This article is part of a larger series on CRM.
Artificial intelligence (AI) technology applies human cognitive capabilities to computer applications—allowing them to complete tasks and obtain data insights for users automatically. When used in customer relationship management (CRM) software, AI helps sales and marketing teams engage customers, receive performance feedback, and analyze sales data. After evaluating software providers that incorporate AI, we found the best AI CRMs include:
- Best Free AI CRM: HubSpot CRM
- Great AI-powered chatbot tools: Freshsales
- Excellent option for receiving AI sales suggestions: Pipedrive
- Broadest AI capabilities: Zoho CRM
- Best AI CRM for lead management: Zendesk Sell
- Solid option for comprehensive AI business use cases: ClickUp
- Ideal for auto-generating email content: Capsule CRM
- Best for AI analytics features: Salesforce Sales Cloud
Best AI CRM Software Compared
*Based on annual billing; monthly billing is available for slightly higher rates.
HubSpot CRM: Best Free AI CRM Software
- Paid plans get expensive on the higher tiers
- Automated A/B testing on email and landing page content using AI requires the Enterprise plan
- AI for data duplicate management gets expensive
- You want free artificial intelligence (AI) features: HubSpot is one of the top free CRM systems as it comes with unlimited users and all-in-one sales, marketing, and service modules for free. Additionally, while HubSpot employs AI for many of its tools, the free-forever plan comes with an AI content assistant for generating blog or email ideas, drafts, and outlines. Plus, there’s a chatbot builder to help AI engage website visitors.
- You need a responsive AI assistant: The recent update from HubSpot announced two new AI tools, both of which are available for free. One was the AI content assistant and the other is the powerful ChatSpot tool that deploys AI as an assistant that will complete tasks for you on command. It will send email follow-ups, provide status updates, forecast revenue, report metrics, retrieve prospect data, and update lead records for its users.
- You need more affordable AI tools for data duplication: While HubSpot does have data duplication features that use AI to identify potentially repetitive records, it is not available until the Professional plan, starting at $450 per month.
- Alternative: The Freddy AI tool of Freshsales can handle duplicate management for just $39 per user monthly.
- You want a more flexible business management solution: HubSpot, specifically its CRM Suite, is great for managing revenue operations through its all-in-one sales, marketing, and service modules. However, it doesn’t have the flexibility to oversee other functions of a business, such as finance, projects, HR, or product development, since it’s a traditional CRM and marketing automation platform.
- Alternative: ClickUp is the best alternative as it is a work management tool that can be configured through board and data field tailoring to handle all aspects of a business like sales, marketing, service, finance, and projects.
HubSpot CRM Pricing Plan & Overview*
*Pricing is based on annual billing on a per-month breakdown. Monthly billing is available for a higher cost. Each plan offers a 14-day free trial. Pricing reflects pricing info available at the time of publishing. While we update pricing information regularly, we encourage our readers to check current pricing here.
**Pricing uses the monthly Sales Hub costs for individuals and small teams. The provider also offers Enterprise-level products for larger sales teams and the CRM Suite, which includes sales, marketing, customer service, content management system (CMS), and operations software in one product for a higher price.
Our Expert Opinion
HubSpot CRM received a nearly perfect score as the best AI CRM system. We already tout the product for its robust free plan, high usability ratings, and all-in-one sales, marketing, and service capabilities. What makes it even better is that it’s a free AI-powered CRM through its chatbot builder, content assistant, and ChatSpot tools. The ChatSpot features, which combined ChatGPT functions with the CRM, are a game-changer and productivity hack for sales users.
Freshsales: Best AI Chatbot Tools
- Expensive profile enrichment tools
- Most AI-powered features like data deduplication, deal insights, and next-best actions feedback requires the Pro plan
- Users must be on the Enterprise plan for AI forecasting insights
- You prioritize omnichannel and artificial intelligence (AI) engagement: Freshsales stands out for its multi-functional communication tools that let you engage leads via phone, email, live chat, text, and third-party messenger apps. There’s also the Freddy AI Chatbot for engaging website visitors. The chatbot, as opposed to live chat, lets you answer questions, identify buyer intent, and generate leads without any manual user requirements.
- You need free lead scoring powered by AI: The Freshsales Growth plan allows up to three free users. In addition to the chatbot tools, the free-forever plan has built-in lead scoring, which uses Freddy AI Insights to qualify contacts stored in your CRM. It analyzes demographic data and behaviors to identify hot prospects.
