At the heart of any business organization is one primary goal: to solve client pains and generate revenue doing it.
Even with clients at the center of every business function, it’s all too easy to optimize business operations for the business’s benefit rather than the customer’s benefit. This is doubly true in organizations that haven't solidified their client management process.
To solve this issue, client management and CRM software is available to help staff manage relationships with clients and potential customers. CRMs can help maintain a healthy pipeline and make data entry and prospecting easier.
According to Gartner and Grand View Research, worldwide CRM software revenue has increased year over year, expected to reach approximately $80 billion by 2025.
CRMs are amazing at organizing and automating processes to keep track of client data and activity efficiently. For sales reps, a client management software or customer relationship management system (CRM) can do the trick as staying organized and efficient becomes paramount to productivity.
What is Client Management?
Client management is the act of cultivating relationships between a business and its customers. Client management can include customer lifecycle planning, setting expectations, establishing trust, setting boundaries, and measuring happiness.
Client management is all in the effort of delighting clients long-term, increasing retention, and earning word-of-mouth referrals. But what exactly is a client management system?
What is a Client Management System?
A Client Management System is a software application that keeps track of individual relationships between a business and each of its customers. Sales, marketing, and support teams often refer to data in the Client Management System to establish and nurture customer relationships so that they become loyal clients.
Client Management Systems: Key Features
CRMs are robust systems that can produce quality information that just about anyone in your organization can use to further client relationships. There are a few features that make a CRM more than just a place to store customer data. You’ll want a way to track and measure customer activities with your company — support requests, email responses, and past purchases are the types of data you’ll want access to in your CRM. They’ll help you and your team anticipate the needs of the customer and offer personalized upsell and cross-sell opportunities later on in the customer life cycle.
- Data & Analytics - Keep tabs on metrics about each customer, like how often they engage with your communication.
- Activity Tracking - Know exactly how often your clients are requesting support, purchasing products, or returning defective items so you can better anticipate roadblocks and even prevent them before they occur.
- Communication System - Email, call, text, or send a social media direct message to customers using templates and automatic sending functionality.
- Automated Workflows - Never let a follow up fall through the cracks. Use automated workflows in a CRM to send outreach and schedule meetings.
Below, you'll learn about the top client management software that can help your sales reps.
Best Client Management Software
- HubSpot CRM
- Dynamics 365
- Zendesk Sell
- Zoho CRM
- Active Campaign
- Freshworks CRM
- Free Agent
1. HubSpot CRM
The HubSpot all-in-one CRM platform for scaling businesses, from SMB to enterprise, is flexible, cohesive, and easy to use— it's crafted in-house with your growth in mind. It includes features such as email tracking and notifications, prospect tracking, meeting scheduling, and even live chat so you stay connected to the most important part of your business — the customers.
You can integrate your HubSpot CRM with Gmail, G Suite, Office 365, and Outlook, so you'll spend less time logging notes and more time building relationships.
With HubSpot, you’ll have enough access for unlimited users, data, and up to 1,000,000 contacts with no time limit or expiration date — whether you're a team of 1 or 1,000.
If you need more functionality, you can unlock premium CRM features that are available in the paid editions of Sales Hub.
When it’s time to send invoices, contracts, payments, and communicate status updates with clients, Honeybook has everything your business needs to get it done. This software is great for entrepreneurs and small business owners who tend to work on a per-project basis. From onboarding to offboarding, Honeybook provides templates that will delight your customers throughout their entire journey working with you.
After sending a proposal that’s designed with your brand guidelines in mind, you can invite your clients to book meetings with you using the simple Scheduling tool. Time to close the deal? Collect digital signatures using the Contracts feature that lets you know the moment the client has completed their documents.
Nurture your client relationships as you work on projects with the Honeybook Automation feature. Your clients will see exactly where you are in the process thanks to custom step-by-step workflows — and you know what that means? Less follow up and status update emails, so you can do the work they hired you for.
3. Dynamics 365
For large enterprise teams that want to deliver more value in less time, Dynamics 365 is the client management software solution to help you create impact faster. You’ll find this software helpful whether your sales cycle is long or short as this system allows you and your team to rapidly onboard new clients in a matter of days.
