SaaS CRM: Everything you Need to Know in 2023

Sindhu Bharathi

Senior Writer:

green tickReading Time: 14 Minutes
green tickPublished : February 22, 2023

Driving leads to the bottom of the sales funnel, converting them into customers, managing customer relationships, and retaining them has always remained a complex affair. Robust CRM- Customer Relationship Management solutions have evolved to help businesses streamline customer relationships. The evolution of SaaS (Software as a Service) has made CRM solutions affordable and accessible to organizations irrespective of their size and scale. 

The article intends to shed light on the basics and benefits of SaaS CRM tools. It also has an exhaustive comparison of the best CRM solutions, which would help you choose one depending on the needs of your business. 

What is SaaS CRM? 

Before endeavoring to understand the intricate details of the SaaS CRM tool, it is important to understand the basics of CRM and SaaS. CRM evolved as a solution to help businesses organize customer contact details so they can reach out to them quickly and effectively. 

Today, it has evolved into an extensive solution helping businesses automate their conversation with customers, track the interaction, analyze customer behavior on multiple channels, and collaborate with them through the most effective channel. The ultimate aim is to drive them faster to the bottom of the sales funnel and retain them for longer. 

Conventionally, software solutions require hardware set up on the premises for you to use them effectively. So, if you intended to purchase software, you needed the hardware and human resources to install and keep them running. The evolution of cloud technology has made it possible to install and maintain SaaS software solutions over the internet, and they are called Software as a Service (SaaS)

What is SaaS CRM?source

SaaS CRM solutions help streamline customer relations over the cloud, which means you can access them from anywhere, anytime. It is quick and more cost effective than traditional solutions, and so is highly demanded by businesses of varying scale and size. 

The key features of a SaaS CRM platform include the following. 

  • Contact and customer data management,
  • Tracking and managing customer interactions,
  • Streamline pipeline management,
  • Lead management,
  • Sales process automation,
  • Integration and collaborative functionality

Who needs a SaaS CRM, and When should you start thinking about SaaS CRM? 

Irrespective of whether you own a startup, small or medium-sized business, or a large enterprise, streamlining customer data, generating leads, following up with them, managing customer interactions, and creating a sales pipeline are crucial. SaaS CRM software is a go-to solution for managing customer relationships, and scaling the sales operations of a business.

SaaS CRM is cost-effective and more flexible than traditional, on-premise CRM systems. SaaS CRM helps in managing contacts, creating and managing the sales pipeline, tracking leads and building relationships with both prospective leads and existing customers. 

CRM for SaaS businessessource

If you are wondering whether you need a SaaS CRM platform for your business, taking these questions may help you introspect your needs and make the right decision for your business. 

  • What is your sales channel? Is it both offline and online?
  • How long is your sales cycle? Is it longer than a week?
  • Do you have different teams for sales and marketing?
  • Do you have more than ten customers? Studies show that more than 91% of companies with more than 11 employees use CRM software.
  • How many leads do you have in the sales pipeline? Are they more than 30?
  • Do you offer customer support and assistance for your products?
  • Do you offer subscription-based plans for your product or service?
  • Does your product require customer support?

If your answer is yes to these questions, then you probably need a SaaS CRM. 

What are the Benefits of SaaS CRM? 

A lot of times, business owners are reluctant to invest in SaaS CRM software because they are skeptical about the results. Many sales representatives overlook the advantages and are worried that they might have to do more work after installing SaaS CRM software. Whereas in reality, a SaaS CRM offers a plethora of features and functionalities that help simplify customer management and sales process while enhancing the overall productivity of the organization. 

Benefits of SaaS CRM platformssource

Following are some of the important benefits of SaaS CRM software: 

1. Better accessibility to customers

With the evolution of the internet and digital platforms, customer communication channels have also changed. Gone are the days when customers were just communicating over a phone system. Saas-based CRM solutions have features that help tap customers across different channels. Sales development representatives can engage with customers in a channel of their convenience and work out strategies to convert and retain them. 

SaaS-based CRM solution helps centralize all sales activities in a go. The entire sales team has access to these interactions, and in case the representative is unable to attend to the customer, another person can take forward the conversation.  