- You need affordable forecasting insights: Freshsales does incorporate AI for sales forecasting, which will make suggestions on deals that you can count on closing based on historical data and discovered trends. This capability, unfortunately, requires the Enterprise plan for $69 per user monthly.
- Alternative: Zoho CRM has the most cost-friendly AI-powered forecasting tools that start at $40 per user monthly.
- You want to make task commands to AI: While Freshsales has excellent AI functions for engaging prospects, scoring leads, and getting insights on deals, it still lacks a tool for users to make direct commands to an AI bot for data updates, follow-up emails, or other day-to-day tasks of a rep.
- Alternative: HubSpot’s ChatSpot tool is the perfect solution for command functions that allow users to delegate tasks to an AI bot on the free-forever plan.
Freshsales Pricing Plan & Overview*
*Pricing is based on annual billing on a per-user monthly breakdown. Monthly billing is available for a higher cost. Freshsales offers a 21-day free trial and optional paid add-ons for additional workflow automations and phone credits starting at $5. Pricing reflects pricing info available at the time of publishing. While we update pricing information regularly, we encourage our readers to check current pricing here.
Our Expert Opinion
Freshsales is an excellent CRM with AI functionality as it’s affordable, easy to operate, and has a variety of use cases like lead scoring, data management, and deal insights. We primarily like the AI chatbot, which allows teams to use an advanced conversation tool to put their website visitor engagement on autopilot. Powered by Freddy, the chatbot can address questions and generate leads for users while analyzing and identifying prospect intent.
Pipedrive: Best for Receiving Sales Suggestions
- Doesn’t offer a free plan
- Project management tools are expensive
- No AI capabilities for content creation
- You want artificial intelligence (AI)-power sales recommendations: Pipedrive is a sales CRM system that prioritizes lead, deal, and proposal management use cases. The AI capabilities come from its Sales Assistant tool, which acts as a personal sales mentor. It provides tips on how to improve performance, sends user notifications, and updates you on deal statuses and progress.
- You need robust automation in your AI CRM software: In addition to the AI features, Pipedrive is a great option for traditional sales automation tools that use triggers and actions to complete workflows. Teams can use Pipedrive for automated profile enrichment, proposal generation, email follow-ups, and lead assignments to other users.
- You need free AI capabilities: Pipedrive does not offer a free-forever plan and, by default, does not provide teams with free AI tools.
- Alternative: HubSpot and Freshsales are the two best CRMs with free AI functionality.
- You want content support from your AI tools: Because Pipedrive is sales-focused, it cannot incorporate AI in marketing and content management tasks such as auto-generating content ideas, outlines, or drafts for a blog or email message.
- Alternative: HubSpot offers free content support through its AI content assistant that will produce ideas, plan, and execute blog posts, follow-up emails, or mass email campaigns for its users. ClickUp is another good alternative with AI to handle content creation for any business team, including those outside of sales and marketing.
Pipedrive Pricing Plan & Overview*
*Pricing is based on annual billing on a per-user monthly breakdown. Monthly billing is available for a higher cost. Paid plans include a 14-day free trial. Pricing reflects pricing info available at the time of publishing. While we update pricing information regularly, we encourage our readers to check current pricing here.
Our Expert Opinion
Pipedrive is the best AI CRM option for sales teams who need to ensure no task slips through the cracks. The AI Sales Assistant is a great mentor and support mechanism for receiving tips, notifications, and task updates throughout all the CRM modules. This allows reps to stay up to date on deals, discover new workflows they can automate, and gain insights on how to bring in more sales.
Zoho CRM: Best for Broad AI Use Cases
- Poor product usability ratings
- Zia tool not available until Enterprise plan
- Automated lead scoring through Zia AI gets expensive
- You want broad use cases for artificial intelligence (AI) in your CRM: Zoho has a wide range of use cases for the AI CRM features. Through Zia, users can make predictions on conversions or forecasts, detect performance anomalies, and obtain recommendations on workflow automations or who to assign records to. Zia can also auto-enrich CRM data, give alerts on competitors, and detect customer intent on emails.
