Best CRM 2017 List Lacks Credibility
By Larry Caretsky
Selecting the right CRM software for your business can be a grueling exercise. I am sure that many businesses appreciate any help they can get with the selection process and as such they rely on product listing services and articles that recommend specific products and services. Unfortunately, in today’s world the majority of listing services are paid listings meaning the vendors pay to be in them and some of the articles that recommend particular products seem to lack credibility. I found this with a recent article published by Business News Daily called Best CRM Software 2017.
As someone with a great deal of experience in the CRM sector, and knowledge of competitive products in the small to mid-size market, I am perplexed by the recommendations made in this report. Here’s why.
First, Salesforce.com is clearly a leader in the CRM sector. It’s a good company with a robust product that is better suited for larger organizations than small businesses. It’s known to be cumbersome to navigate and is chock full of features and functions that most small businesses will never use. Yes, of course there are small businesses using this product, but no one who has ever used or worked with this solution would suggest that it is the best CRM software for small businesses. As such, I say “Come on man.”
I am equally surprised by their recommendation that if you are a very small business or a start-up, two of the best CRM solutions for 2017 are free, and another starts out free for two users. There are more than 400 CRM solutions in the industry today with many targeted at the small business community and others that service small businesses in specific vertical industries. Business News Daily indicates that their research staff reviewed an extensive collection of CRM software products and picked out the ones they thought were the best for different types of small businesses. Of the 400 plus solutions out there they determined that the best ones for any small business are either Salesforce.com or free. Really?
They also made some assumptions here about the small business community and have failed to point out that free or very low cost CRM solutions often come with limitations, and the ones listed above are no exception. There is limited functionality by design and traditionally limits on the number of records, storage, number of custom fields, e-mails, no security permissions, no customization and no telephone support for the free versions. In addition, these free solutions do not provide best-in-class cloud hosting services because it’s expensive and they cannot offer this for free. Despite this, the article seems to recommend that if you are a small business or start-up the best solution for you is a free one with limitations, a second or third tier hosting service, and limited customer service. It’s as if they have placed the requirements of every small business in the same shoe box. What if I am a small business or start-up in the real estate, construction or health care industry? Chances are I have requirements that far exceed the capabilities of these products. If I were one of these businesses reading this article I would say, “Come on man.”
In conclusion, let me be perfectly clear. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with free software or the products outlined in this article. But I do take issue with the fact that the article clearly presents these offerings as the best for small businesses without pointing out the limitations associated with these products, and without acknowledging that not every small business has such limited requirements. I think there are 400 other CRM solution providers that would agree.