Product and service reviews are conducted independently by our editorial team, but we sometimes make money when you click on links. Learn more.

The Best CRM Software of 2021

By Simone Johnson,
business.com Staff
| Updated
Jan 06, 2021

Looking for the best CRM software? We have easy-to-read, expert unbiased reviews and feature comparisons of the best and cheapest programs.
Featured Sponsor
Four pricing plans
Click-to-call service
SMS integration
Featured Sponsor
Landing page builder
Built-in e-commerce tools
QuickBooks integration
Contact Management
Lead reports
Drag-and-drop features
Live demo option
Enterprise
Market share leader
24/7 support
Numerous popular integrations
Best Overall
Easy customization options
Multiuser portals
Real-time reports
HubSpot CRM
Free
Read Review
G Suite integration
Variety of email templates
Ideal for sole proprietorships
Looking for the best CRM software? We have easy-to-read, expert unbiased reviews and feature comparisons of the best and cheapest programs.
Updated 01/06/21

This page has been updated with information on Less Annoying CRM's new help center.

Customer relationship management (CRM) solutions help sales teams manage leads, log communications and build campaigns. While such systems were once used exclusively by enterprises with thousands of dollars to spend on software products, the proliferation of affordable SaaS systems has opened the CRM world to small and midsize businesses. Low-cost CRMs lack some of the features more expensive solutions offer, but they are typically easy to implement and manage.

 

Find the Right CRM Service for Your Business

Fill out this questionnaire to find vendors that meet your needs.
How We Decided
Our team spends weeks evaluating dozens of business solutions to identify the best options. To stay current, our research is regularly updated.
65
Considered
25
Researched
5
Selected

Compare Our Best Picks

  Salesforce HubSpot Keap Less
Annoying
CRM
Zoho CRM
Free trial 30 days 14 days 14 days 30 days 15 or 30 days
Maximum number
of contacts
No limit Up to 1 million 50,000 to over
1 million (no limit)
No limit, but under 50,000 recommended  No limit
Email
features
Automated
email and
meeting tracking
Templates for
building out
email campaigns
Automated
email options
Automated
email marketing
Custom email templates
Starting price

$25 a month per user

Free $79 a month $10 a month per user $12 a month
per user

Our Reviews

Freshsales: Featured Sponsor

Freshsales is a customer relationship management software solution by Freshworks that makes it easy for businesses of all sizes to attract, manage, close and nurture their leads. With an intuitive user interface and an expansive feature set, including built-in phone and email, artificial intelligence-based lead scoring, visual deal pipelines, intelligent workflow automation, and customizable visual reports and dashboards, Freshsales gives businesses everything they need to manage their sales without having to juggle multiple tools.

Keap: Featured Sponsor

You can set up automated processes that send messages to new leads.
Keap's marketing campaign builder allows you to automate any sales or marketing process you design.
Keap does not offer customer support over the phone on weekends.

Keap is on a mission to simplify growth for millions of small businesses.

For 18 years, Keap has helped small businesses get organized so they can deliver great service and close more business. Keap's award-winning CRM solution serves more than 200,000 users globally.

We're in the business of helping you grow yours.

Step up to all-in-one sales and marketing software designed for growing service-based businesses, ranging from entrepreneurs and startups to larger teams. Keap's platform organizes your customer information and daily work in one place, freeing you up from repetitive tasks so you have more time to focus on growing your business and delivering great service.

Read Review

Less Annoying CRM: Best for Contact Management

Less Annoying CRM integrates with Mailchimp, which allows you to automate your email marketing campaigns.
Less Annoying CRM provides screenshots, demos and tutorials of the program.
Less Annoying CRM does not offer as many sophisticated features as some other programs.

Less Annoying CRM is ideal for small companies because of its direct and compact design that allows you to get up and running in no time. This lightweight program is inexpensive and provides the key components of a quality CRM program. Less Annoying gives you room for unlimited contacts, the ability for different teams to collaborate, lead and pipeline management, and project management opportunities, all for $15 per user per month. 

January 2021: Less Annoying CRM has added a new dedicated help center to its website. The help section is free and accessible to all visitors, even those who have not purchased the CRM program. The "Getting Started" section includes videos and articles to guide a customer through initial setup, and other sections are organized into common topics and specific features that build on Less Annoying CRM's already robust tutorial programs.

Less Annoying CRM offers a 30-day free trial. There are no contracts, so you can cancel your service at any time for no penalty. It only offers one subscription plan, showing you exactly what you'll get from the program for one straightforward price. 

Less Annoying CRM's features include an out-of-the-box functionality tool, which is basically training materials to help you get the software up and running. This is designed to keep setup and implementation time to a minimum so your team can begin using the program right away. 

Less Annoying offers a wide range of integrations with programs that small businesses find valuable, like Mailchimp, Outlook, and Google Calendar and Contacts. You and your team can also directly import information from your Excel sheets into the program without any hassle.  

Part of what makes Less Annoying special is its simple interface. Unlike some CRMs, it is not an intimidating tool, and the home screen is organized in a very transparent way. To add contacts, you only have to type in the information, and then the dropdown creation wizard organizes the rest of the information for you. This gives you more time to focus on following up with leads and other aspects of your business.  

One of the drawbacks of Less Annoying for some is the same reason others love it. Its simplistic design can seem restricting, and users looking for comprehensive features may feel like Less Annoying CRM doesn't offer enough. Reporting and analytics features are limited, and there are basically no forecasting tools. 

Additionally, Less Annoying CRM does not have a call center within its program. The program does not offer a drag-and-drop pipeline either, and it's a very DIY program compared to other CRMs.  

However, Less Annoying's customer service is top-notch. It is easy to get one of its representatives on the phone, and they are polite and direct. When we spoke with a representative, they explained both the limitations and benefits of the program. They asked several questions to tell whether this program would be a good fit for our business. They were dedicated to helping us understand their services and, in a lot of ways, reflected their CRM. The conversation was very clear and transparent. The company also has a stellar online reputation, scoring an A+ with the Better Business Bureau. 

Less Annoying is a very adaptable program that all users can navigate with ease. An in-depth breakdown of the product is available online, which allows all potential customers to view screenshots, demos and tutorials. The website also includes 15 videos that break down each function. All of this provides a great way to learn about the software before you commit to it.

More

Salesforce: Best Industry Leader for Enterprise

Salesforce product categories can integrate with one another as users need.
Through Salesforce's 24/7 support and configuration services, your team can begin using the CRM quickly with the guidance of technical experts and resources.
Users often complain about Salesforce's confusing interface, which can make the software difficult to use initially.

With nearly 20% of market share, Salesforce is the name that comes to mind first when you mention customer relationship management solutions. The sheer number of features, third-party integrations and add-on options makes this CRM ideal for large businesses with diverse and evolving needs. Once implementation is complete, Salesforce offers users a beautifully designed product that's speedy, powerful and highly customizable. The software giant is increasingly acquiring smaller companies and regularly rolls out new and improved features, so if you're looking to compete with enterprise-level businesses, Salesforce has you covered.