- You need AI command features: In addition to robust AI functions available in the CRM, Zoho offers a simple chat tool to ask Zia questions or make task commands. This enables teams to improve productivity by having AI generate reports, pull CRM records, create and assign tasks, and take notes for them. The feature works as a live chat widget and through voice commands.
- You want cost-friendly AI tools: While Zoho is notorious for its free and cost-friendly subscription options, the Zia tool is not available until the Enterprise plan for $40 per user monthly.
- Alternative: We recommend using Freshsales if affordability is your top priority. The AI chatbot and contact scoring tools are available on the Growth plan for $15 per user monthly. That plan is also free for the first three users.
- You want a more intuitive interface: Zoho CRM has a somewhat clunky interface that appears outdated as you browse through the different lead, deal, inventory, and service management modules—making it difficult to navigate for new users.
- Alternative: HubSpot is a great alternative for overall product ease of use which also offers an AI chat and command function. Better yet, this tool is available for free.
Zoho CRM Pricing Plan & Overview*
*Pricing is based on annual billing on a per-user monthly breakdown. Monthly billing is available for a higher cost. Zoho CRM comes with a 15-day free trial for the paid plans. Pricing reflects pricing info available at the time of publishing. While we update pricing information regularly, we encourage our readers to check current pricing here.
Our Expert Opinion
While Zoho CRM doesn’t provide the most affordable AI options, it certainly offers the most use cases. Based on the provider’s Zia feature page, users have over a dozen functions they can perform using the AI tools. The most notable is the assistant, where you can chat with Zia to get answers to questions or perform CRM tasks. Another good one is the automation recommendations that can suggest and predesign workflows you can put on autopilot.
Zendesk Sell: Best for End-to-End Lead Management
- No free plan
- AI tools in the sales CRM requires third-party integrations; built-in chatbots and intelligence requires Zendesk Service
- Limited AI functionality to chatbots and CRM analysis through third-party tools
- You want a complete artificial intelligence (AI) CRM for lead management: Zendesk Sell is an excellent lead management system because of its end-to-end functionality. It includes prospecting tools through a database full of contacts for teams to filter and create lead lists. There are also lead scoring, deal tracking, and engagement tools to assist with outreach, product and price book storage, and built-in appointment scheduling.
- You need multi-channel engagement tools: Zendesk Sell is one of the best CRMs for communication features. Teams that utilize multi-channel campaigns or conduct direct outreach through various sources can use Zendesk’s telephone, email, and text capabilities. It also integrates with third-party tools so users can engage leads or customers automatically as an AI chatbot.
- You need free AI tools: Zendesk Sell isn’t particularly expensive, but it does not offer any free-forever plan and therefore, no free AI tools.
- Alternative: HubSpot CRM is our pick for the best overall free CRM with AI functionality.
- You want more AI for CRM use cases: Zendesk Sell is limited to AI as a chatbot for conversing with leads and gaining deal insights—both requiring a third-party integration. The Zendesk Service platform, which is a native Zendesk product available for a separate cost, is more robust for AI features. It has built-in chatbots plus AI for sending emails, determining intent, identifying spam on a user forum, getting content recommendations, and receiving automaton suggestions.
- Alternative: Zoho CRM has the widest range of AI capabilities, which are all built into the main CRM product.
Zendesk Sell Pricing Plan & Overview*
*Pricing is based on annual billing on a per user monthly breakdown. Monthly billing is available for a higher cost. Zendesk Sell comes with a 14-day free trial. Pricing reflects pricing info available at the time of publishing. While we update pricing information regularly, we encourage our readers to check current pricing here.
Our Expert Opinion
Assuming you’re integrating with a third-party AI chatbot, conversational intelligence, or data analysis tool, Zendesk Sell is a solid CRM with AI features. The most notable use cases are for lead management throughout the entire sales process and leveraging multi-channel communication strategies. Zendesk Sell also supplements its native Zendesk Service product as a way to generate new business and manage customers using the same provider.
ClickUp: Best for General Business Use
- Not designed as a traditional CRM system; users must design their boards from scratch or through premade templates
- Tough system to navigate with many software modules and tools
- AI capabilities limited to content creation, editing, and summarizing
- You need an affordable business management solution: ClickUp is a CRM alternative that can be tailored into a CRM by designing spaces and items accordingly. That said, you can use ClickUp to manage all business functions, such as sales, marketing, service, engineering, special products, and financial functions. It is overall affordable, has a free plan, and includes AI for $5 per user monthly.
