Top 9 CRMs for Small Businesses
Even if your company is just starting out, customer relationship management (CRM) software should serve as the central hub for all of your company's interactions with all of your existing customers and clients, as well as any potential new ones. CRMs can perform dozens of functions, including managing contacts, tracking sales, recording activities, sending emails, and making phone calls. Some go above and beyond and include features that allow you to market your business, build reports, automate processes, and manage projects.
There is a platform available that will fulfill your requirements, regardless of what they may be. In order to assist you in your search, we have evaluated a large number of platforms that either cater specifically to small businesses or offer features that are suitable for smaller teams. Click on any app to find out more about why we chose it, or keep reading for more background information on customer relationship management systems for small businesses.
Best CRMs for small businesses
- Vtiger, a comprehensive CRM solution.
- Zoho CRM for expanding your company.
- Freshworks CRM, due to its user-friendliness.
- HubSpot CRM as a free alternative.
- Insightful for the management of projects.
- Creatio for sales process automation.
- Bitrix24 is a cheap alternative to consider.
- Agile CRM for marketing requirements.
- Streak for Gmail inbox management.
What characteristics distinguish a good small business CRM?
Because cost is typically one of the most important factors for small businesses, we limited our CRM evaluations to those that offered pricing plans for less than $60 per month per user.
We also took into account how simple it was to use. The owners of small businesses shouldn't require the assistance of a specialist in order to manage their CRM software. Everyone who uses it, from salespeople to marketers to the office manager all the way up to the CEO, should find it easy to understand and use. And neither the initial setup nor the ongoing management of it ought to call for assistance from any third party.
As part of our review, we investigated each company to determine whether or not they provided support via phone, email, or live chat. Because they each represent a different level of urgency, the various channels are very important. For instance, if you have an urgent problem, you will receive a solution much more quickly if you call rather than send an email.
We evaluated each platform based on its user experience in its entirety. Was the process of setting up each CRM relatively easy to understand on its own? If we needed them, were there any helpful resources that we could find along the way? Would we feel at ease if we utilized this on a daily basis?
We contrasted the various aspects. Every customer relationship management system ought to have standard features like contact and deal management, task automation, and reporting, in addition to exceptional capabilities that set them apart from the competition.
Finally, customer relationship management systems ought to be able to natively integrate with other types of business software, including telephony, email, eCommerce, and marketing platforms. Every one of our options comes with integrations that will assist you in expanding your capabilities.
The most effective all-in-one CRM for small businesses
Vtiger (Web, iOS, Android)
Vtiger all-in-one plan includes sales, marketing, and help desk features, and the company also offers a sales-only CRM for those who are just getting their feet wet with customer relationship management. In addition to that, it incorporates inventory and project management, as well as telephony, integration with social media, and internal collaboration. Because of this, it is ideally suited for use by smaller companies that are looking for a CRM solution that is both affordable and comprehensive.
The capability of Vtiger to link contacts to opportunities, quotes, cases, projects, and invoices serves as the platform's primary support structure. You can access all of the software's major features, which are referred to as Modules, from the menu that looks like a hamburger at the very top. To maintain clarity and simplicity, selecting any one of them will only launch the specified app when you click on it. Nevertheless, you are able to effortlessly create contacts, tasks, opportunities, projects, and other actions from any Module in the system.
For instance, if you want to quickly create a contact, you can do so by clicking the plus icon in the top right corner, choosing contact from the drop-down menu, adding a last name, choosing who the contact is assigned to, and selecting the contact type. That sums it up nicely. In the event that you are in a rush, it is not necessary to provide an email address or even your first name. You can add more info later. If you want a record that contains more information, you can also choose to fill out the full form. In the contact record, you'll find options for "do not call," "email opt-in/out," "SMS opt-in," and "referred by." These are all very useful features.
The marketing app enables the creation of email templates and campaigns that have a professional appearance. You are able to send autoresponder email campaigns that are based on triggers such as emails being opened and links being clicked. In addition, you are able to segment your contacts based on multiple conditions, such as the lead source, engagement score, location, industry, and products that were purchased.
The application for the help desk offers real-time performance metrics, live chat, work orders, and internal ticket management in addition to service case management. The integration with Olark, which provides both a paid and a free service, is used to manage the live chat functionality. It is possible to start a case via email, the phone, chat, or social media, and then link it to contacts by performing a quick search within the case record. The priority level, linking products (from the inventory management app), adding billable service, and service level agreement (SLA) info are all options that are included in the case record. You have the ability to customize all of these options.
