CRM software helps your sales team stay organized so they can better focus their efforts and close more deals. CRMs can be sales-focused or offer management tools for every department. We compared more than twenty programs offering a range of options to determine the best for small businesses in terms of price, features, and integrations.
Top 6 Best CRM for Small Business 2018
|Best CRM For Small Business|
|Freshsales||(Best Overall) B2B businesses that want a flexible, robust, and competitively-priced CRM with call recording|
|Pipedrive||Teams wanting a user-friendly and visual pipeline CRM to manage products or service sales|
|Dubsado||Consultants or freelancers wanting a CRM to manage one-off jobs and track hourly billings|
|Insightly||Businesses wanting a CRM to manage standardized or recurring projects and G Suite Integration|
|Zoho||Organizations wanting a robust CRM with social media integration and order management tools|
|HubSpot CRM||Businesses that want a low-cost CRM with basic core features like customer management and activity tracking|
How We Evaluated the Best CRM for Small Business
CRMs benefit organizations by managing contacts and helping to track activities related to closing a deal. However, many CRMs include added features like analytics, system integration, and process automation, while others offer even more robust features. Still, many of these functionalities come at a high cost and are only suitable for a select few.
Therefore, the criteria we used to evaluate the best CRM for small business include:
- Price – We compared each program’s monthly per-user fee as well as any add-on costs that resulted in additional functionality.
- Contact Management – We compared how easy it is to create, edit, and search for contacts as well as how each tool worked with email, phones calls, and other tasks
- Deal and Opportunity Management – We looked into how each tool tracked a deal’s pipeline stage, what data related to the deal was viewable, and how each tool helped prioritize follow-up activities
- Workflow Automation – We reviewed each tool’s methodology regarding the sales process, follow-up tasks, and other reminders
- Reporting Tools – We examined what data is available to help sales managers better monitor their teams as well as their sales pipelines
- System Integrations – In order to conduct the fairest apples-to-apples study on core product features, we did not compare enterprise-level plans; however, we did compare each tool’s integrations with cloud-based third-party programs
- Customization – We reviewed how each program handles customizations such as contact fields, opportunity fields, and sales processes
- Customer Satisfaction – We read through extensive product reviews and compared technical support offerings and reported ease of implementation
Based on this criteria, we have determined that Freshsales is the best CRM for small business overall. Freshsales was given this distinction as it offers the most complete balance of features to price, including a great mobile app, and overall ease of customization and implementation. Freshsales also has a great appointment and lead management capability, making it particularly the best for field sales teams or consulting businesses with longer sales cycles.
Freshsales: Best Overall CRM for Small Business
Freshsales is a fully-featured and customizable CRM offering contact and lead management designed around supporting long sales cycles. Its basic features are free for teams of any size, including its great mobile app that displays all your tasks and appointments in a single calendar view. You can make calls or send emails without leaving the tool, making it a great CRM for B2B teams that want a highly-customizable CRM and have remote users or longer sales cycles.
Freshsales offers a free forever plan, which gives unlimited users contact management capability. Additional functionality, including deal management as well as advanced analytics, is available in its paid plans, which range from a competitive $12 per user per month to $49 per user per month.
Freshsales Tiered Features
|Sales Pipeline Tracking|
|Lead Assignment Routing|
|Custom Opportunity Fields|
|Configurable Dashboards and Reports|
|Customized Sales Processes|
The Sprout plan is Freshsales’ free entry-level plan and provides the basic contact management functionality you would expect in a CRM. It also offers rules-based scoring to help you better prioritize lead follow-up (which is not often found in the free plans of other products we compared), and web-to-lead capture forms that can help speed up the data entry process. Its mobile version shows your calendar and appointments at a glance and will even summon an Uber for you.
However, the Sprout plan lacks many of the more robust opportunity management features and email tools found in Freshsales’ other paid plans, like lead routing and customized opportunity fields. While there is no limit on the number of users, the Sprout plan is best for teams looking for an affordable tool that can manage their contact relationship details, tasks and appointments, but don’t require more robust marketing, opportunity tracking, or reporting features.