- You want to use AI for content management: ClickUp’s AI Assistant is used strictly for automating content management. It lets you generate, outline, edit, or summarize written content hands-free. Because of its flexibility, users can apply the tool for any functional need. For example, a sales rep can ask it to write a prospect email, an engineer generate a model schema, or a project manager create a statement of work.
- You prefer a traditional CRM: Since ClickUp is a work management tool, you’ll need to do lots of tailoring and setting up before you can use the platform as a CRM system.
- You need more expansive AI capabilities: ClickUp is not ideal if you want other AI functions like task commands or advanced intelligence on your CRM data. Its assistant tool is limited strictly to writing, outlining, editing, and summarizing content.
- Alternative: Zoho is the best AI CRM in terms of broad use cases—offering over a dozen sophisticated functions like predictions, data enrichment, performance recommendations, and the ability to ask the AI bot questions or deliver commands.
ClickUp Pricing Plan & Overview*
*Pricing is based on annual billing on a per-user monthly breakdown. Monthly billing is available for a higher cost. ClickUp comes with a 14-day free trial. Pricing reflects pricing info available at the time of publishing. While we update pricing information regularly, we encourage our readers to check current pricing here.
Our Expert Opinion
ClickUp is both a versatile and specialized product. This comes from the fact that you can tailor your workspaces to any need and, in turn, apply the AI Assistant to an array of teams at your business. Its narrow, specialized focus, however, makes it that the AI tool is strictly for content creation. Teams can automate the drafting process for reports, emails, and articles, plus leverage AI for improving content, creating outlines, and even summarizing lengthy drafts.
Capsule CRM: Best for Auto-Writing Sales Emails
- Users are restricted to 10 AI content “assists” on the Free and Professional plans
- AI capabilities are limited to helping with email content
- Bare-bones free plan only allows 250 contacts
- You want to use artificial intelligence (AI) for email: Capsule CRM offers an AI content assistant tool to help reps quickly produce quality email messages. It works from the “compose email” page in a contact record by prompting the users on what they want to write about, the length, and the tone. Once set and commanded, the AI tool drafts the email content, which can be directly inserted into the message.
- You need built-in project management: In addition to great sales tools and the AI content assistant, Capsule CRM is one of the few products on this list with built-in project management. This allows you to oversee client deliverables or special team projects in the same system you manage leads and close deals.
- You need more contact capacity on your free plan: While Capsule CRM does offer a free-forever plan, it is barebones in that you can only store up to 250 contact records.
- Alternative: HubSpot’s Free plan is robust and allows up to 1,000,000 records in its database.
- You want broader AI features in your CRM: Capsule is limited because the AI function can only handle content creation, specifically email content. It also limits the number of email “assists” you get during the subscription period to 10 or 1,000, depending on the plan.
Capsule CRM Pricing Plan & Overview*
*Pricing is based on annual billing on a per user monthly breakdown. Monthly billing is available for a higher cost. The paid plans offer a 14-day free trial. Pricing reflects pricing info available at the time of publishing. While we update pricing information regularly, we encourage our readers to check current pricing here.
Our Expert Opinion
Capsule CRM is an excellent tool for deal management and tracking sales opportunities. These features are well-supplemented with its AI content assistant, included in the Free plan, for auto-generating email messages for sales reps. The platform also performs well in usability ratings for commanding the AI tool, operating the other features, and navigating the system interface.
Salesforce: Best for AI Analytics
- No free plan, and plans are expensive
- AI features aren’t included in the CRM until the Ultimate plan
- Steep learning curve required to get comfortable with the tools
- You want deep intelligence on sales data: Salesforce’s artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities are powered by its Einstein tool. It can run countless types of analysis and provide recommendations using any stored CRM data. Users, for example, can evaluate conversations with leads to find buying signals, identify lead relationships and ideal profiles for referral opportunities, and merge and enrich data records automatically.
- You need to accelerate decision-making: The AI features are excellent for speeding up key decisions. Einstein lets you score leads and deals to see which ones require immediate attention. It also runs predictions for users on produced deals, revenue, and anything else you want to know within your datasets. Finally, Salesforce ensures you have up-to-date information by auto-syncing record, email, and meeting data.
