Enter a supermarket in 2020 and you’re met with what seems like a million options for any given item. Do a Google search in 2020 for the best marketing software options, and you’re faced with a similar fate. Today’s world is filled with lots of options. It can be overwhelming to decide what’s best—after all, too many alternatives can leave you with a paradox of choice.

Luckily, we’ve had the chance to hear from a number of content and marketing professionals from all over Europe this year, in addition to members of our team who weighed in on their favorite tools, including: CRM platforms, social media management tools, virtual team communication tools, SEO software and social listening tools.

Here are their recommendations for the best content marketing platforms today.

Best CRM tools 

Customer relationship management tools are pivotal platforms for keeping customer and prospect contact information stored and organized in a way that makes it easy for anyone in your organization to reference. They also help to ensure that these relationships are properly maintained in order to help your business grow.

HubSpot

HubSpot is a fan favorite for many reasons, including its user-friendly CRM platform, optional add-ons and integrations to fulfill all of your marketing needs. In addition to its great software, it’s popular for the marketing certifications and courses offered via HubSpot Academy, with an array of topics to study such as social media marketing, SEO training, content marketing and more.

“There are many CRM systems out there. Currently, I’m working with HubSpot. I’m able to illustrate where a potential lead came into the pipeline, and show all the touchpoints and how we’ve influenced that lead throughout the cycle to the point where they’ve had a very valued and good conversation with sales and potentially ended up as a client. To be able to demonstrate that graphically and give data to the touchpoints is really invaluable.”

Stephen Balogun

Pipedrive

Pipedrive is another trendy CRM software known for its simple design, steady flow of automatic alerts and reminders and integration capabilities—especially for email and Google apps. Additionally, the customer service is very prompt and attentive, should you run into any trouble.

“Pipedrive is really intuitive to use right out of the box compared to other CRMs I’ve worked with, and is perfectly set up for B2B sales. It has ever-improving automation features for everything from prospecting to live chat to proposals. Everything is tied together in a way that’s super easy to use, even for smaller companies without a tech department.”  

 Shaheen Samavati of VeraContent

Salesforce

Salesforce is another highly recommended CRM platform. Why? It’s easy to use, customizable and innovative—so much so that it’s been included for several years on Forbes’ list of The World’s Most Innovative Companies.

“Salesforce is a pioneer in innovative technology. And because they know that ESSEC [an international business school] is always very open to trying new things to improve our customer experience, whenever they have a new idea, they approach us to see if we’d be interested in working with them to pilot it.”

Denyse Lum
The best content marketing platforms according to experts

Best social media management tools 

These tools help you plan, adjust and share social media strategies with your team, making it easier than ever before to collaborate on content planning.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is loved by many for lots of reasons, but one of the biggest is the fact that you can manage so many different platforms all under one roof. It’s also popular for features like its fully customizable dashboard and the ability to schedule nearly 400 posts at once.

“Hootsuite is great for scheduling for a large corporation. It allows us to plan and keep track of what everyone else is doing and posting. It also provides a lot of analytics and makes it much easier to interact on social media.”

William Lawrie

Agorapulse

Agorapulse is similar to Hootsuite in that it offers management for many different social platforms, but it stands out for its simplistic design, easy-to-understand analytics and more budget-friendly pricing.

Sprout Social

Sprout Social, though a little more expensive than its competitors, is well liked for its clear user-friendly interface, chatbot option and social listening tool. Social listening has been at the forefront of marketing for years, allowing companies to find out what customers think about their brands and products—so it makes sense why users adore this feature.

Falcon

Falcon.io is another social media management platform that’s a frequent choice among brands for its ease of use, robust customer support and intuitive interface. Additionally, Falcon allows brands to manage both paid and organic content, which is an attractive USP for companies. It’s particularly useful for larger companies that have multiple social media channels and are present in various markets.

“Falcon is the social media management tool that we use every day. It allows us to schedule content, engage with our customers and report on our content performance. I’ve been using it for the past six years. I’ve used other tools too, but what makes Falcon stand out is its customer service, which is available 24/7 across the globe.”

Linda Ghabain

Social Studio by Salesforce

In addition to its stellar CRM system, Salesforce also offers an add-on social media management tool, Social Studio. This platform helps brands manage their social media calendars with lots of great features that allow for a smooth content approval process, plus the ability to easily track brand reception through analytics.

