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The 10 Best CRMs For Small Businesses in 2019

By 27/09/2019 No Comments

This article will help you quickly compare and evaluate the best customer relationship management software and, in particular, CRM software for small businesses and start-ups.

CRM stands for customer relationship management. Because we’re focused primarily on digital project management, you might be wondering why we’re here, talking about managing customers.

Here’s why: while project managers aren’t (usually) directly responsible for CRM strategy and software, it’s important to understand how it plays into your organization’s strategy and projects. PMs should know the types of tools their teams are using, who is using it, for what purpose, and how. The PM is the person who connects the dots between different people and activities, and knowing their toolkit helps in making better decisions and asking the right questions when planning projects.

Quickly Compare & Evaluate The 10 Best CRMs For Small Business in 2019

CRMs for Small Business Logo Soup

In this post I’ll share with you the best free CRMs to include on your CRM strategy shortlist. I will also explain how CRM for startups can help you grow your budding business. Below you’ll also find that I have answer some FAQs about CRM systems, but you can always leave further questions you have in the comment section below and our community of PMs might be able to help you out.

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The 10 Best CRMs List

Here’s my list of the top CRM software for small business. More details below:

  1. monday.com
  2. Pipedrive
  3. Zendesk
  4. Agile CRM
  5. Copper
  6. Freshworks
  7. Zoho CRM
  8. Salesforce
  9. Ontraport
  10. HubSpot

Below you’ll find an overview of these CRMs for small businesses, with screenshots, feature overview, pricing and our score.

Jump to CRMs for small businesses reviews

CRM Marketing FAQ

Still have some burning questions about CRM strategies and software? Look no further:

What is a CRM platform?

The best CRM platform will help your business navigate relationship-building (and maintaining) with both current and potential customers through tracking relationships over time, launching marketing touchpoints, assisting with customer service, and more.

What are the types of CRMs?

There are three primary types of CRMs: Operational CRM (for sales, marketing and service), Analytical CRM (for data collection and analysis), Collaborative CRM (sharing information between different teams).

What is the difference between CRM and ERP?

CRMs are customer-focused, often looking outside the company for tools to grow, where are enterprise resource planning (ERPs) work internally to optimize between corporate departments.

What are the benefits of CRM for a business?

Top CRMs will be able to track customer details, collect feedback from customer-brand interactions, trace the sales cycle from lead to sale, developing marketing campaigns, social media management, a contact center, and so on.

What types of businesses use CRMs?

Large scale businesses across all industries most likely have a CRM strategy in place. However, small to medium sized businesses will also find CRM helpful for growing their customer base and building their reputation.

Not looking for a CRM software list? Check out our other lists of top software to manage projects and work processes:

  1. CRM is just one part of marketing that you will need to tackle as a startup or small business. Don’t forget to have a complete marketing strategy, including the necessary marketing project management software to help you along the way.
  2. As you start to make progress, you might want to employ some business intelligence tools to help you collect and plot data in order to hone in on your strengths and weaknesses and push passed and obstacles or plateaus.
  3. Helpdesk software is a great starting point for anyone looking to address their customer base’s needs, questions and concerns. You may also be interested in internal support for your team, which helpdesk software can do as well.

The 10 Best CRM Software For Small Business

CRMs For Small Business - Featured image

It may feel impossible to narrow down the best CRM for small business. However, just take it step by step and investigate the many options available one at a time:

  • 7 days free trial.
  • from $17/month for 2 users.

User Interface (UI)

100%

Usability

100%

Integrations

90%

Value for $

90%

Features & Function

100%

Overall Score

96%

1. monday.com – Manage your customer data, interactions and processes in order to automate parts of your sales pipeline, capture leads online, and more

Along with being a CRM tool, monday.com has robust workflow management capabilities that let you do everything from set up automatic reminders, due date notifications, and assign teammates to new tasks automatically. Use their reports and insights to dig into data for sales, processes, performance, and overall business opportunities.

monday.com screenshot - CRMs for Small Business

Your monday.com Sales Pipeline will give you an overview of names, dates, status and deal value

Somewhere between the user interface and features/functions sections of our evaluation criteria is a deep desire for customization—and monday.com has many options for this, though some more complex adjustments may require a coding specialist. On top of that, they have some handy features like single-click task update request and an automatic notification builder.

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 representative 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.com starts at $17/month for 2 users and has a free 7-day trial.

Overall Score: 9.6
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  • 14 days free trial.
  • From $12.50/user/month.

