GetApp is a great site to check out when you are researching CRM software options and other applications to help you run your business. I first got acquainted with GetApp and Christophe Primault, CEO and cofounder when he founded GetApp in 2009, the same year as we started SMB Group.
Since we both share the mission to help SMBs better understand how technology can help their businesses, I’ve worked with GetApp on several occasions. Most recently, I chatted with Suzie Blaszkiewicz, market analyst and content editor at GetApp, to provide some perspectives on their new report which ranks the Top 25 Small Business CRM apps. I spoke with Suzie to get some more information about how they developed the report, and what they learned from it.
Laurie: Your new report ranked the 25 Top CRM apps on the market today… What were the ranking factors you used to determine this list, and why? Were they weighted in anyway, and if so, how?
Suzie: The five unique factors that we use to determine the ranking of each CRM software product are: reviews, integrations, mobile app availability, media presence, and security. Reviews and media presence are calculated using the number of reviews and their related ratings on GetApp.com, as well as the number of Twitter followers and Facebook likes that an app has online. These represent popularity among everyday SMB users, as well as relative popularity in the market. Integrations are calculated using the number of integrations a product has, which shows an app’s potential compatibility with other software that a business is already using. Mobile scores are based on the availability of an app for iOS and Android, an important metric for CRM especially because of the increasing need for mobile connectivity. Finally, security is calculated using a vendor completed, 15 question survey, based on the Cloud Security Alliance’s Self Assessment Form.
Together, these five data points provide a good first-look assessment of the leading cloud-based business apps in the industry. Each data point has an equal weighting, but if there is a tie, we prioritize security and reviews scores first, then mobile and integrations, and finally, media presence.
Laurie: It was good to see that GetApp includes ‘security’ as one of the ranking criteria, because sometimes, SMBs don’t consider this as a top factor when comparing CRM systems–even though customer and prospect information is business-critical. Why did you decide to include it, and what did you find in terms of variation in security provided by the vendors you ranked?
Suzie: There’s a lot of concern when it comes to cloud security, and we wanted to explore and factor it into our ranking. Right off the bat we noticed that vendors were (understandably) hesitant to open up about something as sensitive as security, but the questions themselves aren’t too invasive. In fact, most of, if not all the answers to the vendors’ surveys could already be found through publicly available information like Terms and Conditions, but the survey just does a nice job of sifting through all of that. Those that did choose to share their security details shows, if nothing else, that they are transparent about the security measure they take to protect users. We know that security will continue to be an important consideration for users using cloud-based CRM software, especially when contact data is involved.
Laurie: In your report, you discuss the importance for a CRM to be both scalable and mobile. In our research at SMB Group, we also see mobile capabilities as being extremely important to SMBs because smartphones and tablets are becoming the preferred device for many users, but some don’t necessarily think about scalability right out of the gate. What are you seeing in terms of how important scalability is to SMBs?
Suzie: Scalability is a really important factor for small and mid-sized businesses, especially those who are just starting out. If you’re planning to grow, you’re going to want to choose a solution that can grow with you. In the same vein, immediately starting with a mid-market or enterprise level option may prove cumbersome and unaffordable. The key is finding a solution that’s suitable for the current size of your business, but has the potential to handle more volume if the need arises. We think that the results of the CRM ranking turned out to showcase top products that SMBs could adopt and grow with.
Laurie: Agree, it’s a Goldilocks situation. SMBs need CRM that is the best fit for the business now, but can ramp up as needed. We also discussed the increasingly pivotal role that analytics will play in the evolution of CRM, as well as other applications areas. How do SMBs that use GetApp view the role of analytics in making CRM decisions?
Suzie: We see data and analytics playing a more important role in all types of software, whether that be marketing, project management, but especially when it comes to how businesses are looking to utilize CRM systems. Most vendors now include analytical tools into their CRM feature sets to help forecast sales, track KPIs, and see sales performance over time.
Having access to, and being able to utilize the amount of data being gathered by a CRM will become essential in a company’s ability to making informed business decisions. It will make it much easier for SMBs to have a solid grasp on who their customers are, what they want and what the future could hold for their partnership moving forward.
Laurie: The term “social CRM” seems to have been popular for a while, but we don’t hear that term too often anymore. My thoughts are that social has become so pervasive in sales, marketing and service that SMBs expect that their CRM systems will include social capabilities. What role do you see social playing in helping SMBs decide what the right CRM system might be, and what capabilities do they need to have?
Suzie: You’re absolutely right. Social has become a key way to reach out to customers and clients and a key component of the customer relationship process to help meet customers wherever they are. The social media sphere is clearly one of those primary places. No matter which industry an SMB is in, it’s an essential platform for engaging with target customers. But that doesn’t mean that all CRM systems are built equal when it comes to social functionalities.
We see that at a minimum, social media tools in a CRM should include integrations with Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin, as well as social media monitoring tools and feeds to keep track of, and interact with, conversations taking place around a selected set of products or services.
Similarly, being able to keep up with a contact’s social profiles, see related networks, and reach out via your CRM can be infinitely helpful. Being able to do this can give powerful insight into who a customer is and what their purchase decisions rely on. Whether they fit into a ‘persona’ that an SMB has determined, or remain as a personalized customer, a robust CRM allows for this kind of understanding.
Laurie: Yes, social really has evolved to become part of CRM fabric, and I think that mastering social engagement can really help SMBs to level the playing field against larger competitors.
Suzie, I really want to thank you for shedding more light on your new report, and providing these kinds of comparisons to help SMBs sort through the many CRM solutions available to determine what will work best for them.