With the advent of practical SaaS, and thus practical niche software solutions, a lot of very task-oriented designs have become a big thing in business software. One of the bigger examples of this would have to be CRM software. Once dominated by tool chains of database and spreadsheet software, or OEM designs, times have really changed. But, with such immense variety of good solutions, choosing the top CRM software can be a challenge.
Well, we’ve done quite a few comparisons of the top CRM software (so labeled by popular opinion), and while we have pretty much given the number one position to a specific one time and again (fairly), that doesn’t make it the only CRM solution worth consideration.
The truth is, while our number one pick is our number one pick for a reason, it’s not necessarily the right choice for everyone. So, below are the top three choices, and one of these will be perfect for you, no matter who you are. Unlike most of our SaaS lists, the order these are listed actually means something, by the way.
#1 – Salesforce
You saw this coming, of course. Salesforce has been almost unanimously declared by the world at large to be the best overall CRM solution available in the twenty first century. It’s not surprising, considering the outstanding support available, along with a ton of features.
Salesforce offers a comprehensive API meaning that new records, form elements and extensions can be easily developed for it, removing the limit in functionality that it would otherwise have. Along with this, their App Exchange offers a constant flow of intuitive extensions to bring more functionality to Salesforce, crafted by skilled programmers, so if you need a function but don’t want to program it yourself, then no worries.
Salesforce also has integration capabilities with more SaaS of other functionality than any other CRM solution. However, it’s expensive, and very much so.
#2 – Microsoft Dynamics CRM
A close second, Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers most of the same functionality which Salesforce offers. Also using a comprehensive API for programming and development of custom tables, records and form elements, this system allows you to easily modify it superficially to meet whatever you need.
Also, using Microsoft API frameworks, it’s compatible with highly standard programming approaches such as C# and ASP.Net, which is a slight advantage compared to Saleforce’s proprietary Apex API. However, it’s as costly in the long run, and while it does offer an app system similar to Salesforce’s, it’s barren in comparison. Also, while other browsers have been tested to work with Dynamics, they only officially support Internet Explorer, which is a terrible browser.
#3 – Sugar CRM
Sugar CRM is a different kind of CRM solution. While it does have the out of the box capacity that any good CRM needs, such as campaigns, books, custom forms and fields and a solid, malleable database structure, it’s not as robust as Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics. However, while it lacks the app exchange concept and giant support community of these other two, it makes up for it, in a sense, by being open source.
This means that with Sugar, you can modify its core functionality to behave any way you want, meaning you don’t necessarily need an app store to add on new capacities. However, that’s a task in and of itself, so if you’re not a programmer, nor want to hire one, this one might not meet your standards.
However, this is a very cheap alternative, and the open source nature does mean you could theoretically make it vastly more powerful and tailored to your specific needs than Salesforce or Microsoft. But, this takes elbow grease.
These are the top CRM software solutions available right now, and they each have their charm. It depends on your budget, and what technical needs you need, along with how much work you want to put into it yourself, to make it yours.
Michael is the Lead Author & Editor of CRMSimplified Blog. Michael established the CRM blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to CRM.