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May 23, 2022

Top 10 CRMs to Reduce Churn Rate for Startup CEOs

As a SaaS or Startup founder, it’s important that you know where your customers are coming from and how they interact with your software. In fact, according to a study by Forrester Research, the average company loses 10% of its customers each year. That means if you have 100 customers, 10 will leave every year.

The reasons why customers may leave are many and varied:

  • They don’t need your product anymore
  • Or It’s too expensive
  • Or too complicated to use

One of the main solutions to this is to engage with your customers, such that they are more likely to continue using your software if you create features that make them successful. In fact, “Customer engagement is the first predictor of retention.” Using a CRM could help you maintain a healthy product-customer relationship with different tools like:

  • Analytics and reporting. Another important aspect of a good CRM is knowing what's working and what isn't important in your software— but it's especially crucial for SaaS companies because you need to track your KPIs (key performance indicators) from month to month and year to year so you know whether you’re doing better or worse than previous months or years.

  • Retention Rate optimization. Let’s say your product costs $100 a month and the average customer stays for three months. Your average lifetime value based purely on transactions is $300. Now let’s say you can get customers to stay longer than three months. This means that if you can get them to stay for six months, then you will have a higher LTV of $600. A CRM can help you increase your average lifetime value by offering discounts, feature upgrades, or other incentives for customers to stay longer.

If you don’t have a strategy and the right tools for engaging with these customers, then it can be difficult for you to retain them. It’s also important to be able to understand their needs and how satisfied they are with your product.

With a CRM you can ask questions like:

  • What do they want?
  • What do they need?
  • What are their pain points?
  • And what can I offer that will make them feel rewarded?

So that’s why I made a list of the best CRM solutions to understand your customers better, build relationships with them and reduce the rate at which they are canceling their subscriptions.

 

EDITOR’S CHOICE

My name is Hayri and I built this tool called Custerem aimed to help SaaS product companies in collecting customer events and tracking the customers to reduce churn, and understand why customers are leaving.

In other words, Custerem is a boutique software CRM designed (by one person) from the ground that helps software companies make better marketing decisions by providing answers to questions like:

  • How much time does it take for most customers to reach activation?
  • What is the biggest reason why customers churn?
  • Who are our best customers and what kind of content (value) can we give them to increase retention?

 

#1 Hubspot

Probably Hubspot is one of the most flexible, popular, and fit-all CRM solutions out there that could potentially help you understand your customers better. The value proposition of Hubspot is getting more traffic, leads, and customers. Quite simple.

Use cases:

  • Replace multiple tools like form & landing page builders, and email marketing software with all-in-one Hubspot. In fact, Hubspot states that “Each product in the platform is powerful alone, but the real magic happens when you use them together.”
  • HubSpot's interface is easy to work with. Although the learning curve can be difficult, their interface is certainly not bad and has been established as the predefined solution for almost any business that is looking to grow their inbound and internal engagement campaigns.

Hubspot CRM example image

  • Sales Hub - Getting high LTV customers, is better than getting low LTV ones and then trying to reduce their churn. If you're managing a SaaS sales team, you know the importance of keeping track of what's happening with your deals, and this can vastly improve your customer acquisition lifetime value.

Best for:

  • Companies that need customer education from the Hubspot Academy.
  • Directors that are not afraid of having a difficult learning curve, and want to have everything sales and marketing related in one place.

Hubspot is great for marketing automation, content, sales, and even social media management. For sure it is a good CRM for software companies looking to not use a whole bunch of tools, instead of just using one.

 

#2 Zoho CRM

Zoho is known for being one of the most affordable CRMs out there and could certainly be helpful for customer retention in your product.

Use cases:

  • Zoho Wizards and their decision tree form. Wizards let your sales staff capture information for their prospects and customers through a streamlined sequence of questions.

Zoho CRM wizard

  • Lead management. Zoho's proposal is to have a dedicated lead management tool inside their CRM to qualify leads. So if you get to have a better lead qualification, then you have a higher LTV, so the churn, in this case, is vastly improved.

Best for:

  • Small business to mid-market agencies and service providers

Unfortunately, it’s been said based on reviews that the support team of Zoho is not very responsive or helpful at all. They seem to be quite slow in responding to tickets. This can be unacceptable for some urgent or intensely growing startups. However the price and the whole accessibility of what Zoho CRM offers, it's incredibly good. So they win on the value, compared to the investment.

 

# 3 Ontraport

Ontraport believes that “You can’t expect to grow your business if you don’t know the value of your customers.”. But in the case of SaaS, the actual understanding of customer lifetime value is different. And whether they can solve the issue of increasing the retention rate for software or not is dependent on what is the current market that Ontraport serves, and how they help them. So let’s find out:

Use cases:

  • Ontraport dashboard. With Ontraport you can keep track of contacts that are engaged, events placed by contacts, and their average value, conversion rate, and events. Certainly some key components for increasing engagement and reducing churn. Still not the most complete use case.

Ontraport

Best for:

  • Growing businesses that are not necessarily in the software space.
  • Fitness, Communities, PR & Magazines.

