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How to choose the right CRM solution for your team

CRM solutions
Topics
What can a sales CRM solution do for your business?
How does a sales CRM work?
How to choose the right CRM solution for your team
Top 4 CRM solutions
CRM solutions FAQs
Final thoughts

Finding the ideal customer relationship management (CRM) solution for your business can feel daunting but it’s worth the effort.

Equipped with the right tools, your team can make better decisions, provide personalized service and track opportunities so nothing gets missed.

In this article, you’ll learn the top considerations as you compare CRM solutions. Below, you’ll see four CRM software tools that suit different business needs.


What can a sales CRM solution do for your business?

A sales CRM enables your sales team to record, track and manage prospects and deals. It can also help you streamline operations, allowing your reps more time for important tasks and safeguarding against missed opportunities.

The biggest perk of a sales CRM solution is that it makes essential information more accessible.

For many teams, key information like prospect details, deal insights and contact history are siloed in inboxes, spreadsheets and other tools. With easy access to prospect and customer records, your team can focus on higher-value sales activities like relationship building and strategizing.

Implementing a new technology may seem like a big undertaking but the right tool can have significant benefits for your bottom line. Pipedrive users, for example, see a 93% increase in deals in their pipeline and an average of 46% reduced deal closing time when using the CRM vs not using one.

Let’s dive into four specific ways a sales CRM can support your team and business.

Manage your pipeline

A CRM that helps track the sales pipeline is essential for any sales management operation, helping you see deal progress so you can follow up on opportunities before they go cold.

Sales pipeline management offers an organized way to track potential customers as they travel through the stages of your sales cycle on their customer journey.

Splitting your sales process into clear pipeline stages helps you break activities down into smaller, achievable tasks. Instead of “closing the deal”, your reps can focus on moving it to the next stage (i.e., giving a demo or scheduling a call).

For example, here’s what a customized visual pipeline could look like in Pipedrive:

CRM solution Pipedrive pipeline


Pipedrive’s sales pipeline offers a visual overview of deal stages. With insight into where each deal stands, your salespeople can see exactly what they need to do to encourage each contact to move to the next stage and ultimately close the sale.

You can also clearly see when the pipeline is running low or goals aren’t being met and it’s time to do more prospecting.

Some visual pipelines make it even easier to glean key information at a glance. Color coding in Pipedrive’s view, for example, tells you which deals need attention. For more information quickly, you can click on each deal card to learn the details, like contact history and more.

Sales-focused CRM solutions give insight into where deals are in your sales funnel, where they might lag and which sales activities contribute to closed deals.

Schedule sales activities

Scheduling sales activities from a sales CRM helps your sales reps focus on what to do next.

CRM solution Pipedrive calendar


Whether it’s to follow up on a quote, send an email or call someone, scheduling sales activities helps you know what to prioritize and keep up momentum across open deals.

CRM solutions can also help you manage workloads so you’re maximizing staff time without overwhelming and burning out your people.

Pipedrive’s State of Sales and Marketing report found employees at companies that haven’t invested in technology were twice as likely to worry about individual workloads.

CRM solution statistics


Entrepreneur Tiffany Largie shared how Pipedrive helped her team streamline a high volume of sales activities without getting bogged down:

We were managing between 150–300 outreaches a day. With Pipedrive, we could handle that data in real time in a way that didn’t require us to perform a lot of data entry.


Some CRMs, like Pipedrive, also come with mobile apps so remote and field agents can see their task schedules from anywhere.


Track progress toward your goals

Building spreadsheet reports is labor-intensive but you need data to make better decisions.

Sales reporting and dashboards help you visualize how your team is doing so you can support those who need it and improve conversion rates.

CRM solution dashboard


In Pipedrive, you can see reports related to activity, campaigns, contacts, leads and deals. For example, the above lead conversion report shows which leads became deals and which sales reps need help.

