In this blog post, I will discuss the best CRM software for small businesses. If you are a small to medium organization and looking for suitable CRM software, you can read this post and select the one best suited to your requirements.
Before I start discussing CRM for small businesses, let’s have a better understanding of CRM.
What is CRM?
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, and it helps manage relations between customers and the company. It uses data analysis on the history of customers to strengthen their business relationships with the company to drive sales growth. It helps retain customers longer through nurturing and letting them know about the product and its benefits.
CRM systems compile data from different communication channels, including website, telephone, email, live chat, and social media.
These channels help businesses learn their audience and respond to their needs through the CRM software.
Why Should Small Businesses Go for a CRM?
A CRM software lets you combine your sales and marketing data with accounts, stock-keeping, delivery, etc. This helps you find when the customer purchased an item and how long it took to deliver, and if the customer ever required any after-sales support. You can see your customers’ interactions with your business at a glance.
CRM software helps you understand your customer better.
Researches have shown that CRM helps boost sales and retain customers for a longer duration. You can target your sales efforts more precisely with all the customer information at your fingertips, enhance your conversion rate, and increase the number of sales per customer.
Keeping customer records lets you provide a personal service that will enhance customer satisfaction and increase brand loyalty.
Customer purchasing patterns help identify up-selling and cross-selling opportunities to maximize every customer's value.
CRM is about productivity; it helps you remove duplicate and unnecessary processes. This reduces waste and hence fewer marketing costs.
Many small companies often operate on the back foot and respond to post-event changes in the market. A CRM software can help you identify changing customer requirements early, and you can take proactive actions to solve any issue before it occurs.
Analyzing the data of your existing customers can help you find new customers and sell them your product successfully.
Elements of a CRM Software
A CRM software has the following elements:
Analytics & Business Reporting
Analytics let you observe business dynamics. You can analyze, manage, and represent data in different graphical formats, such as maps, graphs, and trends.
Business Reporting involves reliable revenue, customer service, and marketing data.
Customer Service includes collecting customers’ information such as:
Human Resource Management
Human Resource Management helps assign employees appropriately and takes care of their needs, such as working hours, leave, and overtime.
Lead Management & Marketing
Lead Management helps collect audience data, nurture them until they purchase, oversee promotions, create custom formats, research consumer purchasing habits, etc.
Marketing educates customers on how your product can solve their problems. A robust marketing strategy requires researching current customers and applying lessons learned to new potential customers. It also increases brand awareness.
Salesforce & Workflow Automation
Salesforce Automation involves planning, sales tracking, processing, and monitoring of future interactions.
Workflow Automation streamlines and schedules several parallel processes. It decreases costs and resources and avoids multiple workers being assigned the same job.
What are the Different Types of CRM?
You can broadly group CRM into four categories:
- 1Strategic CRM
- 2Operational CRM
- 3Analytical CRM
- 4Collaborative CRM
Strategic CRM places the consumers first. It collects and analyzes audience data, understands the market trends, and develops a better value proposition.
Here, the voice of customers is vital. Strategic CRM helps companies to learn and adapt to customer requirements.
This is in contrast with the Product-Centric CRM, where businesses define customer requirements and focus on product development. Sometimes it leads to over-engineering.
Operational CRM focuses on customer-oriented business processes such as marketing, selling, and other services.
Operational CRM can further be divided into three categories:
- 1Salesforce Automation
- 2Marketing Automation
- 3Service Automation
Salesforce manages sales operations. This CRM software has different modules such as product configuration, quotation and proposal management, accounts management, lead management, contact management, and opportunity management.
Product Configuration allows you to design the product and decide the price for a customized product. It is based on the structure of if-then-else.
Quotation and Proposal Management is used to generate a quote for the product and proposal for the customer.
Accounts Management is used to manage inward entries, credit and debit amounts for transactions.
Lead Management allows users to identify leads and assign them to suitable salespersons.
Contact Management helps manage customers’ contact details, calendars of salespersons, and communicating with the audience.
Opportunity Management lets you follow leads from the beginning of the lead until the status changes to close.
Marketing Automation allows you to access customer-related data to plan, execute, and evaluate the marketing campaigns. It includes audience segmentation, management of campaigns, etc. Here marketing is based on events and promotions.
Event-based marketing is about advertising and delivering deals at a given moment. For instance, a consumer calls the customer service number and asks about the interest rate for payment by credit card. As the client compares interest rates, this event is read by the CRM software that the lead may turn to competitors for a better offer. A personalized deal is activated to keep the customer in such situations.
Service Automation deals with resolving buyers’ issues and addressing inbound communication. It involves diagnosing and resolving product problems.
