With so many options out there, selecting the right customer relationship management (CRM) solution can seem like an uphill battle. It’s not just that there are so many of them; it’s also that so many are designed to address specific needs. It’s no wonder that pinpointing a CRM tool that meets all of your specific requirements can be overwhelming.
Today’s most popular CRM vendors offer a dizzying array of features. Many features are pretty much standard and are found across most systems. Other features are newer or more specialized and may only be offered by a handful. Further complicating matters is the fact that some vendors handle certain features much better than others.
Ensure that you get the CRM software that suits your company’s needs to a “T” by availing yourself of this convenient CRM comparison chart. Before doing so, familiarize yourself with the features that are highlighted in this CRM comparison matrix, as well as vendors that handle them the best, to more quickly find what you need:
Highlighting the Key Features and Vendor Stand-outs
This integral feature allows you to plan, execute and analyze campaigns from beginning to end. From a single window, you can create and manage a full-fledged campaign across a variety of functions, including events, email, social media and even direct mail.
Standouts: Infor, Microsoft Dynamics, SalesForce, SAP, Pega and SugarCRM all excel in this department. NetSuite is a particular standout, however, with intuitive, integrated Marketing Automation Software.
This feature allows you to establish marketing strategies that target specific types of customers. By tracking key characteristics like spending patterns, product likes and dislikes, geographic location and age, this feature automatically builds a file for each group, making it that much easier to effectively market to them.
Standouts: Nimble, SAP, Sage, SalesForce and NetSuite all offer powerful customer targeting features. Because it offers a 360-degree view of all aspects of each customer and prospect, however, Infor earns a top rating here.
Creating a campaign is really just the first step. It’s also crucial to ensure that it is unfolding as planned, and campaign delivery features allow you to track the progress of your campaigns with ease. Are messages being sent out as scheduled? Are they going to the correct recipients? Without this feature, it is very difficult to tell whether or not your marketing spend is producing the desired results.
Standouts: Pega, SugarCRM and Oracle Siebel perform well in this department. Once again, though, Infor takes the top slot thanks to its powerful workflow management tools that allow you to define and script the majority of your delivery needs. Reports and analytics let you easily visualize the progress of any given campaign.
What kind of return are you getting on your marketing investment? Find out quickly and easily by selecting a CRM software that has high marks for campaign analysis. The best programs are loaded with tools that make it a breeze to gauge the profit that is being generated from a campaign versus the cost of running it.
Standouts: Most of today’s CRM platforms offer useful campaign analysis tools, but Oracle Siebel, Mothernode, Microsoft Dynamics, Infor and NetSuite are particular standouts. With real-time results, however, Mothernode is the top pick when it comes to this feature.
Batch Email Marketing
Although it’s been seemingly overshadowed by social media and various mobile technologies, email marketing is still powerfully effective. Batch email marketing features let you design emails and newsletters quickly through the use of simple design tools. Send your creations in batches to groups, and then track their progress.
Standouts: Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle Siebel, SalesForce and NetSuite all go the extra mile when it comes to this feature. Yet again, Infor tops the list with its real-time email campaign visualization tools and ability to develop drip, email and newsletter campaigns in no time.
Effortlessly reach out to current customers and viable with built-in lead generation tools. Zero in on potential customers based on their likes, interests and various demographics. Nurture leads through the sales funnel with automated features. Maintain relationships with existing customers and keep them coming back for more.
Standouts: Since lead generation is such an in-demand feature, most CRM tools do it well. These include SalesForce, Microsoft Dynamics, Mothernode, Sage and NetSuite. Infor takes things a step further by allowing you to define your own qualification criteria through its lead qualification mechanism, so you have even more control.
Identify and leap on promising opportunities with this innovative feature. It zeroes in on potential opportunities at various points in the sales pipeline, automatically alerting you to take action if desired. This allows you to focus on the most promising prospects to allocate your time more effectively. It includes deal routing and end-to-end tracking as well as the tracking of products, milestones and competitors.
Standouts: The vast majority of today’s top CRM programs offer solid opportunity management features. Infor and Mothernode top the list, with the latter offering Desktop Opportunity Management that delivers powerful sales tools and an intuitive interface.
Online Case Management
Track, close and reopen existing cases with this useful feature. It also allows you to manage confidential information in a secure environment, ensuring that customers’ and clients’ most sensitive information is kept away from prying eyes. This is an essential feature because it helps you avoid letting things slip through the cracks and allows you to keep customer information up to date.
Standouts: Mothernode and Infor both perform well in this area. Mothernode gets a special nod for providing powerful after-sale support features, including the ability to receive inbound cases via case capture forms or email.
Early on, most CRM platforms simply offered an array of predesigned reports. If you needed one that wasn’t there, you were out of luck. Luckily, that has changed. Most programs these days allow you to quickly create custom reports, so you can get your hands on the information that matters the most to your business.
Standouts: Most CRM vendors are up to speed regarding custom reports, but delve a little more deeply to ensure that you get what you need. Once again, Mothernode and Infor top the list. Infor offers prebuilt and custom reports, and its advanced dashboard capability is a nice touch.
Keep track of how well your company is serving its customers with this must-have feature. Accurately measure and monitor customer satisfaction and a variety of customer service factors. This feature helps you improve customer retention and to jump in and take corrective action when needed. It also enhances the acquisition of new customers and improves the rate of customer referrals.
Standouts: Although Mothernode and Infor both excel in this area, Infor gets the top slot for its Advanced Analytics and Visual Analyzer.
Industry Business Process Support
This feature offers support for industry-specific business processes, allowing you to customize your software based on the way in which your company does business. From procurement to logistics to product development and manufacturing, this feature covers every conceivable metric that matters to businesses.
Standouts: We really like both InfusionSoft and Mothernode, but we once again must give the best kudos to Infor for its defined workflows, which deliver unparalleled flexibility, and for its strong add-on functionality.
The best CRM solutions are always evolving and improving. The companies behind them keep their eye on the future, ensuring that each new version of the program includes cutting-edge features that allow businesses to excel in every imaginable way. Some platforms are better about this than others, and it’s something that should be kept in mind when looking for a CRM system. By choosing a CRM system that continually adds improvements to enhance and expand functionality, you are more likely to find one that will stand the test of time for you.
Standouts: Pega, Salesforce and Infor all top the list when it comes to planned enhancements. Mothernode constantly expands its CRM capabilities, however, and is therefore our top pick.
It is also important to keep functional requirements in mind when looking for a CRM solution. Again, some vendors handle these requirements better than others, so it’s well worth it to take a closer look.
- Email Utilities – When it comes to email composition tools, Infor is a major standout.
- VOiP Compatibility – Nimble, Sage, Oracle Siebel, Microsoft Dynamics, NetSuite and Infor all have their bases covered here.
- Audit Trail – CRM software has long been capable of tracking users’ activities within the system. As you will see in the comparison chart, all of the top providers, with the exception of InfusionSoft, have this feature down to a science.
- Customer History – As integral as this feature is, it comes as no surprise that every single vendor on the list earns top marks in this area.
- Knowledge Creation Workflow – Most of the vendors on the list perform well when it comes to providing tools for creating knowledge-based content.
- Social Media Integration – Most platforms perform well in this area, but Infor tops the list with ease.
Finding the right solution for your customer relationship management needs can be tricky. However, now that you are up to speed regarding the most crucial features and requirements for any CRM platform and are familiar with the top vendors, finding the right CRM solution will be a lot easier.