Account management is a function of customer relationship management (CRM) software intended to help businesses organize their sales efforts with multiple divisions, locations, and points of contact. We evaluated dozens of CRM-related software options to find the best for account management based on their account hierarchies and how they facilitate the overall sales process.
Top 6 Account Management Software 2019
|Account Management Software||Best For|
|(Best Overall) Powerful and affordable account management features designed for B2B sales teams.|
|Businesses that sell standardized products into managed accounts.|
|Businesses that need account management software for both sales and customer service.|
|Businesses that need a powerful mobile CRM for field account management.|
|Businesses that need account management software that manages customer projects and recurring invoicing.|
|Retail & ecommerce businesses that need customer payment processing along with account managing tools.|
How We Evaluated Account Management Software
Account management software is a feature set of larger customer relationship management (CRM) tools. Therefore, to determine the best, we looked at how CRMs handled multiple contacts within a company, which reporting features are available that let reps better understand which accounts are most valuable, and the overall control the software gives users over defining accounts and territories. We also looked at pricing as well as overall ease of use.
We considered software based on the following factors:
- Price: One of the top considerations for small businesses is the overall value offered by the combination of features for the price, as well as whether any additional setup or implementation fees are required.
- Ease of use: We looked at how easy it is for sales reps and managers to use the software to find the information they need, make decisions, and plan their activities according to their overall sales strategy.
- Contact management: How the CRM associates contacts with deals and accounts often determines how well it helps you stay organized as you qualify and nurture leads into new customers.
- Deal management: We considered how well the software allows you to customize your sales pipeline based on your overall strategy, and how it supports moving deals through that sales pipeline in various types of accounts.
- Multi-contact accounts: How the software handles the relationship between multiple divisions, departments, and hierarchal companies within one account, especially if they are distributed in various locations and handled by multiple reps.
- Reporting: How the software provides data and analysis about sales activities and performance. We also looked at whether it allows users to create specific sales goals and generate reporting based on achieving these goals.
- Segmentation and territories: What tools are available to organize your customer accounts into territories, and whether the software can automatically assign new leads and customers to the appropriate sales reps.
- Integration: We looked at what other software tools can be integrated with the CRM, especially accounting tools like QuickBooks and other productivity tools like Office 365.
Based on these, we recommend Freshsales as the best account management software for small businesses. It offers the best value when you consider the combination of features and price, especially its ability to associate accounts and contacts, and generate reports about which accounts are performing best. Freshsales offers a free-forever plan for unlimited users, and paid plans that begin at $12 per user, per month.
Best Overall Account Management Software for Small Businesses: Freshsales
Freshsales is a fully-featured CRM that includes robust contact and deal management tools that make it easy for users to manage hierarchical customer accounts. Freshsales also features an intuitive interface that is easily customized for any sales organization. With a free-forever plan and paid plans starting at $12 per user, per month, Freshsales is the best choice for businesses looking for an affordable CRM with solid account management features.
Freshsales offers four tiered-pricing plans, including a free plan with unlimited users and basic contact management capabilities. Advanced workflows, lead assignment routing, automated lead scoring, and advanced reporting features are available in paid plans ranging from $12 per user, per month to $49 per user, per month.
Freshsales Tiered Features
The Sprout plan is Freshsales’ free plan and includes entry-level contact management features for an unlimited number of users. The free plan includes lead scoring based on criteria like whether or not the contact is a decision-maker, which is helpful in identifying qualified sales opportunities within existing accounts. It also integrates with Freshcaller, which allows you to route incoming customer calls to the appropriate reps based on their account assignment.
The Sprout plan features an intuitive interface and mobile app that are some of the reasons it is considered among the best CRMs for small business. However, since it doesn’t specifically include account managing necessities like hierarchies, the free plan cannot be considered account management software. However, it is ideal for sales teams that are looking primarily for an affordable tool for managing basic contact relationships and sales opportunities.
