Charlotte Davis

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Best CRM for Consulting 2023

customer relationship management
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I’ve spent enough time working with consulting firms to know that having the right software is vital to the overall results. One of the ways that you can benefit your company is by having a decent CRM for consulting businesses.

But what is a CRM, how do you know you found the right one, and how does it help your business? In this article, I’ll look at precisely that and explore the ins and outs of customer relationship management software in detail. Let’s get into it.

What Is a Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM)?

I consider customer relationship management, or CRM software, a handy tool that does what it sounds like. It allows you to manage your customer system, optimize workflows, and integrate various parts of your company into a single cohesive whole.

Depending on your company’s niche, good CRM software can do everything from streamlining the sales pipeline to ensuring that tasks get done on time. It may integrate chatbot, live chat, and other forms of communication, or it may focus on marketing and ad management.

In my opinion, the right customer relationship management software for your business is the one that provides the tools you need to operate at your best capacity.

How Can a CRM Software Help Your Consulting Business?

Because CRM software is so diverse and performs such a broad array of tasks, the ways it can help your consulting business are almost limitless.

Here are a few of my favorite ways that consulting CRM software benefits the businesses that use it:

  1. It allows you to automate parts of the sales process – many parts of the sales process are incredibly repetitive. By taking advantage of automation and, in some cases, artificial intelligence and machine learning, you can expedite your sales process significantly. This approach also frees up valued staff to perform more profitable tasks.
  2. It facilitates better structuring of the sales pipeline – few companies realize just how messy the sales pipeline can be. A good consulting CRM software will allow you to map your sales pipeline, so you can see where to streamline it. It can even help you see areas where you’re leaving money on the table by not taking full advantage of your sales potential.
  3. It creates and stores email templates for ready access and quick use – From a consulting firm to a sales group, email is the backbone of modern sales. The right consulting CRM software will help create email templates for common uses. You can even automate sending specific emails in response to specific occurrences.
  4. It enables you to manage your to-do list of sales activity – The right CRM for your business will help you plan every part of the sales process, from lead generation to follow-up phone calls and managing a client’s orders when you close a sale.
  5. It offers detailed reporting and forecasting – A good CRM for consulting businesses will help you keep track of your sales over any given time. It will also predict likely sales over future periods based on past results.

6 Best Consulting CRM Software Options

If you’re looking for CRM software for your consulting business, you’re at the right place. In the following sections, I’ll examine what I consider the best CRM for consultants.

Capsule CRM Software – Best CRM Platform for Scalability

1

capsule logo

Capsule

 Expert Review

Very Good 8.8

In my opinion, Capsule is a great CRM for growing businesses. It has an array of price points ranging all the way from free to Enterprise.

The company incorporates almost all of these standard CRM tools into its product line, and you can use them to do everything from automation to integration and customer interaction.

Since it’s a pay-as-you-go service, you can easily upgrade whenever your business is in a position to do so.

Pricing

I found that the Capsule consulting CRM software is available in three different price plans, Enterprise, Teams, and Professional.

As you probably expected, each price point also has a different range of products you can access. I’ll let some of the most significant differences between plans below:

Enterprise – $54 per user, monthly

  • Store up to 500 email templates
  • Have up to 200,000 contacts
  • 40 GB of storage per user
  • Implementation support
  • Have a dedicated success manager
  • Customized training

Teams – $36 per user, monthly

  • Store up to 50 email templates
  • Have up to 100,000 contacts
  • 20 GB of storage per user
  • Multiple sales pipelines
  • Automate your workflows
  • Have multiple project boards

Professional – $18 per user, monthly

  • Store up to five email templates
  • Have up to 50,000 contacts
  • 10 GB of storage per-user
  • Single sales pipeline
  • Project management tools
  • Activity reporting
  • Key app integrations

There are many other differences between the payment plans, and these are only the ones I consider most significant. I think it’s worth noting that each payment plan includes all the tools available in the cheaper option.

You can also try the free plan, which allows two users and 250 contacts.

capsule logo

Capsule

Freshsales CRM by Freshworks – Best CRM Platform for Tech Consultants

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logo freshsales

Freshsales

 Expert Review

Very Good 8.8

freshworks logo on screen

Freshworks is a well-known name in business software applications. It has brought the wealth of its experience to bear on Freshsales CRM.

With highly affordable price points, and comprehensive artificial intelligence and automation tools, this is the best CRM for consultant firms in technological industries.

From automation to customer service and account management, Freshsales does it all.