User Interface (UI)

80%

Usability

100%

Integrations

90%

Value for $

80%

Features & Function

100%

Overall Score

90%

2. Pipedrive – Automatic tracking of emails, calls, and progress and a streamlined view of your sales process

A single, streamlined view of your sales process awaits you every time you login. A deeper dive into the software will unveil a sturdy feature set that includes pipeline management tools, email integration, activity reminder emails, sales reporting and forecasting, syncing capabilities with Google Calendar, and more.

Pipedrive screenshot - CRMs for Small Business

Pipedrive helps you organize leads by contact- and follow through- status to grow sales.

Pipedrive scores well in our usability evaluation category because they are so easy to set up and get things started. In fact, they have been rated the “easiest” sales tool to implement by software review site G2Crowd. If you’re looking for a “just log in and go” app, this is it.

Pipedrive works with Google Apps and Google Drive, including things like Google Calendar and Google Contacts. They also integrate with programs like Trello, Asana, Slack, Xero, and many more that you can find in their online Marketplace.

A minor gripe about the chat software service is the only con that comes to mind: The “chat” balances between email and chat, excelling at neither, and has minimal data-collection when it comes to funneling in a potential lead, leaving you with little to go on while trying to make your next move.

Pipedrive starts $12.50/user/month and has a free 14-day trial.

Overall Score: 9
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  • 30 days free trial.
  • From $5/user/month.

User Interface (UI)

90%

Usability

100%

Integrations

100%

Value for $

80%

Features & Function

90%

Overall Score

92%

3. Zendesk – Customer service and engagement products with interaction capabilities across phone, chat, email, social media, and more

Zendesk in an omnichannel CRM app that unifies all of the places you might interact with your customers, from phone, email, social media, and more. Their analytics serve you with industry benchmark data, customer intelligence, and improved context for every client interaction. They offer training webinars, live training events, and custom training.

Zendesk screenshot - CRMs for Small Business

The Zendesk chat analyst displays the volume of chats with their timing trends.

Software should accommodate integrations with other popular apps, which is why this is always a consideration listed in our evaluation criteria. Zendesk has a vast marketplace of apps (some free, some paid) that you can integrate and they are regularly adding to the list.

Zendesk boasts a high number of available integrations for every product or service under the sun, and even more are available through Zapier. Some integrations include Slack, JIRA, Mailchimp Activity, Giphy, Shopify for Support, Zoho, Dropbox, and many more.

Some basic cons include the lackluster mobile app, which could definitely be smoother and more user-friendly. On top of that, adding certain support, integrations, and preferences will significantly drive up the cost of this software, making it not great for smaller units on a budget.

Zendesk starts at from $5/user/month and has a free 30-day trial.

Overall Score: 9.2
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  • free for up to 10 users.
  • from $8.99/user/month.

User Interface (UI)

80%

Usability

80%

Integrations

100%

Value for $

90%

Features & Function

80%

Overall Score

86%

4. Agile CRM – Sales enablement and customer service systems with built-in, advanced marketing capabilities

Agile CRM will help you automate your sales, marketing, and customer service workflows with modern features and integrations. Some features include contact list management, deal tracking and milestones, one-click calling and voicemail automation, appointment scheduling, project management functions, gamification of tasks, and more.

Agile CRM screenshot - CRMs for Small Business

Automate your sales, marketing, and service in one platform with Agile CRM.

It’s hard to slot exactly which part of my evaluation criteria categories this belongs in but Agile CRM perfectly combines the “online” and “offline” world of CRM, from tracking online sales and other data-based customer service optimization to face-to-face communication instigation.

Integrations are listed in their Marketplace and sorted by function. Popular ones include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Apps, Quickbooks, Shopify, WooCommerce, and many more through Zapier.

It can be a bit tricky to pick up on right away, which dinged them a bit in both the UX and usability categories. Furthermore, their customer service isn’t as responsive or helpful as some of the other products’ teams that are listed here.

Agile CRM starts from $8.99/user/month and is free for up to 10 users.

Overall Score: 8.6
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  • 14 days free trial.
  • From $19/user/month.

User Interface (UI)

80%

Usability

80%

Integrations

90%

Value for $

80%

Features & Function

80%

Overall Score

82%

5. Copper – Centralizes communication around leads, accounts, deals and offers G Suite compatibility

Track deal progress with visual pipelines from lead to close and encourage friendly competition with sales leaderboards that show who the top performers are by revenue, meetings set, calls made, and emails sent. Copper also lets you organize contacts, track leads and deals, automate data entry, manage projects, build pipelines, access reports and insights, track emails and tasks, and more.

