CRM Software

Finding software can be overwhelming. Software Advice has helped thousands of businesses choose the right CRM software to better manage and monetize their customer relationships.

Showing 1-20 of 568 products

HubSpot CRM

With its cloud-based, customer relationship management platform, HubSpot helps companies of all sizes track and nurture leads and analyze business metrics. HubSpot is suitable for any B2B or B2C business in a variety of segments, including... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 336 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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FreeAgent CRM

FreeAgent CRM is a cloud-based sales, marketing and customer service platform that helps small businesses nurture quality customer relationships. The system works automatically by pairing with the user's email to create and classify... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 270 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Thryv

Thryv is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) solution designed for small businesses across various industry verticals. Features include appointment scheduling, billing and invoicing, contact management, reputation... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 209 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Infusionsoft by Keap

Infusionsoft by Keap is a cloud-based sales and marketing solution that offers customer relationship management (CRM), marketing automation and e-commerce functionalities in a suite. It helps small businesses across various industries... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 185 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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NetSuite

NetSuite CRM+ is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) solution for small and midsize organizations. NetSuite caters to thousands of customers across a wide range of industries including wholesale distribution, manufacturing,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 126 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Salesforce.com

The Salesforce cloud is an on-demand customer relationship management (CRM) suite offering applications for small, midsize and enterprise organizations, with a focus on sales and support. The Salesforce app has capabilities that... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 124 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Zendesk Sell (formerly Base)

Zendesk Sell (formerly Base) is the web and mobile-based customer relationship management (CRM) application that allows B2B and B2C sales professionals to manage sales, track leads and engage proactively with customers from anywhere.... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 121 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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amoCRM

AmoCRM is a cloud-based customer relationship management solution that helps users manage the sales pipeline. Users can receive feedback and reports about the performance of salespersons. The solution offers lead scoring and nurturing,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 89 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Claritysoft

Claritysoft is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) solution designed for midsize and large enterprise businesses. It offers sales automation, customer service and support, marketing automation and social CRM within... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 80 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Freshsales

Freshsales is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) solution that helps businesses across different industry verticals to manage their interactions with existing and potential customers. Key features include one-click... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 33 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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FunnelMaker Sales

FunnelMaker is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) solution designed for businesses of all sizes. The solution offers a user dashboard and helps in automatic sales tracking, email tracking and opportunity management. FunnelMaker... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 29 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Mission Suite

Mission Suite is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) platform for small to midsize businesses that helps automate day-to-day sales and marketing processes. The software enables teams to track sales pipelines, create... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 26 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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BNTouch Mortgage CRM

BNTouch Mortgage CRM is a mortgage-specific CRM system that offers mortgage brokers and bankers alike a solution featuring marketing automation capabilities. The software offers features for each step of the mortgage process, from... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 23 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Pipeliner CRM

Pipeliner CRM delivers dynamic visualization of the pipeline, sales process and sales activities. Its visual contact management allows users to gain a comprehensive view of their customers and prospects and even map out how they are... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 20 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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bpm'online CRM

Bpm'online is a process-driven customer relationship management (CRM) solution for marketing, sales and service automation. The solution allows companies to manage the customer lifecycle from lead to sales and to ongoing customer service. The... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 19 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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CINC Pro

CINC Pro is a cloud-based customer relationship management solution catering to businesses of all sizes in the real estate industry. The solution offers a native mobile application for Android and iOS devices. Key features allow users... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 19 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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BoomTown

Boomtown provides marketing and sales automation solutions for the real estate industry. Through Boomtown, brokers can select and customize a lead generation website, track and nurture leads, and monitor team success and sales. The... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 17 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Firepoint

Firepoint is a cloud-based lead generation and business management solution that caters to small and midsize businesses in the real estate industry. It helps users manage leads, track team activities and report key metrics. Firepoint... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 15 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Hatchbuck

Hatchbuck is a sales and marketing solution designed for small to midsize businesses. The integrated solution offers combined sales automation, marketing automation and email marketing features. Hatchbuck is a good fit for a wide range... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 12 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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LeadMaster

LeadMaster is a SaaS-based all-in-one lead management solution that offers capabilities to capture, track and follow up with leads. The solution comprises of integrated modules for sales force automation, customer relationship management,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 12 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Buyer's guide


Last Updated: March 20, 2019

CRM Quick Summary

Customer relationship management (CRM) software helps automate and manage the customer life cycle of an organization. It is usually used by the customer-focused side of businesses to maintain contact with customers and quickly respond to their needs.

