Manage key client relationships in one place, from anywhere in the world
Sliced bread, clip-on ties, cupholders… we Americans sure love convenience. And when it comes to business, it’s no different. That’s probably one of the reasons why Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is now used by more than 91% of US businesses.
A CRM system puts all your data on contacts, leads and deals in the same place – and makes sure everyone in your team is on the same page. It’s intelligent, intuitive software that helps you drive greater sales and better engagement, and gives you ultimate control over your pipeline. What could be more convenient than that?
Well, there is one thing… if the CRM system is cloud-based. But what is cloud-based CRM software? How can it benefit your business? And, most importantly, which providers are doing it best?
Read on, and let’s find out.
Cloud-based CRM: Software your business should take cirrus-ly
What is Cloud-based CRM?
When a CRM is billed as ‘cloud-based’, it simply means that it’s accessed – and used – via the web. That means you can log in and work from whichever device you want – whether it’s a laptop in the office, a tablet at home, or your smartphone from a beach in the Bahamas.
Cloud-based CRM is some of the most clever, convenient, and collaborative software on the market. There are no huge programs taking up space on your computer, no endless downloads, no baffling spreadsheets, and no mountainous piles of overstuffed ring binders stressing you out.
No matter what the physical distance is between your team members, cloud-based CRM ensures that you’re all singing from the same hymn sheet.
But which cloud-based CRM providers offer the catchiest tune?
The Best Cloud-based CRM providers
We researched the range of cloud-based CRM providers available to US businesses. The four that came out on top were Salesforce, Cloze, Freshsales, and Agile CRM.
Click on a supplier to skip straight to a review, or jump straight into our free quote-finding form to compare prices.
The Best cloud CRM providers:
Best for scalability
With Salesforce, the sky really is the limit. As a huge, industry-leading supplier, Salesforce is becoming an essential tool in the armory of more and more growing businesses all over the US. While its premium offerings are a tad on the expensive side, its range of pricing plans offer versatility for businesses of all sizes. It’s also one of the most scalable CRM systems in the US, and is packed with more features than you can shake a stick at. There’s no free plan, but you can get a basic package for just $25 per month – making this tidy CRM far more silver lining than cloud.
|Salesforce Essentials||Lightning Professional||Lightning Enterprise||Lightning Unlimited|
|Sales Cloud||$25 per user, per month||From $75 per user, per month||From $150 per user, per month||From $300 to $170 per user, per month|
|Sales and Service Cloud||$100 per user, per month||N/A||$175 per user, per month||$325 per user, per month|
- Powerful sales and business analytics
- Enormous range of integrations
- Automates key business processes
- More feature-rich packages can be difficult to get the hang of
Salesforce’s powerful, flexible CRM has seen it featured in a whole bunch of our articles. Whether you’re selling houses, building them, or are a small business looking to scale, we have you covered. Just fill out our quote-finding form, and let us help you make your next business decision the best yet.
Best for ease of use
It doesn’t matter how you spin it – there’s no point in having a CRM with the most advanced features on the market if you don’t know how to use it. This is where Cloze’s simple approach to CRM can help. It presents all the info you need to run your business, in a format that’s not only digestible, but darn good to look at, too. Color-coded graphs and eye-catching pie charts tell you at a glance whether a marketing campaign was a success, and give you the lowdown on how well your team are converting those precious leads. Cloze CRM also lets you generate quick reports on the health of your business – great for Monday morning meetings, and for keeping stakeholders happy!
|Free Plan||Cloze Pro||Business Silver||Business Gold||Business Platinum|
|Billed annually||Free||$17 per month||$21 per user, per month||$29 per user, per month||$42 per user, per month|
|Billed monthly||Free||$19.99||$24.99 per user, month||$34.99 per user, per month||$49.99 per user, per month|
- Innovative contact searching tool makes it easier to get in touch with the right client
- Provides regular, automated reminders about your key meetings and events
- Importing data can be clunky and time-consuming
▶ Read more: Top 5 Cheap CRM Systems
Best for hungry sales teams
With a vibrant, easy to use interface and a range of affordable pricing plans, Freshsales is a great springboard for young and ambitious businesses in search of CRM. And, as the name suggests, it’s also super well-suited to sales teams. Its intuitive ‘Deals’ page lets you explore a top-level view of your pipeline for the whole month. It’s also great at handling call data, and using it to give you in-depth sales reports and forecasting. Better still, there’s a free plan – so it’s great for dipping your toes into the warm, inviting waters of CRM software.
