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Our CRM software reviews are the result of over 40 hours of research on 190+ CRM software companies from across the web. These reviews and our CRM software guide help small businesses and startups find the best CRM software for their business.
The Best CRM Software Companies of 2020
- EngageBay CRM
- HubSpot CRM
- Less Annoying CRM
- Pipedrive CRM
- Really Simple Systems
- vTiger CRM
- Zoho CRM
How We Chose the Best CRM Software
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, and choosing the right software program for your business is essential to being able to organize, track and manage your customer contacts. Though many people think of CRM as a tool that is strictly for use by a sales department, the truth is that a good CRM program can be extremely beneficial to any department that has a lot of clients with whom follow up makes a difference. CRM is certainly valuable for sales, but also for departments that generate quotes or invoices, marketing departments, project management teams — really anybody that wants to make sure that they have all of their client information easily at hand and available to make sure that they are regularly keeping in touch with the people most important to their business’ success and operations.
If you’ve tried to identify the best CRM software on your own, then you are well aware of how many choices are currently on the market. Choosing which ones provide the best functionality is a challenge, but after much analysis we identified the three features that we believe are most important and provide the greatest value, including:
Whether you’re purchasing CRM software for a brand new business or upgrading your software for a long-established business, you already have a process in mind or in place. Your organization tailors its sales and customer relationship process based on your unique product, goals, training and industry, and you don’t want your CRM software to force you to change it. It is hard enough to introduce something new to an existing team, so you want to make sure that the program that you purchase allows your staff to retain the elements of their routine that they are most comfortable with, and that work.
Choosing a CRM program that is customizable means it can be tailored to your needs. Not only does this make it easier and faster for your staff to adapt to, but also means that it is more likely to be able to integrate into the rest of your business operations and to provide you with the business analytics that you have already established as most meaningful to your success.
Further, having a CRM that is customizable allows you to maintain the process that differentiates you from the competition. If you purchase a program that forces you to follow the exact same capabilities and priorities as everybody else, you eliminate creativity, and are likely to lose your competitive advantage.
Just as computers have taken the sales process out of file folders, tab systems, tickle files and manual data entry, automating Customer Relationship Management software has eliminated most of the mindless, time-consuming and redundant aspects of prospecting. Salespeople and administrative staff are able to update contacts one time and have that single entry appear in all pertinent files. Calendar entries can be set to repeat and provide notifications, and leads and competitor information can be entered by support staff and automatically appear in client files. By eliminating the need to do these tasks, your organization’s sales professionals will be free to apply their talent to what they do best: selling your product, and that same automation will also facilitate far greater ease and less work for every other department that supports the sales effort.
Sales and customer relationship management involves so much more than making calls and recording conversations. The professionals that use CRM software are constantly using countless other third-party programs to help them do their jobs: emails need to be sent, spreadsheets created, and letters and memos need to be composed in word processing software. Having access to all of these third-party tools at the touch of a button makes the process much more efficient, and can eliminate redundancies. By selecting a CRM program that has built in integration capability, you empower your team to leverage additional resources.
The 20 Best CRM Software Companies of 2020
|30-day free trial/demo||Visit Apptivo|
|Creatio||$25.00/month||30-day free trial/demo||Visit Creatio|
|EngageBay CRM||$7.79/ month||Free trial||Visit EngageBay CRM|
|Freshsales||$12.00/month For small teams|
$25.00/month For Growing teams
$49.00/month For Large teams
|21-day free trial||Visit Freshsales|
|HubSpot CRM||CRM Free||N/A||Visit HubSpot CRM|
|14-day free trial||Visit Insightly|
$37.5/ month Advanced
|30-day free trial||Visit Keap|
|15-day free trial||Visit LeadSquared|
|Less Annoying CRM||$15 /month||30-day free trial/live demo||Visit Less Annoying CRM|
|Nimble||$25.00/month||14-day free trial||Visit Nimble|
|14-day free trial||Visit Nutshell|
|Pipedrive CRM||$12.50/month Essential|
|4-day free trial||Visit Pipedrive CRM|
|14-day free trial||Visit PipelineDeals|
|Really Simple Systems||$0 Free|
|Free trial/live demo||Visit Really Simple Systems|
|Salesforce||$25.00/month||30-day free trial||Visit Salesforce|
|SugarCRM||$52.00/month||Demo available||Visit SugarCRM|
|vTiger CRM||$30.00/month Pro|
|15-day free trial||Visit vTiger CRM|
|14-day free trial||Visit WORK[etc]|
$80.00/month Business pro
|30-day free trial||Visit Workbooks|
|15-day free trial||Visit Zoho|
Apptivo is a cloud-based customer relationship management platform that is customizable, scalable, and affordable. It is appropriate for both small businesses and large scale project management. The program has subscription tiers from a limited free Starter package to the “Premium” subscription that integrates with Microsoft Office, Google Drive, Slack and other business tools and offers advanced workflow and client relationship tracking tools. Their “Ultimate” package offers 10GB of storage space as well as access to customer service, training materials and security options.
The program can be customized, and existing data can be transferred from legacy programs. Apptivo’s interface offers a suite of integrated apps that can function alone and can be downloaded onto a mobile device. The apps can also sync with each other to generate reports and invoices.
- File storage
- Time sheets
- Project Management complete with deadlines, goals, and meetings
- Customer data
- Industry-specific tools
- Training sessions and how-to videos on YouTube
- Online customer service chat and phone support
|30-day free trial/demo||>Task Management
>More features at Apptivo
Pros & Cons of Apptivo CRM Software
Apptivo offers its users a user-friendly, easy-to-learn interface with a great deal of flexibility. It is customizable and allows integration of legacy software data as well as third-party business tools, and is inexpensive. Users have complained about certain frustrations, particularly involving bugs in some of the apps and the program running slowly.
|>Affordable and customizable|
>Attractive user interface
|>Some clients have experienced bugs and slow running program|
What Customers Are Saying:
“You get an extremely large variety of modules (they refer to them as ‘apps’) for a reasonable price. I tried Workflowmax and various other alternatives before settling on Apptivo in 2016. None of the others offered the sheer range of integrated modules. If you work in a project oriented industry, you can handle the entire workflow: marketing campaigns, leads, opportunities, estimates, invoices, project management and so on, through one system. Add to this chat support — within the app — and it is very attractive.”
