Best CRM For Small Business

best crm for small business

Looking for the Best CRM for your small business? Look no further!

In this complete guide we have reviewed the leading CRM providers.

Find out exactly what we like and dislike with some of the leading CRM software products on the market.

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Top 5 Best CRM Software

Use the table and reviews below to compare the 5 CRM software solutions that we have chosen to help you make the right purchasing decision.

Rank

24 Hour Support

3rd Party Email Integration

User Forums

Pricing

zoho crm software

Yes

Yes

Yes

Free up to 3 Users, from $12/user/month thereafter

hubspot crm software

No

Yes

Yes

Free for Unlimited Users, Upgrades for advanced features

pipedrive crm software

No

Yes

No

$12.50 / user/ month

insightly crm software

No

Yes

Yes

Free for 2 Users, from $29/user/month thereafter

salesforce crm software

No

Yes

Yes

From $25/user/month

Best Overall CRM

Zoho CRM

zoho crm software

5/5 Overall Rating

We picked Zoho CRM as our best overall CRM for the simple reason that it offers more features at each price option than any of its competitors. It has an intuitive and highly customizable interface that should allow any business to give it their own personal touch. An extensive list of click-to-install extensions is available through the Zoho Marketplace, allowing for the user to set up their fully functioning CRM with just a few simple clicks.

Zoho is the only provider on our list that offers full 24-hour support from Monday to Friday to all of their customers. While this isn’t important to every small business, for companies that run 24/7 it may be invaluable.

Zoho CRM’s sales force automation functionality is outstanding, managing everything from your contacts and accounts to identifying leads and helping you close out deals. These features will promote increased sales, and can provide real-time reports, analytics and sales forecasts.

While Zoho does offer a free edition of their CRM, it is only for up to 3 users and doesn’t offer the extensive feature set of its paid counterparts. The lowest price tier, the “standard” edition, is $12/user/month and offers most of the functionality that a small business could need.

The only issue we find particularly necessary to mention is the learning curve that first-time CRM users may experience. It may take some time to get used to, but once fully implemented it becomes as intuitive as any other cloud-based software.

Main Features

  • Comprehensive sales force automation
  • Zia artificial intelligence functionality for “enterprise” edition
  • Extensive store of extensions and integrations

What we like

  • Highly customizable
  • Free version for up to 3 users
  • 24-hour support from Monday to Friday

What we dislike

  • Bit of a learning curve for first-time CRM users
Key Takeaway

Zoho CRM is the ideal product for a small business searching for the most complete product that will help you grow, and has space to expand along with you. A highly customizable CRM with all the bells and whistles that you could ask for, all wrapped up in a very reasonable price tag from $12/user/month

Best Free CRM

HubSpot CRM

hubspot crm software

4.5/5 Overall Rating

If you are looking for a CRM software but have no budget, HubSpot CRM is the obvious choice. It is the most functional, well-rounded free software in the category by a long shot. Where it lacks in a price tag, it does not lack in features; so don’t be fooled into thinking HubSpot CRM won’t be good enough for your business simply because it’s free.

HubSpot CRM offers functionality that is intuitive and, most importantly, useful. For example, it can display an up-to-the-minute view of your entire sales funnel on a clean, visual dashboard. This dashboard allows you to sort deals by name, owner, amount, or stage with custom filters for actionable intel in a fraction of the time it would take to do manually.

Through integration with your preferred email provider (Gmail or Outlook), HubSpot CRM tracks interactions with your customers automatically. Each interaction (including calls, emails, meetings, and notes) is stored in a tidy timeline for each individual contact, making it easy to organise your contacts and track any ongoing deals with any given contact.

One of the downsides to using the free edition of the HubSpot CRM is that it does lack some of the more powerful features that its competitors might have, such as workflow management and customer support. These features do, however, become available if you upgrade to one of their paid “Marketing Hub” or “Sales Hub” packages (which start at $50/user/month).

Main Features

  • Email integration and scheduling
  • Task management
  • Deal management

What we like

  • Completely free to use
  • Very easy to use
  • Library of useful email templates

What we dislike

  • Not as packed with features compared to competitors
  • Window Close
    Costly if you want premium features
Key Takeaway

HubSpot CRM is a simply designed, easy to use software that is ideal for small businesses on a tight budget who are looking to cover all the primary bases. It integrates with the most popular email providers and other software, and will help your small business run efficiently and effectively in the long run.

