organization

Customers interact with various teams throughout a business. They go from sales teams to the onboarding department to customer service. Each team will learn new data and information about the customer along the way. 

An online CRM makes it easy for cross-functional teams to collaborate and serve customers well.

Improved relationships

CRM systems enable businesses to optimize their relationships with their customers. An online system streamlines and simplifies customer data management. With more insights, businesses can close more sales and resolve more customer complaints before they become large issues.

Companies that use a CRM have better customer satisfaction and trust in the business. Salesforce Research found that customers that trust your business are 95% more loyal and 93% more likely to recommend your company. They’ll also buy more frequently from you and spend more money with your organization.

Analytics

You can’t improve your business without data and insights. A CRM provides analytics to help you understand why you lost a customer, didn’t earn the sale or what makes a customer buy more from your organization.

Compare relationships and results from one quarter to the next using insights from your CRM. Now you can see areas of improvement and learn ways to grow your relationships with your customers.

Best Online CRM Options

Before you can choose a CRM, you need to evaluate your budget and needs. Then watch demos and learn more about the features and integrations various CRMs have.

We’ll get you started in your search for the best CRM for your business by outlining the top products on the market and the types of businesses and teams these CRMs are good for.

Best for Sales Automation: Keap (Formerly InfusionSoft)

Keap, which was formerly the popular CRM InfusionSoft has burst onto the scene with a completely comprehensive product, similar to HubSpot, with approachable pricing.

For sales teams, you get a ton of enterprise functionality for a price that makes it hard to overlook. Enjoy the benefits of automation, simple yet powerful sequencing, and a ton of added benefits like SMS from from your browser.

Pricing: Pricing starts at $79/mo, and even at the baseline package you can utilize automation right out of the box. For more advanced plans you are able to utilize SMS, eCommerce functionality and more. The Pro package is $149/mo and the max package is $199/mo.

Keap runs promotions quite regularly, so be on the look out, and if you start a free trial you’re likely to get an offer via email.

Bundles: Keap’s packages are pretty straightforward and all inclusive, so a bundle isn’t necessary. You can increase the limit of contacts and users for a nominal increase in subscription cost.

Best for Limited Budgets: Zoho CRM

With more than 150,000 customers, Zoho CRM is one of the top CRMs on the market. It combines affordability with the main features companies need to manage their customer relationships. Measure the effectiveness of your interactions with customers, automate recurring activities and get real-time customer notifications with Zoho. You’ll also find Zoho CRM to be extremely easy to implement in your organization.

Pricing: Enjoy this free online CRM for up to 3 users. You can track leads, contacts, accounts, deals and tasks for free. Companies that need more users and features can purchase plans starting at $12 per month per user. No matter what product tier you need, you can get a 15-day free trial of the product to test it out.

Bundles: Zoho provides a suite of services for businesses from office tools like spreadsheets and email hosting to marketing automation software. One of the great benefits of Zoho CRM is its easy integration with a suite of other products to make automations simple.

Best for Marketing Teams Using HubSpot Services: HubSpot CRM

HubSpot offers a suite of marketing software and services, making it ideal for sales and marketing teams to collaborate and nurture prospects. The CRM is free for as many users as you need and up to 1 million contacts. You can get started at improving your sales and marketing interactions at no charge. 

Pricing: Because HubSpot has a host of products and services, the pricing is quite complicated. Plans start at $50 per month for enhanced features and increased email sending abilities over the free account. Take some time to review the full chart of services and limits that each subscription tier provides.

Bundles: Bundle your website, marketing automation and advertising needs into one online software. HubSpot offers a bundled HubSpot CRM, marketing starter, sales starter and customer service starter package starting at $50 per month. The more services you use HubSpot for, the more data and insights you’ll have in the CRM.

Best for Large Enterprises: Salesforce

For large organizations without serious budget constraints, Salesforce is a robust tool and industry experts view it as a leader in the industry. It makes campaign management simple and integrates seamlessly with many B2B marketing automation systems. Customize the CRM to meet the needs of your sales process and enjoy the convenience of the Salesforce mobile app.

Pricing: Prices start at $25 per month per user for up to five users but larger organizations will need to plan to pay at least $75 per month for more users and the opportunity to customize the features.

Bundles: Salesforce offers a host of products from marketing automation to Einstein AI. You’ll need to reach out to the sales team to learn more about bundled Salesforce product pricing.

Best for Startups: Less Annoying CRM

For startups and small businesses looking for an affordable, flexible CRM solution, Less Annoying CRM is a great option. The intuitive interface makes onboarding simple and optimized for mobile use. You’ll have access to a variety of support options to get your team up and running quickly.

Pricing: Get a risk-free 30-day trial to test out the CRM system. After that, prices start at $15 per user per month. For organizations with 10 or more users, Less Annoying CRM can work with you to create pricing that makes sense for you. 

Bundles: Less Annoying CRM only offers a CRM and no other products or services. But be sure to reach out to sales to discuss bulk pricing if you have 10 or more users. 

Best for Businesses in High-Growth Stage: Insightly

Insightly offers a superb value for the money for small businesses, especially when they are in a high-growth phase of their business. You can store up to 100,000 contacts and 10GB of information via import or API with a basic license. Run an unlimited number of custom reports and schedule emails. 

Pricing: Plans start at $29 per month per user. Try out the account for free with no credit card required.

Bundles: Insightly also offers marketing tools. You can customize bundled services with the CRM and marketing tools, but you’ll need to reach out to the software’s sales team for more information based on your needs.

Best for Integration with Gmail: Streak

Streak uses Gmail as its platform. Transform your Gmail account into a powerful CRM by downloading an extension. Manage sales deals, share sales files easily and integrate your reminders with Google Calendar. Streak is great for people using Google for their business services because it integrates with all Google products well. Manage your leads, projects and more all in one place. 

Pricing: Get started with a free account that includes 500 contacts. Upgrade to up to 5,000 contacts for $15 per month per user. Further upgrades provide more advanced features, such as shared pipelines and data validation. 

Bundles: Streak only offers a CRM so there aren’t any additional products or services to bundle with it. 

Making Relationship Management Look Easy

Zoho CRM is the best option for businesses on a budget but looking for a robust toolset while Salesforce CRM is without a doubt the market leader if you can afford it.

Consider testing out a few of the free accounts to see how you like the online CRM systems available to you. Make sure that the system has the features you need to collaborate among your various teams and departments.