Top CRM features: 9 sales professionals have their say
When selecting new software, the most useful sources of CRM information are sometimes the most underused by software selection teams.
These fountains of CRM knowledge often have experience using several software systems, and will be able to tell you exactly how well those fancy feature sets you saw at demo translate into real life.
We're talking, of course, about real-life, hardworking sales and marketing managers. That's why we went out and found some, and asked them what they really liked about their sales tools, and how business has improved as a result.
GET CRM RESEARCH & KNOWLEDGE RIGHT TO YOUR INBOX
Covering the key issues faced by businesses selecting and implementing CRM.
1. HubSpot's growth stack approach to CRM
We have seen a pivot from tools like Salesforce who are built on partnerships with third party API's that plug into their software, to companies preferring all in one solutions again like HubSpot and their relatively new sales CRM and marketing suite.
HubSpot makes it extremely easy to manage without any over-complication, which directly reflects work efficiency. We absolutely love it at eSub.
Tyler Riddell, Marketing Director, eSub
"HubSpot makes it extremely easy to manage without any over-complication, which directly reflects work efficiency. We absolutely love it at eSub."
2. ONLYOFFICE's integrated project planning and billing features
We implemented ONLYOFFICE in order to keep better track of our sales leads, lead times and client data.
I like the fact that they've integrated project planning and billingfunctionalities. Price wise they are very friendly and they fit well with our enormous number of client records (over 10.000+).
They helped us grow our business enormously. We now work for international hosting companies like i3D.net and NovoServe out of the Netherlands.
Mark Karsch, Managing Parner, Cloudsuppliers.net
3. BigContacts' well-designed UX
I currently use BigContacts and have for at least 10 years. I like it because:
- It is simple, intuitive and structured perfectly for my practice
- Has always had fantastic, prompt tech support If something needs to be fixed, they fix it immediately.
- It works seamlessly with Skype, making it easy to click and call our clients
- Activity history is time and date stamped for regulatory compliance and can't be altered
- It is dynamic, and mobile friendly so I don't need to download a seperate app to my smartphone
Gary Duell, Owner and Founder, Duell Wealth Preservation
4. Agile CRM's comprehensive free package
The last CRM implementation I did was for Salesforce. To it Salesforce you need to be an expert. And every time you want to increase functionality beyond the core CRM, to include marketing (Pardot), or back office support (ServiceDesk) the licence fees increased. It was like being an addict with cravings only Marc Benioff could satisfy!
For my new startup Kansoly, I something that was low cost, and had:
- Marketing (drip campaigns, broadcast emails, email monitoring)
- Sales (lead management, pipeline, quota management)
- Accounting package integration (to Xero)
- Voice integration (Twilio)
I tried a number of packages but they were generally a variance of the Salesforce model i.e. suck me in and then upsell me another package.
I've arrived at AgileCRM. Currently making do with the free product, which was no hardship - until now when I'm starting to employ.
Bruce Macfarlane, Founder, Kansoly
5. Intercom's A/B testing functionality
I am co founder of GreenPal which has been described as Uber for lawn care.
My favorite CRM tool is Intercom. This tool incorporates customer acquisition, customer feedback, customer support, conversion and marketing automation.
It allows us to set goals for marketing campaigns, run A/B tests, insert live chat in our on boarding process, and get real time customer feedback. With these practices in place, we have seen over a 40% uplift in conversion after implementation.
It's a great all-in-one tool that allows us to be more efficient and pragmatic in our future product decisions.
Gene Caballero, Co-founder, GreenPal
"My favorite CRM tool is Intercom.io. This tool incorporates customer acquisition, customer feedback, customer support, conversion and marketing automation"
6. Insightly's scalability
We use Insightly here at Fit Small Business, and I'd say there are two key reasons why we like it.
It's been very easy to scale the system as we've grown. Contact and project management are the core features we use, but we've also used sales management, web form integration and email tools as the situation has called for them. The custom reporting engine has proved to be essential. When your database starts to get as large as ours, it's incredibly handy to drill down and sorta data without restriction.
It's very easy to use. Our whole team has picked up on it quickly, and our senior members can adjust system settings without any trouble. Unlike more complicated systems that require a trained admin, basically anyone can become an Insightly pro with just a little bit of research and hands-on experience.
Jeremy Marsan, Business Analyst, Fit Small Business
7. Zoho's pricing structure and support package
Zoho's price point for our business and operational needs was perfect - plus great, all-inclusive support and onboarding assistance from their team. Logging all of our contacts made it very easy to create a mailing lists and produce pipeline reports. This saved us significant time compared to the old fashioned 'email me your updates' or 'water cooler' conversation about new potential deals.
It also put some color on our outreach efforts. It can feel like you are reaching out to many people, but without a CRM, it is hard to know if it was 10 or 100 and it is tempting to think you are doing more when it is not documented. More contacts and more systematic follow-ups almost always means more conversations, proposals and sales
Terence Channon, Managing Director, Saltmines Group
8. Salesforce's integration options
Most of you have probably used or at least heard of Salesforce. It definitely is the big cheese in the CRM software category, so we finally made the switch.
Salesforce can be a little pricey, and its customer support isn’t the greatest. But the level of integrations between Salesforce and our other tools is crucial to scaling our business and managing the number of leads we work on a daily basis.
Kevin Sides, CMO, ShipMonk
9. Conga Composer's streamlined workflow options
At Enovate Medical, our field reps were manually reporting work orders and case logs from hospitals that housed either technology. Each work order took an average of 30 minutes, with orders taking place 10-15 times a month across 20 field reps. The critical process was convoluted, error prone and inconsistent.
"By implementing Conga Composer, we were able to streamline the infield process of work orders and case logs for 20 reps"
By implementing Conga Composer, we were able to streamline the infield process of work orders and case logs for 20 reps. The solution merges multiple fields to create a template that includes key information from various areas in Salesforce. Moving to Conga Composer has helped us save 5-8 hours a month in manual work, plus the time spent revising incorrect orders.
Joey Len, Salesforce Administrator, Enovate Medical
Featured white papers
CRM software selection checklist
Plan your CRM selection project with over 100 actionable steps to successDownload
CRM pricing guide
Your completely up-to-date guide to CRM pricing in 2017Download
Mastering CRM demos in five easy steps
Use CRM vendor demos to make the best selection decision with this guideDownload
CRM consultant jobs - four questions to expect at interview
Some top tips on interviewing for a CRM consultancy job
What are the risks of open source CRM?
Can your company overcome the risks of open source CRM?
10 must-have features for your enterprise CRM
Critical features and requirements gathering for businesses selecting enterprise CRM