Creatio offers multiple customer relationship management (CRM) and business process management (BPM) programs that integrate with one another, allowing companies to choose the applications that they need. Each of the programs has impressive features that are geared towards efficiency and increasing productivity and revenue. Support is available via live chat, phone, a community forum or email, and the program includes access to Creatio Academy, which contains training material.
Each software package has slightly different features. The four packages are:
- Sales Creatio – designed to make the sales process more efficient. Its features include the ability to generate lead information, place orders, generate invoices and quotes, and not strategies.
- Marketing Creatio – designed to drive more leads and convert more customers. Features include analytics tools and bulk-contact management.
- Service Creatio – designed to streamline business-client communications. Includes functions for telephone, email, live chat and social network communications.
- Studio Creatio – designed to streamline business management processes. Provides the ability to create custom workflow management solutions and apps without technical knowledge. Includes a comprehensive template library and AI assistant.
Though each of the packages can integrate with one another, each has its own separate interface. The dashboards can be customized based on the needs of your business.
|$25.00/month||14-day trial||>Mobile Access
>More features at Creatio
Pros & Cons of Creatio CRM Software
Creatio’s suite of CRM software is extremely powerful. It is customizable and integrates with its own sister modules and features robust automation capabilities, customer 360-degree profiles and the ability to create customized sales strategies. The program is expensive though, and requires a minimum investment of $5,000 per year.
|>Attractive, easy-to-use interface that is customizable|
>Extensive support opportunities
>Intelligent goal setting and forecasting
|>No social media integration
What Customers Are Saying
“In order to use the platform to support our sales process, our organization has required quite a bit of customization. Creatio has proven to be the partner for us by accommodating and customizing our sales process where needed. It has been a very pleasant experience to work with our Customer Service Manager, very impressed with the high level of support and understanding of our business in a short time. The platform is user friendly with a great user interface, easy to navigate and the training provided is extensive. Creatio offers a wide selection of Apps in their marketplace to integrate with the platform, therefore creating a great opportunity for expanding the functionality.”
EngageBay is an integrated, cloud-based CRM package that delivers sales, marketing and service functions into one easy-to-use package. It has many of the features found in more expensive alternatives, including automated business processes, email marketing, live chat, landing pages and more. Users and management will appreciate the fact that it can integrate with some of the most popular third-party apps, as well as the inclusion of indispensable tools, including:
- Contact management
- Deal pipeline
- Assignable tasks
- Landing Pages
- Lead management
- Funnel management
- Customer feedback
- Knowledge base
Many of these features in the CRM module, the Sales module and the Marketing can be automated, saving valuable time that can be dedicated to strategy, outreach to clients, and increasing revenue. The software is relatively easy to use, and there are versions to suit different budgets and needs, including a free plan that offers a surprising number of helpful features, perfect for small companies.
|$7.79/ month||Free trial and demo available||>Calendar/Reminder System
>More features at EngageBay CRM
Pros & Cons of EngageBay CRM Software
EngageBay has many of the same features that much more expensive packages offer, and though the user interface is not as appealing as some of those others, it can quickly be learned and provides all of the functions that most organizations need. Users complain that updates cause the system to slow to a crawl or stop, but give high praise to the live chat and help desk.
|>Complete customer journey|
>Marketing, sales and service automation
>Appointment scheduling and auto-dialer
>Live chat and helpdesk
|>User interface could be improved
>No mobile app
What Customers Are Saying
“I really thought it was not possible to find a system with all the features I need that is inexpensive. My partners and I were thinking of spending more than what we budgeted since all the other alternatives proved incomplete or wouldn’t work for us. Finding EngageBay allowed us to stick with the original budget without sacrificing efficiency.”
Freshsales CRM is a platform provided by Freshworks. It offers both a web and mobile app version. Its contact display is attractive and provides a comprehensive view of client information with email, phone and contact search tools always visible. Enter a new contact and their website and social media data automatically populates. Previous sales, recent messages are also displayed, and the system assigns a score based on previous engagements to allow prioritization of outreach. Though the lead generation tools need improvement, once leads are imported the system will automatically assign them based on territory.
Freshsales CRM includes state-of-the-art communication tools. These include a built-in phone that can automatically record calls, and a marketing tool that allows users to quickly generate and distribute information and then track its effectiveness. The system integrates with popular third-party email services, including Gmail and links correspondence to the appropriate account automatically. Email templates can be customized and real-time notifications of when email is opened are provided if requested.
To help prioritize follow-up and provide at-a-glance information on how a transaction is progressing, the system has a built-in sales funnel viewer that allows the user and managers to classify a contact into different categories based on stage, value, and more.
There are five different tiers of Freshsales available ranging from free to its most expensive version. All of them receive technical support from parent company Freshworks.
|$12.00/month For small teams|
$25.00/month For Growing teams
$49.00/month For Large teams
|21-day free trial||>Task Management
>More features at Freshsales
Pros & Cons of Freshsales CRM Software
Freshsales takes all of the drudge work out of the sales function. Processes that used to take hours can be accomplished in minutes and you can immediately see results. There are so many features that it feels impossible to investigate all of them, but everything that is needed is there. Migration from legacy and other software is not well supported, customer service is hit or miss, and lead generation is weak.
|>Intuitive user interface|
>Built-in phone with automatic recording
>Email and click tracking
|>Can’t upload a contact from a business card
>Lead generation tools are not automated
What Customers Are Saying
“Prior to using Freshsales, our processes were largely manual. There was a huge risk of deals falling through the cracks. The amount of time we took from analysis to installation was a mess, and we honestly faced a lot of customer-related issues. Today, I can’t tell you how often I hear employees from different departments telling me-Wow! You save me hours every week!”
