A CRM is a customer relationship management software that helps you manage your relationships.  Any business serious about sales needs this important lead management tool.  There are many CRM’s on the market.  There are free CRM tools and there are very costly CRM tools.

I have used many systems, and the question is not which is the best CRM on the market.  Instead, you have to ask yourself what is the best CRM to match your current and future sales process.

First you need a defined sales process.  Without it, you will not be able to pick the best CRM for your company.

The CRM begins as a lead management tool and should then flow qualified leads into a sales funnel where your CRM will send emails, schedule tasks such as calls and more.  It helps you build relationships.

A CRM is not a lead generation tool.  I have not seen a single CRM that generates leads and this is an important distinction.  You need to do a variety of lead generation activities, such as lead generation blogging, list buying, networking and more to pump your CRM full of leads.

All too often, a business buys a good CRM such as Salesforce.com, Sugar CRM, Highrise, Zoho CRM or others and they wonder why sales do not go up dramatically.  The reasons are simple. 

1) It takes a long time to adapt a CRM to your sales model and make it profitable.

2) You still need quality lead generation or the CRM will fail.

Lead generation and lead management tools are two different things and you need to understand the difference to build a profitable sales model.