The Blossom plan costs $12 per user per month, which is in line with the other entry-level paid plans we compared. In addition to helping you manage your contact relationships, the Blossom plan offers opportunity management, bulk emails with templates, and email tracking. It also lets you dial contacts and log your phone call activities directly from the tool using either the desktop client or mobile app, which is a feature not found in many CRMs without paying for an upgrade.
The Blossom plan does not include team management functionality as is found in the next tier plans. Therefore, the Blossom plan is best for individuals or highly independent sales teams who want to track their calls or send mass emails.
The Garden plan provides the team management functionality the Blossom plan lacks for $25 per user per month. This plan also automates the lead process by allowing lead assignment and automated routing, which is a feature also offered by Insightly and Zoho. The Garden plan does not, however, allow you to create custom sales activities as you can do with the Estate plan, nor does it provide time-based workflows or include a dashboard.
For this reason, the Garden plan is best for sales teams that do not need advanced customization. It is also best for those who are disciplined when it comes to setting manual workflow reminders.
The Estate plan, which costs $49 per user per month, includes dashboards as part of its reporting features and extends the tool’s contact relationship management and lead scoring functionality to include a contact’s activities on your website. Users also have a greater ability to customize their sales processes than offered by the lower-tiered plans.
This makes it a good fit for sales teams that want to better utilize their website as part of their lead prioritization strategy. However, while these additional features are great, the plan can be expensive for small teams. Therefore, if you need a highly customizable sales process and don’t need features like call logging, voicemail recording, or website activity analytics, you may also want to consider Pipedrive.
What Freshsales Is Missing
Freshsales lacks the ability to issue quotes, manage orders, and invoicing directly in the tool. Nor does it include pricing books, which is a feature Zoho CRM provides, or product statistics like Pipedrive does. For this reason, Freshsales may not be the best choice for businesses that manage inventory (such as retail or distribution) or offer catalog-style pricing for products or services.
What Users Think About Freshsales
Freshsales users like the deals page and how Freshsales displays the entire sales process. They praise the customer service for technical support and how easy it is to customize the CRM. However, they give the tool lower marks for the quality of the standard reports and have complained the service can slow depending on the internet connection. You can read more in-depth reviews on our Freshsales Review page.
Where to Find Freshsales
Freshsales is a great CRM for B2B small businesses. It can also help you manage your relationships with very little setup time and without the need to employ someone with an advanced degree in CRM. While Freshsales offers a free forever plan, you can also give the professional features a try by taking advantage of their free trial.
Pipedrive: Best CRM for Visual Pipeline Management
Pipedrive is a small business CRM and lead management tool designed to simplify the sales pipeline process. Starting at $12.50 per user, Pipedrive’s highly intuitive and easy-to-use pipeline management tool gives you the ability to see what is in your sales pipeline at a glance and helps manage standardized products and services. Therefore, Pipedrive is best for businesses with a catalog of products or services looking to manage contacts through a sales funnel.
Pipedrive offers three tiered plans that range between $12.50 per user and $62.50 per user. This pricing makes the product slightly more expensive than other products we compared, and there is no forever free plan. Pipedrive does, however, offer a free trial, giving you the opportunity to test it out before you buy.
Pipedrive Tiered Features
|Sales Pipeline Tracking|
|Customized Sales Processes|
|Configurable Dashboards and Reports|
|Meeting & Task Scheduler|
The Silver plan costs $12.50 per month per user and includes Pipedrive’s signature visual pipeline homepage as well as contact management and a configurable report. Unlike many other products, Pipedrive is easy to customize, even in its entry-level plan, giving you the option of creating a unique pipeline process to fit the needs of your business. However, the Silver plan lacks the built-in scheduler and email template functionality found in its higher-tiered plans.
As a result, the Silver plan is best for businesses looking for a way to better manage their leads as well as their contacts. It is also best for those who want a software program that is tailored to their individual processes rather than being forced to adapt their process to the tool.
