The Best CRMs for 2016 and What They Can Do For Your Sales Business

December 10, 2015

Best CRMs for 2016A new year is almost upon us and with it, a fresh opportunity to take stock, try something new, and grow your business more in 2016. The question for many is “where do I start?” One idea I’ll share with you today: CRMs.

Client Relationship Management (CRM) applications have come a long way since the days of static spreadsheets and tables. Now integration features are the name of the game, helping you improve sales nurturing, sales management, and more. CIO magazine recently took a look at the features and CRM applications that are going to be the most in demand for 2016.

Today, I’m going to look at which of those CRMs offer the most value for sales professionals like you and how to integrate them into your workflow.

Salesforce and Mobile Integration

It’s no surprise one of the biggest names in the CRM world tops this list. What is a bit surprising is how far mobile capabilities have come. The Salesforce1 mobile app promises to help you stay up to speed and take action from anywhere, effectively running your sales business from your phone. The app lets users find data, including client records, sales figures, and other data, quickly on their mobile device. New leads and contacts can be added on mobile and users can even edit Office documents on the go. All of that on-the-go connectivity is backed up by Salesforce’s robust cloud-desktop CRM, meaning you aren’t sacrificing mobility for dependability.

CIO Magazine says CRM will “go mobile in a big way” in 2016. The days of an awkward phone version of your desktop CRM is thankfully behind us. Now companies big and small are building apps that keep sales professionals connected and in touch with their sales manager and prospects on the go. Experts say you’ll see more integration with mobile apps next year, too, with maps and note-taking apps first on the list.

HubSpot and Marketing Integration

For many in the insurance and financial services business, efficient and effective online marketing has become a must. Sales nurturing can happen online even before you meet clients face to face. However, keeping up with a social media deluge can be a job in itself. Integrating marketing within CRMs is expected to be one of the big trends of next year.

“CRMs will evolve from sales-oriented tools to truly integrated marketing and sales platforms,” Kathleen Booth, CEO of Quintain Marketing told CIO Magazine. “There has already been some movement in this direction, with many CRMs, such as Salesforce, offering integrations with marketing software. But in the future, integrations will be replaced by all-in-one software platforms that truly marry the needs of sales and marketing,” she says. “One example of a company that is doing this successfully right now is HubSpot, which added a free CRM to its marketing software last year.” Booth says she expects similar integrated systems to follow next year.

Nimble and Social Integration

Another company taking social integration into CRM is contact insight firm Nimble. As the saying goes, be where your customers are. With Nimble, you can see a composite picture of your prospect’s social profiles and your social message history with them.

Marc Prosser, cofounder of Fit Small Business, told CIO Magazine, “In 2016, we’ll see a lot more CRM providers adding new social media features, whether that be tracking customer interactions or suggesting new contacts. Nimble is out ahead on this, but expect others to add these features while their team, and others devise new ways CRM can take advantage of social media.”

Spiro, Vlocity, and Industry-Specific CRMs

A number of CRMs are now targeting a core industry and refining processes and features to suit. The trend is to move away from the catchall approach, with CRMs tailored to specific industries.

Vlocity and Spiro are two such CRMs targeting the insurance and sales industries. For Vlocity, that means delivering an improved policy/plan acquisition and lifecycle management system for insurance sales professionals. One tailored specifically to the needs of insurance.

For Spiro, the focus is on sales nurturing, in order to close more deals and larger deals. The app works like a personal sales assistant, keeping track of sales touches and recommending when to follow up again. Both Vlocity and Spiro integrate with your existing Salesforce CRM.

“A real estate salesperson has different needs than a medical device salesperson, and companies are increasingly realizing that they could benefit from using industry-specific CRM solutions,” Adam Honig, cofounder and CEO of Spiro, told CIO Magazine. “These vendors’ built-in best practices and processes provide a level of expertise that companies just don’t get with a generic CRM solution.”

CRM Apps and Automated Processes

Not all CRMs are focused solely on the sales side. More clientele often means more work on the backend. That used to mean more time in the office or hiring additional help, but automation offers another way forward. FinancialForce.com, an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) cloud solution provider, focusing on financial management and professional services automation.

Kevin Roberts, director of Platform Technology at FinancialForce, told CIO Magazine the Internet of Things (IoT) trend would “see smart devices linked to CRM, enabling automated business notifications, follow-ups for sales support, and billing processes that will redefine immediacy for customer service.”

A number of apps from Salesforce to Nimble to DocuSign integrate with FinancialForce’s ERP to help users automate these backend processes, meaning you can spend more time nurturing leads and closing sales.

Even More CRM Apps Are Out there

Likely you and many other sales professionals are using some of these apps already, and others may now be on your list for next year. If you find yourself still looking for yet another solution, Capterra, a web service that helps businesses choose the right software, has more than 300 suggestions for managing those all-important client relationships.

With all your new CRM options in 2016, you may find yourself in need of more leads. For this situation, I recommend The Aged Lead Store, where you will find thousands of quality leads for your sales business.

About Troy Wilson