Long gone are the days of relying on a bulletin board to get your staff on the same page, or a personal Rolodex on every desk for contact management. To keep the desktop in sync and on task, you need solid tools for project management, collaboration, and task tracking. Plus, customer relationship management (CRM) services and software can help you juggle a few contacts to build real customer relationships.
But both categories can be difficult to select and the software can be expensive to set up. Choosing the right tool the first time is essential. That’s why we asked our savvy readers to share the brands they would recommend. Our winners should be on your shortlist.
This is our first-ever project management survey, but like many of our previous Business Choice surveys, it’s no surprise that the biggest names don’t always get the highest scores. In this case, the most used service among PCMag readers is Microsoft Project, which we rate in our own review as powerful, but only ideal for the right kind of office setup (like having a certified project manager on staff to run it). Maybe that’s why Celoxis is clearly the winner.
Celoxis targets medium to large organizations, and our review finds it to be great value for money and simple to use. Our readers agree; giving it high scores for cost/value ratio (8.3) and ease of use (8.3). Sure, it gets a good overall satisfaction score at 7.8 (out of a range of 0-10, 10 being the best), which combines with a high recommendation probability of 8.0, putting it at the top. Celoxis maintains the highest score or a tie score in each subcategory in which it has had enough responses to qualify. (Lack of responses means we’re unable to score it on features like invoicing, Gantt charts, or mobile apps, but few candidates here receive scores in those subcategories. Microsoft Project, due to its large install base, is the exception.)
A few of our other top project managers, GanttPro and Teamwork, both of which get 4.5 star ratings in our reviews, compared to our 4.0 rating for Celoxis, are here. But they’re nowhere near hitting the scores readers give Celoxis. The only vendor that comes close is our second-place finisher, Trello (which isn’t even a traditional project management program, but more of a collaboration/work management app). It ties Celoxis scores for configuration (7.9) and reliability (8.2). And Trello’s overall score of 7.5 isn’t that far below Celoxis’ 7.8.
As in our other Business Choice surveys, you may notice that the scores tend to drop, especially for overall satisfaction. In a typical readers’ choice survey of consumer products and services, we typically see scores between 8.0 and 8.9, even some above 9. We attribute this to business users who are offered products, rather than them being able to choose them. .
Likewise, this sentiment has a major impact on the Net Promoter Score, the unit that measures how much people trumpet or downplay a service. We calculate NPS using the numbers from our question about the likelihood of recommending a service or product. But even with an 8 for the recommendation (like Celoxis), it can still get a very low NPS (in this case, a 25 out of a maximum of 100). In terms of NPS, this means that there are many more detractors than promoters. That won’t earn Celoxis, or any of the project management tools on this list, a spot in our top brands report at the end of the year. Indeed, 10 out of 12 of these project managers end up with a negative NPS score.
For our top rated reviews, read The best project management software.
It’s been a while, but this isn’t our very first look at Business Choice’s CRM tools. For our previous surveys, we had a limited number of responses. For this one, our field of contenders widens to include names that are familiar and unfamiliar, but none of this year’s winners have won before.
The two main choices are different in many ways, not the least of which is their overall install base. But both manage to achieve overall satisfaction ratings of 7.5 out of 10, which is higher than what we saw the last time we had a Business Choice CRM winner in 2019.
Creation of sales may not be a CRM everyone has heard of, but those who use it recognize its power and appreciate its flexibility. Our reviewers give it a 4-star rating, and readers agree: Creatio ranks first for ease of setup, customer service, analytics and reporting, email follow-up, and email tracking. prospects. It is also tied to other vendors in areas such as technical support (a 7.6 which matches Apptivo) and system cost (7.2, same as Pipedrive).
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Selling power is the 800-pound gorilla of customer relationship management; the platform is so big that it has its own dedicated conference (Dreamforce). Being the premium provider doesn’t always help brands in our surveys, and Salesforce is certainly the most used of many companies in our results, but that doesn’t hurt it one iota. Besides the 7.5 overall satisfaction, Salesforce scores the best (even on Sales Creatio) in areas such as contact management, third-party apps, and especially overall reliability.
Interestingly, the previously mentioned Apptivo has the highest scores for ease of use (7.6) and also a technical support link with Sales Creatio (7.6 again) – excellent scores , but not enough to get a lackluster 6.7 for overall satisfaction. This is the rating that we consider to be the most critical for choosing a Business Choice winner.
Another important winning factor is the Likelihood to Recommend score. Sales Creatio and Salesforce do well with 7.5 and 7.4 respectively. That said, as above in project management, these numbers do not not equates to a decent Net Promoter score. Salesforce barely manages to be the only vendor on the list with a positive NPS number. Sales creation is at zero. It’s still better than the others, which sound in negative scores down to -47 for HoneyBook. Again: people may work well with products they are forced to use, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to advocate for them to others.
For our top rated reviews, read The best CRM software.
The PCMag Business Choice Survey for Project Management and CRM Tools was conducted in the field from August 8 to September 3, 2022. For more information on how we conduct surveys, read the survey methodology .
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