The Gold Plan adds email tracking capability to Pipedrive’s contact management platform as well as the meeting and task scheduler not found in the Silver plan. The Gold plan also provides account insights that can help you better focus your follow-up efforts on the leads who are most ready to buy. Unlike most of the CRMs we compared, Pipedrive also provides insights into your products, such sales splits and average discount, helping you identify your best performers.
At $24.20 per user per month, the Gold plan is best for teams that want to take advantage of Pipedrive’s visual pipeline requiring additional analytics. It is also best for those who want to better manage their sales tasks and efforts with its built-in scheduling tool.
The Platinum plan offers the same features as the Gold plan but includes additional sales forecasting functionality and advanced reporting features for $62.50 per user per month. The Platinum plan also lets you set specific permissions based on roles, which is something only Freshsales also does, giving you more control over what your team needs to do or see. It also comes with access to live phone support.
As the Platinum’s chief benefit over the less expensive plans is its additional analytics, role-based permissions, and support. It is best for hierarchical teams and those that have truly unique requirements for sales management, but it is also the most expensive plan on our list.
What Pipedrive Is Missing
Pipedrive lacks lead assignment and lead-based routing functionality, which makes it a less viable alternative for account-based sales requiring multiple points of contacts. While leads can be prioritized based on time since last contact, the software’s lead scoring rules are also not as robust as found in other products. Pipedrive also lacks a mass marketing email feature like those found in other tools we compared.
What Users Think About Pipedrive
While Pipedrive may not be as feature-rich, what it does, it does well. Users of the software praise its user-friendly interface, its available integrations with other third-party tools, and its short learning curve. However, they have reported that the tool could be improved with additional customer filtering functionality based on past sales and more robust webhooks. You can read more about Pipedrive and what other users are saying on our Pipedrive Review page.
Where to Find Pipedrive
Pipedrive simplifies the sales process while giving you a means of managing your contact relationships. While other tools require several clicks to navigate deals and locate specific customer activities, Pipedrive organizes information in easy-to-digest visual homepages. You and additional team members can try out Pipedrive’s visual pipeline risk-free by taking advantage of their free trial.
Dubsado: Best CRM for Consultants or Freelancers
Dubsado is a CRM and lead management tool designed for solopreneurs and small teams, giving users the ability to manage their contacts as well as organize tasks related to one-off jobs for $20 per month. Users can share project status through a customer portal, track billable hours, store digital design proof approvals, and manage recurring billing. This makes it great for consultant businesses, design, or other creative freelance professionals.
Dubsado is free for managing three clients. Paid plans start at $25 per month, or you can pay for a full year’s service for $250. Dubsado occasionally offers promotional discounts, so you may be able sign up for a lower price. The base paid plan supports an unlimited number of clients and up to three users.
Additional users can be added on to your base monthly plan per the following:
- 4-10 users: $25/month additional to your main plan
- 11-20 users: $45/month additional to your main plan
- 21-30 users: $60/month additional to your main plan
- 30+ users: Contact Dubsado for custom pricing
Dubsado offers lead management as well as tools specifically designed with freelancers or digital creative consultants in mind, such as recurring billing, client portals, contract storage, and digital proof approval. While Dubsado is slightly more expensive than the other products we compared, its ability to process payments, manage one-off jobs and manage billable project hours from within the tool distinguishes it from other CRM products we considered.
Dubsado’s key features and benefits include the following:
Dubsado allows you to store proposals, quotes, and client questionnaires as part of its contact management capability. It also gives you and your clients the ability to sign and execute legally binding contracts online and approve digital proof documents, without requiring additional third-party integrations, unlike the other CRM products we compared.
Dubsado also gives you the ability to issue recurring invoices and process payments and gives your clients the ability to add tips. This provides you not only with insights related to a client’s potential future deals but also their existing recurring revenue statistics.
Lead & Task Management
Dubsado includes lead capture forms that you can embed on your website or share elsewhere as a link. The tool then sends automated email responses, including necessary documents required to do the job, based on what a lead selects from within the form. Jobs-in-process are then tracked using a visual kanban-style task board, which users can keep private or share with clients.