Clients can interact with computers. With the help of an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, by entering suitable menu options, automatic routing of calls to the most capable worker can be done.
Analytical CRM collects and analyzes customer data. It includes capturing, interpreting, segregating, storing, modifying, and reporting customer data. It also includes company-wide internal data such as Sales Data (products, volume, buying history), Finance Data (buying history, credit score), and Marketing Data (response to campaign figures, customer loyalty scheme data).
Business intelligence organizations pay a lot of attention to internal data to get more detailed information, such as "Who are the most important customers?”, "Which consumers responded to previous campaigns positively and who were converted to the last campaign?" etc.
Analytical CRM offers customized approaches to different audiences. It provides more opportunities for revenue generation, customer acquisition, and retention.
Collaborative CRM is an alignment of resources and strategies to identify, acquire, and maintain relationships with clients. Here, usually, the clients are corporate instead of an individual. It is used in the B2B scenario, where multiple companies can jointly perform product development, market research, and marketing.
Collaborative CRM allows for smooth company communication and transactions. Although traditional methods such as airmail, telephone, and fax are used in communication, new communication systems such as chat rooms, web forums, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), and Electronic Data Interchange are increasingly being adopted by Collaborative CRM.
Where Can CRM be Used?
A CRM can be used in many places. Some examples are given below:
In Call Centers
In call centers, it helps in interactions between businesses. Agents can access the history of a caller to provide personalized customer communication.
Calls can be rerouted automatically to specific departments, and pre-recorded audio messages can help customers to solve their problems on their own. This reduces the monotonous, commonly repeated job of customer service agents.
On Social Media Platforms
CRM can be used to understand the sentiments of customers through social media platforms.
The younger generation is increasingly using social networking sites, so businesses have started using these social networking sites to draw attention to their products and services.
To engage and learn consumer behavior on social media, they allow integration with social media sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. They can collect leads directly from social media sites and nurture them using the same platform.
Location Based Marketing Services
CRM can be used to create location-based marketing campaigns.
Imagine a person is standing in a specific apparel store. With the help of geographic-based marketing campaigns, he/she might be getting alerts specific to their preferences using location-based GPS applications.
CRM can be used for Business-to-Business (B2B) transactions.
To streamline and improve customer management relationships between businesses, CRM can be used.
Which CRM is Best for Small Businesses?
Salesforce, SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft accounted for 42% of stand-alone or embedded CRM system offerings. These CRMs are very expensive and used by big organizations. Some CRMs are exclusively handling customer relationship management like Salesforce, whereas some players like SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft offer CRM as an integral part of an ERP solution.
As there are different CRM types, each category has different market leaders.
Each business has its own needs, and you have to look at your requirements and select the most suitable one for your use.
However, in this post, I will give you a few affordable CRM software options that small to medium businesses can use to grow their business.
Best CRM Software for Small Businesses
Considering all these factors, the following are the top seven CRM software tools for small businesses.
#1. monday.com CRM
monday.com is a cloud-based CRM software platform. It has a simple interface, and you can get started in minutes. You can choose from over 200 pre-built workflow templates for designing forms to sending communications. You can customize these templates per your requirements or create workflows from scratch.
monday.com is a complete project management tool. It helps in project management, marketing, task management, sales, design, software development, construction, HR and recruitment, IT, etc.
It is a popular platform with a user base of over 100,000. The support is 24X7 with a quick response time. It has an in-depth tutorial to help you understand the process or how-tos.
monday.com has many integrations and automations. You can do actions like automatically get lead data into monday.com, notify a manager when a new lead is created, or remind account managers to check at a specific time.
You can also move clients from one group to another easily.
All meeting recaps, call notes, and client emails can be accessed in one place. monday.com has dashboards in the form of chart widgets to track sales and leads, and board updates widget to see all communications and a board to globe widget to show off where clients are located.
Key Features of monday.com CRM
monday.com CRM Pros
monday.com CRM Cons
monday.com CRM Pricing Plans
monday.com has four pricing plans:
- 1Basic: The price is 10 USD/user/month. This plan requires at least three users, so the minimum fee is 30 USD/month. Here, you will have unlimited boards, over 200 templates, 20 column types, iOS, Android app, etc.
- 2Standard: The price is 12 USD/user/month. This plan requires at least three users, so the minimum fee is 36 USD/month. Here, you have all the features from the Basic plan plus timeline and Gantt view, calendar view, guest access, 250 automations, 250 actions on integrations, can create a combination of three boards, etc.