Copper screenshot - CRMs for Small Business

Copper lets you monitor and track leads, rep activity, conversions, pipeline, and revenue.

While Copper may not ace every subcategory in our features and functionality evaluation criteria section, they do reporting very well. Real-time reports are uber-valuable to the user, breaking down lost revenue, sales revenue, projected revenue based on opportunities, expected close rate, and more.

Copper integrates with Gmail, Slack, Zendesk, Hubspof, Quickbooks, Zero, Docusign, Asana, Trello, Smartsheet, Shopify, Magneto, Squarespace, WordPress, and more. Additional options available through a paid Zapier account or Tray.io.

This software caters best to one product pipeline at a time, so working multiple products lines may be difficult. Reporting, alos, wasn’t as intuitive and user-friendly as it could have been. Incorporating niche or legacy software into Copper can be time-consuming and difficult. Furthermore, Copper could benefit from a more robust help/tutorial library.

Copper starts from $19/user/month and has a free 14-day trial.

Overall Score: 8.2
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  • freemium.
  • 21 days free trial.
  • from $15/user/month.

User Interface (UI)

80%

Usability

80%

Integrations

100%

Value for $

80%

Features & Function

90%

Overall Score

86%

6. Freshworks – Customer support, messaging, sales, and IT services with a cloud-based call center and onboarding tools

Freshworks is customer support software with a focus on engaging website visitors and product users, monitoring sales prospects, streamlining IT services, call center capabilities, recruitment and onboarding, and more. It’s a great small business CRM because it’s easy to navigate and understand, even if you’re not experienced in using a CRM.

Freshservice screenshot - CRMs for Small Business

Assist agent productivity with customizable canned responses for CRM.

The evaluation criteria section that Freshworks excels in the most is probably features and functionality. Customer service capabilities are highly customizable, the user interface is pleasing and easy to navigate, and the reporting features are robust and hand for all sorts of needs.

Integrations listed include Google Calendar, MailChimp, Segment, Office 365 Calendar, Hubspot, Quickbooks, Zero, and more, including 1500+ integration options with a paid plan through Zapier.

Some cons/critiques to consider: personalization options could be stronger in tabs throughout the stages of the sales pipelines; the software doesn’t integrate with social networks or platforms very easily; there is no good way to track expenses or commissions.

Freshworks starts from $15/user/ month and has a free 21-day trial as well as a freemium version.

Overall Score: 8.6
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  • free demo.
  • free trial.
  • free version for up to 3 users.
  • from $12/user/month.

User Interface (UI)

80%

Usability

90%

Integrations

100%

Value for $

90%

Features & Function

90%

Overall Score

90%

7. Zoho CRM – 40+ integrated applications that includes social media integration, a customer experience platform, a finance platform, and more

Zoho CRM includes apps to help drive and organize sales, navigate business accounting challenges, enhance collaborative efforts between segmented groups, strengthen IT and helpdesk options, build HR department resources in order to support your team in various ways, and more.

Zoho screenshot - CRMs for Small Business

Tap your AI-powered assistant for any customer information from your CRM system.

Zoho CRM is affordable and rich with integratable apps, from Google to Microsoft platforms and more, which are two very important considerations in our evaluation criteria.

Zoho sports G Suite Integration, Apps for Apple Watch, Microsoft Office 365 Integration, as well as myriad other options like Mailchimp, Box, Shopify, Dropbox, Quickbooks, Eventbrite, Zendesk, Jive, and more.

Zoho could definitely benefit from optimizing its user friendliness a bit. Compared to others on this list, it’s UX can be a bit off-putting. Clunky and lacking regular updates, the UX is probably the weakest part of the software.

Zoho CRM starts from $12/user/month and has a free demo, free trial of the paid version, and a free version for up to 3 users.

Overall Score: 9
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  • 30 days free trial.
  • from $25/user/month.

User Interface (UI)

90%

Usability

100%

Integrations

100%

Value for $

90%

Features & Function

90%

Overall Score

94%

8. Salesforce – A sales, marketing, and customer relationship platform with marketing campaign tools and an app builder

Salesforce lets you automate your sales process, focus on customer satisfaction and retention, build your pipeline and drive customer engagement, create personalized and cross-channel marketing campaigns, and more.

Salesforce screenshot - CRMs for Small Business

With Salesforce you can automate billing, subscriptions, and revenue recognition.

Intuitive and customizable, Salesforce does well in the usability category of our evaluation criteria. That’s not to say that customizations should be done without help; employ an expert to get things set up to you liking and you’ll find the software quite amiable. That said, it’s designed to scale to the enterprise level, so this is a better CRM for small businesses that plan to grow.