The software also includes a time tracker, giving you the ability to either bill clients at an hourly rate or issue a flat-rate invoice. While you can adapt the product and price-book features found in Pipedrive or Zoho for similar quotation and invoice management, Dubsado’s tracker is optimized for this style of billing.
Dubsado syncs with iCal, Google Calendars, and Outlook calendars. In addition, the software integrates with other G Suite apps as well as Square, PayPal, Stripe, Zapier, QuickBooks, iCloud and CloudSpot. While the majority of other products we compared offer integrations with automation tools like Zapier, Dubsado’s focus on point-of-sale payment solution integrations reinforces its focus on B2C-focused businesses.
Customer Service & Ease of Use
The user interface and web forms include highly visual elements and easy-to-use drop-down menus or radial buttons, making them easy to use and understand. It also features drag-and-drop functionality, allowing you to quickly and easily customize the layout of job boards.
Dubsado has a Facebook group that lets you connect with other users as well as their customer support. Customer support is also available Monday through Friday from 1 a.m. to 9 p.m. as well as from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the weekend. It is also accessible by chat through their website.
What Dubsado Is Missing
Dubsado is designed more for B2C sales with a focus on web-lead and job management rather than marketing. There are no mass marketing email features, email templates, or email tracking. Nor is there a built-in phone dialer or call logging. As a result, Dubsado is not a good option for businesses with longer sales cycles.
What Users Think About Dubsado
Dubsado is a relatively new product, but its users love how the tool helps them automate their business processes and its integrated payment options. Users also love how easy it is to collaborate with clients, handle contracts, and set payment schedules.
Where to Find Dubsado
Dubsado is a CRM designed for creative entrepreneurs and freelance consultants with tools built for collaboration and client management. You can use Dubsado to manage up to three clients for as long as you’d like for free or sign up for either its monthly or annual plan by visiting its website today.
Insightly: Best CRM for Project Management
Insightly is a robust, competitively-priced small business CRM with a great business card scanner. It gives you the ability to create custom project pipelines you can use again and again, in addition to helping you manage contacts and vendors. Therefore, Insightly is a great solution for businesses looking for a CRM with the ability to also help them manage standardized projects.
Insightly’s basic core features, including project management, are free for up to two users. Paid plans cost between $29 and $49 per user per month. While the entry-level plan’s pricing is more expensive than the other products we compared, many of its basic features are not available in other starter plans. However, Insightly does offer a free version for 1-2 users. Click here for a free trial.
Insightly Tiered Features
|Sales Pipeline Tracking|
|Custom CRM Fields|
|Bulk Email Campaigns|
|Business Card Scanner|
|Lead Assignment Routing|
|Customized Sales Processes|
|Configurable Dashboards and Reports|
Insightly gives up to two users access to core functionality such as contact records, task, opportunity, and project management, which is a feature not found in the majority of other CRMs we compared. It also offers relationship tracking and voice notes. However, the free plan does not include the business card scanner, calendar syncing, or lead assignment features available with the paid plans.
The Free plan is, therefore, best for solopreneurs or teams of two who manage projects as well as sales. It is also best for users who want to use another program’s calendar tools for managing their appointments or those willing to manually enter contact details from business cards.
At $29 per user per month, Insightly’s Plus plan gives users the ability to continue to manage contact relationships after the deal is closed by linking a contact with any one of multiple, customizable project pipelines. In addition, users can add and manage 100,000 records and send 2,500 bulk emails a month. Like Freshsales, leads resulting from those contacts and marketing messages are then tracked and managed through a sales pipeline process.
The Plus plan, however, does not include any of the lead assignment rules, shareable account insights cards, dashboards or the workflow automation found in the Professional plan. For this reason, it is best for solopreneurs, highly independent sales representatives, or those with a sales process that cannot be automated.
