CRM software gives your sales team the organizational tools to better focus their efforts and close more deals more efficiently. They can run the gamut from sales-focused pipeline management tools to full enterprise solutions that touch on every department of your business. We looked at the most popular options and rising stars that cover the range of options for small businesses in terms of price, features, and integrations.
Best CRM Summary Table
|Insightly||Best overall mix of price, features, and ease of use|
|Zoho||Recommended if you require customization|
|Pipedrive||Simple to use and puts your sales pipeline front and center|
|Prosperworks||Seamless integration with the Google suite and RingCentral|
|HubSpot CRM||Free option that’s best for small teams using a CRM for the first time|
|Salesforce||Powerful enterprise-level CRM with the price to match|
1Price is listed monthly, but is billed once annually
2Free option has limited users and/or features
How We Evaluated CRM Software
When evaluating CRM software, we took these main factors into consideration:
- Ease of use
- Customer support
- Are there any key features that are missing
Best CRM for Small Businesses: Insightly
We recommend Insightly as the best CRM for small businesses because it’s the system your team is the most likely to actually use and embrace thanks to its intuitive menus, fast-loading design, and advanced features that focus on quality over quantity. It’s also the system we use here at Fit Small Business.
While Insightly offers a wide range of editions, Insightly’s Plus plan for $29/month per user will meet the needs of most small businesses. The Plus plan offers all the essential CRM features, plus additional integrations, scheduled reports, and custom branding.
Here’s all of Insightly’s editions:
- Free for up to two users, which includes most features, but limited storage, automation and integrations
- Plus for $29/month per user, which increases storage space and adds email scheduling
- Professional for $49/month per user which adds lead assignment, workflow automation, and role-based permissions
- Enterprise for $99/month per user, which provides unlimited storage and a dedicated support specialist
Insightly has a range of sales and productivity features that follow the lifecycle of a sale:
- Webforms on your website (or Facebook) to capture leads
- Lead assignment rules (available in the Professional edition and higher).
- Pre-written email templates
- Opportunities are qualified leads that enter your sales pipeline
- Projects oversee the sales completion
- Reports oversee progress
Insightly offers email support from 10am to 6pm EST, Monday to Friday, for all paid users.
Insightly also offers a comprehensive online knowledge base and a community-sourced Q&A.
What’s Missing from Insightly?
If there’s any downside to Insightly, it’s the lack of features for larger teams (20+ employees). There’s no territory management, which can be helpful for organizing larger sales teams, nor are there quotes, invoices, or purchase orders, which are provided by Zoho and Salesforce. There’s also a much smaller range of integrations compared Salesforce. They do, however, support many key programs, including Gmail, Outlook, Mailchimp, Xero, and Quickbooks Online.
Best CRM for Customization: Zoho
If you want a greater range of sales and marketing tools, like quotes, purchase orders, and website visitor tracking or if you want to have greater control over the layout and data in your system, then we recommend Zoho CRM.
Zoho offers a range of pricing options that are similar to Insightly. Their Standard edition at $12/month per user includes custom reports, lead scoring, and third-party integrations, but we recommend their Professional edition at $20/month per user. The Professional edition is where Zoho’s more advanced tools begin to be offered. While Zoho’s pricing is more competitive, Insightly’s ease of use make it a better value overall.
Here’s a comparison of Zoho CRM editions:
- Free for up to ten users and includes most standard CRM features, but excludes custom reports, mass emails, invoices, and customer service management
- Standard at $12/month per user, which increases your storage and adds custom reports, mass emails, lead scoring, and many more integrations.
- Professional at $20/month per user, which provides unlimited records storage and adds lead assignment rules, inventory management, customer service management, and more
- Enterprise at $35/month per user, which adds email auto responders, territory management, conditional fields, and more
- CRM Plus at $50/month per user, which adds priority support, more advanced customization options, and more
- Ultimate for $100/month per user, which includes everything above and adds a development sandbox, advanced customization options, and a dedicated database cluster
Zoho offers many of the same features as Insightly, with the exception of project management (Zoho offers a standalone project management application, called Zoho Projects). They also offer a range of additional sales tools, including:
- Invoices, quotes and purchase orders with the Professional edition and higher
- Lead scoring, which automatically identifies your top leads based on predefined rules
- Website visitor tracking, so you can tell when leads/contacts are on your website and what pages they’re looking at
- Sales signals, which are pop-up notifications about your leads/customers — for example, you can receive a notification whenever a customer opens your email, accesses your website, or mentions you in a social media post
Besides that, you’ll also find non-sales tools like customer service management and email marketing automation in the Professional edition and higher.
Zoho offers phone and email support 24 hours a day, Monday to Friday, for all users — even those on the free edition. Zoho’s support team is based in India where the company was founded and still largely operates.
Zoho also offers an online knowledge base and user forums.
What’s Missing from Zoho?
