Capital markets teams and professional and financial services teams rely on customer relationship management platforms for more than just contact management; they need software tools that focus on complex, long-term deals. A contact database alone isn’t sufficient. Teams require functionality that exceeds what an Excel spreadsheet can offer, both to eliminate siloed data and to map out relationships. This is especially critical with firms whose business rests on the strength of those relationships. Features in relationship-driven CRM software—including being able to easily customize workflows, automate data entry, and provide relationship intelligence—can mean the difference between winning a deal and losing one.
The available CRM options are nearly endless—from HubSpot CRM to ZohoCRM to Copper and countless others—and with so many choices, it can be challenging to gather all the necessary information and decide which solution is best for your team.
In this article, you’ll learn about key features in three CRMs that your firm might want to consider: Pipedrive, Salesforce CRM, and Affinity. Hopefully, by the end, you’ll be able to better decide which is the best CRM for your team’s business needs.
Pipedrive offers users an easy-to-use, cloud-based CRM. This customer relationship management tool uses visual activity-based workflows to help salespeople identify critical customer interactions and conversations. Teams that use Pipedrive appreciate how easy the drag-and-drop pipeline management interface is to navigate. If your team works with a more linear sales process, you can use Pipedrive to create simple, easily shared sales activity reports. This SaaS CRM is ideal for companies that are looking for a straightforward, accessible CRM to support their fast-moving sales processes.
Pipedrive’s 24/7 customer support is one of its most lauded features—and the ability to reach a live person in that critical moment may make the difference between winning and losing a deal.
Customers can also easily customize their sales workflows to meet their needs, however, Pipedrive does not offer automated data entry or automatic contact enrichment, so teams that rely on interactions and tracking those interactions will need to spend time entering in all of the data.
This manual data entry can lead to human error—and inaccurate or incomplete information—and it wastes hundreds of hours per person per year. Relationships and trust are built over time. If your dealmakers want to spend their time on relationships, not manual data entry, another CRM might be a better solution.
At its core, Pipedrive is user-friendly and easy to use. However, relationship-driven deal teams that require more robust reporting, workflow automation, or relationship intelligence may prefer a different customer relationship management platform.
(For even more information about the features and benefits of a VC, consider exploring the Ultimate Buyers Guide to CRM for VC.)
Salesforce (SFDC) is easily the best-known CRM solution in the world. This CRM is the industry-standard solution for sales teams whose sales processes focus on short-term, funnel-driven sales—in other words, transactional sales teams. The company has more than 20 years of experience delivering cloud-based customer relationship management solutions to companies across the globe. And with so many years on the market, they’ve built a wide customer base.
Today, Salesforce customers span a variety of industries and include government organizations, wealth and investment management firms, real estate companies, media companies, and more. These companies rely on Salesforce products for a range of business processes, from contact management and retention to email marketing campaigns and lead management.
Subsequently, users can access integrations for nearly any tool from their tech stack and sync them to Salesforce CRM. AppExchange offers integrations for email products such as Gmail, accounting software such as Quickbooks, and web forms such as Typeform.
Companies with the resources to do so can also make use of Salesforce’s open API to develop their own integrations. Third-party software, such as Zapier, can also allow teams to extend their integration options. Reliance on a tool like Zapier, however, means that the connector could fail at the most inopportune moments.
Today, dealmakers want—and need—access to their networks on the go. Salesforce’s mobile apps allow users to easily access information about their contacts and where they fall in a sales process, ensuring that your team can stay up to date from anywhere.
Salesforce offers an endless amount of customization—however, this can also be to its detriment. Salesforce is robust and complex, and a startup, small business, or boutique firm may want a more accessible, out-of-the-box solution. Additionally, pricing for Salesforce, while similar to many other CRM solutions, does have one of the highest monthly prices on the market.
If your team wants a more tailored solution that can support collaborative, long-term dealmaking and relationship building, a customer relationship management platform that analyzes the relationships between individuals across your team could be a better solution.
