11 Best CRM Software & Tools

So you’ve started a business. Congrats!

And now you’re tasked with managing hundreds of small to large operational features with limited human capital.

The solution could lie within the ever-evolving state of technology.

A CRM or Customer relationship management software is a platform that allows small-size business owners to streamline their activities and tasks.

Small businesses can boost sales performance by 29% with the right customer management tool’s help.

What is a CRM?

CRMs can be custom-made and tailored to suit an organization’s needs. Essentially, they can aid in the following ways:

  • A robust CRM can take care of several features. It can manage employee appointments, business analytics, manage schedules, and provide a network for employees to connect. You can even use it to set up an automated email marketing campaign. However, what makes a CRM special is that it integrates all these features into a single interface.
  • Along with this, CRMs come with a host of other features that can be incorporated as plug-ins or additions. This customization makes it unique for every business.
  • A CRM system will keep track of all available client data and track sales. You can check your ROI, profits, and effectiveness of sales tactics anytime. Small businesses can also use CRMs as an effective system for bookkeeping and accounting.
  • Of course, the most valuable asset in the world today is data! Most CRMs will come with cloud support and backup features, so you never lose any information. In SaaS-based CRM, an Application Service Provider will offer the services with a subscription model. Such cloud-based models allow owners the freedom to access their business data from any place.

So, let’s take a look at the best CRMs for SMBs. Some of them even have special features not seen in other CRMs.

1. Monday.com CRM

Monday.com is a customer and resource management tool that comes with a free trial.

Unlike most CRMs that focus heavily on data and statics, Monday.com aims to provide an easy workflow and campaign management space.

As such, Monday.com provides a great UI for teams to work and strategize together.

They offer a set of Agile Management Tools. This package comes with features like backlog management, Kanban boards, Gantt timelines, status tracking, and more. It has every essential tool needed to formulate and float a successful sales tactic.

The basic package begins at 7.80 USD per month. Product-driven companies will greatly benefit from the application lifecycle tracking it offers. You can keep track of returned or defective items, track test cases, and user reviews.

The private dashboard offers a range of strong widgets for data visualization, KPI monitoring, and data source integrations.

For middle-size businesses, employee monitoring and idle time monitoring are also available.

Monday.com can also take care of payroll management, accounting, bookkeeping, swapping of shifts, and resource management.

It is a strong all-in-one tool that negates the need for outsourcing peripheral functions like HR and accounting for SMBs.

It also has a lead verification feature to prevent errors. Overall, Monday.com provides one of the most robust and enduring project management systems for SMBs.

Key Features of Monday.com

  • Customer Relationship Management Tools
  • Contact Management
  • Resource Management
  • Agile Project Management
  • Application Lifecycle Management
  • Email Marketing Tools
  • Lead Management Tools
  • Customer Support
  • Bug Tracking
  • Business Process Management
  • Collaboration
  • Creative Management
  • Customer Data Platform

Get Started With Monday.com  

2. Keap

Started in 2001, with over 2,00,000 users, Keap has cemented itself as a highly effective sales and marketing platform.

Keap offers a pro-package of 105 USD per month with all features anyone could want in a CRM. It can only support a single user.

The features include marketing automation, customer segmentation, lead scoring, lead management, segmentation, and distribution. One of their strong points is that their CRM includes a marketing and email tool as well.

Keap blurs the line between sales and marketing and considers them to be interdependent of one another.

This makes Keap a great solution for small to medium-size businesses where the two are strongly co-dependent, and the departments for both may be the same.

Such integration is not seen in several CRMs, which act as stand-alone customer management systems only.

With the powerful marketing tool, you can carry out drip campaigns, send event-triggered emails, conduct customer surveys and send auto-responses.

Keap uses Pipeline, a lead management tool. The pipeline allows users to access customer information, manage prospects, add or remove contacts and strategize better sales stages.

The scoring system allows customer segmentation by assigning various ratings or “flames” to them.

These can also increase by setting in custom filters. E.g., when a lead indulges in three purchases, they may be upgraded by a flame. The email marketing tool can then target this new flame segment and sent a drip campaign.

The Keap UI is also extremely simple and intuitive.

Once can customize is as needed by adding or removing widgets. Contacts can be easily searched for.

A Quick Action Bar allows users to immediately draw up sales data, recent quotes, or contact details. This bar can also contain all third-party integrations that you have decided to add.

The integrations you can check out include LeadPages, Gmail, Graphly, FixYourFunnel, Outlook, Zapier, and more.

For managing appointments and tasks, Keap offers a widget – My Day.

My Day offers a different dashboard view that mainly aims at showing all immediate tasks and schedules. There is also a landing page builder that allows video integration. You can avail of a 14-day free trial period with no credit card information!