- 3Pro: The price is 20 USD/user/month. This plan requires at least three users, so the minimum fee is 60 USD per month. Here, you have all the features from the Standard plan plus private boards, chart view, time tracking, formula column, 25,000 automation, 25,000 actions per integration, can create a board that is a combination of up to ten boards, etc.
- 4Enterprise: If you need enterprise-level features and support, you can go for this plan. You will have to contact monday.com support for a quote.
You will get an 18% discount with a yearly plan.
#2. Capsule CRM
Founded in 2009, Capsule CRM is a tool that lets you keep track of your business relationships and manage a sales pipeline that fosters business growth. It helps you strengthen relationships between your organization and its leads and clients. Capsule CRM captures, analyses, and organizes leads and provides you with the reporting and insights you require to improve your business operations.
It tracks communications and allocates tasks to your team members with complete transparency and data security.
Capsule realizes that every business is different and requires unique functionalities. Therefore it offers high flexibility in customizations and offers solutions unique to each business.
It provides special features to industries like travel, accounting, real estate, construction, and hotels to ensure that every part of the finance industry is covered and uses the Capsule CRM features.
Key Features of Capsule CRM
Capsule CRM Pros
Capsule CRM Cons
Capsule CRM Pricing Plans
Capsule CRM has three pricing plans:
- 1Professional: The price is 18 USD per month.
- 2Teams: The price is 36 USD per month.
- 3Enterprise: The price is 54 USD per month.
Read my in-depth Capsule CRM review.
#3. Zoho CRM
Zoho CRM is a cloud-based, integrated platform for customer relationship management that caters to all companies’ and industries’ needs. Over 150,000 companies around the globe use Zoho CRM to build lasting customer relationships and maximize productivity.
Zoho CRM provides you with a 360-degree view of your complete cycle and sales pipeline. Zoho CRM is one of the most tightly integrated systems on the market.
The support is omnichannel, including phone, email, live chat, social media, and in-person meetings.
Zoho's AI-powered sales assistant, Zia, offers advanced interpretations, solutions, and predictions for salespeople. With the help of workflow automation, lead scoring, real-time notifications, and built-in gamification, your sales team can spend more time selling instead of entering data.
Key Features of Zoho CRM
Zoho CRM Pros
Zoho CRM Cons
Zoho CRM Pricing Plans
Zoho Projects has five pricing plans:
- 1Free: You can have three users, two projects, file storage of 10 MB, Gantt chart, etc.
- 2Standard: The pricing is 3 USD/user/month, and you can have six to ten users. This plan includes ten projects, file storage of 5 GB, five project templates, custom status for tasks and projects, issue tracker module, task dependency (Finish-to-Start), Zoho CRM integration, subtasks, etc.
- 3Express: The pricing is 4 USD/user/month, and you can have twelve to fifty users. This plan includes everything from the Standard plan plus ten project templates, file storage of 20GB, recurring tasks, custom views, interactive Gantt charts, business hours customization, Zoho Invoice/Books integration, timesheet approval, weekends and holidays, etc.
- 4Premium: The pricing is 5 USD/user/month, and you can have 15 to 100 users. This plan includes everything from the Express plan plus 20 project templates, file storage of 100 GB, 1 free training session, task automation with blueprint, task roll-up, business rules and automation for issues, planned vs actual, project resource utilization, four types of dependencies, project budget, etc.
- 5Enterprise: The pricing is 6 USD/user/month, and you can have 20 to 100 users. This plan has everything from the Premium plan plus 30 project templates, file storage of 120 GB, two free training sessions, custom fields, global Gantt charts, global resource utilization, SLAs for issues module, inter-project dependencies, personalized web domain, roles, and profiles, critical path, baseline, custom user groups, etc.
#4. Hubspot CRM
HubSpot is a complete CRM software and quite popular with small businesses. It allows you to keep track of your business activities and manage all information in a comprehensive dashboard visible to all team members.
HubSpot shows you an up-to-the-minute view on a neat, visual dashboard of your entire sales funnel. You can sort won and lost deals, scheduled appointments, and monitor results in one clear view against your set quotas—all within a fraction of the time.
HubSpot CRM automatically monitors client interactions, whether in an email, on social media, or a call. You can sync your sales with Gmail or Outlook and catch every call, text, or meeting as it occurs.
All information is stored in a tidy timeline, including calls, emails, meetings, and notes.
Key Features of Hubspot CRM
Hubspot CRM Pros
Hubspot CRM Cons
Hubspot CRM Pricing Plans
Hubspot has three pricing plans for CRM:
- 1Starter: The price is 45 USD/month for at least two users. The price goes up as the number of users increases. This plan includes ticketing, live chat, conversations inbox, calling, conversational bots, team email, simple automation, canned snippets, email templates, meeting schedules, tickets, closed reports, rep productivity reports, time-to-close reports, etc.
