- 1. monday.com — Best CRM software for flexibility and ability to scale
- 2. HubSpot CRM — Free CRM with contact deal management, task tracking, and engagement notifications
- 3. Salesforce CRM — Best value for money for small businesses
- 4. Kintone — Best for building custom CRM systems
- 5. Pipedrive CRM — Best CRM software with an easy-to-use user interface
- 6. Bigin by Zoho CRM — Best for small and micro businesses using CRM for the first time
- 7. Zoho CRM — Best CRM software for user onboarding and usability
- 8. HoneyBook — Best for independent professionals selling services
- 9. noCRM.io — Best lead management software for SMBs
- 10. Act! — Best for its hybrid deployment options
As part of a small business, you are probably wearing multiple hats. It wouldn’t be surprising if you are the head of Sales / project manager / head of Costco runs. The problem is that you still need to focus on the business. Therefore, a small business CRM software can help you store information related to your lead generation, email campaigns, user experience, and support team notes in one place.
What Is A CRM platform?
A CRM platform is a customer relationship management solution that helps us improve customer relationships and retention by keeping all our customer interaction data in one place. It accomplishes it through tracking relationships over time, launching marketing touchpoints, assisting with customer service, and much more.
Therefore, this type of software is crucial for small business owners. As your business grows, you’ll need one place to store your customer information, potential customers, new leads, sales pipelines and data, and more.
Monday sales CRM is an all-in-one CRM platform that every small business owner should consider. It enables you to run all of your operations from one central, integrated place. This highly flexible tool excels at giving you high-level overviews of where every deal stands and managing everyday tasks across all teams (including marketing, client projects, and more). Because it's so easy to adapt to different use cases and easily grows with the business, I'd consider it one of the best customer relations tools for startups due to its flexibility, easy rollout, and scaling potential.
Using monday sales CRM, you can get a clear overview of your sales pipeline and prioritize leads according to status or deal value. Along with being a small business CRM tool, monday.com has robust workflow management capabilities that enable you to do everything from setting up automatic reminders, due date notifications, and automatically assigning teammates to new tasks. Use their reports and insights to dig into data for sales, processes, performance, and overall business opportunities other than customer service.
The user interface is colorful and easy to use, but what makes this CRM stand out is its capacity for deep customization. Impressively, most customizations can be set up without the need for a coding specialist – the out-of-the-box automation ‘recipes’ and apps make it a reasonably fast and easy process to tweak the platform for your specific needs without needing to deep-dive into lines of code. monday.com boasts integrations with the likes of Dropbox, Excel, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Integromat, Slack, Trello, and even more through Zapier.
If scheduling meetings between many clients and many company representatives is part of your day-to-day, then monday.com might not be the best tool for you. Viewing appointments in different groups can be cumbersome; you may find you end up with an overwhelming number of boards, and recurring meetings require a third-party app.
monday sales CRM costs from $10/user/month and comes with a free 14-day trial. They offer a free plan for up to 2 users.
HubSpot CRM is a cloud-based software that helps small businesses build customer relationships, track leads, and close deals. It is intuitive and easy to use, making it ideal for small businesses that don't have the resources or expertise to invest in a complicated, enterprise-level CRM solution. The platform includes tools for managing contact information, sales pipelines, email automation, and project management. HubSpot CRM offers integrations with popular third-party applications such as Google Calendar and Slack and its suite of marketing automation tools.
HubSpot CRM also includes features like lead scoring and segmentation, allowing businesses to prioritize leads based on criteria such as interests or industry. They can use automation tools to follow up with leads quickly and efficiently. Its contact management capabilities allow users to easily store customer information and keep track of key details like customers’ contact information, purchase history, and preferences in one place. HubSpot CRM’s lead scoring system helps users prioritize leads based on their potential value and identify which ones need their attention first. This can save time by allowing users to focus on quality leads rather than wasting time on those that aren’t likely to turn into customers anytime soon.