Benefits of CRM Software

CRM software provides your business with several tangible benefits, including:

  • Customer data management. Most products provide a searchable database to store customer information (e.g., contact information) and relevant documents (e.g, sales proposals and contracts). While most CRMs offer this functionality, it can also be incorporated into other industry-specific systems. For example, customer management is a core component of salon management software.
  • Interaction tracking. CRMs document conversations held by phone, in person, through live chat, email or other channels. These interactions can be logged manually, or automated with phone and email system integrations. Some systems can also track interactions on Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms.
  • Workflow automation. This standardizes business processes, usually through a combination of task lists, calendars, alerts and templates. For example, once a task is marked as complete, the CRM system might automatically create a task for the next step in the process.
  • Reporting. Management can use CRM tools to track performance and productivity based on activities logged in the CRM system—for instance, how many new contacts were added to the database that day, or how much revenue was generated. These tools can also be used for forecasting, such as for the next-quarter sales pipeline.

Competitive Advantages of Using CRM Software

Whatever business you're in, chances are you frequently have to deal with customers, prospects or other important contacts. When it comes to these interactions, CRM software gives you an advantage over your competitors by helping you:

  • Scale your business. If you only have 100 contacts to deal with, then you might be able to keep all of their information straight using a simple Excel spreadsheet, or even pen and paper. Larger companies, however, deal with thousands or potentially millions of contacts and customers, which require CRM software in order to keep that information well-organized and accessible.
  • Operate more efficiently. When everyone in your company has access to your customer and contact data, you can deal with those customers more efficiently and avoid the dangers of over- or under-contacting them. You can also track those interactions and analyze that data for more efficient resource planning.
  • Compete with superior customer service. Staying in the right amount of touch with your customers, and using the communication method they prefer, lets you stay on top of their needs and concerns in a way that stands out. Superior customer service, focused on providing the best possible customer experience, will allow you to seriously compete against other businesses.

Businesses Sizes Using CRM Software

CRM systems are used by many businesses, across a variety of industries, so there's no “typical" buyer. In general, though, you'll fall into one of the following categories:

  • Single user. The smallest businesses consist of only one owner/employer, such as real estate agents, freelancers or independent contractors.
  • Small business buyer. These are companies with 2-100 employees that make under $50 million a year and have no IT department.
  • Midsize business buyer. These are also companies that have 2-100 employees and make under $50 million a year, but they do have an IT department.
  • Enterprise business buyer. These are large companies that have more than 100 employees, make more than $50 million a year and have a dedicated IT department.

Software Related to CRM

CRM can be divided into several related subcategories of software, all of which focus on improving your relationship with your customers:

  • Sales force automation (SFA) software: Helps you manage your sales team's activities, and helps the sales team close more deals by keeping thorough, accurate records of their interactions with all sales prospects.
  • Marketing automation: Provides tools that helps marketers reach out to potential customers through a variety of channels—especially email—and tailor messages to them.
  • Customer experience software: Combines frontline customer service applications, such as live chat and tools for self-service knowledge bases, with tools that connect departments in order to oversee individual customer experiences.
  • Help desk software: Stores customer information in a searchable database, tracks interactions and automates the issue resolution process using an issue tracking system. Can be used for either external customers (consumers or businesses that have purchased goods or services from your company) or internal customers (employees).
  • Live chat software: Allows you to have real-time conversations with website visitors in order to improve customer service, help increase online sales and encourage repeat business by providing customers with precisely what they want.

Features Guide

A List of Common CRM Features

When comparing CRM software, it's important to understand the functionality included in each. The most common functions of these systems are listed in the table below:

Sales force automation Contact and opportunity management, sales forecasting, pipeline analysis and reporting.
Marketing integration Lead management, email and event marketing, marketing analytics and campaign management.
Customer service & support Trouble ticketing, self-service solutions, case management, customer experience platforms, live chat and surveys.
Help desk automation Trouble ticketing, knowledge management, self-service and IT asset management.

Feature Details and Examples

Sales force automation: Provides you with the tools to streamline and manage your sales team's performance. Also gives your salespeople the ability to more efficiently track their prospects and customers with functions such as contact management, lead management, opportunity management, pipeline management, forecasting and territory management.

Opportunity tracking in Salesforce

Opportunity tracking in Salesforce (Source)

Marketing integration: This feature allows you to automate your marketing campaigns through the CRM system. It enables you to attract new visitors and customers, score customers as leads that can be nurtured along the sales pipeline, deliver marketing and promotional materials through various channels (e.g., via email marketing, social media etc.), obtain analytics about customers to improve marketing efforts and automate repetitive, time-consuming manual tasks.

InfusionSoft's campaign builder page

InfusionSoft's campaign builder page (Source)

Customer service and support: This functionality consists of a set of tools that allows you to cater to customers' needs by tracking their interactions with your company to focus on creating the best possible customer experience for each individual. Specifically, it allows customer service representatives to document, route, track, resolve and report on customer issues via a trouble ticketing system, using tools such as live chat, customer self service and multichannel management.

