You know you need a great client management system to keep track of customer data and ensure you build sustainable customer relationships. But which one is best?
Many small business owners optimize their operations for their own benefit and forget to prioritize their customers’ needs, which can result in frustration and lost revenue. The point of your business is to solve customers’ problems while making money, and in the digital age, the right CMS is essential.
What is client management?
Client management fosters relationships between a business and its customers by keeping detailed records of customer interactions and customer engagement. Customer management includes:
- Customer lifecycle planning
- Set expectations
- Build trust
- Define boundaries
- Evaluate customer satisfaction
The ultimate goal of client management is for your small business to delight its customers. Achieving this goal will lead to increased retention rates and referrals.
Keep reading to learn about customer management systems.
What is a client management system?
A client management system can also be called a customer relationship management (CRM) system. These specialized software applications monitor and manage individual relationships between small businesses and their customers.
Sales, marketing, and support teams frequently rely on data within the client management system (CMS) to initiate and cultivate customer connections, fostering loyalty and transforming potential and existing customers into devoted clients.
Client Management Systems: Key Features
CRMs are comprehensive systems capable of generating valuable information that can benefit every department in your small business. A CRM should have specific features to track and measure customer interactions with your company.
A CRM should track and help make better decisions by providing your staff with information about support requests, email responses, and previous purchases. This data helps predict customer needs, cross-sell, and personalize the entire sales process.
Key features of an effective CRM include:
- Activity tracking: Collect customer data to gain insights about how often clients request support, make purchases, or return items. This helps you predict potential issues and prevent them.
- Data and analytics: Monitor metrics for each customer, including their engagement frequency with your communications. When compared to the rest of your customer data, these metrics will show who are ideal clients and who costs your company money.
- Automated workflows: Automating workflows simplifies the client management process. Workflow automation is crucial to nurturing customer relationships. Marketing automation can be used to respond to leads, send outreach, and schedule meetings without consuming your sales team’s time.
- Communication system: Utilize templates and automated messaging to communicate with customers via email, calls, texts, or direct social media messages.
Next, we’ll discuss the best client management tools to manage customer relationships.
Best client management software
The best client management software will be different for every company. Small businesses will need to consider which features are most important to them. We have ranked the following customer relationship management tools to help you find the right client management software for you.
- Housecall Pro
- HubSpot CRM
- Zendesk Sell
- Zoho CRM
- Freshworks CRM (formerly Freshsales)
Get ready to start choosing client management software.
#1. Housecall Pro (author’s pick)
I personally rate Housecall Pro as the best client management software today. It’s one of the more comprehensive business management software solutions with a starting price of $69 monthly. You get almost all of what you need to run most businesses when you invest in the $169 per month plan.
In addition to client management tools, you also get third-party financing, payment processing, online booking, GPS and time tracking, and more. When it comes to managing your business, you can’t go wrong with Housecall Pro.
#2. Jobber (recommended by most videos)
Jobber is similar to Housecall Pro but has a lower-cost entry point. It’s also not as intuitive. If you want to spend less than $169, Jobber has three plans to fit your client management software budget. Note that only the Connect and Grow plans allow more than one user without paying extra.
#3. ClickUp (UpFlip blog and YouTube CRM)
We use ClickUp at UpFlip. This client management software is highly productive but can be somewhat complex for new users.
With ClickUp’s robust and customizable features, you have access to more than 15 distinct ways to visualize sales and client orders, including list, calendar, table, and Kanban-like board views for all data types.
Additionally, ClickUp’s Dashboards offer real-time reporting, allowing you to gain high-level insights into your customer’s lifetime values, ensuring you never miss a sale.
ClickUp’s integration with over 1,000 other work tools, including email, facilitates fast and streamlined customer outreach.
Onboard clients, update tasks, and send messages, all from a centralized work hub.
With ClickUp’s Free Forever plan, you can build your customer database and access many functional features. For even more advanced tools, you can easily upgrade for as little as $5.
The next client management software solution sounds awesome for people who want client management software that works well with social media platforms.
