I think a lot of it depends on your size, sales staff and amount of money you'd want to spend on a CRM solution.
Salesforce is a great solution. The api is easily integrated into any piece of software you currently use. But, it can get very pricey.
Like Tom said, Zoho has a nice suite of products too.
If you're looking for a very light-weight, inexpensive solution, I've heard good things about OnePage and Sugar.
Agree with Richard. SalesForce is great, but it does get pricey. We use a system called HighRise. We also do account management through that platform as well and we've seen success with it.
SalesForce actually just rolled out this new app called Get Signals where you can track who opens and has clicked through on your emails that you send.
There are many CRM programs out there and the one that is the best for you is the one that does what you want done and the one that your salespeople will accept.
Step one is defining what you want to do and them match your needs to what is being offered.
Too many companies buy (or get sold) a CRM package and then try to make their processes match what the CRM software wants rather than the other way around, understand what you want done and finding a program that does it.
When you blindly buy (or get sold) a CRM package, project creep sets in and you end up using all kinds of features that are neat but of minimum value, miring the salespeople down and creating information overload.
Keep it simple.
This is a great question, and one that I'm sure will generate a wide variance of responses and recommendations. First, I commend you for wanting to implement a CRM and wanting to choose the best one for your organization. Implementing a CRM is a critical decision, but can be instrumental in moving your business beyond an entrepreneurial company, to a professionally managed one.
Over the years I've used a number of off the shelf and custom built CRM packages, including FileMaker Pro, Act!, Goldmine, Sales Logix, Sugar, and Salesforce.com. Since implementing Salesforce.com, I have chosen them again as my go to solution at four other companies. While not perfect, I have found Salesforce.com to offer the richest set of features and functionality, while also providing a highly customizable platform with rich integration to other systems and tools.
One other important variable to keep in mind as you poll people on their favorite CRM solution: The majority of a user's positive or negative experience will depend on the success of the implementation and customization. In other words, the best CRM in the world will generate a poor user experience if it is poorly implemented. Depending on the size of your company and in house expertise, you may want to explore hiring a Salesforce.com partner that specializes in handling the customization and implementation for you. If you don't know of one already, Salesforce.com can help get you pointed in the right direction.
A CRM is only as effective as the individual/business using it. Analyze your workflow before investing the time and money on something you may not actually need.
With that being said, Daylite by Marketcircle is the Mac equivalent of ACT! I wouldn't go so far as to wholeheartedly recommend it, but for those lamenting the lack of Mac CRM software, it's one option that allows for self-hosting if that's your thing.
s a Vice President and Financial Advisor for almost 16 years (having workerd for Prudential Securities, Morgan Staley and Merrill Lynch) I started out back in 1996 using ACT and Goldmine. The product came in the form of software which need to be loaded onto my computer's hard drive. It allowed you to customize screans by adding and/or deleting fields, etc.
Now I use and swear by SalesForce or SalesGenie. However, it all depends on what you need and using the CRM for. In my case currently, I am a business consultant and only a year into this new industry for me (having changed careers in 2012). So one of my needs is being able to prospect for new business. SalesGenie is an excellent tool for generating filtered lead lists. The CRM portion of it is okay at best. With that being said, SalesForce is top notch. Again, you have the capability of altering screen layouts, fields, etc. You can run a host of reports. For example, I can run a report which shows me the number of business proposals I presented and the number of deals I closed/won. These reports can help you identify areas of presonal strengths and weaknesses.
SalesForce.com has been the most useful since my partners and I can more easily collaborate - The app store increases the value of it exponentially when you consider it as a platform for a variety of applications.
SugarCRM is a great starting point for a small business. You can host it yourself in a VM on on Amazon AWS for almost nothing. It will get you organized and let you determine what you really need. The Community Edition is Free.
Most CRM platforms are effective and efficient in their own right. However, a CRM platform never made a company more effective or efficient by its own merits. These platforms are mere tools that facilitate a management strategy. Failure to recognize this point has cost businesses vast sums of time, resources, and cash. A company should first consider how it wishes to operate and assess the potential benefits before evaluating platforms.
If you're looking for automation, Infusionsoft is a great way to go. I use it mainly for lead capture forms on my website that auto generate follow up sequences based on interest.
Since using it, I've been able to streamline my prospecting and nurturing process.
They are built with a target market in mind, so they are fundamentally similar, but specifically different in emphasis. For example, Sales force is for a company with established, documented processes. SugarCRM is for the tight budget and simple tracking, but its powerful, just don't expect it to like the paid crms. Support is weak. These are the two ends of the spectrum, high price most tools and debility and support --- least tools, poor support, free or lower priced, open source.
Depends on what you plan to use the tool for.
CRM's (customer relationship manager) are not built to generate new business opportunities.
If this is what you plan to use the tool for I would look into an SPM (sales process manager).
There are a few on the market, one I am familiar with would be ProspectStream.
I believe Zoho is a great platform for small to medium size businesses and for large businesses I recommend Salesforce.com
I have had experience with ACT, Salesforce, Splendid CRM, and Microsoft Dynamics via Ledgeview Partners. I agree with the comments about Salesforce being very powerful, but geared towards the likes of a Chevron (which was using Salesfore in 2012). Microsoft Dynamics is a powerful tool, worth looking into.
In 2005, myself and a team of mortgage bankers, beta tested "Salesforce.com" I have been a believer since introduction.
For me Zoho is one of the best CRM I ever work.
It's the most powerful, the most customizable and cheaper CRM on the market.
I'm an earlier believer and all the services are improving year after year. You have a market place where you can find developers in order to develop or customize your own CRM.
I use it for myself and also when I need to develop some quick apps fro my clients.
Zoho CRM and Zoho Creator
SalesForce is pricy but does seem to get the job done well.
I think Salesforce offers the best value/ease of use/functionality mix. I believe they acquired Exact Target this year as well, so will be integrating more marketing automation functions as well. As others have stated, any CRM system is only as good as the data that goes in and how well it supports your processes. None of them will do that out of the box, so you need to outline how CRM can best support you and then implement that into the chosen system. SFDC is pretty easy to work with in that regard as well.
Like a lot of people said, it really depends on the size of your business and what you want out of a CRM. More importantly is that a CRM is ony useful if you actually use it! So I find simplicity and ease of use is key.
I've actually spent considerable time talking with small businesses and created a CRM that's getting quite a bit of attention lately.
We found that the big ones like Salesforce really are great, but not ideal for small businesses, so we created one to solve the challenges we were hearing.
Feel free to check us out: https://getmysky.com
Mention this thread and I'd be happy to give a deal for the first month.
CiviCRM is solid. You can get it for free and customize, either learning it yourself or paying someone to do so. There are no subscription fees like for SalesForce, and its more flexible, but the interface is less well designed.