2. Improved organization & efficiency 

SaaS-based CRM solutions are an effective replacement for Excel spreadsheets and other traditional methods that are labor-intensive. This helps organize and automate the workflow to eventually increase the overall efficiency of the business. Because the data and records are stored on a single platform, the entire sales and marketing team can access crucial reports and insights. This way, sales teams can shed more focus on core activities instead of spending their time and efforts on not-so-important administrative tasks. Because it is all automated, accuracy is a guarantee. 

3. Hands-free maintenance and updates 

A significant advantage of using SaaS CRM software is that it is maintained over the cloud, and you don’t have to worry about maintenance and updates. The third-party vendor owns the responsibility for maintaining and updating the system. All that you need to do is to pick a service provider and subscription model that align with your business needs. 

4. Greater flexibility 

With the emergence of COVID-19, the virtual medium has gained significance. Sales and marketing agents have gained the flexibility of working from anywhere. With a SaaS-based CRM solution, your sales and customer service agents get the flexibility of performing their roles from anywhere. Moreover, with the SaaS CRM software, you gain the flexibility of integrating your other business systems, like email, invoicing, calendar, etc., under a single platform. 

5. Higher sales

SaaS CRM helps streamline customer interactions, shorten the sales cycle, gain crucial business insights, enhance customer relationships, promote coordination among sales teams, and so on. All these eventually add to the sales and help generate more loyal customers for the business. SaaS CRM is a cost-effective solution to the traditional, on-premises system and offers greater flexibility in terms of integration and overall operation. 

How to acquire and retain customers with SaaS CRM? 

The ultimate objective of CRM software is to acquire and retain more customers through enhanced customer communication and organized workflow. Following are a few ways in which you can leverage the features and functionalities of SaaS CRM to garner more customers and retain them. 

 Customer acquisition and retention with SaaS CRMSource

1. SaaS CRM aids in the organization of client data 

SaaS CRM helps businesses organize their customer data in a single spot. The CRM software creates an exhaustive record of data, details, and information about each customer. As customer data is collected from various channels and sources, there are chances for duplicates. The SaaS CRM helps clean the data and remove duplicates. 

With the data, businesses can derive crucial insights, including their preferences, purchase behavior, and order history. Based on the data, they can then dish out customized deals, updates, and offers that keep them hooked to the business. Businesses can also automate follow-ups, so they don’t miss leads and prospects.  

SaaS CRM strengthens the relationship between customers and the business, which eventually generates sales and loyal customers. 

2. SaaS CRM enhances lead management. 

SaaS CRM helps manage the entire pipeline of sales and marketing. Managing your lead relationship is a simple, straightforward strategy for closing leads faster.

In large enterprises where there are thousands of leads, each of them moving at their own pace, understanding where they stand and building strategies to push them through is a complex task in itself. With SaaS CRM, it takes a second to know where your leads are in the process. This helps businesses work out efficient ways and strategies to move them faster to the end of the funnel. 

As the SaaS CRM can be integrated with other tools, the entire process of lead management gets quicker, easier, and more transparent. 

3. SaaS CRM facilitates process standardization, and automation 

SaaS CRM helps automate a lot of business processes which in turn enhances business efficiency and promotes sales conversion. Using SaaS CRM, you can automate the process of generating estimates, follow-ups, and invoices, which in turn helps businesses respond faster. Sales and marketing teams can shed their focus, time, and energy into performing core activities that are crucial to the success of a business. 

Automating the processes reduces the possibility of human error, and timely follow-up enhances the probability of conversion. This way, businesses improve their overall performance and get to stand ahead of others in the competitive landscape. 

4. SaaS CRM aids with departmental coordination. 

Conventionally, different departments and teams in a company operate in silos with little or no coordination among them. Lack of coordination impacts the productivity and efficiency of business operations. 

SaaS CRM helps bring all the departments under a single umbrella and ensures that all of them are in sync with the broader objectives of the company. It provides a platform for employees in different teams to communicate and collaborate to eventually deliver a profitable business. The SaaS CRM also improves transparency in the system so employees can check if they are on track. 

What is the difference between in-house CRM and SaaS CRM?

 In-house CRM vs. SaaS CRMsource

1. Installation and maintenance 

A notable difference between the in-house CRM systems and SaaS-based CRM solutions is that the latter does not require expensive hardware installations and infrastructural arrangements. The third-party CRM supplier takes care of the infrastructure and takes responsibility for updates and maintenance. This reduces the cost of installation and maintenance to a major extent. It is due to this reason that small and medium-scale businesses prefer SaaS CRM to traditional in-house systems. 

