Businesses live and die by their customers. Build a healthy customer relationship, and you'll thrive – consistently offer sub-par experiences, and your business will fail, no matter how great the product.
One type of business software is centered entirely on tracking and addressing this core business need: CRM, or Customer Relationship Management. With the right CRM, you'll ramp up your ability to convert leads, while cutting down on churn at the same time.
Not only is the CRM software market competitive, with over a half dozen top-quality options available, but the array of features and add-on integrations can be confusing. Each CRM is different, with unique functions and potential extra costs – you can compare the latter using our handy CRM pricing quotes tool.
Best CRM Software for Small Businesses to Choose
Which CRM is best for a small business? We're glad you asked.
All in all, it's hard to knock Salesforce from its position as the leading CRM provider on the market. However, small businesses on a budget should certainly consider the alternatives – Hubspot, for example, is an outstanding choice for a growing business. It has a brilliant free CRM tier, which lets you use plenty of its features at zero cost.
Below, we list the best CRM software providers you can choose. Each one has tiered plans that can help a small business scale and grow, so you can find affordable packages that may help you to start small.
- Salesforce – The biggest and best known brand in CRM, and one that's trusted by thousands of businesses worldwide. It combines various platforms, such as Sales Cloud and Marketing Cloud, for its different functions, and has a modern, simple interface plus powerful data functions.
- Hubspot – For small businesses, Hubspot may be an even smarter choice than Salesforce. A “freemium” CRM service, Hubspot's basic package is available for free, and has a simple learning curve. Additional premium tiers address more specific CRM categories, such as marketing or sales. This is a good option for businesses just dipping their toes in the CRM market or looking for a option with robust marketing features, though they'll need to upgrade to a monthly payment plan to access the most worthwhile features.
- Zendesk – Originally known for its ticketing and call desk tools, this software also helps usher leads down pipelines and close deals. Structured as a suite of apps under a single platform, Zendesk lets users pick and choose which features to focus on, and integrates easily with other CRM services. A good pick for businesses in need of a customer support desk for tickets, live chat, and phone.
- Freshdesk – A ticket management-centric CRM service, this solution includes automation features that can help an agent streamline every commonly repeated task by building a scenario that will automatically complete the task when needed. An intuitive interface and solid support options round out this useful offering.
- Microsoft Dynamics – A great choice for companies already well-versed in Microsoft products, this offering comes with features beyond just CRM: It can provide an integrated platform for finance and talent recruitment as well. However, third-party integrations beyond Microsoft are limited.
- Zoho – A feature-rich CRM option with support plans that scale with a business: The smallest plan is free and available to three users, while the mid-tier plans offer access to unique abilities – most notably an AI that analyzes sales data to form predictions. Zoho supports 20 languages, making it an attractive option for international operations.
- SugarCRM – An all-in-one service that handles sales, customer service, marketing, and IT within a simple, easy to understand pricing plan, which includes an optional add-on for field service management.
- Apptivo – This CRM is a serviceable option that no-frills customers should enjoy: It includes the basic features in a simple, intuitive interface with a low learning curve. Strong security options are a stand-out feature.
- amoCRM – This CRM not only offers the basic CRM features, but also supplements them with robust integration options for third-party apps from Facebook to MailChimp. With just three service plans, all at a low price point, amoCRM is an easy-to-understand option.
Also in this Guide:
- Small Business CRM Software Compared
- How to Choose CRM for a Small Business
- Be Clear About How CRM Can Help Your Business
- Pick Simple CRM Software With Good Training
- Pick CRM Software that Can Scale as You Grow
- Know if You'll Need Mobile CRM Software
- Choose CRM With Excellent Reporting and Analytics
- Conclusion: Next Steps Getting a CRM System
Overall brand score based on Tech.co research
Data cap in basic plan
Social media integrations
Live chat support
Free Trial Version
Cheapest paid plan
Price quoted is per user, per month
Most expensive plan
Price quoted is per user, per month
A market leading CRM for good reason and a great all-rounder – should always be considered first.
A strong CRM system with an attractive free tier and great marketing features
An inexpensive, simple CRM tool that offers the best service features available
A ticket-centric customer support CRM perfect for customer service
A robust CRM platform that embeds brilliantly with Microsoft products
Flexible, friendly and effective, Zoho also starts at low price plans
A great all-round CRM with a great, easy to understand dashboard
Stripped-down, but a solid CRM platform
Intuitive and simple, amoCRM is a CRM suite that impresses
10GB + 5GB/20 users
1GB base + 512MB/user
If you're looking to get started with a CRM solution for your business, it's helpful to understand the type of costs you might expect. CRM pricing varies depending on the tasks you need to carry out, plus the size of your team and customer base. For a simple way to compare CRM costs, we recommend using our helpful CRM pricing quotes tool, below – simply fill in a few key details of what you're after to get started:
- Wide feature set
- Frequently updated
- Robust support & training
- No free plan
- On the more expensive end of the industry
- Basic plan caps data at 612 MB/user
- Free option available
- Simple user interface
- Integrates with Gmail and Outlook
- Training is largely online
- Not great for larger companies
- Limited features compared to Salesforce
- Open API for unlimited customizability
- 24/7 live support options
- Unlimited data with basic plan
- Highest tiers are expensive
- A bit more complicated to use
- Few enterprise-level features
- Great gamification features for productivity
- Interface powered by easy to use ticket system
- Free tier available
- Reporting tools are a bit limited
- Some key features exclusive to expensive plans
- Bad fit for sales and marketing functions
- Integrates with Microsoft products
- Features on par with Salesforce catalog
- Robust, 24/5 support options
- Decidedly expensive
- Limited API, particularly compared to Salesforce
- No free plan
- Lots of G Suite Integrations
- Supports 20 different languages
- Free trial available
- No data backups in free plan
- Shorter than average trial period
- Not great for larger companies
- Incredibly customizable for specific needs
- On-premise installations available
- No hidden fees
- No free plan available
- A bit expensive compared to the rest of the industry
- Less well-known brand
- Offers core features for low price
- Incredible easy to use, even for beginners
- Comprehensive calendar tools
- Fewer features than standard CRMs
- Completely customized integrations are complicated
- Not good for large companies
- Strong sales pipeline
- Simple learning curve
- Lots of third-party integrations
- Primarily focused on sales
- Limited storage space
How We Rate CRM Software
At Tech.co, we take the ranking of business software like CRM very seriously. We aren't just picking numbers out of thin air – we're thoroughly and tirelessly researching and evaluating software based on a wide range of metrics, to make sure you have all the information you need to make the right choice for your business the first time.
For CRM software specifically, our research looks at a broad range of factors, including support options, key functionalities, depth of features, and price. In addition to all these specific scores, Tech.co also takes into account customer score, which is an aggregate score of online reviews, competitors scores, and more of our research.
By providing our own independent research, we hope that users will be able to make smart, informed decisions about what kind of CRM software provider will work best for their particular needs.
Tech.co is reader-supported. Using Tech.co's comparison form, you can receive quotes from various suppliers, tailored to the needs of your business. If you enter into a contract with a provider, we may receive a payment for the introduction. Equally, if you make a purchase through the links on our site, we may earn a commission from the retailers of the products we have reviewed. This helps Tech.co to provide free advice and reviews. It carries no additional cost to you, and doesn’t affect our editorial independence.