Looking for the right CRM can be overwhelming. Especially if you’re in sales, and it’s your responsibility to keep the system up to date.
Whether you’re part of a brand-new SMB or a well-established enterprise-level company, each CRM is going to offer you and your sales team a different set of tools to work with.
Because we at iSEEit don’t shy away from discussing our competitor’s strengths and weaknesses, we’ve compiled and reviewed a list of eight of the most popular CRMs for sales teams:
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM
- Zoho CRM
- Sage CRM
- Base CRM
- Oracle Siebel
- Netsuite CRM
The original and still the standard in CRM, Salesforce has been around since 1999 and boasts over 100,000 customers.
It offers an impressive degree of customization and scalability, making it the choice thousands of mid-sized and enterprise-level companies.
The customization is a double-edge sword, however, as the more SF gets customized, the more sales people have to fill out an ever-growing list of fields, and the more your company has to rely on an expensive admin team to keep it running.
There is a mobile version of Salesforce, but App Store reviews are polarized (you either love it or hate it).
- Comprehensive set of features
- Able to customize just about every aspect of the program
- Ability to expand its functionality through add-ons and 3rd party apps
- Integrates with a lot of other well-known platforms
- Requires a lot of manual updating and maintenance
- Weak out-of-the-box reporting, requires expensive customization
- Outdated field-based interface
- Robust mobile tool is missing
Cost: Up-front costs are standard, with the basic package starting at $25/user per month and the performance package coming in at $300/user per month. However, once you factor in the extra customization and maintenance fees that most companies will need, you could be looking at at least 10X that amount.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Microsoft Dynamics CRM underwent a pretty serious overhaul for its latest version, with an interface modeled after Windows 8 (which can be a good or bad thing, depending on how you feel about Windows 8).
It’s extremely customizable, allowing it to scale to large enterprise teams and growing mid-size companies.
It is available both as a cloud-based service or as an on-premise installation, and has a mobile version as well (another love-it-or-hate-it app, based on reviews).
- Strong integration with other Microsoft apps
- Wide range of features and functionality
- In-depth customization possible
- Improved navigation (compared to earlier versions)
- Costs of customization mount up quickly
- Complex custom reporting
- Can require a dedicated staff to maintain
- Mobile app isn’t fully featured
Cost: From $30/user per month for their basic up to $200/ user per month for the enterprise plan. Again, in order to customize and maintain, companies may need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Sugar CRM is an affordable choice for smaller to mid-size businesses. It’s an open-source solution, making it (relatively) easy to customize to your organization’s needs, but anything beyond the basics is going to require some cash.
Sugar is user-friendly and has a dedicated community behind it, so support is usually never an issue. However, there are numerous complaints that it crashes more often than other systems.
Available in both cloud-based and on-premise versions, it also has a mobile version for both iOS and Android.
- Easy set-up
- Compatible with many other platforms
- Large support community
- Good out-of-the-box reporting
- More than just basic customization requires higher costs
- Can only export reports to .csv format
- Crashes more often than other CRMs
Cost: From $35/user per month for their basic up to $150/ user per month for the enterprise plan.
Zoho is one of the lowest-priced, full-featured CRMs out there. It’s geared towards small- and medium-sized businesses.
Zoho is completely cloud-based and is part of a larger suite of business applications that include campaigns, reporting, and productivity. It also has strong integration with Google Apps.
Its low cost (free up to 3 users) is a big plus for small sales teams just starting out.
Its mobile app is pretty standard, without any bells or whistles.
- Very affordable for smaller companies
- Easy to get up and running
- Good integration with outside apps
- Not as many features as more expensive CRMs
- Lots of reported issues with their support
- Not a good choice for enterprise or global businesses
Cost: Free for teams with less than three users (stripped down version), $12/user per month for their standard plan, up to $35/ user per month for the enterprise plan.
Sage is another well-known name in the CRM industry and is an affordable solution for mid- to large-size companies. (They also sell Sage ACT!, another popular CRM, which we’ve left out because of its lack of sales functionality).
Sage CRM can handle large amounts of client data and has high potential for customization, though it’s also known for its steep learning curve and lack of automation.
It’s available both on-premise and on the cloud, and integrates strongly with the Sage family of products (e.g. Sage Accounting and Sage ERP).
There is also a mobile app available.
- Affordable mid-sized solution
- Strong integration with other Sage products
- Can handle large amounts of information
- Steep learning-curve
- Difficult to generate custom reports
- Requires lots of manual updating
Cost: Sage has a single pricing tier of $45/ user per month for their cloud version.
Base is another affordable newcomer that has been recognized for its fresh, clean interface and ease-of-use.
Geared towards small- and medium-sized businesses, it has strong integration with a number of other useful apps and comes with a built-in calling and text feature, making it good for sales people on the go.
However, enterprise sales teams may find its features a bit lacking.
You can get it as a cloud-based solution or install it locally, and its mobile app is very easy to use.
- Well-designed for mobile use
- Clean, easy to use interface
- Nice features for on-the-go sales people
- Affordable for many smaller to mid-sized teams
- Limited functionality for larger companies
- Lack of in-depth reporting
- Very limited functionality at the basic plan
Cost: $15/user per month for the basic, $125/user per month for enterprise (however, you have to sign up for the $45/user per month for basic sales functionality such as forecasting and task automation).
Oracle actually has five separate CRM systems that it offers (which is what happens when you have billions of dollars for acquisitions).
To keep things simple, we’ll focus on Siebel, Oracle’s first entry into the CRM market.
Siebel is designed for large, enterprise-level companies that need a seriously comprehensive solution. But that comprehensiveness comes with a cost, as a standard Siebel implementation takes extensive planning and up to 3-6 months to realize.
Once in place though, it gives access to a huge amount of customer information.
To be honest though, it’s interface looks like it hasn’t changed since 1999.
- Handles wide range of enterprise-level operations
- Highly customizable
- Enough customer data to make the NSA nervous
- Weak automation, requires lots of manual work
- Extremely outdated, complex interface
- Custom reporting requires a dedicated IT team
Cost: The Siebel pricing list runs 24 pages, with numerous features, tools and services hitting the five- to six-figure range. So basically, if you don’t have a NASA-level budget, you can scratch this one off of your list.
Netsuite is yet another big player in the CRM industry, with extended functionality that branches out into inventory control, e-commerce activity, and human resources.
Because of the big budget it requires to truly tailor it to your company’s needs, Netsuite lends itself more towards mid-sized to enterprise-level businesses.
User feedback regarding its interface isn’t so hot.
- Highly customizable
- Wide range of functionality
- In-depth reporting
- Additional Netsuite apps cover wide range of business needs
- Requires its own full-time administrator to make it do what you need
- Numerous complaints regarding its UI
Cost: Netsuite is not very transparent with it’s pricing, (we found it only on a 3rd party site). Their Basic package starts at $79/user per month, but the full range functionality brings up the costs, with many companies paying up to $1500-$3500/user per month.
So there you have it. Depending on your needs and the size of your sales team, any one of these CRMs might be right for you.
Do your homework, and always remember to keep the final cost in mind. Any CRM that requires extensive customization will end up with very large, very hidden costs.
We also recommend going in-depth with their free trials. The most important thing is that you end up with something that your sales team will actually use.