HubSpot CRM is part of the HubSpot family of software packages. It is a cloud-based customer relationship management tool that provides most of the functions that a small-to-medium-sized business needs — and it does it for free, to a limited degree. While some users may find that the program is all that they ever want, there are a host of attractive add-on features that will jump you to a paid plan.
HubSpot CRM’s features include:
- Calendar/Reminder System
- Document Storage
- Email Marketing
- Internal Chat Integration
- Lead Scoring
- Marketing Automation Integration
- Mobile Access
- Social Media Integration
- Task Management
All of these facilitate a faster and more organized customer engagement process. The system is customizable, integrates with popular 3rd-party business tools, tracks email, live chat, social media, and telephone interactions automatically on a timeline organized by lead. It also allows for the creation of email templates and tracking.
For businesses that are new to CRM or who want to upgrade their current process of managing their contacts and sales pipeline while generating helpful reports, the free program provides a dramatic improvement, and may well be all they ever need.
|Free||Demo||>Social Media Integration
>More features at HubSpot CRM
Pros & Cons of Hubspot CRM Software
Hubspot CRM provides a solid introduction to CRM software, and may be enough for small businesses that just need to move from a manual system to a computerized one. It has most of the features that are needed, integrates with popular 3rd-party business tools easily, and has an attractive interface. What it is lacking in features can be added — for a price, and those prices can add up quickly. Some users also complain of technical glitches around caching.
|>Detailed reports and 3rd-party integrations|
>Easy to use
|>Adding features increases price quickly
>Some clients complained of caching issues
What Customers Are Saying
“HubSpot focuses on simplicity and usability rather than competing for the most features or customization. The primary requirement of our CRM implementation project was ease-of-use and HubSpot did not disappoint. And while there are limitations compared to other platforms, the feature set is growing all the time and we don’t have to rely on third-party integrators or developers. It is also easy to scale up quickly.”
Insightly is an all-in-one marketing sales and customer relationship management platform that greatly enhances companies’ abilities to connect with their clients in meaningful, productive, profitable ways. Available on the web as well as via both iOS and Android mobile devices, the product is built for small-to-medium sized businesses looking for an integrated, customizable communications and reporting tool.
Insightly’s features include:
- Email — Send, track and save individual emails or bulk emails to a list. The system will track delivery, open and click statistics in real time and notify you when emails are opened.
- Lead routing — Automatically routes leads to the right sales rep and establishes a timeline of lead information including emails, calls, meetings and tasks.
- Relationship linking — Recognizes interactions between individual clients and other teams and contacts, automatically linking records including emails, invoices and comments to provide a 360-degree view to strengthen networking.
- Pipeline tracking — Follows and manages processes and integrates with other departmental systems to facilitate customer service.
- Create custom applications, reports, and dashboards
- Mobile apps allow immediate real-time updates and access to information on status, new orders, tasks, and customer service issues.
- Integrates with top 3rd-party business tools, including calendar, contacts, email and accounting.
|14-day free trial||>Internal Chat
>More features at Insightly
Pros & Cons of Insightly CRM Software
Insightly provides many of the same features and functions as more expensive, enterprise-level CRM software. Customers give it high marks for ease-of-use, value and functionality, but feel that custom reporting capabilities could be improved and say that integrations are clunky.
|>Extensive integration and marketing automation|
>Fast and easy-to-use user interface
>Lead management tool
|>Custom reporting is lacking
What Customers Are Saying
“Insightly is a very powerful toolkit, and incorporates both CRM and project management into the same application. This makes it easier to keep track of status, and gives a single list of tasks which can show everything that needs to happen organized by person or by project. Insightly has more powerful sales pipeline management, strong task management, and integrates CRM and projects. I use Google Apps for Business. Insightly has a direct integration with Google Apps. This makes user management simple, and allows me some “extras” because their tool works nicely with Gmail.”
Small and medium-sized businesses can use Keap’s all-in-one package to manage their client database, email and SMS marketing campaign, schedule appointments, and more. All activity and communications reside in a single location, allowing users to update records, follow-up with customers, collect on invoices and provide customer service from an easy-to-use platform.
Keap is available in two versions: Keap Grow is made for smaller businesses that need the basics, while Keap Pro has additional features, including automation tools and a sales pipeline.
Keap’s features include:
- Contact management — provides a central location for details, tags, notes, tasks, email/SMS history and more.
- Messages — includes a dedicated phone line to send SMS messages from the platform or the mobile app and notifications when messages, phone calls and emails are received.
- Tasks — can be linked to individual contacts or included in campaign automations in Keap Pro.
- Appointments — users share links for appointment invitations, allowing clients to schedule themselves.
- Quotes, Invoices and Payments — users can view client’s past purchases as well as create quotes and invoices.
- Broadcasts — prepare email for broadcast to a segmented group of clients or prospects.
- Sales Pipeline — track and manage leads throughout the sales process in a single view.
- Automated Campaigns — users can set up a variety of actions (i.e. email or task) in response to triggers (i.e. purchase, email being opened, or quote viewed.
|$79/month - Grow|
$149/month - Pro
|30-day free trial||>Mobile Access
>More features at Keap
Pros & Cons of Keap CRM Software
Keap’s platform provides an excellent client management and communication tool with an easy-to-use interface, good integration, and automation functions that make users’ lives easier. It is important to note that it is not geared towards sales: it offers little to no lead generation ability.
>Campaign builder with segmentation
>Ease of use
|>Appointment scheduling not automated
>Reporting needs better configurations
>Lead generation tool lacking
What Customers Are Saying
“Keap is easy to use once you’ve taken the time to do the training. The details in the CRM system are fantastic; you can get very creative and in-depth with how you tag people, which allows us to create extremely targeted email lists. It’s good for a campaign that will take a long period of time; it’s easy to set it up and then not have to worry about it. Not so great for a larger-scale operation or a larger company, but it’s a useful tool for smaller companies that aren’t doing a massive amount of email marketing.”
LeadSquared provides organizations looking to automate their marketing and improve their sales execution with features that minimize lead loss and act as a catalyst to more thorough follow-up. The program delivers and prioritizes leads, automates repetitive tasks, tracks metrics and provides a regimented sales process that identifies outstanding performance and boosts revenue and productivity. The mobile CRM not only provides sales force with the ability to update and engage in real time, but also provides geotracking of the meetings they attend and their miles traveled. The program is customizable and integrates easily with third-party productivity and business applications.
LeadSquared capabilities include:
- Lead capture from online and offline sources
- Automated lead distribution
- Lead qualification and prioritizing
- Next best step instructions for sales team
- Task automation for follow-up
- Identifies leads that are ready to buy based on signals
- Identifies leads with cross-sell/up-sell potential based on signals
- Custom, automated reporting
|15-day free trial||>Lead Scoring
>More features at LeadSquared
Pros & Cons of LeadSquared CRM Software
LeadSquared CRM helps companies keep their sales and marketing teams on track by establishing a can’t miss, regimented set of tasks. Though users praise its ability to automate their tasks and keep them organized, many complain about challenges with importing information from other platforms, and others say support is spotty.
>Automated lead distribution
|>Import from legacy system challenging
>Email campaigns require HTML knowledge
What Customers Are Saying
“We use Leadsquared to track performance of our emails, to track clicks on the website and to attract new leads. This platform is great for my sales and marketing campaigns and it helps us to improve our team activity. We can set up landing pages and email templates in a few hours. The support team is highly responsive and useful and they are always open to new ideas and feedback.”
Less Annoying CRM
Built exclusively for small businesses, Less Annoying CRM purposely keeps things simple, inexpensive, and basic. It’s designed to allow small businesses to manage their contacts, track leads and follow up efficiently.
Less Annoying CRMs’ features include:
- All contact information can be found easily with a simple search feature and is viewed on one screen.
- All events and tasks are on one calendar and can be shared with others within each user’s team, department, or the entire company. Can be synced with Google Calendar for mobile access.
- Lead report compiles current list of every lead in the pipeline, complete with status, priority, contact and last comment entered in the file.
- Allows collaboration and access to data with sharing privileges.
- Customization is simple and straightforward
- Web-based platform is accessible from computer or mobile devices
- Emails can be logged into the platform from any email provider
- Easy importing from existing system into Less Annoying CRM
- Daily emails summarizing tasks and events
- One-click export of all data
- Free phone and email support
|$15 /month||30-day free trial/live demo||>Calendar Reminder System
>More features at Less Annoying CRM
Pros & Cons of Less Annoying CRM Software
Small businesses that are looking to keep their expenses low and their sales team organized appreciate both the cost and the efficiency of Less Annoying CRM. The program is intuitive, has all of the basics, is easy to learn and use, and even the support is offered free of charge. Despite all of its positive attributes, it is important to take a good look at the program to make sure that it is not too simple for your organization’s needs.
|>Simple and easy to set up|
>Free email and phone support
|>Reporting features are sparse
>No live chat
What Customers Are Saying
“I have used many CRMs from the old days of ACT to today’s version of Salesforce and even SugarCRM. All of them are good in their own unique ways. The huge value of Less Annoying CRM is its ease of use and value as an efficient contact management tool while providing good reporting tools. Since it is so easy to use and learn, minimal training time is required so it is really easy. Since it integrates so well with Gmail and Google Calendar, there is no need to have multiple calendars going. For the money it is a great solution and very easy to buy, use, and get support for. The couple of times when I have required support, it was very simple to speak with someone or get videos sent by support to show how to do virtually anything that can be done.”
Nimble is a unique web-based CRM that integrates with productivity apps to deliver capabilities that go far beyond traditional contact management features. Its technology automatically combines your contacts, communication histories, email inboxes, and calendar appointments into one unified relationship manager.
Nimble’s features include:
- A ‘smart contacts’ app that integrates social media data directly into the CRM.
- A Customizable Today Page that organizes your key data points on a dashboard that greets you at the start of each business day.
- The ability to segment your contacts into lists for group emails and more.
- A weekly, monthly or quarterly Stay In Touch reminder.
- A unified calendar for events, meetings and tasks
- The Nimble Prospector, a browser extension and mobile app that lets users hover over a person or company’s name to reveal social information including email, social media, and any web browser app.
- The ability to send personalized, templated group emails from your personal email and get tracking, analytics and other reports on opens, clicks, and follow-up opportunities.
- Pipeline management including a visual representation and a snapshot of tasks, events and communications.
- Easy import and export of information from and to other apps.
- Smart search with extensive search criteria
- 25 monthly enrichment credits that allow users to access contact details from a company’s website
- Automatic logging of all communications from a Gmail or IMAP email account
- Clean, easy-to-use interface
|$25.00/month||14-day free trial||>Marketing Automation Integration
>Social Media Integration
>More features at Nimble
Pros & Cons of Nimble CRM Software
Nimble offers a lot of smart features that make managing customer relationships a breeze, but there are some glitches within the system that can be frustrating to users. The integration between apps is great in principle, but doesn’t always work, and it seems like there are a lot of times that trying to use a feature leads to frustration.
|>Integrates with G Suite and Office 365|
>Integration with multiple third-party apps
|>Lack of marketing automation
>Exporting tagged data is clunky
What Customers Are Saying
“I love Nimble, it is a great tool and you have unique options, it is very compatible with multiple email accounts, this is very important, since you can relate businesses with people in a single database and use this database as a dashboard instrument for communication and calendar. I can save searches for reuse, which is great for segment communication. I also love their ability to integrate with social media sources, allowing you to keep in touch with clients and prospects.”