December 2020: Salesforce recently acquired Slack in a $27.7 billion megadeal, with plans to integrate the social enterprise messaging software into its tech stack. Slack brings its well-regarded communications functionality to Salesforce and a customizable suite of over 2,000 third-party integrations. According to Salesforce, Slack will be deeply integrated into Salesforce Cloud and will serve as the new interface for Salesforce Customer 360. It is unclear yet how this acquisition may impact pricing for current Slack users.

Read Review

Zoho CRM: Best CRM Overall for Small Businesses

Zoho CRM offers popular integrations, including GoToMeeting, Twilio, DocuSign and Eventbrite.
Users have access to customization features like custom views, page layouts, buttons and conditional fields.
You must subscribe to a support program if you want 24/7 support.

Affordable and beautifully designed, Zoho CRM looks and feels like a lightweight CRM solution, but it packs in a surprising number of high-end features and customization options. Since this CRM is part of the Zoho SaaS family, it can be used on its own or in tandem with other Zoho apps and services, and it is compatible with many popular third-party social media platforms as well. Built-in collaboration features, like the shareable calendar and file repository, make this CRM ideal for small teams and multitasking individuals. For these reasons, it earns our best pick for small business overall.

Read Review

HubSpot CRM: Best Free Version

HubSpot offers training materials for onboarding, certification overviews, courses and an active forum with community user groups.
Users can call a contact directly from the system with the click-to-call feature.
Reporting features are a bit restricted compared to other programs.

HubSpot is our recommendation for the best free CRM software because, although it comes at no cost, it offers everything users need in a quality CRM solution.

Part of what makes HubSpot such a unique program is its free CRM solutions, which are comprehensive and not restricted in user numbers. You can store up to 1 million contacts in this free program, which is ideal for solopreneurs and tiny businesses looking for quality CRM software without fees. 

HubSpot offers all-around functionality, incredible online resources and robust tools for small businesses. Its reporting dashboard gives you important company insight, and its features for deal tracking and pipeline management also help you and your agents stay on top of your consumer data. This gives your sales team a better and easier user experience. 

This CRM program is free forever, but if you are interested in upgraded plans, there are four more pricing options: Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, Service Hub and CMS Hub. Based on how many users you have, pricing ranges from $50 to $3,200 a month for these additional services. 

This CRM offers a variety of free templates that users can choose from to build email campaigns, websites and blogs, making your company's online communication with your clients more uniform. Meanwhile, HubSpot Academy can give your team a better understanding of what the CRM has to offer. It provides documentation and training materials, courses, and an active forum with community user groups to help new users gain a better feel for the program.  

Like many CRMs, HubSpot offers a built-in click-to-call tool. This means that when a client's information has been added to their card, users can call the client directly from the system. They may also record the call if they like, which is automatically logged in the client's timeline. This makes it easier for sales reps to remain up to date on their clients. 

The implementation and setup is an easy process. HubSpot can sync with Outlook or Gmail, no coding required, so you can seamlessly import all your contact data. 

You can also filter and view contact cards and communication timelines, and keep track of live notifications. HubSpot offers automatic sales logging, contact and lead management, and customizable sales pipelines. 

HubSpot's customer support team was very helpful to us, even offering to follow up with our team to discuss the program further. Representatives were quick to respond and encouraged us to use the demo to gain a deeper understanding of the service. The representative we worked with was very knowledgeable and patient throughout the conversations. 

More

Costs of CRM Software

 

There is a world of CRM pricing options for small businesses to explore. There are free and inexpensive CRMs, which are best for small teams and microbusinesses, and often offer upgrades as needed. There are also heavy-duty CRM platforms that are priced higher and offer more functionality, flexibility and scalability.

The amount you spend on a CRM system should be a balancing act between your current needs, your potential future needs and what you can afford. Most cloud-based services list the price per user per month but bill annually, while most native software products have a flat one-time, per-user fee. Some software companies further complicate pricing by offering add-on products and services, storage upgrades, mandatory training and implementation fees, and automatic upgrades. Make sure you fully understand the pricing structure of any CRM product before making your decision, and specifically ask about automatic upgrades, storage limits and user limits.

Here's our mini guide to give you a sense of the general price range of CRM software:

  • Inexpensive cloud CRM systems often have a free version for up to 10 or so team members. Usually, entry-level paid subscriptions begin at around $10 to $15 a month per active user.

  • Midrange cloud CRM subscriptions tend to run from $20 to $40 per month per user. These systems will meet most small business users' needs. If ultralight solutions aren't working for you, step up to this level.

  • Enterprise-level cloud CRM products are available for about $50 to $75 per user each month. These types of systems often offer higher levels of customization, more features, and personalized customer support or training services.

  • High-end cloud CRM subscriptions can run upward of $250 a month per user, but such services are not necessary for most SMBs.

  • Client-hosted CRM software can run you well over $900 per user. These CRMs should only be adopted by organizations that have strong reasons for requiring a system hosted on their own premises.

It's good to consider how many members of your team will need to access the CRM. As with most business software and cloud services, the fewer users you need to onboard, the less expensive your service will be, and the easier it will be to make a lighter CRM work for you.

Negotiation Tips

The more you know about the type of CRM product you need and what is available to users like you, the easier it will be to find the best deal.

Most CRM software for small businesses offers structured pricing based on features and number of users, but getting multiple price quotes and asking for discounts is always worth a try for a small business. Larger businesses or those with a prominent public image may be able to negotiate for freebie features, extra customer support or add-ons in exchange for displaying the CRM on the "products we use" section of the business's website. In general, though, subscription fees are what they are.

If you're deciding between two levels of subscription services that a single CRM company provides, it may be worthwhile to inquire about creating your own custom plan. Again, though, CRM providers may only be willing to do this for large and high-profile clients.

Buying Guide

Benefits of CRM Software

A major benefit of using CRM software is to gain an understanding of what your customers want from your business. This keeps you from wasting time guessing what their needs are.

A CRM system gives you the tools to organize all of your customer data in one place. It ensures you have a full picture of your current and potential customers, their needs, and detailed records of what you have discussed with them in the past.

CRM software is a great way to strengthen those consumer relationships and personalize the way you market to them. It is also a big help to your marketing, sales and customer service teams, letting them organize customer data more efficiently and move through their sales tasks quickly. 

Which CRM Features Do You Need?

CRMs run the gamut from lightweight services intended for quick and easy customer relationship and lead management to powerhouse systems with integrated e-commerce solutions and advanced analytics.

While many small business owners worry that they'll sign up for a product that doesn't offer enough functionality down the road, these concerns are often overblown. Higher tiers of service and add-on features are nearly always available. Also, while more features and functionality may seem inherently better, too many options within a system can be overwhelming, make the implementation process longer and more complicated, and cost more than necessary.

If you already know what you're looking for and why you need it but want to narrow down your options, begin by asking yourself (and your team) these questions:

  • Should we have workflows with built-in multilevel approvals?
  • Will we need to email clients directly from the CRM? What sales tools do we need?
  • Do we want something that can be used out of the box, or do we want to do lots of customization ourselves? If we do want to customize our own system, how much API access do we want?
  • Who will be the primary software admins, and what comfort level do they have in that role?
  • How much are we willing to spend, either per user or on an annual basis?

