A CRM helps you build and maintain customer relationships while keeping you organized in the process. We researched and tested dozens of the top CRM options for small businesses to find the best. And we believe Bigin is the best option for most. It’s super simple and easy to learn, has all the features you need, and won’t overwhelm you.
The Best Small Business CRM Software For Most
We chose Bigin as the best all-around solution for most small business owners because of its simplicity. It has a ton of features to explore, but you can get started with easy-to-use tools and a minimal learning curve.
Bigin helps you ditch the notes and spreadsheets and move onto a more sophisticated platform to manage leads, email marketing, contact methods, and more. If your current goal is to master a workflow that takes care of everything from document storage to pipeline management in one spot, Bigin is the tool for you.
The Best Small Business CRM Software Options to Consider:
- Bigin – Best for most small business owners
- HubSpot CRM – Best free small business CRM software
- Keap Lite – Best CRM software for solopreneurs
- Pipedrive – Best scalable small business CRM software
- Capsule – Best for customer data organization
- Less Annoying CRM – Best for minimizing the learning curve
- Insightly – Best for project streamlining
When Does It Make Sense to Invest In Small Business CRM Software?
There’s no way to dodge the fact that buying all the digital tools you need for your small business can become a costly endeavor.
But your CRM software might actually eliminate some of the other tools you use, like workflow management systems and document storage. CRM software tools designed for small businesses often lump several must-have tools together for you to access in one place.
So one of the biggest questions to ask when you’re considering a CRM software system is whether you’re ready to streamline your lead generation and customer relations in one place. This investment will be a significant change from more scattered methods of organization and customer management, but it can also boost your business to the next level.
CRM software is especially helpful for businesses that need a more calculated system of generating leads, storing customer information, and managing each contact. If you’re ready to move on from confusing spreadsheets and an unscalable workflow, it’s probably time to invest in CRM software for your small business.
#1 – Bigin — The Best for Most Small Business Owners
When we reviewed the best CRM software, we chose Zoho CRM as the best option for small businesses. And it is an outstanding option for small business owners.
Bigin is Zoho CRM’s newer release that specifically targets the needs of small business owners and their teams. With more affordable pricing and streamlined features fit for micro and small businesses, it might be the better choice for you to start with. If you outgrow it eventually, you can always switch over to Zoho CRM.
Bigin is the best at the basics. It has a simple interface with non-confusing dashboards and links to everything you need on the side of your screen. Switch over to pipeline view to get an overview of your prospects and follow-ups.
Customizable workflows keep your team focused on how you do business best. Real-time notifications of task completions, client contacts, closed deals, and more, help everyone stay in the loop.
For beginners to the CRM scene, Bigin is one of the simplest software tools to learn right out of the gate. Import your Excel files in a few clicks and add integrations with other tools you’re already familiar with, like Mailchimp and Google Workspace.
And, for business owners who haven’t quite decided whether spending a bunch of money on a CRM software is the best move yet, Bigin’s low monthly fee of $7 per user might convince you to give it a try. If you’re a solopreneur, the free version might be a viable option. Either way, you get a free 15-day trial.
#2 – HubSpot — The Best Free Small Business CRM Software
CRM software sometimes comes with a free version with limited features or for limited users. But you’re not going to find a full-featured CRM software with unlimited users and up to one million contacts for free unless you choose HubSpot.
HubSpot is the ultimate growth tool for small businesses that don’t yet have a need or financial resources for a paid tool. If you outgrow HubSpot’s free CRM, which is difficult to do for a small business, you can move onto a paid version.
The free CRM includes a breadth of tools, including a ticketing support system, prospect management, deal tracking and storage, a shared inbox for live chats and emails, and sales document storage.
HubSpot also moves far beyond CRM with marketing tools, like landing page and form building, and sales tools, like pipeline creation and live chatbots. As its name suggests, HubSpot can become the backend hub for all things customer management for your business.
As you grow, you can continue with the free tools or switch to paid tools. However, you won’t need to pay for extra tools for each user if they don’t need them. Instead, upgrade only the accounts that need access to more features.
Paid HubSpot CRM software starts at $45 per month, but you can bundle its CRM, sales, marketing, and service tools for $50 per month with the Starter Growth Suite.