The Blossom plan is $12 per user, per month, which is similar to other entry-level paid plans offered by Apptivo and Zoho. Users are also able to customize fields, sales pipelines, and workflows, making it easy to configure Freshsales to fit your specific account management strategy. In addition to basic contact management tools, the Blossom plan includes bulk email sending and templates, as well as email tracking.
The Blossom plan adds a board-style sales pipeline tool that makes it easy to move opportunities through the stages of your sales process. It is ideal for individuals or small teams that want an entry-level CRM that makes it easy to keep track of conversations and email tracking features. Freshsales also includes email scheduling at this plan level, making it a good choice for reps who need an easy tool for scheduling prospect and customer appointments.
The Garden plan is $25 per user, per month, and adds more advanced team management and territory management features, as well as account hierarchies. Like Zoho and Salesforce, this plan also includes the ability to automatically assign incoming leads based on their territory, parent account, or industry vertical. Additionally, the well-designed mobile app makes it easy for sales reps to prioritize tasks, send emails, and log calls.
The Garden Plan is the best overall choice for small and mid-sized sales teams that manage accounts and are looking for a customizable, easy-to-use CRM. The Garden Plan is slightly more expensive than Zoho or Apptivo’s comparable plans, but it allows unlimited report scheduling, voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) calling from the app, and adds call forwarding and call transfer features that make it a powerful solution for multi-user sales teams that manage accounts.
The Estate plan is $49 per user, per month, and adds advanced reporting as well as the ability to customize multiple sales pipelines. It also includes automatic profile enrichment that adds context based on your contact’s email address. At this level, the automatic lead scoring also incorporates website activity as well as email engagement, which is a unique feature among the options we considered.
The smart forms feature allows you to capture information from existing forms on your website using a code snippet, which is an extremely easy and streamlined way to integrate your CRM and CMS. This plan is comparable in price to other top-tier plans from other CRMs we reviewed, and contains the advanced features that make it a great choice for small businesses that want to grow sales within existing customer accounts.
What Freshsales Is Missing
Freshsales doesn’t include order management, pricing, or invoicing tools, which are available in alternatives like Zoho, Apptivo, and Salesforce. Freshsales also does not include support features built in like Salesforce has. However, it integrates directly with Freshdesk, one of the best support desk tools available for small businesses.
What Users Think About Freshsales
Freshsales users like the intuitive interface, and give it high marks for a relatively easy setup process, especially compared to Salesforce and Zoho. Users do wish the automated workflow features were more robust and that the lower-tier plans had more customizable reporting options. You can read more in-depth reviews on our Freshsales review page.
Where to Find Freshsales
Freshsales is the top choice for small businesses that manage customer accounts and need an affordable CRM to maximize their team’s sales efforts. The simple setup, easy-to-use interface, customizable sales pipeline, and workflows make it a powerful tool to manage your customer relationships. Freshsales offers a free-forever plan as well as a 30-day free trial of any plan.
Best Account Managing Tool for Product Sales: Zoho CRM
Zoho CRM is customizable contact relationship software featuring tools like product books and invoicing, along with a flexible sales pipeline, making it easy to manage accounts from quote to delivery. With a free-forever plan as well as paid plans starting at $12 per user, per month, Zoho CRM is an affordable account management software solution for businesses that sell standardized products and services, like IT support consultants and landscape designers.
Zoho CRM Pricing
Zoho CRM offers a free plan with basic contact management features for three users. Paid plans range from $12 to $35 per user, per month, and add advanced customization, dashboard reports, unlimited records, and order management tools like product catalogs and invoicing.
Zoho CRM Tiered Features
|Advanced CRM Customization|
|Task, Events, Call Log & Notes|
|Web-to-Lead & Web-to-Contact Forms|
|Social Media Integration|
|Website Visitor Tracking|
|Quotes, Orders & Invoice Management|
|Social Media Lead Capture|
Zoho CRM’s free-forever plan offers basic contact and deal management features for three users. Zoho’s Free plan is similar to Freshsales in terms of features, though you are more limited in the number of users. While the Free plan isn’t designed for hierarchical account management, it does have helpful features like social media integration, allowing you to capture leads from social media engagements.
