Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

Customer relationship management software that caters to small businesses helps organizations manage and track lead and customer interactions. While offering a mix of core and advanced CRM features for businesses to streamline their sales processes, these CRM tools are meant to be scalable to not only meet the business where it is currently but also grow with it.

CRM software like Freshsales, HubSpot and Engagebay have free plans, which is great for small businesses with a limited budget. But for small businesses that have the funds and personnel, tools like Pipedrive, Salesforce and monday sales CRM are also worth considering.

Top CRM software for SMBs comparison

Small and midsize businesses investing in a CRM software want a tool that is accessible throughout sales and marketing departments for visibility and collaboration between teams. This way, processes can be automated and deals can be brought in and closed faster.

CRM software that include marketing tools or add-ons help these SMBs house all of their customer relationships from generation to nurturing within one tool. Integrating any additional software in their tech stack, like calendars or email providers, is another important feature organizations should confirm before committing to a software.

DOWNLOAD: Check out our resource on the best CRMs for SMBs, with top questions to ask when researching.

Software Pipeline management Marketing tools Lead nurturing Integrations Starting price*
Freshsales Yes Yes Yes Yes Free starting price
Pipedrive Yes Limited Yes Yes $14.90 per user per month
EngageBay Yes Yes Yes Yes Free starting price
Salesforce Yes Yes Yes Yes $25 per user per month
HubSpot Yes Yes Yes Yes Free starting price
monday sales CRM Yes Yes Limited Yes $12 per user per month
*Price when billed annually.

Freshsales: Best overall CRM software for SMBs

Image: Freshsales

Our star rating: 4.4

Why we chose Freshsales: Freshsales is a top CRM software that is secure, reliable and allows for robust collaboration between sales, marketing and support departments. Freshsales offers AI-powered sales automations that can score leads and then add insights into the pipeline on whether the deal is viable or cold. The deal management, sales sequence and workflow tools make housing all customer relationship data easy (Figure A).

Sample sales sequence page in Freshsales.
Figure A: Example Freshsales sales sequence. Image: Freshsales

Pricing

  • Free CRM: Free for up to three users and offers email templates, a sales dashboard and more.
  • Growth: $15 per user per month, billed annually, or $18 per user when billed monthly.
  • Pro: $39 per user per month, billed annually, or $47 per user when billed monthly.
  • Enterprise: $69 per user per month, billed annually, or $83 per user when billed monthly.

Features

  • Email templates: Create templates for sales reps to use and send to prospects quickly.
  • AI-powered contact scoring: Get scores on every contact based on demographic and buying behaviors.
  • Product catalog: Create a catalog of all products or services, set prices and add them to pipelines and deals.

Freshsales pros and cons

Pros Cons
  • 21-day free trial.
  • Powerful AI tools.
  • Software demo.
  • Territory management is only offered in the Pro and Enterprise tiers.
  • Advanced marketing tools require paid add-ons.
  • There is limited integration with Google Workspace.

SEE: Read our Freshsales review for more insight into this CRM software.

Pipedrive: Best for managing finances and cash flow

Image: Pipedrive

Our star rating: 4.4

Why we chose Pipedrive: In addition to Pipedrive’s advanced pipeline management tools, users can also automate and streamline their finances with AI and app integrations. Since small and midsize companies rely on predictive analytics around finances and cash flow, Pipedrive can integrate with different accounting systems and software to automate invoices, schedule payments and even forecast revenue (Figure B).

Figure B: Business forecast dashboard. Image: Pipedrive

Pricing

  • Essential: $14.90 per user per month, billed annually, or $21.90 per user when billed monthly.
  • Advanced: $27.90 per user per month, billed annually, or $37.90 per user when billed monthly.
  • Professional: $49.90 per user per month, billed annually, or $59.90 per user when billed monthly.
  • Power: $64.90 per user per month, billed annually, or $74.90 per user when billed monthly.
  • Enterprise: $99.00 per user per month, billed annually, or $119 per user when billed monthly.

Features

  • Email campaigns: Personalize messages to customers that are scheduled to engage with them at the most ideal time.
  • Workflow automation: Spend less time working on administrative tasks and more time selling with automating emails, touchpoints and more.
  • Conversation tracking: View contact history with every contact, including calls, emails and in person meetings.

Pipedrive pros and cons

Pros Cons
  • 14-day free trial.
  • 24/7 customer support.
  • Mobile app available.
  • No free-for-life version.
  • Reports of limited reporting and analytics.
  • Limited marketing tools.

SEE: For more information on this provider, check out the full Pipedrive review.

Salesforce: Best for SMBs with field operations

Image: Salesforce

Our star rating: 4.1

Why we chose Salesforce: Small to mid-sized companies that have field operations would benefit from Salesforce. Users can schedule appointments and dispatch resources by using territory management tools to increase efficiency. Increase productivity by connecting front-line workers to the right tools and data on the road (Figure D). In addition to these tools, front line workers can help customers through live video and interactive guidance.