Whatever your needs are, list them out in addition to the answers to these questions. Also list any integrations you need (including proprietary legacy software, if applicable), and ask the CRM company how such integrations are achieved before you choose a product. In some CRM systems, for example, integration with an outside solution is as simple as clicking a few boxes; in others, you must use a third-party tool (like Zapier) to click your way through the integration. Some even require hands-on coding to make integrations happen.

It's important to understand which key functions a CRM should offer so you can make sure you're getting the most out of the program. These are some of the most important features:

Automation

You want to use a program that automatically executes actions based on data in the program. For example, when a customer fills out a form, your CRM should automatically send the message to the appropriate sales representative. After the message is received, the CRM should send a notification that the message was received. Workflow automation takes the tiny details and extra work off of your plate and allows your sales tasks to run smoothly.

Reporting Tools

Reports help you understand the state of your sales and marketing work. Information like the number of leads or sales you get within a certain timeframe or how many outbound calls your team makes can help you improve your processes. Moreover, it allows you to make more informed decisions about your company. 

Customer Data Management

Understanding your customer is a big part of your business's success, and customer data management features help you organize that information in a clear way. Well-organized, easily accessible data on current and potential customers will help you build better relationships, which ultimately has a positive effect on your business.

Customization

When a program is customizable, you can pick the features you want in your package and arrange your dashboard, reports, extensions and plugins to your liking. This creates a more flexible, comfortable user experience for you and your team. 

Integrations

Third-party integrations connect your CRM software to other programs you use, which saves you the time of switching between apps and manually inputting data you've already stored in other software.

The best way to determine the features you require in a CRM is to list what you want to be able to do with it. Technology should never be adopted simply because it's current or common, but because it solves a specific problem. If you cannot outline in detail what you want to do with your future CRM system, and why you want to adopt one in the first place, you may not be ready to implement it.

By outlining your needs ahead of time, you stand a much better chance of getting a product that does what you need without overpaying for features you'll never use. You can always upgrade – a company will never refuse to sell you more features in the future, so address your most pressing needs first and go from there. Keep in mind that when you're not a customer yet, nearly everyone you talk to is a sales rep, so treat their advice accordingly.

CRM Software Comparisons

In our quest to find the best CRM software available, we tested full-featured solutions and lightweight cloud products side by side so you can decide what's best for your business. There are advantages and disadvantages to either type of CRM software. As with any business software, the more features and functionality a product has, the more in-depth the implementation process is. Additionally, highly customizable systems often require more knowledge to set up than out-of-the-box solutions, which are designed for small, less tech-intensive teams. However, while lightweight systems are easier and cheaper to implement, businesses that are expanding may outgrow such systems quickly. 

Once we assessed the most desirable features CRMs offer small business owners, we compiled a list of more than 65 established CRM software companies. In the first elimination round, we compared factors like pricing, CRM tools, small business focus, customer service and customer satisfaction to establish the 25 strongest contenders from the initial list.

Next, we vetted our top 25 CRM companies against each other to select the ultimate winners. We created a numeric score based on features available (assessing four different categories of features in all) and also noted qualitative differences in areas like standout features, training and implementation resources, ease of use, speed of setup, design, cost of additional features, selection and ease of integrations, tiers of service available, and level of technical skill required for high-level use.

 

 

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software FAQs

What is the estimated time frame to implement a CRM solution?

Ideally, implementing a CRM should be fast, but several factors may prolong the process, like how well your team adapts to the program, how much you want it to integrate with other programs you use, and how much data you need to transfer into the software. Depending on the system, implementation can take anywhere from six weeks to four months, and training can take up to two weeks.

What is the difference between a marketing automation and CRM platform?

With marketing automation, users can schedule and manage marketing campaigns, like email campaigns and business-to-consumer interaction. A CRM platform is more of a database and contains information on your customers, like how long they've been working with your company, their purchase records, phone conversations, and records of their email correspondence with your sales or customer service representatives.

What are examples of CRM software?

Any tech solution or program that assists businesses with their client management and communication is considered a CRM. Leaders in the CRM software industry include Salesforce, Zoho, HubSpot and SugarCRM.

Why is CRM software important for a small business?

Incorporating CRM software into your business is vital to your company's consumer relationships. It allows you to personalize the way you market to your clients, it tracks communications with your clients, and it provides tools to organize the data efficiently. Building customer connections is key to the growth of your business, so it's important to have a system in place to develop and manage those relationships. 

What does CRM offer to marketing, sales and customer service teams?

A CRM helps your sales and consumer service team enter contact information about your customers and track their interactions with your business. Additionally, it can help your team manage marketing campaigns and find sales opportunities.

What kind of customer information is being collected?

In a CRM system, the information from customers includes phone numbers and addresses. Some systems record phone conversations, allow for discussion notes and track follow-up appointments. A CRM also provides marketing, sales and customer service information, like targeted marketing campaigns and customer insights. 

What steps should your sales team follow when a lead is assigned to them?

When a lead is assigned to your sales team, research the person or business to assess whether they're a worthy sales prospect. This is how you should prioritize your leads. Then, if the lead is a business, find the person within it who will make the final decisions about buying your product. Schedule a meeting with the appropriate individual and discuss what your prospect is looking for to see if you can fill a need for them.

What is a CRM implementation process?

The CRM implementation process happens when the platform you choose is ready to install. The process includes setting up the software with your company's preferences and transferring the information you may have in a different CRM solution. Additionally, you want to make sure the CRM integrates properly with any other programs it will interact with, such as your email marketing service, social media networks, online calendars, business phone system and customer success software.

The final stage of the implementation process is properly training all of your employees in how the CRM platform works. If the actual users don't understand all the ins and outs of the software, the CRM will never show its true worth. It is critical to spend the necessary time getting every one of your staff who will be using the platform up to speed on how it works.

After the CRM has been up and running for a few weeks, you should revisit how it is operating to make sure it is meeting all of your needs and your employees are comfortable with it, and then address any trouble spots.

How do you build good relationships with customers using your CRM?

Make sure your CRM is storing all of the key data points on your customers. This will allow you to tailor all your interactions to their specific needs. Customers want to feel special; they don't want the companies they work with to treat them as just another sale. A CRM allows you to make sure you remember previous conversations, have all of the relevant contact information, and know where each customer is in the sales funnel. This means that the next time you connect with a customer, you can focus on the next steps without revisiting information that has already been explained.

Additionally, you can set your CRM to remind you when it is time to connect with a potential customer. For example, if you tell a contact you are going to call them in three weeks, instead of just adding it to your calendar, you can have your CRM send you reminders that you need to reach out to them.

Is Google Analytics a CRM?

No, Google Analytics is not a CRM; it is a web analytics tool that helps businesses assess the effectiveness and reach of your company's marketing. It provides data associated with consumers' online activity and interaction with your brand, product or service. A CRM can use the information gathered from Google Analytics, though, to assist your company's marketing efforts to consumers.

How many types of CRM are there?

There are five kinds of customer relationship management software. Here are the differences that separate each type of CRM:

  1. An operational CRM helps you market to your audience based on the data you collect from them.
  1. Analytical CRM software provides business foresight through customer data.
  1. Collaborative CRMs allows businesses to share customer information interdepartmentally (e.g., customer service department, sales, etc.) based on customer interactions.
  1. Campaign management CRMs are often described as analytical and operational systems. These solutions are ideal for assisting with sales and marketing campaigns based on collected client data.
  1. Strategic CRMs integrate with other apps, such as Mailchimp, to run marketing campaigns. These systems use collected customer data to inform business decisions about how to execute marketing campaigns.

