If you’re a Mac user, you undoubtedly know that there are software products out there for practically every function you can imagine. Sometimes the range of options is so great that you don’t even know where to start looking.
If you’re a business owner, you should have a solid customer relationship management (CRM) system in place. Without a good CRM, there is no way to keep track of your clientele effectively. And the last thing you want is to start confusing orders and introducing yourself to people you’ve known for years as if you’d just met them.
In addition, you want to keep track of your sales numbers as accurately as possible. Not only for the purpose of making profit, but for analyzing trends, making forecasts, etc. Let’s take a look at some of the leading software on the market and what features you should be looking for.
Features of a good CRM
Whatever the nature of your business is, there are a number of primary characteristics that you should be looking for in a CRM:
Maintaining control of large amounts of data is complicated enough by itself. You want software that both you and your staff can access and navigate easily, and which won’t allow you to step on each other’s toes in the process. Look for a system that gets high points in terms of ease of usage, and allows for as many users as you have.
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2. Ease of integration with data
Regardless of what system you’re coming from when you integrate your data, you’ll want to choose a program that allows you to integrate everything as seamlessly as possible. A system that forces you to do a lot of extra work at the beginning will probably continue to be complicated (and perhaps become even more so) as time goes on.
3. Ability to analyze and produce reports
A really good CRM will not only store your data, but help you analyze it. You want to see both where your sales numbers are heading, and also what this means for your future planning.
And before (or perhaps even while!) you go choose your CRM and populate it, you’ll want to make sure your system is cleaned out and free of junk. There are tools that can help you do this, and some of the best ones can be found by doing a simple search. This way, you can be sure that you can clean out your system properly and keep it functioning at all times.
In looking for a CRM, you’ll want to take many different factors into consideration, including the size of your company, whether or not you’ll need a cloud-based solution, how many simultaneous projects you’re likely to have going at any given time, etc. The more carefully you lay out your needs, the more likely you’ll be to find the right match for your company.
Now that you know the basics of what to look for, let’s take a look at three of the top names on the market this year.
Pipedrive gets high marks from users for a number of features:
- If your company has a particularly unique way of managing sales processes, Pipedrive will allow you to set things up in whatever way suits your needs. It provides a clear picture of the sales process, updated in real time! So you won’t have to guess where you will end up at the end of the week.
- It offers advanced-level reports. Pipedrive will break down your sales progress into stages and show you exactly how much progress you made during each stage.
Pipedrive has four different versions to choose from: “Essential” (at $15 per year), “Advanced” (at $25 per year), “Professional” (at $50 per year), and “Enterprise” (at $99 per year). The differences between the versions have to do with automation levels, the ability to eSign, and numbers of available users. The Enterprise version also comes with increased security features.
HoneyBook is also a program that gets consistently strong reviews across third-party sites. Some of Honeybook’s strong points include:
- A task management tool. If your company has a long going on, and a lot of people involved, this type of tool is essential to keep things organized. Not only are projects made transparent to all potential users, but any documents included in the projects can be stored and easily accessed by anyone.
- An entirely cloud-based platform that users can access from anywhere. People can complete entire projects online, including signing contracts digitally.
- Strong integration capabilities with other tools, including Quickbooks, Google Calendar, etc.
HoneyBook is available through a monthly subscription. There are three levels you can choose from: “Starter” ($16/month), “Essential” ($32/month) and “Premium” ($66/month), all of which allow for a seven-day free trial. All three provide the basic features described above, but the higher-level editions allow for a greater number of integrations, more detailed scheduling features, and (for the premium version) an onboarding specialist and dedicated account manager.
Daylite is a good choice for newbies, particularly because it offers a free version to individual users. Other notable features of this software include the following:
- Detailed and easily accessible customer history feature. We all know the frustration of trying to remember what your last email promised to a potential customer, or when you agreed to talk again. Daylite lays this all out for you clearly so that you can simply carry on with your business.
- Easy integration with Apple Mail and other Apple features.
- An “Opportunities and Offers” feature that allows you to create special offers easily as part of a sales plan.
As mentioned above, Daylite is free for individual users. As most companies have multiple users, of course, you’ll want to get the paid version. Even the paid version is fairly cheap, though, at $42 a month or $420 annually.
Whatever program you choose, be sure that it suits the individual needs of your business and your staff members. Some programs are great for small teams, but not so useful if you’ve got a really large company.
In some cases you’ll want pre-designed sales templates laid out for you automatically, but if your business is really unique then this might not apply to you. Just think carefully about what will work for your business and you’ll be sure to make the right choice.