Integrations listed include GSuite, Slack, Quickbooks, MailChimp, LinkedIn, Docusign, Jira, HelloSign, CodeScience, ActiveCampaign, Dropbox, and more.

One major con was that contact records require a lot of sorting and scrolling to make any usable sense of. Some better processing procedures here would be helpful.

Salesforce starts from $25/user/month and has a free 30-day trial.

Overall Score: 9.4
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  • 14 days free trial.
  • from $79/month.

User Interface (UI)

90%

Usability

80%

Integrations

100%

Value for $

80%

Features & Function

100%

Overall Score

90%

9. Ontraport – Marketing software that connects all promotional pieces from emails to webpages and pop-up forms

Ontraport gives you a suite of CRM marketing tools to use at will, like email campaigns, SMS campaigns, landing page designs, forms that sync data directly to your contact database and ecommerce system, and storing/managing CRM data (like customer clicks, purchases, and actions).

Ontraport screenshot - CRMs for Small Business

Track where your digital clicks are coming from in order to make informed decisions.

Somewhere between the customer management and process automation expectations in our evaluation criteria is where Ontraport has a leg over the competition. The app has many functions, a high degree of automation for mundane but necessary processes (including the optimization of marketing campaigns at launch and data organization for performance enhancements).

Integrations listed include Quickbooks, Xero, Apiant, WebMerge, Google Calendar, Time Trade, Convert Plus, MiloTree, Freshdesk, Helpscout, Zendesk, Leadpages, Megaphone, Avizr, Shopify, WooCommerce, plus additional app options, and over 1500 more with a paid Zapier plan.

The usability of the software suffers a bit for the following reasons: the page building tool is sometimes clunky; it is not that intuitive to learn and feel out when first beginning; some marketing automation functions are too complex to employ easily.

Ontraport starts from $79/month and has a free 14-day trial.

Overall Score: 9
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  • free.

User Interface (UI)

90%

Usability

90%

Integrations

100%

Value for $

100%

Features & Function

90%

Overall Score

94%

10. HubSpot – Marketing, sales, and customer service software with popular features like contact insights, lead generation and email marketing

Hubspot organizes contact details, tasks, deals and more into a unified hub meant to streamline all the pieces of your CRM strategy. Features include the ability to run complete inbound marketing campaigns at scale, provide deeper insights into prospects, automate administrative tasks that are getting in your way, and more.

Hubspot screenshot - CRMs for Small Business

Hubspot uses a Kanban-like board to organize customer interactions from pitch to sale.

As a free applications, it probably comes as no surprise that Hubspot ranks the highest in the “value for price” evaluation criteria section. After all, it doesn’t get much better than free. You will find the app doesn’t skimp on features either. A great CRM for small businesses and startups alike.

Integrations listed in the Hubspot Marketplace include Gmail, Outlook, Fusebill, Zoom, CallPage, LeadSpace, TrenDemon, Facebook, Design Wizard, and over 1500 more through a Zapier paid plan.

A minor con is that you may find that you need database marketers with some experience in order to make the best out of this software. Furthermore, while the free plan is robust and satisfying, you’ll find quite a steep price hike if you require any higher level plan.

Hubspot is a free application with account upgrade options that start at $68/month.

Overall Score: 9.4
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The Best CRMs For Small Businesses Summary

Software Overview Free Option Price Score Site
monday.commonday.com logo Read monday.com features & functionality free 7-day trial from $17/month for 2 users 9.6 Check out monday.com
Pipedrive
Pipedrive logo
Read Pipedrive features & functionality free 14-day trial $12.50/user/month 9 Check out Pipedrive
ZendeskZendesk logo Read Zendesk features & functionality free 30-day trial from $5/user/month 9.2 Check out Zendesk
Agile CRMAgile CRM logo Read Agile CRM features & functionality free for up to 10 users from $8.99/user/month 8.6 Check out Agile CRM
CopperCopper logo Read Copper features & functionality free 14-day trial from $19/user/month 8.2 Check out Copper
FreshworksFreshworks logo Read Freshworks features & functionality free 21-day trial

freemium

from $15/user/ month 8.6 Check out Freshworks
Zoho CRMZoho CRM logo Read Zoho CRM features & functionality free demo

free 15-day trial

free version for up to 3 users

from $12/user/month 9 Check out Zoho CRM
SalesforceSalesforce logo - Best CRMs for Small Businesses Read Salesforce features & functionality free 30-day trial from $25/user/month 9.4 Check out Salesforce
OntraportOntraport logo Read Ontraport features & functionality free 14-day trial from $79/month 9 Check out Ontraport
HubSpotHubspot logo Read HubSpot features & functionality free free 9.4 Check out HubSpot

