Customer relationship management software allows businesses to manage the relationships it has established with its customers. CRM software achieves this by understanding customer needs and harnessing and developing existing customer relationships, as well as creating new relationship channels and maintaining them all with an aim to achieve a competitive advantage over other businesses. CRMs assist in processes such as marketing products, merchandising, smooth service operations, and even selling the organization’s products. Customer relationship management is useful to an organization because not only does it increase the competitive advantage but also allows for swifter adaptation to changing economic conditions all with an aim of ensuring that the organization stays head and shoulders above the rest.
Building Blocks of CRM Software
Different CRM software has unique features and processes, but all share a common building block structure. CRM software usually has a database which collects and store customer data. This information includes names, addresses, phone numbers, previous purchases, and so forth. Each and every detail that a customer divulges during their interaction with the organization is stored in the database.
This information captured is vast and jumbled, and for this reason, the CRM has a way to analyze the information in the database. Information of this magnitude is not helpful to the organization unless it is put in a format that makes sense, and thus the CRM has modules that organize the customer data. This module is mainly analytics and analyzes and represents the data in various formats such as graphs, charts, trends, tables, and so forth to give a visual representation discernible by the organization.
The CRM also has modules that apply strategies to the results of the analysis of data in order to meet the needs of current customers better, as well as to attract and retain new customers. This includes marketing strategies, human resource management, sales force automation, workflow automation, and so forth. These modules put into effect the action plans that attract and retain customers.
Lastly, the CRM has modules that track how these strategies work and analyze their results. This is important because based on the results and set metrics, the CRM is able to decipher whether the strategies are working or are effective in meeting the organization’s objectives of remaining competitive and maintaining a good relationship with their customers.
Objectives of CRM Software
CRM software is important to an organization because it helps in improving customer satisfaction. When customers are treated satisfactorily, they remain loyal to the organization, and can even spread the good word around and attract more customers. CRM software achieves this objective by maintaining a close relationship with customers through social networking sites, through interactive blogs, mobile platforms and even through surveys.
CRM software also helps an organization to expand its customer base. In addition to having details about existing customers, the CRM also allows for the creation of knowledge about new customers who are yet to be converted. With such a huge knowledge base, it is possible for the organization to ensure that there is profits continuity, even in the case where the business is seasonal in nature.
An important objective of CRM software is to enhance the sales of the organization. There are many sales opportunities created when analysis of customer data is done, and the pursuit of these opportunities helps in increasing the revenue, which is in alignment with the organization’s objectives.
The CRM also helps in improving the productivity of the workforce by creating a method for working for sales. A well-defined sales strategy ensures that only the proven tasks are followed when pursuing a sale, and extravagant or ineffective strategies are shunned. In this way, resources and energy are focussed on those methods that are guaranteed to result in successful sales.
Our picks for the 10 Best Free CRM Software
Different businesses have different needs, and the size of the business and the amount of the resources to be invested in customer relationship management determine the choice of CRM software. There are many free CRM software available, and below is an outline of the best that provides the most robust features.
Ixact Contact CRM is ideal for real estate agents and helps to manage business contacts, to manage and capture leads, and to achieve sales targets. It has a customizable and easy to use user interface, has features to automate tasks and reminders, and integrates well with third-party software and platforms such as Google and outlook. Ixactcontact helps to convert leads into customers through effective marketing campaigns, newsletters, and even robust social media integration. The free trial is packed with many features and a very effective customer service support.
This CRM software allows the organization to track, organize, and to foster their relationship with customers. The software is completely free and has the capability to support unlimited users and related contacts. The CRM also contains tools that help with email marketing campaigns as well as integrating with third-party marketing automation software. The CRM has an email marketing rate of 90 percent, which is far greater than the regular 78 percent rating that is attributed to most CRMs. For small businesses and organizations, this CRM is ideal and free for life.
Bitrix is a free software for up to five users and limited storage of up to five gigabytes. This CRM includes useful features such as Gantt charts and time tracking, telephony services, email marketing, invoicing, sales automation and so forth. For a small business with limited needs, but still looking to harness telephony options, then Bitrix is ideal. For an increased number of users, the vendor has more paid plans for expansion offers.
Really Simple Systems
This CRM has a fully customizable dashboard, has task management features, and also a sales pipeline management capabilities as well as integrating with third-party software making it ideal for an organization’s CRM needs.
Really Simple Systems CRM is really easy to use and it is proven that the vendor has excellent customer support for the product even for the free version. This CRM is free for up to 100 user accounts, but should you wish to upgrade it will cost only $14 per month. For a business with around 100 customers, then this is ideal, and the upgrade fee to accommodate more users is considerable.
Freshsales CRM helps an organization pursue sales leads, contacts, sales and so forth, especially for small organizations. It integrates well with third-party data management software, email automation software such as MailChimp, and even Google’s apps. The free version allows up to 10 users and is highly rated among small scale users.
This free CRM brings together sales representatives, marketers, sales representatives, and customer service attendants for a more intimate relationship. The free version has a two user limit, but the features packed are worth it. The CRM is flexible and has user-friendly interfaces that make it easy to build and follow up on sales leads, and also to take advantage of the many customization features.
Zurmo has many convenient features for an organization which help improve interaction with the customers and also improve marketing services and overall team performance. This CRM has a friendly user interface with customizable features. Zurmo is especially useful to organizations that encompass different countries or diverse territories.
Zoho CRM helps to manage relationships and to automate sales and to follow up leads either in emails or other platforms. This software is free for up to ten users and a storage capacity of up to one gigabyte of data. Further, the users can access management, analytics and other integration features without any limitations. However, to upgrade, a small fee of $12 per user per month is charged.
This is a free CRM that has the capabilities to be used in both public and private clouds, on the user’s server or even on a publicly leased server. A user can get statistics in intricate details that help in increasing sales and conversions and also enhancing customer care. Acquiring data is quick and easy because of the eased features of the platform. Another distinguishing factor is that there are no paid plans, the platform is completely free and harbors no hidden fees.
This CRM enables users to manage relations and it has automation features for services and relationships. It is highly favored by startup ventures, developers, and entrepreneurs of all calibers. The free version offers flexibility and user adaptability to suit varying business needs, and to unlock more features, a fee of $40 per user per month is required.