Which CRM is Best for Small Business?

Author: Jacqueline DeMarco | May 11, 2021

If your small business is ready to get organized, be more effective, and strengthen your business relationships, then it may be time to start looking for a customer relationship management (CRM) system. A solid CRM database can help you simplify your business flow and build stronger relationships with the customers and clients you need to help boost your sales easier. 

A CRM system houses all of your data, customer information, and reports in one convenient location, which enables your sales and marketing teams to better analyze their relationships with your current and potential clients and customers.

Let’s examine what you need to look for when choosing a CRM and at some of the best CRMs for small business on the market. Spoiler alert—some of them are free to use.

What to Look for in a CRM

When choosing a CRM system, you’ll want to find one that suits all of your business needs and makes your employee’s jobs easier so they can focus on doing what they do best, instead of trying to organize overwhelming amounts of customer data. When shopping around for a CRM, you’ll want to read a lot of reviews, chat with their sale’s teams, and watch tutorials on how to use their platforms. When you’re doing your research, these are the qualities and features you should pay attention to.

  • Integrates with other platforms
  • Customizable
  • Easy to use
  • Strong analytic capabilities
  • Can access via mobile
  • Automation options
  • Customer service support
  • Training requirements and resources
  • How workflow is managed
  • Workflow management

Ideally, you’ll choose a CRM that you can customize to fit your needs, that is easy to use, and that works for your budget. 

The Best CRMs for Small Businesses 

There are a lot of different CRM systems on the market and which one is right for your business will depend on your businesses’ unique needs. Let’s look at some of the best CRMs for small businesses and what makes them stand out.

1. Salesforce

Salesforce is one of the biggest names in the CRM game and is one of the most popular CRM providers on the market. They offer a cloud-based product that is completely customizable and is fairly easy to use on both desktop and mobile. Salesforce is one of the pricier options on this list, starting at $25 per month for up to five users and the price goes up if you want a more sophisticated plan, but many say the high prices are worth it. 

2. Zoho CRM

Another cloud-based solution is Zoho CRM, which focuses on providing resources for small and medium-sized businesses. If you’re looking for sales and CRM marketing automation, customer analytics, and product configuration, you’ll find what you need here. Zoho CRM also makes it easy to incentivize your sales team by having a gamification feature designed to reward employees who hit their monthly sales targets. For those with a tighter budget, Zoho CRM offers a free CRM solution, as well as paid plans starting at $14 a month that offer extra features. 

3. Hubspot CRM

Hubspot is known for providing great marketing resources as well as valuable tools that make running and marketing a business easier. Their full functioning CRM product (Hubspot CRM) can help track and organize your contacts, providing a full view of your sales pipeline. They also offer a free version of their CRM, which comes with more functionality and assistance like phone support. Their CRM service is easy to navigate which is great for CRM beginners. 

4. Apptivo

This web-based CRM makes it simple to track and stay on top of projects, customer relationships, and finances. Apptivo is super customizable and you get to pick the features that will suit your business. Their product is very compatible with Google applications, so if you rely on those to run your business, you’ll likely appreciate the convenience of linking up with Apptivo. Plans start at $8 a month.

5. Vtiger CRM

Small businesses who want to streamline their operations will appreciate that Vtiger CRM provides sales automation, project and inventory management, workflow automation, and case and lead management features, amongst many other helpful features. While this CRM tool can be harder to customize, they’re known for having a great tech support team who is always willing to help. 

6. Nimble

If you’re aiming to unify your data and improve your social media integration, Nimble can help with that. Their software populates the profiles and interaction histories from your contact lists, email, and social media automatically. Users appreciate their comprehensive interface which gives a great overview of what’s going on in your business. You’ll be able to easily overlook your key deals, engagement opportunities, and important to-do’s. 

7. SuiteCRM

If your business is growing, you’ll want to pick a CRM that can grow with you. SuiteCRM is likely up to the task as it is an open source CRM that can be scaled to work well for any size of business. They have enterprise-level functionality and you can choose to deploy their software on either a private cloud, directly on private servers, or on a public cloud. Their tool is very customizable and can suit a variety of budgets as they have a free CRM option. This isn’t the easiest CRM to use and it may take some practice to get the hang of it. Typically, SuiteCRM is a better fit for companies with more advanced CRM needs. 

8. Insightly

Insightly is a free CRM service that makes it easy to track your business leads and to ensure that you’re following up with leads on time. You can also manage tasks for your team with Insightly and can link your customer’s social media accounts to your CRM so you can manage the conversion process easier. While Insightly doesn’t offer live customer support they do provide you with access to a beginner’s guide to using their CRM, video tutorials, webinars, and a community forum where users can answer each other’s questions and support each other. Insightly is a great option for startups on a budget who are willing to roll up their sleeves and get to work. 

9. Act!

Act! has a ton of neat integrations that will help you get the most out of this CRM tool. You can manage your contacts and leads while taking advantage of reporting and third-party integrations. Other integrations can assist with managing your accounting processes, creating pipeline reports, and overseeing client history. They offer a cloud-based version or a server-based version, so you can choose which format works best for you. This is ideal if you’re moving your business online and have a preferred format. If you’re a fan of email marketing, you’ll appreciate that Act! offers built-in email marketing tools that you can integrate with your phone systems. Some users reported that their software is easy to use, but if you’re looking for a lot of integration options you may find the adjustment is worth it. Pricing starts at $15 a month and goes up to $45 a month depending on which plan you choose. 

Does Google have a CRM product?

This is a commonly asked question during CRM research and unfortunately the answer is no. However, Google does allow you to sync up your Google Workspace with plenty of helpful CRM and sales tools that you can discover through the Google Workspace Marketplace.

If you prefer Microsoft tools to Google ones anyways, you’re in luck, because Microsoft Dynamics CRM will look and feel very familiar to Microsoft Office users and it syncs up well with other Microsoft products. 

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