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Reviews

Best CRM Software

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We’ve used (and switched to or from) just about every CRM software on the market, from established software providers to the newest kids on the block. After trying out more than a dozen options for our own use, Hubspot is our top pick for most businesses looking for a better way to manage customer relationships. Its free plan is the most robust and flexible on the market, plus you can upgrade for more advanced functionality as your needs change.

The Best CRM Software for Most

Hubspot logo

Hubspot

Best for Most

Hubspot's free CRM software outshines even some of the advanced paid CRM solutions on this list since it includes a wide variety of features other providers make you pay for. When you're ready to upgrade for advanced functionality, you can bundle sales, marketing, and service for $50 per month.

Hubspot is our #1 recommendation for most businesses. It offers CRM solutions for sales, marketing, and customer service, making it an excellent choice regardless of how you plan to use it. It also includes the most comprehensive free plan we’ve seen. It’s more than enough for just about every small business and those who are just getting started.

When you’re ready to upgrade—if you ever need to—paid plans start at $50 per user per month with full access to all three hubs.

The 7 Best CRM Software Options to Consider

  1. Hubspot – Best CRM software for most
  2. Salesflare – Best CRM for improving your lead management
  3. Freshworks CRM – Best CRM software for ease of use
  4. Zoho CRM – Best CRM software for SMBs
  5. Insightly – Best CRM for project management
  6. Nimble – Best CRM for social media management
  7. Salesforce – Best CRM software for growing businesses

When It Makes Sense to Invest Into CRM Software

If you manage customer relationships from a sales, marketing, or customer service perspective, investing in CRM software makes sense. They exist to help you nourish cold leads and turn them into lifelong customers by delivering personalized experiences at every stage of your sales funnel.

Perhaps the biggest benefit, though, is that they help you develop sustainable processes so you can continue to deliver personalized experiences at scale.

With so many free and budget-friendly options on the market, you have nothing to lose by giving it a shot—but you do have a lot to gain.

It’s particularly important if you’re struggling to stay organized, keep up with customer interactions, or deliver timely and effective customer support. Getting started sooner rather than later is also beneficial if you’re expanding your team or growing at a rapid pace.

Implementing CRM software now can save you from experiencing growing pains or growing too fast to keep up.

#1 – Hubspot — The Best CRM Software for Most

Hubspot logo

Hubspot

Best for Most

Hubspot's free CRM software outshines even some of the advanced paid CRM solutions on this list since it includes a wide variety of features other providers make you pay for. When you're ready to upgrade for advanced functionality, you can bundle sales, marketing, and service for $50 per month.

With most CRM software packages — actually, with most things in life — free versions sound great, but they don’t generally get the job done. Hubspot’s CRM is the exception to the rule. 

A multitude of small organizations, independent contractors, and SMBs can use the Hubspot CRM free version and receive a far better level of success than with other free CRMs on the market.

Both the free and paid versions of the software are extremely easy to use, which is ideal for teams that don’t have a dedicated person for tech support.

When you’re ready to upgrade to a paid plan, Hubspot is a modular design with four different hubs you can purchase separately, depending on what you need.

Alternatively, you can bundle the sales, marketing, and service hubs with the Starter Growth Suite for $50 per month.

As a paid user, you get access to some of Hubspot’s most powerful features, including up to ten advanced analytics dashboards with customizable data sets so you can easily keep an eye on your business’s performance across the board.

You can also set up simple pipeline automations for automatic task creation and custom notifications as leads move from one phase of your funnel to the next.

This ensures nothing slips through the cracks and your team is always in the loop with what should happen next.

The Starter Growth Suite also includes:

  • Up to 5,000 monthly marketing emails
  • Access to Hubspot’s intuitive mobile app
  • Email health insights to track your reputation over time
  • Ad retargeting capabilities
  • Automatic conversation routing for sales and service teams
  • A document library with up to 1,000 documents
  • Up to two service ticket pipelines

With that said, Hubspot’s free plan can help you accomplish a lot of what other providers make you pay for.

The free plan outshines every other free CRM (and many paid ones) on the market today with plenty of room to grow, making it a perfect place to start whether you’re just getting started or on a tight budget.

Sign up for a free forever plan to take Hubspot for a test drive today!

#2 – Salesflare – The Best CRM for Improving Your Lead Management

Salesflare logo

Salesflare

Best for Improving Lead Management

Salesflare is a CRM for small businesses that excels at assisting and improving your team’s lead management. Great automation and tracking tools are included at every plan tier, starting at $29 per user per month.

A CRM is only as useful as its ability to improve your relationships with customers and prospects before they become customers.