2. Accessibility

In terms of accessibility, SaaS CRM software can be accessed through desktop or mobile phones from anywhere across the world. All that you need is a stable internet connection. This is an important consideration when you have sales teams dispersed across various locations.

3. Integration with other applications

A key advantage attached to using SaaS CRM systems is that you can integrate several applications under a single platform. From email and calendar to generating estimates and invoices, you can integrate several systems through a single platform. 

4. Data and security

SaaS CRM systems operate over the cloud, and data is stored and managed by a third-party service provider. Before choosing a service provider, you must evaluate their policies and security standards. However, if you want to ensure the confidentiality of data and do not want to share it with a third-party provider, in-house CRM systems are a better option. 

Overall, in-house CRM systems offer greater customization options and control over data. However, their installation and maintenance are expensive affairs. So, if you are a small or medium business owner looking for a CRM, SaaS CRM is an effective option in terms of cost, maintenance, flexibility, and integration. From managing your customer data and sales pipeline to generating emails, estimates, and invoices, you can get it all in a go. 

Top 10 SaaS CRM Companies in 2023 

Top 10 SaaS CRM companiessource

If you are looking for the best SaaS CRM solution, you must evaluate the key features and functionalities of various SaaS CRM platforms. We have curated the best SaaS CRM companies in 2023 based on various attributes like their offering, key features, functionalities, cost, integration support, flexibility, and so on. 

1. Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM

Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRMsource

Microsoft Dynamics 365 ranks at the top when it comes to the best SaaS CRM companies. It goes well with Microsoft products and other software tools. The software helps businesses manage their customer relationships, sales, and lead generation pipelines and helps grow your SaaS business. It offers great customization and flexibility so you can align the CRM functionalities to the needs of your business. It has different modules for sales, customer service, marketing, project operations, and field service. You can purchase them individually or as a bundle together. All the servers are maintained by Microsoft.

Features

  • Sales Force Automation
  • Email integration with Outlook 365
  • Activity log 
  • An advanced smart search feature
  • Connection to Sales Navigator from LinkedIn
  • Sales and customer insights

Pros

<

  • Integration with Microsoft 365
  • Greater customization and flexibility
  • Easy to configure
  • Offers tools on both an integrated basis and a la carte basis
  • AI-powered workflow automation
  • Advanced Find Tool that simplifies the search
  • Collects data from different sources and offers centralized storage
  • Comes from a trustable brand Microsoft
  • Completely scalable to your business size and scope.

Cons

  • The interface is not so user-friendly
  • Steep learning curve
  • Configuration is difficult to change after setup
  • Low data storage limits
  • The mobile app has technical glitches

2. Salesforce 

Salesforce Source

Salesforce is a leading CRM for SaaS companies and software businesses. It can be customized to meet the needs of businesses from different industries of varied sizes and scales. It offers opportunity management, sales forecasting, pipeline management, contact management, partner management, and so on. 

Salesforce offers extensive integration options with ERP systems, document management software, and 1000s of other business platforms. The dashboard and the mobile app are user-friendly and intuitive. The calendar system of Salesforce keeps everyone on track with the business goals. Salesforce offers social media integration using which businesses can engage with customers across multiple channels. 

Features

  • Sales pipeline management
  • Activity dashboard
  • Analytics and Reporting
  • Contact management
  • Sales forecasting
  • Email integration
  • Marketing Automation
  • Territory management
  • Sales collaboration and performance management

Pros

  • 30-day Free trial
  • Seamless integration with 1000+ platforms
  • Powerful customization options
  • Business-centric automation
  • Simplified collaboration tools
  • Syncs data from various applications
  • Omnichannel customer engagement

Cons

  • No 24/7 customer support in the basic plan
  • Expensive than other CRMs
  • Configuration is complex
  • Steeper learning curve

3. Hubspot CRM 

Hubspot CRM source

Hubspot CRM has evolved to be one of the best tools for customer relations management. It offers extensive sales and marketing integrations. HubSpot offers various pricing plans that cater to businesses of different sizes and needs. It offers a broad range of integration support, analytics, and segmentation tools. The interface is simple, easy to use, and can be customized to the needs of your business.