Compared to other solutions on the market today, one of the things that stands out about HubSpot CRM is its ease of use. The user interface is intuitive and easy to navigate, so users don't have to learn the system's ins and outs before using it effectively. Additionally, because of its integration with multiple platforms, including Salesforce and third-party applications, it's easy for businesses to customize their setup according to their needs, making it easier to track leads more effectively and build customer relationships to increase sales conversions. HubSpot CRM still provides enough functionality for most small businesses while being significantly easier on their budgets than other solutions would be.
HubSpot CRM starts at $50/month (1000 contracts) and offers a 14-day free trial.
Salesforce is a leading cloud-based CRM system that helps organizations manage customer data, automate sales processes, and track performance metrics. With its intuitive user interface and comprehensive features, Salesforce makes it easy to manage customer relationships and increase sales productivity. The software is scalable and gives you access to a centralized database containing all the necessary customer information where you can easily analyze trends and gain insights into how best to serve them.
Compared with other CRMs, what sets Salesforce apart is its intuitive user interface and powerful customization options. You can customize almost every aspect of the system—from reports and dashboards to analytics—to meet your needs. Additionally, it uses drag-and-drop functionality for certain tasks, such as customizing reports or creating pipelines.
Another advantage of using Salesforce CRM is its analytics capabilities. The platform provides real-time insights into customer behavior, so you can better understand their needs and preferences. It also allows you to monitor KPIs such as revenue, average deal size, and close rate to get an accurate picture of how well your sales efforts are performing over time.
Overall, Salesforce simplifies your sales process by providing an efficient way to manage leads, track opportunities, close deals quickly, and stay organized throughout the entire process. This improves team efficiency and allows you to focus on increasing sales rather than wasting time on administrative tasks. If this is not enough for you, you can look into Salesforce's AppExchange, where you can add apps that will extend the capability of the software to new horizons.
Kintone is a customizable CRM tool for small businesses that is used by teams from McCormick Distillery (Missouri), A-B Emblem (North Carolina), Michael Callahan & Associates (Virginia), and over 23,000 organizations worldwide. Their unique approach to CRM lets you build a wide variety of customizable “apps” either from scratch, using templates or from your existing spreadsheets, for data management, business processes, and workflows. Kintone apps can be customized for project management, client databases, customer activity logs, expense reports, shared to-do lists, equipment management, product feedback, and much more.
Kintone lets you build a no-code, CRM system for your business by dragging and dropping elements that you want to see into “apps”: rich text fields, date fields, drop-down menus, number fields with built-in calculations, spaces for attachments, user or group selection menus, related data from other apps, tables, and more.
Once you’ve built the app you want, you can use it to more easily manage whatever data and tasks you and your team need to track. And with custom notifications and reminders as well as detailed permissions settings, your CRM solution can look and work however you want it to.
What makes Kintone a great CRM tool for small businesses is that users can tailor what information the CRM stores, update and change fields or entire workflows without relying on IT support, and create automated reminders to notify sales members of important deadlines. Kintone’s platform makes dealing with change easier. Users can quickly reassign work and add new customer information by adding new data fields to your CRM app with just a few clicks.
Kintone’s built-in communication features also allow your team to discuss customers or tasks directly in the apps and in topic or project-based threads. Dedicated “spaces” organize all of the information your team needs about your customers in one place, including your customer database, customer inquiries and interactions, and more.
There are so many ways to customize Kintone it can be hard to know where to start. Read the starter blog “What Can You Build with Kintone?” or watch Creating an App from Scratch for a quick look at how the drag-and-drop builder works.
Kintone lets you expand its capabilities with both free native plugins built by the Kintone team as well as integrations with other tools like Slack, Gmail, Google Calendar, Outlook, Tableau, Dropbox, Salesforce, HubSpot, Eventbrite, WordPress, QuickBooks, MailChimp, and many more through a paid plan with Zapier or via API integrations.
Kintone costs $24/user/month with a minimum requirement of 5 users. They offer a 30-day free trial (no credit card required) and discounted prices for nonprofits and educators. Kintone’s team also offers a free custom app build as part of the free trial process.