The Professional plan increases the number of records you can manage to 250,000 and doubles the amount of bulk email that can be sent out each month per user at a cost of $49 per user per month. The Professional plan lets you customize your dashboard, which is a feature not offered by many of the CRMs we compared and gives you the ability to assign role-based permissions and automate workflow tasks.
The Professional plan then is best for teams of more than one individual who want to send more marketing messages or tailor their dashboard data to fit their unique business needs. It is also a good fit for sales managers who would like to limit what their teams can do or see based on roles.
What Insightly Is Missing
While you can manage your projects within Insightly, the tool does not offer product statistics like those found in Pipedrive or a means for managing quotes and order like Zoho does. This puts the tool at a disadvantage for businesses that sell standardized products and services or those that conduct a lot of retail or product sales transactions.
What Users Think About Insightly
We use Insightly ourselves and appreciate the ease in which contacts can be added to the database directly from a native email client as well as its ability to manage the projects in our pipeline. Other users appreciate the ease in which fields can be added and reports can be created. However, use of the tool does require many clicks to navigate to specific record information. You can read more about Insightly on our Insightly Review page.
Where to Find Insightly
You can use Insightly to coordinate internal tasks and vendor relationships as well as the activities needed to close a sale. Insightly knows that relationships continue well beyond a deal’s close, which is why their project management functionality is such a benefit. Even better, they give you a chance to try out their Professional plan for free for 14 days. Give it a try today.
Zoho: Best CRM for Small Business with Social Media Management
Zoho is an all-in-one small business CRM with contact, lead, and order management. Zoho also allows you to incorporate social media into your relationship management, tracking interactions with its Facebook and Twitter hook. This makes it perfect for sales teams that prospect on social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook.
Zoho offers a free plan for up to three users that includes contact and opportunity management, but also social media connections. Additional functionality and customization are offered through its paid plans, which range between $12 per user per month and $20 per user per month, keeping it in-line with other products we compared.
Zoho Tiered Features
|Configurable Dashboards and Reports|
|Lead Assignment Routing|
|Product Price Books and Order Management|
|Action Follow-Up Rules|
Zoho’s Free plan supports up to three users and includes lead and contact management like the other products we compared. It also has more unique activity tracking features, such as phone logging and social media connections, which are not available on many other free plans. The Free plan, however, lacks the ability to route leads to specific users, manage orders, or customize the interface.
Therefore, the Free plan is best for teams of three or less that require little customization but want to track their social media interactions. It is also best for teams that manage their quotes and orders through another accounting tool.
The Standard plan costs $12 per user per month and allows users to add custom fields and create custom reports that can then be scheduled and delivered to users. Like the Free plan, the Standard plan integrates with Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. It also allows you to send bulk emails and track website visitor interactions, as well as providing sales forecasting, which is a feature that is usually only found in higher-tiered plans, and email insights.
The Standard plan is, therefore, best for sales teams that want more insights into a lead’s behavior as well as being able to track emails and social media and phone communications. The Standard plan is also a good fit for groups of more than three sales team members.
The Professional plan offers product management functionality, like Pipedrive, but also offers purchase order and invoice management and costs $20 per user per month, keeping it in line with similar product pricing tiers. The Professional plan also includes access to Zoho’s proprietary SalesSignals functionality, which automates lead scoring, helps you better prioritize lead follow-up, and lets you add up to 150 custom fields per module.
Its custom field offering and conditional follow-up rules that can be tied to CRM field updates makes it great for teams looking for either a tool with a high degree of customization potential or workflow automation. The Professional plan is also best for those who would like to capture leads directly from social media.
What Zoho Is Missing
Zoho’s lead and opportunity management tool lays out information about deals in process in tabular lists rather than in a kanban-style visual pipeline, like that offered by Freshsales, Pipedrive, and Dubsado. While users have the ability to customize contact and opportunity fields, it is not as easy to customize the sales pipeline process, nor does it include the project management capability of Insightly.
What Users Think About Zoho
Zoho users report the tool makes it easy to customize, track prospects, and set future tasks. They say data is easy to import from existing CRM, making the switch over less painful. However, they do say that technical support could be improved. Fixes and new features are slow to roll out and the user interface could be easier to navigate. For more user reviews, you can visit our Zoho Review page.
