Review Methodology for CRM Software

Review Methodology for CRM Software

At TechRepublic, we uphold the standard of fair and honest reviews of CRM software. To successfully do this, we believe it’s important to disclose exactly how we evaluate CRM software, what criteria and subcriteria we’ve defined as most important and how they influence our final ratings and ideal use cases.

Our algorithm and in-house rubric might change or reflect different subcriteria as needed. This is done to ensure accuracy and consistency with industry standards, product evolution and customers’ changing needs. To date, each CRM software is rated against six main criteria: price, core features, customizations, integrations, ease of use and customer support.

Our CRM review methodology breaks down as follows.

Pricing (25%)

Provider cost accounts for 25% of our total score. This category’s ranking factors include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Free trial length.
  • Billing options.
  • Free-for-life version.
  • Add-ons.
  • Price transparency.

Core features (25%)

Core CRM features accounts for 25% of our total score. This category’s ranking factors include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Contact and account management.
  • Pipeline management.
  • Basic reports.
  • Basic dashboards.
  • Marketing automation.
  • Activity tracking.
  • Lead scoring and routing.
  • Document management.
  • Sales automation.

Customizations (15%)

Customizations account for 15% of our total score. This category’s ranking factors include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Custom pipelines.
  • Custom views and filters.
  • Custom workflows.
  • Custom deal stages and milestones.

Integrations (15%)

Integrations account for 15% of our total score. This category’s ranking factors include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Number of total app integrations.
  • Email integration.
  • Calendar syncs/ scheduling.
  • Social media integration.
  • Native app integration.

Ease of use (10%)

Ease of use accounts for 10% of our total score. This category’s ranking factors include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Real user reviews.
  • Community resources.
  • Knowledge base.

Customer support (10%)

Customer support accounts for 10% of our total score. This category’s ranking factors include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Live chat support.
  • Phone support.
  • Email support.
  • Onboarding resources.
  • Dedicated account manager.

Our CRM evaluation research methods

To effectively score each CRM provider we review, we prioritize our own in-house, hands-on testing experience. We also reference any available demos, product reviews, information from sales reps and verified customer reviews on sites that include but are not limited to the following:

  • Gartner Peer Insights.
  • Trustpilot.
  • Google Play.
  • The App Store.
  • Community forums.

How do I choose the best CRM for my organization?

Understand your budget

CRM pricing is typically based on the number of users you plan on granting access to the platform and what features or add-ons you require. Subscriptions can be billed monthly, annually and biannually. Fortunately, it is common for CRM providers to offer demos, free trials and even free-for-life versions of their products. This way, you can experience the interface and features before signing a contract and dealing with the hassle of importing data.

Know how you’re going to use the CRM

Adopting a CRM software to use within the marketing, sales and support operations of your business will provide bountiful advantages and streamline workflows. These CRM benefits can only be reaped when you have defined business goals around how you plan to implement the software. Understanding what type of CRM software would work best is a good starting point. From there, determine if marketing or support tools are necessary; or if the product will be used only by sales reps and administrators for client management purposes.

Prioritize in-market expertise

Not only should you consider your business size and scale, but you should also take into consideration any niche business operations within your industry. While there are CRM providers specifically built for certain industries, there are generalized providers like HubSpot, Salesforce and Pipedrive. Providers like these offer additional features that are crafted with unique industries in mind, such as inventory management for construction companies or donation tracking for nonprofits.

Now that you know exactly how we review CRM software, check out our individual CRM software reviews or our top product guides.

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