- 2Professional: The price is 360 USD/month for at least five users. The price goes up as the number of users increases. This plan includes everything from the Starter plan plus ticket status, ticket routing, task automation, ticket pipelines, knowledge base, 1:1 video creation, video hosting and management, custom reporting, NPS surveys, customer experience surveys, customer support surveys, insights dashboard, etc.
- 3Enterprise: The price is 1,200 USD/month for at least ten users. The price goes up as the number of users increases. This plan includes everything from Professional plan plus custom object, playbooks, goals, hierarchical teams, user roles, single sign-on, slack integration, calculated properties, field-level permissions, webhooks, etc.
If you pay yearly, you will get a 10% off on all plans.
SugarCRM is a collaborative CRM that allows users to monitor and track activities, map customer journeys, and automate workflows. The SugarCRM is a lean, fast, easy to integrate, and highly customizable customer management system that provides accurate account management for sales-related tasks.
This CRM has a great solution for small businesses, called Sugar Professional. The platform provides customer experience solutions, creating a simple and consistent experience.
Key Features of SugarCRM
SugarCRM Pricing Plans
Sugar CRM has five pricing plans:
- 1Sugar Market: The pricing is 1,000 USD per month for 10K contacts and is billed annually. This plan includes unlimited users, unlimited emails and landing pages, phone support, 4 support-authorized contacts, etc.
- 2Sugar Sell: The pricing is 80 USD/user/ month, and you must enroll ten users minimum. The billing is annual. This plan includes two sandbox instances, 60 GB storage, phone support, 4 support-authorized contacts, etc.
- 3Sugar Serve: The pricing is 80 USD/user/ month, and you must enroll ten users minimum. The billing is annual. This plan includes two sandbox instances, 60 GB storage, phone support, 4 support-authorized contacts, etc.
- 4Sugar Enterprise: The pricing is 85 USD/user/ month, and you must enroll ten users minimum. This plan includes advanced workflow with SugarBPM, SQL-based reporting, accelerated support SLAs, support via phone and SugarCRM support portal, 4 support-authorized contacts, etc.
- 5Sugar Professional: The pricing is 52 USD/user/ month, and you must enroll ten users minimum. This plan includes standard support SLAs, support via SugarCRM support portal, 2 support-authorized contacts, etc.
#6. Freshworks CRM
Freshworks CRM software makes managing customer relationships easy for companies. It helps attract, manage, close and nurture leads. Freshworks CRM is intuitive with intelligent workflow automation and customizable visual dashboards and reports. The AI-powered CRM helps sales and marketing professionals understand customers with the right insights.
The CRM includes Salesforce automation, marketing automation, chat, and telephone. Freshworks CRM Marketing Cloud helps marketing teams offer personalized customer experiences.
You can use AI chatbots to automate interactions with website users, segment contacts into lists, create tailored custom email campaigns, and nurture leads.
It brings together salesforce automation, marketing automation, chat, and call support in one central location so you can organize customer information and interactions. Marketing teams have a greater idea of who they advertise to, and sales teams understand to whom they have to sell.
Key Features of Freshworks CRM
Freshworks CRM Pros
Freshworks CRM Cons
Freshworks CRM Pricing Plans
Freshworks CRM has three pricing plans:
- 1Growth: The price is 29 USD/user/month and billed annually. This plan includes 1,000 active contacts, deal management, contact lifecycle stages, live chat and Facebook Messenger, web forms, website tracking, built-in phone and email, 2-way email sync and team inbox, predictive contact scoring, 1 custom domain, lLists and segments, drag-and-drop journey builder, 5 active marketing journeys, visual sales pipeline, collaboration with Slack, 20 workflows, 5 sales sequences, custom reports and dashboards, migration from other CRMs, mobile app, Freshdesk integration, Freshworks Marketplace, etc.
- 2Pro: The price is 69 USD/user/month and billed annually. This plan has everything from the Growth plan plus 3,000 active contacts, lead gen bot, answer bot, WhatsApp and Apple Business Chat, conference calling, smart matches, offline events, 10 custom domains, advanced custom fields, behavioral segmentation, 20 active marketing journeys, marketing reply tracking, 10 multiple sales pipelines, deal insights, product catalog, 50 workflows, 10 sales sequences, 50 custom roles, territory management, sales teams, sales goals, offline mode on Mobile App, etc.
