We researched and reviewed all the top CRM providers and found that Freshsales Suite is the simplest CRM to use. It scored much higher for usability than any other provider we tested, thanks to an incredibly easy-to-follow setup process and a wide range of useful features that don't take long to master.
However, it's not the only CRM system out there that's a breeze to get to grips with – Zoho CRM also scored very highly for usability. Based on first-hand testing, we've selected the easiest five CRMs to use, and reviewed them in detail in this article. On the page, you'll find:
About Our Research
Here at Tech.co, if we're writing about a product, service, or software program, it means we've performed extensive testing on it — and that's a guarantee. We have a team of full-time employees who dedicate their time to doing just that, for absolutely everything we cover.
There are loads of websites out there that claim they've used the products they're reviewing — as well as providers claiming their software or service is the best. We try to cut through that noise with our research, providing accurate test results based on real experiences with the software and services in question.
Deciding what project CRM software your business needs can be a disorientating and daunting process — especially if you have to convince your team that it'll be beneficial for your business. Our insights team works closely with our writers to try and save you time and ensure you're making the right decision, the first time around.
Top 5 Simple CRM Systems
Below are the best simple CRM systems for easy set up and ongoing use from day one. A simple CRM system may seem basic – but just because it's simple doesn't mean it's not powerful. These tools can supercharge your productivity, analytical power and connectivity for boosted sales, marketing and customer service. Ultimately, a simple CRM system could transform your business's growth.
As outlined above, Tech.co have impartially researched and tested all the market-leading CRM software so you can trust that these really are the simplest CRM systems to use. Don't believe us? You can always start with a free trial to see for yourself, risk-free.
The best simple CRM Systems are:
Best for: Overall Ease of Use
Pricing From: Free
Freshsales Suite was built to be a CRM for small businesses, and it's got our top spot for a number of reasons. In fact, our researchers awarded Freshsales a score of 9.4/10 for usability on our last round of testing, and all in all, the provider facilitated a smooth CRM experience.
- 21-day free trial
- Very quick and easy to use
- Extensive reporting functionality
- Good customer service options
- Fewer customization options than competitors
- Few social media integrations
- Strict limit at 1000 for marketing action
Freshsales Suite overview
Freshales will guide you through the entire setup process including importing data, email connections, and adding users. Freshsales's clear signposting means the process is incredibly easy.
Freshsales has an AI feature called “Freddy AI”, which will crawl your contact list and provide you with useful insights, as well as automated lead scores.
There are also a number of time-saving aspects to Freshsales' offering, including a vast library of ready-made dashboards that you can use if you don't want to build your own. Integrating with email apps like Gmail during the setup process is also straightforward.
Freshsales has an AI feature called “Freddy AI”, which will crawl your contact list and provide you with useful insights, as well as automated lead scores (as shown above). This is quite a unique feature and certainly sets Freshsales apart from some of the other providers featured in this article.
Freshsales Suite pricing
Freshsales has four pricing plans, including a free one. All of the plans' user limits are based on the number of licenses you obtain, but there's no limit on the number of contacts you can have in your database. Freshsales will, however, limit the number of marketing actions you can perform every month.
Free ($0): Freshsales' Free Plan is good but very basic. It doesn't have any file storage and you're only allowed 100 marketing actions a month. The marketing tools are limited, but you do get a website visitor tracker and email design editor. You'll be able to score leads and create a customizable sales pipeline, integrate existing email accounts and obtain email insights, but there aren't any reporting capabilities.
Growth ($15 per user, per month, annually billed): In addition to everything in the Free plan, The Growth Plan also includes 2GB storage per person, as well as accounting and eCommerce integrations. The contact management features go beyond data import/export, with options to segment the data into lists, automate workflows, and create custom fields. There are more marketing tools (such as web forms and marketing drip campaigns) available and a full set of report tools for tracking leads, deals, activity, and revenue forecasting.
Pro ($39 per user, per month, annually billed): Along with everything in the Growth plan, the Pro package sees storage increased to 5GB and social media integrations are available and limits on things like web forms and custom fields are increased, but aside from that, it's similar to the Growth Plan.
Enterprise ($83 per user, per month, annually billed): This plan is geared towards larger businesses and has significantly more storage, and you can create more custom fields. You'll also have the capability to run five times as many marketing drip campaigns, and you'll be able to create custom ‘objects' inside your CRM database (effectively places to store information).
