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CRM Comparison: Which is Best for Your Business?

More customers are choosing digital means to connect with businesses. As they do, those companies need modern solutions for collecting and organizing information about those customers. 

To accomplish this, businesses have turned to powerful customer relationship management (CRM) software. It allows them to organize contacts, automate marketing and sales touchpoints, and follow someone’s progress as they go from prospect to customer and beyond. But, choosing the right CRM has become increasingly difficult as more options enter the market. 

To know which CRM is right for your business, you need to know what characteristics, features, and benefits to look for, and how they can each benefit your sales and marketing teams.  

Explore the benefits of Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM and see what it can do for your marketing and sales teams with this infographic. 

What Makes a Good CRM? 

When choosing a CRM for your business, it’s important that you understand exactly what you need and what to expect from a modern system realistically. 

Here are some characteristics of a great CRM: 

  • Easy to Understand and Use: A CRM should be accessible by anyone in your organization. Part of the point is to make the collected data available to people on different teams so everyone is working off the same information. This means your CRM must be easy to learn, intuitively designed, and simple enough so that most people can effectively use it without hours of training. 
  • Scalability: As your business grows and you build your customer base, your CRM needs to be able to seamlessly grow with you without becoming unorganized, expensive, or unusable. 
  • Adaptability: Your CRM should also be able to adapt to your changing needs as your business grows, including features you may not need now but will in the future, or the ability to integrate with tools that open possibilities as they’re needed. A future-proof CRM now keeps you from having to change systems in the future. 

Necessary Features in a Modern CRM 

In addition to the overall characteristics of what makes a modern CRM good for you, be sure to keep an eye out for some of the most important and necessary features that every modern CRM should have, such as: 

  • Customization: No two businesses are the same, and no two businesses have the same target audience. Your CRM should allow you to customize what you send to people, how you collect data, how your data is displayed, and how the CRM interacts with other technology. Your CRM should be working toward your specific goals, not just generalized goals built-in by developers. 
  • Integrations: A key part of a modern CRM is being able to integrate with the huge amounts of marketing and sales software available today. These third-party tools fill in gaps in a CRM’s capabilities—such as integrating with social media platforms to pull data, with communications tools to streamline messaging, with advertising platforms to track clicks, with email services for automation and reporting, and more. These integrations act as extensions, expanding what your CRM is capable of. 
  • Automation: Many of the tasks involved in lead tracking and customer management don’t have to manually be done anymore. Workflow automation, a key feature in any modern CRM, can handle many of them automatically based on customizable rules and triggers. For example, when a customer fills out a form, you can automatically send a preset response email, target them with online ads, or send a text.  
  • Lead Management: How many touchpoints has a prospect encountered? Are they engaging with you? What have they looked at? All questions like these can be answered using a highly organized database of contact information which helps you refine your sales process and offer prospects custom, optimized experiences based on real data. 
  • Document Management: The sales process involves a lot of documents. A CRM can help you keep everything organized by making it simpler to collect, upload, store, access, and share key documents, making them more accessible to your entire team. 
  • Reporting and Analytics: Data is useless without proper structuring and reporting. A CRM can provide you with scheduled reports (monthly, weekly, etc.) that pull in all the information you deem critical to understanding the status of your customers and leads.  
  • Forecasting: Using predictive business intelligence, a CRM can make informed predictions on future sales figures to project revenue based on past trends during specific times or under specific conditions. Forecasting capabilities allow you to utilize data in unique new ways. 
  • Remote Use: Modern CRMs aren’t locked away in your office or are only available from 9-5. They can be accessed using phones, tablets, laptops, and other devices from anywhere without sacrificing security or functionality. 

Why is it Important to Pick the Perfect CRM? 

CRMs provide a lot of benefits that are necessary for businesses to compete. Those benefits include increased sales, better customer service (and retention), more transparency into your customer’s journey and your sales cycle, a centralized database with more accurate reports, more aligned teams, and higher productivity and efficiency for your teams. 

benefits of using a modern crm

Businesses that implement CRM software can see sales increase by 29%, productivity increase by 34%, and forecasting accuracy improve by 42%.  

A CRM is a vital part of a business’ ability to maintain productive relationships with customers and prospects. The insight into how your customers traverse your sales process is invaluable in creating better experiences that result in more conversions and sales 

CRMs also give you a wide variety of additional options for servicing customers by tracking more data about them and allowing you to personalize marketing materials and customer service actions to their actual needs. 

Without a CRM, your business lacks many of the capabilities that competing businesses have and use, and that customers now expect—personalized messaging, unique cadences, faster responses, and more. 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase when offered a more personalized experience. 

Additionally, it’s important to pick a CRM that plays nicely with the software you already use across your company. For example, if you rely on the Microsoft suite of tools, then you need a CRM that has easy, natural integrations with them all, like Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 CRM. 

How to Make the Most of Your CRM 

Having a CRM alone isn’t always going to revolutionize the way you handle sales and customers, though. It takes a certain level of expertise to get the most out of every feature a CRM offers.  

Partnering with a managed service provider (MSP) can not only help you find the perfect CRM, but it also gives you access to a team of specialists who have the experience needed to implement a new system smoothly and effectively, as well as setting you up for future success through employee training and ongoing support.  

In Conclusion 

In the right circumstances—with the right tools and expertise—a CRM can be a game-changing tool for businesses to revamp and optimize the way they sell and service customers. With lead tracking and data collection, your teams have more insight into the buyer’s journey than ever before and can know exactly what to do and when to do it to increase sales, improve retention, and optimize marketing efforts. 

But it’s critical for businesses to be careful and diligent when researching options for CRMs. Ensure you find the features and benefits that your business needs to make the most of these modern technologies. 

One of the best options for a CRM, and one backed by our business technology experts, is Microsoft Dynamics 365, which has a plethora of features that can boost your sales and marketing. Check out this infographic to learn more about the product and see how Microsoft 365 CRM with Impact can make all the difference.