Small companies and startups looking for their first marketing and sales software application are the target audience for Nutshell, a CRM package that offers all of the basic functions expected of a customer relationship management package, along with some high-tech functions and excellent reporting tools, as well as unlimited storage and zero hidden costs.
The program has an attractive interface, is easy to use, and offers several features, including:
- Sales Automation — Eliminates time-consuming tasks and takes control of the lead distribution process, as well as advising sales staff of next steps to maximize opportunities.
- Pipeline Management — Offers four different views for sales reps to view and manage their sales funnel.
- Reporting — Easy-to-use customizable reports for measuring performance and provide at-a-glance visuals of goals and revenues.
- Contact Management — Streamlined input and organization of all contact details and engagements with clients for easy access.
- Email — Templates, automated sequences, and marketing software integrations that boost the power of your correspondence.
- Team Collaboration — Keeps everybody on your team aware of current efforts and issues.
|14-day free trial||>Mobile Access
>More features at Nutshell
Pros & Cons of Nutshell CRM Software
Nutshell is an ideal customer relationship management tool for small businesses and sole proprietors — it generates fantastic reports and is easy to use. But once a business starts to grow, it can lose its appeal. It doesn’t have many options for customization and as your business expands, there’s a good chance you’re going to want more flexibility.
|>No storage limits|
>Importing data is a breeze
>Attractive interface and reasonably priced
|>Little customization available
>Not enough social media integration
What Customers Are Saying
“I’ve used Nutshell for three separate businesses that I’ve run or owned. Each one considered a small to medium-sized business. Nutshell is perfectly suited to us because it’s lightweight and easy to learn. It doesn’t require an in-house expert on the app (like SalesForce). It’s basic feature-set is all I’ve ever needed, and the support is terrific. Real people at the end of the phone, with fast responses. Integrations are somewhat limited, but still, plenty to work with. I’d like an integration to RingCentral’s app. Also, it doesn’t handle subsidiary company relationships well. I’ve had to create a workaround with tags to help connect them.”
Pipedrive’s CRM was created by veteran salespeople who recognized that visualizing the sales process would facilitate a more effective selling process. The program’s focus is on selling with an emphasis on scheduling and completing engagements and activities to make sure that nothing gets missed.
The end result is a reasonably priced, straightforward program that is easy to understand and take advantage of. Pipedrive CRM puts users on the right sales path, helping them prioritize their sales, track performance and predict revenue by applying a deliberate process and arming them with essential tools and features, including:
- Integrations with other software, including Google Apps, MailChimp, and Zapier
- Custom chatbot and webforms to provide more leads into the sales pipeline
- Fully visible communications tracker for calls, emails, and contact history
- Automation tools to eliminate repetitive tasks
- Robust, customizable reporting tools
- Mobile app
- Interactive dashboards and custom fields and reports
- Open API
- Team management for organizing teams
|14-day free trial||>Calendar/Reminder System
>More features at Pipedrive CRM
Pros & Cons of Pipedrive CRM Software
Pipeline does a good job of making sure that lead leakage is eliminated and follow through is completed, but downloading leads can be cumbersome and customer support is limited. Reports did not provide the deep dive that many clients need, but the program was praised for its overall ease of use.
|>Customizable reports and interactive dashboards|
>View all functions at a glance
>Easy to use
|>1000 email limit on lower cost version
>Mobile app functions are limited
What Customers Are Saying
“It had a positive impact on our ROI. We had been keeping all of our leads on google sheets and inevitably during busy selling seasons, some leads can slip through the cracks or not get followed up with quickly enough. Pipedrive makes that virtually impossible so long as a rep is logging in. There were two leads specifically I can remember where reps said that Pipedrive reminded them to follow up at the right time, and that paid for the service several times over.
In addition to reminding reps to follow up with sales leads, we used it with current customers as well and this helped us with customer retention.”
PipelineDeals is made for small organizations that need basic, smart CRM software to help them organize and take control of their sales function. The setup is straight-forward and the interface is intuitive, providing users with a single customizable list view of all of their deals. The goal is to keep the individual user on track and facilitate collaboration by putting all conversations and tasks in a single, easy-to-find location.
The cloud-based program offers functions needed for customer relations and for sales engagement via laptop, desktop, or any connected mobile device. Daily pipeline snapshots are delivered with real-time deal status updates, and a comprehensive sales dashboard delivers comprehensive information in 3-D charts.
PipelineDeals presents the information that users need simply, with pages that contain all contact information, documents, activities and events at a glance. Essential data fields can be complemented by 225 custom data fields according to the individual user’s preference or sales process.
Despite the system’s simplicity, it also has state-of-the-art features including trackable emails that provide alerts when the correspondence is opened, an attachment downloaded or a link clicked.
Data integration from other programs is available with the added benefit of duplicate deletion.
|14-day free trial||>Email Marketing
>More features at PipelineDeals
Pros & Cons of PipelineDeals CRM Software
PipelineDeals CRM provides all the basics that a small sales organization needs. It is extremely simple to learn, low cost and the company behind it is very supportive throughout the entire process. It does not provide a lot of the functions that the more complex, more expensive CRM packages do. Integration is limited and management will need to work hard to take the reporting it produces and turn it into meaningful information.
|>Inexpensive and easy to sue|
>Great customer support
|>Management-level reporting is lacking
What Customers Are Saying
“My company has used PipelineDeals since around the time they started. We were a very early customer. I started with one sales person and have moved up to about 10 today. The system works great for this size sales team. It’s not cumbersome to use as a central system for a small team to stay organized. I highly recommend it to anyone with a sales force in that range. I can’t speak to it’s scale above that as it’s my experience up to 10 active reps.”
Really Simple Systems
Really Simple Systems CRM Software is a powerful small business CRM system that facilitates business growth by giving users the tools to work less, sell more, and create a great customer experience. The company provides an integrated sales and marketing solution that combines all of the features that a sales department needs along with the marketing functions that generate leads.
The program helps marketing-oriented users build personalized campaigns targeting those whose data is contained in the system’s customer database, and in turn when those customers respond to marketing’s outreach their leads can be transferred directly to the sales staff for follow-up, or kept within marketing’s purview for a further automated marketing campaign. The system is designed to allow users to customize it in a way that improves and tracks ROI.
Really Simple Systems’ provides a simplified, real time view of data and activity, providing users in both sales and marketing with a single-page view of all calls, meetings, notes and correspondence. Sales performance can be tracked and monitored and reports delivered on a prescribed schedule.
The system’s features include:
- Contact Management for all engagements, including customers, prospects, and suppliers
- Sales Pipeline Management to track the sales cycle and prioritize leads
- Sales Quotations that can be sent directly to prospects
- Tasks, Events & Calendars to organize workload
- Email Integration into customer accounts
- Detailed reporting
|Free trial/live demo||>Segmentation
>More features at Really Simple Systems
Pros & Cons of Really Simple Systems CRM Software
Really Simple Systems CRM Software is true to its name. The search function is logical, having a marketing module built into the program makes sense and the flexible pay-as-you-grow pricing makes sense to those who begin with limited needs.
|>Integration with third-party business tools|
>Customization of database fields
|>Customer support can be slow
>Data conversion lacking
What Customers Are Saying
“The software is easy to use and navigate through. I love the fact that it can be tailored to meet your specific needs as this was very important to me and one of the factors that played an important role in me choosing RSS. Functionality is great and there are a lot of extra options that are available that I can switch on and off as and when I require them.
Salesforce is probably the best-known CRM platform in the world. The first iteration of the software was written in 1999, and since then it has become the platform that businesses turn to for a fast, powerful, customizable program that can grow with a business and provide all the functions that it needs.
Salesforce’s popularity has led to a remarkable accumulation of features, integrations and pricing structures available for clients. Despite its dominance of the market, it remains a challenging program to learn and implement, and most companies indicate that it takes a few months for it to get up and running. Once employees become comfortable, they express satisfaction with its functions, its speed, its powers and its flexibility.
Salesforce offers multiple features across its platform. Some of the most valuable for users include:
- Wide range of business products that integrate with each other
- Straightforward import process for data from other popular applications
- Salesforce integrates easily and automatically with business tools through AppExchange
- Supportive, educated community known as Salesforce’s Trailblazers provide documentation, forums and guides on nearly every aspect of the product’s use.
- Project management features that enhance productivity
|$25.00/month||30-day free trial||>Email Marketing
>More features at Salesforce
Pros & Cons of Salesforce CRM Software
Though Salesforce is considered the gold standard for CRM Software and the program offers tremendous flexibility and function, it is also a challenging program to learn, and the functions can be overwhelming. It can also be cost prohibitive.
|>Customizable with integrations available|
>Detailed custom reports
|>Steep learning curve
>Can be cost prohibitive
What Customers Are Saying
“We are using Salesforce as our CRM. It is the only one that actually works with our other systems. We really like having one environment to operate in as opposed to several systems.
The marketing automation is hands down the best in the market. The ability to nurture prospects through the sales cycle is amazing. Lead generation tools are top-notch, sales tools, and the sales system is set up for growth, and customer retention is a breeze as well. It is expensive to implement. We needed a consultant to help us with setup, which was not cheap. Also the learning curve for over 200 employees took time.”
SugarCRM provides all of the same functions that other customer relationship management packages do, but they differentiate themselves (and promise a better customer experience) both by offering collaborative functionality between marketing sales and customer experience teams and by having created what they call a “no-touch platform”. The more information that the system captures as sales and marketing employees enter data, the more insights and guidance the platform’s AI technology provides to users. The program provides them with an automated and intelligent roadmap on how to provide the best possible value to their customers and to drive revenue for their organization.
The system’s features and advantages include:
- Drag and drop campaign builders
- Lead nurturing with scoring
- Analytics and reporting dashboards
- SEM, SEO, and social media tools
- Ability to generate high quality emails, landing pages, and forms
- Robust integration capabilities
- Efficient dashboard that provides information at a glance
|$52.00/month||Demo available||>Calendar/Reminder System
>More features at SugarCRM
Pros & Cons of Sugar CRM Software
Small businesses searching for the right CRM program will find that SugarCRM provides most of the capabilities that are found in the top software packages available. By giving up some of the complexity they also save significant expense. SugarCRM provides impressive customization ability with the modifications that can be made to its database. It also is capable of trouble-free integration with various productivity applications, but prospective customers need to remember that the program may not have all of the functions that they are looking for.
|>Dedicated customer support|
>Highly customizable with reporting features
>Integrations with third-party apps
|>Setup and configuration is complicated
>Limits on access from multiple devices
What Customers Are Saying
“Superior customer service, low cost of marketing, low cost of quote/contract management, low cost of ownership with minimal IT overhead. Another key metric is time to productivity. The Sugar system is so easy to set-up and learn that, provided there are no data issues, the system can be up and running and providing real value within a week.”
Vtiger’s “one view” approach provides a unified perspective for Sales, Marketing and Support within one company. The goal is seamless collaboration and a 360-degree view that allows all stakeholders access to relevant customer data. It facilitates the sales cycle from lead identification through to the closing of the deal in a single database.
Vtiger allows customization, segmentation of leads, marketing automation and integration with over 500 business productivity applications. The company also offers customer support 24/5 via phone, email and chat.