Vtiger price: Costs as little as $30 per month per user.
Best CRM for Small Business Scalability
CRM by Zoho (Web, iOS, Android)
Because of its extensive feature set and wide range of available add-ons, the Zoho CRM sales platform is an excellent choice for companies that require the capacity to scale. The customer relationship management system provides a variety of personalization options to accommodate expanding teams as well as some cutting-edge artificial intelligence tools to assist high-volume teams in locating qualified leads.
In addition to contact and deal management, Sales Signals alerts sales representatives whenever leads or customers interact with any of the various channels provided by your company. You will receive real-time notifications and documentation of the interaction within the contact record whenever a contact engages in a particular activity, such as visiting your pricing page, opening an email, or mentioning your brand on social media.
SalesIQ is an add-on that provides live chat as well as lead scoring based on demographics as well as contact behavior, such as the amount of time spent on the site and the pages that were viewed. Again, the information that is gathered is added to the contact record, which provides sales representatives with additional knowledge regarding their clients and the opportunities available to them. A free starter version and a trial period are both available for the paid plans.
Features based on artificial intelligence (AI) that are available on the Enterprise plan assist busy sales teams in prioritizing leads and deals. For instance, the AI system keeps tabs on the event data associated with a contact, such as calls, emails, and chats. It then recommends the most appropriate time to contact these individuals so that sales representatives have a better chance of establishing a connection with them. The lead and deal scoring features both make use of historical data, including reps' interactions and contact characteristics, in order to make predictions regarding the likelihood of success for leads and deals. On the basis of these, a probability of success score ranging from 0 to 100 percent is assigned to each potential lead and business deal.
The evolving needs of a growing company for a versatile CRM go hand in hand. You are able to personalize various aspects of Zoho, including modules, fields, pages, buttons, and more. For instance, you could design a button that says "create a proposal" and links to either the proposal software that you use or the Google Drive templates.
Last but not least, the software suite offered by Zoho is made to accommodate all of your company's requirements. In addition to the customer relationship management system, Zoho offers software for accounting, teamwork and project management, a help desk, email marketing, survey and form creation, social media, and human resources. Some of these, including Campaigns, Desk, and Survey, also provide free plans to get started with their services.
Zoho CRM price: Begins at $12 per month for paid plans and is free for up to three users.
The most user-friendly CRM for small businesses
CRM Freshworks (Web, iOS, Android)
Some software companies produce products with the most cutting-edge technology available, but they lose sight of the user experience in the process. This results in products that are difficult to install, navigate, and use. One of those companies is not Freshworks CRM; it is not one of them. Its customer relationship management system (CRM) is designed to make it possible for anyone to jump in and start using even the most advanced features immediately.
After completing the registration process for Freshworks CRM, you will initially be taken on a brief tour of the system's major features (which you have the option to skip), and then you will be brought to the activities dashboard. Because there is a lot of white space on this page, the first impression you get won't be too overwhelming. In this section, you will be prompted to import leads as well as add appointments and tasks. In addition, there is an explanation labeled "What's this page about?" that details the function and applications of the page, along with a link that explains how to use the dashboard and another that allows users to provide feedback.
There is a question mark icon on every page with options for live chat, demo request, feedback, and frequently asked questions (FAQ). If you click on FAQ, you will see a list of suggested articles for common subjects like leads, contacts, email, tasks, and other settings. There is also a search button that will immediately display brief explanations for your topic. For more detailed info, you're given videos and links. During the course of our test, their chat representatives were quick to respond and very helpful.
Your options, such as email, automation, user roles, and so on, will be displayed in the settings menu along with detailed descriptions of what each setting does and why it is advantageous. Help articles and videos that provide step-by-step instructions are located on the left side of the page. You are presented with the default pipeline when working with Pipelines, for example, and given the option to make changes to it or to create a new pipeline from scratch. In addition, there is a video and seven different help articles covering different aspects of the pipeline, such as "how users can set their preferred pipeline."
In the event that you have used up all of the available resources but are still in need of assistance, you can contact customer support via phone, email, or live chat.
Freshworks CRM price: Free for an unlimited number of users, and it starts at $12 per month per user for additional features.
