What is the Best CRM for a SaaS Company in 2024?

For SaaS companies looking for CRM (customer relationship management) tools in 2024, the market offers a variety of options tailored to different business needs, from enhancing customer relationships to improving sales processes. The best CRM tools for SaaS companies today include ClickUp, Zendesk Sell, Pipedrive, Salesforce Sales Cloud, and Microsoft Dynamics 365. Each offers unique features to address specific aspects of customer relationship management and sales efficiency. Today, we’ll examine these tools and others in more depth as we search for the best CRM for SaaS companies.

Let’s start by taking a look at CRM

How CRM helps increase salesBest CRM

At its most basic level, CRM helps companies manage the sales process to make it more efficient, personalized, and productive. While today most companies use some type of software, the concept of CRM is as old as time.

CRM before computers

When I first started working in marketing, salespeople traveled with a file folder in the trunk of their car. Inside the folder, they carried a file for each client. The file contained information about prior sales calls to the customer, including things like the products they were interested in buying, prior purchases, problems faced by the customer, contacts sent to the buyer, and any other information related to the sales call. They also added information like anniversaries, birthdays, names of children, and other information that helped them connect with the buyer during future communications. The files were organized by date so a salesperson could grab folders for sales calls he/she planned to make today or tomorrow. At the end of each sales call, the salesperson communicated with an assistant who processed orders, sent information promised during the call, and sent a thank you note to the buyer. The salesperson then added the file on the appropriate date for follow-up.

As you can imagine, this was a VERY inefficient system that resulted in missed sales opportunities, failure to follow up effectively, and poor customer relationships. Also, the system only made sense when the potential sale was large enough to warrant the attention of highly paid sales reps.

Enter CRM software

CRM software makes the entire process much easier and more efficient. Instead of relying on a sales rep to enter information on a customer file (which they often didn’t do because they were either busy or afraid that others might gain value from their files), much of the necessary information is added electronically. We’ll talk about how this happens a little later.

These systems track customers and prospects to build stronger relationships with them and better serve their needs. CRM software ensures the seamless collection and sharing of data across the company and provides dashboards and metrics to monitor progress toward reaching company goals. Because these systems don’t require paid sales reps, assistants, and sales managers, they are so inexpensive that you can now use CRM software to manage many consumer and business relationships.

social crmThe CRM process

Lead collection

In marketing terms, a lead is a prospective buyer with the need, money, authority, and desire for your product. Your company can collect leads from a variety of sources, including email subscription forms filled out by customers (if you plan to use email marketing as part of your CRM process, you can’t buy email lists as this violates regulations in the US and EU), webinar or other event registrations, website registration forms, contest entries, queries to your firm, trade show contacts, and many more.

If possible, you want to collect as much information about the lead as possible but there’s a trade-off between wanting to collect information and attempting to collect too much information that results in prospects balking. For instance, asking for too much information on a subscription form results in lower subscription rates and forcing customers to register on your website to place an order results in shopping cart abandonment. However, by tracking users logged on to your website, you can gain a lot of information about their buying habits that helps as you move forward in attempts to sell them products. This is increasingly important as third-party cookies are beginning to vanish.

Many CRM systems use lead-scoring mechanisms to prioritize leads. This involves assigning scores based on interactions, engagement levels, and the information gathered during the qualification process to express the potential value represented by a lead. This information comes in handy when you want to determine how much effort and expense to expend in trying to close a particular lead.

Lead nurturing

Lead nurturing programs commonly involve a series of personalized email messages sent over time to close a lead, deepen the relationship, or encourage additional purchases from a customer. Deep personalization leads to a more effective lead nurturing program and has many positive outcomes, as you can see in the image below.

personalization outcomes
Image courtesy of Outgrow

Deep personalization goes beyond adding a subscriber’s name to an email. It means understanding them, their needs, and preferences when sending a message. For instance, knowing that a subscriber accessed a certain landing page allows you to personalize your message by offering a discount on products similar to those on the landing page or reminding a subscriber that they were interested in them.

Conversion

CRM software monitors conversion for each lead so you can easily calculate the lead’s value, follow up with their purchase, and send a reminder when it’s time to purchase more. Beyond that, CRM software provides aggregate data for your efforts so you can optimize your marketing strategies, improve customer interactions, and increase conversion rates over time.