Though the Free plan does allow users to create one workflow automation, the customization options are limited compared to Freshsales’ free-forever plan and Apptivo’s free tier. This plan does integrate with the overall Zoho ecosystem, giving users free access to additional productivity tools like document creation and storage, email, and document signing. The Free plan is a good fit for individuals and freelancers, especially those that market on social media.
Zoho’s Standard plan is $12 per user, per month, and includes the contact management tools found in the Free plan while adding sales forecasting and email insights. These are features that provide sales teams with valuable analytics about their sales process and lead engagement, and are especially useful tools for managing large, multi-department customers within one account. Pricing for this plan is similar to comparable entry-level plans from Freshsales and Apptivo.
This plan also includes the ability to create custom fields and performance dashboards, as well as bulk email sending (up to 250 per user, per day), which is the same as what Freshsales includes at this price point. In addition, the Standard Plan allows you to store up to 100,000 contact records, which makes it a good choice for small businesses that market on social media and are looking for a robust tool to filter leads and manage their sales process.
The Professional plan costs $20 per user, per month, and lets you store unlimited contact records. In addition, it adds advanced features like unlimited custom reporting and lead assignment rules, along with a unique feature called Sales Signals, which sends real-time notifications of various customer activities. This plan also includes product catalogs, sales quotes, order and inventory management, and invoicing.
The Professional plan is less expensive than similar plans we reviewed, but it includes much more robust product management features. This sets it apart for businesses that manage product sales to a variety of customers within larger accounts like linen suppliers, HVAC installers, and commercial food suppliers like bakeries. Also, the integration with Zoho Books means businesses can keep all of their sales quotes, purchase orders, and invoicing in one place.
What Zoho CRM Is Missing
Zoho CRM does not have a built-in calling feature like what is found in Zendesk Sell and Freshsales, instead requiring that you integrate your own third-party VoIP service. It also lacks the level of sales pipeline customization. Finally, though it does offer integration with third-party tools like Mailchimp and Shopify, Zoho does not offer the same level of two-way sync with its lower-tier plans as found in Salesforce.
What Users Think About Zoho CRM
Zoho CRM users like that you can configure the software to fit your sales process, and give it positive reviews for its overall software ecosystem. Zoho users also appreciate the setup wizards, which make setting up the software less cumbersome than options like Salesforce. However, one area where reviewers express frustration is with Zoho’s customer service response times. Be sure to read more about what customers think on our Zoho review page.
Best Account Management Software for Sales & Support: Salesforce Essentials
Salesforce Essentials is a powerful CRM that integrates with the overall Salesforce ecosystem of marketing automation, ecommerce, and analytics apps. The Essentials plan is $25 per user, per month, and is a highly customizable application that offers contact management, sales opportunities, mass emails, and customer service ticketing. This makes it a great option for businesses that want to support accounts with unified sales and service.
Salesforce Essentials Pricing
Salesforce Essentials is $25 per user, per month for up to 10 users and includes the core CRM and Service applications. The Lightning Professional version is $75 per user, per month and includes advanced features such as lead scoring, forecasting tools, and sales campaigns.
Salesforce Essentials Tiered Features
|Customer Support Cases|
|Customizable Sales Process|
|24/7 Phone Support|
|Permissions and Roles|
Sales Essentials is $25 per user, per month for up to 10 users and includes contact management, sales pipelines, and mass emails. The Essentials plan also includes the service module that lets users create support cases within the CRM and link them to an account’s history, instead of having to integrate another tool like Freshsales or Zoho. This makes it ideal for businesses that want to keep all of their customer account history in one place.
Compared to entry-level plans from Zoho and Freshsales, Salesforce is more expensive, but it includes a more comprehensive set of advanced CRM features as well as service and support features built in. While Salesforce does not offer a free plan, it is ideal for businesses that have a small sales team but need a robust set of CRM features for managing accounts through the sales process and handling customer support cases.