#4. FreeAgent (most features in entry-level plan)
FreeAgent brands itself as a next-gen CRM with some of the most offerings in its lowest-level plan. You’ll get:
• AI-guided tasks
• Sales tracking
• A whole lot more!
For $90 per user, you get additional features like meeting scheduling and SMS marketing tools that suggest it might be worth the cost to upgrade.
FreeFlow, an AI-guided productivity tool offered by FreeAgent, helps reps increase their productivity by suggesting which tasks to perform first. This reduces admin work. Companies have seen over 200% gains in productivity using this tool.
The AI tool automatically organizes and logs calls, emails, and meetings. Plus, suggesting priorities helps reps with building customer relationships and driving more revenue.
#5. HubSpot CRM
HubSpot CRM platform is the best client management tool on the market, but it’s complex and costly. While it is fairly complicated to get started, the CRM tool is one of the best when it comes to educating people on sales and marketing.
It features a free CRM that integrates with email to simplify client tracking. It also has hubs for the following categories:
3. Customer service
4. Content management
6. Plus 50 free tools
HubSpot CRM supports unlimited users and data and up to a million contacts. That means HubSpot CRM will grow with your business. The two aspects I like most about this client management tool are the learning academy and the ability to upgrade as you grow.
This software is best if you are running marketing campaigns with a sales funnel. For two people to engage in the sales and marketing efforts is $50. Each additional person is $25-$50 depending on what they need to access in the CRM system.
We use Hubspot to manage our courses and I personally suggest every business owner take their free digital marketing certifications.
HoneyBook client management software lets you manage invoices, contracts, payments, and client communications. HoneyBook works best for entrepreneurs and small business owners who work on short-term projects.
The customer journey is simple and will delight your clients from the moment they interact with the client management software till you complete the project.
Start by sending branded proposals to potential clients and streamline the booking process with the user-friendly scheduling tool. Then close the deal with the contract and digital signature.
Use HoneyBook automation for customer communications as you complete milestones in the project. Spend more time working on the job and less time keeping customers updated.
With pricing from $19 to $79, the only thing this client management tool is missing is the employee side of managing your business. (That’s not technically part of client tracking software, but it’s important to you!)
Some client management software goes beyond relying on a client management software system. The Nimble Prospector browser extension collects lead data from social media.
Capture a prospective lead’s contact information by hovering over a LinkedIn or Instagram profile, and Nimble gathers the potential customer data, cutting data entry time in half.
Additionally, Nimble offers seamless integration with over 160 apps, including X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, and LinkedIn, allowing your team to consolidate client contact data from familiar platforms with ease.
Nimble’s calendar, activities tracker, and pipeline manager empower your team to make the most of every opportunity to engage with prospects and existing clients.
monday.com was originally a team management solution, connecting employees with workflow automation. Over time, its application expanded, and it now has offerings for most industries to track, organize, and manage production and performance.
When you sign up for monday.com, you can choose from templates for your industry and needs. For sales teams, three templates are particularly useful: sales CRM, partner management, and sales assets.
The sales CRM template is a highly valuable tool for sales teams because it efficiently manages leads, customer relationships, sales pipelines, and tasks in a single platform.
monday.com’s lead management helps you create customized forms directly on monday.com and embed them on your website. Submissions from the forms go directly to your monday.com board, allowing the tool to save all contact data and activity, including calls, emails, and meetings.
The sales CRM template also offers a Kanban view, which is commonly used for managing software projects efficiently. This view provides a quick overview of the number of prospects and their respective stages, enabling you to monitor progress effortlessly.
The sales CRM template effectively organizes deadlines, helping you stay on top of tasks that need completion each day and propelling you closer to closing deals.
Pro Tip: Check out our monday.com review for more information about this popular customer relationship management system.
#9. Zendesk Sell
ZenDesk Sell is effectively a support desk that has been modified to include sales teams. This makes it easier to manage client relationships.
Like many other client management software options, ZenDesk only offers workflow automation in its highest-level plan. Personally, I wish more client relationship management software offered automation at all price points because it improves the client data and workflows of those in the earliest stages of starting a business.
Pipedrive CRM software uses features such as pipeline management, chatbots, web forms, and AI sales assistance.
The AI-powered sales team assist tool makes this CRM system stand out. It provides personalized tips and automation recommendations to your sales team.
The AI sales mentor identifies potential risks based on past performance and suggests new strategies for improving results. This enables your reps to enhance their skills without extensive training and consulting.
Furthermore, the AI sales mentor employs advanced algorithms to assess your actions and identify areas where you can automate your sales cycle, streamlining your sales processes for increased sales team efficiency.
#11. Zoho CRM
Zoho CRM offers sales automation, predictive sales, sales management, and multichannel communication.
One of the standout capabilities of Zoho CRM is its robust multichannel communication feature. This empowers sales representatives to connect with customers across various platforms and channels, ensuring effective and convenient communication.
For instance, reps can reach out to prospects through channels such as telephone, email, live chat, social media, and web forms. Moreover, the multichannel tool enables reps to analyze the effectiveness of their communication efforts, identifying the best time and channel to engage with prospects.
Zoho CRM integrates with numerous business applications, including Google Suite, Ring Central, WhatsApp, Eventbrite, Quickbooks, Proposify, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, MailChimp, Facebook, Slack, Dropbox, and SalesIQ. These integrations enable smooth communication with prospects via email, phone, social media, and live chat.
They also have a unique client relationship management software called Bigin. Bigin starts as a free client management software for solopreneurs, and its annual pricing is no more than many other options’ monthly fees.
Drip is an eCommerce client management app. You’ll appreciate features like:
• Contact management
• Email marketing
• Multichannel touchpoints
The best feature is Drip’s advanced segmentation tool, which allows you to add tags and labels to any contact. You can even personalize and customize your own tags. For example, you can add an inactive customer tag to people who haven’t interacted with your site recently.
Additionally, you can use tags to filter prospects who have purchased a product before, track the amount of money they’ve spent, and see if they’ve been active on your site in the last month. These prospect tracking features provide customer insights into what your prospects are looking for, opening, clicking on, and buying.
Ultimately, this customer tracking software can help you personalize messages to your prospects.
ActiveCampaign offers businesses a suite of email, automation, and CRM solutions tailored to streamline client relationship management. Within its CRM platform, users get features like contact management, lead scoring, marketing and sales automation, win probability, sales reporting, segmentation, and win probability.
The standout capability of this client management app lies in its lead scoring tool, a valuable means of monitoring which prospective customers your client service management efforts should focus on.
This feature of the client relationship management software answers questions like:
• Did a potential customer visit your pricing page?
• Has the customer opened an email?
• Was a form submitted?
• Has the customer scheduled a meeting?
Lead scoring tracks these engagements, allowing you to identify the clients who are most invested in finding a provider.
The tool also assigns lead scores to deals and individual contacts. Monitoring a prospect’s lead score helps you focus on the customers most likely to convert.
Finally, lead scores can be used as a trigger to start a new sales funnel with special offers and other information to close the deal and go to the next step in the buyer’s journey. This powerful feature significantly boosts efficiency and drives better outcomes for your sales and marketing efforts.
Price: Contact Lucrativ
Lucrativ is a customer management system that focuses on real estate. Features include:
• AI-powered sales assistant
• Multichannel engagement
• Pipeline management
The gamification feature uses friendly competition to increase sales.
The customizable competition can include goals like prospects found, demos shown, and deals closed. The client system even has a leaderboard to track rep performance and display real-time ratings to motivate your entire sales team.
The gaming aspect of this client-getting software will motivate teams that manage multiple projects. Unlike many CRM platforms, this account management software doesn’t disclose pricing, which I normally read as: “Get ready for a high-pressure pitch and shady pricing schemes.”
Airtable starts as a free client management software that will support up to 5 users. It’s similar to monday.com, but spreadsheet users may appreciate how it strikes a balance between a spreadsheet and a database. Like monday.com, Airtable offers industry-specific tables designed for sales teams, including sales CRM, sales pipeline, and sales assets.
The sales CRM template provides a single location for real-time access to manage your contacts. In addition, each sales representative can personalize their view to remove distractions in the client-getting system. This flexibility makes Airtable one of the best account management software solutions available.
The calendar view makes it easy to review past meetings, follow up, and prepare for upcoming appointments. Meanwhile, the Kanban view displays the status of the software client for reps.
The Airtable sales CRM effectively organizes your team and simplifies closing deals.
Insightly focuses on marketing automation, sales CRM, integrations, and service desks. The CRM software has features like lead routing, relationship linking, and workflow automation.
Lead routing and relationship linking help sales reps follow up on hot leads faster. You can have the leads automatically go to an available sales rep based on activities like emails, interacting with a marketing campaign, or receiving a phone call.
Larger organizations may find the relationship-linking tool helpful for mapping complex customer relationships. When customers communicate with multiple people in the organization, the buyer’s journey is easier to analyze with Insightly than most other apps for client management. Get a better view of the entire sales pipeline.
This popular client management software is an industry leader in the CRM market. It is complex to use, though. As far as CRM software goes, I would discourage anyone from using it unless they go through the Trailhead training. Depending on what type of business you run, you may be able to market yourself as a provider afterward.
Features like contact management, email integration, lead management, opportunity management, and sales forecasting make this some of the best client management software for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that are approaching major corporation status.
Salesforce sales forecasting software provides a real-time view of the forecast of all your sales reps. You can set permissions for management to make in-line forecast adjustments or override information based on the management hierarchy.
For example, you can see the entire pipeline for your business, organized by sales rep, so you see who your top performers are. By tracking and forecasting your sales, you can set realistic goals and solve problems before they impact your revenue. Ultimately, tools like sales forecasting help management make decisions.
#18. Freshworks CRM (formerly Freshsales)
Freshworks CRM offers service department, marketing, chatbot, and sales client management software with features like:
• AI-powered insights
• Built-in phone and email
• Lead scoring
• Pipeline management
You can buy local and toll-free numbers directly through the Freshworks CRM then assign them to reps to contact potential clients without integrating with other systems.
Plus, all communication is automatically logged because the interactions happen directly in the Freshworks CRM. Eliminate manual data entry forever.
Price: Contact NetSuite
NetSuite offers a CRM for everything from accounting client management software to compliance, human resources, and inventory. If you’re planning a startup business that you expect will make millions or billions, you might want to go with the SuiteSuccess Starter Edition.
• Order management
• Quote delivery
• Sales automation
• Sales forecasting
Quote delivery and order management are the most impressive features. You’ll be able to streamline the lead-to-cash process directly in the CRM. Get ready for higher sales and better productivity.
Nutshell CRM provides a comprehensive range of tools, including contact management, pipeline management, sales automation, reporting, and email tools. Among these features, the pipeline management tool stands out for its flexibility and efficiency.
Nutshell offers various pipeline management views to cater to your sales reps’ preferences and workflows.
The Board View allows reps to easily drag and drop leads to different sales stages and mark them as won, lost, or canceled. This view provides a quick and comprehensive overview of the pipeline’s health.
Next, List View offers a more traditional approach, displaying leads in rows and allowing sorting based on stage, value, and opportunity. This helps reps analyze upcoming tasks and prioritize their attention accordingly.
For sales reps working with territories, map view is especially useful as it shows the exact location of prospects. This assists reps in planning meetings and activities efficiently.
Finally, the chart view provides valuable insights into lead trends by displaying data on the time frame, quantity, and value of open leads.
Capsule CRM offers contact management, a sales pipeline, and task management.
Capsule stands out for its customization features, including custom fields for business records, custom tags, custom sales milestones, and customized contact lists based on the selected filters.
These features can be used to include information about partner programs, like who brought the partner on and the date of introduction. This can make it easier to identify high-performing employees and seek ways to duplicate their results.
Welcome to a better sales process
Whatever client management software you choose, make sure to consider the features and the costs. While some charge per use, others charge the same amount for up to 15 users.
You’ll also want to consider the costs of additional software you need to manage your whole business. That’s why we ranked jobs like Housecall Pro, Jobber, and FreeAgent so high.
What CRMs have you used? What did you like or dislike about each?