As data and AI capabilities continue to develop, so does the potential of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools to improve marketing efficiency and customer engagement.

CRM tools organize companies’ stakeholders on a single platform and provide advanced insight into campaign creation, planning, execution, tracking, and analysis. Through these tools, businesses of all sizes can save time and money while improving customer experience.

If your business is looking for a new way to improve its communication efficiency, keep these points from Fremont-based software company Apptivo in mind as you evaluate the various CRM options on the market.


Ease of Use

A CRM is meant to simplify your client relationship management process, not bog it down. The only way to know if a program is suitable for your business is by testing it. Luckily, most CRMs offer a free trial, so take that opportunity to evaluate how each tools’ functionality meets your needs.

Before your trial, identify which key results you’re looking for, along with how the CRM can help your workflow. Make sure that moving through the system is as fluid and intuitive as possible.


A lot of folks are tempted to immediately choose systems like Salesforce because they’ve used them before at a larger company. What they might not realize is that there’s a broad variety of high quality CRMs built with small businesses in mind.

The price of quality CRMs is highly competitive; there’s no need to pay a premium on your next system. A recommended expectation for a quality system should be no more than $12 per month per user. You might be surprised by how many great, affordable options are out there.

And if you are a nonprofit, don’t hesitate to ask for the discounting options available!



A CRM is only as good as the insights your business gathers from it. Luckily, many CRMs are customizable to meet your company’s specific needs. While you’re evaluating CRM tools, ensure that each tool allows you to customize fields and reports until the information you’re gathering is precisely what you need.

If your company would like its CRM tool to be synchronized with other applications, it’s important to find a CRM that is tightly integrated with that platform to make sure that your calendar, email, tasks, and events are pulling data from each other in real-time. You might also want to consider a mobile-ready system to ensure that anyone within your organization can access data on the go.

By centralizing customer data, CRM tools allow users to generate reports and forecasts to quickly view insights and develop new strategies. For example, you may want to aggregate every task and event occurring in one day onto one screen. Or, you might want to review the cumulative past interactions of a customer from different touch points in one application. Take the time to outline which features are important to your company.


When evaluating CRM tools, consider your every customer touchpoint and ensure that the tool has features to support each stage of the sales process.

For example, managing a landscaping business requires you to provide customers with quotes, organize work orders, send invoices, and handle a yearly email blast. If you purchase a separate application to complete each of these tasks, you may begin to feel weighed down by too many apps that don’t connect with each other and end up costing too much.

Whether you’re looking for a point solution or an end-to-end solution, your system should have versatility to select and customize the features your business needs.

Making the Final Call

To avoid falling into analysis paralysis while comparing all of the CRM options available, hone in on your top four platforms. Schedule the demos and trial periods for each tool and give yourself around a month to make the final decision.

At the end of the day, you’ll be relieved that you did your homework and found the best option for your business to improve your customer service and sales.