Pricing

The Freshsales CRM solution by Freshworks also has three different payment options. However, you only start paying once you have at least three users on the system.

Allow me to point out the most significant differences between the plans:

Growth – $15 per user per month (annually) or $18 per user per month (billed monthly)

  • Get up to 2,000 bot sessions per month
  • Integrated chat, email, and phone communications options
  • Contact scoring powered by artificial intelligence
  • Deal management
  • Account management
  • Contact management
  • Single CPQ license

Pro – $39 per user per month (annually) or $47 per user per month

  • Get up to 3,000 bot sessions per month
  • Create multiple sales pipelines
  • Get deal insight, and best action recommendations powered by AI
  • Access to sales teams and territory management tools

Enterprise – $69 per user per month (annually) or $83 per user per month

  • Get up to 5,000 bot sessions per month
  • Access to audit logs
  • Get a dedicated manager for your account
  • Access to forecasting insights generated by AI
logo freshsales

Timely

HubSpot CRM Software – Best Free CRM for Consulting

3

Hubspot Logo

HubSpot

 Expert Review

Very Good 8.8

hubspot logo on laptop screen

In my opinion, HubSpot is one of the best free software suites for business processes. It offers everything from CRM to marketing software.

While your business is small, you can use core versions of everything CRM-related. Later, you can scale up and take full advantage of the paid business suite.

This CRM for consulting simplifies most sales-related tasks through customer support, productivity analysis, and lead generation for prospective clients.

Pricing

One thing I both like and dislike about the Hubspot CRM systems is that there’s no real scaling. The company offers a basic bundle plan for individuals and small businesses, then jumps to packages for larger consulting firms and corporations.

The Starter CRM Suite costs $50 annually if you commit to a monthly contract. If you commit to an annual contract, you only pay $30 monthly, but you can still pay monthly.

It gives you access to the following:

  • The marketing hub starter, which allows you up to 1,000 contacts.
  • The sales hub starter, which accommodates two paid users
  • The service hub starter, which allows two paid users
  • The CMS hub starter
  • The operations hub starter

They also have options allowing you to pay for and use only one or two of the hubs mentioned above. This CRM solution is fully customizable, so you can pay for what you need and nothing more.

If you’re just getting started and cash flow is tight, you can always opt for the company’s free tools. They’re a lot more limited and will have Hubspot branding, but you’ll still be able to streamline business processes and task management.

Hubspot Logo

HubSpot

Keap CRM Software – Best Premium Consulting CRM Software

4

Keap Logo

Keap

 Expert Review

Very Good 8.8

keap logo on laptop screen

Keap is a full-fledged financial software offering everything you need in a small business consulting CRM. The products are entirely scalable, and you can easily upgrade to bigger versions as your company grows.

In my opinion, this is probably one of the most comprehensive CRM programs on this list, covering everything from customer data and customer relationships to marketing campaigns and automating sales processes.

Pricing

The Keap CRM system keeps pricing simple. It has precisely two price points, for which you can pay monthly or annually.

Below I’ll take you through the significant differences between the two plans:

Pro – $149 per month when billed annually, or $189 per month when billed monthly

  • Have up to 1,500 contacts
  • Add up to two users
  • Access to sales automation and marketing automation
  • Have a dedicated phone line
  • Automate lead captures and follow-ups
  • Manage leads and clients
  • Make and manage appointments
  • Map your sales pipeline
  • Create quotes, payments, and invoices
  • Design landing pages and online sales pages

Max – $199 per month when billed annually, or $249 per month when billed monthly

  • Have up to 2,500 contacts
  • Add up to three users

In addition to all the tools listed in Pro, get access to:

  • Get access to marketing analytics
  • Create promo codes and facilitate upsells

Zendesk Sell CRM Software – Best CRM to Manage Interactions with Customers

5

zendesk logo

Zendesk

 Expert Review

Very Good 8.8

zendesk logo on table screen

Zendesk is a popular software for many different reasons. One of the main ways people use this particular website is to improve customer retention by building customer relationships. If you’ve spent time around websites offering online services, you’ve probably been in touch with a Zendesk representative.

This company is one of the top names in client communication and operates the live chat, SMS line, and email service for many small consulting businesses.

Its key features are much more comprehensive, including pipeline management, marketing automation, and service automation.

Pricing

The Zendesk CRM solution comes in two different options. You can either opt for the sales solution or the service solution. Both of these come in three other price points.

