What is the best B2B CRM Tool? There are many options for choosing a sales CRM, so let’s dive in. CRM is a common acronym in business. It stands for “Customer Relationship Management”, and these days can include just about everything, from transaction history, email correspondence, and a wide variety of data points. In B2B Sales, CRM’s are vital for monitoring team performance, documenting conversations with leads and prospects, and for managing deal pipelines. There are a few key features that you should look for in Sales CRM software:
- 2-way email sync – Emails sent from the CRM should be also logged in your email inbox, and vice versa.
- Zapier Integration – Zapier connects apps to other apps, so this is the only required integration (other direct integration are great, too).
- Ease of Use / Organisation – This will depend on how your sales tool stack is organised.
- Team & Collaboration Features – Again, this will come down to personal preference based on what your sales process looks like.
Many business start with a list of companies sketched out on an office whiteboard, before next upgrading to a spreadsheet, and then finally choosing a suitable CRM software to keep track of their book of business. Making that choice is easier said than done, however. So here are some reviews of the best B2B sales CRM software for business development teams & outbound marketing agencies.
A wide array of variables factor into the decision, including the product’s functionality, pricing, integrations, user experience, security, and how it fits in with a company’s existing technology infrastructure, or Sales Stack. CRM comprises the foundational layer of the sales stack, and acts a control center for all other layers and processes. If it’s not logged in CRM, then it didn’t happen.
The Best B2B CRM Software & Tools for Sales:
NoCRM, also known as “You don’t need a CRM”, is a lightweight alternative to other B2B CRM tools. Their focus is managing leads & sales pipelines. NoCRM has a simple drag & drop pipeline view, with a clear distinction between leads and prospects, which makes it much easier for new teams to understand this B2B CRM. Cold Prospect lists can be uploaded and modified in a spreadsheet-like interface before they are moved to the ‘leads’ tab.
Close (formerly known as Close.io) has a great desktop application (native Windows & Mac) available in addition to its web interface. Founded by Steli Efti after pivoting his YC-backed sales consultancy Elastic, Inc. to make a CRM that his team could actually use, Close.io offers VOIP Phone and SMS texting capabilities. As one of the first CRM’s that I ever used, I was quite impressed with the customizations that it offered. Along with 2-way email synchronization, Close makes sales pipeline management a breeze.
Sign up for a free trial of this B2B CRM here.
Apparently they rebranded to Close, since they were finally able to acquire the domain close.com.
User.com is both a CRM and a marketing automation platform that acts as cheaper alternative to Hubspot, Drift, Intercom, Keap, ActiveCampaign, and similar marketing tools. They offer a free CRM as a part of their platform, and several communication channels (email, chat, web push notifications & SMS) are included in their premium plans. It’s designed to help boost user engagement (hence the name) and improve conversions.
Streak CRM is a micro CRM that fits inside of Gmail. It’s great for those that are new to CRM. Streak also includes email tracking and scheduling, which can show you more details as to who has viewed your email how many times, and from what device & location (in some cases). Streak was awarded G Suite’s Partner of the Year.
Copper (Formerly ProsperWorks) is the only CRM designed for use with G Suite (formerly Google Apps) and recommend by Google. Like Streak, Copper has an interface that’s directly in your email inbox, which is where the salespeople of today now spend most of their work time in.
Copper will participate in the Google SaaS Sales Alignment Program, according to a company statement in which their CEO, Jon Lee, announced his product’s ‘productivity-first approach’ for a ‘design-centric, mobile workforce’.
Here is a explanation of a B2B Sales Stack using G Suite with Copper as the CRM by Alex Glenn:
Keap (Formerly Infusionsoft) is more of a marketing automation CRM than for B2B Sales per se, but you never know when sales teams may be forced to use it just because someone in the marketing department already made an independent decision. Infusionsoft was not very easy to use, and they were dependent upon a network of consultants to assist prospective customers with set-up and use. Since the rebranding to Keap, there has been more of an investment made into the platform’s appeal to SMB’s become a more viable alternative to Hubspot.