Pipedrive is a sales management tool for small teams with big ambitions. It visualizes your sales pipeline and helps to make sure important activities and conversations won’t get dropped. Salespeople really like it because it’s easy to use and intuitive. And managers like it because they don’t need to nag their team to use their CRM.
Pipedrive is hailed as being very simple to configure and use, meaning that you don't need advanced tech support to get it up and running. (A relief for SMBs without IT resources.)
Pipedrive has a series of monthly subscriptions with varying degrees of feature support as well as for-purchase add-ons for lead boosting and web visitor tracking. As a small business, you can start with the essentials knowing that it is easy to scale up functionality if your customer base expands. The basic plan is a great place to start. You'll get lead, deal, calendar, and pipeline management tools for a low per-user monthly price.
Pipedrive integrates with other software such as Google Apps, Mailchimp, and Zapier (paid plan required). They also offer a powerful API for those that like to “roll their own' software solutions.
Pipedrive costs from $12.50/user/month (annually) and comes with a free 14-day trial.
Bigin is an easy to use, pipeline-centric CRM from Zoho that is built specifically for small businesses. The tool comes with multiple pipelines for different business operations and allows users to customize pipeline stages.
Bigin provides customizable dashboards to track key business metrics in one place. It also has built-in telephony and email so you can reach out to your prospects without having to switch between applications. Bigin also provides features for automating workflows and routine tasks, and allows users to set reminders for tasks and follow-ups.
The pipeline view is clean and intuitive. Users can track deals by stage, as well as filter contacts and companies. Bigin also offers a fully-featured mobile app.
Bigin integrates with some of the top apps like Google Workspace, MS Office 365, Mailchimp, Zapier, and a host of other popular Zoho tools including Zoho Books (Accounting), Zoho Desk (Customer Service), and Zoho Campaigns (Email Marketing). Bigin also offers an open API to connect to external data sources.
Pricing for Bigin starts at $7/user/month.
Zoho CRM is an omnichannel business management platform that provides its users with complete visibility and control over their sales pipeline and processes. Zoho caters to businesses of all sizes. When it comes to small businesses, Zoho CRM hasn’t scaled its features down. They understand that small businesses need to keep their productivity streamlined to help them focus on delivering stellar customer experiences and building brand loyalty.
Zoho CRM’s lead management software ensures leads find their way into your sales pipeline with smart web forms, a business card scanner, website visitor tracking with live chat, social media integrations, lead scoring, and distribution rules. Zia, Zoho CRM’s AI-powered sales assistant, can predict the best time to contact customers, scans your emails for urgency, and can even pull up relevant statistics or documents when performing searches. You can automate sales processes by assigning rules and mapping modules within or across Zoho products.
Analytical widgets such as charts, KPIs, target meters, and funnels are part of Zoho CRM’s customizable dashboards. Match data across modules and create in-depth reports with filters based on specific criteria, such as the deal stage, name, or time. Export reports as Excel, CSV, or PDF files, and embed dashboards into your website or share them on your Slack channel.
Zoho CRM is one of the 40+ integrated business apps on offer from Zoho. CRM users can work seamlessly with the most popular business apps on the market such as G suite, WordPress, MailChimp, Evernote, and Unbounce, with over 300 integrations. Over 150,000 businesses worldwide trust Zoho CRM, and their software is available in 26 languages.
Zoho CRM starts at $14/user/month, with a free version available to organizations of up to 3 users. Sign up for the 15-day free trial to learn more. You can pay monthly or annually for features of your choice with no hidden costs. Their free edition has a maximum of 3 users, with 24/5 support.
HoneyBook is a comprehensive CRM platform for independent professionals. It provides the tools to manage inquiries, contracts, scheduling, and payments—everything it takes to serve clients as a service-based business. HoneyBook helps you move clients from inquiry to invoice by combining your workflow and client experience. You can add a contact form to your website or social media page and new inquiries get automatically added to your pipeline. You can even trigger proposals, invoices, contracts, and scheduling tools.