 For independent consultants, the service solution might be helpful for getting all the appropriate information and responses to clients on time. I found three different suites, with the more expensive options containing all the same tools as the next tier down but with extra tools thrown in:

Suite team – $49 per user per month, billed once a year

  • Access to a ticketing system
  • All major support options
  • A single help center
  • Marketing automation tools
  • Workflow automation tools
  • Automated answers (based on AI)
  • Integrations for apps and software
  • Prebuilt reporting and analytics

Suite growth – $79 per user per month, billed once a year

  • Multiple help centers
  • Access to the customer portal (self-service)
  • Knowledge management powered by AI
  • Customize ticket layouts

Suite professional – $99 per user per month, billed once a year

  • Live activity dashboard for all users
  • Customizable dashboards (you can share them!)
  • Voice capabilities
zendesk logo

Zendesk

Zoho CRM Software – Best Affordable, Comprehensive CRM

6

Zoho CRM Logo

Zoho CRM

 Expert Review

Very Good 8.8

zoho webstite on pc display

Many small consulting businesses rely on Zoho to streamline and simplify their sales activities. In my experience, this is one of the most comprehensive modular operating systems for business.

I’ve found that it has uses for every part of the entire sales pipeline. From lead generation to marketing features, sales cycle analysis to client servicing, Zoho truly does it all.

Pricing

Unlike most of the other CRM systems on this list, Zoho CRM offers four price points. Each tier contains the tools in the level beneath it and some extras.

Let me show you the differences:

  • Standard – $12 per user per month, billed annually
    • Basic modules
    • Multiple currencies
    • Email insights
    • Sales forecasting
    • Email templates
    • Social profile integration
  • Professional – $20 per user per month, billed annually
    • Macros
    • Sales signals
    • Assignment rules
    • Webhooks
    • Email relay
    • CRM for Google ads
  • Enterprise – $35 per user per month, billed annually
    • Data encryption
    • Access to reporting hierarchy
    • Anomaly detectors and webform analytics
    • Custom functions and access to the command center
    • Access to custom sales signals, email parsers, and data entry wizards
  • Ultimate – $45 per user per month, billed annually
    • Get access to Zoho Analytics
Zoho CRM Logo

Zoho CRM

Choosing the Best Consulting CRM Software for Your Business

I realize that buying consulting CRM software is a challenging decision. Depending on whether you’re an independent consultant or a small consulting business, your needs can differ significantly.

Whenever people ask me what the best CRM software is for their business, I always take them through a series of questions. Ultimately, no one can choose the best CRM for consultants better than the consultants themselves.

Before choosing a CRM system for your business, consider the following:

  • What are you hoping to accomplish?
    • If your sales team wants to improve its ability to communicate with clients, the best CRM software for you will revolve around ticketing and communications networks.
    • If you’re interested in marketing automation and streamlining business processes, consider a CRM solution focusing on Task management and mapping sales pipelines.
  • How large is your business?
    • A large consulting business or firm will need more extensive systems than a single independent consultant. It’s senseless paying for a 50,000 contact CRM for consultants when you barely have 500.
  • What is your budget?
    • Again, larger businesses have a larger budget and can afford to pay for larger packages. If you’re starting out or a small company, consider a free or inexpensive CRM for consultants. While some CRM tool uses may have limitations on free versions, it’s often enough for small consulting companies.

Answer these questions and make a list of the following:

  • How much you’re willing to spend,
  • Which tools you need,
  • How big your databases need to be

This way, you can quickly narrow down the tools listed to find the best CRM for you.

Does CRM Software Expedite the Sales Process?

In the right hands, CRM software expedites the sales process by streamlining pipelines and helping to automate processes. The more streamlined the channel, the more efficient your sales performance will be.

If you’re considering marketing automation or a CRM for consultants, I’d definitely recommend trying out one of the software options I’ve listed above.

Final Thoughts

Whether you have a large consulting firm or you’re an independent consultant, CRM software can help you manage existing clients and improve customer experience.

I’ve listed some of my favorite CRM software in this article, and all of them offer something different:

  • Hubspot is a great free option for small companies
  • Zoho is affordable
  • Zendesk is a recognized name in customer service
  • Keap is a wonderful complete service package for larger firms
  • Freshsales makes terrific use of artificial intelligence
  • Capsule offers pay-as-you-go CRM services

I urge you to look at each of them in detail and use the questions above to narrow down the right choice for your business. 

For the best possible customer relationship management, you can’t go wrong with good software. It can make the difference between finding new customers or losing old ones.

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