Key Features of Keap

  • Customer Relationship Management Tools
  • Contact Management
  • Email Marketing Tools
  • Financial CRM
  • Landing Page
  • Lead Management Tools
  • Marketing Automation
  • e-Commerce Integration
  • Customer Support

Get Started With Keap

3. Hubspot CRM

Hubspot features near the top of almost every CRM list.  And the reasons are not hard to see!

Unlike various other models, Hubspot offers free CRM that users can customize as required by adding paid features.

Hubspot has been a key innovator in marketing technologies since 2006, and Hubspot CRM is their foray into the field of customer management systems.

The free model comes with a lot of features that are usually paid for in other models. This includes Service Hub, CMS Hub, Marketing Hub, and Sales Hub.

Hubspot claims that they are aimed at small to medium-sized businesses only. And this makes sense when one checks out their tools. While they have powerful tools for managing emails, helpdesk tools, chatbots, lead generation systems, and more – these are only a few in-depth features.

Thus, the Hubspot free model offers more of a horizontal model (more features, less depth) where emerging businesses can explore and check out various features and see which serves their interests best.

However, some tools like workflows, lead nurturing features, and API access are absent in this.

The Starter Package is priced at 45 USD per month. With this, you can get ad management options, ad retargeting, segmenting customers, and more. The contact limit is set at 500.

Hubspot spots offer an easy and intuitive UI. There is no steep learning curve.

They also offer various webinars that can make understanding their features easier. The premium models assign a live tech team during business hours.

The UI is extremely data-driven, which means you can track everything – new clients, leads, sales cycles, conversion rate, and more.

Higher packages offer features like marketing automation, SEO recommendation, and ABM tools. With the acquisition of PieSync in 2019, Hubspot users can now sync and analyze real-time data at all times.

It also allows integration with apps like Leadsbridge and Shopify, to name a few.

Key Features of Hubspot

  • Customer Relationship Management Tools
  • Contact Management
  • Email Marketing Tools
  • Financial CRM
  • Lead Management Tools
  • Live Chat
  • Customer Support
  • Self-Service Portal

Get Started With Hubspot

4. GetResponse Autofunnel

GetResponse Autofunnel is perfect for small-scale, emerging businesses as they place more importance on the generation and conversion of customers.

The Basic Package starts at 15 USD per month and comes mainly with email marketing, auto-response, and landing page features. Hence, it is essentially an email marketing tool.

To get the GetResponse Autofunnel (now known as Conversion Funnel), you need to purchase the Pro Package.

This includes additional features like contact management systems, work funnels, and a work-together system to allow collaboration at 49 USD per month.

GetResponse offers a clean and structured UI. You can manage up to 2,500 subscribers.

Adding contacts is relatively easy. If you are moving into a CRM for the first time, you can hook it up with third-party services like Salesforce to sync your contact list. The contact transferring feature is not available in many CRMs.

GetResponse offers a strong email campaigning tool.

You can segment customers based on their location, involvement, etc. You can choose from hundreds of templates.

Now, a separate feature called a marketing automation template is available to create campaigns quickly. Emails can also be sent at customized times, which can be changed according to user location!

For customer tracking, GetResponse Autofunnel allows integration with Google Analytics. You can easily access each subscriber, their open and clicks, campaign history, and targetted purchase sections.

However, the best thing about GetResponse is their Marketing Automation!

You can create multiple workflows and assign “conditions” or filters to them.

However, conditions are separate from “actions.” So you can set up separate actions that GetResponse should perform in response to these conditions being satisfied.

You can easily shift contacts from one workflow to another.

Or set conditions that allow them to move up in the flow. You can also set a specific amount of unresponsiveness time to label a contact as expired. Based on the workflow, you can now target email or promotional campaigns at the top segment, for example.

The Conversion Funnel also tracks the user journey of customers who buy the final product.

Another new feature that e-commerce owners will find lucrative is the integration of payment capabilities. This includes integration with platforms like Shopify.

You can get a 30 days free trial period without providing any credit card details.

Key Features of GetResponse Autofunnel

  • Customer Relationship Management Tools
  • Contact Management
  • Email Marketing Tools
  • Marketing Automation
  • Landing Pages
  • Customer Support

Get Started With GetResponse Autofunnel

5. Salesforce Essentials

Salesforce Essentials is a CRM by Salesforce aimed at SMBs. The team also has the Salesforce Lightning CRM aimed at enterprises.

As such, Salesforce Essentials contains a part of its parent CRM features along with some additions.

One of the things that Salesforce Essentials does differently is that the trial version comes with existing data.

This randomized data can be used by first-time users to understand how the UI works before making a conscious choice of switching over to it.