Editor's Choice

Pipedrive

pipedrive crm software

4.5/5 Overall Rating

Pipedrive CRM is a software that focuses on pipeline management and improving sales efficiency. The simple design of the primary dashboard groups contacts by which stage of a deal that contact is currently in, and you can add as many stages as you would like. This simple feature gives clarity to your sales pipeline, and emphasises which stages may need the most work.

Pipedrive fully integrates with your email provider (provided you use Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook or Exchange), allowing you to track emails and receive notifications when customers open your email; use custom templates and fully sync your inbox. You can send and receive emails to and from your contacts right from within Pipedrive, saving you a load of time and keeping your work all in one place.

Your Pipedrive schedule can be used to schedule events of varying levels of importance, and can be synced to your Google Calendar. This added level of integration can improve your team’s efficiency and ensure that they never miss the activities that they don’t want to miss.

Pipedrive is reasonably priced, starting at $12.50/user/month. While it offers many features that cater to a sales-oriented small business, it does lack features that other CRM software at the same price point might offer. For example, you will only have access to detailed sales forecasting reports and other performance trackers if you upgrade to the “Platinum” edition for $49.17/user/month.

Main Features

  • Sales reporting and forecasting
  • Google Apps integration
  • Customisable pipeline view

What we like

  • Simple and intuitive user interface
  • Extensive pipeline management functionality
  • Mobile apps

What we dislike

  • Not as many features as some competitors
Key Takeaway

With an easy to use interface and a focus on pipeline management, Pipedrive CRM is an affordable option for any small business focusing on improving their sales.

Other Good CRM Software

Insightly CRM

insightly crm software

4/5 Overall Rating

Insightly CRM can be divided into four main categories by which it aims to achieve its usefulness: relationship building; accelerating sales; delivering projects; and connecting with apps. Each of these categories holds a number of features, all with the overall goal of improving customer relations and sales.

Insightly does a good job of giving an overview of your entire business. It provides both macro and micro views of your activities, tracks projects, tasks, and milestones, and compares progress to help you depict valuable opportunities. It can also link customers, emails, and other records to existing contacts in your database, allowing you to quickly determine who knows who. These links can help you better understand your customers, and therefore improve your chances of successfully dealing with them.

For any given lead or customer, Insightly allows you to access everything you know on a single page. You can view a contact’s communications history, key relationships, tasks, events, social profiles, sales opportunities and project involvement.

While Insightly CRM does integrate with major email providers and other apps, it lacks automatic email forwarding functionality. It is a bit of a weird feature to be missing, but it isn’t really a deal breaker either. Another downside is that leads and contact details are on separate pages, making it difficult to make connections between the two.

Main Features

  • Comprehensive contact management
  • Workflow automation
  • Email and other app integration

What we like

  • Mobile apps
  • Relationship link feature
  • Email tracking and templates

What we dislike

  • Doesn’t have automatic email forwarding
  • Window Close
    Lacks features for teams larger than 15-20
Key Takeaway

Aimed at small business, Insightly CRM was developed with the slogan “build deeper customer relationships and grow your business faster”. Perfect for small businesses with a focus on customer relations and the aim of improving sales.

SalesForce

salesforce crm software

4/5 Overall Rating

Salesforce CRM is arguably the most powerful of the 5 solutions that we tested in this review. However, because of the significantly higher price points, it is mostly out of reach for the majority of small businesses. If your small business happens to have a large budget for new CRM software, then Salesforce will offer you everything you might need and more.

As the name suggests, Salesforce has an emphasis on improving sales team productivity. With features such as sales forecasting, lead and opportunity management, account and contact management, a fully customizable sales process, and many more, your sales growth will soar.

Having a mobile app for their CRM isn’t exactly a unique feature, but it doesn’t hurt to have the full functionality at your team’s fingertips when they’re on the go. We particularly like the ability to continue using the (slightly limited) functionality of the app offline. Once back online, the new data that you have entered will sync with the cloud.