Dynamics 365 uses modular, pre-built applications that integrate seamlessly with other Microsoft applications you already use, like Teams and Outlook. This means you can spend more time building relationships with your customers on systems you’re comfortable with rather than cobbling together an entire client management ecosystem with unrelated products.
The three Dynamic 365 apps: Dynamic 365 Sales, Dynamic 365 Marketing and Dynamic 365 Customer Insights can all work together to help your team acquire new customers, personalize existing ones, and delight them all at scale.
Wouldn’t it be nice to eliminate business chaos? Keap thinks so, too. This client management software and CRM does just that by helping businesses collect more leads, convert more clients, and create more fans.
You won’t need another form builder (unless you want one) when using Keap. Custom forms can be embedded right onto your website landing pages, and they automatically trigger specific actions so your team can follow up on time, every time. After collecting those leads, use Keap’s email and SMS marketing tools to segment prospects based on specific attributes to drive greater sales.
If you’re running a smaller sales team, personalization may not be at the top of their list of priorities, so Keap lets them automate their sales follow-ups to turn more quality leads into customers. After this much quality client relationship management, those customers will eventually become the company’s best clients — fans.
ClickUp is the ultimate productivity software for managing accounts, growing your customer relationships, and working together all from a single platform. Among ClickUp's rich set of customizable features are over 15 unique ways to visualize all of your sales and client orders, including a list, calendar, table, or Kanban-like board view for any type of data. Dashboards in ClickUp offer instant, real-time reporting, and create high-level overviews of your customer's lifetime values to stay on top of every deal.
ClickUp integrates with over 1,000 other work tools including email, to fast-track and streamline your customer outreach by onboarding clients, updating tasks, and sending messages from a single, centralized work hub. Access tons of functional features to start building your customer database with ClickUp's Free Forever plan, or upgrade for even more advanced tools for as little as $5.
Client management doesn’t only happen within a client management software system, social media has a place in the client relationship journey, too. Nimble works by capturing prospective lead contact information using the Nimble Prospector browser extension. By simply hovering over the LinkedIn or Instagram profile of a professional you want to reach out to, you can cut the time spent on data entry in half.
With more than 160 apps available for integration, your team can unify client contact data using the systems you already know and love like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Nimble comes equipped with a calendar, activities tracker, and pipeline manager so your team never misses an opportunity to connect with a prospect or existing client.
Nutshell CRM offers contact management, pipeline management, sales automation, reporting, and email tools.
Its pipeline management tool stands out among the rest. The flexible pipeline management views help your reps be efficient and find a system that works for them.
For example, Nutshell offers:
- Board View: With this view, reps can drag and drop leads to the next sales stage and mark leads as won, lost, or canceled. This view gives reps an at-a-glance perspective so they can monitor their overall pipeline health.
- List View: List view is a traditional way to view your leads in rows and sort columns based on stage, value, and opportunity. This helps reps analyze what's coming up and who needs their attention.
- Map View: For sales reps that work based on territory, the map view shows exactly where prospects are located. This helps your rep plan meetings and activities.
- Chart View: The chart view shows lead trends by displaying time frame, quantity, and value of open leads.
Ultimately, customizing pipeline management can be helpful to keep your reps ahead.
Back in 2012, Monday.com was founded as a team management solution that connected employees with workplace processes. Now, the tool is used among several industries to manage, organize, and track workplace activity, production, and performance.
Once you sign up for Monday.com, you can choose a template depending on what industry you're in and why you're using the tool. In regards to sales, Monday.com has three templates that can help your sales team: sales CRM, partner management, and sales assets.
The sales CRM template is one of the best tools for your team. It helps efficiently manage leads, customer relationships, sales pipelines, and tasks all in one place.
With lead management, you can create forms directly on Monday.com and place them on your website. Then, the submissions will be collected directly to your Monday.com board, and the tool will save all your contacts’ data and activity, including calls, emails, and meetings.