- You need affordable AI features: Salesforce is already an expensive option with no free-forever plan. Plus, the Einstein AI tools aren’t available until the Enterprise plan, for which you must purchase the add-on separately. Only on the Ultimate plan for $300 per user monthly allow access to the AI tools automatically.
- Alternative: HubSpot is the best free AI option, while Freshsales, ClickUp, and Pipedrive all offer more affordable plans that include AI on the lower tiers.
- You want a simpler CRM system: Salesforce is highly advanced in terms of analytics tools, AI functions, and automation features. There are also tons of modules you navigate through, along with a wide range of tool extensions and integrations. This makes the platform demand a steep learning curve, even for users familiar with CRM systems.
- Alternative: HubSpot is our favorite option for the most simple AI CRM that comes with an intuitive interface and minimal learning curve.
Salesforce Pricing Plan & Overview*
*Pricing is based on annual billing on a per user monthly breakdown. Salesforce offers a 30-day free trial on paid plans. Pricing reflects pricing info available at the time of publishing. While we update pricing information regularly, we encourage our readers to check current pricing here.
Our Expert Opinion
Salesforce is the most advanced analytics and reporting CRM platform on this list. It incorporate Einstein AI, and the product looks like it’s from the future. Users can run predictions, interpret conversations, score opportunities, enrich profiles, and sync data automatically, thanks to the AI. We also love how Einstein acts as an assistant and makes recommendations on how to close the deal and which leads to pursue based on relationship mappings with current customers.
How We Evaluated the Best AI CRM Software
To determine the best CRM for artificial intelligence (AI) features, we evaluated each product’s AI functionality and broad use cases. For example, only having AI tools with content writing capabilities would not score as high as one that can do content writing, make predictions, and complete sales tasks for users. Additionally, we wanted to see the providers offer AI capabilities for an affordable price and ensure the tools are easy to use.
The tabs below provide insight into our evaluation process of the best CRMs with AI features:
25% of Overall Score
Since it is assumed each of these CRMs has AI capabilities, we first looked at general features crucial to a CRM software regardless of specialty or use case. Customizable modules, a mobile app, and extensive third-party integrations, for example, are vital attributes of any software. We also wanted to see robust analytics and reporting features that may or may not be powered by an AI tool.
20% of Overall Score
Niche and advanced features specifically looked at AI capabilities and how they can be applied to a business operation. Use cases like AI-assisted lead scoring, forecasting, content management, and task assignment are all great examples of how a CRM could deploy this technology.
20% of Overall Score
Our pricing evaluation considered the cost of accessing the AI features. Additionally, we looked at all-around product affordability through free-plan options and scalable paid plans. Finally, we evaluated each provider’s billing flexibility and whether or not users could save by subscribing to an annual plan.
20% of Overall Score
Extensive customer support allows users to get the best possible experience while operating their CRM tools. This was evaluated in terms of channel availability through phone, email, or live chat and the hours of operation you could reach a service member. We also assessed whether the provider offers self-service options like a CRM knowledge base, user forums, and product guides.
15% of Overall Score
In addition to firsthand experience with these AI CRMs, we evaluated what actual users are saying based on online reviews. These criteria allow us to see how subscribers felt in terms of value for the price paid and how useful the features are to each business. It also enabled us to get a better understanding of product ease of use in terms of navigating, operating, and setting up the CRM system.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the concept of using computers or software applications to complete tasks and processes for humans. AI technology incorporates human cognitive capabilities to perform its functions. It is typically powered by machine learning (ML) algorithms that help the program learn and develop to constantly improve its capabilities.
Depending on the CRM product, AI can be used for analyzing sales data, automating workflows, and filling in as a sales assistant that will complete tasks, such as updating data or writing content on command. AI tools in CRMs can also make recommendations to users on how to improve sales performance and get the most out of their CRM system.
AI CRMs give sales teams a leg up on the competition in two primary ways. The first is boosting efficiency through automation as AI will complete tasks, such as writing emails, engaging with website visitors, and managing data records for users. The other advantage is gaining data intelligence. AI can analyze all deal, lead, and user information in the database to help find patterns, make predictions, and ultimately provide useful insights for key decisions.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot trend making its way into various business software, including CRM platforms. An AI CRM allows users to complete mundane tasks and gain intelligence on their data without any manual requirements. Though we ranked HubSpot as the best AI CRM, other products could be a better fit depending on your use-case requirements, budget, and user experience standards.