I found this to be a cool tactic to determine whether someone wants to make the 25 USD per month plunge.

10 different users can use this Essentials plan.  The Contact Management dashboard is relatively simple.

You can add or remove contacts, filter them based on set conditions, and track relationships. However, Salesforce offers an In-App Help widget.

This widget pops up when one logs in and serves to acts as a memory refresher. It has several offers – filter contacts, know the essentials, look at the daily schedules, etc.

Based on set filters, the widget can filter customers into segments as well. There are video tutorials at every possible stumbling block, making it great for first-time users looking to shift to a CRM.

The dashboard also contains all important tasks, appointments, and upcoming campaigns at the bottom, visible at a single glance.

Salesforce uses the Einstein AI, which automatically captures user engagement, adds messages to track records, and provides personalized contexts when the user data is drawn up.

Overall, Salesforce Essentials is a great CRM for new-users, and it can integrate with over 5,000 different apps from the iOS and Google store.

Key Features of Salesforce Essentials

  • Customer Relationship Management Tools
  • Contact Management
  • Helpdesk Tools
  • Lead Management Tools
  • Customer Support
  • Market Automation

Get Started With Salesforce Essentials

6. Freshsales CRM

Now know as Freshworks, this CRM has reinvented itself by providing a powerful platform that integrates 5 tools in one.

Freshworks allows integration with cloud services like Google and Dropbox. For email, you can use any IMAP-compatible account. This includes Gmail, Outlook, and Office 365.

Along with this, you can access their email marketing tool.

This contains various templates but also features for voice recorded call campaigns. Each email template comes with a metric that tells you how successful it has been.

Workflows can be automated or manual. You can set up conditions for each user and even send emails to long-time unresponsive ones automatically.

Freshsales comes with its own Android and iOS supported app that the sales rep can download and use anywhere.

Those looking for a deeper insight into customer analytics can look into Freshsuccess, another venture by Freshworks, specifically built for workflow and task management.

Freshsales is extremely data-driven, and you can analyze metrics for virtually anything. Detailed reports for conversation success, lead conversion, and contact growth can be generated anytime.

Most of the third-party integration Freshsales allows is its own software – like Freshcaller, Freshchat, and Freshconnect.

Some others include Hubspot, Calendly, and Shopify. Calendly, Facebook. Freshsales is a lightweight CRM and still has requirements that need manual intervention.

Get a 21-day free trial and check out whether it suits your needs or not.

Key Features of Freshsales

  • Customer Relationship Management Tools
  • Contact Management
  • AB Testing
  • Financial CRM
  • Lead Management Tools
  • Legal Management Tools
  • Customer Support
  • Market Automation

Get Started With Freshsales CRM

7. Pipedrive CRM

As mentioned earlier, Pipedrive is first and foremost a powerful organizational tool.

It can track calls, emails, schedules, and assignments across sync them across multiple devices. Pipedrive offers a unique account-management tool that can help business owners completely visualize the sales process.

This includes insights from the earliest to the latest stage.

In other words, it offers a “pipeline” view of every stage. There are various templates available that you can customize, branch out as required. You can add conditions and deals at various stages.

Starting at 12.50 USD per month, it is a lucrative option for SMBs. You can avail of an email marketing tool, sales management tools, and 2 GB of cloud storage at this range. While it limits emailing lists to 1,000 subscribers only, the sales management tool is applicable for unlimited users.

Their Smart Contact Data automatically segments customers and allows sales reps to easily see the next target. However, the best part about Pipedrive is that it is great for businesses working with multiple sales teams. You can enter the different teams and track their goals and success rate as well!

Pipedrive also includes Leadbooster. Leadbooster comes with a customized chatbot that you can add to landing pages. You will, of course, have to add pre-programmed questions and replies; however, it is an effective led generation tool.

Like Freshsales, Pipedrive also has its own mobile app. Third-party software that you can add includes the entire G Suite, MailChimp, and Zapier.

Key Features of Pipedrive

  • Customer Relationship Management Tools
  • Contact Management
  • AI Chatbot
  • Financial CRM
  • Healthcare CRM
  • Lead Management Tools
  • Customer Support

Get Started With Pipedrive CRM 

8. Apptivo CRM

Starting at just 8 USD a month, Apptivo sounds like it is too good to be true. The base plan comes with IMAP-supported email integration, access to tracking tools, email marketing tools, and 3GB cloud storage space.

The reason Apptivo starts so low is that it is extremely customizable.

Hence users can add whichever features they need as per the pricing.

The base package at Apptivo offers a strong lead and contact management system. As stated, you can add over 40 different apps for issues like product management, white labeling, inventory management, etc.