 

State of the Industry

In the last two decades, it's become harder to answer the question "what is CRM software?" It's grown from a glorified digital contacts repository to a powerful tool that businesses of all sizes can use to manage goals and tasks interdepartmentally. By aligning sales, marketing and inventory assets, CRM makes it easier for businesses to grow strategically and sustainably.

The proliferation of user-friendly and cloud-based CRMs has led to the adoption of CRM across many industries and increased innovation among competing software companies. Today, the landscape is dominated by feature-rich, easy-to-use CRMs that offer scheduling features, streamline the email marketing process and offer visual data reports. For small business users, the priority is often ease of implementation, and companies have picked up on that. Easy-to-use systems for small businesses without extensive in-house tech expertise have become the holy grail for SaaS providers, CRMs being no exception.

Increased demand for such solutions has led to industrywide growth. IBM reported in its corporate blog that, as of 2017, CRM was a $36 billion industry, with Adobe (27%), Salesforce (21%) and Microsoft (20%) leading the market share, and that 87% of all CRM systems marketwide live in the cloud. The trend of moving from natively hosted software to cloud systems is evidence of the changing tide in business software, away from strictly enterprise-level systems and toward customizable solutions that businesses of all sizes can use.

Community Expert Insight

The right CRM can have a great impact on your business. Sanket Abhay Desai, digital marketing consultant for ItsOnlineMarketing.com, found HubSpot very beneficial. It improved his customer conversions by 7% and is the CRM of his choice.

"Its marketing module makes marketing automation very seamless," he said. "HubSpot's marketing component called Workflow helps structure drip campaigns and follow-ups very easily. Testing different landing page templates and CTAs within Workflow is also very easy and intuitive."

Rameez Ghayas, digital marketer at PureVPN, also thinks the best CRM programs are straightforward and agile, easily allowing users to focus on their customer relationships instead of data entry. When Ghayas was seeking a quality CRM, he considered how fast and easy setup was, ease of use, level of maintenance required for the program to remain up to date, seamless integration, and customer intelligence features to show you which leads are hot. It is for these reasons that he currently uses automated sales CRM Salesflare.

"You won't have to manually input data anymore, as Salesflare integrates with your email, calendar, phone, social, web, company databases, etc.," Ghayas said. "It's a sales CRM that fully automates customer info and timelines."

Stephanie Riel, marketing automation consultant for RielDeal Marketing, uses HubSpot for similar reasons.

"I like that there are a plethora of free tools and resources, including contact management, tasks and activities, reporting, and more basic tools," she said. "Their interface is also very user-friendly for those without much previous CRM experience. It is a great introduction to CRM for small business owners that scales at a moderate price point for the functionality."

Riel said HubSpot's real-time support is also amazing. "Their team is accessible and helpful as you're using the system."

Before she chose a CRM, Riel tested out Salesforce as well and found the interface difficult to navigate and confusing. She said she also had trouble receiving help from its support tools.

Our Methodology

Once we assessed the most desirable features CRMs offer small business owners, we compiled a list of more than 30 established CRM software companies. In the first elimination round, we compared factors like pricing, CRM tools, small business focus, customer service and customer satisfaction to establish the 10 strongest contenders from the initial list.

Next, we vetted our top 10 CRM companies against each other to select the ultimate winners. We created a numeric score based on features available (assessing nine different categories of features in all) and also noted qualitative differences in areas like standout features, training and implementation resources, ease of use, speed of setup, design, cost of additional features, selection and ease of integrations, tiers of service available, and level of technical skill required for high-level use.

 

 

What to Expect in 2020

According to the CRM giant itself, Salesforcethe future of CRM software will involve further aligning sales, marketing and operations around common goals informed by advanced analytics. Many CRM systems will begin to focus on improving the customer experience as much as the internal employee experience, which has historically been the focus of such software. CRM programs will be more streamlined and include more integrations as well.

More artificial intelligence and machine learning features, like chatbots and automated responses, will eventually become the norm, but such features are likely to spread through the upper echelon of CRMs before trickling down to the less expensive options. Use of AI in CRM is expected to grow by over 250% within the next two years. This will reduce the need for manual data entry and therefore human error.

Mona Bushnell contributed to the researching, reporting and writing in business.com's review of CRM software.

Simone Johnson
Simone Johnson
business.com Staff
See Simone Johnson's Profile
Simone R. Johnson was born and raised in New York City. She graduated from the University of Rochester in 2017 with a dual degree in English language media and communications and film media production. She has been a reporter for several New York publications prior to joining Business News Daily and business.com as a full-time staff writer. When she isn't writing, she enjoys community enrichment projects that serve disadvantaged groups and rereading her favorite novels.

community answers

Have a question related to CRM services?
Get advice for your business with experienced experts in our community.
Ask The Community
What are some of your pain points with third party CRM?
7 Responses
Brandon Krieger
Brandon Krieger
Answered
Hi Bill, There are the pros and cons of a lot of CRM systems. What I look at is cost and return. If you are looking for a free type solution or a lower cost solution for smaller businesses you have to think in simple functionality 1) Does it track the lead 2) Is there a sales process you can setup 3) reporting 4) Mobile accessible 5) Support From there use it and build the business. This way as your business grows you move towards a better solution going from...
More
What is your preferred CRM system and why?
7 Responses
Dr. John Elcik
Dr. John Elcik
Answered
In my career I have used Salesforce, Act, Commence and Maximizer for extended periods of time. When working with teams Salesforce has been my favorite as it allows for easy customization and deployment. As System Administrator for a Salesforce installation I created twelve Dashboards, 385 custom reports, the development of contract data in Salesforce and a general reconciliation of customer data with multiple silos of information. It was easy. I also took advantage of Salesforce's AppExchange...
More
Join the business.com community.
  • Tap into our network of business professionals to help achieve your goals.
  • Get reliable advice on the direction to take your business.
  • Find dedicated experts to scale your business.
At what point will I need to switch over to a CRM system?
19 Responses
Wayne Bidelman
Wayne Bidelman
Answered
The sooner the better. There are relatively inexpensive ones that can still be powerful (I know of one that is $20 per month). I started with relatively low-priced one, and then when I needed more functionality than the one I had, I migrated to another one. There are usually easy processes for integrating your existing database onto a new system electronically. With a CRM or not, you must always have a consistent process for staying in touch with your prospects (sometimes called a 'drip...
More
Where do you keep your customer list if you don't use a CRM software?
11 Responses
Tom Fox
Tom Fox
Answered
You might ask yourself the real purpose for a CRM. There are plenty of data bases to store information, you could have avoided the Excel issue with auto backups and duplication... the real value in a CRM is to track and propel the selling process. Set times to call back, or to prospect, separate prospects and clients, track significant facts or personal data about clients but more so to track the progress in your selling process. Maybe the question really isn't if your business is too small for...
More
What is the difference between a marketing automation and CRM platform?
23 Responses
Nancy Seeger
Nancy Seeger
Answered
CRM software is sales-focused, while marketing automation software is marketing-focused. Customer relationship management (CRM) systems measure and analyze customer data throughout the customer lifecycle. The goal is to improve the business relationships with your customers. - Think analytics, upsells, service levels and support. All activities of a CRM are based around keeping customers longer and happier. There are larger software systems, usually with an emphasis of keeping all of the...
More

