If you haven't invested in client management software, also referred to as CRM (customer retention management) yet, you might want to rethink that decision. Unless you don't want to stay in business, in which case, go ahead and reorder a thousand more pocket calendars and fridge magnets.
Over 91% of businesses with more than ten employees use a client management tool of some sort. Here are a few more fun facts about client management apps.
- The value of the industry is around $66 billion
- 87% of CRM software and apps are cloud-based
- Contact management is the most-wanted feature—94% of consumers say it's a must-have
- 92% of CRM users say the software is critical to meeting revenue goals
Why the recent explosion in CRM? Well, technology happened.
Who doesn't want to turn over repetitive tasks to an app? Especially an app that really does your job better than you—improving lead generation, sales funnel management, and customer intelligence and retention—freeing you up to focus on strategy and innovation rather than process.
You can still write a personal thank your note to customers, and quite frankly, you should. But customer preferences are also evolving with technology, and they prefer omnichannel engagement—text, email, and social media—if they're opting into communications.
I'm sold. How do I know what client management tool I should use?
When you've gone over what you need and determined your budget, start your research. Don't be deterred by all the features most of the top CRM apps offer; they integrate pretty seamlessly into your workflow and before long you'll wonder how you survived without real-time analytics, sales metrics, and lead qualification right there on your phone or tablet. A cloud-based solution is the best option for a small business—you don't have to invest in expensive and quickly outdated hardware. Here are the major points to consider when you're researching the best client retention software for you.
1. Is it easy to use?
If you need a degree in computer science to navigate the app, keep looking. Remember that your entire team will use the app, so make sure it's accessible to everybody—meaning it's fairly intuitive.
Best for ease of use: Zoho
Zoho is the easiest CRM app to use, and it's also highly customizable. Don't be fooled by the simple user interface—with Zoho you can seamlessly track all your data across multiple platforms with the help of their sales assistant Zia. There's also a mobile app, so you've always got your data at your fingertips. The Ultimate plan is most popular, at $45 per month and a 30-day free trial. Zoho also offers 24/7 support.
2. Is there flexibility in the software?
This is the tricky part for startups. You want a client management tool that you can customize to meet your needs now and scale up as the company grows. There will be lots of options that you won't need early on, but that will come in handy later, so finding an app with flexibility means you won't have to switch your client management software later on.
Best for customization: Salesforce
The Salesforce solutions gives you highly customizable and scalable solutions that will grow with your business. It's all-inclusive software that depends on AI for up-to-the-minute data capture and reporting. You can try it free for a couple of weeks, and there are several plan options that let you choose the Essentials plan in your startup phase ($25/user/month) and move up to the Unlimited platform, at $300/user/month. It's expensive on the high end, but worth it.
3. Is it easy to integrate into your existing system?
An all-inclusive system is great, but if you like your email software or other applications, you should be able to integrate your client management system into your existing technology. Make sure that the app you chose supports this kind of integration.
Best for integration: HubSpot
HubSpot CRM has a lot going for it, not least of which is it's free. Maybe this is why it's the most popular CRM software, or maybe it's because it has a full suite of features that integrate all aspects of your business, from sales to operations to customer service. The third-party integration feature is a hot commodity since you can keep the existing software you prefer.
4. Does it have a social media component?
This is a fairly new component of client management software, but it's critical. Engaging with your customers on social media is a must, so why not let your CRM system handle it for you? Lots of entrepreneurs say they don't have the time or expertise to manage social media, so look for an updated app that has that feature. This feature makes marketing a breeze since you've already got the framework in place to build stronger relationships with your clientele and incorporate their feedback into your scaffolding.
Best app for social media: AgileCRM
Love it or hate it, an active Facebook presence is critical to most small businesses. Agile CRM is easy to integrate with Facebook, Instagram, and Skype, with the added benefit of Telephony, an integrated calling feature. That said, it's not great for customization and has limited customer support. If you are super active on social media, it might be worth the $48/user/month enterprise-level plan.
5. Don't forget the analytics
The built-in analytics in your retention system will be your favorite new toy. This data will help you identify problems, solutions, and opportunities for growth and change as your customer’s needs shift.
Best for analytics: Hubspot
Hands down, the best analytics are happening at HubSpot. They have all the bells and whistles that track, collate, compile, and report all the data you'll ever need and really closely monitor customer behavior. All this comes at a price; once you've moved away from the basic free HubSpot, enterprise-level software runs a hefty $3,200 per month.
BONUS TIP: The best way to manage your client management accounts
Most companies will likely use more than one CRM. When organizations grow and the growing need for access across different managers and teams starts to become more complex, it helps to have one centralized dashboard to help keep this efficient. Desktop.com can be the solution for distributing access and creating shared environments so that every team member can access what they need. From shared logins to passwords, to customizable dashboards and toolsets for different departments- you can ensure each team has what they need to get their work done.
Desktop.com’s digital workplace software can also connect to hundreds of applications, including popular CRM platforms like Hubspot, Zoho, Salesforce, and more. By connecting your CRM to our workplace software, your team can easily access and navigate your entire digital work environment in one simplified tool.
Bridge client management software with your digital workplace software
Choosing the best client management tool for your organization really starts with your business needs, the size of your sales teams, and how your organization engages with its customers or clients. No matter what route you choose with your CRM, Desktop.com can adapt to your dynamic workplace structure. Let us bring all your apps, devices, and team members together in one central dashboard, so everybody is always on the same page. Explore our platform features today!