This guide explains how to choose a CRM software that could meet the needs of your business. Plus, compare four brands side-by-side.
What is CRM Software?
CRM (or customer relationship management) is the method used by a company to build strong customer relationships. This is facilitated by CRM software which can manage business interactions with leads and existing customers in a streamlined way, ultimately driving better retention rates and more sales.
How does CRM software work?
Generally, CRM software can let your sales team monitor past and present customer engagement with your company and evaluate the success of your campaigns. These insights can help you to target your customers at the right time and efficiently in the future.
Having the right CRM software in place can also give your organisation the chance to increase the efficiency of its end-to-end sales process.
The features offered by CRM software vary a lot, and many can be integrated with other business software tools.
CRM overlaps with — and feeds into — email marketing, which helps businesses to reach their customers with ease and in a cost-effective way (our guide has more on email marketing tools).
What to look for when comparing CRM software
- Cost. Weigh costs including setup, monthly service fees and any additional features you may want to buy.
- Features. Are you looking for an all-in-one platform to simplify your sales marketing? Consider the services your business needs to flourish.
- Customisation. Intuitive software is the more user-friendly option but if you're tech-savvy or have a dedicated IT team, then self-hosted platforms may offer more opportunity to customise your platform.
- Subscription plan. Do you need to sign a contract to use the service? How about cancellation fees? Read the fine print before signing up.
- Free trials. Is there a decent free trial? Many brands offer 14- or 30- periods with no hidden charges or strings attached.
- Customer support. Some companies will relish the chance for phone support and/or 24/7 help.
Pros and cons
- Wide-ranging tools and integrations can boost productivity
- Cuts down on admin, freeing up sales teams
- Plans can be expensive
- Some companies may find CRM systems tricky to learn
4 popular CRM software brands in Australia
How did we choose these companies?
The software featured below were chosen to showcase the range of options on offer for businesses in Australia. The best CRM software for you will depend on the needs of your company and your specific circumstances.
Here are four CRM software brands worth considering.
Good for: Ease of use
Pipedrive. This fuss-free software lets you visualise your company's entire sales process. The user interface is simple and uncluttered and is suited for a range of team sizes. One software feature allows you to spot and merge duplicated contacts, a plus for a sales team who don't want to engage with the same lead multiple times.
Good for: Top-quality features
Salesforce. The US software company lets businesses store data, monitor leads and progress, forecast opportunities, and do lots more. Its Sales Cloud hosts its CRM functionality, while its Salesforce Einstein Analytics software (an extra) is one example of how strong its features can be. The tool uses artificial intelligence (AI) to automate time-consuming sales tasks, including data entry, forecasting and lead scoring.
Good for: Integrations
Zoho. Tailored to meet the needs of SMEs, Zoho's features include lead and contact management, multi-channel interactions with customers and numerous choices for analytics. Its integrations are many and include Zoho's own product range of email and social media marketing and analytics tools. It's even possible to build your own version of Zoho CRM, giving a further sign of its flexibility.
Good for: Affordability
Mailchimp. Manage basic CRM processes on-the-go by installing the Mailchimp app. Start and build a customer database, track subscriber activity, preview drafts of upcoming campaigns, check out reports and more. The free version lets you send emails to up to 2,000 contacts and up to 12,000 email sends per month.
There are a lot of important factors to consider when shopping around for CRM software — price, features and useability to name just a few. While most brands will offer free trials, you'll still want to research a number of options first before you settle on the best pick for your business' needs.