Salesforce Professional is $75 per user, per month, and is the fully-featured CRM platform used by more businesses than any other CRM. Professional includes advanced features like lead scoring, forecasting, advanced reporting, and permission features. It also includes extensive customization options, which make it the most robust overall account management tool of the products we compared, as well as the most expensive.
The Professional plan is designed for larger sales teams and individuals who need advanced features like automated campaigns, collaborative forecasting, contract management, and rules-based lead scoring. It may, therefore, be overkill for most small businesses. However, this plan is a good choice for established business-to-business (B2B) sales teams that are looking for a CRM to manage high-level sales opportunities at larger accounts.
What Salesforce Essentials Is Missing
Salesforce Essentials only allows up to 10 users on an account. For larger teams, you are forced to upgrade to Lightning Professional, making Salesforce a much more expensive option than any other option on this list. Salesforce Essentials also lacks built-in HR and social media management features, both of which are found in Apptivo and Zoho.
What Users Think About Salesforce Essentials
Users give Salesforce Essentials positive reviews for the updated Lightning interface, which is far more intuitive than the legacy Salesforce platform. Users also rate it highly for its advanced features and customization options as well as its reporting and analytics. At the same time, users comment that Salesforce requires extensive setup and training. For more reviews, visit our complete Salesforce review page.
Best for Field Sales Account Management: Zendesk Sell
Zendesk Sell is a comprehensive, fully-featured CRM that includes a well-designed mobile app that makes it easy to manage accounts in the field. It includes in-app VoIP calling, sales forecasting, task management, and account hierarchies with plans ranging from $19 to $99 per user, per month. The voice calling, recording, and call log features make Zendesk Sell one of the better choices for field sales account management.
Zendesk Sell Tiered Pricing
Zendesk Sell begins at $19 per user, per month, which includes contact management, deals, and the mobile CRM app featuring click-to-dial calling and call recording. Higher-tiered plans are available at $49 and $99 per user, per month, adding tools like bulk emailing, sales forecasting, and lead scoring.
Zendesk Sell Tiered Features
|Client Project Workspace|
|Products & Order Invoicing|
|Email Integration (Includes Gmail)|
|Bulk Email Sends & Templates|
|Sales Goals & Forecasting|
|Multiple Sales Pipelines|
|Unlimited Activity Reports|
|Lead & Deal Scoring|
The Team plan from Zendesk Sell is $19 per user, per month, and allows you to view the aggregated value of deals rolled up into the parent company, which none of the other CRMS on this list did, giving teams a powerful view of the most valuable accounts. It also includes contact management, deal pipelines, and a mobile CRM app featuring built-in VoIP calling and call recording, which no other mobile CRM on this list does.
Zendesk Sell is also now a part of the Zendesk ecosystem of apps that include a help desk, chat, and knowledge base. As a result, users are able to integrate their sales process and contacts within the overall suite of applications that are designed to manage the entire customer relationship. The Team plan is ideal for field sales teams like medical device sales or B2B service-industry sales teams that need to access their account management tools on the go.
The Professional plan is $49 per user, per month, and includes mass emailing, unlimited email templates, sales goals and forecasting, and advanced analytics functionality. Based on price, the Professional plan is more expensive than most mid-level plans, but Zendesk makes up for it with an intuitive user interface and advanced team management functions. Overall, Zendesk is probably the easiest CRM on this list to configure and use on a daily basis.
Because this plan includes advanced sales forecasting, it’s a powerful tool for businesses that want to evaluate which leads and accounts are most worth investing the time and effort to build relationships. Despite the higher price, this plan is a good choice for larger teams that need team management features like sales goals and want a well-designed, feature-packed mobile app for their field sales reps.
The Enterprise plan is $99 per user, per month, and provides users with additional sales pipelines, advanced permissions, a product catalog, lead and deal scoring, and activity reporting. While the Enterprise plan is expensive for a small business solution, it competes with the Lightning Professional edition from Salesforce, offering comparable features in addition to call scripts and robust integrations with third-party sales tools like HubSpot.