#4 Microsoft Dynamics 365

Same as all the other solutions in this article, Microsoft Dynamics is actually a good one because it is also a cloud-based CRM. Its value proposition is to “bring your customers into focus”

Use cases:

  • Link customer data feature. Create customers models: behaviorally-based data like Churn risk, Avg spend on the software, and review rating is some examples of the data inside your customer dashboard inside Dynamics, that can help you predict customer lifetime value and cross-sell/upsell opportunities. So you can activate those insights across the pipeline between marketing and sales.
  • Real-time analytics. Improve User Experience & using their monitoring tool to gather and review a number of critical performance metrics including days since the first transaction, response time & frequency of engagement intervals.

Microsoft Dynamics 365

Best for:

  • Not so small companies with more or less 500 employees.

 

# 5 Apptivo

Apptivo CRM is one of the sales and marketing automation platforms that aim to help your team measure conversion rate and track the performance of your business while connecting to customers.

Use cases: * Email analytics & reports. The details of emails delivered, opened, and clicked will be recorded so you gain powerful insights on how to increase your inbound ROI efforts, and see if you are checking if those who need more engagement to not churn, are actually reading your mail

Apptivo

Best for:

  • Small software businesses

 

# 6 SugarCRM

SugarCRM calls itself “The Nexus of Engagement”. Their focus is on creating meaningful engagement through interactions between employees and customers. One of their major studies in the space of customer engagement reflects that 57% of sales members said they were not able to place a metric based on the prediction of the customer churn, or in other words “not being able to predict when customers would churn”.

Use cases:

  • SugarCRM ecosystem is what makes them, and I quote: “unique in their ability to support any user in becoming a customer expert”. Their current marketplace of apps makes their CRM a very powerful tool to understand everything about the user’s journey and how to engage with them.

SugarCRM marketplace

Best for:

  • Enterprise and mid-sized companies

 

# 7 Mailchimp

Although Mailchimp is one of the most well-known CRMs, and similar at some level to the first solution proposed in this article, Mailchimp's purpose is not for reducing abandonment in SaaS. But you can certainly increase the customer engagement inside your software startup with email marketing and lead nurturing, which is something Mailchimp offers. So let’s try to explore these solutions.

Use cases:

  • Mailchimp survey for small startups. With their forms, you can create custom surveys and polls to find out what really matters to your customers and prospects. They can help you get actionable insights on the topics that matter most.
  • Mailchimp Automation. Use email scheduling to drive results by sending your email marketing campaigns at specific times of day, or on a particular date. For example, if you’re sending a weekly newsletter, schedule each one to be sent on Sunday evenings or Monday mornings, and in that way get more loyal customers (less churn) automatically.

Mailchimp

Best for:

  • Small to mid-market businesses
Limitations

Mailchimp can be a great way to build a relationship with your customers. But what if you want to do more than that? What if you want to go beyond the basic email marketing tactics to engage more deeply with your users, and understand your product metrics? Well maybe you should still check on other solutions. Here is a resource on how Mailchimp helps to retain customers with automation: https://mailchimp.com/andco/resources/customer-retention-automation/

# 8 Zendesk CRM (Zendesk Sell)

Arguably, one of the best software for understanding customer needs is Zendesk and you may already have heard of it before. But if not, it is a Customer Service software, that has a very popular solution called Zendesk Sell.

Use cases:

  • Sales reporting software. Zendesk Sell includes a tool that keeps track of your data by taking screenshots of it everyday. This can be really powerful for choosing high LTV types of customers.

Zendesk Sell

  • Conversion Tracking. Is that most SaaS that does not track conversion rates are likely to be at high risk when trying to create a growing and profitable startup that has an optimal user engagement. To solve this, you can use one of the star players of Zendesk, which is their live chat coupled with an URL goal where you give to it an attribution for when the user first engaged, to conversion.

Zendesk Sell

Best for:

  • Both early-stage and bigger software companies who want to organize their leads and improve the understanding of customers through their live chat.

 

# 9 Nimble CRM

I’ve read some articles in the past from Nimble about SaaS marketing and recently came on with one about reducing churn rate with their CRM.

Use cases:

  • Group Message. You can reach out to your customers using the Group Message feature, which will return open and click stats on your messages so that you can gauge your contacts' interests and interactions with your messages.
  • Templated Workflow feature. You can also track your customers using Nimble's workflows feature.

Nimble CRM

Best for: * Possibly small size software companies

 

# 10 Bitrix24 for internal retention

Managing the retention rate for employees can also be a daunting task. Bitrix24 is one of the most popular CRMs for being a Salesforce alternative. And compared to Hubspot, it can be much cheaper and more feasible for early-stage startups with a low martech budget who look for a sales-oriented CRM.

Use cases:

  • Onboarding software: You can use the Bitrix24 onboarding process to get people up to speed quickly while also helping them feel like they are part of the team from day one.

Bitrix24

  • Goal Tracking Software: Use gamification to help your employees track and achieve their goals, while also maintaining the satisfaction of the work.

Best for:

  • Software companies with a developed HR department
Limitations

Although Bitrix24 mentioned on this page that they help companies reduce churn with customers, this is not the best option for your internal product and understanding your customer’s behavior.

 

Hayri Cicek