|$0||$12 per user, per month||$25 per user, per month||$49 per user, per month||$79 per user, per month|
- Creating reports is simple – and they look great, too
- Email integration is effective and hassle-free
- Very affordable, but cheaper plans lack key features
- Can be a tad over-simplistic in its design and functionality
▶ Read more: Best CRM Software for Sales Teams 2020
Best for targeted email marketing
Agile cloud-based CRM offers a range of affordable pricing tiers, plus a completely free plan. But don’t let that cloud your judgment – it’s not too simple, or basic. In fact, Agile is packed to the brim with features to help your business grow. Our favorite is the feature that lets you craft effective, professional-looking email marketing campaigns. Its design templates are nothing short of stunning, while its dynamic drag and drop tool means you can easily brand your emails with the unique look and colors of your business. Once you’re done, Agile CRM then lets you send them en masse to a targeted audience. At this point, you can sit back, have a cup of coffee, and monitor the success of your campaigns with ease.
Agile CRM Pricing
|Paid annually||$0||$9.99 per user, per month||$39.99 per user, per month||$64.99 per user, per month|
|Paid monthly||$0||$14.99 per user, per month||$49.99 per user, per month||$79.99 per user, per month|
- Offers an array of excellent social media integrations
- Impressive customer support
- Intuitive, and easy to set up and use
- Some customers have complained of bugs, as well as ‘growing pains’ with the software
The Benefits of a Cloud-Based CRM Solution
Whether it’s a new lead, an incoming call, or (heaven forbid!) a deal falling through, you and your team need to know. Not tomorrow, not next week – you need all there is to know about what’s going on, at your fingertips, as it unfolds.
Cloud-based CRM systems provide this data – and in real-time, too. This allows for quicker response times, helping you boost engagement rates, and turn even the laziest of salespeople into deal machines.
✔ Mobile, mo money!
You can use a CRM from whichever device you prefer, from anywhere with a wifi connection. This frees your team from the shackles of their desks, letting them tap into your client database from out in the field, or from the comfort of home.
Cloud-based CRM syncs across your entire organization – sending, updating, and processing information in real-time. Staff from different teams, different countries, and even different continents can collaborate with ease and speed.
The result? A more flexible working ethos, which reflects your team’s changing day-to-day requirements. You’ll also end up with happier staff, who feel valued and trusted to work remotely.
✔ Make it easy, ditch the hardware
If we asked you what the best part of your job was, we doubt you’d say “storing and maintaining a huge amount of hardware.” And that’s because dealing with hardware is, well… hard!
Businesses with on-site data centers have a lot of hardware costs to think about. Routers, cabling, storage devices, servers – the list goes on.
As your business grows, building a large-scale on-site CRM system doesn’t just become impractical – it becomes all but impossible. Cloud-based CRM solutions ensure efficiency – of cost, space, time, and probably your sanity, too!
✔ Subscribe and save
Cloud-based CRM technology is based on a subscription model. IT support is all outsourced, and all you’ll pay is a subscription fee. No tinkering, no awkward interactions with Bob the IT guy when there’s something you can’t figure out. Nope – just dial a number, and get instant technical support.
Also, when you go with a cloud-based CRM system, all training is provided by the vendor. That means quicker, more effective learning, and lets Bob and the rest of your IT team focus their energies on more valuable business areas (like awkward water cooler interactions).
✔ Don’t threat the small stuff
Data security – it’s important. And in the world of business, it can be compromised easily. Whether it’s something as mundane as a power outage or as malicious as a cyber attack, data loss and server downtime can wreak absolute havoc.
Here’s where cloud-based systems come in handy. They’re built to maintain the safety and integrity of data in the event of an attack or technical issue – which means better threat detection and mitigation in case of a breach.
Even though it sounds cool, cloud-based CRM isn’t some obscure, ‘pie in the sky’ technology that’s too advanced or unattainable for your small business.
Nope – it’s an essential tool for managing and engaging your client base, and nurturing those all-important customer relationships. And what’s more, 87% of businesses now use a cloud-based CRM solution. That’s… a lot. Can you afford to be part of the 13% getting left behind?
If the answer is no, let us give you a hand. Take a minute to fill out our short form – it’s completely free, and when you’re all done, we’ll match you with cloud-based CRM providers that’ll fit your business like a glove.