Sprinklr

Sprinklr is another top social media management tool that allows companies to market, advertise and engage customers across nearly two dozen social channels, in addition to an abundance of messaging channels and email. Read more about Sprinklr in the social listening section of this article.

Best virtual team communication tools  

These tools are vital in the era of remote work, and have become more important than ever this year for teams to virtually meet, collaborate and stay in touch. Being able to enjoy most of the benefits of face-to-face communication without actually meeting in person is key in today’s work environment.

Google Meet

Google Meet—like most Google creations—is widely popular for its ease of use, but that’s not all. People also prefer to meet here because there are no meeting time constraints (unlike on Zoom), and most people already have and use Google accounts. This makes it easy to set up and sync meetings with calendars, and people don’t have to navigate elsewhere to use it.

It’s also well liked for the ability to make regular phone calls directly from your contacts list, which may be free of charge depending on location. You can integrate Meet with Google Chat to cover all types of communication.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams has proven to be another favorite this year among remote teams. The communication platform is quite similar to Google Meet, with possibly the biggest visual difference being that with Teams you can customize your appearance on the video. It also incorporates built-in chat and document sharing tools. Other than that, it basically comes down to personal preference for Google or Microsoft.

Slack

Slack is favored for the ability to quickly and easily collaborate with team members one on one, in small groups or on company-wide channels. Additionally, the tool’s interface is very user friendly and customizable, and the ability to integrate a plethora of apps into your space makes it a no-brainer why people and companies alike love it so much.

“Slack makes the remote workday easier—from simplified communication with my colleagues to sending funny GIFs, it’s an essential tool that allows my team to work efficiently while fostering an independent, hands-off working style.”

Kyler Canastra of VeraContent
Slack is one of the best virtual team communication tools

Best SEO software

Search engine optimization is the process of enhancing your content in order to drive more traffic to your website by incorporating keywords and relevant topics. SEO platforms provide unique insights, plus important information about competitor sites.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is the go-to name when it comes to SEO tools and resources. In this day and age, having a good grasp of how SEO works is crucial. Ahrefs can teach you what you need to know and get you where you want to go with features like its keywords explorer, keywords generator and backlink checker.

“There’s a lot of great tools out there that you can use to amplify your instincts, test and try to figure out what’s working. One of the tools we use is Ahrefs to draw insights and get inspiration for what content people are really connecting with and what we think will work next.”

Jordanna Ber

seoClarity

seoClarity is another fan-favorite platform for large-scale SEO teams, and has even won an award for “Best SEO Software Suite.” It offers local search optimization, advanced reporting techniques and reliable competitor insights.

Moz

Moz markets itself as “The smarter way to do SEO,” and offers a great all-in-one SEO toolset. Some of its key features are backlink analysis capabilities, rank tracking and site audits. It also provides awesome educational resources to help you get acquainted with the world of SEO, including a beginner’s guide, free courses in its SEO learning center and a blog that details the ins and outs of search engine optimization.

Best content marketing platforms and tools

Best social listening tools

Social listening tools allow you to monitor your brand’s social media channels for feedback and mentions. In other words, they help you listen to what people are saying about your brand—good and bad—and provide key insights that you can use to improve your strategy.

Sprinklr

Sprinklr is a top choice for social listening tools these days, with the ability to connect over 35 modern channels, plus AI capabilities and custom reporting dashboards. It’s no wonder that it’s popular with big-name brands such as Chick-fil-A, Allstate and Philips.

Pulsar

Pulsar is another well-known name in social listening, allowing brands to discover credible micro-influencers to help them connect with new audiences authentically. Popular companies that have found success with Pulsar include Ikea, Chanel and ING.

BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo is yet another great option for social listening, offering a simple approach to help brands find what works and what doesn’t through four key components: discovery, research, influencers and monitoring.

“BuzzSumo is a really powerful tool that helps us to understand where our customers are and what they’re talking about. It gives us the opportunity to search for a topic or keyword and see where it has been shared the most.”

Giuseppe La Paglia

Are there any other favorite tools you can’t get enough of? Got any predictions for the next “it” software, platform or app for marketing in the coming year?

Let us know below!


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