Leading CRM platforms for growing Asian businesses
Understanding what makes customers tick is absolutely essential for any business – after all, customers help drive success.
But making sense of customer interactions, and then translating them into business terms such as growth and retention can be tedious and time-consuming, not to mention at times inaccurate.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms are the answer to any business’ customer woes. Typically, these refer to any practice or technology used to manage and analyze customer interactions and data in order to foster engaging business relationships.
This is done by compiling any information gained from interacting with a customer – whether it’s through a company’s website, via telephone or live chat, or even from surveys and forms filled out by the customer – and consolidating the information into a single database that allows business users to manage and glean useful data that could contribute to the company’s growth.
Ian Hill, marketing and sales director of CitySoft Consulting Group, told Tech Wire Asia: “Asian businesses should assess a CRM consulting firm’s suitability based on their ability to manage matter beyond CRM – such as CRM integration with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions and other systems; business process management and workflows; and mobility, whilst also ensuring the consulting firm genuinely understands the role a CRM system plays in a company’s sales force automation and marketing endeavours.”
Most CRM software automate a number of processes that are otherwise difficult to keep tabs on. For example, automating repetitive tasks such as emails, lead generation, and social media helps marketing departments with efficiency, while sales force automation aims to streamline and automate back-end tasks such as order processing and tracking, inventory management, and sales forecasts.
Companies are becoming more dependent on CRM systems, which now play a vital role ensuring a business runs smoothly and efficiently. In a 2015 survey, software comparison website Capterra found that out of 500 CRM users, more than half adopted the software into their companies within the first five years of business, and two thirds of them had at least 100 customers when they first began using a CRM system. Respondents also said that CRM software have the biggest impact on customer retention and satisfaction rates.
With so many CRM offers on the market, it can be difficult to find The One that will help your business grow in Asia – so Tech Wire Asia is giving you a hand.
Here are our top five CRM software:
1 – Sage CRM
Having spent the past 30 years working with small- and medium-sized companies, Sage is well-positioned in the CRM industry to help businesses go further. It has been adopted by over 15,000 organizations in 23 countries worldwide, and offers both on-demand and On-Premise systems.
Sage CRM understands that in this digital age, CRM has become a business strategy that optimizes profitability, operational efficiency, and customer satisfaction by implementing a customer-first process. The system helps businesses simplify the processes involved in customer relationships by providing software that breaks down rafts of data, streamlines it, and ultimately provides intelligent information to help businesses make decisions.
Its foundational technology platform – which comprises of Accounting, HR, and Payroll – has seen many SMEs choose Sage CRM to scale and grow with in the long-term. Using the CRM along with their ERP solutions – recommended by Gartner – makes businesses more customer-centric and efficient.
Given Asia’s great love affair with all things mobile, the need to reach customers via that medium is also important to businesses in Asia.
In the first quarter of 2016, Asia Pacific alone (excluding India and China) saw 1.4 billion additional mobile subscriptions. Sage CRM’s mobile apps for Android, Windows, and Apple can help employees access information and manage important accounts remotely as they work on the field to reach new customers. Read the full profile…
2 – Salesforce
Salesforce in one of the world leaders in Software as a Service (SaaS) technology, and according to Gartner’s Market Share Analysis of CRM software in 2015, Salesforce dominated the market that year.
The CRM is cloud-based, making it easy to access from anywhere and at any time, even while on mobile devices. One of Salesforce’s most-loved features is the ease and simplicity it offers to users. A customizable dashboard allows users to choose the information they prioritize the most, be it quotas, pipelines, leaderboards, team summaries, and sales numbers. The company recently upgraded its Sales Cloud to include sales productivity apps, further deepening its app marketplace.
Users laud the platform’s capabilities for customizing, extending, and scaling their sales processes with ease. Their native iOS and Android mobile apps have nearly full system functionality, and allow users to take their business anywhere.