Additionally, in the sales CRM template, you can manage your sales pipeline with the Kanban view. Kanban is a technique for managing software efficiently. This view will help you see at a glance how many prospects you have and what stage they're in.
Plus, the sales CRM organizes your deadlines, so you know what tasks need to get done for the day to move you toward the close.
9. Zendesk Sell
Zendesk was first created as a customer service tool but has since grown to include sales. The most unique feature is the focus on bringing sales and support teams closer together.
By combining its customer support and sales tools, your team can sell smarter, maintain context, collaborate, and delight customers.
For example, sales reps can see if a prospect or client opened a support ticket right in their contact record, so your salespeople have full visibility and context with a customer's situation. Plus, their contact record keeps a history of all communication, so reps understand the past context. Ultimately, Zendesk Sell is designed to eliminate friction between sales reps and support.
Pipedrive is a CRM that provides features including pipeline management, chatbot, web forms, and artificial intelligence (AI) sales assistance.
The AI-powered sales assist tool is one of the most unique features of this CRM. With Sales Assist, your reps will receive personalized tips and automation recommendations.
The AI sales mentor will analyze past performance, and bring risks to your attention, suggesting new ways to boost your results. These tips will help your reps upskill without lengthy training and consulting.
Additionally, the AI sales mentor will also use algorithms to analyze your actions and find places that can be automated.
11. Zoho CRM
Zoho CRM provides sales automation, predictive sales, sales management, and multichannel communication.
Multichannel communication is one of Zoho CRM’s strongest features. This enables sales reps to connect with customers, wherever they are.
For example, reps can contact prospects through channels including telephone, email, live chat, social media, and web forms. Plus, with the multichannel tool, reps can measure the effectiveness of their communication, finding the best time and channel to reach prospects.
To make multichannel communication possible, Zoho CRM integrates with several business applications, including Google Suite, Ring Central, What’s App, Eventbrite, Quickbooks, Proposify, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Mail Chimp, Facebook, Slack, Dropbox, and SalesIQ. These integrations make it possible to communicate with prospects via email, phone, social media, and live chat.
Drip is a CRM made with ecommerce professionals in mind. It includes features such as contact management, personalization, multichannel touchpoints, and email marketing.
Its best feature is its advanced segmentation tools. With the tagging system, you can add tags, or labels, to any contact. You can personalize and customize your tags, as well. For example, you can add a tag for customers who have been inactive for a certain period of time.
Additionally, you can use tags to filter prospects who have purchased a product before, the amount of money they've spent, and if they've been active on your site in the last month. These tags help you understand what your prospects are looking for, opening, clicking, and buying.
Ultimately, these detailed tags can help you personalize messaging to your prospects.
ActiveCampaign provides email, automation, CRM platforms to businesses that need to manage client relationships. Its CRM includes features such as contact management, sales automation, win probability, segmentation, sales reporting, and lead scoring.
The best feature for this CRM is the lead scoring tool. Lead scoring is a way to keep track of how contacts interact with your brand. Did a prospect visit your pricing page? Open an email? Submit a form? Schedule a meeting? With lead scoring, you can track the most engaged leads and see, at a glance, who you should follow up with.
Additionally, this tool adds lead scores to overall deals and individual contacts. You can get notified when a prospect’s lead score increases, so you know who is most likely to close.
Further, when a contact hits a certain lead score, you can send an automated email with information prospects need to close the deal or include an offer to move them along the buyer's journey.
Price: Contact Lucrativ
Lucrative is a CRM that provides features including pipeline management, multichannel engagement, automation, insights, AI-powered sales assistant, and gamification.
The gamification feature is its most unique element. Lucrativ uses friendly competition built into its CRM to increase sales.
You can modify and customize the competition with built-in goals, including deals closed, number of demos, and number of prospects. You can track the competition through the leaderboard, which tracks rep performance and displays rankings in real-time.
Using a gaming feature can encourage positive team bonding, and empower your reps to track their progress.
Airtable is a free tool that is part spreadsheet, part database. Similar to Monday.com, once you sign up for Airtable, you have access to templates that can help you get organized, depending on your industry.