Hubspot has a free (albeit clunky) sales CRM as a part of their marketing suite. It can be quite tough to conquer the learning curve of the app. Importing bulk contacts isn’t as easy as it should be, as Hubspot CRM makes confusing distinctions between contacts and companies, which unfortunately is a common flaw with most CRM’s out there today. There’s also no 2-way email sync available, which can be rather inconvenient if you are using other tools to send email outside of the Hubspot Marketing suite. However, once you finish learning the ropes, there are a lot of amazing possibilities thanks to the sheer amount of integrations available due to its current market position.
There is a bit of shady messaging that can come from Hubspot employees, so be careful. Plenty of Hubspot alternatives do exist, which is great.
Listen to Hubspot VP of Platform Ecosystem talk more on the democratization of marketing technology here:
Hubspot’s Google Chrome extensions are currently dysfunctional for all users.
Salesforce is, by far, the biggest CRM currently on the market. As a matter of fact, it has since evolved from CRM to an entire ecosystem of products and 3rd-party applications that run on top of SalesForce CRM. This ecosystem (AppExchange), however, allows for the development of advanced plug-ins that may have not survived as standalone products. The learning curve can be quite steep, which is why they have heavily invested in Trailhead, an educational and training program, with tracks for administrators, salesforce developers, and management.
Both the Salesforce & Salesforce IQ Chrome extensions will no longer be supported, so you will not be able to auto-push contacts from your G Suite inbox into your CRM anymore.
Zendesk Sell (Base CRM was acquired by Zendesk in September 2018) had a great mobile experience. After wrapping-up a call with a prospect on your mobile device, the Base app would pop-up, allowing you to leave notes about the call that just occured.
Zoho has a CRM in their suite of small business productivity software. It can be quite confusing to master ZoHo, given that each tools (CRM, campaigns, contacts, mail, etc.) are isolated from each other. It does have 2-way email sync, surprisingly enough, so feel free to send your cold emails from a different tool.
PipeDrive is good at illustrating you sales pipeline. This is useful so that your team can see a visual representation of where each deal is at in the pipeline.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a CRM is used by Ford and the Veterans Administration.
Propeller is another CRM designed for Gmail & Google Apps (G Suite).
Conclusion & CRM FAQ
You should use CRM software to help your team keep track of leads throughout the sales process. A weekly meeting should be had with staff in order to best coordinate operations.
‘CRM’ is an acronym that stands for customer relationship management. It’s been around ever since the earlier days of the first business computers (IBM). ‘B2B’ stands for Business to Business. A B2B CRM should be designed to handle multiple contacts per company. Teams that are starting off might use a spreadsheet or whiteboard to keep track of customers and clients, however, they run the risk of becoming disorganized and overwhelmed (especially once they start to gain traction). Most CRM software technologies on the market are essentially advanced database viewers or spreadsheets.
The best CRM for sales would be either NoCRM.io or Close. They have great functionalities that are great for B2B sales teams and allow you to create leads as companies, which is great for account-based marketing.
The best CRMs for small businesses would be either NoCRM.io or Streak CRM. They are both lightweight and easy to use out of the box. Other CRMs would involve a lot of resources and training to get them up and running, and are usually a lot more expensive than these.
When evaluating which B2B CRM tool to use, consider these four factors:
1. Affordability – This can mean different things to various buyer personas, from solo business operators, small businesses, to enterprise companies. For the most part, this depends on whether you are going for Salesforce or not. You’ll get what you pay for with most software, but remember that CRM’s are tools that should be helping you make more money, not spend it.
2. Usability – What will you and your team be most comfortable using on a daily basis? Some of this depends on process and productivity and how the interface fits in to how your company operates.
3. Flexibility – The CRM has to meet your current business requirements immediately, as well as having the ability to evolve as time goes on.
4. Integration – As outlined above, the CRM acts as a command center for multiple functions in any sales and marketing technology stack, so it’s vital that it supports your other apps.The most popular CRMs, like Salesforce, will have direct integrations with just about any tool. Those that do not will usually at least have an integration with Zapier or PieSync, which act as conduits between various apps and API’s.