Field sales teams that make more than six customer appointments a day will find the calling features, as well as the task management, activity reporting, and appointment scheduling tools, to be valuable features for connecting with their customer accounts. B2B field sales teams like pharmaceutical sales and managed print service providers will find that this plan helps them better manage large, distributed customer accounts.
What Zendesk Sell Is Missing
Zendesk Sell has no free-forever plan, meaning it’s one of the more expensive options we considered. It also lacks the social media management and marketing automation tools found in Zoho and Salesforce. While it integrates with the overall Zendesk suite of software, it lacks the project management, invoicing, and productivity software found in Zoho, Apptivo, and Bitrix24.
What Customers Think About Zendesk Sell
Zendesk Sell was formerly known as Base, and Base customers like its easy-to-use interface and powerful mobile app. Users give it especially high marks for the in-app calling and call recording features. Some users have expressed frustration that the software wasn’t previously updated with new features as quickly as other options, though that has changed now that it is a part of Zendesk. Read more about what users think on our Zendesk Sell customer review page.
Best Account Management Software for Customer Projects: Bitrix24
Bitrix24 is a flexible account management software application with Gantt and Kanban-style project management tools. In addition to a free-forever tier, paid plans range from $35 to $89 per month and include additional users and advanced CRM automation features. The combination of account hierarchies and project management tools make Bitrix24 the best choice for contractors, consultants, and freelancers who manage account-based customer projects.
Bitrix24 offers three plans with unlimited contacts, project management, custom reports, email marketing, and configurable sales pipelines. The free plan allows up to 12 users, the Plus plan costs $39 per month for 24 users, and the Standard plan is $99 per month for up to 50 users and five admins.
Bitrix24 Tiered Features
|Custom CRM Fields|
|Convert Leads to Contacts|
|Bulk SMS Marketing|
|Rules for Deals|
|Activity Stream Workflows|
The Free plan includes up to 12 users and includes core contact management features, configurable sales pipelines, and both Gantt and Kanban-style project management. This plan also includes online invoicing as well as 5GB of cloud-based storage, both of which are features that are useful for businesses that handle customer projects. Bitrix24 also includes telephony features that can serve as your primary business phone service.
These features, combined with reporting and invoicing, make Bitrix24’s free plan more robust than either Freshsales or Zoho’s free plan. It also includes email marketing and email templates that are useful for nurturing existing and new prospects into customers. This makes Bitrix24 a good choice for marketing agencies, contractors, and professional services firms that primarily handle client projects.
The Plus plan is $39 per month for up to 24 users and two admins. Admins are users who are able to set permissions and manage other users’ tasks, activities, and files. This plan includes up to 24GB of cloud-based storage, which can be used for storing shared documents, proposals, contracts, and client project files, as well as video conferencing and document management features that make it ideal for collaborating with your client accounts.
The project management tools include task dependencies, which allow you to create tasks that trigger related tasks or prevent projects from moving along until they are completed (features not found in any of the other CRM products we compared). The Plus plan is ideal for mid-sized teams that need to be able to share documents and collaborate with their customer accounts as they deliver project-based services, like consultants.
The Standard plan is $89 per month and includes up to 50 users and five admins, making it useful for sales organizations with multiple teams involved in delivering client projects. This plan adds recurring pipelines and recurring invoicing, which can be used to set up monthly retainer projects on an ongoing basis. In addition, the storage space is increased to 100GB, and includes advanced document sharing, permissions, and controls.
This plan includes sales targets, which are used to set performance goals and evaluate the effectiveness of your sales efforts as you target accounts. It also allows you to create up to 10 pipelines, which gives companies that sell multiple types of projects a way to create separate processes for each. This is the most expensive plan we looked at, but includes advanced CRM and project management tools and is good for website designers and production companies.
What Bitrix24 Is Missing
Bitrix24 is missing some of the territory management features found in Freshsales and Salesforce, and does not include lead scoring. The project management tools are missing milestone and revision tracking features, though to be fair, none of the other CRMs on this list includes any project management tools.