The automation possible when using a CRM system ensures that your efforts are more effective and leads don’t fall through the cracks. CRM facilitates the sales process by integrating across systems, for instance, connecting your invoicing and lead generation processes. It makes all data available at a glance to authorized users within your company rather than siloing information, making your process more efficient. The metrics available provide insights you can use to improve your marketing effectiveness.

What are SaaS companies?

SaaS stands for software as a service. Many SaaS companies are household names, including those in this list of top SaaS companies:

  • 1. Microsoft
  • 2. Amazon Web Services
  • 3. Adobe Creative Cloud
  • 4. Google Workspace
  • 5. Zoom
  • 6. Shopify
  • 7. RingCentral
  • 8. Dropbox

The best CRM for SaaS companies

You’ll find several CRM systems are available. They vary in price and features, so it’s important to evaluate them thoroughly to choose the one that’s right for you. Many of these systems offer a free trial; however, setting up the information necessary to take advantage of this free trial requires you to collect and enter information like customer records and set up an email message series. You’ll also have to spend time learning the system. Hence, taking advantage of the free trial only to find it is unsuitable for your needs wastes valuable time.

To help you with this task, here are the best CRM systems we’ve found for SaaS companies.

  • ClickUp stands out among the options for its versatility and ease of use. It offers a comprehensive platform for managing customer relationships, with features ranging from simplified account management to built-in sales and pipeline management. Prices range from a free forever plan with limited features to enterprise pricing.
  • Zendesk Sell focuses on productivity and revenue growth while seamlessly integrating with Zendesk’s customer service platform to provide a cohesive experience for managing leads and servicing clients. Thus, if you need integration with customer service, especially if you already use Zendesk, this is the right choice for you. Pricing starts at $55 a month, which includes email and chat, as well as a host of other features.
  • Pipedrive is designed by salespeople for salespeople, emphasizing sales pipeline management and offering AI tools to identify opportunities, making it a strong candidate for companies with a heavy focus on optimizing their sales processes​. Pricing starts at around $15, with limited features to $99 per month for enterprise software.
  • Salesforce Sales Cloud is likely the best-known CRM software in this group. It offers integration with a host of tools related to sales management and the capability to streamline sales management processes. It offers deep insights and a wide range of integrations with third-party apps. Prices start at $25 a month and top out at $500 a month with AI integration. Its power means a steep learning curve, at least in my experience.
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 integrates closely with other Microsoft products, making it a good choice for businesses already using the Microsoft ecosystem. It offers a broad suite of features designed to enhance customer insights and streamline sales cycles​. They don’t list their prices online.

Additionally, other notable mentions include Zoho CRM, monday.com, Nethunt, Freshworks, and SugarCRM, each with its own set of tools and features designed to cater to various aspects of the sales and customer management cycle. These platforms offer functionalities ranging from automation and predictive analytics to customizable sales pipelines and detailed analytics​.

Selecting the right CRM tool for your SaaS business requires a thorough understanding of your specific needs, the features essential to your operations, and how a particular CRM tool can align with your business goals. Your budget is also a consideration. Changing your choice is costly as you can’t seamlessly move your data from one system to another. Hence, choosing the best CRM tool also means choosing one that will grow with you as your needs change. A CRM provider with multiple levels of service might make the best choice if you own a small company, as this type of system is designed to grow as you do.

Conclusion

A CRM system is a wise purchase regardless of whether you run a SaaS business or some other type of business. For a small business, you may need a system that’s flexible and can grow with you, so choosing one like Salesforce that integrates with third-party apps or Microsoft that offers a full suite of tools that work well together might be the right option. If you already have tools that provide some of this functionality, you may want to choose a cheaper solution or one focused on CRM, as it might offer the most power. The trick is to choose wisely.

Need marketing help to support business growth?

We welcome the opportunity to show you how we can make your marketing SIZZLE with our data-driven, results-oriented marketing strategies.  Sign up for our FREE newsletter, get our FREE guide to creating an awesome website, or contact us for more information on hiring us.

Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. Check out our full range of services.