Figure D: Mobile view of front-line assignments. Image: Salesforce

Pricing

  • Starter Suite: $25 per user per month, billed annually.
  • Professional: $80 per user per month, billed annually.
  • Enterprise: $165 per user per month, billed annually.
  • Unlimited: $330 per user per month, billed annually.
  • Einstein 1 Sales: $500 per user per month, billed annually.

Features

  • Customer views: Build a 360-degree view of every customer interaction in a chronological timeline.
  • Chatbots: Resolve customer services tickets and issues with chatbots that automate routine requests.
  • Landing pages: Create branded landing pages that can capture new lead information.

Salesforce pros and cons

Pros Cons
  • 30-day free trial.
  • A variety of industry specializations.
  • Native integrations.
  • Pricey marketing add-ons.
  • No free-for-life option.
  • Most expensive option on this list.

HubSpot: Best offering a Starter Bundle for SMBs

Image: HubSpot

Our star rating: 4.0

Why we chose HubSpot: HubSpot offers a special starter bundle built for small businesses and startups. This bundle gives organizations access to every HubSpot starter product at a discounted price. This includes the Smart CRM starter, marketing, sales, CMS, service, operations and commerce hubs. This suite gives users access to a variety of advanced tools for everything pre and post sale in one sales pipeline (Figure E).

Figure E: Sales Hub Starter sales pipeline. Image: HubSpot

Pricing

  • Free CRM: Free for up to 2,500 users.
  • Starter: $20 per 2 users per month, billed annually, or $30 when billed monthly.
  • Professional: $1,600 per 5 users per month, billed annually, or $1781 when billed monthly.
  • Enterprise: $5,000 per 10 users per month, with an annual commitment.

Features

  • Call tracking: Prioritize sales calls and then place and record calls directly within the browser.
  • Meeting scheduler: Send links internally or to clients that automatically syncs with calendars to show dates and times that work for everyone.
  • Sales analytics and reporting: Get full visibility into sales processes and performances by tracking goals, activity and revenue.

HubSpot pros and cons

Pros Cons
  • Robust free version.
  • Over 1,500 app integrations.
  • 24/7 customer support via chat and email.
  • No free trial.
  • No live customer support for free users.
  • Reports of limited reporting tools.

SEE: For more information, read the full HubSpot CRM review.

monday sales CRM: Best for managing projects

Image: monday sales crm

Our star rating: 3.5

Why we chose monday sales CRM: Small to mid-sized businesses can completely customize their work management through monday sales CRM. Organizations can visualize projects and deliverables through the kanban-style boards and color-coded tags (Figure F). Businesses can import their existing lead data into the software and monday will merge duplicate data and begin capturing new leads.

Figure F: Data import into monday sales CRM pipeline. Image: monday sales CRM

Pricing

  • Free version: Available for students and non profit organizations
  • Basic CRM: $12 per user, per month when billed annually, or $15 when billed monthly.
  • Standard CRM: $17 per user, per month when billed annually, or $20 when billed monthly.
  • Pro CRM: $28 per user, per month when billed annually, or $33 when billed monthly.
  • Enterprise CRM: Contact monday.com for a quote.

Features

  • Time tracker: Monitor employee time spent on tasks and log in history.
  • Custom boards: Organize projects using a variety of column types, colors and premade templates.
  • Project scheduling: View and organize projects by due date and status in one hub.

monday sales CRM pros and cons

Pros Cons
  • iOS and Android mobile app available.
  • 14-day free trial.
  • Unlimited contacts.
  • Lead scoring is only available in the highest paid tier.
  • HIPAA compliance is only available in the highest paid tier.
  • Free-for-life option is only available for students or nonprofits.

How do I choose the best CRM software for my SMB?

Implementing a CRM software can be a big investment for small to mid-sized companies. This means when choosing one, it’s best practice to research the software in depth to learn if it can provide real solutions for your organization. Starting with the providers on our list, consider signing up for their free trials or demos and mapping out their onboarding process with their internal sales teams.

Here are some questions to ask before committing to a paid subscription:

  • Does this CRM tool integrate with all of my existing tech tools, such as Outlook for email?
  • Does this CRM tool offer the marketing tools that my business needs?
  • Are the core sales features offered by this software equipped enough to streamline my sales process?
  • Do we want an open source CRM to maximize developer-friendly customizations?
  • How quick is the onboarding process to get started using this too?
  • Can the CRM software scale up to adapt to my growing business?
  • Does this CRM tool have any in-market specialization in my industry?

Review methodology

To evaluate each provider’s CRM offerings through the lens of a small or mid-sized business, I used an in-house rubric with outlined criteria of expected CRM industry standards. After running each CRM software through this rubric, an algorithm calculates an overall rating, scoring each out of 5 stars. I use those scores and major feature callouts to assign each software an ideal use case.

Here’s a breakdown of my defined scoring criteria:

  • Cost: Weighted 25% of the total score.
  • Core features: Weighted 25% of the total score.
  • Customizations: Weighted 15% of the total score.
  • Integrations: Weighted 15% of the total score.
  • Ease of use: Weighted 10% of the total score.
  • Customer support: Weighted 10% of the total score.

Related Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *