Salesforce is the most popular customer relationship management (CRM) software, but it can be expensive for small businesses as it’s designed to be an enterprise solution. We compared dozens of alternatives for contact and deal management, customization, technical support, and overall affordability to determine the six best Salesforce alternatives for small businesses, including the best overall.
Top 6 Salesforce Alternatives & Competitors 2020
Salesforce Alternatives For Small Businesses
(Best overall) Businesses that want a flexible, feature-rich alternative to Salesforce
Businesses seeking a free Salesforce alternative for lead generation
Sales teams that want a Salesforce alternative with an intuitive, visual pipeline
Businesses that want a Salesforce alternative with project management features
Organizations that want a Salesforce alternative with built-in social media contact management
Professionals who want an alternative to Salesforce offering a la carte features
In addition to these alternatives, small businesses should also consider Salesforce Essentials designed specifically for teams of up to 10 users. It includes many of the features of the classic version of Salesforce, but at a price that is accessible for small businesses. Users can manage leads, contacts, and deals, create workflows, and manage their sales pipeline for $25 per user, per month for up to 10 users.
How We Evaluated These Salesforce Alternatives
The Enterprise Salesforce product is a full-featured CRM with plenty of integrations, but it can be uneconomical for many small business owners due to its higher cost and complex feature set. As a result, it can be difficult to implement and includes features that are often beyond a small business sales team’s needs. Therefore, small business teams may see a greater benefit by implementing another CRM software with more intuitive functionality at a lower price.
The criteria we used to evaluate the best Salesforce alternatives include:
- Lead and customer management
- Deal and opportunity management
- Workflow automation
- Reporting tools
- System integrations
- Customer support and satisfaction
- Accessible to small businesses
Based on these criteria, we have determined that Freshworks CRM is the best Salesforce alternative for small businesses. Freshworks CRM was given this distinction as it offers the most direct one-to-one comparable features while being more accessible for small businesses, along with additional customization capability at a more affordable price point.
Freshworks CRM: Best Overall Salesforce Alternative for Small Businesses
Since we last updated:
Freshworks CRM, formerly Freshsales, recently rebranded with a new name, new service plans, and access to Freshmarketer automation software. Forever-free plans are still available and include mobile apps, 24×5 support, live chat, and more.
Freshworks CRM is a robust CRM with contact management as well as flexible lead and opportunity tracking that can be customized to your needs. Because it is easier to use and offered at a lower price point than Salesforce with many of the same robust features, we recommend it as the best overall alternative. We also recommend Freshworks CRM for those seeking a highly customizable and competitively priced CRM for small businesses.
Less expensive than Salesforce and offers a free-forever plan
Does not include the ability to issue quotes, manage orders, or send invoices directly
Does not include pricing books
Excellent customer support
Can be slow to load
Freshworks CRM Pricing
- Free Sprout plan: Provides unlimited users with basic contact management features
- Blossom plan: $12 per user, per month, billed annually
- Garden plan: $25 per user, per month, billed annually
- Estate plan: $49 per user, per month, billed annually
There is a 21-day free trial for all paid plans.
Freshworks CRM Features
- Contact and task management, lead scoring, web-to-lead capture, and sales pipeline tracking available in all plans, which you cannot get for free in Salesforce.
- Phone dialer and opportunity management included in the least expensive plan, which is less expensive than the cheapest Salesforce plan.
- Email tracking, custom opportunity fields, and configurable reports included in the plan, which is similarly priced to Salesforce’s least expensive plan.
Overall, Freshworks CRM is much more affordable for small businesses than Salesforce and very easy to use, even for non-technical people. You can learn more about how it can help your business and read in-depth reviews on our Freshworks CRM reviews page.
HubSpot CRM: Best Free Salesforce Alternative for Lead Generation
HubSpot CRM is a free contact management application with functionality like smartform lead capture, a chat widget, and customer support ticketing as well as email tracking and deal management. It can also be integrated with the Sales and Marketing Hubs for additional automation features. Overall, HubSpot is a powerful CRM for those looking for a free Salesforce alternative that includes the most important lead generation features small businesses need.
Offers a comprehensive free-forever plan
No workflow automation on the free plan
Offers an extensive library of sales and marketing educational tools
Does not offer marketing automation on the free plan
Simple-to-use interface anyone can set up quickly and easily
Limited customer support on the free plan
- Free version includes many common CRM features, such as contact management, deal management, and email marketing for up to 1 million records.
- Offers add-on functionality through the Sales Hub and Marketing Hub, available at an additional cost ranging from $50 to $800 per month, depending on the specific features added.
HubSpot CRM includes a broad range of features for a free CRM. The top features the software offers include:
- Lead capture with embedded website forms
- Contact management
- Insights that include a contact’s recent activity on your website
- Email templates and email tracking
- A live chat widget on your website to capture leads
- Tracking codes on your website to both track visitor activity
- Auto-enrichment of contacts based on the information it pulls from social profiles
- Lead scoring based on both profile information and website activity
Overall, HubSpot provides a robust feature set for a free-forever plan, making it a great choice for small businesses that want an easy-to-use CRM without the cost and time it takes to set up Salesforce. You can read more on our HubSpot CRM reviews page.
Pipedrive: Best Salesforce Alternative for Pipeline Management
Pipedrive is a competitively priced CRM designed to simplify the sales process. Pipedrive’s visual pipeline management gives you the ability to see what’s in your sales pipeline at a glance and lets you drag and drop prospects and clients from stage to stage. This makes it easier to track, understand, and manage your deals, making it best for individuals or organizations looking to manage contacts through a visual, customizable sales funnel.
Simple drag-and-drop interface
No lead assignment and lead-based routing functionality like Salesforce offers
Offers an extensive library of sales and marketing educational tools
Does not offer marketing automation on the free plan
Offers 24/7 chat and email support for all plans
No mass email marketing capability
- Essential plan: $12.50 per user, per month, billed annually
- Advanced plan: $24.90 per user, per month, billed annually
- Professional plan: $49.90 per user, per month, billed annually
There is a 14-day free trial for all plans.
- Unlimited storage in all plans is included.
- Contact management, web-to-lead capture, activity feed, customized sales processes, and configurable dashboards and reports included in a plan half the price of Salesforce’s least expensive plan.
- Email tracking included in a plan comparable to Salesforce’s least expensive plan.
Overall, Pipedrive is an affordable, easy to set up CRM for small businesses compared to the time it takes to customize and price Salesforce. You can read more about what other users are saying on our Pipedrive reviews page.
Insightly: Best Salesforce Alternative for Project Management
Insightly is a robust, competitively priced CRM for small businesses that includes project management functionality, which is something that Salesforce lacks without third-party integrations. This enables you to manage your prospects, deals, project milestones, and vendor contacts. It’s a great option for businesses looking for a Salesforce alternative with contact and project management capabilities, such as interior designers, travel agents, and publishers.
Great project management features
Free plan only includes up to two users
Ability to add contacts to the database directly from a native email client
Does not offer pricing books, unlike Salesforce
Paid plans offer guidance, phone support, and training
No ability to manage quotes or orders, unlike Salesforce
- Free plan: For up to two users
- Plus plan: $29 per user, per month, billed annually
- Professional plan: $49 per user, per month, billed annually
There is a 14-day free trial for all paid plans.
- Contact and task management, activity feed, sales pipeline tracking, and project management are included in the Free plan.
- Email tracking, bulk email campaigns, lead assignment routing, customized sales processes, web-to-lead captured, and custom CRM fields are included in a plan comparable to Salesforce’s least expensive option.
- Role-based permissions and configurable dashboards are included in the most expensive plan, which is only available in a higher-priced plan of Salesforce that requires annual billing.