What Users Think About Bitrix24
Users like that Bitrix24 is a robust, all-in-one solution that provides both CRM and project features. Users also like that Bitrix24 has a fully-featured Free version that can easily be used by smaller teams. Many users, however, feel that the interface is complex and less user-friendly than other options.
Best Account Management Software With Built-in Payment Processing: Apptivo
Apptivo is a comprehensive account management application that includes lead, contact, and deal management tools, as well as integrations with Stripe, Authorize.net, and PayPal, allowing users to invoice and collect customer payments from within the CRM. Apptivo plans range from free to $20 per user, per month, and are best for account managers who need the ability to create orders, send invoices, and collect payments from within an all-in-one solution.
Apptivo offers tiered pricing, including a Free plan with basic contact management and reporting for up to three users. Paid plans are $8 and $20 per user, per month, and add additional cloud-based storage, advanced third-party integrations, and file sharing. They also include customizable sales pipelines and mass email campaigns.
Apptivo Tiered Features
|Multiple Sales Pipelines|
|24/7 Phone Support|
Like the other options on this list, Apptivo lets you establish company hierarchies, making it easier to find new sales opportunities within existing accounts to focus your sales efforts. In addition, Apptivo includes a customer loyalty tool to keep track of your best customers, a feature not found in other options, which makes it a good choice for small whole suppliers and business-to-consumer (B2C) sellers like boutique clothing shops.
The starter plan is free for up to three users. It includes basic features such as lead and contact management, as well as sales opportunity management. This plan also includes invoicing and purchase order management, but it does not include the payment processing integrations. Also, unlike Freshsales or Zoho, it lacks access to the mobile app, but it does include product catalogs, which is something not available in those free plans.
The Premium plan is $8 per month and adds the ability to customize the CRM to fit your sales process with custom fields and sales pipelines. It also introduces workflows that you can configure for your sales and marketing strategy, and includes mass email marketing with up to 1,000 sends per month. This plan includes far more features than entry-level plans from Freshsales and Zoho, and is much less expensive than Salesforce and Zendesk Sell.
This plan lets you connect the CRM to your Stripe, PayPal, or Authorize.net merchant account, allowing you to collect customer payments in a seamless way through the invoicing feature. In addition, it includes built-in contract management, which isn’t included in other options on this list. Finally, this plan also includes access to the mobile CRM app, which makes it a good choice for field service teams like HVAC installers, contractors, and distributors.
The Ultimate plan is $20 per user, per month, and the primary difference is that it adds territory management. It also includes more cloud-based storage, as well as a higher volume of bulk emails, but the territory management is what sets it apart at this price point. While other options on this list, like Freshsales and Salesforce, offer territory management features, none of them offer this set of features at this price point.
Since this plan includes up to 3,000 bulk emails a month, along with the territory management features, it’s a good choice for sales teams that want to prospect among their existing territories by sending targeted marketing drip campaigns. It’s also the best fit for businesses that manage accounts across geographic territories or vertical industries and want a simple solution for invoicing and collecting payments, like parts suppliers or medical device manufacturers.
What Apptivo Is Missing
Apptivo lacks many of the advanced marketing integrations found in other CRMs like Zoho and Salesforce. It also lacks the simple setup and customization of options like Freshsales or Zendesk Sell. Finally, the mobile app versions are not available on the free plan, making it more expensive than Freshsales or Zoho to use on iOS or Android devices.
What Users Think About Apptivo
Apptivo users rave about the customer support service, especially how easy it is to quickly get a chat and email response that addresses the issue the first time. Users also like how flexible and customizable Apptivo is, but some customers comment that it can be overwhelming to set up and use. Read more about what customers think at our Apptivo review page.
Account management software is a valuable tool in managing multiple customer relationships within different departments, divisions, or locations at a single company. These software providers represent the top six account management software options for small businesses.
We chose Freshsales as the top choice for businesses that manage customer accounts because it is an affordable CRM that helps teams maximize their sales efforts, and the easy-to-use interface makes it a powerful tool to manage customer accounts. Freshsales offers a free-forever plan, as well as a 30-day free trial of any plan. Visit Freshsales to create your free account.