Best for: Small Businesses
Pricing From: Free
Zoho CRM manages to offer plans at cheaper price points than its closest competitors, whilst at the same time providing a more user-friendly and feature-rich experience. Plus, it'll integrate with Zoho's suite of other useful business products, which is great news if you already use them.
- 15-day free trial
- Fully customizable dashboard and interface
- Includes sales, marketing, and service functionality
- Small amount of storage
- No spam prevention on web forms
- Onboarding assistance costs extra
Zoho CRM overview
In our latest round of testing, Zoho CRM scored 9.05/10 for usability, meaning Freshsales only just beat it on that metric. Aspects like the Kanban-style deals are a testament to Zoho's usability.
Zoho CRM scored 9.05/10 for usability, meaning Freshsales only just beat it in that regard – but fucntionally, it's slightly better.
Zoho CRM provides an onboarding tour, but it isn't as detailed or extensive as Freshsales, and it took slightly longer to upload data (although it was much quicker than providers like HubSpot). There are some other nice touches too, such as social media workflows, within which you can automatically add a lead to a database based on their interaction with your social media account (pictured below).
Zoho CRM is great for customer service-focused CRM teams too, with a simple, intuitive way of filtering cases, and you can quite easily split up and distinguish between complicated and easier cases. In fact, there's quite a wide degree of customization across Zoho's whole CRM offering – there's a lot of different data this program can hold.
Zoho CRM pricing
Zoho's plans are some of the most reasonably priced in the game, however, the provider offers generally less storage, limits the size of your database, and onboarding assistance comes at an additional cost. That being said, it's still a fantastic option for businesses on a budget.
Free ($0): Zoho's Free plan has a contact limit of only 5,000, which is low considering providers like monday put no limit on contact database sizes on any plans – and there's a user limit of just 3 too. There's not much customer support on this plan and there's no capacity for comms and accounting integrations. You will, however, get more reporting tools than Freshsales free plan though, so that's a plus if you go for Zoho.
Standard ($14 per user, per month, annually billed): Zoho's first paid plan, the Standard plan, ups the contact database limit to 100,000, and the user limit is removed (it's just based on the number of licenses you purchase). You'll have access to accounting software integrations and there are also social media lead gen features to take advantage of, as well as automated lead scoring and custom report functions. There are customer service options like Live chat and phone available too.
Professional ($23 per user, per month, annually billed): This is the first plan Zoho offers with eCommerce integrations, as well as a tool to create invoices. This is probably the best plan to go for if you've got a big contact base – the limit is upped from 100,000 to 5m. There's also 10GB of storage, and many features (like Web forms) have their limits expanded.
Enterprise ($40 per user, per month annually billed): The Enterprise plan is, overall, pretty similar to the Professional plan, but comes with some additional features. For example, You'll be able to create revenue forecast reports and more custom fields than any other plan, and if you have more than 200 employees using the software, the contact database limit is expanded to 2.5m.
Ultimate ($52 per user, per month, annually billed): This plan is the only plan Zoho offers with a 24/7 customer support option, and depending on the number of users you have in your organization, you'll be able to store up to 15 million contacts on your database. Once again, the number of custom fields you can create is upped further (to 500), you can create 100 web forms instead of just 20.
Best for: Security
Pricing From: Free
Pipedrive is certainly the ‘Premium' offering on this list, providing a primarily sales-focused CRM that teams can use to hunt down and close leads with ease. It might be a bit pricier than some other providers, but it definitely has the functionality to back up the cost- including top-notch security.
- 14-day free trial
- Unlimited contact database
- Includes comprehensive security options
- 24/7 live support
- Not a great value for money
- Unable to create custom task types
- Restricts web form creation to add-on
On the whole, Pipedrive offers the functionality you'll need to do this successfully, and aside from Freshsales and Zoho CRM, was the provider we found the easiest to use.
Pipedrive excels when it comes to security features – it had the best range of options to secure the data you keep inside the system out of the providers we tested. This makes Pipedrive a serious option for anyone who puts data security at the top of their priorities – and with data breaches now so common, why wouldn't you?
Pipedrive plans are, admittedly, a lot more expensive on the whole than Zoho CRM and Freshsales, and you'll need to pay for some additional features, such as the lead-booster add-on ($32.50 per month on top of your Pipedrive subscription).
That being said, being both easy to use and highly functional is not a given by any means in this space — and Pipedrive can do both. You can always take a look at some Pipedrive CRM alternatives, though, if it doesn't seem like the right fit for your business.