Other Small Business CRMs

Being a small business looking for just the right CRM is tough. If none of the above options spoke to your niche and needs, here are a few more to consider:

  1. Method – Highly customizable CRM designed to work with QuickBooks
  2. Insightly – Workflow automation, custom fields, email templates, record linking, and more.
  3. Copper – a CRM designed for G Suite that makes it easy for entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses to implement a CRM without the administrative bloat.
  4. NeonCRM – CRM for nonprofits with a focus on donor engagement, volunteers and events.
  5. Less Annoying CRM – Simplified, affordable CRM for small businesses.
  6. Real Simple Systems CRM – Award winning, simple CRM software for small teams working B2B.
  7. Bpm’online – Accelerate business processes and build applications with this low-code platform.
  8. InStream – Sales, contact management, relationship automation, and social media insights.
  9. Capsule CRM – A complete view of your customers with customizable data fields.
  10. Nimble – CRM that works directly inside your Office 365 or G Suite inbox.
  11. Nutshell – CRM and sales automation solution with reporting and progress tracking.
  12. OnePageCRM – Minimize data entry with a range of lead clippers from Gmail, Outlook, Xing, Facebook and Twitter.
  13. Salesboom – Customizable web-based CRM software to unify sales, marketing, and customer service initiatives.
  14. SutiCRM – A cloud-based customer relationship management software with marketing and sales tools.
  15. Teamgate – Calling features, lead gathering tools, marketing, account management, geolocation and more.

Before You Choose, Think Of 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.

There are several things that organizations consider when developing a basic CRM plan:

  • How do you solve disputes before they become a problem?
  • How do you make customers feel valued and heard?
  • How do you attract new customers?
  • How do you retain former customers?
  • How do you encourage people to return frequently?

And Why Do 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. 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 eNewsletters or a social media presence; engage in events or activities within your community; have your very best people in customer-facing roles so that each transaction is impeccable; listen to all feedback, positive and negative; make sure you are easy to contact by phone, email, and mail; and so on.

So how can you possible navigate all of this on your own? Small businesses often have tight budgets and limited manpower. That’s why you might be considering CRM softwares for small business.

CRM Systems Comparison Criteria

The best CRM systems are determined by the following list of criteria.

  1. 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—can you easily edit the fields, pipelines, and sales processes? Often the ability to customize the interface is only available in higher-level pricing plans.
  2. Usability: CRMs can be really complex tools, so I look for ones that are easier to learn. I look at whether each CRM offers tutorials, training, and user support through multiple channels.
  3. Features & Functionality: How many of the key CRM features and functions does it provide, and how powerful are they? Specifically, I looked for:
    1. Contact or customer management: Create and edit contacts, and easily find them in a searchable CRM database. At a minimum, this feature should integrate with email functions and phone calls.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Process automation: A small business CRM solution should be able to automate things like your sales workflows and follow-up tasks.
    5. 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, and rep activities.
  4. Integrations: Is it easy to connect with other tools, and does it come with pre-built integrations with business tools for accounting, e-commerce, project management, and marketing?
  5. Value for $: As a rough figure, on average a CRM for a small business costs around $25 – $60 per user per month, and very few would cost more than $80 per user. I look at the price of each CRM and gauge how appropriate it is considering its features and capabilities. I also give priority to tools with clear, transparent and flexible pricing.

Want Help Narrowing Down the Options?

This tool is pretty useful. We’ve partnered with Crozdesk to give you access to their “Software Finder”.

If you input some of the details about your project and the features you’re looking for in a project management tool, it will generate a list of tools that match your preferences. You provide your email, and they send over a nice PDF guide with a summary of your best matches.

 

What Do You Think About Our List Of The Best CRM Systems?

Do you have any experience with CRM software that really wowed you? We’d love to hear from small business teams what worked (or didn’t work) for you. Let us know in the comments.

Ben Aston

About Ben Aston

I’m Ben Aston, a digital project manager and founder of thedigitalprojectmanager.com. I've been in the industry for more than 15 years working in the UK at London’s top digital agencies including Dare, Wunderman, Lowe and DDB. I’ve delivered everything from film to CMS', games to advertising and eCRM to eCommerce sites. I’ve been fortunate enough to work across a wide range of great clients; automotive brands including Land Rover, Volkswagen and Honda; Utility brands including BT, British Gas and Exxon, FMCG brands such as Unilever, and consumer electronics brands including Sony.

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