While data is important for decision-making, some CRM platforms can overwhelm reps with information and distract rather than motivate. Tools with customizable dashboards allow you to display only the most important information so you can focus on the metrics that matter and filter out the ones that don’t.

Read how one company used Pipedrive to centralize its sales forecasting and increase efficiency in this Orbica case study.

Reduce repetitive tasks

Tedious tasks like manual data entry and communication tracking slow your team down. Setting triggers for behind-the-scenes sales workflows like lead nurturing puts events in motion automatically.

Workflow automation in a sales CRM streamlines the sales process to free up time for high-value activities like sales demo presentations.

CRM solutions Pipedrive Automations


For example, Pipedrive allows you to transfer deal ownership between different reps when deal stages update, notify groups in Slack when a change happens, schedule campaigns that fuel customer interactions and more.

Automated workflows also reduce the chance of human error, such as forgetting to inform the customer success team when a deal is closed. When critical but repetitive tasks are automated, you can focus on key activities without worrying about anything getting lost in the cracks.


How does a sales CRM work?

A sales CRM helps you track sales opportunities, compile notes, schedule follow-ups and track communication to close more deals. That way, you can ensure reps follow up on time and nothing gets missed.

Here are four things you can do with a CRM, plus how to do them inside Pipedrive.

1. Customize your pipeline and stages

Think of pipeline stages as the major milestones that turn a sales opportunity into a sale.

In some CRMs, you can change the names of stages or reorder them, such as with Pipedrive’s drag-and-drop function.

Note: When naming your stages, use past tense so it’s clear what’s done and what needs to happen next to move the deal forward.


Pipedrive deals support companies with multiple revenue streams or sales processes by making it easy to customize stages.

Pipedrive can also tell you how likely you are to win a deal based on the probability you’ve set at each stage of the process, which then assists with sales forecasting. Once you’ve set up win probability, the CRM calculates expected revenue using the deal’s anticipated value.

Sales managers can apply filters to see sales reps’ open deals for greater visibility into performance.

2. Create deals

Deals in Pipedrive are the qualified sales opportunities you’re working to convert.

While some CRMs designate your contact person as the “lead”, Pipedrive sorts information at an organizational level to provide better insight into your engagement with the business.

Within Pipedrive, start by creating a deal first then link it to a person or organization. Each deal can link to multiple company contacts for better tracking.

Any notes you make go into the deal history so you can see what’s happened so far and what needs to happen next.

CRM solutions Pipedrive deal history


You can summarize activities, emails and notes at the organization level to see interactions with every individual in the company in one location.

You may even have multiple deals or sales opportunities running simultaneously but it’s easy to see it all from the 360-degree view.

3. Prioritize sales activities

Pipedrive makes it easy for sales reps to schedule sales activities and stay on top of what needs to get done for deals to progress.

Pipedrive solutions Pipedrive activities


You can log activities quickly to reflect your history. Enable voice and SMS insights by integrating Pipedrive with software like JustCall and CloudTalk to track in-app calls automatically.

Pipedrive’s advanced and higher plans support CRM email integration so sales reps can see their inboxes in the platform to increase efficiency and improve tracking.

Pipedrive qualification and prioritization features streamline project management by helping salespeople focus on the deals most likely to convert.

This roadmap helps your team track what’s working and focus more on activities that will move the needle for your business.

Sales automations inside Pipedrive can trigger personalized emails when you create a deal or move through pipeline stages to keep leads warm. You can then focus on your highest priorities.

4. Track progress inside your sales dashboard

Pipedrive’s interactive sales dashboard software lives in the Insights feature.

The dashboard provides instant access to tables and charts that show how your team is performing so you can make better decisions to optimize growth.

Pipedrive CRM solutions dashboard


You can create, customize and filter sales dashboards to track personal and team goals with ease.

Real-time insights and reports give visibility into each rep’s metrics so you can support those who need it and reward those who are surpassing their goals.

Pipedrive’s reporting features help your team spot winning patterns so they can optimize workflows and marketing campaigns.

