9 top CRM software platforms in 2023

When searching for a CRM solution that’s right for you, consider some key factors before making a final decision. You have a variety of platforms to pick from, and each one comes with its own blend of features, functions, and packages. Think about what combination would be best for your company.

CRM software considerations

Time to value

Spending time and money to implement and learn a new and complicated system doesn’t benefit your company. You want a CRM with fast time to value. You’ll see lower ownership costs and be able to hit the ground running in no time when the product offers:

  • A user-friendly interface: With the help of an intuitive platform, you can start using the CRM in just a few hours and have it fully set up within days or weeks instead of months or years.

  • Customization: A wide array of out-of-the-box integrations and powerful APIs let you customize the software to fit your needs without the support of expensive outside consultants—saving you time and money.

  • Easy administration: Minimal admin needs means less money spent on expensive support and resources—and more time to focus on your customers.

Reporting features

Get a CRM with easy-to-understand analytics so you can improve your strategy and gain invaluable insights into your customers and business. You should be able to customize these features to meet your unique needs.

  • Accurate forecasting allows you to predict growth and revenue.

  • Pipeline analysis helps you see where your prospects are in the pipeline and spot any bottlenecks.

  • Advanced analytics provide historical data, pre-built dashboards, and collaboration tools so you can collect actionable insights.

More features to look for include activity reporting, performance metrics, and custom dashboards.

Simple setup

Some CRMs are hard to install and configure, and you might even need to hire someone to manage it for you. Choose a CRM that you can install easily so you can get up and running quickly.

No matter the size of your organization, finding a CRM with a simple setup is incredibly beneficial. Startups have hectic schedules, so learning a new system could fall by the wayside for them. Meanwhile, enterprise companies need something their employees can start using immediately so they don’t skip a beat.

Team productivity features

The best CRMs offer features to help you maximize team productivity. These basic features include:

  • Email integration that improves efficiency with tools like alerts, templates, and automatic tracking.

  • Sales engagement tools to build targeted email lists with automated email sequences.

  • Task players that can streamline routine actions like customer outreach.

Other helpful features include call and text, smart contact lists, power dialers, bulk outreach, and sales triggers.

Customer experience features

Your team can use certain features to help improve the customer experience and, as a result, strengthen customer relationships. Keep an eye out for CRMs that offer:

  • A centralized platform that helps you manage leads, contacts, and account info in one location.

  • An app marketplace that lets you connect your favorite business apps.

  • A complete customer view that enables teams to share customer data and insights.

Additional CX features include API access, mobile apps, and subscriptions that help you track information on specific accounts.

Total cost of ownership

Of course, your company’s budget always factors into implementing new business tools like a CRM. But if you calculate a CRM’s total cost of ownership (TCO), you’ll see that buying high-quality CRM software for sales is worth the investment.

When deciding on a CRM, you’ll likely start by comparing the prices. But bear in mind the extra costs that you might not consider when just looking at the sticker price. You may need to pay for things like:

  • Implementation costs

  • Maintenance fees

  • Consultants

  • Add-ons

Some customer relationship management software offers a free version but charges for the functions you really want. Remember—you get what you pay for. Consider investing in a top-notch CRM that will pay for itself in the long run.

Integrates with your tech stack

It’s important to pick a CRM with an open and flexible platform so it respects your current investments and works with your existing tech stack. By bringing together all your systems and customer data, you’ll gain a complete customer view and a deeper understanding of your audience.

When you have a highly customizable CRM like Zendesk Sell, your team members have all the tools they need to do their jobs well in one place. It’s developer-friendly, too, so building custom CRM applications or integrations is easy (and fast).

Mobile sales management

There’s an app for everything, and CRM is no exception. Several CRM providers offer mobile access for smartphones and tablets, allowing sales teams and managers to keep tabs on their activities, goals, and tasks when they’re away from their desks. This feature is especially helpful for field sales reps who don’t want to sacrifice productivity when they’re on the road.

Free trial

There’s a reason car dealerships allow test drives—it’s the same reason many CRM vendors offer free trials. Even with the relatively low cost of cloud CRMs, the time and effort it takes to implement new software can still present a risk if you end up disliking it.

As you shop for a CRM, take note of the platforms with free trials. Not only will a test run give you a good idea of how well the software meshes with your team and current apps, but it will also give you a free head-start on implementation.