What is a CRM platform?
Think about every customer interaction — meetings, phone calls, emails, text messages, etc. Each conversation can yield valuable insights that can improve relationships and uncover opportunities.
You might jot down notes from a call on a sticky note. But what happens if you need to recall or confirm a specific detail at a later date?
Well, you better hope that sticky note is still lying around. Otherwise, you’ll have to make a decision based on guesswork instead of actual data.
This is what makes a CRM (customer relationship management) platform especially valuable. It provides a system for recording customer data.
In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at what a CRM platform is, what it offers, and our top software picks on the market. We’ll also give you a template you can use to track and organize customer data from one place.
What is a CRM platform and what does it offer?
A CRM platform is software that stores and organizes data about your customers from a centralized location. It helps you track customer interactions and manage your pipeline from prospecting to post-sale.
The value of having customer data in one place? For one thing, you won’t have to clutter your desk with sticky notes or waste time searching through them.
For another, it allows any team member access to all customer information from a centralized platform.With a CRM platform, you can view all previous interactions and get up to speed before reaching out to a customer. This allows you to deliver a better customer experience by making each conversation more personal.
A study from PwC found that only 38% of consumers feel that the employees they interact with understand their needs. Using a CRM solution helps you manage customer relations and address specific pain points.
A CRM system also helps you set up a sales pipeline — a set of steps that sales teams follow to qualify and nurture leads towards a purchasing decision.
With a CRM solution, you can even automate follow-ups and other sales tasks, so you never miss an opportunity to close a deal.
Other features that CRM platforms offer include:
- Marketing automation
- Social media integration
- Sales forecasting
- Lead scoring
- File sharing
- Real-time reporting
- Collaboration tools
Before you decide on the first CRM solution you come across, let’s take a closer look at the features you should look for.
How to select the right CRM platform for your business
Finding the right CRM isn’t always easy. And that’s because there are different factors to take into consideration — price, features, usability, etc.
For starters, a CRM software that makes it easy to organize your leads and manage your contacts is a must.
You also want a solution where you can visualize your pipeline in one place, so you know which deals to prioritize.
Here’s an example of how sales teams are using monday.com to get a high-level view at a glance and track and manage their sales pipeline:
A sales manager can view active deals that each sales rep is working on and view how much conversion potential a lead has.
They can also see where deals are stuck and dig deeper to find out why.
To deliver a better customer experience, look for a CRM solution with contact management features. It should enable you to capture each customer interaction from phone calls, emails, and meetings.
Here’s how customer interactions are captured within monday.com’s CRM platform:
Even after a deal is closed, your job is far from over. The right CRM facilitates collaboration and allows reps from different teams to keep up with each customers’ needs.
Here’s an example of how monday.com keeps everyone on the same page:
Check out this customer story of how Alex Benda from Oh Hello Promo uses monday.com as a sales CRM in their business process. You can even try out their board to see each step of their customer journey.
Now that you know what to look for when choosing a CRM system, let’s take a look at our top software picks for different business types.
Leading CRM platforms
A CRM is a powerful piece of software that you can use to streamline sales processes and increase customer engagement.
Here’s an overview of leading CRM platforms for different types of business.
Leading CRM platform for small to medium businesses on up: monday.com
monday.com isn’t like a traditional CRM that overwhelms you from the start. monday.com’s highly flexible sales CRM enables you to visualize your sales pipeline, and track each step of the customer journey in one place.
monday.com CRM features:
- Embed a lead generation form on your site and send customer data to your CRM
- Capture all customer interactions right from the customer data platform
- Use the Kanban view to manage all your sales activity at a glance
- See where leads are in your sales pipeline and use CRM automation tools to follow up
- Start with a ready-made template or customize it to fit your workflow
See how sales teams are using monday.com’s sales CRM software to grow their business.
Pricing for monday.com starts at $10 per user a month for the Basic plan and goes up to $20 per user a month for the Pro Plan (3 users minimum). You can also save 18% by switching to a yearly plan.
If you want to try monday.com, you can sign up for a 14-day free trial. No credit card required.
Leading CRM platform for enterprises: Salesforce CRM
Salesforce CRM offers a robust CRM that integrates sales, marketing, and customer service in one platform, making it the best solution for enterprises.
Salesforce CRM features:
- Track customer information and previous interactions in one place
- Identify what sources are driving your most valuable leads
- Help customers solve their problems even faster
- Create customer journey across different marketing channels
- Gain real-time data about your leads and customers at every stage
Enterprises can use Salesforce to capture leads, manage interactions, and increase customer retention from one place. The CRM platform also integrates with popular apps like Slack, DocuSign, Dropbox, and more.
Salesforce CRM pricing:
Note that pricing for Salesforce CRM depends on which product you get. Here’s a snapshot of Salesforce’s pricing for Sales Cloud — a platform built primarily for sales processes:
You can sign up for a 14-day free trial or reach out directly to their sales team to request a demo.
Leading CRM platform for nonprofits: Zoho
Zoho offers a customizable CRM that allows nonprofits to manage their online presence, track donor contributions, engage interns, and more.
Zoho CRM features:
- Use the omnichannel CRM to manage your social media profiles
- Create separate portals where key stakeholders and donors can enter their details
- Provide a secure payments with Zoho — checkout right from your site
- Use the customized email templates to send emails to donors
- Manage funds and contributions you receive from your CRM
Zoho also offers a mobile app that you can use to connect with volunteers and reach out to donors.
Zoho CRM pricing:
Pricing for Zoho CRM starts at $18 per user a month for the Standard plan and goes up to $55 per user a month for the Ultimate plan. You can also save 20% by switching to a yearly plan.
Zoho offers a 15-day free trial for its CRM.
So which customer relationship management software should you choose?
The answer ultimately depends on your needs and what you’re looking for.
If you’re an enterprise business that’s looking to scale to the next level, then Salesforce is a solid option. It offers a comprehensive set of features that combine sales, marketing, and customer support.
If you’re a non-profit, then you might consider a CRM platform like Zoho to create donor portals and manage contributions.
To be honest, though, no matter what type of business you are or how large you’ve become, we recommend monday.com.
monday.com is a platform designed to be highly flexible and scale with your organization. It’s easy to use, fast to set up, and highly customizable for every business type.
A key benefit to a platform like monday.com is adoption. Unlike Zoho or Salesforce (in which teams get bogged down, frustrated, and overwhelmed), teams love using it. This means managers don’t have to spend half their day following up with their reps in order to keep everything up to date (a frustrating waste of time for everyone involved).
A CRM platform enables you to manage and organize customer data so your team can provide a more highly personalized customer experience.
It can also streamline your sales process, potentially shortening your sales funnel by allowing your sales team to focus more of their efforts on prospects and clients.
As your business grows, so will your CRM. Make sure you choose a CRM that can be customized to support your current business culture, and is flexible enough to grow with you as you scale.
Get a feel for an out-of-the-box solution with our CRM template which can be easily customized and duplicated to create a tailored plan for your teams.