- Assignable subtasks
- Time tracking for customer billing
- Inventory and service tracking that can be dragged into quotes and invoices and synced with accounting software
- Deeply integrated calendar and tasks
- Custom report building
- Project management and team integration
- Workflow automation to eliminate repetitive tasks
- Sales and Help Desk analytics
- Mobile Apps for iPhone, iPad and Android
- Integration with over 500 business applications
- Email marketing
- Help Desk functions including SLAs, analytics and insights
- Private Customer Portals
- Sales Forecasting, analytics and insights
- Appointment scheduling
|15-day free trial||>Marketing Automation Integration
>Social Media Integration
>More features at vTiger CRM
Pros & Cons of vTiger CRM Software
Customers appreciate the all-in-one view of Sales, Marketing and Support and the easy accessibility from mobile devices. The software is affordable and offers many of the same functions as more expensive options. Support wins high praise, but many customers complain of limited customization, need to open too many screens, and slowness and bugs around integration.
|>Integration with an all-in-one-view|
|>No formatting of reports
>Lack of customization
What Customers Are Saying
“We utilize vTiger to manage our entire sales, order processing and invoicing processes. Searchable data allows us to see the progress of a sale over time and manage tasks and activities while ensuring we keep integrity of our customer data. Many of our customers are budget driven and we may engage with them one year and not complete the sales agreement for one or two years later. Vtiger allows us to continue to track and prioritize accounts so we can continue to manage the sale to the completion of an agreement and beyond.
WORK[etc] is an all-in-one, cloud-based platform designed with the ambitious goal of providing a single, integrated online business system for CRM, Project Management, Sales and Management. The software provides company-wide access to customer information from lead capture and marketing to sales prioritization and strategy, all the way through to billing and help desk support. Users can search and filter by employee, keyword, customer or activity, and all information can be synced and integrated from cloud-based apps and services.
By capturing every activity and interaction with a contact, the entire workforce can be kept in the loop and aware of all pertinent information, providing real-time accountability, smarter operations and sales strategy, and an improved customer experience.
- Project Management
- Custom fields viewable on sales, projects, and support cases
- Helpdesk with support tickets
- Gmail and Outlook Plugins
- CRM with customer account history, reminders, contact tagging, and more
- Billing featuring multi-currency, subscription, and catalog
- Documents, Blogs, and Reporting
- iPhone, mobile and Android Support c
|14-day free trial||>Lead Scoring
>More features at WORK[etc]
Pros & Cons of Work[etc] CRM Software
The program’s features provide answers, improved efficiency and the opportunity for collaboration for every department that touches a client, but the extensive nature of its functions leads to a steep learning curve. The company’s customer support/help desk wins high marks.
|>No email automation
>Steep learning curve
What Customers Are Saying
“This is the most comprehensive and complete sales/project management/support/billing tool I have found anywhere online. I literally tried over 2 dozen competitors and combos of integrated CRM/PM/Acct/Support tools and cannot find a single competitor that does it in an all-in-one unified system. The level of support from this company is nothing short of astounding and amazing and I use them a LOT to work through usage and bug issues when they arise but that leads to the cons. You need to be willing to spend some time on a learning curve, a slightly outdated interface and you need to be willing to adapt to some of its quirks where it cannot be made to adapt to your needs in some cases.”
The Workbooks CRM platform provides a comprehensive tool by which mid-sized companies can manage marketing, sales, order process, and customer service in a way that improves and simplifies the process, provides new insights and drives performance, customer satisfaction, and revenue. The web-based program offers extensive features that facilitate marketing automation and lead capture, optimize invoice generation and order fulfillment, and analyze customer behavior and buying trends to steer strategy. Workbooks CRM integrates with hundreds of third-party business productivity apps.
To assure that potential buyers understand all of its features, Workbooks provides discovery workshops to ensure that it is a good fit and offers extensive training programs for those who want it.
- Marketing — Features include data management and targeting, website analytics and lead capture, lead management and scoring, campaign and event management, marketing metrics, supplier management, and more.
- Sales — Features include contact and opportunity management, automated workflows, sales performance metrics, account management, order creation and processing, mapping, and more.
- Order Processing — Features include supplier management, quote standardization, order creation and processing, contract management, order fulfillment functions, real-time reporting, and more.
- Customer Service — Features include ticketing & case management, manage agent workload, case allocation based on agents’ skills and knowledge, multi-channel support, and more.
$80.00/month Business pro
|Free 30-day trial||>Email Marketing
>More features at Workbooks
Pros & Cons of Workbooks CRM Software
Clients praise the comprehensive, all-in-one features and report a high level of satisfaction with customization, speed, customer support and the ability to access the cloud-based program from anywhere. Comments regarding complexity are common, but customer service and support receives high marks.
|>Ability to extend product features|
>Strong customer support
|>Overly complex in some areas
>May be pricey for some
What Customers Are Saying
“We checked many CRMs prior to our decision, but Workbooks was an unbeatable winner. We liked it because there was no difficulty to implement it in our system. Workbooks is cloud-hosted, and it doesn’t require us to install special software on our devices. We are also satisfied by flexible customization, meaning that we can add/remove features that matter to our business.”
Zoho CRM is a productivity-focused, SaaS CRM solution that provides a full suite of capabilities, including lead management, sales force automation, contact management integrations and analytics including performance management. The program’s user interface has an intuitive design and is focused on productivity, and that’s in keeping with Zoho’s emphasis on lead management. Opening the package provides a customizable user dashboard that displays widgets titled Open Tasks, Today’s Leads, Amount by Stage and Closing This Month, and the program even offers the option of gamification to encourage competition, goal achievement and improved performance.
Zoho is highly customizable, provides third-party integrations with many popular applications, and produces attractive reports and helpful visualizations. It is sold in multiple pricing tiers ranging from single licenses with access to every app to an Ultimate tier that includes advanced customization capabilities and analytics. Users that want to be able to capture leads from social media or to use the program as part of customer support will need to invest in the Professional tier at a minimum.
