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FreshWorks CRM Review

Lisa McGreevy
Lisa McGreevy

FreshWorks' customer relationship management (CRM) software, formerly known as Freshsales, is our best pick for companies that make and receive many business calls. Its integrated phone system lets your team manage inbound and outbound sales calls directly within the CRM, fostering maximum productivity without the expense of additional office equipment. Freshworks helps companies build and guide the customer journey, from the first contact with a lead to the close of the sale, with tools to conduct email campaigns, manage leads and deals, and make strategic decisions based on analytics.

FreshWorks CRM

FreshWorks CRM

The Best CRM Software of 2021

The Verdict

Freshworks' full-featured, built-in phone system makes it our pick for the best CRM with integrated calling.

Pricing

The Freshworks CRM offers various service plans, including a forever-free plan with support for 100 active contacts. A 21-day free trial offers access to all Freshworks CRM features for you to try.

Freshworks' Customer-for-Life Cloud plans are best for businesses that need a powerful combination of sales and marketing tools from their CRM software. The prices we've listed below are for annual billing; however, month-to-month billing is also available at a slightly higher per-month cost.

  • Growth: $29 per user, per month. Feature highlights include support for 1,000 marketing contacts, built-in phone, automated workflows, custom reports and dashboards, data migration assistance, and website activity tracking.

  • Pro: $69 per user, per month. This plan includes everything in Growth, plus support for 3,000 marketing contacts, AI-powered deal insights, product catalog, contact duplication identification and advanced custom fields.

  • Enterprise: $125 per user, per month. This plan includes everything in Pro, but with support for 5,000 marketing contacts, automatic profile enrichment, custom sales activities, sales forecasting and a dedicated account manager.

  • Add-ons: Pricing varies. Optional modules include additional marketing contacts, phone credits, a dedicated IP address and conversion rate optimization.

Freshworks also offers CRM options for businesses that only need sales or marketing features, not both. Pricing for Sales Cloud and Marketing Cloud plans range from $19 to $99 per user, per month and can be upgraded to a Customer-for-Life Cloud plan at any time.

Did you know?Did you know? Freshworks CRM is part of a larger suite of customer experience applications, making it easy to expand its offerings to include additional customer service components, such as a help desk and bot-based communications.

Ease of Use

CRM software with advanced functionality like AI-powered sales tools and a cloud-based phone system may seem formidable, but Freshworks' user-friendly interface is easy to understand without months of training or volumes of instruction manuals. Setup is quick and easy, thanks to detailed instructions in Freshworks' online resource library. All plans include 24/5 phone, email and chat support for additional assistance. Freshworks is a great solution for first-time CRM users, and experienced teams will also appreciate how simple it is to import data from other popular CRMs or CSV and XLSX data files.

The dynamic Activities Dashboard displays your appointments, tasks and other important information on a single screen, so it's easy to plan your week without overlooking critical details. Sidebar navigation buttons let you drill down to communication records, current deals, contact databases, and marketing automation tools in just a couple of clicks.

Freshworks CRM Activities Dashboard

Freshworks Features

Built-in phone Make and receive calls without leaving the app.
Interactive voice response system Automatically greet and route callers.
Social media integration Chat via Facebook, WhatsApp and iMessage.
AI-based insights Make strategic decisions with AI-powered deal analysis and forecasting.
Workflow automation Free your team from repetitive, time-consuming tasks.
Reporting and analytics Measure your marketing and sales teams' performance with detailed reports.

 

Built-in Phone System

Freshworks CRM dialing widget

Sales teams spend a lot of time on the phone, so it makes sense to use a CRM with built-in calling capabilities. You can use your existing company phone numbers or purchase a new toll-free or easy-to-remember vanity number instead. The integrated call-recording function documents your inbound and outbound calls for future reference; you can also use these calls as examples to coach and train your sales agents.

FYIFYI: There is a $500 charge for an accounting cleanup and onboarding for the first month. After that, you'll be charged monthly based on your average monthly expenses over three consecubtive months.

Interactive Voice Response System

Freshworks' IVR system automatically greets and routes callers based on their keypress input or voice commands. You can send incoming calls to a call queue, agent extension, voicemail, or a phone tree with additional options, such as the cancellation department or an after-hours emergency hotline.