Services

Featured Sponsor
Freshsales
Freshsales features built-in phone and email applications in a platform focused on following leads while eliminating potential clutter.
Featured Sponsor
Keap
Keap, formerly Infusionsoft, offers an e-mail marketing and sales platform for small businesses, including products to manage and optimize the customer lifecycle, customer relationship management, marketing automation, lead capture and e-commerce.
AmoCRM Software
With an easy interface as well as a mobile CRM, AmoCRM software gives users a platform to easily turn leads into sales.
Pipedrive CRM
Pipedrive is a sales-focused CRM that's ideal for small teams with limited tech support. Code-free integrations and built-in features like pipeline management, sales reporting and sales forecasting are all easily accessible through Pipedrive. With no contracts required and a clean UX, this CRM is simple enough to jump into using, but powerful enough to grow with your sales team.
SugarCRM is packed full of features like contact and lead management, marketing tools, reporting and analytics, call center capabilities, workflows and approvals, and more. There's a bit of a learning curve to using this CRM though, and getting started may require some work, but if your company has a decent in-house tech team, this solution will offer you unparalleled customization options and tons of high-level resources. The outstanding customer service and active online community make this CRM the clear choice for developers who want to fully customize the customer relationship management experience.
Tailored for higher ed, schools, and nonprofits, 360Alumni is an engagement platform designed to keep one's network up to date and informed. Its solution offers several tools, including a map-based directory, end-to-end event management (fundraisers), job boards, mentorships, fundraisers and email marketing software so schools and nonprofits can cultivate and sustain an active online community.
Aavaz specializes in call centers. Among its various services for call centers is its contact management solution, which keeps track of your call and lead histories.
Originally developed as an internal CMS for a service, Accelo was launched in 2009. Accelo offers cloud-based software for professional service businesses. Its CRM platform offers a host of valuable features, including real-time conversation analytics, multi-user syncing, the ability to create, send and convert quotes, and more. The company offers pricing plans to fit the budgets of small and larger businesses. The platform integrates with G Suite, Office 364, QuickBooks and more.
Act! Growth Suite, by Swiftpage, marries a proven CRM to the power of Marketing Automation. Act! provides businesses with a toolset to build relationships, maximize engagement and drive business growth. The software takes the guesswork out of choosing where to focus time and resources by offering intelligent, prioritized recommendations based on the level of engagement of customers and prospects.
AgentCubed is a CRM solution designed specifically for insurance agents. It offers lead generation and distribution, CRM, and agency management features in one platform. CRM features include integrated telephony, call scripting and quoting. Tools such as real-time sales analytics and integrations for automated underwriting and commissions help agencies track sales and streamline operations.
Sales, marketing, telephony and customer service features all unite with Agile CRM. This affordable SaaS product offers a free version for up to 10 users and 50,000 contacts. The Enterprise version is priced at under $50 per user, per month.
If you're looking for a simpler way to acquire leads and maintain customer relationships, AllProWebTools' CRM software is a unique integrated solution.This CRM tool is part of a business suite that also includes email, web and e-commerce hosting, marketing, task management, and timecards. Having all these tools available from one dashboard keeps you organized and saves you time.
Apptivo CRM combines contact and lead management with project management and marketing software to help your business connect better with customers. Apptivo CRM is part of Apptivo's suite of business solutions.
Auric Prospector aims to make it easier for you to manage your many customers, leads and business contacts. The application is an all-in-one CRM that includes lead management, analytics and customer service features.
Easy-to-use Azurepath lets you automatically track data to keep every lead current. You can customize fields, layouts and views, and quickly batch-update your data.
Called an "intelligent productivity platform," Base is all about using data to help your business make wiser, more informed sales decisions. It closely monitors your sales pipeline, sales rep activities, goals and quotas to make sure your team is productive and succeeding.
Batchbook is a comprehensive CRM for small businesses and freelancers, offering social monitoring of your contacts and goal tracking in addition to contact information management.
Bitochon allows you to sync CRM emails with outlook, view information on a simple dashboard design and more. The service also allows for certain levels of customization.
BlueFolder's CRM software focuses on making it easy to communicate with customers by keeping their information just a few clicks away at all times. Other features included a detailed and user-friendly customer portal.
Do you own a real estate business? BoomTown's predictive CRM software is designed specifically for agents, teams, brokerage firms and other real estate professionals. Services include lead generation, a website builder, success management and the ability to manage multiple offices.
True to its name, Buddy CRM acts as a small business's CRM BFF for establishing and keeping customer relationships. It starts by giving you all the information you need about customers before you even contact them, so you're always prepared for a sales call or meeting. Buddy CRM also gives you at-a-glance looks at the status of your business throughout the sales cycle, so you can pinpoint hot leads, identify where and why sales are lost, monitor KPIs and track team activities from a single screen. It also comes with a free mobile app, so you can take Buddy CRM with you wherever you go.
Own a service-oriented business? Bullhorn CRM is specifically built to help service providers strengthen relationships with customers while improving sales productivity and driving growth. There are also dedicated CRM software offerings for niche businesses, such as staffing and recruitment firms and PR agencies.
CRMNext is a financial services CRM that enables omni-channel customer interactions from a single platform. It offers numerous features to improve your sales, including marketing, social media, process management, collaboration, analytics and cross-selling tools.
CallPro CRM Software provides users a number of different features designed around better conversations. With better conversations come better customer leads and relationships, which can lead to more sales.
Campaigner offers two types of CRM software. One is for businesses that deal with shorter, simpler sales processes, and the other combines CRM with sales-process management to help companies with longer, more complex sales processes. The latter option offers more advanced functionalities, such as reporting, customization, a sales process API and more.
Capsule aims to make CRM as simple as possible by offering six core capabilities to help you run your business: managing relationships, managing the sales pipeline, organizing emails, saving contact histories, performing task management and completing customization.
Specifically designed for small to midsize businesses, Commence is a web-based CRM software that's both powerful and affordable. It's also designed for fast deployment, meaning it's easy to implement and you can get started right away.
Businesses track different types of information – quotes, products, price lists, payments, bookings, commisions, etc. Company Hub CRM lets you track these items (not just leads) with its platform you can customize using drag and drop. The company offers a free 14-day trial.
Contactous offers a CRM software that manually enters the users data after being scanned. The software helps take the data input work out of the hands of the business and into the software's list of responsibilities.
Contactually is all about getting the most out of your CRM investment. It is built to help businesses convert existing leads into closed sales, build relationships for long sales cycles, stay on top of revenue opportunities and get more prospects down the sales funnel.
Daylite CRM is one of the few customer relationship management applications made specifically for Apple apps.
Freshsales makes communication amongst your team seamless. It streamlines support channels like email, phone and chat so you can respond to all your customers from one place, allowing you to answer questions and provide feedback faster. It has five plans you can choose from based on your team's needs.
Need a premise-based CRM software? Unlike cloud-based CRM software, GoldMine is installed on your own servers and infrastructure to give you more control over your software. In addition to its many CRM features, the company also offers one of the best customer support systems, so you can get help right when you need it.
GreenRope combines the best of CRM with robust marketing automation to help you save time and dedicate more resources to closing sales. Additional features include project management, collaboration tools, e-commerce, event management and more.
One of our runner-ups, Hatchbuck is all-in-one sales and marketing tool built with small businesses in mind. It focuses on simplicity, ease of use and affordability, while giving you all the tools you need to organize data and automate marketing processes.
Also a top contender on our list of best CRM software, Highrise focuses on helping you manage three key areas of your business: contacts, tasks and communications. You can maintain and share contacts with your team, create tasks and set reminders, and keep track of emails, notes and other forms of correspondence.
Jira

In the space of help desk solutions, Atlassian's Jira platform is one of the most highly rated and respected offerings. Though this solution could have fit in nearly any use case we threw at it, we feel its comprehensive features and in-depth focus on support lends itself well to the complex matter of internal IT support.

For support teams of up to three agents, Jira's Service Management tier is available for free. The next tier up is Standard, which has a price of $20 per agent per month. The Premium service tier has a $40 monthly per-user price tag and is designed for "organizations scaling high-velocity ITSM." The final service tier is Enterprise, though that option requires a conversation with the Atlassian sales team, since it takes a custom approach to better serve large companies.

In every tier but the free one, Jira can support up to 5,000 agents per site. Enterprise is the only service tier that can handle an unlimited number of sites; the others only support one.

Jira offers a seven-day free trial period. It also offers a discount if you pay for an entire year upfront. For example, you'd pay $1,000 for a year of the Standard tier, resulting in a $200 savings over the monthly cost. For the Premium service tier, you would pay $2,000 upfront but save $400 in the process.

Features

Jira is fully stacked with features. Whatever functions you need in an internal IT support solution, Jira likely has what you're looking for. These are just some of the features you can expect to find from the service:

Email-to-ticket support

Jira can turn help-request emails into tickets for your support team to address. The platform does this by monitoring a specific inbox for queries from your employees. If an applicable message comes through, it will scrape the message for keywords and place them in the appropriate fields. Though it's not technically an omnichannel platform, Jira says on its website that it has social media integration to "extend service channels."

Automated ticket assignment

If your support team is broken up into specific proficiencies, or you have one person on staff who's an expert on a certain topic, you can set up automation rules to ensure tickets that fit certain criteria go directly to the right person.

Internal ticket tracking

The ability to track a ticket's progress is incredibly important. Jira does this whether you're using the service for internal IT, customer-facing support, or both. Through the platform, users can have permissions and role-based capabilities to set, view, edit, share and act on requests to fit your support team's needs. Tickets can also be linked across teams to involve the right people.

User ticket tracking

In addition to internal ticket tracking, Jira allows the employee or customer who filed the request to stay up to date with the ticket's progress. Status updates and notifications can be configured to make sure the person who filed the request knows how much longer they have to wait for a response or resolution.

SLA status information

Consistency with your company's service-level agreement is important to create a streamlined and efficient support structure. Jira allows you to set custom SLA goals to fit your company's guidelines and business hours.

IT asset tracking

Your internal IT support team needs to keep track of tech assets within the company. They can do that more easily through the Jira platform.

Live chat and mobile support

The immediacy afforded through Jira's live chat and mobile app support can be an instant boon for your support team. Mobile apps are supported on Android and iOS devices.

Reports

Default reports include breakdowns of workload, SLAs, customer satisfaction and deflected requests. Through configurable dashboards, you can highlight the daily information you need while keeping an eye on real-time queue updates to see that you're working on the right thing at the right time. All reports can be exported for external stakeholders.

Security measures

Jira is compliant with ISO/IEC, SOC 2, PCI DSS, CSA STAR, HIPAA and GDPR security protocols. It also supports an encrypted connection for better security.

Ease of Use

Jira is one of the most popular solutions not only for its robust feature set, but also because of how easy its dashboard is to use. Everything you need is easily located through colorful menus, and information gathered through the ticket is recognizable at a glance. Built to provide "high-velocity support," Jira can make the support pipeline more accessible to everyone using the service.

Drawbacks

In our research of Jira, it was hard to find much to complain about. We did note that its pricing is a little higher than its competitors' prices for similar plan levels. This may be a case of "you get what you pay for," since it has so many features, but those features might be more than your team needs or your budget can justify. If you're looking for a cheap, simple internal IT service without a lot of bells and whistles, Jira may not be for you. This platform strives to be comprehensive, and simpler solutions (priced accordingly) are available elsewhere.

If you were considering Jira for its ability to work as a server-based platform, your time to adopt it for that reason is coming to an end in February. After that, Jira's Service Management solution will only be available as a SaaS or data center product.

Small businesses have many great options for help desk solutions, but Kayako edged out the competition in our search for the best. It's an intuitive piece of help desk software that can be implemented either on-premises or in the cloud. We were impressed with its robust feature set, omnichannel support and strong security measures. While competitors with more name recognition charge extra for some features, Kayako is our best pick for small businesses because each tier is a more complete package for a single price.

  • The lowest service tier, Inbox, is aimed at small teams that want a shared email, chat and social inbox. Whereas most companies would skimp on the features at this low service tier, we were surprised to see that features like live chat and email support, a mobile SDK, collision prevention, and assignment automation rules were included for $15 per agent per month.

  • The next tier, Growth, caters to slightly larger support teams. It includes everything in the Inbox tier, as well as access to more powerful automation features; custom views, fields, forms and reports; multi-brand and multi-language support; and advanced help center customization. This tier, which costs $30 per agent per month, allows up to five free collaborators, who can use the system to leave internal notes but can't directly interact with customers.

  • For larger companies or teams, the Scale tier comes with everything in Growth, while also including advanced workflow customization, shared organizations, custom security policies and Salesforce integration, among other features. Coming in at $60 per agent per month, this tier allows for 10 free collaborators.

In case none of these tiers fit your needs, Kayako offers an Enterprise service plan that starts at $100 per agent per month. There is a free 14-day trial for each service tier.

Features

In our research, we found that Kayako has one of the largest feature sets out of the vendors we examined. The following are some of its particularly valuable features for small businesses.

Internal ticket tracking

As your support team handles tickets, it's important to be able to see their progress at a glance. With Kayako, support agents can track past conversations and activities, as well as a user's visiting habits, searches and past purchases. Through the interface, agents can see the status of a message, when the person on the other end has read the message, and when they're typing out a response in real time. As custom smart boxes are created, conversations can be instantly categorized, making it easier to track tickets.

Ticket collision detection

If your agent has brought someone else into the ticket to assist, there's always a chance that both people will try to reply to the customer at the same time, leading to embarrassing or confusing situations. Kayako prevents this by letting the agents see when the other is viewing and responding to the customer.

Live chat

Live chat service for your customers is a great function that many vendors either ignore or charge extra for. That's why Kayako's baked-in live chat service is worth mentioning. It's customizable to fit your branding and included in the monthly fee.

Self-help knowledge base

You can give customers the option to bypass your support team and find answers on their own, as Kayako facilitates the creation of a fleshed-out, multilingual knowledge base. This feature lets customers access support articles and curated answers to find solutions at any time of day. This not only empowers your customers but also frees up resources for your support staff, since they won't have to address as many repetitive issues.