The program’s benefits and features include:
- Smart search tool that can seek files based on multiple search criteria
- Comprehensive timeline view to show interactions and historical data from all users as well as upcoming tasks
- Lead management tools including campaign management, lead capture, lead nurturing, lead segmentation, prospecting, interaction tracking, lead distribution and pipeline tracking
- Sales Signals, a tool that harvests leads and provides real time notifications of company mentions on chats, social media networks and emails
- Zia, an Artificial Intelligence tool that identifies trends and makes suggestions to improve the sales process
|15-day free trial||>Calendar Reminder System
>More features at Zoho CRM
Pros & Cons of Zoho CRM Software
Zoho is a mature, comprehensive software suite that will meet the needs of small-to-medium sized businesses that want their CRM to help them improve their sales process. It is extremely customizable, easy to set up and integrates with other helpful tools. Because many of the most valuable features are only available at higher-level tiers, it is easy to start out paying a low cost and then end up facing a bigger expense.
|>Email marketing tools|
>Gamification of modules to promote performance
>Easy to set up
|>Tiered levels of services can get expensive
>Customer service via email only on weekdays
What Customers Are Saying
“I love how this software has a number of different functions that the user has the option to dive into for further analytics to better run the business. As a small organization, we found value in seeing many things we hadn’t thought much about before and the features that we did think about, we weren’t sure how to have a consistent way of analyzing the changes. It is definitely overwhelming at times with the multitude of information, and with the information it is our job to see what we need to do with it. I think it does a great job, it’s just the game plan is difficult at times.”
What Is CRM Software?
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, and CRM software is an integral tool that allows your company’s sales team, marketing department, customer service staff and others to keep track of all of the people and organizations with whom they interact. Though at its most basic a CRM program is a database, new technologies have made CRM software into a way to do far more than store and retrieve information. Today’s CRM software helps improve productivity and business relationships. A robust CRM software program will empower your staff: it gives your promotional teams the ability to capture more leads, nurture them and convert them to increased revenues and gives your customer service teams the tools to be able to respond to customer inquiries and complaints quickly and effectively.
The various individuals that interact with a CRM system use it to store customer prospect information. Different departments within an organization use this information differently: marketing may use it to target campaigns while the sales department uses it to pursue sales opportunities and customer services uses it to address support issues. CRM software allows each of these disparate groups to access and add to the same information in order to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the contact’s relationship and history with the company.
Benefits of CRM Software
A good CRM software can help your organization in a number of ways. It can increase the productivity and success of your sales department, improve customer satisfaction and retention, improve organizational efficiency and provide highly accurate data to be used for forecasting and internal reports. Most important of all, a Customer Relationship program that is shared across your organization will help your stakeholders to communicate more effectively with one another. By unifying access to information, you can cut down dramatically on misunderstandings and miscommunications, eliminate inefficiencies, and boost your ability to achieve your organizational goals.
When you introduce a CRM tool, you make three significant differences in your company’s operations:
- You cut down on paperwork. Once you’ve entered information into a CRM once, you don’t have to write it down again. You can add to the important information that a customer record holds, including leads, engagements, sales and more. An advanced CRM system will be able to take the information in the contact manager and apply it to order forms, calendars, emails, reports, invoices and more.
- You can track your internal processes in real time. Having a CRM system eliminates the problem of tasks falling through the cracks. It will reinforce and regiment your follow-up, making sure that leads are not neglected, orders are processed, campaigns are activated, and follow-up calls are made.
- Immediate access to data and reports. A CRM replaces the need for inputting data into spreadsheets and trying to organize it into something meaningful. With the push of a button you can access complete information about sales and revenues, staff performance and more to help give greater insights.
What to Look For In CRM Software
Whether you’re investing in your company’s first CRM or you’ve outgrown the one that you have, it’s important that you choose one that suits your organization’s needs rather than just investing in the one that seems to have the best reviews, the lowest price, or the most bells and whistles. Though you obviously want to keep the company’s business objectives and budget in mind, a CRM needs to be a solution for the people who are working with it. That means that a good place to start is with the team or teams that will be using it. Ask them to identify their key functions and what their wish list is. What tools do they use most and what is frustrating the most, not only in their own work but in their interactions with other departments? Features mean nothing if the staff doesn’t need it — or worse, will object to using it. Most CRM software will likely check the boxes that your staff needs, but some will do it better than others, so that’s where to start looking at reviews.
Another key to choosing a program that will work for you rather than against you is whether a package will integrate and sync with whatever you are currently using, whether that is an existing but outdated CRM system or any of the popular third-party business productivity applications. A program that wins high marks for this ability will likely save you a lot of heartache and undue stress.
You should investigate whether a package will be customizable and scalable enough for your needs, whether it is simple enough for your staff to get up and running quickly, and of course, whether it fits your budget. Finally, it makes good sense to choose a package that provides you with a test run, whether through a live demo or a free trial. By allowing some of your stakeholders to test the system, you’ll get a good sense of whether it is going to meet your needs.
The Cost of CRM Software
There are hundreds of CRM software packages from which to choose, and each one has a different price or pricing structure, and some are even free! Just looking at the twenty that we have identified here as the best of 2020 demonstrates the wide range of fees, with some charging per individual user and some charging per team, and monthly charges ranging from $0 to $99 and up.
The better way to think about pricing is to understand what factors are likely to add cost. Armed with this knowledge you will be able to judge the value that each one program provides.
These features are:
- Number of users — Many programs charge per user fees, and some offer tiers that not only allow for increasing numbers of users but also may add beneficial features.
- Amount of storage — Many of the free or lower-priced programs only come with minimal amounts of storage, then move up to unlimited storage as subscription fees increase.
- Customization — Though some packages offer flexibility and customization at the outset, others provide increased customization as you move into more expensive tiers.
- Number of Records — Lower priced or free versions often come with lower numbers of available records and contacts within the program, and these numbers move up dramatically as you pay more per user.
- Analytics — Though all programs offer reporting, they often become more detailed and more customizable as they become more expensive.
- Integration — Though most packages offer migration and integration, the packages that provide integration with greater efficiency are generally more expensive.
- Support — Most packages offer support, but for most of the free or lower priced packages the support is limited.