Pipedrive puts no limit on the size of your contact base and offers 24/7 live support and live chat on all of its pricing plans, which makes it a great option for businesses with ever-expanding sales operations.
You can integrate with Shopify, Quickbooks, and Xero on every Pipedrive package, and take advantage of 41 communications integrations too.
Unlike Zoho CRM and Freshsales, Pipedrive has no file storage on any of its plans, however, so you'll have to find another platform or app to do this on if you're going to be sharing data and information in file form.
All of Pipedrive's available marketing tools cost an extra monthly fee too, including a website visitor tracker and a Lead-booster.
Essential ($14 per user per month, annually billed): On this plan, you'll have organizational tools like a calendar, a customizable sales pipeline, and the ability to integrate existing email accounts. There's a preset dashboard you'll be able to use and you'll be able to create deal and activity reports.
Advanced ($24.90 per user per month, annually billed): on Pipedrive's second plan, you'll have everything from the free plan along with recurring revenue reports, and the ability to send emails straight from your CRM software. This is also the first plan that offers automated lead scoring as a feature, as well as automated workflows.
Professional ($49.90 per user, per month, annually billed): this plan consists of everything in the Advanced package, but lets you customize a lot more things, like reports and your own dashboard.
Enterprise ($99 per user, per month, annually billed): Pipedrive's Enterprise package is the only Pipedrive package available with onboarding assistance, but you'll need a minimum of 10 users in order to qualify for this plan.
Best for: Customization
Pricing From: Free
A productivity app first and foremost, monday functions like “an easy version of Microsoft Excel”, as one of our researchers and resident CRM experts put it. It may not have all the bells and whistles associated with some other CRM products like Freshsales, but it has its advantages over them too.
- 14-day free trial
- Exceptionally simple, modern layout
- Highly customizable
- Great selection of reporting tools
- Limited marketing features
- No centralized inbox
- Limited customer support options
monday.com CRM overview
Although monday is perhaps better known for its incredibly popular project management software solution, but the CRM offering from the company is impressive too.
The company has capitalized on the fact its system can be set up to work exactly like a CRM platform by creating CRM templates for businesses to use (pictured below). It provides a decent level of functionality for small businesses, although the downside to it not being a built-from-the-ground-up CRM platform is that bigger companies may find other providers have more dedicated features.
However, where monday does excel is customization. Editing things with monday is a lot more intuitive than it is with most CRM programs, and you'll find it easier to tailor the platform to what your business and staff need than you would do elsewhere.
monday.com CRM pricing
Four pricing plans are provided by monday the first of which won't cost you a cent – although it has a maximum user limit of 2, so for most teams, this won't be suitable (more on this below). Like Pipedrive, with monday you can operate with a contact database of any size, create custom fields for data, create web forms and customize your sales pipeline.
There are email insight tools available on all monday's plans so you can make the most out of your messages, however much you're playing.
However, monday.com doesn't really have any marketing or lead generation features – there's no capacity for social media lead gen or integration, no website visitor tracking capabilities nor a marketing email design editor (although Pipedrive doesn't have one of these either).
Individual (free): monday's free plan is extremely limited and there are plenty of better options available. This plan is only really suitable for very small teams managing a small number of contacts because you can't even import or export data on this plan. This is the only plan we tested – across all providers – that does not provide this function. There are also no reporting functions at all, and no calendar either.
Basic ($8 per user, per month annually billed): the first paid plan monday offers has a wealth of reporting features including custom and preset dashboards as well as deal, activity, and lead reports, and you can import and export data on this plan too, so it's more suitable for businesses with larger contact databases.
Standard ($8 per user, per month, annually billed): This is the first plan with a calendar and automated workflow capabilities. File storage space is quadrupled to 20GB (compared to 5GB on the Basic plan), and there's also a way to automate lead scoring, which will speed up your
Pro ($16 per user, per month, annually billed): in terms of features there's very little to separate the Standard and Pro plans offered by monday, but you do have a wider set of custom integrations to choose from, as well as increased capacity for automating aspects of your workflow. Custom email signatures are also available on this plan.
Enterprise ($8 per user, per month, annually billed): As well as all of the support options available on monday's other plans, the Enterprise plan will grant you access to onboarding assistance. There are also Enterprise-grade security features on offer, including multi-level permissions, as well as other useful team management features larger companies would benefit from.