TeamSupport's customer management page

TeamSupport's customer management page (Source)

Help desk automation: This is similar to customer service and support in that it also focuses on creating the best possible individual customer experience. However, it is more focused on resolving IT issues, and the “customer" may be either external or internal (i.e., employees who need help with IT issues). Help desk automation involves the creation of an electronic ticket that customer service representatives track and associate with customer profiles that include contact information and, potentially, purchase history or assets.

Freshdesk's ticket summary page

Freshdesk's ticket summary page (Source)

CRM Buyers' Top Requested Features

The buyers we've helped at Software Advice tend to be looking for some of the more basic aspects of CRM systems. Their top-requested features, by far, are contact management, interaction tracking and scheduling/reminders—all defining features of CRM software. The more specialized features are, the less buyers tend to request them.

top requested CRM features

The CRM Software Features You Really Need

Certain CRM features are more critical than others depending upon your business' stage of growth. Here are some of the most crucial features for different business sizes (see the “Business Sizes Using CRM Software" section of this guide for business size definitions):

Single user Contact database: Helps you manage and track your interactions with clients and customers, saving time by eliminating the need for complex spreadsheets or tracking your contacts through pen and pencil.
Small business buyer Sales force automation: Helps you manage sales activities down to individual sales reps. It can also generate forecasts and provide insight into your sales pipeline.
Midsize business buyer Marketing automation: Helps automate your lead generation and nurturing funnels, provides insights and assists with targeted marketing campaigns.
Enterprise business buyer Customer service functionality: Allows your customer service representatives to fully track and manage the customer journey and make sure they're receiving the proper amount of care and individuality along the way.

Pricing Guide

How CRM Software Is Priced and Hosted

CRM software is typically hosted online and licensed out to companies on a “per user, per month" basis, alongside one-time implementation costs. Some vendors may have a flat monthly fee regardless of the number of users, though it varies between different market segments. For example, sales force automation is almost universally sold per user/month, while marketing automation often is sold via a flat monthly fee. However, this flat fee is increasingly uncommon.

The per user/month costs across the market average from around $50-$90 per user/month, depending upon required functionality, though it can also be much cheaper (e.g., $10-$15 per user/month) and much more expensive (e.g., $200-$300 per user/month) depending on the vendor. Additionally, there are a variety free-up-to-a-point CRMs.

The flat monthly fees for more specialized systems tend to be more more expensive, starting at around $200/month, but can scale up to around $3,000-$4,000/month for more robust systems.

What Businesses Typically Budget for CRM

Based on an analysis of the CRM software buyers we speak to, business budgets for CRM systems vary widely. The highest percentage of buyers (about 32 percent) budget for $76-$100 per user, per month, while only 3 percent are willing to budget more than $301/user/month.

(Please note that these prices do not include any potential up-front fees, such as installation and training.)

budget for CRM software

Hidden Costs of CRM Software

Because it is such a staple of so many industries and businesses, CRM software vendors make their money more through volume than through nickel-and-diming customers. As such, there are few hidden costs, with one notable exception: implementation.

The majority of CRM systems can run without dedicated IT support, either internally or from the vendor, so extra costs come out of paying the vendor to install the software and provide training sessions for key users. Depending on the vendor and the system, this cost can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

FAQs

What Are the Key Functions of CRM Software?

As discussed in the “Benefits of CRM Software" section above, CRM software provides several key functions for your business, including:

  • Contact management. Manage and store customer, client and prospect data so you can contact them at the right time using their preferred method of outreach.
  • Interaction tracking. Keep detailed notes on each employee's interaction with customers, clients and prospects for the future use of anyone at your company.
  • Workflow automation. Create task lists, reminders, calendars, alerts and templates that will help streamline your dealings with customers.
  • Reporting and analytics. Generate reports that track and analyze the performance and productivity of your company and employees based on the data in the CRM system.

What Should I Ask Vendors When Evaluating CRM Products?

When researching CRM vendors, don't just rely on the information they provide. Request a demo, where a representative walks you through the software and its various features.

However, don't let this demo just be a sales pitch. Be sure to ask important questions, such as:

What parts of the software do users most frequently report problems with?

Don't just focus on functions vendors rave about, but ask what tends to be challenging for users. This will also enable you to gauge just how frank the representative is willing to be with you about their product.

What are the set-up costs for the software?

Most vendors will price CRM software based on a “per user, per month" model, but there are frequently up-front costs that come with implementation.

How likely are we to require tech support in order to set up, implement and/or use the software?

If you have a small or no IT department, it will be important to know whether or not you'll require (potentially costly) tech support in order to implement and maintain the software.

How easy will it be to add features at a later date?

As you become more familiar with a given system, you may want to add more complex functions, such as marketing integration or reporting and analytics. Check to see whether there are any hidden costs or challenges associated with adding features later on.

What's the Difference Between Marketing Automation and Salesforce Automation?

