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Keeping up with your customers is a huge part of running a successful business, and that’s why there are a growing number of software solutions for customer relationship management tailored to the needs of small businesses.
In fact, there are so many solutions, SoftwareAdvice.com has logged over 500 different services in a wide range of offerings and specialties.
So how do you know which to choose?
It really comes down to pricing and resources.
According to SoftwareAdvice, “Most small businesses should consider hosted, cloud-based CRM solutions. Because these systems are hosted by the vendor, they eliminate the need for you to have a dedicated IT team for managing and maintaining your own server. They also drastically reduce upfront investment and installation costs.”
However, though the upfront cost of installing an on-premise CRM may be higher, an on-premise solution may be cheaper in the long run if you wind up using the same system for a long time and have suitable IT support available.
It’s important to know what you’re looking for when it comes to CRM. Most services can be broken down into four categories:
With all of that in mind, we’ve created this comprehensive list of the CRM options available for your business needs, starting with best-in-class and then ranked on affordability and specialty.
Business News Daily has recommended this all-inclusive CRM at least twice now as the best in class. It has pretty much anything you could possibly need to run your small business, from customer retention, sales, and growth. “Features include contact management, lead generation, opportunity management, sales forecasting, workflow automation, collaboration tools and many more—all in one, easy-to-use platform,” writes Business News Daily.
And? It’s entirely scalable, letting you expand core functionality as you grow your business. With Salesforce’s AppExchange, you can find multitudes of third-party integrations in a variety of categories.
If that seems overwhelming to you, the good news is their customer support is some of the best in the business. The downside is that it is pricier—and may be too complex for your business if it’s very small or very streamlined on its own.
With paid plans starting at just $12 a month, Insightly is a great, affordable option for small businesses seeking a CRM system. TechRadar claims it has a “strong focus on project management” and plenty of supporting features for sales. Its clean interface is very easy to use, and the free plan suits the smallest of businesses’ needs.
According to Business News Daily, “Insightly comes with all the time-saving CRM capabilities a microbusiness requires, such as contact management, project management, opportunity management, and detailed sales reports, all in a single solution.”
Perhaps one of the best advantages this budget-friendly CRM boasts is its ability to scale, by integrating with over a dozen small business solutions, including QuickBooks, Dropbox, and MailChimp.
The downside to this powerful-yet-affordable CRM is that it has limited reporting options compared to more robust services like Salesforce—limited to only nine kinds of business reports—but for a smaller business, this may be all you need.
Right off the bat, you can’t beat the free version of Zoho CRM that allows up to 10 users (did we mention for free?). Most CRMs make you pay per user, with costly pricing models. But just because Zoho CRM is more wallet friendly doesn’t mean the product offering is limited. According to Business News Daily, the free version of Zoho CRM “delivers a 360-degree view of contacts, sales cycles, and pipelines to help you drive sales, take care of customers, discover trends, identify opportunities, and more.”
It also offers workflow automation, project collaboration tools, social graphing of your customers, third-party integration opportunities, and business analytics.
Of course, the free Zoho CRM has its limitations: The customer service leaves something to be desired with no phone support. Business News Daily also reports that the interface can be clunky and confusing, and the product lacks customization, especially when it comes to reporting.
PropserWorks CRM is great for contact management. Services include email integration, opportunity management, and lead tracking. Great for pipeline management and anyone who wants to integrate with the Google Enterprise suite. Basic plan starts at $19.
Less Annoying CRM “is a customer relationship management solution that caters to the needs of small businesses. It offers cloud-based deployment, various configuration options, and a dashboard that provides an overview of contact information, projects, files and other information,” according to SoftwareAdvice. Since it’s created for smaller businesses, it has fewer customization and automation options. Starting at $10/user/month.
Freshdesk offers affordable customer service support management. The free plan gets you email, phone, and social channel support. Paid plans start at $19/user/month.
CallProof is designed for streamlining the sales process, especially for teams that use sales professionals out in the field with sophisticated mobile apps and web-based applications. It starts at just $10/user/month.
ClaritySoft is a great value, all-inclusive CRM offering account and contact management, sales forecasting, orders, project management, email templates, and more. All for the reasonable price of $39/user/month.
Base CRM was built with sales teams in mind: “Eliminate the need for multiple point solutions by having your contact management, sales tracking, and reporting tools in one place. Connect with customers by phone or email, manage tasks and appointments, and keep tabs on your team’s performance—all without leaving Base.” Base plans start at $45/user/month.
PhaseWare Tracker is a customer support service with both cloud-based and on-premise solutions. It’s scalable to your business with self-service portals for clients and a knowledge management suit. They offer 80+ templates and boast highly customizable service offerings. Starting at $49/user/month.
Marketing 360 is a Top Rated National marketing platform. Great for social media advertising, SEO, and digital marketing analytics. They will throw in a free business web design for using their services for six months. Get a quote from them here.
Infusionsoft starts at a flat $299/month—and while that may seem steep, VentureHarbour compares the service to the likes of bigwigs like Salesforce. Infusion offers many services: contact management, lead generation, and sales and marketing automation. Some reviews claim, however, that it is not as easy to use as other platforms.
Contractor’s Cloud is all in the name—it’s built for streamlining processes for contractors. According to SoftwareAdvice, Contractor’s Cloud provides “a variety of features including lead management, estimating, work order scheduling, material order scheduling, commission tracking, invoicing, expense tracking, profit and loss calculations, a customer portal, and more.” Initial setup can be steep—starting at $650—but per-user pricing starts at just $50.
Sprinklr is a powerful social media marketing tool that integrates well with a number of CRM tools, including Coremetrics, Google Analytics, and Adobe SiteCatalyst, according to WebMeUp. Pricing starts at $100/user/month.
PlanPlus Online offers sales CRM and business workflow management with team plans starting at $291/month. According to SoftwareAdvice, “the system provides an all-in-one solution for sales automation, customer relationship management and support, email marketing, project management, and website integration.”
Oracle + NetSuite is great if you have a lot of customers, as it’s built to cater thousands across a wide variety of industries. “NetSuite CRM+ offers sales force automation, e-commerce, customer data management, partner relationship management, marketing analytics, and more,” according to SoftwareAdvice. Get a quote here.
SmartSupport is the place to go for a cutting-edge knowledge base platform, integrating “both internal and external knowledge base capabilities and community forums, giving customer support agents a single base to manage both web content and support requests.” SoftwareAdvice recommends SmartSupport “to any company looking for a better way to manage their information and streamline support efforts.”
Perhaps, all you really need is an email marketing software. In that case, check out Constant Contact or Mailchimp as two popular options.