For sales teams, Airtable has a sales CRM, sales pipeline, and sales assets templates.
The sales CRM template gives you real-time access to your accounts, providing a single source of truth for your contact management.
Additionally, each sales rep can customize their view, so they won't get distracted with other accounts. Plus, you can change your view, so you only see what you want. The calendar view helps you see past meetings to follow up on and upcoming meetings that require preparation. The kanban view helps reps see where each prospect is in the sales process.
Ultimately, the Airtable sales CRM helps keep your team organized and close deals quickly.
Insightly is a marketing automation and sales CRM software offering features like relationship linking, lead routing, and workflow automation.
With relationship linking and lead routing, your sales reps can follow up on warm leads right away. For example, leads are automatically routed to sales reps in real-time depending on their activity, including emails, phone calls, or interacting with a marketing campaign.
The relationship linking tool helps your reps map and see the complex customer relationship. For instance, customers often communicate with other teammates, bosses, or other departments during their buyer's journey. Insightly helps you determine who's who and builds a clear view of an organization's structure and interaction with your brand.
Salesforce is one of the top CRM software in the market today. It includes features such as contact management, opportunity management, lead management, email integration, and sales forecasting.
The sales forecasting software is one of the top tools from Salesforce. With sales forecasting, you can get a real-time view of the forecast of all your sales reps, including in-line forecast adjustments, and override visibility, depending on the management hierarchy.
For example, you can see the entire pipeline for your business, organized by sales rep, so you see who your top performers are. By tracking and forecasting your sales, you can set realistic goals and solve problems before they impact your revenue. Ultimately, tools like sales forecasting help management make decisions.
18. Freshworks CRM (formerly Freshsales)
Freshworks CRM (formerly Freshsales) offers pipeline management, lead scoring, AI-powered insights, and built-in phone and email.
The best feature is the built-in phone and email. Rather than integrating with other platforms, your reps can make calls, send emails, and get in touch with prospects right in the CRM. To call prospects, you can purchase local and toll-free numbers inside Freshworks, and assign them to sales reps, so they have a unique phone line.
Additionally, since communication happens right in the CRM, it's automatically logged. Calls, emails, and any other activity is logged for you, eliminating timely manual data entry.
Price: Contact NetSuite
NetSuite offers a CRM with features including sales automation, sales forecasting, quote delivery, order management, and commissions.
This CRM is built around the customer lifecycle to provide a 360-degree view of each client that interacts with your business. With this client management solution, you can track prospects from lead to support and everything in between.
The quote delivery and order management are the most unique features. Sales reps can streamline the quote and order process with a fully integrated quote-to-order cash and fulfillment solution right in the CRM.
These solutions streamline the lead-to-cash process, elevate productivity, and improve sales.
20. Free Agent
Free Agent is a CRM offering sales tracking, reporting, and AI-guided tasks.
Its AI-guided task flow, called FreeFlow, is the best feature. With this tool, AI helps reps optimize productivity. For example, reps can see personalized and prioritized tasks and key insights on their dashboard. This helps reps sell faster and focus on selling instead of administrative work.
The AI tool will automatically log and organize emails, meetings, and calls. Additionally, the prioritization tool will ensure reps have a workday that is impactful and allows them to effortlessly move from building customer relationships to driving revenue.
Capsule is a CRM that offers contact management, sales pipeline, and tasks.
The most unique feature is the deep customization Capsule facilitates. You can add custom fields for your business records, custom tags to categorize contacts based on your business' needs, custom sales milestones to fit your process, and custom lists of contacts based on filters.
For example, if you have a partner program, you can add a custom tag recording of who introduced the partner and the date of introduction.
Client Management is Better With a CRM
Client relationships are one of the most important aspects of a successful business and they deserve a little more than a spreadsheet to manage them. That’s where client relationship management software and CRMs become important for both small, scaling, and enterprise organizations.
Keeping track of your clients and prospects on a CRM can help increase your sales. While evaluating client management software applications can seem intimidating, it's important to find the unique features of each one, so you can find the one that will work best for your business.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in July 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in November 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.