Pipedrive sales forecasting software also lets you see which activities and deals you need to focus on when projecting future revenue.


How to choose the right CRM solution for your team

When deciding which CRM solution is right for you, you’ll first want to ensure the tool offers the primary CRM features your team needs.

The factors listed below will help your team pick the right platform for long-term sales success.

Scalability

If you consider only the features your team needs right now, you may need to migrate to a different platform to get more capabilities down the line.

Choosing a tool that can scale with your sales team and business means more options now and less hassle learning a new system later.

Pipedrive’s tiered pricing plans help sales-led startups get up and running quickly, with more feature options available when you’re ready.

Add-ons help you scale the plan with increased functionality when your team needs more from its software.

For example, Pipedrive offers these additional features as add-ons:

  • LeadBooster Add-on is a lead generation tool that offers live chat, chatbot, web forms and prospecting capabilities.

  • Campaigns by Pipedrive provides easy email marketing software to build email campaigns from templates or scratch.

  • Smart Docs add-on supports sending trackable quotes, proposals and contracts from within Pipedrive.

Scaling a sales team is easier and more efficient when you’re not changing tools and workflows constantly.

Ease of use

The most effective salespeople spend their time talking with prospects, not buried in complex tools and spreadsheets.

When you choose an easy-to-use CRM, your sales team can spend less time learning how to use it and more time focused on selling.

Spend More Minutes Selling With These Time Saving Sales Hacks

Take control of your workday with these time saving sales tactics that will focus your meetings and calls, and help you tackle admin tasks.

Pipedrive was designed by salespeople for salespeople so it’s built on principles that make their jobs easier. It simplifies the sales process so your team can close deals quickly and improve the customer experience from the get-go.

Customizations

Trying to fit your unique sales process into a rigid CRM that can’t grow and change with you is frustrating but adapting a CRM to match your sales operations can save time.

A customizable CRM allows you to mold software to your business model and make it work seamlessly across all sales activities and workflows.

Pipedrive is a highly customizable CRM that enables you to run your sales processes your way.

With Pipedrive, you can customize pipelines, add custom fields and multiple currencies. Also, use Pipedrive’s Marketplace and open API to connect your CRM to other tools.

Business leaders choose Pipedrive frequently for its customization functions. Ron Daniels from SiteForce shared his views:

We’ve probably got 100-125 fields customized and that data is the core of our business. If that data isn’t accurate and available, we struggle to perform our work. Pipedrive, through the customization, has enabled us to capture that data in a meaningful way, even to the extent of moving fields around and priority listing, so our field team at night has real-time access to what they need.


Pipedrive allows teams to stay agile and flexible while supporting their customers.

Reporting capabilities

When comparing CRM providers, ask yourself these questions to see if the tool can accommodate your needs:

  • What types of reports does it offer?

  • How efficient are they to make?

  • Are they easy to interpret visually?

  • What kinds of forecasting features are available?

Pipedrive’s sales reporting features are customizable so you can get instant access to the insights you need.

Total cost

Cost is a major consideration for most companies. Expensive all-in-one systems aren’t a great option if you’re stuck paying for features you know you won’t use.

A basic free CRM might work for a startup in the short term but it can slow your team down when you’re ready to scale.

The downtime associated with learning a new platform or migrating for more functionality can cost you more in the long run.

Luckily, there’s a better way. Consider a CRM that can give you the robust features you need now, with accessible add-ons and reasonable price increases when your needs grow.

Pipedrive’s low-cost plans make it easy for small teams to get started and scale when they’re ready.

Pipedrive’s five pricing plans (Essential to Enterprise) range from $14 to $99 per seat per month, with discounts of up to 42% for annual payments.

New users can also get a free 14-day trial on any Pipedrive plan.

Pipedrive add-ons enhance your plan without you having to pay for additional software providers.

Take Campaigns by Pipedrive, an add-on that offers email marketing functions for only a few cents per subscriber, with tiered pricing plans as you add more people.