Salesflare is a CRM made specially for small businesses in the B2B space. It contains many features to help your sales and marketing teams connect with and new leads and encourage prospects further along in their buying journey.

From adding new contact information and extracting additional info from the web to automatically logging calls, online chats, and documents, Salesflare makes it easier than ever to centralize communications and store vital lead data in one place.

Chief among them are the automation and tracking tools offered in every Salesflare package.

The software automatically inputs customer and prospect data by gathering from many sources, from social media profiles to emails, email signatures, and more.

Not only can your team say goodbye to manually inputting lead information, but Salesflare’s ability to intelligently gather all the necessary details paints them a better picture of who they’re reaching out to (and what their needs are) on follow ups.

Salesflare automatically gathers and stores customer actions, as well. In its platform, you’ll get notifications when people open your emails, visit your websites and landing pages, and follow links.

This gives you and your team incredible insight into when to follow up with a prospect and how they’re interacting with your marketing and sales material.

All of these automated activities go a long way to helping sales teams—especially smaller ones—sharpen their lead management capabilities. Less time manually inputting items and more intelligent insights from Salesflare empower you with better awareness on when (and how) to reach out to potential customers.

From there, use Salesflare’s email tools to send out segmented, targeted campaigns to warm leads. The software integrates easily with Gmail and Outlook so you can communicate using the tools you’re already familiar with.

Plus, there are dozens of other features to help streamline and organize your work. Salesflare automatically logs calls and meetings, stores interactions and data in individual customer folders, and has a Kanban-style interface for tracking opportunities as they progress from leads to wins.

You and your team can track tasks and leads as they move through the pipeline so everyone’s always in the loop.

Salesflare’s pricing is straightforward, but it’s a little on the pricier side. There are three plans, with the cheapest starting at $29/user per month. It includes all the automation, tracking, and email features mentioned above.

The next tier is $49/user per month for Pro and $99/user per month for Enterprise.

The Pro plan unlocks more advanced email capabilities allowing you to set up multi-email workflows, lets you share data with restricted-access and view-only users, and will soon allow you to create custom dashboards as well.

The Enterprise plan is where you’ll find white-glove service from Salesflare, including a dedicated account manager and custom training for your team. There is no free forever version of Salesflare. However, you can try it out for free for up to 30 days.

Give Salesflare a test drive today.

#3 – Freshworks CRM — The Best CRM For Ease of Use

Freshworks logo

Freshworks CRM

Best CRM for Ease of Use

Get your CRM up and running regardless if you have inexperienced or extremely experienced veteran users who're more resistant to change. It's the perfect solution for even the most non-technical users, with a minimal learning curve and a user-friendly interface. Paid plans start at $29 per user per month.

Freshworks CRM delivers a CRM interface that’s made for small organizations that don’t want hassles around setup or a sharp learning curve.

You’ll be up and running on this CRM in no time, especially with the free or lower-priced versions.

It’s designed to help streamline communications and allow other reps and agents to pick up where the last conversation left off. In turn, your customers get better experiences and don’t have to listen to the same pitches, even if they’ve already turned it down in the past.

Users can easily take notes within the platform, record phone calls, and track email communications all in one place. The mobile app is also one of the best in the industry, allowing you and your team to track everything from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.

This helps unify your entire marketing, sales, and customer service departments around the same processes and messages to ensure a cohesive customer experience from start to finish.

On top of that, Freshworks CRM is a strong contender for organizations with inexperienced salespeople and extremely experienced veteran users alike.

Many experienced users may be resistant to change or have a hard time learning something new, so an easy-to-learn solution is the perfect choice (even if your team’s not so tech-savvy).

There are four plans to choose from, including:

  • Free version
  • Growth – $29 per user per month
  • Pro – $69 per user per month
  • Enterprise – $125 per user per month

On top of that, there are dozens of other add-ons you can choose from, including extra marketing contacts, phone credits, a dedicated IP address, extra workflows, and more to extend your CRM as much (or as little) as you’d like to.

The free plan includes unlimited users, so it’s an excellent place to start and give it a try before investing a penny.

Sign up for the free-forever plan to take Freshworks CRM for a test drive today!

#4 – Zoho CRM — The Best CRM For SMBs

Zoho CRM logo

Zoho CRM

Best CRM for SMBs

Zoho's features have always been tuned to help small and medium sized businesses, giving it a leg up versus other CRMs. It's built for business owners and regular users rather than CRM specialists, and includes a generous free plan and numerous affordable paid plans, there's plenty of space to grow.

Unlike most CRMs, ZohoCRM focuses solely on small to midsize businesses by offering the perfect combo of affordability, ease of use, and scalability.