- 3Enterprise: The price is 125 USD/user/month and billed annually. This plan has everything from the Pro plan plus 5,000 active contacts, auto-profile enrichment, call recording opt-in and opt-out, queue callback (virtual hold), holiday routing, 25 custom domains custom sales activities, 10 custom modules, field-level permissions, deal teams, audit logs, 100 active marketing journeys, marketing transactional emails, sales forecasting, forecasting insights, 100 workflows, 25 sales sequences, 100 custom roles, advanced metrics, dedicated account manager, etc.
#7. Salesforce CRM
SalesForce is perhaps one of the largest and most popular CRM applications on the market. SalesForce provides a basic version called Lightning Basics for small businesses. This kit offers an advanced contact manager that provides email integration and reminders for follow-up. It also provides many integrations and customization options to help teams improve their profits, close transactions, handle leads, and increase productivity.
Salesforce is an integrated CRM solution covering automation of sales forces, customer support, communications, management of promotions, and more.
Key Features of Salesforce CRM
Salesforce CRM Pros
Salesforce CRM Cons
Salesforce CRM Pricing Plans
Salesforce has four pricing plans for small business CRM:
- 1Essential: The pricing is 25 USD/month/user and billed annually.
- 2Sales Professional: The pricing is 75 USD/month/user and billed annually.
- 3Service Professional: The pricing is 75 USD/month/user and billed annually.
- 4Pardot Growth: The pricing is 1,250 USD/month/user for up to 10,000 users and billed annually.
#8. Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM
Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM is a Microsoft platform for sales and marketing. It drives sales growth and marketing efficiently via social insights, business intelligence, and campaign management in the cloud, on-site, or a hybrid mix.
The product focuses primarily on distribution, marketing, and customer support, but Microsoft has marketed Dynamics CRM as an XRM platform (Extended Relationship Management) and has allowed partners to customize it using its proprietary (.NET-based) system.
Key Features of Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Pros
Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM Cons
Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM Pricing Plans
Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM has four pricing plans for small businesses:
- 1Business Central Essentials: The pricing is 70 USD/user/month.
- 2Business Central Premium: The pricing is 100 USD/user/month.
- 3Custom Service Professionals: The pricing is 50 USD/user/month. For every additional user, you will have to pay 20 USD/month/user.
- 4Sales Professional: The pricing is 65 USD/user/month. For every additional user, you will have to pay 20 USD/month/user.
#9. Close CRM
Steli Efti found the Close CRM in 2012. It started as a software as a service business called ElasticSales to help businesses scale their business.
Frustrated with available CRM solutions, they decided to develop their own CRM and in January 2013 they released the Close CRM.
If your job involves managing a sales team that follows up leads and closes sales, Close CRM can be a good choice for you.
VOIP is its distinguishing feature. You can automatically handle outgoing calls and help your sales team close more sales. You can use email marketing to nurture your leads and convert them to customers with no technical knowledge or coding skills.
You can use SMS marketing to contact your lead, though it will cost you money, it is a feature worth trying for your business.
Close CRM Pros
Close CRM Cons
Close CRM Pricing Plans
Close CRM has four pricing plans:
- 1Starter: The price is 29 USD per month.
- 2Basic: The price is 69 USD per month.
- 3Professional: The price is 99 USD per month.
- 4Business: The price is 149 USD per month
Read my Close CRM Review.
How to Select CRM Software for Small Businesses
To select the best CRM software for your needs, keep the following points in mind:
CRM software systems offer domain-specific solutions that target a particular area, such as sales automation, marketing automation, service automation, and partner management. However, some CRM software provides complete enterprise management solutions.
You should look for your requirements and select the one most compatible with your business.
Business Strategy and Processes
You should have a clear future growth plan and preferred processes before choosing a CRM program. If you select the wrong CRM software, changing the CRM system will be very costly at a later stage.
Size of Business
Usually, small businesses need a CRM that can perform a wide variety of tasks and is affordable. Requirements are mostly basic, and they require a quick setup with a small learning curve. Large companies opt for software that can support thousands of users with complicated workflows.
CRM Software Price
This is the most important deciding factor for small businesses for selecting CRM software. You should plan your user base and see if the CRM software you are selecting falls under your budget.
Generally, small businesses do not require any software modifications, but number of customers can increase the price.
The context in which a company works, for example B2B or B2C, defines which CRM the company should go for.
The CRM should provide basic integration with third parties that you are already using. These services can include email marketing services, cloud storage, etc.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is vital for retaining customers as well as identifying potential customers. CRM software helps improve customer service by focusing on increased personalized service and responding to customers’ needs. This will increase the loyalty of your customers and thus sales.
What CRM software are you using in your organization? Please share your thoughts through the comments section.