Where to Find Zoho
Zoho allows you to engage with your contacts on whatever channel works best for them. Zoho’s customization and extended integration make it a great solution for teams that depend on being able to adapt their sales techniques to match the next social media trend. Best of all, you can give Zoho a try for as long as you would like by signing up for a free account on their website.
HubSpot: Best Free, No-Frills CRM for Small Businesses
HubSpot, a free CRM program that gives businesses a way to manage their contacts and provides insights into recent contact activity, is designed for solopreneurs or start-ups. In addition to providing email and deal tracking, HubSpot offers web forms and lead qualification bots. This makes it a great option for budget-conscious businesses of any size needing a basic CRM for contact and lead management.
HubSpot CRM is free to use and supports an unlimited number of users. As your business grows, you can add additional functionality by signing up for one or more of their other offerings, like their Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, or Service Hub programs, which range from $50 to $400 per month depending on plan.
HubSpot’s best features are its price and its simplistic user interface that looks and behaves much like Gmail, making it easy to learn. 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 is an ideal introduction to core CRM features such as contact management and lead or deal tracking.
HubSpot’s key features include:
HubSpot CRM includes contact management, which gives you the ability to organize contacts by company and provides insights such as a newly added contact’s recent activity on your website. You can also see which contacts are opening your emails and schedule meetings from within HubSpot. However, its contact management tools, overall, are not as robust as the other products we compared.
Upgrading to their Sales Starter package adds the ability to add prospects as well as increases the limits on templates, storage, and reporting. Their Sales Professional package also adds sales automation, predictive lead scoring, product management, and multiple deal pipelines, putting HubSpot more in line with products like Freshsales and Pipedrive, but at a significantly higher price.
Lead & Task Management
HubSpot CRM helps you pre-qualify leads that come to your website with conversational bots that require very little program to start using. The automated bots are a unique feature compared to the other products we reviewed, though several of the other products do include web-to-lead capture forms.
The software gives you the ability to schedule tasks for later follow-up and emails you reminders. It also gives you the ability to organize your deals by pipeline stage in a visual kanban-style format similar to Pipedrive or Freshsales by signing up for the Sales Hub service plan.
HubSpot CRM integrates with Gmail and Outlook, making it easy to add contacts to the CRM. It also automatically updates contacts with their social media handles. 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, but it does not automatically log social media interactions like Zoho does unless you pay for the Marketing Hub’s $200 per month Basic plan.
HubSpot CRM integrates with other third-party products like Zapier, MailChimp, SurveyMonkey, UberConference, and Slack. These integrations can greatly extend HubSpot’s functionality without requiring businesses upgrade to their other Sales, Marketing, or Service Hub plans. However, these additional integrations may require additional paid subscriptions.
Customer Service & Ease of Use
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 if there are questions on how to use the product. 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.
What HubSpot Is Missing
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 per month per user. This puts it in the range of more fully-featured CRMs.
What Users Think About HubSpot
HubSpot CRM users are highly complimentary of its ease of use but wish the product offered more reports and workflow automation. There have also been complaints that the interface has undergone several changes in recent months, which has upset users’ workflows and required them to relearn how to use the product. You can read more on our HubSpot CRM Review page.
Where to find HubSpot
HubSpot CRM is a good option for businesses that need a product to help them manage their contacts but don’t want to spend a lot of time learning how to use the features of their CRM. You can get started using HubSpot CRM by visiting their website and signing up for your free forever account today.
Bottom Line – Best CRM for Small Business
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. The best CRM for your small 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.
We recommend Freshsales as the best CRM for small businesses overall due to its affordable price and features like 360-degree customer insights, robust activity tracking, and appointment and lead management capability. You can visit Freshsales to give its contact management a try for yourself today by visiting their website and signing up for their free forever plan, or try out their more advanced features by taking advantage of their risk-free, 30-day free trial.