Whether you go with the free version or one of the paid bundles, get started today by visiting Hubspot.
#3 – Keap Lite — The Best CRM Software For Solopreneurs
Not all small businesses have multiple people on their teams, but many CRM software options are designed for teams. What if you don’t need all the collaboration tools and extras?
Enter Keap Lite, a CRM software based on its popular parent software, Keap, but built just for solopreneurs and the smallest of small businesses.
Actually, Keap Lite has email marketing, payment management, reporting, and other sales-driven features in addition to its contact and pipeline management services. Yet it keeps everything in one tool with a minimalist interface that makes organization a breeze.
Solopreneurs will love Keap Lite’s automation to free up some time contacting and nurturing client relationships. For example, you can schedule an email in your dashboard and set automated follow-ups to send on specific dates. You can also automate payment reminders and task assignments to transform Keap Lite into your full-time AI assistant.
Keap Lite starts at $56 a month, which is pricier than other options on our list for one user. However, you could potentially cut the cost of having a virtual assistant complete some of the tasks that Keap Lite can do for you.
#4 – Pipedrive — The Best Scalable Small Business CRM Software
Your small business may not be small forever. It’s a good idea to think about what the future might hold for your company and whether your CRM software can handle the changes you see happening.
Pipedrive comes loaded with features, even in its base package. Here’s a look at a few standout features you can get with any plan:
- Import and export data from spreadsheets or other CRM software
- Sales Assistant with forecasting and improvement suggestions
- Visual dashboards
- Detailed deal reporting
- User access and device logs
- Mobile Android and iOS apps
- Automatic call logging
- Meeting scheduler
- Customizable pipelines
As your business needs mature, you can easily switch to another tier to get customizable email templates, sales proposal and contract sending, workflow automation, and more. Still, the low-tier Essential plan includes everything most small businesses will need to transition to CRM software.
Another perk of Pipedrive is its vast apps marketplace that features more than 200 integrations for commonly used tools, like Trello, Zapier, and Zoom. As your business grows, you can keep adding what you need to tweak your workflow.
Pipedrive plans start at $12.50 per user per month when billed annually, and you can try any plan free for 14 days.
#5 – Capsule — The Best For Customer Data Organization
Capsule is known for simplifying CRM, which is good news for small businesses that want to spend more time using their software than figuring it out. However, where it really shines is in customer data organization. In other words, it makes it ridiculously easy to learn about your contacts and move them through the pipeline.
First, import your customer contact information from spreadsheets, your Google Contacts list, a CSV file, vCard, or Microsoft Outlook. Then, use tags to categorize your contacts and the search function to find specific details about them.
You can also create custom fields within your contacts if you have additional information you need to keep track of. Attach documents, like contracts or proposals, to each contact to keep everything in one place.
Capsule’s visual pipeline is similar to Trello-style boards. Just click and drag your contacts through each step in their buying journey as they move from being leads to qualified clients.
Of course, CRM software isn’t only about customer data organization. Here are several other features you can use on Capsule:
- Pipeline forecasting and reports
- Leaking pipeline analytics
- Shareable contacts
- Mobile app for Android and iOS
- Built-in calendar and task management
- User permissions
- TLS data encryption
Capsule is free for two users and up to 250 contacts, and monthly paid plans start at $18 per user. Try any plan free for 30 days.
#6 – Less Annoying CRM — The Best For Eliminating the Learning Curve
With a simple, streamlined setup, Less Annoying CRM is software that virtually eliminates the learning curve that many CRM software options have. It’s currently used by a range of industry solopreneurs and businesses, including travel agents, real estate agents, business consultants, and technology startups.
When you sign up, you can select your industry, and Less Annoying CRM (LACRM) will tailor your dashboard to your business. Although it takes about a minute to set up your account, you can always spend as much time as you want customizing your contact information, calendar, workspace, and reports.
Fortunately, that’s simple to do, too. LACRM’s laid-back interface is one of the easiest to navigate and tweak without feeling overwhelming to CRM newbies, and features flow logically with one another.