Best free CRM software for small businesses
HubSpot (Web, Mac, Windows, iOS, Android)
You are permitted an unlimited number of users and can store up to one million contacts with HubSpot's free CRM. Not only is it simple to use, but it also comes with a number of features that are typically reserved for more expensive plans, such as live chat and bots, email tracking, and meeting scheduling.
The user interface is easy to navigate, with the primary functions displayed across the top of the screen and dropdown menus for each function. You can access contacts, companies, and an activity feed of sent and received emails by going to the Contacts section of the app. To make a new contact, go to the Contacts menu and select "Create contact." After that, add your first name, last name, and email address. After being created, contact records make it possible to send emails, make calls, complete tasks, and schedule meetings with just one click. There is also a Search in Google action that, when activated with just two clicks, immediately takes you to the contact search results.
When you connect your accounts with Gmail or Outlook, you'll be able to sync your calendars and keep track of when emails are opened. You'll also be able to schedule meetings with just one click. The calendar sync enables an automatic meeting scheduler that can be used in chat, and it also enables you to send a link that contacts can use to schedule a meeting for themselves. The contact record will include a record of every email you send, as well as every meeting you attend.
Under the "Sales" tab, you will find the options to manage meetings, tasks, and documents related to sales. You get one pipeline that you can modify, along with the ability to produce multiple versions if you pay for the upgraded version. The layout of a deal's page is identical to that of a contact's page in order to keep things as straightforward as possible. Simply searching for a contact in the record and selecting them when you find one will allow you to link contacts to deals.
You'll find a centralized inbox for viewing all of the tracked conversations you've had via email, chat, bot, Slack, and Facebook Messenger under the Conversations tab. Additionally, this is the location from which you can configure and manage the channels. For instance, with chat, you have the ability to personalize the appearance and set various availability options. You are able to create messages for various chats and bots by using the Chatflow option. These messages can include things like greetings, information capture, the location of the site page, and a meeting scheduler.
HubSpot CRM price: Begins at $50 per month for additional features and is free for unlimited users.
Best small business CRM for project management
Insightly (Web, iOS, Android)
Insightly is a platform that combines capabilities for sales management and project management into a single, user-friendly package. Because of this, it is ideally suited for use by small businesses that require their sales and project delivery teams to maintain a collaborative and productive work environment.
Insightly maintains a user interface that is uncluttered and organized, with all of the functions, which are referred to as Objects, aligned in a column to the left. You can access the settings and support from a drop down menu in the top right corner. This is also where you'll find the quick-add button for things like tasks, contacts, and projects, among other things. Visual dashboards for sales and projects that can be customized through Dashboards can be found on the Homepage of the website.
The building blocks of Insightly are called Objects and Fields. Some examples of Objects include contacts, leads, and projects. Both are highly modifiable and may be of great assistance when it comes to collecting data that is specific to your company.
For instance, I made a new Object in System Settings called Partners with the purpose of storing information about the businesses with which we work jointly on projects. When I wanted to customize the fields, I clicked on Partners in Objects. After adding new fields for a website, email address, contact, and phone number, as well as a notes section, I went to the Page Layouts section and made all of these fields required. After we have added our partners, I will be able to create a specialized field in Projects for Partners so that I can link the appropriate business with each individual project.
Your delivery and sales teams will always be operating from the same playbook if you take advantage of the limitless number of associations that can be created within Objects. By making certain fields required, important information is prevented from being missed or forgotten during the data collection process.
An additional helpful feature is called an Activity Set, and it is a collection of tasks that can be applied to a contact, opportunity, lead, or project in order to automate the respective processes. It's possible that sales teams have one for passing off a completed transaction to the projects team. It's possible that the Activity Set will assign the sales representative tasks such as writing a client summary, scheduling an internal team meeting, and creating a file in Google Docs for the new client. Instead of creating each of these as individual tasks for each new customer, you create it once as an Activity Set, which will automatically assign each of these tasks.
Reports provides dozens of prebuilt options, in addition to the option to customize your own, to assist in measuring and keeping track of sales as well as projects. A number of different types of reports, such as opportunity value, funnel stage analysis, tasks, and reasons for losing, are included in the prebuilt reports. For instance, the funnel analysis provides a bar chart that displays opportunities segmented according to the pipeline stages, as well as a detailed list that details deal names, sales reps, probabilities, and values.
Insightly price: Begins at $29 per user, per month for paid plans, and is free for up to two users.