Features

  • Goes well with Google, Dropbox, and other tools
  • Contact management
  • Lead analytics dashboard
  • Email templates
  • Tracking and sharing documents
  • Appointment management
  • Calendar management
  • Predictive analytics

Pros

  • The core software is free forever
  • Live chat tool
  • Excellent email integrations
  • Social media integration
  • User-friendly and intuitive to use
  • Availability of a broad range of email templates 
  • Extensive automation abilities

Cons

  • Rigid policy
  • Hard to modify the Hubspot email templates
  • Reporting is limited 
  • The duplicate contact feature is not effective
  • Premium features are costly

4. Zoho CRM 

Zoho CRM source

Zoho CRM is an affordable and scalable CRM platform ideal for small and medium-scale SaaS businesses. It has extensive tools for salesforce automation, performance management, omnichannel integration, workflow automation, and so on. It is one of the cost-effective CRM platforms, and the features and functionalities are worth the price. It has separate modules for automating routine tasks and social media branding. 

Features

  • Omnichannel reporting
  • Salesforce automation
  • Social media lead generation
  • Contract management
  • Interaction tracking
  • Partner relationship management
  • Billing and invoicing management
  • Customizable reports

Pros

  • Integrates well with other Zoho/Google applications
  • Powerful process management tools
  • Multiple pricing plans
  • High value for money
  • Customizable to industry needs
  • Intuitive workflow tools
  • Offers high flexibility
  • Customized reporting options

Cons

  • Hard to edit and customize email templates
  • Call scheduling has glitches
  • No smart tools to fill out forms.
  • Bulk email scheduling options are limited.

5. Zendesk Sell 

Zendesk Sell  source

Zendesk Sell helps streamline sales operations in a business with other CRM software like Base CRM. It guarantees a 7-day implementation period. Zendesk Sell and Base CRM help build a seamless pipeline that integrates the sales, marketing, and customer relationship management activities of a business. It is an effective CRM for SaaS companies and helps organize their sales process and follow-up to ensure the leads are closed quickly. 

Features

  • Dedicated pipeline management tools
  • Powerful analytic tools and dashboarding
  • Live chat option
  • Goal management
  • Power dialer
  • Automated sales triggers
  • Bulk emails
  • Marketing Automation
  • Email integration with Gmail and Office 365

Pros

  • 14-day Free trial
  • Centralized platform
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Prebuilt integrations
  • API Access
  • Pipeline analysis and forecasting
  • Powerful insights and reporting

Cons

  • Steep learning curve
  • Customer support needs improvement
  • With advanced features, it gets costly

6. Oracle Customer Experience (CX) Cloud

Oracle Customer Experience (CX) Cloud sourcesource

Oracle CX Cloud has a suite of tools for customer relations management, sales, marketing, and so on. The Oracle CX platform collects data from various sources and maintains it in a single platform to nurture and maintain customer relationships. It offers a comprehensive view of customer interactions and eases the sales cycle at each step, from customer acquisition to customer retention. 

Features

  • Centralized data management
  • Modular visual components
  • Connected intelligence
  • Responsive UI
  • Pre-packaged reports
  • ERP integration
  • Partner Portal.

Pros

  • Built-in integrations
  • Guides customers through the entire process
  • Reduces the length of the sales cycle
  • Cost-effective CRM solution
  • Exceptional contact management options

Cons

  • Some features require usage support
  • Lack of customization
  • Poor integration with Outlook

7. Adobe Experience Cloud

Adobe Experience Cloudsource

Adobe Experience Cloud helps streamline customer relationship management, marketing, and sales operations of a business. It has exceptional digital asset management options, including social management tools, document management options, etc. It helps schedule and manage omnichannel campaigns and reach millions of customers in a go. 

Features

  • Extensive customer data and insights
  • Experience management solutions
  • Content management tools
  • B2B marketing tools
  • End-to-end automation
  • Workflow management features

Pros

  • Offers exceptional cross-channel customization 
  • Easy integration with marketing tools
  • Intelligent search option
  • Manage multiple sites in a go
  • Track overall marketing experience
  • User-friendly UX

Cons

  • You need to spend some time learning to use the features
  • Persistent connectivity issues 
  • The structure is not so flexible. 