Beyond client management, HoneyBook gives you a birds-eye view of your overall business through reporting that tracks financial data, success rates, and lead sources.
HoneyBook has some free tools you can try, too, including invoice generators, email signature generators, and mission state generators. You can also access free invoice and contract templates.
Key features include invoicing, proposals, scheduling, contracts, workflow automation, digital payment processing, client communication, meeting/appointment bookings, tasks and to-do lists, file and document storage, and project management.
Integrations include Zoom, QuickBooks, Gmail, and Google Calendar. You can unlock more through a Zapier subscription (may incur additional costs).
After your 7-day free trial, you can use HoneyBook for $1/month for your first 6 months with code: ONLY1. From then on, HoneyBook starts at $39/month.
noCRM.io is a lead management software designed specifically for SMBs with sales teams. The tool enables sales teams to quickly create leads directly from emails, the mobile/desktop app, business cards, and LinkedIn, as well as manage them via an easily accessible interactive feed.
noCRM.io provides clear overviews of your sales funnel and a dashboard with key data, so users can view priorities and to-do lists at a glance. The tool is extremely easy to use, reducing time-consuming manual data entry, and can be set up in a few minutes.
Also included are features such as email integration, call tracking, built-in prospecting, a sales script generator, and visual pipeline management. The tool’s mobile app is available for iPhone and Android.
noCRM.io offers native integrations with G-Suite, RingCentral, Freshbooks, and you can use Zapier to connect noCRM.io with other apps in your sales and marketing stack.
noCRM.io pricing plans start from $12/user/month.
Act! is a CRM and marketing automation platform tailored for small- and medium-sized businesses that want to manage a central repository of valuable information about their existing customers, prospects, and potential opportunities. It is capable of securing contact information, account history, and customer interactions.
The marketing automation module is designed to facilitate the unique requirements of your business, offering automated management of your email marketing campaigns, customer and employee surveys, landing pages, and other related assets.
Additionally, its customer management module is capable of recording and maintaining comprehensive customer data, which includes their contact details, transaction/interaction history, emails, and relevant documents. It organizes the information and stores them in a central repository for quick and easy access.
Finally, the platform has Android and iOS apps, which enable users to remain connected to the platform and keep track of their contacts, client/customer activities, and communications.
Act! integrates with various third-party solutions that many small businesses may already be using, such as Google Apps, Outlook, and Slack. Act! also offers an open API for custom integrations tailored to specific business requirements.
Pricing for Act! CRM starts at $30 per user/month with Act! Premium Cloud or $40 per user/month if it comes with desktop sync, and $37.50 per user/month for Act! Premium Desktop, the on-premise version. You can access a 14-day free trial to try it out.
Need expert help selecting the right tool?
We’ve joined up with Crozdesk.com to give all our readers (yes, you!) access to Crozdesk’s software advisors. Just use the form below to share your needs, and they will contact you at no cost or commitment. You will then be matched and connected to a shortlist of vendors that best fit your company, and you can access exclusive software discounts!
Best CRM software for flexibility and ability to scale
14-day free trial + free plan available
|From $8/user/month (billed annually, min 3 seats)||Visit Website|
Free CRM with contact deal management, task tracking, and engagement notifications
14-day free trial + free plan
|From $20/month||Visit Website|
Best value for money for small businesses
14-day free trial
|From $25/user/month (billed annually)||Visit Website|
Best for building custom CRM systems
30-day free trial
|From $24/user/month||Visit Website|
Best CRM software with an easy-to-use user interface
14-day free trial
|From $12.50/user/month||Visit Website|
Bigin by Zoho CRM
Best for small and micro businesses using CRM for the first time
14-day free trial
|From $7/user/month||Visit Website|
Best CRM software for user onboarding and usability
15-day free trial
|From $14/user/month||Visit Website|
Best for independent professionals selling services
7-day free trial
|From $39/month||Visit Website|
Best lead management software for SMBs
15 days free trial
|From $12/user/month||Visit Website|
Best for its hybrid deployment options
14-day free trial
|From $30/user/month (billed annually)||Visit Website|
Best CRM software for small businesses with automated data entry
Best CRM software for startups and growing businesses
Best CRM software for reporting and analytics
- Agile CRM
Best CRM for agile small businesses and early-stage teams
Best CRM with a focus on sales empowerment
Best CRM software for G Suite users
- Really Simple Systems
Best CRM software for small B2B businesses
Best small business CRM for Mac operating systems
Best CRM software for customer management automations
Best CRM software for small businesses who want built-in marketing tools
How I Picked The Best CRMs For Small Business
After my research, I hand-picked these tools and analyzed them based on this list of criteria.