Best low-cost small business CRM
Bitrix24 (Web, iOS, Android)
The maximum number of users is included in all of Bitrix24's plans, including the free one, and the cost per user for the Standard plan is only $1.98 per month when you have the maximum number of users. Bitrix24 also offers a free plan. Bitrix24 is an excellent option to investigate for businesses that must limit their spending but have a sizable number of employees.
Bitrix24 is an effective software solution that does not break the bank. It has a sufficient number of features to power multiple customer relationship management systems, such as those for sales, marketing, project management, online store or website building, customer service, and HR management.
The functions of the software, which amount to about 20 in total, are organized in a column on the left. It is a good thing that you can customize the order and hide items, because otherwise it might feel too overwhelming. In addition, each function is separated into its own compartment, which makes it much simpler to manage them. If you click on CRM - Settings, for instance, you'll be presented with options for pipelines, fields, and integrations, among other things.
All activities that occur within the CRM are displayed on the contact record. This includes communications, deals, quotes, and orders. Integrations provided by third parties expand the functionality to include emailing, texting, and calling, all of which can be carried out without leaving the contact page. In addition, a timeline will be created to record each of these conversations. Deal records share the same functionality as activity records, displaying activities and allowing access to a variety of communication channels.
The marketing app allows for the creation of campaigns for voice broadcasting, text broadcasting, and email broadcasting (also known as robocalls). You also have the option of running advertising campaigns on Facebook and Google Adwords. It's not too difficult to put together segmented lists. Go to the Segments section of CRM Marketing, click the Create Segment button, and then select clients and leads from the available lists. For instance, you can create a list of eCommerce leads who have not purchased the green velour tracksuit within the past 30 days by using an app for your online store that monitors cart abandonment. You can then send these leads a discount coupon for 20% off by using a text marketing campaign.
Bitrix24 is one of the few CRMs that offers an online store, and the platform simplifies the process of using it. Creating and publishing a few pages with the help of their premade templates took less than ten minutes and did not require any coding on the user's part.
You also have the option of connecting the store to your own website by using the domain registrar that you use, which is a straightforward process for a person with some technical knowledge. After that, you'll have the ability to connect different payment systems within the app, such as PayPal, as well as create a catalog and manage inventory.
Bitrix24 price: Is free for up to 12 users, and the advanced version starts at $19 per month for two users.
Best small business CRM for sales process automation
Creatio (Web, iOS, Android)
Even though it now goes by the name Creatio, the process powerhouse formerly known as bpm'online is designed to streamline, automate, and simplify sales as well as other functions without requiring users to write any code. Because of this, it is the perfect solution for businesses that want to collaborate on complicated processes that involve working with multiple teams, approvals, and steps.
Records of contacts include fields for useful information, such as the current time zone and preferred communication channels. Your team will be able to post contact-related messages in a thread using the Feed tab. This will ensure that all communication details are easily accessible for the purposes of collaboration.
Opportunity records include a number of features that are equally useful, such as the number of days that the opportunity has been in the funnel and sales rep mood emoticons, which provide a quick overview of the state of a deal. In the section labeled "Tactics and Competitors," you will have the opportunity to detail not only your own advantages and disadvantages for a specific transaction but also those of your rivals. In addition, there is a space for you to describe the strategies you intend to implement in order to secure the business.
You will find Studio in the pull-down menu that is located on the top left of the screen. This is the section that contains all of the global settings and processes. The Process Library includes a variety of prebuilt flows for various purposes, including leads, opportunities, messages, social likes, and approvals. When you navigate to the Opportunities - Qualification menu option, you will be presented with a decision tree that contains user actions, system actions, and events. These are the components that are used to construct the steps in a particular process. To make it easier to recognize which option you're looking at, the icons that accompany each menu category are color-coded. If you click on any of them, a description and a menu will appear, allowing you to choose what actions are taken at this stage.
In addition, there are Gateways that can activate branching scenarios as well as parallel workflows. Let's say the CEO and the company attorney need to look over your contracts before they can be signed. If the process is automated, the next step in the process, which is signing the contract, cannot take place until the two tasks that came before it have been finished. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the possibilities offered by a particular process.
Creatio price: Starts at $25 per month per user.
Best CRM for small businesses with marketing capabilities
Agile CRM (Web, iOS, Android)
A dedicated customer relationship management system (CRM) and marketing software are both expensive investments for small businesses, and there is no guarantee that the two will work well together. One of the very few CRMs available, Agile CRM excels in both the sales and marketing functions it's responsible for.