In fact, all of Zoho’s products are built specifically for SMBs, so its CRM system has an advantage over other options out there—the developers, marketers, and customer support reps know their audience. They know the struggles you face every day and have greater insight into what you need.

Zoho is extremely easy to use, which is perfect if you don’t have a dedicated in-house team or person to run and manage your CRM software.

Its interface places all of the most important features on the main screen, allowing users (even those with very little CRM experience) to jump right in and find the data they need.

If you’re on a super tight budget, Zoho CRM offers a free-forever plan that works for up to three users. With it, you get everything you need to manage and automate lead generation, business contacts, and deals. Plus, you and your team can easily track calls, attach call logs, and even add events and notes to contact records to keep all of your info in one place.

You can create one form to use on your website as an easy way to automatically collect lead and customer contact information. So, you get all the basics you need to get started with CRM software.

As you grow beyond the free plan, there are plenty of affordable plans to choose from as your business grows, with the cheapest starting at $14 per user per month. Zoho’s pricing tiers include:

  • Standard – $14 per user month
  • Professional – $23 per user per month
  • Enterprise – $40 per user per month
  • Ultimate – $52 per user per month

Each tier adds more advanced automation and relationship management features to bolster continuous growth.

There’s also an advanced unified customer experience platform that you can easily upgrade to in a few clicks when you’re ready to take lead and customer relationships to the next level. These plans start at $57 per user per month, so they’re quite expensive. But it comes with the most powerful relationship management features Zoho has to offer.

All in all, Zoho’s platform is accessible for even the smallest businesses and delivers plenty of room to grow as your business does.

Pro-tip: If your business uses a pipeline-centric CRM approach, Bigin by Zoho CRM is an even cheaper option that comes with more advanced features on the entry-level plan. It starts at just $7 per user per month, making it one of the most affordable CRMs on the market.

Just like Zoho CRM, it’s easy to use, powerful, and effective for small businesses. However, we recommend sticking to Zoho CRM if you don’t use pipelines or know what they are.

Sign up for the free-forever plan to take it for a test drive and see if it’s right for you today!

#5 – Insightly — The Best CRM For Managing Projects

Insightly logo

Insightly

Best CRM for Managing Projects

Use Insightly to keep your marketing projects moving forward, gaining success with clients.

If your organization struggles with keeping sales projects on task, Insightly has some impressive tools to help in this area. If you don’t have a specific person who handles projects like this, Insightly’s features will give your SMB a huge boost in productivity.

Insightly is packed with features making it great at its price. The administrator can set up multiple levels of permissions, ensuring that employees only can see and edit the fields they actually need to do their jobs.

Insightly has numerous automated tools, such as for new lead generation. However, some of those automated tools are shallow, meaning they don’t go into enough depth to help an organization that has advanced needs in that particular area.

Pros

  • Excellent project management features
  • Multiple automated tools for simplicity
  • Keeps leads and clients completely separate
  • Reporting features are easy to use and understand

Cons

  • Lots of features, but some don’t go into enough depth
  • Interface takes some work to use efficiently

Pricing

  • Free version
  • Plus — $29 (per user per month)
  • Professional — $49
  • Enterprise — $99

#6 – Nimble — The Best CRM For Social Media Management

Nimble logo

Nimble

Best CRM for Social Media Management

Keep in touch with existing clients and generate new leads by upping your social media presence with Nimble.

For those SMBs who need to up their social media presence, especially in communicating with clients, Nimble is one of the strongest CRMs focusing on social media channels. Through these social media hits, you’ll be able to generate extra sales leads as well. 

With Nimble, the interface is extremely easy to use, allowing your organization to be up and running quickly. As you might expect with a CRM that has its strength in social media, Nimble’s mobile platform is easy to use, giving you powerful tools on multiple types of devices.

Nimble’s biggest weakness exists in its project management features. For example, it’s a little more difficult to collaborate in-house between sales members with Nimble than some others. But its low price per user is pretty impressive for those SMBs that don’t need to focus on project management.

Pros

  • Helps you manage your social media presence
  • Strong mobile app
  • Delivers good lead management features
  • Interface is easy to use and understand

Cons

  • Some problems with customer service
  • Struggles in helping you with project management

Pricing

  • $19 to $25 (per month per user with individual pay upgrades available)

#7 – Salesforce — The Best CRM for Growing Businesses

Salesforce logo

Salesforce

Best for Growing Businesses

Salesforce delivers impressive versatility for businesses of all sizes. The introductory plan includes sales and customer support tools, essential contact management, and a mobile app, with more advanced features available at higher price points. Plans start at $25/user per month.

