Whether you are a part of a sales team or work independently you should use a customer relationship management (CRM) software. As the internal marketing manager at Hawke Media my responsibility is to grow and solidify our inbound leads and monitor the sales cycle. As a digital person I use a CRM system to help with the process. In the paragraphs below I will detail three of my favorite CRM systems, their pros and cons, and explain why the lifecycle of a business should dictate which CRM system you choose to use. The three CRM systems that I detail below are OnePage, Salesforce and SharpSpring.
OnePage is a great platform for anyone who gets a ton of emails and has more follow-up and check-ins than they know what to deal with. For only $12 per month OnePage provides many useful functions. OnePage offers: unlimited contacts, customizable lead scoring, the ability to monitor lead activity, take notes, and even has mobile and tablet compatibility. Additionally, OnePage easily integrates with various programs such as MailChimp, Gmail and LinkedIn. If you are looking for an easy to use (and affordable) software solution OnePage is a great tool that will help. You’ll be assisted to stay on top of your reach-outs and follow-ups and keep your inbox at zero. The downside of OnePage is that its functionality is nowhere near as robust as the leading CRM software platforms. However, if you are simply looking for a task reminder system and a way to stay up to date on your email then OnePage may be the perfect fit.
What to say! Most business managers already know what SalesForce is, which is what makes it the 800-pound gorilla in the CRM software industry. Some of the top functionality aspects of Salesforce are as follows:
- Better visibility into customer information
- Easy account planning
- Better time management
- Email templates
- Trending analyses
The bottom line is: SalesForce provides the most robust features and most complex capabilities. The primary con of Salesforce is its cost. It is more expensive than comparable CRM systems. Additionally it prohibitively scales with the numbers of users you have in the system. If you are not planning on using all of SalesForce’s functionalities I recommend utilizing a comparable competitor.
Hawke Media transitioned its entire biz dev, sales and internal marketing team to SharpSpring because we were looking for a single portal where we could manage the inbound sales process, as well as the lead nurturing (or CRM funnel). Hawke feels that it is important to make the process as simple as possible. We do not want our sales representatives to have to input data on multiple business intelligence (BI) clients for each different step in the lead funnel.
A major selling point of SharpSpring is its Swiss Army-like functionality. One system allows you to make changes and updates that traditionally would require the use of two, or more, systems. A con of SharpSpring is its newness. Hawke Media has been solving (minor) bugs alongside SharpSpring’s development team as they grow. SharpSpring is a great solution for a growing company. You may have to put up with the occasional speed bump (that is inevitable working with a new company) the benefits considerably outweigh the costs. The bottom line being, in the aggregate, SharpSpring provides the functionality of the larger, better-known competitors at a fraction of the cost.