A roundup of reviews from around the Internet puts Apptivo in the ranks of the best CRM software, with users noting that it's easy to use, cost effective, and the company offers outstanding customer service. Our own review of the software led us to the conclusion that it's the best option for companies who want to customize their CRM to fit their unique specifications.

Let's start with the bottom line first. Apptivo is a very affordable option, starting at $10 month-to-month per user. This "Premium" package offers a variety of features including email, analytics and reporting, message templates, company branding, invoicing, CRM, third-party integrations, license and insurance tracking, and 3GB of storage per user. Opting for the "Ultimate" plan at $20.83 per month billed annually adds more storage, more application programming interface (API) requests per day, round-the-clock phone support, a highly responsive live chat support function, and access to more specialized apps. There is also a free "Starter" option that allows up to three users. ​

When it comes to customization, Apptivo offers more than 40 apps to let users centralize every aspect of their business in the Apptivo interface. There are apps to do just about everything, from managing the sales pipeline and web leads to creating invoices. Capabilities rival Salesforce, but at half the cost.

There's very little in Apptivo that can't be customized, so the pickiest user can have things just the way they want. The company upgraded its CRM app capabilities, and now new tools called triggers let users build custom workflow automation rules for any app, base rules on specific events, or look at events over time. There are also sales app additions that make it possible to manage multiple sales pipeline and let users define the logic to move deals to the next stage. Upgraded campaign management features support mass email marketing to targeted lists for specific campaigns.

Apptivo also enhanced customization by adding new field options. A Reference Attribute field makes it possible to form custom associations between data in different apps; for example, the user can take CRM data like an address and display it in the invoicing app. The Custom Formulas field makes it possible to calculate metrics like sales commissions, while Field Conditions allows administrators to create workflow rules in a field layout. For example, the administrator can create a rule to hide or show a field or section based on the user inputs.

With Apptivo regularly upgrading apps and enhancing features, this CRM should continue to offer some of the best customization options around. Moreover, it does so at a price that makes this software a very cost-effective tool for smaller companies.

Trends in CRM Software for 2018

In 2018, CRM is taking a taking a page from social media. Companies are looking to reach their customers by optimizing social networks, social media and online communities. In 2018, it will be even more important to create genuine interactions with customers on social media. Consumers have come to expect this level of personal interaction; they want to see the humans behind even big corporations.

CRM software will also integrate even more with external tools in 2018. Developers of CRM software are being pushed to connect different tools in order to draw in information from multiple related sources. These sources might be social media, as mentioned before, or data on user behavior.

Artificial intelligence, or AI, will also play a more prominent role in CRM in 2018. AI has the potential to become the most powerful change to CRM in a long time, with AI reducing the amount of manual work that is done in all fields and delivering insight on patterns of behavior. AI could show exactly how to optimize for specific user behavior. This level of detail simply has not been possible previously and is only emerging now due to advances in technology.

This article was updated March 22, 2018.

Editor's Note: Looking for CRM Software for your company? If you would like information to help you choose the one that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our partner, BuyerZone, provide you with information for free:

Editor's Note: Looking for CRM Software for your company? If you would like information to help you choose the one that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our partner, BuyerZone, provide you with information for free:

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