While Salesforce’s entry-level Essentials plan is comparable to Insightly’s Plus plan, the Professional plan is less expensive compared to Salesforce’s Lightning Professional. If you will only have one to two users, Insightly offers a completely free option. You can read more about Insightly on our Insightly reviews page.
Zoho CRM: Best Salesforce Alternative for Social Media Management
Zoho CRM has many of the same features as Salesforce but with a free plan and paid plans that come at a fraction of the cost of Salesforce. Furthermore, it allows you to incorporate social media into your relationship management with additional sales channels for Facebook and Twitter, which you won’t find in Salesforce’s sales CRM. This makes it ideal for sales teams that prospect on social media sites.
Includes social media relationship management
Free plan only includes three users
Professional plan includes pricing books and order management for less than Salesforce
Does not offer customer support ticketing like Salesforce does
Data is easy to import from existing CRMs so customers can make a seamless switch
Bug fixes and new features are slow to roll out
Zoho CRM Pricing
- Free plan: for up to three users
- Standard plan: $18 per user, per month, billed monthly
- Professional plan: $30, per user, per month, billed monthly
There is a 20% discount for annual billing and a 15-day free trial.
Zoho CRM Features
- Contact, lead, and opportunity management, email tracking, phone dialer, and logging, social integration, task management, and web-to-lead capture are available in the Free plan.
- Custom fields, configurable dashboards and reports, and mass emailing are included in the plan that costs less than Salesforce’s least expensive plan.
- Lead assignment routing, product price books, order management, and territory management are included for a price similar to the least expensive plan of Salesforce.
Unlike Salesforce, the Standard plan integrates with Twitter and Facebook. It also allows you to send bulk emails, track website visitor interactions, and provide sales forecasting and email insight for a much lower cost than Salesforce. For more user reviews, visit our Zoho reviews page.
Really Simple Systems: Best Salesforce Alternative With a la Carte Pricing
Really Simple Systems has three tiers as well as optional email marketing and service desk upgrades. With Salesforce, many of these upgrades, like bulk email campaigns, are included in their tiered pricing. This makes Really Simple Systems ideal for price-conscious businesses that only want to pay for the things they intend to use regularly.
Really Simple Systems Strengths
Really Simple Systems Weaknesses
Allows organizations to purchase marketing upgrades separately, unlike Salesforce
Free plan only includes two users
Easy to navigate and robust instructional videos
Lacks collaboration and team management tools
Zapier, Google Contacts, and Outlook 365 integrations available on all plans
No phone dialer or call logging on any plans
Really Simple Systems Pricing
- Free plan: Up to two users
- Starter plan: $18 per user, per month, billed monthly
- Professional plan: $38 per user, per month, billed monthly
- Marketing add-ons: $26 to $55 per month, billed monthly
- Service desk add-on: $55 per month, billed monthly
There is a discount available for annual billing, and they offer a 14-day free trial.
Really Simple Systems Features
- Free plan includes contact and opportunity management, activity and sales pipeline tracking, customized sales processes, opportunity probability, product and price books, custom fields, and configurable dashboards and reports.
- Two-way email sync, quote management, and role-based permissions are available at a slightly different higher cost than the least expensive plan of Salesforce.
- It includes the ability to purchase optional email marketing and service desk features separately, unlike Salesforce.
Really Simple Systems is a great CRM for startups due to the low cost and how easy it is to use and navigate compared to Salesforce. Visit our Really Simple Systems reviews page to learn more about what other users are saying.
Salesforce is the gold standard of sales CRMs for large enterprises and is likely to continue being so for years to come. While it has recently begun offering products suited to small businesses like Salesforce Essentials, the number of Salesforce competitors specifically designed for small businesses is on the rise, and they are often more accessible and priced better for small business needs.
We recommend Freshworks CRM as the best all-around Salesforce alternative because it makes it easy for sales reps to win more deals. It also provides all the sales analytics you need to drive improvements to sales performance, and it’s a great value for the money. Freshworks CRM offers a free-forever plan as well as a free trial of its paid plans. Visit Freshworks CRM to get started today.