Best CRM Software for Small Businesses
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.
Customer relationship management, or CRM, software stores customer data and helps you manage your interactions with existing and potential customers. It can be used to build your contact database by collecting and organizing customer information from lead forms, landing pages, websites, social media and other digital means. The software may also include features that can help sales representatives initiate and track their interactions with customers.
The best CRM software helps you manage contacts, send emails, log customer contact, generate reports and manage your sales pipeline.
Zoho CRM: Best overall
Pricing: A free version, as well as four paid plans, are available; pay monthly or receive a discount for annual billing.
Free version with limited features.
Standard: $20/user/month (billed monthly) or $14/user/month (billed annually).
Professional: $35/user/month (billed monthly) or $23/user/month (billed annually).
Enterprise: $50/user/month (billed monthly) or $40/user/month (billed annually).
Ultimate: $65/user/month (billed monthly) or $52/user/month (billed annually).
Feature overview: Zoho CRM offers a free plan that supports as many as three users and offers leads, documents and mobile apps. A large library of email templates is accessible with every paid plan as well as the ability to send out mass emails and track performance metrics such as open and click rates. You can easily collect and sort data, schedule follow-up calls and other tasks, manage multiple sales pipelines, and monitor success with custom reports and an analytics mobile app. An audit log is available in all paid plans, and you can define user roles and permissions. Basic support is available with all paid plans but has limits on the length and frequency of sessions. You can pay extra for premium support. Zoho also offers Bigin, a low-cost CRM platform specifically for micro-businesses that are looking for a simple platform with basic features.
Salesforce CRM: Best for growing businesses
Pricing: Four plans designed for small businesses are available. Only the Essentials plan offers a monthly pricing option; all others are annual only.
Essentials: $25/user/month (billed annually) or $35/user/month (billed monthly).
Sales Professional: $75/user/month (billed annually).
Service Professional: $75/user/month (billed annually).
Marketing Cloud Account: $1,250/user/month up to 10,000 contacts (billed annually).
Feature overview: Salesforce CRM’s Essentials plan includes features such as automatic customer data syncs, relationship tracking and customer case management. Prebuilt reports are offered, along with the option to create charts and graphs from the data. Though priced the same, the Sales Professional plan is geared toward sales force automation while the Service Professional plan offers options that can help you engage and manage customer cases. The Salesforce mobile app allows you to update customer information and track customer commitments from an Android or Apple device. Customer support can be contacted by phone, chat or through a callback form, and 24/7 help is available at the Marketing Cloud plan level.
Freshsales by Freshworks: Best low-cost option
Pricing: Free version along with three paid options; plans are discounted when you pay annually.
Free version with limited features.
Growth: $18/user/month (billed monthly) or $15/user/month (billed annually).
Pro: $47/user/month (billed monthly) or $39/user/month (billed annually).
Enterprise: $83/user/month (billed monthly) or $69/user/month (billed annually).
Feature overview: Contact management, engagement tracking, a sales dashboard and the ability to create custom sales activities are included at all Freshsales plan levels. You can reach out to customers via built-in phone, email and chat capabilities, and the software also offers email sync options and website tracking. Prebuilt reports that can be customized for your needs are available with every paid plan. Customer support is offered 24 hours a day during the week, and a dedicated account manager is included with the Enterprise plan.
Monday Sales CRM: Best for customization
Pricing: Monday Sales CRM plans are priced per user, but a minimum of three seats must be purchased with paid plans.
Individual: Free version for up to two users.
Basic: Starting at $37.50/month (billed monthly) or $30/month (billed annually).
Standard: Starting at $51/month (billed monthly) or $42/month (billed annually).
Pro: Starting at $90/month (billed monthly) or $72/month (billed annually).
Enterprise: Quote-based pricing.
Feature overview: All Monday Sales CRM paid plans offer forms to capture leads from your website; templates to manage leads, contacts and deals; the ability to customize notifications; collaboration tools; and a mobile app. Features such as lead management, email integration, contact management and sales analytics are offered in higher-tier plans. Customer support is offered through live chat, email and call-backs. Small-group training sessions on a variety of topics are regularly offered and can be attended when you have a Monday account.
Pipedrive: Best for flexibility
Pricing: Four plans are available; receive a discount when you pay annually.
Essential: $19.90/user/month (billed monthly) or $14.90/user/month (billed annually).
Advanced: $34.90/user/month (billed monthly) or $24.90/user/month (billed annually).
Professional: $59.90/user/month (billed monthly) or $49.90/user/month (billed annually).
Enterprise: $119/user/month (billed monthly) or $99/user/month (billed annually).
Feature overview: All Pipedrive plans offer a 14-day free trial, lead management, activity reminders, automatic call logging, deal and activity reports, and a sales assistant tool. Email tracking, customizable email templates and email sync are offered with the Advanced plan and up. Add-ons to manage the documentation process or manage projects are available for an additional monthly fee. Support is offered all day, every day through live chat or email. You can upgrade, downgrade or cancel the service at any time; however, any fees you pay are nonrefundable.
Insightly CRM: Best for core features
Pricing: Free version with three paid plans; annual billing only.
Free version with limited features.
Plus: $29/user/month (billed annually).
Professional: $49/user/month (billed annually).
Enterprise: $99/user/month (billed annually).
Feature overview: Insightly offers a free plan with user, record and feature limits. All paid plans include a mobile app, lead management, email templates, contact management and customizable reports. Outbound email scheduling, workforce automation and unlimited role-based permissions are available with the Professional and Enterprise plans. Email support is available for paid plans, but live chat and phone support aren’t an option.
What to look for in CRM software
When considering CRM software for your small business, the right product can depend on your marketing strategy and whether your focus is on your sales team, large email campaigns or building contact lists from web forms, for example. Here are some areas to focus on when evaluating products:
Most providers offer a number of plans that can allow you to scale up when necessary. You typically pay a monthly fee per user. Watch out for minimum user requirements so you don’t underestimate the full monthly cost. Discounts are common when you pay annually, but keep in mind that the fee isn’t always refundable if you want to cancel after a few months. A free trial is offered by most providers, which gives you the opportunity to test the product without a commitment. Free plans are another way to test products, but the features of free plans are typically limited.
Contact management is at the core of the best CRM systems. Features such as automatic customer data syncs can help you build your contact lists, while activity timelines that track emails sent, emails opened and website visits can help you manage your interactions with contacts.
If email campaigns are a large part of your marketing strategy, look for software that offers pre-built templates that can be emailed to contacts. Having the capability to customize templates is a bonus, allowing you to adjust your messaging based on your target audience. Features that let you send out individual emails or a large mass mailing can help you respond to individual customers or provide marketing to a large number of prospects.
If you have a sales team, a CRM system with sales management features can help you maximize your team's efforts. For example, built-in phone, email and chat capabilities can make it easier to connect with leads that come through your website. And customer data syncs, customer tracking and notifications can help in building relationships with leads.
Reports and analytics
Pre-built reports, provided by most CRM software, may be all you need in some cases. However, businesses that have a large portion of their marketing budget tied to online sales will likely want the option to customize their reports. Also, businesses that use web forms to generate leads will likely be interested in software that can offer website analytics and anomaly detection.
The support offered by CRM providers varies significantly. Some limit support to weekdays while others offer it 24/7. Chat and email support are common, while phone support is often only available at the top-tier plan levels. Each business will need to determine what level of support will work for its needs. One-on-one setup assistance isn’t common, so look for providers that offer help libraries, tutorials and training webinars to help you get the most out of the software.