Support for an internal help desk

Kayako can support your employees as well as your customers. Internal channels can be created to help the people working alongside your support team. The interface works the same way as the customer-facing one, with similar tools for automation, canned responses and support forms.

Hundreds of integrations

Thanks to the use of Zapier and its support for hundreds of third-party applications, Kayako can integrate with countless other pieces of business software without the need for confusing code.

Ease of Use

If you're familiar with Microsoft Outlook, Gmail or even a content management system like WordPress, Kayako's interface is pretty self-explanatory. When a conversation or ticket is opened, it immediately displays contextual information. You can easily see how the person's past interactions with support went and what they were doing on your site before they opened the conversation. The dashboard pulls conversations into the queue regardless of where they're coming from, and it all happens in real time.

On the right-hand side of the screen are the more sensitive pieces of the customer's data, including their email address, phone number and what time it is in their current location. Naturally, Kayako only gathers that information if the customer offers it, but the agent can also add those details manually. If you have multiple agents sitting in on the same conversation, you can even check their status on the issue, including who's actually viewing the conversation and who's actively typing in it. Thanks to different SLA settings, you can also see on the same screen how much time you have left to reply before you fall out of compliance with your company's policies.

Overall, we were impressed by the immediacy of information that Kayako's interface conveys.

Drawbacks

Though we were impressed with Kayako's feature set and ease of use, one thing stood out as a detraction – the price. Compared to some of its competitors, Kayako's prices are a little high. While it's hard to compare service plans, given how widely they vary in features, we found other companies whose lowest tier cost as little as $5 per agent per month. While those low costs came at a severe cut to the available features, it's worth noting that you can find cheaper services than Kayako if you're not looking for anything too fancy.

The other downside is the availability of Kayako's customer service. Though our email interaction with the company was fine, it's based in the U.K. and India, so it can be hard to catch the support agents during their business hours. You can reach the company on Twitter as well, but its main support apparatus seems to be a knowledge base. This hands-off service method may be fine for some, but frustrating for others. It's also a little frustrating that the live chat on the Kayako website is for sales only. That's a missed support opportunity, for sure.

If you're looking for a simple way to gather, manage and convert leads, LeadMaster can help. First, the software aims to save you hours spent looking for high-quality leads by automating your marketing system. Next, its sales lead-management tools helps you turn those leads into sales by making it easy to track, analyze and communicate with those prospects.
All-in-one CRM software with a visually appealing user dashboard, which includes task, team and data management features.
With plans starting at $49 per month, MarketingLeo is a CRM software designed for B2B marketing. Setting up the program takes just a handful of minutes and the service doesn't require the help of IT.
Need more flexibility in your CRM software? Maximizer is an all-in-one CRM solution that is completely customizable to cater to your business's unique needs. In addition to offering three robust CRM tools – sales management, marketing automation and customer service – the software also gives you a choice of using the cloud-based version of the software or an on-premise version hosted on your own servers.
Do you use QuickBooks as your accounting software? Intuit-approved Method works with QuickBooks to integrate your customer data with your financial data. This software links and syncs everything from contact information to invoices, purchase histories and much more to give you a complete view of customers in one, easily accessible place.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM takes a different approach to CRM. The software uses social insights, business intelligence and campaign management to help your business strengthen relationships with customers, improve marketing campaigns and, ultimately, boost sales. It is available in the cloud, on premise or a combination of both, and you can integrate the software with Office 365 for even more productivity.
A SMB-focused lightweight CRM solution, Outlook Customer Manager is part of the Microsoft Business Center, which comes standard with all subscriptions of Microsoft 365 Business and Office 365 Business Premium. This tool integrates with Outlook and all other related Microsoft products, and allows businesses to manage, track and grow customer relationships through the familiar Outlook interface, with very little implementation time or technical oversight required.
NetSuite CRM lets you track leads through each step of the customer lifecycle, from lead generation to prospect nurturing, sales ordering, fulfilment and support. It also shows you opportunities for up- and cross-selling, as well as renewals to boost sales and maintain customer loyalty. Other features include order management, commission management, sales forecasting and e-commerce.
Specially built for small businesses, Nutshell helps you close sales fast. In addition to standard CRM features like contact and lead management, Nutshell also offers collaboration tools, custom reporting and third-party integrations. You're also in luck if you use Google Apps; the software automatically imports Gmail messages and events and meetings into Google Calendar. It promises fast deployment, too, so you can get started in no time.
Odoo is an open-source software that focuses on tracking leads, closing opportunities and generating accurate forecasts. And because it's open source, it lets you customize the software to your exact needs and add on a wide range of apps. Supported apps include marketing, project management, e-commerce, website building, billing, accounting and even human resources. Odoo is a little on the pricier side, however. It requires a monthly per-user fee in addition to a monthly per-app fee, though you get two free users to start. You can also use the software on multiple companies for an additional fee.
OnContact is an established CRM solution that offers a diverse range of features that go beyond basic customer relationship management. Unlike many other CRM products, OnContact can be purchased as a cloud SaaS solution or as a locally hosted product, which is a boon for organizations that have security or compliance concerns.
Based in England and used by customers on six continents, OpenCRM contains sales management, activity management, contact management, project management and inventory management features.
Although Oracle is geared toward enterprise organizations, its CRM On Demand solution offers robust analytics tools, product integrations and enterprise-grade security. You can combine this product with Oracle's other offerings for a unified cross-channel customer experience.
Outfield, a CRM software, helps users stay updated on market trends and verify team activities. All of the services are designed to help teams increase their sales numbers.
Pega offers a variety of CRM solutions to help you boost customer engagement and automate key digital processes.
PipelineDeals doesn't just help you boost sales; it also helps you and your staff be more productive. What makes it stand out from other CRM software is that it goes the extra mile. For instance, it can send snapshots of your pipeline to your inbox every morning so you know exactly how your business is doing before you even open the software. Plans also come with premium support, so you can reach a real, live PipelineDeals representative any time to help resolve any issues.
If you're a visual person, you'll like Pipeliner. This CRM software presents all your data in an intuitive, visual way, so you don't have to go through multiple steps to get the data you need. For instance, when you go to the Pipeline section of the software, you'll be greeted with charts showing you who is in which stage of your pipeline. This way, you don't have to open each stage or contact separately to get this information. Pipeliner also offers an all-inclusive pricing model, so you get all the features for just one monthly price.
Podio aims to cut through the noise of CRM and deliver a clutter-free CRM solution. It is a very lightweight software that lets you customize features, so you get all the capabilities you need without all the fuss. With this product's simple interface, you can easily get where you need to go without getting lost in extra steps navigating the software.
Provide Support

If you're unsure that a live chat function is something you really need, or you just don't want to break the bank on a solution, we suggest Provide Support, as it is our best pick for a budget option. Most free or low-cost services are often devoid of major functions, but this intuitive platform is nearly just as full-featured as some of the more costly options we examined.

