This is a very common question and a quick Google search for Best CRM software may give you the answer. You will find a myriad of articles such as, the Top 5 Best CRM systems, the Top 10, Top 15, Top 20, and even more under terms like “Top Rated CRM” or “Best CRM 2023.” What is a bit perplexing however is that these articles rarely list the same companies. How can one company be in the Top 5 Best CRMs, but not be in the Top 10 or Top 20? Furthermore, why are these the best systems for my business? What criteria was used to determine the best CRM solutions?
The writers of these articles certainly don’t know my business, or the functionality I need. They don’t know whether my company has 10 people or 1,000 employees and what if I serve an industry that requires a specific level of data security such as HIPAA requirements in the health care field? Maybe I need the product to support multiple languages or currencies or integrate with a back-office system like accounting. Is this part of their Best CRM equation? I am not looking to pick on these articles even though I have. They provide a good starting point to learn about some of the more popular products and you can dig into the specifics of each one on your own.
What I believe would be more valuable is to see a listing of CRM solutions based on the market they serve or the specific industry they target. Most CRM products in the market serve a specific sector (enterprise level products, mid-market, and low-end solutions). For example, there are several very good solutions that target enterprise level companies, like the Fortune 1000. These companies typically have functional requirements that are far greater than a company of 10 to 50 users. By design these solutions are costly to purchase and implement and due to their robust functionality require a significant level of training. Here is my point. If I have 15 employees that need to use a CRM solution I don’t need or want a costly cumbersome solution designed for enterprise companies even if the company is listed as a Top 5 or Top 10 solution. In the same regard I may be a small firm but have a unique set of requirements that cannot be supported by the myriad of low cost or freemium solutions that may also be listed as a Top 5 or Top 10 product offering.
Why not just categorize CRM products based on three sectors: the Top 10 for Enterprise companies, the Top 10 for mid-market firms and the Top 10 for small businesses; and most importantly identify a list of criteria that outlines why these companies have been selected. For example, perhaps they have been in business for many years, have a large base of installed customers, offer a unique feature set, provide implementation and consulting services that other companies may not, or they offer high security data hosting services that others may not. Perhaps the solution has a high degree of expertise in a specific industry sector like construction or insurance. These are just some examples of how these Top CRM articles can add value and credibility.
My firm, Commence Corporation, is laser focused on providing customers with the information they need to make an educated decision when selecting a CRM solution. We have differentiated ourselves by market segment and by the comprehensive suite of applications and services we provide. Commence CRM offers the traditional CRM functionality people need such as account and contact management, notes and history, calendaring, activity management, sales, leads, mobile and e-mail integration. Where we differ is that Commence CRM also offers marketing automation, help desk ticketing with a customer portal, and a fully integrated project management system. The product is ideal for companies that need more than the basic functionality offered by lower cost programs, but not the cost and complexity associated with enterprise offerings. Commence also has a high degree of expertise in several vertical markets.
The CRM sector is highly competitive and there is a myriad of competitors to choose from. Certainly, the listings of the Best CRM solutions are valuable, but I believe the writers of these articles can provide a much higher degree of value to prospective buyers by outlining the criteria that support these listings.
About the author:
Larry Caretsky is the president of Commence Corporation, manufacturers of Commence CRM, and considered an authority on the topic of CRM software. Caretsky has written numerous articles on the subject and an e-book, “Practices That Pay.”