Which CRM System?

Recently the marketing director at my company asked me to research CRM systems to determine which system would be the most useful and cost effective for our company. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems enable companies to track and manage all customer interactions across the customer lifecycle from lead to order to support in one master system of record.

CRM software suites typically provide:

  1. Sales Force Automation (SFA) including contact, account, and opportunity management
  2. Marketing Automation features such as lead and campaign management
  3. Customer support features such as support case and knowledge management
  4. A unifying database and platform for companies to manage all customer data and customer-facing applications.


Early in my research, I found g2crowd.com. The website helps companies compare and select the best CRM systems for their respective business needs. The site has a great tool called the G2 Grid. The grid categorizes CRM products by customer satisfaction (based on user reviews) and scale (based on market share, vendor size, and social impact). Product logos contain links that allow for a more detailed comparison analysis.

G2 Crowd Grid for CRM Software

CRM Grid

Quadrant 1: The Leaders Quadrant

(Salesforce CRM, HubSpot CRM, Zoho CRM, Nimble, Pipedrive, PipelineDeals, and Salesnet)

This quadrant contains highly-rated products that have very high customer satisfaction ratings and very high market penetration. These products have substantial scale, market share, and global support and service resources.

 Quadrant 2: The High Performers

(Contactually, Workbooks.com, Prophet CRM, BigContacts, Base CRM, GreenRope, Pipeliner CRM, Nutshell, InfoFlo Software, Really Simple Systems, Bullhorn CRM, Relenta CRM, amoCRM, WORK[etc], AddressTwo, Hatchbuck, Apptivo, Membrain, Insightly, bpm’online CRM, You Don’t Need a CRM!, Mothernode, and Lynkos)

These products also have high user satisfaction ratings. However, they have not yet reached the degree of market penetration achieved by the vendors in the Leader category.

Quadrant 3: The Contenders

(Microsoft Dynamics CRM, SAP CRM, Oracle CRM On Demand, Oracle Siebel, Oracle Sales Cloud, NetSuite CRM, Sage CRM, and Infor CRM)

The products in the Contender quadrant have significant market presence and resources, but overall low satisfaction ratings or the product has not received a sufficient number of ratings to validate the degree of satisfaction.

Quadrant 4: The Niche Products

(GoldMine, Vtiger CRM, Maximizer CRM, SugarCRM, NeonCRM, CiviCRM, SalesforceIQ (formerly RelateIQ), Act!, Infusionsoft, Capsule, and Highrise)

The Niche products have poor market penetration and have not yet received enough reviews to validate degree of satisfaction.

Purchase Considerations

Before recommending a CRM system to your company, set expectations for use of the software and made sure that your team understands the benefits of a CRM system.

The most comprehensive system is not necessarily the right one to track and manage interactions with your customers. Evaluate what tools and processes your team currently use to track and improve customer interactions. As a team, determine which CRM features would be most helpful in helping to improve existing sales and customer relationship management processes – and which is the most cost-effective. Know what features are a must have, which are good to have, and which are unnecessary.

Your team will probably need a CRM that has mobile functionality, automatically syncs data and provides offline access to data.

Choose a product that will allow users to access the data from any device (PC, Mac, iOS, or Android) and will be compatible with the software and apps that your team already uses.

Also, ensure that the product is scalable to the organization’s ambitions. As the business grows the software will need to have the necessary functionality to satisfy the changing needs of your company.

Finally, allow the team a chance to test-drive a trail version of the CRM you are contemplating. Test the basic features as well as the most advanced ones. Note the level of difficulty performing everyday tasks. Survey the team to clarify feedback and use the feedback to discuss the product deliverable with each prospective vendor.

I won’t reveal which CRM we decided upon because again there is no one solution for everyone. However, suffice it to say that as a team we decided upon a system from the “High Performers” quadrant. We went with a system that provides all the necessary tools at a reasonable price.

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