Salesforce is one of the most popular CRM tools out there. Nearly every VP of sales or sales rep has used it at some point or another. It’s so popular because it’s flexible enough for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

But it’s particularly helpful for businesses that are currently growing or looking to grow in the future.

Even if you have three employees now, you need a CRM that grows with your business. Which… is exactly what Salesforce does.

For small businesses, the introductory plan is a perfect fit. It has just the right amount of features to maintain its ease of use and still get the job done well.

It includes sales + customer support tools, essential contact management, Gmail and Outlook integrations, an intuitive mobile app, and custom reporting capabilities.

As such, you get everything your small team needs to streamline operations without the headache of a too-robust software no one knows how to use.

Then, as your business grows, you can upgrade to a higher tier to get access to more advanced features and capabilities.

So, you never have to worry about outgrowing your CRM software.

Some of Salesforce’s advanced features include complete customer service solutions with unlimited users, advanced marketing automations, rules-based lead scoring, 24/7 customer support, and more.

Pros

  • Grows with your business
  • Includes more advanced features than other solutions
  • Tools for automating approvals and recurring workflows
  • Third-party apps work directly with Salesforce
  • Multiple customization options

Cons

  • Can get expensive for smaller businesses
  • May be difficult for smaller teams to manage at first

Pricing

  • Essentials — $25 per user per month
  • Professional — $75 per user per month
  • Enterprise — $150 per user per month
  • Unlimited — $300 per user per month

Sign up for a free 14-day trial to see if Salesforce is right for you!

Methodology For Choosing The Best CRM Software

Although the majority of CRM software packages provide similar types of services and benefits, you will find significant differences when you drill down a little bit. 

The best advice for finding a type of CRM software to meet the needs of your organization is to focus on how you will be using the software. A feature that is extremely vital to your competitor may not be applicable to your business. With that in mind, here are some of the features we have emphasized in our selections of the best CRM software.

Free Trial

Most CRM software packages, especially those for SMBs, will have a free trial period, usually between 14 and 30 days. This is a helpful way to test the software’s interface, although it can be difficult to gain a true feel for how the software will work on a day to day basis with a free trial period.

Quite a few CRMs also have a completely free version that you can use for an indefinite period of time. But these versions will have significant limitations.

Interface

Some CRM software packages will offer an easy-to-use interface, which is helpful when employees may be leery of using the software. If entering data and obtaining results is too complex, employees are not as likely to use the CRM. 

Always check the interface in every device through which you’ll be accessing the CRM, whether that’s a web browser, smartphone, tablet, or other devices. Some CRMs may have a beautifully simple interface in a web browser, but the mobile version is a mess.

Deep Reporting

The right CRM software delivers powerful insights into your customers, pipeline progress, conversion rates, cost of acquisition, and more.

There are dozens of metrics you can measure with the right reporting and analytics capabilities. Understanding your current performance can help you identify gaps and improve areas that aren’t working for your business.

As such, these reports can help you make more informed business decisions over time.

Most CRM tools offer basic analytic capabilities, but Hubspot, for example, goes deeper into forecasting future trends and analyzing the value of your pipeline over time.

As such, it’s important to look into each option’s reporting capabilities before making your final decision.

Lead Generation and Management

Generating leads and managing them effectively is key to growing your business. Landing pages, signup forms, and nurturing email sequences definitely help with this.

But the best CRM software takes lead generation a step further by helping you automate and personalize the entire process.

With the right software, you can automatically segment your leads and stay in touch with them to continuously move them through the sales cycle on autopilot.

This level of automation and personalization also ensures every lead gets the right message at the right time, without you having to lift a finger.

ERP Vs. CRM

Understand that some ERP (enterprise resource planning) software packages will contain all of the features found in CRMs. Other ERPs may only overlap with CRMs with one or two features. You can think of ERP as focusing on the in-house management of operations, including accounting and human resources for the organization, while the CRMs focus on customer and client management.

So some organizations will need both an ERP and CRM, while others may be able to survive with only an ERP.

Hubspot logo

Hubspot

Best for Most

Hubspot's free CRM software outshines even some of the advanced paid CRM solutions on this list since it includes a wide variety of features other providers make you pay for. When you're ready to upgrade for advanced functionality, you can bundle sales, marketing, and service for $50 per month.

Summary

Ultimately, managing the relationships you have with clients and customers is the lifeblood of your organization.

Hubspot and Salesflare are our top recommendations for most businesses. They’re easy to use, effective, and affordable as well. However, they’re not perfect for every business in every industry.

So, be sure to use the methodology we talked about as you go through the process of choosing the best CRM software for you and your business.


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