- Free plan available
- Provides sales, marketing, and service functionality
- Tidy, easy to navigate interface
- Limited customization
- Basically no customer support
- File storage limit to 5 documents
With a contact limit of one million, HubSpot is suitable for businesses running larger customer service operations. Users are limited to uploading just five documents each, so your staff will likely need another place to store additional information you may need for your CRM operation.
HubSpot's only downsides are probably customization – there just aren't a lot of options available on this front – and customer support. There are fewer ways to get help with HubSpot than the other providers on the list, and it came in last place for help & support out of the CRM providers we tested.
Hubspot Free functions as a starting tier for all of HubSpot's CRM offerings. You can then build on top of this with HubSpot's customer service, sales, and marketing offerings, depending on what kind of CRM software you need.
HubSpot's Free plan does come with features that relate to all three areas, however. There are some marketing tools and features, including web forms, chatbots, and social media integration, and there's a wide range of reporting functions to choose from.
You'll have case management features and support tickets on the Free plan too, as well as the ability to glean insights from emails and send auto-responses straight from the CRM.
Learn more about HubSpot's pricing plans.
HubSpot's paid plans
There's a ‘Starter‘, ‘Professional‘, and ‘Enterprise‘Plan for Sales, Marketing, and HubSpot's Helpdesk solution respectively.
The paid plans for Sales start at around $22.50 per user, per month if you pay annually, and naturally, you'll have access to more sales-focused features that build on the ones already present in the free version.
The Helpdesk solution follows a similar pricing structure (also starting from $22.50 per user, per month) and it is the most appropriate option for teams looking for a customer service solution rather than a sales driver.
HubSpot's Marketing plans, on the other hand, start from $45 per user, per month when billed annually, but this rises depending on the number of contacts you want in your database.
Choosing a Simple CRM Software
When choosing a simple CRM software, ease of use isn't the only factor you're probably going to need to consider. There are plenty of other aspects of this kind of software that need to be compared and contrasted prior to purchase — and here are a few key ones to consider.
Before you do that though, work out if you need a top CRM for sales, marketing or customer service — not all providers are going to excel in all three areas.
With so many businesses still feeling the squeeze from the economic turbulence of the last few years, pricing will naturally make its way to the forefront of many companies' decision-making processes. Importantly, it's all about whether you're getting bang for your buck — especially when it comes to contact database sizes, which vary widely from plan to plan but also from provider to provider.
Pipedrive, for instance, has an unlimited contact limit on all of its plans, as does monday. Freshales, on the other hand, limits how many contacts can be involved in marketing actions per month, but puts no limit on the number that can be included in your database.
If your business is rapidly expanding and you need a CRM system to keep up with your levels of growth, investing in a plan with a contact database limit you're quickly going to outgrow will cost you more in the long run than investing in a slightly pricier plan now that has no cap.
Customer support can make or break a provider — especially if usability is important to you. The last thing you want is to be waiting around for technical support — especially if, when you request it, it's not very good.
There's a surprising gulf between providers in terms of what customer support options they offer. Some providers do not offer onboarding assistance on all their plans, whilst others only on enterprise packages, and providers like Zoho only offer it if an additional fee is paid.
Customizability is an incredibly important factor for some companies searching for the ideal CRM software, simply because a system that can adapt to your preferences is going to be eminently more useful than one you have to shoehorn yourself into. The reason monday is such a highly rated CRM software is the level of customization it provides – you can make endless changes to templates and custom fields until it fits like a glove.
The manner of the customization is important too — again, another reason monday excels. It's really, really easy to sculpt the software to do what you want to do without delving into the system settings or getting lost in menus.
Last but not least, naturally, choosing the right CRM software for your business will include assessing and comparing the features on offer. Some CRM software plans have better marketing features, whilst others focus on sales.
Take HubSpot for example — the company offers a free CRM that functions as a starting tier, and then offers specialized paid products (Sales Hub, Service Hub, and Marketing Hub) — all with different features. There are plenty more aspects to consider though, including integrations, security features, lead team management tools, reports, and much more.
Verdict: Freshsales is the Simplest CRM Software
Freshsales has some unique features, including “Freddy AI”, which really make it stand out from the crowd. Getting insights into your customer base is invaluable, so having a dedicated feature like this for stats-based lead scoring is a big plus. All things considered, Freshsales is great value for money and will help you reach new heights with your sales and marketing operations.
To get started with setting up a simple CRM for your business today, use our quick CRM quotes tool and you can see the personalized prices for your business needs, from a range of top providers.
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