Social Media Integration

Social media integration is a popular CRM feature that enables businesses to interact with customers and choose their engagement channels. You can send SMS messages right from Freshworks, or use the Facebook chat widget to respond to incoming messages on your business page. The higher service tiers also include WhatsApp functionality and Apple Business Chat integration for receiving and replying to iMessages.

AI-Based Reports and Insights

Freshworks CRM reports

Freddy AI, Freshworks' artificial intelligence tool, offers an objective analysis of sales efforts and strategies to help your sales team make better business decisions. It gathers data from chatbots, customer tracking tools, sales pipelines, and more to generate reports and recommend the next steps. Freddy also learns from the data stored in your CRM to forecast deal outcomes, and it uses predictive lead scoring to identify the best prospects and leads in your pipelines.

Workflow Automation

Automating routine and repetitive tasks frees your agents to focus on closing the sale and ensures consistent workflows across teams and individuals. You can use Freshworks' automation to send emails at just the right time in the customer journey, update customer records, create tasks and move deals through pipeline stages. It can even surface warm and cold leads for follow-up before the opportunity is gone.

Reporting and Analytics

Individually, marketing and sales reports offer a helpful overview of your business's health. Together, they are an unbeatable combination of data points that demonstrate how well your teams work together and identify potential gaps in productivity. Sales reports shed insight on your company's sales cycles and trends, while marketing reports provide granular insight on important metrics like campaign performance, customer behavior, and overall engagement rate.

Implementation and Onboarding

Setting up the Freshworks CRM is a straightforward process supported by extensive online walk-throughs and documentation. However, the time it takes to implement and deploy the software depends on the plan and add-ons you select. For instance, the feature-rich Customer-for-Life Enterprise tier with three add-on modules will take longer to deploy than the Sales Cloud plan with no add-ons.

Freshworks CRM roles settings

We recommend setting up basic features first, such as phone numbers, email accounts, mission-critical business app integrations, and user roles and permissions. Next, migrate your data from your previous CRM (if you have one) or import your customer data spreadsheets to populate the contact database. Now you're ready to onboard users, configure additional settings, create workflows and deploy the CRM. All plans include phone, email and chat support to troubleshoot implementation issues, and the Enterprise plan gives you a dedicated account manager for personalized assistance.

Customer Support

All Freshworks CRM service plans include access to an extensive knowledge base, with how-to guides on everything from general setup to the creation of multiple sales pipelines. You can submit a ticket online for additional help, email the customer support team, or get 24-hour assistance on weekdays via live chat or toll-free phone call.

When we contacted Freshworks with questions, the sales team was eager to assist. They warned us upfront about potentially delayed responses due to pandemic-related staffing issues, thus managing expectations right away to avoid frustration. However, we did notice that the availability of live chat was limited and didn't extend through the standard U.S. workday.

Limitations

Freshworks' large CRM feature set is a clear selling point but may also be one of its drawbacks. Experienced users will likely find their way around the software quickly, thanks to the smart user interface design, but it may take sales teams with little to no CRM experience a bit longer to learn. Feature overload is always a potential challenge of CRM deployment, and Freshworks is no exception in that regard. For simpler CRM software, consider our review of Keap CRM software.

Freddy, Freshworks' AI tool, is a high-profile feature of this CRM, yet its availability is surprisingly limited for most service tiers. While that's understandable for Freshworks' entry-level, lowest-price plan, and the midlevel plan offers several AI functions, the highest plan only adds one more AI feature.   

Summary

We recommend Freshworks CRM for:

  • Sales teams that make and receive many phone calls
  • Companies that need a basic solution to manage their sales or marketing efforts but want to upgrade to a combination CRM in the future
  • Businesses that want a CRM with standard core features as well as cutting-edge AI technology

We don't recommend Freshworks CRM for:

  • Companies that only meet customers and clients face-to-face and therefore don't need a CRM with phone or social media capabilities
  • Teams that need a free CRM with advanced features

FreshWorks CRM

FreshWorks CRM

The Best CRM Software of 2021

The Verdict

Freshworks' full-featured, built-in phone system makes it our pick for the best CRM with integrated calling.

Lisa McGreevy
Lisa McGreevy
business.com Contributing Writer
Lisa McGreevy is a seasoned writer with years of experience covering small business technology. She specializes in customer management and content management software, as well as fundamental business needs like cloud-based phone systems. As a Certified Scrum Master, Lisa also writes about the benefits and challenges of an agile workplace.