There are now more than 2,200 CRM providers in the U.S. alone. Sales automation and CRM are crucial for any growing business—but how can you know which is best?
There are several factors to consider when choosing sales automation software, from features and capabilities to prices and services. In this guide, we explore the pros and cons of CRM industry leaders to help you choose the best one for your organization.
HubSpot began with a focus on inbound marketing and selling by being helpful to customers. Today, it features a sales, service, marketing, CMS, and operations products platform.
Pros: HubSpot describes itself as an “easy-to-use CRM.” It is good at simplifying sales and marketing with a clean interface, extensive training and resources, and customer-focused tools. HubSpot also provides a free version with up to 1,000,000 contacts and no limits on users or customer data.
Cons: HubSpot may start out reasonably in price, but it can quickly become expensive. While its starter level is $45/month for each hub (sales, marketing, and/or service), it only includes 1,000 contacts. Adding more contacts and users requires additional fees, which some reviews call “predatory.” Plus, marketing automation and CRM integration are only offered at their $800/month tier.
Reviewers also cite inflexible contracts and poor customer support as less-than-ideal aspects of the platform. HubSpot bills annually, sticking you with a 12-month contract. And when you need help, past users say customer service is difficult to get a hold of unless you pay extra for technical support.
Salesforce was one of the earliest pioneers of CRM and sales automation with its cloud-based solution in 1999. Today, it is the largest enterprise app company with 56,000 employees and a 20% market share. It is the parent company of business solutions such as Slack, Tableau, and many other popular tools.
Pros: Salesforce boasts a robust platform with seemingly endless features. Its Customer 360 platform is a comprehensive business solution for sales, marketing, customer service, data and analytics, commerce, learning, and more. Salesforce also supports social change with products for sustainability and philanthropy.
Cons: Salesforce attempts to be all things to all people, offering solutions for every possible business type, industry, size, and need. But when the focus is on big solutions, meeting small and mid-size needs is an afterthought. The solution is also quite expensive. Sales Cloud costs $25 to $300 per user per month (billed annually) depending on your preferred capabilities tier. In addition to the base solution, configuration and implementation are extremely complex, usually requiring third-party help.
Microsoft Dynamics 365
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a collection of third-party SaaS services and apps that function as an ERP, CRM, and productivity solution. It is best suited for large enterprises with a distributed workforce, field teams, remote workers, and global branches.
Pros: Dynamics 365 inherently integrates with Microsoft Office products most teams already use. It acts as a centralized hub for multiple sources, including data, integrations, and other Microsoft platforms. Users say Dynamics 365 offers low-code options and flexible customization. They also say it is cost-efficient when compared to similar solutions. Customers pay a flat fee for their first app purchase but receive a discount on subsequent apps.
Cons: Dynamics 365 Sales can be difficult to use. Reviewers report the interface is difficult to navigate, especially for those unfamiliar with Microsoft products. Plus, the configuration is cumbersome to change after the setup is complete. While the pricing is flexible, the segmented functionality requires companies to purchase several apps to meet their needs instead of relying on a comprehensive solution.
Zendesk Sell, formerly Base CRM, is Zendesk’s sales solution. It is part of the Zendesk Suite and works well for existing Zendesk users who need account and contact management functionality.
Pros: Zendesk Sell helps companies of all sizes, but works especially well for small to midsize companies. It claims the majority of new users deploy in eight weeks and see ROI within six months. Zendesk Sell also offers a sleek and easy-to-use mobile app for sales users on the go.
Cons: Zendesk’s roots are in help desk software, not sales. While Sell offers helpful sales functionality to those transitioning from a paper or spreadsheet-based model, it is not robust enough to accommodate a more advanced user. Plus, the Zendesk Suite does not offer marketing automation—arguably a crucial component of sales.
Creatio is a CRM with a low-code approach. It caters to mid-size businesses in the technology and services industry.
Pros: Creatio ranks high in a number of areas, including price, flexibility, and ease of use. Its low-code/no-code platform makes it easy to customize and create visual models without developer involvement. More than other benefits, users rate Creatio’s platform security as the platform’s best feature.
Cons: A free version is available, but not a free trial if you want to try it before you buy. Creatio also offers an extensive range of tools, but not all are well documented, making it difficult to find answers. Lastly, users say the system is sometimes slow when saving changes or conducting searches.
SugarCRM Is the Perfect Fit
There’s no shortage of options when it comes to choosing a CRM. Some are flashy and expensive, while others are basic and lacking in modern sales automation functionality.
SugarCRM offers robust sales tools without the complexity. With Sugar Sell, Sugar Market, and Sugar Serve all in one place, the platform does the work for you to create the most tailored, high-definition customer experiences (HD-CX) possible. That means total data clarity to delight your customers with every interaction.
We eliminate blind spots in your data and prevent roadblocks in your sales and marketing processes by:
- Streamlining data collection with automatic syncing and mining
- Driving more conversions with a clear view of all customer touchpoints
- Automating busywork like routing leads or approving quotes
- Creating immediate value with out-of-the-box functionality
- Increasing user adoption with an easy-to-use interface and tools
Our users consistently rate case/task management and pipeline visualization as their top Sugar features. They also appreciate the flexibility of the Sugar platform.
“Sugar is so flexible, it allows us to tailor to whatever strategy we have. It also allowed us to take ownership of the software and adapt it to the car industry and Casabaca’s needs.”
Alison I, CRM Manager, Casabaca Toyota
Plus, our services and customer support team is there for you whenever you need it—and on your own terms. Call, email, chat, or get self-service with our extensive library of support articles and an entire community of other users to get advice from.
Most of all, Sugar meets your expectations by tailoring to your needs—not the other way around. Need something different than what the industry offers? Sugar was built to customize to your size, industry, and specific business needs.
See the difference for yourself. Watch a demo of Sugar Sell to get started today.