Other features included in LACRM are:
- Contact importing from spreadsheets
- 256-bit encryption
- Daily agenda emails based on your calendar tasks
- Web-based platform and syncing
- Custom contact fields
- Free customer support
Do you appreciate less annoying pricing to go along with your less annoying CRM software? LACRM has it with its one-size-fits-all plan for $15 per user, per month. It includes all features—no need to decide which tier you belong in. And you can try it free for 30 days.
#7 – Insightly — The Best For Project Streamlining
Projects associated with customer relationships can become messy fast if there’s not a set process behind them. When one customer moves down your pipeline, there are always other customers not far behind.
Insightly can help you balance your customer relationship tasks in the most undemanding ways possible with its automated team workflow features.
Forget about customizing every piece of your workflow, manually adding tasks, and updating records. Insightly takes care of all of it as soon as you set up the basic rules and it begins learning how your business operates.
Your leads will even pass along to the right step in your process and the right person with lead routing. Create rules for routing, and Insightly can help you automatically link emails to contacts, assign the lead to a person on your team, and help you convert leads to real opportunities.
Other Insightly features include:
- Automated email sending and tracking
- Customer relationship linking and mapping
- Android and iOS app with business card scanning
- Two-factor authentication and SOC 2 Type II security
- App building and customizing
- Project management and calendar synchronization
The beginner Plus plan is $29 per user monthly. To get the most benefits from Insightly for project streamlining, consider opting for Professional, which has lead routing and workflow automation, for $49 a month for each user. Try either plan for free.
Methodology For Choosing The Best Small Business CRM Software
A CRM software that has multiple tools and a lot of value for its price is ultimately going to be the best choice for a small business.
However, there are a lot of options that fit that mold. You’ll need to dig a little deeper into each software to learn what features are necessary for your business and which ones you don’t need just yet.
To make it easier for you to compare options, we’ve rounded up some of the most important features a CRM for small business should have and prioritized them when researching and choosing our top picks.
Funnel Management and Lead Generation
Tracking your lead generation and buying process from start to finish gives valuable insight into what you’re doing right (or wrong). Medium and enterprise businesses probably have a sales team that takes over tasks for these processes, but you may not.
Your software should be able to handle some of this for you. From creating lists of new leads to helping you market to your email list, choose a CRM software that brings your customers through the buying journey as simply as possible.
The ability for you to take your work on the go is a necessity for a busy small business owner. Whether your CRM software has a mobile app or an interface that’s mobile-friendly, you can use it to manage tasks and your pipeline as soon as you finish a meeting or complete a task on your to-do list.
Mobile-friendliness is especially important for remote teams that may need to access the software from multiple devices.
Reporting, Insights, and Forecasting
Any CRM software will include some level of reporting, but some go much more in-depth than others.
Consider a software option that offers customization of reporting tools, from giving a high-level overview to diving deep into specific metrics of CRM, like customer acquisition analytics and email campaign conversions.
Some software options also have powerful forecasting abilities to project how your current marketing and customer retention methods might carry your business into the future. As a small business owner, the more information you have at your fingertips, the more ability you have to tweak your practices toward growth.
Your customers deserve to have their information safe. Security is something that just about every CRM comes with, but security levels and methods may differ.
256-bit encryption is standard for CRM software, so that should be the minimum level of security to shoot for. However, if you’ll have several users on your team with access to the software, it’s equally important to have user permissions that prevent your customers’ data from being viewable by those who don’t work on the customer contact end of things.
CRM software becomes so much more when it allows you to customize your workflow and pipeline. With this ability in place, you can set up your dashboard and visual elements how you see fit.
Furthermore, an intuitive software picks up on tasks you’ve done and customizations you’ve made to continue tweaking it to your business. That means more automation and less work for you as the software learns your workflow.
Your customer relationships have the power to grow your business if you cultivate them with a well-managed system.
We highly recommend Bigin and Pipedrive for most small businesses. They both have affordable per-user subscription rates, several built-in features, and excellent scalability for your business to grow.
The right CRM software does most of the legwork for you, organizing contacts, tasks, pipeline, and more, with a streamlined interface that makes it easy to see what you’ve done and what you need to do next. Consider the methodology we used to decide on the best CRM software to help your business succeed.