8. Creatio CRM 

Creatio CRM source

Creatio has exhaustive solutions for marketing, sales, and customer relations management. It has a wide range of analytic tools that help track performance. It helps automate marketing campaigns and lead management workflows. It has no-code, and its products can be purchased individually or as integrated solutions. The Creatio CRM provides ready-made solutions and templates for various customer service activities. 

Features

  • Marketing automation
  • Social media integration
  • Workflow management
  • Customer history and tracking
  • Proposal generation
  • Sales pipeline management
  • Sales process automation

Pros

  • No coding technology
  • Highly flexible
  • User-friendly
  • Offers a 360D view of prospects, and customers
  • Offers contact tracking
  • Centralization of data and business operations
  • Automates B2B and B2C sales cycle

Cons

  • Documentation must be improved.
  • The search must be simplified.
  • The mobile version is not as effective as the desktop version.

9. Insightly 

Insightly source

Insightly offers basic CRM for SaaS companies in small-scale and startup stages. It has intuitive options, and its features are easy to access and use. It offers complete visualization of the sales cycle right from the first point of contact to customer retention strategy and upselling. It offers options for customer segmentation and so makes targeting easier. Insightly helps businesses build sales pipelines, enhance productivity, and improve customer relationships. 

Features

  • Contact management options
  • Social media integration
  • Sales pipeline management
  • Integration with Gmail and Google Apps
  • API Access
  • Allows free trial

Pros

  • Forever free for two users
  • Helps organize contacts
  • Bulk email options
  • Customizable dashboard
  • Easy to integrate with third-party apps
  • Accessible through web and mobile apps
  • Customer visualization at each step

Cons

  • Takes time to load
  • Customization needs to be improved
  • Lead tracking gets tricky at times. 

10. Freshsales 

Freshsales source,

Freshsales CRM offers excellent contact management, sales support, and CRM for SaaS companies in their startups and small-scale stages. Freshsales has a free plan, and it has limited customization options. The easy-to-use interface helps you gain complete control over leads at each step of the process. It prioritizes various activities in the sales pipeline and helps optimize customer relationships and sales processes.

Features

  • Sales reporting
  • Calendar management
  • Email tracking
  • Interactive pipeline management
  • Document management
  • CRM dashboards
  • Email integration
  • CRM analytics

Pros

  • Easy to use and operate
  • Supports many browsers
  • Following up on leads is easy
  • Offers 360D view of contacts
  • Generates custom reports
  • Integration with Google calendar

Cons

  • Modules are present as silos. A comprehensive plan would help. 
  • Limited features with the free plan. 

Conclusion

Every organization has its own set of requirements, values, and policies when it comes to customer relationship management. So, it is important to evaluate the SaaS CRM service providers based on the features, functionalities, pricing, capabilities, and data policy before choosing the best SaaS CRM system that can align with your business needs. Most SaaS CRM solutions offer free trials, and you can choose what aligns with your business based on your experience during the trial period. This is an advantage compared to traditional CRM software solutions. 

SaaS CRM FAQ's

Before choosing a CRM for SaaS companies, you must evaluate the SaaS CRM providers on various attributes, including features, functionalities, pricing, data policy, and degree of customization and flexibility of their offering.

In-house CRM solutions require hardware installations and periodic software upgrades. At the same time, SaaS CRM systems function over the internet on servers hosted by third-party service providers. In SaaS CRM systems, you do not require hardware installations on the premises, so they are less expensive when compared to in-house CRM systems.

If you are looking for SaaS vs. CRM, you must understand that SaaS is the short form for Software-as-a-Service. It refers to the broad spectrum of cloud computing solutions that solve IT challenges and problems.

CRM stands for Customer Relations Management and refers to the tools and software solutions that help businesses streamline customer databases and information.

Salesforce is both a SaaS and CRM or CRM SaaS comparison. It is a cloud computing platform that evolved as an alternative to traditional CRM solutions that were hard to install, use, and maintain.

A CRM solution can be offered in a variety of ways, including PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service), SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), or IaaS (Infratructure-as-a-Service). In CRM Software as a Service, the entire CRM application and solutions are delivered and managed by third-party service providers over the internet. In Paas, the service provider offers a framework upon which you can develop applications.

Updated : August 10, 2023

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