Whether you’re an enterprise business or a small startup, driving and managing leads is critical to your overall success. Customer relationship management (CRM) systems can make all the difference, particularly if you’re in a place where you want to scale. They can help you track your leads, prompt you to take actions when leads reach certain milestones, and even automatically prompt generation of marketing materials based on lead activities.
But there are literally hundreds of options out there. How do you know which one is right for your business?
To save you some legwork and headache, here are six CRM options for automating leads generation and management with a range of capabilities for small, mid-market, and enterprise businesses.
For Small Businesses:
Insightly is designed to be an easy-to-use CRM software that caters to startups and small businesses alike. For sole proprietors there's a free plan with next level pricing at $12 per month/user.
Insightly is cloud-based and uses the “software as a service” model that is so popular, especially for firms that must be particularly budget-conscious. You can buy the system and scale your use of the application as your business grows.
However, just because it’s inexpensive doesn’t mean it’s cheap—on the contrary, Insightly comes with a complete set of CRM functionalities, such as contact management, lead management, opportunity management, and even project management, all in a single solution.
It also has a rich application programming interface (API) with which you can develop customer capabilities and other integrations to track time and attendance, manage accounting systems and, of course, create mass mailings and communications. Insightly also brings you advanced social media awareness and functionality as well as comprehensive mobile device accessibility options.
As with Insightly, Zoho is designed with the budget-minded small business or startup in mind. Up to 10 of your teammates can use Zoho free of charge, bringing a feature-rich solution to your lead generation and management problems.
Zoho packs a ton of functionality in its offering, including multi-user access, a full 360-degree perspective on all aspects of your contacts’ information, advanced automation, collaboration, and third-party integration, and a full suite of social media CRM related functions (such as automatic linking to LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter profiles based on key information) as well as native mobile apps for all the major platforms.
For Mid-Market Businesses
Business News Daily ranked Salesforce as its number one CRM for small to mid-sized businesses looking to grow. Why? Because the platform offers small business solutions that you can upgrade as your business scales. As its name suggests, Salesforce is all about streamlining the sales process to help you close sales quickly and easily.
The software is designed to provide and capture all of the information you need to manage contacts, find leads, convert them into opportunities, and then customers—along with support for running more efficient marketing campaigns and other key aspects of the lead management process.
Salesforce makes Social CRM simple with automated integration and population of key contact data from all of the major platforms. It also has advanced analytics and automated lead generation support, ensuring that your sales reps are staying on top of the leads that are most likely to become qualified. And, like all of the other products recommended here, Salesforce also has a comprehensive mobile device presence, with a full-featured capability on par with that of its more stationary web presence.
Of all the products covered here, Act-on stands out with its primary focus on lead generation and management over general customer relationship management. Via its Lead Nurturing, Lead Scoring, and A/B Testing modules, Act-on brings hard analytics to bear on the problem of deal closure.
Using simple workflows and easy-to-use conditional triggers, Act-on can help you build a broad marketing campaign that delivers extremely targeted and personalized messages—both of which are key to your sales success. You can set up trigger emails to be sent based on specific actions, like filling in a form, registering for an event, or other key events. If you have thousands of leads, you can program Act-on to behave in particular ways based on the status of the deal.
For Large Businesses
Oracle Siebel CRM
In many ways, Siebel is the granddaddy of all the CRM applications. It’s used in thousands of enterprise call centers and sales organizations around the world. Today Oracle Siebel represents one of the most mature and comprehensive capabilities for lead generation and lead management and customer fulfillment services available anywhere in the market.
Oracle Siebel has an extremely comprehensive data model and service-oriented architecture, which, along with its strong workflow engine, allows you to manage complex business processes and organizational structures with relative ease.
While many other CRMs are designed primarily to work “out of the box,” Oracle Siebel is also designed with heavy configuration and customization in mind, which sets it apart as an enterprise-ready system for lead and customer relationship management.
While many of the other CRM solutions are only available as a cloud-based offering, Oracle offers Siebel in both hosted and on-premise configurations as well, which is a key requirement for many large businesses.
As you might expect, Microsoft Dynamics is right at home with your Microsoft Office product suite and is fully integrated with each of its tools.
As a result, users typically interact with the Dynamics CRM via other application interfaces, Outlook being the primary one. While you will need to be prepared to spend some time and money investing in the development of a custom solution (if matching your system to your existing processes is of utmost importance to you) Microsoft Dynamics is likely a very good fit for you. For example, your enterprise likely has a well established customer database, deeply integrated into your financial system, which you aren’t going to change just because you’d like to implement CRM. Through data integration, Dynamics can use this information in place versus having to export, transform, load, and synchronize it routinely, as would be the case in virtually all other systems.
If you really want to take your lead generation to the next level, then a CRM system is a must-have. But, keep in mind, there is no one-size-fits-all option. Carefully consider what you need your CRM to do before you start shopping.