CRM vendors offer a lot of applications with their products, and jargon is commonly used to describe them. We've demystified much of this in our article, “The ABCs of CRM: A CRM Terminology Primer."

What If My Company Doesn't Differentiate Between Sales and Marketing?

Many companies these days have sales and marketing teams that communicate with such frequency that they often function as one unit, an alignment called “smarketing." You can find out how this influences software choice in our article, “How 'Smarketing' Paired With Software Can Help Align Sales and Marketing."

How Do I Get my Team to Adopt CRM Software?

One of the biggest challenges of purchasing CRM software is getting your team to use it—especially sales teams that are often attached to practices they don't want to interrupt with new technology.

To help with this, we created a series of articles about CRM implementation, which can be found below:

What Are Some Drawbacks I Should Watch Out For?

CRM software isn't a magic cure-all for companies that have problems due to their own dysfunctional work processes or poor corporate hygiene. Some businesses think that buying software will fix a disorganized sales team or inexperienced marketing department, but in reality the software may just scale up and worsen existing problems.

For CRM software to work successfully for your company, you need to make sure that the teams and individuals who will use the software are equipped to deal with the increased customer base that the software may bring on board.

Tips & Tools

Build a Business Case for CRM Software

Purchasing CRM software will generate a solid return-on-investment (ROI) for your business. You can use this ROI as a selling point when trying to justify the purchase price, as we explain in detail in our article, “How to Build a Business Case for CRM Software."

Relevant Articles

Here are some recent articles about CRM software you should check out:

Popular CRM System Comparisons

Recent Events in the CRM Market

Here are some important recent events concerning CRM vendors and the world of CRM software:

  • Gartner notes CRM software market has grown to become the largest software segment. As of May 2018, CRM software is a $40.7 billion dollar industry, and Gartner expects CRM market growth to be consistently above 10% until 2022.
  • ERP giant SAP continues to move into the CRM market. In April 2018, SAP completed its acquisition of California-based Callidus Software and improved its cloud-based CRM offering.
  • Zendesk acquires Base. In September 2018, customer-service oriented Zendesk acquired Base for an undisclosed amount. With this acquisition, Zendesk aims to begin its push into the CRM market.

FrontRunners® for Customer Relationship Management, February 2019

FrontRunners Vendors Defined

Take this short survey so we can help you identify the products that best fit your needs.


What Is the FrontRunners Quadrant?


A Graphic of the Top-Rated Customer Relationship Management Products

FrontRunners uses real reviews from real software users to highlight the top software products for North American small businesses.

Our goal is to help small businesses to make more informed decisions about what software is right for them. That’s why we engineered FrontRunners.

To create this report, we evaluated over 595 Customer Relationship Management (CRM) products. Only those with the top scores for Usability and User Recommended made the cut as FrontRunners.

FrontRunners-Vendor-Collateral

Scores are based on reviews from real software users.

What’s the Difference Between the “Small Vendor” and “Enterprise Vendor” Views?


The Different Graphics Show Different Sizes of Vendors

Small and Enterprise refer to the size of the software vendor company—not necessarily the size of customers they serve.

We break vendors into two groups for two reasons: It’s a more equal comparison of products, and software buyers have told us it’s helpful.

To determine who’s Small and who’s Enterprise, we look at how many employees the vendors have. All products in FrontRunners, whether Enterprise or Small, are evaluated using the same process.

Each graphic shows the top 10-15 performers for each the Enterprise and Small vendor categories. You can switch views simply by clicking on the version you’d like to see (above the graphic). You can read more in the full FrontRunners methodology here.

How Are FrontRunners Products Selected?


Products Are Scored Based on User Reviews


The gist is that products are scored in two areas—Usability and User Recommended—based on actual user ratings.

To be considered at all, products must have at least 20 reviews published within the previous 18 months, and meet minimum user rating scores. They also have to offer a core set of functionality—for example, contact management, interaction tracking and lead management.

From there, user reviews dictate the Usability and User Recommended scores. Usability is plotted on the x-axis and User Recommended on the y-axis.

You can download the full FrontRunners for CRM Software report here. It contains individual scorecards for each product on the Frontrunners quadrant.

Got It. But What if I Have More Questions?


Check Out Our Additional Resources!

Have questions about how to choose the right product for you? You’re in luck! Every day, our team of advisors provides (free) customized shortlists of products to hundreds of small businesses.

  • Simply take this short questionnaire to help us match you with products that meet your specific needs. 
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For more information about FrontRunners, check out the following:

  • The “FrontRunners FAQs for Technology Providers,” linked at the top of this page, for detailed answers to commonly-asked questions. 
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  • The complete FrontRunners methodology to understand the scoring.
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FrontRunners constitute the subjective opinions of individual end-user reviews, ratings, and data applied against a documented methodology; they neither represent the views of, nor constitute an endorsement by, Software Advice or its affiliates.