You can build custom workflows, set triggers and detection times. At any given time, you can run multiple workflows for different departments. The email marketing tool allows mass email management and can be integrated into the workflow based on satisfying conditions.

Apptivo is best for businesses dealing with various departments or aspects. If you offer multiple services (e-commerce, consulting, and distribution), their project management system makes it easy to separate and integrate various features.

You can get a free 30 days trial to check out the various features.

Key Features of Apptivo

  • Customer Relationship Management Tools
  • Contact Management
  • Chat Integration
  • Customer Engagement Management
  • White Labeling
  • Territory Management
  • Inventory Management
  • Customer Support

Get Started With Apptivo

9. Zoho CRM

Zoho is possibly one of the most recognized CRMs in use, and with good reason. Started in 2005, Zoho has hundreds of different integration features, in-built features, and capabilities that earmark it as one of the best.

Zoho has various other features like ZohoBooks and if you already use any of these, then switching over to the complete Zoho CRM is a piece of cake. At just 30 USD per month, you can access all of these apps and get the basic Zoho CRM package.

There is also a free option that allows up to 3 users. With its large database, Zoho offers a bit more complex UI and might be advisable for those already with some CRM knowledge.

The dashboard features all open tasks, new leads, new stage amount generation at a glance.

Like Apptivo, Zoho allows users to focus on multiple departments and products with selective merging. Customer segmentation can be manually or based on filters.

However, Zoho’s best feature is the lead-t0-clients system. You can set up an automated funnel to qualify leads into clients. Zoho will now set up an account for them and place them in a customer segment based on earlier filters.

Also, the Zia AI used by Zoho offers sales analytics and insights. It can also automatically report anomalies by studying the data. Third-party integrations include Zendesk, Eventbrite, Adobe, and more.

Key Features of Zoho

  • Customer Relationship Management Tools
  • Contact Management
  • Construction CRM
  • Financial CRM
  • Customer Engagement Management
  • Marketing Automation
  • Forecasting of Sales
  • Customer Support

Get Started With Zoho

10. Vtiger

Vtiger is one of the most innovative and affordable CRMs for SMBs. At just 10 USD per month, Vtiger offers marketing tools, scheduling systems, lead management tools, and marketing automation.

The scheduling system offers an instant overview of the day-to-day activities.

The CRM UI is simple and easy. It uses pop-ups and notifications to remind you of tasks nearing the completion date. Vtiger’s email marketing tools allow user insights like the number of clicks, send-to-spams, and followups.

The lead management system allows customer segmentation. But more importantly, you can assign segments to different employees and track their success rates.

The project management tool also encompasses pretty much all anticipated needs. You can distribute administration, accept proposals and quotes, follow up on orders, and more. Vtiger’s strongest point is perhaps the ability to create pop-up notes anywhere and everywhere.

Key Features of Vtiger

  • Customer Relationship Management Tools
  • Contact Management
  • Territory Management
  • Campaign Management
  • Customer Engagement Tools
  • Marketing Automation
  • Customer Support

Get Started With Vtiger

11. Constant Contact

Constant Contact is one of the more expensive CRMs on the list.

However, Constant Contact has an impressive portfolio to back up its cost. It comes with a 2GB cloud storage feature and various easy-to-use widgets. You can also integrate it with e-commerce platforms like Shopify.

One of Constant Contact’s strong points is its contact management system. You can simply upload an excel sheet containing existing contacts. Constant Contact will upload it and also delete duplicate contacts.

You can also send out emails from disposable addresses, which expire after a time. The email list has an upper limit of 500 contacts.

However, there is no cap on the total number of messages you can send in a month. Other CRMs usually offer a capping limit.

Constant Contact allows campaign tracking in various forms.

You can track the outreach, the number of clicks and transactions, and bounces. The reports can segregate the most responsive emails and most engaging sections. You can also resend marketing emails.

With user tracking, you can see the most responsive outlets and capitalize on them.

Constant Contact also stores recurring birthday and event emails to send at intervals. Overall, Constant Contact is extremely beginner-friendly. You can use it to create a huge database to take action on.

Key Features of Constant Contact

  • Customer Relationship Management Tools
  • Contact Management
  • e-Commerce
  • Event Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Lead Management Tools
  • Surveying Support

Get Started With Constant Contact

There you go – we’ve discussed the major pros and types of businesses that can benefit from each CRM.

CRMs aim to provide an all-in-one UI. However, some features are always stronger than others.

If you are new to the world of CRMs, it is best to begin with, free trials and find out what works best for you.

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One Comment

  1. Sathish Arumugam says:

    Hey Aayush,
    Your inspired article was really useful to me. I don’t know-how thank to you. By the way, thanks for a well-re-searched article on CRMs

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