Where Zoho is lacking is in its ease of setup and administration. It requires more training and has a steeper learning curve than our recommended CRM, Insightly, which is easier to learn and set up on your own. This makes it less ideally suited if you’re just looking to use the standard CRM features. However, if you need the extra customization and automation, then Zoho is well worth the effort.
Best CRM for Sales Pipeline Management: Pipedrive
Pipedrive is very sales-focused and easy to use out of the box. Pipedrive’s home page is a visual representation of your sales pipeline, which sales reps love because it’s exactly how they would expect a sales CRM to look and work. It’s also the best, inexpensive option for companies to manage only sales with their CRM.
Pipedrive offers three pricing packages — Silver at $10/month per user, Gold at $24/month per user, and Platinum at $63/month per user. All plans include sales pipeline management and reporting. Silver includes 2GB of file storage, Gold includes 5GB of file storage, full email sync including templates, and product management, and Platinum includes 100GB of file storage, revenue forecasting, and priority support.
Pipedrive is a CRM that’s designed around the philosophy that everything is built around activity-based selling. In practice, that means that Pipedrive is focused on the productivity of your sales team and places their sales pipeline front and center.
- Drag-and-drop interface is intuitive and easy to use
- Clean visual design gives you a high-level overview at a glance
- Full email integration lets you compose and send emails from within the CRM and automatically logs emails to and from your leads
Customer support is available by email and by live chat and phone from 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday to Friday. Platinum subscribers also have access to priority phone support.
What’s Missing from Pipedrive?
We like that Pipedrive is focused on the needs of your sales team, but this benefit may also be to its detriment if you want to use your CRM throughout other departments in your business. It’s also lacking some of the more advanced features of its competitors, such as inventory management, project management once a deal is closed, and workflow automation.
Best CRM for Contact Management: Prosperworks
Prosperworks is a CRM that’s designed to integrate seamlessly with the Google suite of applications, going so far as to share many of the same design elements. It also offers an integration with RingCentral, which allows you to track leads with your VoIP phone service, albeit only with their highest priced package.
Prosperworks offers three pricing packages ranging from their Basic package at $19/month per user to their Business package at $119/month per user. More features and storage space are offered as you move up in package price. Here is how Prosperworks’ packages compare:
- Basic package at $19/month per user for up to five users, includes all of the basic CRM features your business will need plus up to 30,000 records and 5GB of storage
- Professional package at $49/month per user, adds email tracking, task automation, and increases your storage to 100,000 records and 200GB.
- Business package at $119/month per user, adds the ability to set and track goals for your team, additional metrics and insights, integration with RingCentral, and increases your storage to 500,000 records and 500GB.
In addition to the basic features that you would expect from any CRM, Prosperworks offers two additional features that could significantly impact both your user experience as well as how far you can extend the usefulness of your CRM.
- Integrates seamlessly with the Google suite of business applications, including Docs, Sheets, Slides, Calendar, and Gmail. This allows you to link all of your files, fields, events, and other data across your company. There’s even a Chrome extension for it.
- Users of RingCentral will find their VoIP phone service integrated within Prosperworks, enabling them to make, receive, and log calls from within the CRM. While we liked this useful feature, it’s only available in Prosperworks’ highest priced package at $119/month per user.
Prosperworks also offers a very comprehensive online knowledge base, including live training webinars and a community sourced Q&A as well as email-based support.
However, we were disappointed to find that phone and live chat support are only available to Business package subscribers.
What’s Missing from Prosperworks?
Prosperworks is a fully featured CRM with some advanced design elements and functionality that separate it from its competitors. However, their Basic package at $19/month per user is just that — basic. It covers most of the CRM features your business will need, but to have access to more advanced features like email tracking or RingCentral VoIP phone service integration, you will have to subscribe to their higher priced packages starting at $49/month per user. This makes it a less economical option than some of the other options we reviewed.
Best Low Cost CRM: HubSpot
We recommend HubSpot for businesses using a CRM for the first time, especially those on a limited budget. It has a simple and powerful range of features, which includes powerful contact management, lead tracking, and pipeline management. And what HubSpot may lack in the number of features, it makes up for in simplicity, power, and quality.
HubSpot is unique among the options we reviewed in that they offer their base CRM service for free. This includes core features, such as customer management, deal management, task management, Gmail integration, email scheduling, and email tracking.
However, the ability to add prospects, as well as increasing the limits on templates, storage, and reporting requires the addition of HubSpot’s Sales Starter package at $50/month per user. More advanced features, such as sales automation, predictive lead scoring, product management, and multiple deal pipelines requires HubSpot’s Sales Professional package at $200/month per user.
HubSpot’s best feature is its price. For very small businesses, or for businesses that are using a CRM for the first time and aren’t sure exactly which features they need, HubSpot’s free plan and easy to learn and use interface are an ideal introduction to core CRM features.
- Customer management
- Deal management
- Task management
- Gmail integration
- Email scheduling
- Email tracking
Upgrading to their Sales Starter package adds the ability to add prospects, as well as increasing the limits on templates, storage, and reporting and their Sales Professional package adds sales automation, predictive lead scoring, product management, and multiple deal pipelines.