While a predominantly SaaS platform that can run on any browser, Provide Support has apps for iOS and Android devices as well as a native Windows desktop app. In both instances, operators have access to robust features at their fingertips. With the company's real-time visitor monitoring suite, operators can immediately see how many people are visiting the website, where those visitors are located, details about their web browser and operating system, as well as things like what keywords they used to search for the site and what website they left to get there. That level of information on a customer can help inform the conversation as it happens, giving the operator the most insight into how they can help.

As for the user experience on Provide Support, the live chat window is fully customizable, letting a business set its visual style to the company's overall branding aesthetic. During setup, businesses can make it so the chat window can do things like set whether it will be embedded into the website or opened as a popup window, or movable and resizable on the screen. Throughout the conversation, both parties can see when the other is typing out a response. Additionally, the platform has multilingual support for nearly 30 languages and a spell checker for 12.

Security is also handled well by Provide Support, despite the price. All chats are handled over an encrypted connection, with additional privacy settings available in the platform's dashboard. Furthermore, Provide Support is GDPR compliant. For further security, managers can use an IP-blocking feature to either keep a single IP or an entire IP range from accessing the site, blocking potential bad actors from ever wasting your operators' time.

Like other solutions, Provide Support charges by the month and by the operator. Unlike many other platforms, however, the service allows it to be installed on an unlimited number of websites or individual webpages. According to the company's pricing structure, the Small Business tier allows for a single operator and costs $8.25 per month. At the Corporate tier, three operators are allowed for $16.50 a month. The Enterprise tier allows for 10 operators at $33 per month. It should be noted that these prices are for plans billed at an annual rate.

Though Provide Support impressed us with their feature set and low price, it is missing some key tools. There is no video chat support, nor is there a co-browsing feature. We were also a little put off by the lack of reporting functionality aside from the use of Google Analytics. Not being able to make informed decisions based on collected data is an oversight that some users may consider a bridge too far.

Still, if you're looking for an affordable live chat solution that's packed with features, you can't go wrong with Provide Support.

Proclaiming that "CRM is dead," Relenta has created what it calls "Customer Interaction Management" or "CIM." Relenta tries to overcome communication overload by keeping things simple and focused on communicating with clients on a more personal level. Features include email-based contact management, sales and marketing automation and a personalized customer options.
ResultsCRM is an out-of-the-box CRM solution by AbacusNext that integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks. It also functions with other popular products like Outlook, Constant Contact and TSheets.
SAP Hybris offers a wide range of CRM software designed to help you build stronger customer relationships. Their suite of CRM solutions includes products for revenue, marketing, commerce, sales and service.
SAP offers enterprise-level CRM tools at a small business price point. Features include lead, contact and opportunity management, as well as robust collaboration capabilities to help you and your team engage more effectively with customers. It's also easy to get started — just follow the step-by-step wizard and you're good to go — and you can manage the software yourself (for instance, you don't have to wait on SAP to make user changes to your account). And because the software is built for small businesses, there are no minimum user requirements and it is scalable to your needs as your business grows.
Sage CRM is an all-in-one solution that lets you do more with your CRM. In addition to contact and lead management, Sage CRM offers targeted marketing, email marketing, social CRM and more. It also comes with a built-in customer-service portal to help you deliver excellent customer support. And if you use Sage ERP, Sage CRM integrates seamlessly for even better sales acceleration.
Salesnet takes CRM to the next level by pairing it with Microsoft Office. Besides Salesnet's native CRM features, the software integrates with Outlook to automatically sync contacts, meetings and tasks; Excel to view and edit reports; and Word to merge data and attach files to the software.
This complete Outlook-based CRM software solution is built upon the familiar Microsoft Office Suite. It is designed to extend Outlook features and functions without impairing its original functionality.
Salesmate features a visual sales pipeline, email tracking services and built-in VoIP calling.
SetShape is cloud-based CRM software. SetShape aims to be a leader in the CRM realm through user-friendly tools, simple features and a responsive design.
If you want a truly comprehensive CRM solution, check out Snapforce. This CRM software eliminates the need to use multiple tools to manage your business. In addition to core CRM features, Snapforce offers cloud-based file storage, calendars and event management, email syncing with your email client, and case management via a ticket system. It also comes with a complete call center software, so customers can reach you with a simple phone call.
Studiometry offers on-premises or cloud-based CRM for Mac users that lets you track client, project and product information easily.
This CRM software offers several features including customizable fields and smart filtering of data.
TrackerRMS offers an integrated software solution for recruiters and businesses. This platform lets you manage customer relationships and candidate information and opportunities in one centralized place.
Vertafore offers integrated management solutions for your agency’s internal operations and information.
Vtiger is a one-stop shop for all your sales, marketing and customer-support needs. It features a bevy of built-in CRM solutions, including email marketing, project management, calendar and task management, reporting, document management, and more. It also has a customer portal where customers can access their accounts and submit help tickets.
Known for its high level of customer satisfaction, Workbooks is one of our runner-ups for the best CRM software for small business. It focuses on four core areas of CRM: sales to boost your business's growth, highly targeted marketing to help you get the most ROI, order fulfillment to streamline your sales processing and customer support to keep your customers happy. A free version is available for up to two users; it also comes with free online support.
Bpm'online combines business process management (BPM) and CRM to help organizations execute their campaigns. bpm'online offers agile solutions for sales, marketing and service, so you can manage it all in a single platform, from lead generation to customer service. The company also offers an engaging userface – which resembles the look and feel of social media – making it easier to navigate and provides a more pleasant experience for users.
iSEEit offers an intuitive way for sales people to manage all their daily sales activities. This iPad and Web-based CRM solution makes it easy to focus on the right steps to move deals through your pipeline by letting you better qualify leads, tasks, and opportunities; manage deals via milestones and qualifiers; and coordinate and collaborate with customers and colleagues, all from a single, consistent source.
This CRM is designed for commercial real estate companies.
Funnel believes its service can help improve the business operation of anyone from a freelancer to a business owner. Features include contact management tools and contact form designs.
HaystackCRM allows your business to track sales from start to finish. Features include a user-friendly dashboard, a to-do list and a team-tracking tool.
Based in England, Salpo offers a comprehensive CRM software. Features include software integrations, instant insights on a user-friendly dashboard and automatic storage of calls.
eWay-CRM is a CRM add-in for Outlook, and it's available on iOS and Android. The software offers a free plan, a monthly subscription plan and a lifetime license.
Copper provides small businesses with a modern, sleek CRM solution. It integrates directly with G Suite and offers three service plans: Basic, Professional and Business.
SalesNexus is an established CRM for small to medium sized businesses. The solution offers contact management, lead management and sales pipeline tracking tools, and makes it easy to manage campaigns across teams. The built-in project management tools are great for individuals or groups, and the mobile version of the CRM offers full functionality on the go. The large library of web tutorials and automatic email marketing tools round out SalesNexus.
Known as an Intelligent Relationship Platform, Nimble automatically syncs all types of contact data across multiple channels, including social media. It uses "social listening" to filter contacts and prospects on sites like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn to help you find and close high-value opportunities. The software also syncs emails, direct messages and @mentions, making them easily accessible straight from your dashboard.
Insightly
Insightly is a simple, scalable solution that grows with your business. It offers both basic and advanced capabilities, so you can start with a free or super-affordable standard plan, then upgrade as your business expands.
Back to Top
Back to Top