Salesforce CRM offers probably the most extensive real-time reporting and analysis functionality. If used effectively, the collected data can help your small business make more informed and consisted decisions to maximise your deal success rate. Just remember: you’ll be paying a lot more for similar functionality to, for example, the far cheaper Zoho “Professional” CRM.

Main Features

  • Account and contact management
  • Real-time reporting and analysis
  • Google Apps integration

What we like

  • Packed with features
  • Highly customizable
  • Mobile apps

What we dislike

  • Expensive
Key Takeaway

Salesforce CRM is a powerful solution that will cover all the bases for any small business, but at a cost. With prices ranging from $25/user/month to $300/user/month, it’s perfect for small businesses that require maximum functionality and have a big budget.


CRM Software Buyers Guide

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is vital for any small business in today’s technological age.

Without good relations with your customers, there’s nothing keeping them from moving to your larger competitors who will likely have more competitive prices due to their economies of scale.

The best thing that any small business can offer is their own personal touch. CRM software can help you do just that while keeping all of your information well organised and in one easily-accessible place.

Choosing the right CRM for your business can be confusing and time-consuming.

As a small business, it’s likely that you will have to juggle between choosing the CRM software that has the most features versus the one that is most affordable. If you happen to be struggling to make that decision, this buying guide will hopefully help you choose the CRM software that best suits both your needs and your budget.

Below we have outlined what we believe to be the most important categories for small businesses to consider, and explained why they might be important.

CRM Software Pricing

Especially for small businesses, pricing is a pretty significant factor to consider when choosing CRM software.

It’s important to look deeply into your team’s needs before you spend too much on a CRM solution that has way too much functionality than you will ever use.

For small teams we would even just suggest trying out free versions of your chosen CRM before you decide to spend money on them.

Don’t forget to take into account the costs of implementing the software into your existing systems and processes. Sure it might make you money in the long run, but if the setup and training costs are too high, then it may not be worth it

Support from your CRM Provider

It’s important to consider how much support the CRM you choose will offer you.

Does it offer 24-hour support? Can you get online self-service help via FAQ’s on the provider’s website? The level of support required is entirely up to your own needs, but you need to consider how badly a technical issue will affect the running of your small business. 

If you absolutely need your CRM to be running smoothly 24/7, then obviously you should choose an option with a more developed support structure. Generally, you’ll pay more for more extensive support, so keep that in mind as well.

CRM Features

As previously mentioned, the more features you want the more you are likely to pay for the CRM. There are, however, a number of key features that you should look for in the cheaper subscription-tiers as well. Simple features such as leads, contacts, accounts and opportunities management should just about be a given with any CRM.

Another feature that you should look for is that the CRM has integration capabilities with your email provider. The ability to send and receive emails from within your CRM can save you a lot of time, and email templates and tracking can help automate the deal process and ensure that you never miss opportunities.

Other features to look for include:

  • Mobile apps
  • Pipeline management
  • User access control
  • Analysis, insights and report detail
  • Google Apps integration
  • Customizability
 The more features you can get within your price range, the better.

CRM Usability

When you are choosing the CRM that you want to implement into your business, make sure it has a simple and intuitive design that you know your team will be happy to use.

You don’t want them to dread using a clunky interface that makes their lives more difficult, you want it make their lives easier. On top of possibly affecting your small business’s potential efficiency, a more complicated and difficult to use interface may require more upfront implementation and training costs.

The ability to customize the interface and integrate with other business intelligence (BI) apps that your business may already be using goes a long way to improve ease of use and efficiency.

If everything your team needs to manage their deals is in one place, they’ll be able to close out more successful deals in a shorter period of time than ever before.

CRM Scalability

If your business, like all others, plans on growing in the long run, then you’ll want a CRM that has space to grow along with you.

You will have to consider all of the features mentioned above, and take into account the different price tiers that each CRM provider offers.

For example, you may eventually decide to implement the free edition of Zoho CRM. Once your company grows larger and needs more than just three users that the free edition allows, you will have access to the paid subscription-tiers that each offer increasing functionality. You will be able to easily upgrade and implement this new tier without having to change your CRM provider entirely.

About the Author Greg Jacobs

Greg is a business graduate from the University of Cape Town. Passionate about the interface of technology with small business, Greg covers all things business software at the Sustainable Business Toolkit.

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