User Interface (UI)
Does it offer clear, well-designed displays and intuitive navigation? For CRMs, the ability to customize the interface is a top consideration. You should easily edit the fields, pipelines, sales processes, and email templates. Often the ability to customize the interface is only available in higher-level pricing plans.
CRMs can be complex tools, so I look for simple CRMs like Freshworks’ Freshsales that are user-friendly and have a shallow learning curve. I look at whether it offers tutorials, FAQs, training, and user support through multiple channels.
Is it easy to connect with other tools, and does it come with pre-built integrations with business tools for accounting, e-commerce, and project management, as well as other marketing tools? I look at the ways in which the tool expands its functionality.
Forget about an enterprise plan. I look at the affordable plans available, the number of team members it includes, and feature lists. Also, I dig deeper to try and find about free trials or free versions of the software you can use to test it out.
Key CRM Features
The following are some of the features to look for in a CRM.
- Contact or customer management: Create and edit contacts and contact information, and easily find them in a searchable CRM database. At a minimum, this feature should integrate with email functions and phone calls.
- Deal management: Create pipelines to track outreach, negotiations, and deals. This feature should be easy to visualize and offer the ability to quickly update leads.
- Interaction tracking: Manage relationships by quickly understanding a contact’s history of interaction with your business. Interaction tracking keeps records of phone calls, meetings, chats, emails—you can log these manually, but many tools automatically generate records.
- Process automation: A small business CRM solution should be able to automate things like your sales workflows, follow-up tasks, and other sales activities.
- Reporting tools: the best CRMs can track performance by looking at the data for activities logged in the system, such as data on sales, revenue, contacts, sales rep activities, and other metrics.
What does CRM stand for?
What are the types of CRMs?
What is the difference between CRM and ERP?
What are the benefits of CRM for a small business?
What types of businesses use CRMs?
How To Choose A CRM: Buyer's Guide
Consider your CRM strategy
A robust CRM strategy is essential for any business nowadays—but particularly so for small businesses who are still looking to build out a loyal and returning customer base, generate positive reviews, and spread their name by word-of-mouth advocacy.
Hence, there are several things that organizations need to figure out when developing a basic CRM plan. Specifically, how to:
- solve disputes before they become a problem
- make customers feel valued and heard
- attract new customers
- retain former customers
- encourage people to return frequently
Think of why you need a CRM plan
Even if a customer has a positive interaction with your business, 60-80% of them do not necessarily return to you again. Therefore, you have to think above and beyond simply giving people a good experience the first time around because even that doesn’t guarantee that they’ll be back.
You should have a plan to keep them coming back, which might include marketing touchpoints like staying “in touch” through email marketing or a social media presence; engaging in events or activities within your community; having your very best people in customer-facing roles so that each transaction is impeccable; listening to all feedback, positive and negative; making sure you are easy to contact by phone, email, and mail; and so on.
So how can you possibly navigate all of this on your own? Small businesses often have tight budgets and limited manpower. That’s why you might be considering CRM software for small businesses.
Do you have any experience with CRM software that really wowed you? We’d love to hear your stories on what worked (or didn’t work) for you. Let us know in the comments.
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