Every plan takes into account both of these capabilities. These apps provide features that keep sales and marketing on the same page, which is especially helpful for small teams that collaborate closely together. You can begin by customizing the level of access that each member of your team has to each application. For instance, you could give sales representatives access to email templates within the marketing app, but you could restrict their ability to view campaigns.
The creation of contacts is the simplest process I've come across; all that's needed to get started is a first name. It's possible that sales managers who want complete data will find this feature frustrating, but all things considered, it's a useful addition. The capability of manually scoring contacts is yet another useful function of this app. You are able to give a certain score to a potential customer if you are a sales representative and you have just finished a conversation with someone who you believe could be a good customer in the future. After that, if you add this contact to an email campaign, which you can also do in their record, you will be able to assign an automatic score to them based on the actions that they take in the future.
The marketing app shows all of the contacts that have been created, whether they were added by hand by a sales representative or automatically through a webform, email, or one of the other available channels. You are able to filter contacts based on a number of different criteria using this view, such as score, owner, or campaign status. You can also add contacts to active campaigns or begin a call campaign list that you can then send to sales. Both of these options are available to you.
To make a new campaign, select Campaigns - Ad campaign from the menu bar. You will be able to view a comprehensive list of the different types of campaigns, such as email, SaaS, eCommerce, social, and others, from this location. You will be taken to a drag-and-drop editor with templates that can be customized when you select one of the options. You are able to send follow up emails and text coupons to site visitors who proceeded to the checkout page of your eCommerce store but did not complete the purchase by using the eCommerce cart abandonment campaign. You have the ability to modify both the trigger actions and the automated responses based on the activity of the customer.
Agile CRM price: Begins at $9.99 per month for paid plans and is free for up to 10 users.
Best CRM for small businesses for Gmail users
Streak (Gmail, iOS, Android)
If you're the kind of Gmail user who spends all of your time in your inbox, you should definitely take a look at Streak because it does the same thing. This customer relationship management system allows you to manage all of your contacts, deals, pipelines, and tasks from within Gmail, eliminating the need to log in to a separate platform. This may be the perfect answer for smaller companies that want to keep things as straightforward as possible.
The installation of the Streak extension takes fewer than thirty seconds, and once it's done, you can immediately begin exploring. Your preferences, integrations, help, and updates can be accessed by clicking on the orange Streak icon that is located in the top left corner of your inbox. Your Gmail settings will now have an additional tab for Settings to be accessed through. You can activate and deactivate features such as email tracking, snippets, and notifications in this section.
Pipelines appear in your Gmail menu under Drafts. When you click on the plus sign, a new tab will open up with various pre-made pipelines, including sales, projects, orders, and support, amongst others. You are able to customize these with a variety of stages, which are the sequential steps that make up your sales process or another process. The instructions are color-coded by default, but this can be altered by clicking the palette icon.
After reaching that point, you will have the option to select various pipeline visualizations, such as a bar chart, line graph, or pie chart, in order to get an overall picture of the current status of deals. Each view is displayed concurrently with the default pipeline view.
The appearance of a pipeline is comparable to that of a spreadsheet created in Excel. The deals are presented in a vertical format, organized into columns, and separated from one another by color bars and stage names. In addition, the stages are shown across the top, along with the total number of deals in each stage. It is not nearly as visually intuitive as the majority of other CRMs, which may dissuade users who are accustomed to working with boards that have a Kanban-style layout and support for drag-and-drop functionality. However, once you've become accustomed to the layout and functionality, it will start to feel purposeful - old school, but in a positive way.
To add a contact to a pipeline, first choose an email thread, and then click on the Streak icon located in the top right corner of the screen to select the pipeline to which you would like to add the contact. This will bring up a screen where you can add tasks, make notes, and update records such as the lead source, deal size, and closing date, among other things. In addition to that, it provides a concise summary of recent activities including emails, calls, notes, and tasks.
You are able to view email threads, attach files, save comments, setup tasks, and schedule meetings all from within the contact records. You have the ability to personalize both the contact view and the type of data that is displayed to you. You can collect and view data for emails, such as the most recent email sent and the total number of messages, for instance, by clicking on the Magic Columns button.
There is a Personal free plan as well as a 14-day trial of the Professional plan, which will allow you to get a feel for the experience of managing pipelines, deals, and contacts from within your inbox. If you are still unsure about how Streak might work for you, you can take advantage of either one of these options.
Streak Price: Paid plans start at $49 per month per user for two users.