Mobile apps

If your sales reps or leaders are always on the go, you need a flexible mobile app to keep things rolling.

Pipedrive’s mobile CRM lets you take your CRM system with you so you never fall behind.

CRM solution Pipedrive mobile app


From your iOS or Android mobile device, you can:

  • See upcoming phone calls and meetings

  • Receive notifications about unread emails and overdue tasks

  • Add and edit activities

The Pipedrive mobile app’s “Focus View” also allows you to concentrate on immediate efforts for greater efficiency while traveling.

App integrations

Integrating your CRM with other tools streamlines team workflow by reducing the time it takes to switch between tasks and platforms.

Pipedrive’s marketplace offers over 400 app integrations, including:

  • Email platforms. Access important prospect and customer information stored inside Pipedrive while you draft sales messages in Gmail or another provider.

  • Project management software. Enable greater information sharing between departments by connecting project management software like Trello or Asana.

  • Networking tools. Connect your CRM to social media platforms like Facebook Messenger.

  • Conference call providers. Support remote planning by syncing calendars and scheduling video calls on platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

These integrations increase sales efficiency by allowing tools to work better together.


Top 4 CRM solutions

Whether you’re a sales-focused team or one looking to improve customer satisfaction, there’s a CRM tool with the features you need.

Here are four to consider depending on your unique business needs.

You can read more about how Pipedrive stacks up against competitors here:

Best easy-to-use sales CRM: Pipedrive

Pipedrive is an intuitive sales CRM system for small businesses and startups to manage deal flow and sales pipeline efficiently.

It comes with all the features listed above (e.g., flexible pipelines, reporting and mobile app) so you can control sales and grow your business.

It also offers add-ons for lead management and marketing automation that help you get more when you’re ready to grow.

Pipedrive’s cloud-based CRM is available on the go with both desktop and mobile applications, aside from its on-premise tools.

Pipedrive is a smart choice for teams seeking a straightforward sales operations and reporting tool.

Best for solopreneurs: Notion

Notion is a note-taking and productivity app where you can organize thoughts and to-do lists on an expanded spreadsheet.

If you’re running a new small business, Notion provides a variety of free templates, including simple CRMs.

Notion sales CRM


Notion provides a place to store customer data without worrying about monthly pricing but you won’t gain access to features like reporting or sales automation with this tool.

Best for handling support tickets: Zendesk

Zendesk was originally a help desk software but the company later developed a CRM called Zendesk Sell.

CRM solution Zendesk


Given this history, Zendesk CRM software features bend more toward customer support and retention than marketing and lead generation.

Choosing Zendesk Sell may make sense if your e-commerce support team already uses Zendesk for Service.

If you’re looking for a tool with native marketing automation or one that integrates with many applications, look to other CRMs with this functionality. Read our guide to find out how Pipedrive compares to Zendesk.

Best for full lifecycle team support: Zoho CRM

Zoho is a customer lifecycle management platform that has behind-the-scenes HR and finance features, along with customer service tools.

CRM solutions Zoho alternative


You can buy Zoho’s CRM software alone or get it as part of the Zoho One plan.

Some reviewers on Capterra state that Zoho CRM’s complexity and lack of onboarding make it difficult to get started on the platform.

By comparison, Pipedrive has won a number of SaaS awards for how easy it is to use. Read our guide on how Pipedrive compares to Zoho.

CRM solutions FAQs

  • What is the best simple CRM solution for small businesses?
  • What are the five key features of the best CRMs?
  • What is the best online CRM solution?


Final thoughts

CRMs free up time so your sales reps can focus on selling instead of tracking deals and outreach manually.

Pipedrive is one of the best CRM platforms to increase sales activities and streamline pipeline management.

Read how one company processes twice as many leads with Pipedrive in this Hanse Mondial case study.

Sign up for a free Pipedrive trial today and see for yourself.

Driving business growth