Salesforce’s social media functions are also a favourite among its users, which works very similarly to Facebook in terms of having a newsfeed and status updates. It allows businesses to instantly respond to customer queries and feedback via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube via the platform.
3 – HubSpot
The only totally-free CRM software on our list is HubSpot. HubSpot’s CRM system focuses on small businesses and prides itself on being easy to learn – cutting out what could add up to hours and days of training. Users can add up to a million contacts, and tailor profiles for each contact to include contact details, company profile, and deal statuses so companies can make informed decisions.
HubSpot also offers a bird’s-eye view of a company’s sales funnel on one dashboard that also allows you to set quotas, track progress, and make accurate revenue forecasts. The system also automates tasks like logging emails, account creation, and data management to free up time for employees to focus on selling.
Using HubSpot’s CRM with its sales software, HubSpot Sales, gives users more tools that focus on the customer’s “buying journey”. HubSpot CRM comes with free trials of HubSpot Sales’ tools at a limited capacity, but users can upgrade to full use for a monthly fee.
— HubSpot (@HubSpot) September 15, 2016
In Asia Pacific, HubSpot is headquartered in Singapore, with offices in Sydney and Tokyo as well. They also have support representatives in APAC to ensure in-region support, as well over 3,100 partner agencies worldwide. Users of HubSpot CRM also have access to their wider support ecosystem, which includes HubSpot Academy courses and tutorials, extensive blogs, and customer support via e-mail, phone, and chat.
According to Managing Director, International, Jeetu Mahtani, HubSpot is “bullish” on their approach in Asia Pacific, and are in the process of rolling out a certification program.
4 – SugarCRM
For companies looking for a super flexible CRM system that lets them customize every part of the process, SugarCRM is The One for you. Available in over 26 languages and currencies, SugarCRM integrates fluidly with third party tools and apps including a number of Google apps, ActiveCampaign, and Freshdesk, among others.
SugarCRM was positioned as a Visionary in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation report this year, and was the third-most considered CRM vendor in Gartner’s customer reference survey for the report.
SugarCRM’s strengths lie in their mobile and platform capabilities, which have been strongly improved since it was launched in 2004. Their presence in APAC has grown since 2011, and they have offices with support teams for local technical support, sales capabilities, and technical account management in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Japan.
As the only open-source technology stack on Gartner’s report, SugarCRM is popular among businesses looking for the freedom of being able to self-host, rather than be tied down to a single stack with less room for flexibility, and subjected to possible hidden costs or forced upgrades. For Asian businesses that don’t operate primarily in English, SugarCRM also provides Master Subscription Agreement contracts in a number of international languages, including Japanese.
“SugarCRM has seen a very strong sales growth in the region, with anchor customers in the region including HTC, MGM and Venetian Macau, and certified implementation partners in 12 countries across the region,” Mark Troselj, SugarCRM Vice President for APAC and Japan told Tech Wire Asia.
5 – Insightly
As the most popular CRM and Project Management package and app on Google’s Play Store, Insightly, is highly favoured among micro-businesses of fewer than 20 people for its usability.
This CRM system is designed to be simple to use and reveals more advanced tools once your business is ready to use them. Insightly helps track projects, customers, and tasks at an affordable rate, and the best part is: No training is required.
Flexibility and mobility is as important to Insightly as it is to any growing Asian business, and being a cloud-based CRM gives users the ability to work from anywhere. The software comes with time-saving capabilities such as contact, project, and opportunity management, and detailed sales reporting. It also integrates closely with Google’s Gmail, Calendar, and Drive – a useful feature that allows business leaders and employees to adopt a new system without having to migrate every bit of information onto a totally new platform.
In terms of support, Insightly offers training via live and on-demand webinars, tutorial videos, and FAQs. According to PC Mag, who reviewed Insightly, the Insightly support team gets back to email queries within 24 hours and are also available to answer any questions on the phone.
*Some of the companies participating in this story are commercial partners of Tech Wire Asia.