It is time for another update of popular cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) programs that have continued to be popular for the contracting market. There are literally hundreds of options out there. I will list them in no particular order except the first 5 or 6 I’ve had more experience in testing or using. If you are a contractor (home improvement business) and would like to add your favorite CRM to the list, please do so in the comment section.
Before I list the CRMs, you might be wondering what value a CRM can bring to your organization. Here are a few blogs I have written on CRMs and some of their benefits:
Popular CRMs for Home Improvement Contractors
Base CRM: I have been following the folks at Base CRM for many years. Their product just keeps getting better and stronger. It is a fairly simple CRM to use and yet is also very powerful. A business of any size could benefit from Base. If you are just starting out, Base really is a helpful CRM that can be used on just about any desktop, tablet or mobile device. If you are a large corporate looking for an alternative to Salesforce,Base CRM is a solid option for your sales team. It is what I use for my consulting business.
Pipeline Deals: Even though I might use Base as my current CRM, I am a huge fan of Pipeline Deals. Almost all my painting clients and remodelers use Pipeline Deals. It is one of the least complicated and yet powerful CRMs on the market. It is easy to get up and running for your sales team. Several things I love about Pipeline is the collaboration and accountability that can be done within the CRM, easy reporting to know where your team is at, and an exceptional support staff. If you have a question, the Pipeline Deals support team is perhaps the best I’ve ever seen. They are very responsive by email, chat or phone! I have recently built a customer marketing reporting system, which only works with Pipeline Deals. I can now integrate my client’s Pipeline account into my reporting software to monitor and track marketing expenses, leads and sales.
Salesforce: Is perhaps the most widely known CRM on the market today. 15 years ago it was ACT! that lead the way of CRMs. Salesforce is the new CRM leader for small, medium and many large organizations. Salesforce has done a good job the last several years of catering more to the smaller companies by lowering their initial cost per user. It now starts at $25 a month per user for some basic yet valuable CRM tools. Many of the companies I have connected with in the contracting world find that Salesforce is a bit too powerful for their needs. I think if your organization is organized enough and has a great operations team that can implement well, Salesforce is still a leading CRM that can do just more than many of us think! There are tons of plugins and add-ons for Salesforce too that can help with finances, marketing, operations, scheduling and more.
Zoho: I won’t go into details about Zoho here. It appears that Zoho tried to create a product that mimicked Google Apps for Work and Salesforce for a cheaper price tag. Zoho has a lot of products that connect with each other: project management, CRM, billing software, scheduling, and so forth.
MarketSharp: I used MarketSharp 12-15 years ago when I worked in my father’s painting company. Back then it did function as a CRM, but we were using ACT! 2000 at the time. Therefore, MarketSharp served our company by helping us do job site mailers. It was really a great tool for this. We did not take advantage of all the features MarketSharp had to offer. Fast forward to 2016, MarketSharp is still in the business. That says a lot! I have lost touch with them a bit, but from what I can tell, they have really continued to develop their product for the home improvement industry. Their CRM looks really quite good if you want an all in one solution!
Any CRM really has value if your company commits to learning and using it. I’d recommend finding one you really like and will see your team using it. The ones listed below I’ve done some basic user test on, but I do not have extensive experience with them. Still, they have their place and can be considered!
Insightly CRM: One of the early cloud-based CRMs on the market that started out FREE of charge for a number of years. I believe this is how it gained some credibility. It has great features and worked well. It is no longer free but remains a quality CRM.
Capsule: A low cost and simple CRM to use for a small contracting business.
Solve CRM: This has been around for quite a few years and was an early adapter and partner to Google Apps. It is a complex yet “simple” CRM. However, I found it a little too complicated for me to use and implement.
Nutshell CRM: These folks do a great job with usability and design. They were also one of the first to create mobile apps for their product. Very slick product and great customer support.
Hubspot: These folks are the leader in marketing automation software and inbound marketing. They created a CRM several years ago that has been growing in market share.
Batchbook CRM: A very cost effective and easy to use simple CRM. Their support team is also very responsive. They do not offer a lot of updates like Base, Pipeline & Salesforce…but when they do, they are good updates!
Karma CRM: I used this CRM for awhile and really liked it. The mobile side of things (at the time) suffered a bit. Yet the user interface on the desktop was great. I really enjoyed Karma and getting to know the staff being Karma CRM. Great people!
Cork CRM: I have tested Cork a bit and believe it is good for a small painting company. When I reviewed Cork, it was created for painting contractors primarily. It does a bit more than customer management. It can create estimates/proposals and schedule projects as well. I did not find it a great option for a medium or large painting company.