In the customer relationship management (CRM) space, there are dozens of providers fighting for your business. We've narrowed the CRM players down to the 10 best options but, in a software landscape in which features and capabilities are constantly changing, we sometimes take two great options and pit them head to head to aid in your company's buying decision.
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In this article, we compare Base CRM and Zoho CRM, two highly rated tools that make it easy to oversee an integrated CRM strategy that ties in sales, email marketing, and more with high-level features such as workflow automation and smart sales inboxes. Both Base CRM and Zoho CRM are excellent platforms but, depending on your business needs, one may be better suited to your CRM tasks than the other. Let the CRM showdown commence.
Pricing and Plans
Pricing is extremely competitive among CRM vendors, and it's also a good way to separate the platforms that are better suited for small to midsize businesses (SMBs) from the ones geared toward larger enterprises. Base CRM offers three paid plans and a 14-day free trial. The Starter plan ($25 per user per month) includes up to five seats with 2 GB of document storage per user, unlimited deals and contacts, and email and voice integration. If you have a larger team, you can opt for the Professional plan ($75 per user per month), which adds unlimited seats, 5 GB of storage per user, advanced sales insights reports, and sales forecasting. Finally, the Enterprise plan ($125 per user per month) adds 10 GB of storage per user, lead and deal scoring, advanced permissions, and a rapid dialer feature.
Zoho CRM starts a bit lower in price and, ultimately, undercuts Base CRM with more features for a slightly lower price. Zoho CRM offers a free package alongside four paid CRM packages. The free edition, which is restricted to just 10 users, comes with basic sales leads, marketing, and customer-support automation, with reporting and forecasting tools. The Standard edition ($15 per user per month) includes sales forecasting, customized dashboards, a document library, marketing campaigns, and the ability to send mass email. The Standard edition's database is capped, though, limiting you to only 100,000 records.
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Where you really start to see the price difference is at the higher tiers. The Professional edition ($25 per user per month) includes email integration, social CRM, inventory management, workflow automation, and role-based security. The database cap is no longer in place, letting you have unlimited number of records. The Enterprise edition ($40 per user per month) includes territory management, custom modules, Google AdWords integration, custom functions, time-based actions, custom related lists, and multiple currencies. Finally, Zoho CRM Plus ($60 per user per month) includes all of the features in the Enterprise edition as well as email marketing, online surveys, and advanced social media marketing and analytics. At less than half the price of Base CRM's highest tier, it's an easy choice. Edge: Zoho CRM
Setup and User Interface
Both of these Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions are easy to set up and sport straightforward responsive dashboards, but the devil is in the details. Zoho CRM's completely redesigned user interface (UI) adds drag-and-drop widget design for the home dashboard, and the setup screen now includes a global search bar in the top navigation panel to let you search all modules rather than limiting you to search by individual CRM module (as in the previous iteration of the software). Zoho CRM still requires a bit of customization to get started, though—with an added multiple-page layout option for greater module customization. Because of this, the administrator should put in some time beforehand to get the dashboards, custom fields, and actual pages organized to fit the workflow.
Base CRM, on the other hand, is simple from the get-go. When you first log in, Base CRM gives you a walkthrough of the main features. It tells you how to interact with the UI, which consists of simple tabs along the top of the dashboard for leads, contacts, sales pipeline, calendar, tasks, communication center, and reports. The dashboard is responsive, easy to use, and doesn't take nearly as much customization to get up and running. Zoho CRM's UI revamp makes up a lot of ground but Base CRM has long had the edge in usability. Therefore, it keeps its lead this time around. Edge: Base CRM
Managing Contacts and Leads
The meat of these platforms is in how they handle contact and lead management and how that translates into a user's ability to close deals and run effective campaigns. Base CRM frames this process in a laser-focused way, centered on funneling deals through the sales pipeline. A lead can be converted to a contact in Base CRM once they show interest and Base CRM can automatically create a related deal at the same time. Deals are stored in the Sales Pipeline tab and can be filtered by status. All records—leads, contacts, and deals—have cards on which you can view details and activity feeds. Once you have inputted all of your sales data, Base CRM will track and manage communications and deal progress.
For Zoho CRM, the revamped UI makes a big difference when you're using its core contact and lead management features as well as its sales pipeline. The Leads, Contacts, and Potentials tabs in the top navigation bar open streamlined, database-style UIs, and it's easy to add advanced filters to further sort entries. You can set up individual accounts for each customer and assign multiple contacts to each account, organized into active leads and other classification categories. There's also a deep G Suite integration to sync contacts and calendar entries. While Zoho CRM's lead management experience is much-improved, particularly with added gamification and real-time SalesSignals alerts, Base CRM still crafts a slightly more streamlined, sales-oriented experience. Edge: Base CRM
Reporting and Analytics
Aside from its new look and feel, the most prominent update to Zoho CRM is in the form of powerhouse reporting capabilities. The Reports tab includes a variety of comprehensive reports, data visualizations, and sales forecasting features. Zoho CRM also offers advanced CRM analytics to identify key performance metrics (KPIs), and personalized reports and dashboards with charts and customizable pivot tables. Zoho CRM also offers core data drill-downs into metrics such as sales funnel efficiency, mapped to an exportable spreadsheet.
Base CRM has also expended much effort to bolster its CRM reporting. Base CRM offers a fairly substantial stable of reports, including pipeline analysis, sales and goal performance, percentage of deals won, and sales revenue. Base CRM also offers more granular reports, including sales or loss, and reasons by owner and source. At the Professional and Enterprise tiers, users also gain access to the company's new predictive analytics reporting features: intelligent sales forecasting and email sentiment analysis. The sentiment analysis in particular is something you see more of in social listening platforms and represents a genuinely innovative step for Base CRM in CRM reporting. Yet, overall, Zoho CRM still provides a more comprehensive array of reporting, analytics, and visualization features. Edge: Zoho CRM
In addition to the core CRM capabilities, both platforms offer a wealth of bells and whistles. Base CRM's predictive analytics capabilities within its sales forecasting definitely qualify as above and beyond, and the platform also includes features such as a native automatic dialer feature for making sales calls from within the platform. Base CRM also includes full-featured mobile apps for Android and iOS. Moreover, the company also recently rolled out Apollo, a "sales science" platform (currently in beta).
Zoho CRM's extra features are headlined by SalesInbox, a dedicated email client for salespeople that's available as an add-on starting at the Professional tier. SalesInbox adds greater email organization capabilities, with new available metrics such as template analysis, version comparison, and open rates, but it also uses contextual CRM data to surface relevant emails for salespeople to drive better productivity. Zoho CRM has also rolled out significant updates to its mobile apps for Android and iOS, through which users can now check in at customer locations, track sales activities, and find nearby sales prospects by using a new map view. Zoho CRM also packs in social monitoring and sales territory management, giving it the overall nod in extra functionality. Edge: Zoho CRM
Both of these solutions are powerful CRM platforms for any size business. Base CRM gets the edge in overall usability and sales-focused lead and contact management, while Zoho CRM offers deeper reporting and analytics, a more impressive array of features, and a more affordable pricing model. We give the overall edge in this contest to Editors' Choice Zoho CRM by a nose. However, both of these top-tier solutions are more than capable of empowering your company to deftly execute your CRM strategy. Recommendation: Zoho CRM