We also like that Hubspot allows you to pull data from your email and social media channels and automatically add it to your contact’s timeline. This can be a significant benefit as it helps you to keep your contact interaction records up to date, which is otherwise a major frustration to salespeople.
HubSpot offers a comprehensive online knowledge base, including an extensive library of tutorials called the HubSpot Academy as well as an active community of users who offer support to each other.
However, it should be noted that email, live chat, and phone support are only available to users with a paid package. If you’re using their free package, support is limited to self-service options — inconvenient, but understandable.
What’s Missing from HubSpot?
The main disadvantages of HubSpot are that some features that you get with other CRMs, such as workflow management, and customer support are only available if you subscribe to one of their paid packages.
Also, if you decide to upgrade to their advanced package, pricing starts at $50/month per user. This puts it in the range of more fully featured CRMs.
Best Enterprise-Level CRM: Salesforce
Salesforce is arguably the biggest CRM solution on the market. It’s powerful, highly customizable, and offers the widest range of features — but at a cost that will likely put it out of reach for most small businesses.
Salesforce offers a basic edition, called Lightning Essentials, for $25/month per user. However, most of the features that Salesforce is known for require at least their Lightning Professional edition for $75/month per user. Salesforce also offers a Lightning Enterprise edition for $150/month per user and a Lightning Unlimited edition for $300/month per user.
Salesforce is one of the more expensive CRMs on the market. At $75/month per user, the Lightning Professional edition is very similar to Zoho’s Professional, which is only $20/month per user. Meanwhile, their Enterprise edition at $150/month per user adds workflow automation and territory management, similar to Zoho Enterprise, which is only $35/month per user.
Here is how Salesforce’s editions compare:
- Lightning Essentials at $25/month per user is an advanced contact manager with email integration and follow-up reminders, but very limited CRM tools
- Lightning Professional at $75/month per user is the first edition of Salesforce “proper,” which includes opportunity/lead tracking, quotes, customer service management, and more
- Lightning Enterprise at $150/month per user adds workflow automation, territory management, and more
- Lightning Unlimited at $300/month per user adds 24/7 priority support, a development sandbox, and more
Salesforce offers all of the same CRM features as Insightly and Zoho. Where it excels is in the level of customization and integration — both internally using Salesforce’s schema builder and externally by integrating add-ons and third-party applications.
In particular, there are two powerful Salesforce add-ons for B2B businesses:
- Salesforce Einstein at $50/month per user is a lead scoring system that uses artificial intelligence to predict how you should interact with leads at any given time. While this requires a bit of setup first — for example, programming the AI components into your pipelines and workflows — it has the promise to save your team time and effort in the long run.
- Salesforce Pardot starting at $1,000/month is an advanced email and web marketing system. It allows you to capture and nurture leads with the same level of sophistication as their sales automation. You can define a number of workflows, then automatically send emails or trigger alerts based on how a marketing lead interacts with your company.
Phone and email support are available to all users from 8am to 8pm EST, except for Lightning Unlimited users ($300/month per user) who have 24/7 priority support. Salesforce has U.S.-based support for domestic clients, and additional offices around the world that support a wide range of languages.
Salesforce also offers a comprehensive online knowledge base with a community-sourced Q&A.
Like Zoho, Salesforce support suffers due to its size. It can be difficult finding expert knowledge needed for your specific edition — and this is especially true when you search their online databases.
What’s Missing from Salesforce?
Salesforce is not lacking in functionality, but it is in affordability. It’s a powerful enterprise-level solution that may be out of reach for most small businesses, but offers more than most small business would need. Most, if not all, of the primary CRM features that a small business will need are available from other services, such as Insightly, Zoho, and HubSpot for much less.
All CRM Options
|Insightly||Solo & Small Teams||Easiest “advanced” CRM on the market|
|Zoho||Customization||Use custom fields, layouts & workflow rules|
|Pipedrive||Sales Tracking||Simple CRM with expert pipeline management|
|Prosperworks||Email & Phone Integration||Great contact management with email-tracking VoIP|
|Hubspot CRM||Free Option||(nearly) unlimited users and storage for free|
|Salesforce||Integrations||Huge range of programs integrated into your workflow|
|Nimble||Social Media Users||Combine social media accounts into one system|
|Base CRM||Mobile Users||User-friendly CRM with strong mobile app.|
|Hatchbuck||Inbound Marketing||Boost sales with smart email & marketing automation|
|Contactually||Real estate agents||Uses automation to build better relationships and get more referrals|
|Spiro||Analytics||Integrated CRM tool with AI capabilities|
The Bottom Line
CRM software is a sound investment for your business. Sales teams in particular can benefit from their lead, sales, and workflow management features, which can significantly increase efficiency and allow them to focus on what they do best — converting leads into customers. There’s no shortage of CRM options on the market, from free and basic to fully featured enterprise-level suites. Which one is best for your business will depend largely on the number of users, the size of your business, any other applications that you would like to integrate, and, of course, your budget.