Finally, user reviews suggest that Salesforce customer support is less than ideal. Salesforce does offer online chat, phone support, an extensive knowledge base, and the ability to create and manage support cases online through Salesforce Help. Access to support, however, is tied to the pricing selection your team chooses, and some tiers are limited.
To further explore the differences between Salesforce vs. Pipedrive, visit Salesforce’s website.
When you compare Salesforce and Pipedrive to Affinity, both come up short for firms that focus on longer, relationship-driven sales cycles and complex dealmaking. Both CRMs work better for teams with linear sales processes that use traditional sales funnels and have short cycles.
Salesforce can be more complex than many firms need—it requires hours of training (there’s even a certification for administrators) and significant related expenses. Additionally, if your team wants a CRM that is deployed quickly, Salesforce is not the right choice. Pipedrive, on the other hand, is an easy-to-use CRM and deploys quickly. Employee adoption will most likely be faster than with Salesforce.
Their customer support is well-known and praised, and their interface is incredibly user-friendly. Unfortunately, if Salesforce’s features may be overkill, Pipedrive’s features could be more robust. Teams that rely on data analysis beyond simple funnel reports will find Pipedrive lacking.
Finally, neither CRM offers automatic data entry or native data enrichment. Both customer relationship management platforms rely on users to input data manually; and if your team members have to manually enter every single deal interaction, every company change, every detail, it’s likely that information will be outdated, incomplete, or inaccurate. It’s easy for teams to get behind or for human error to creep in.
Your CRM can (and should) be a single source of truth for your team. Complete, current, and accurate information in one centralized source ensures that you don’t miss out on valuable connections and deals. Data integrity is key, especially for relationship-based firms. The ability to trust your CRM means you can focus on what’s most critical—building and nurturing relationships with your existing contacts, and developing relationships with new contacts.
If your team wants freedom from the drudgery of manual data entry, insights that can accelerate dealmaking, and confidence to collaborate, Affinity could be the right CRM for your business needs.
Watch the demo below to learn more about how Affinity can help your team today.
Relationship-driven deal teams understand that in order to win deals, they have to spend significant time nurturing relationships. Often these collaborative relationships are built over the course of many years. Firms that truly focus on building long-term business relationships know that they can’t rely on their memories, or static Excel spreadsheets, to track all of the details of every interaction.
Without the ability to track everything seamlessly—and across the team—it’s not uncommon for relationships to flounder as they fall through the cracks. Sophisticated dealmakers need a solution that can help them manage a non-linear deal pipeline and sales cycles that can last months or years without losing critical relationship details. The best solution will allow your team to break down silos of information so that everyone has access to the same insight, and you can quickly identify which team member is best point of contact to take point on a new opportunity.
Now, more than ever, your company’s tech stack matters—and the foundation of that tech stack is your CRM. The best CRM solution will help you focus on creating long-term relationships and nurturing them over time. When you compare Pipedrive and Salesforce, it’s clear that they are both great solutions for teams who focus on short-term transactional interactions—but long-term deal cycles may suffer. You can use these simple, manual CRMs to track pipelines, see contacts, and integrate with your current tech stack, but you may need to look elsewhere for purpose-built solutions.
If your team counts on long-term relationships, consider Affinity. Affinity’s relationship intelligence CRM is designed specifically so your business team and partners can leverage their collective network to find, manage, and close deals faster.
Additionally, your team doesn’t have to wait months to fully utilize their new CRM—Affinity can be up and running quickly, and its intuitive, user-oriented design ensures your team members won’t require massive amounts of training (or develop equally massive resistance) to use your CRM.
Finally, you can free up hundreds of hours per team member per year with Affinity’s automated data capture and contact enrichment. Spend that time where it matters most—building and sustaining relationships with your networks.
Speak with an Affinity sales team member today to find out how the Affinity relationship intelligence CRM could help accelerate your dealmaking—and give your firm a competitive edge.
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