Small businesses have plenty of expenses as is. So, it’s understandable that most don’t think to use CRM software until they’ve grown enough that analog client management is no longer an option.
But, CRM software can help a business grow faster by offering:
- Insight into customer behavior,
- A centralized hub for organizing customer data,
- Help with improving customer relationships, and
- Other benefits we’ll discuss later in the text.
So, instead of waiting for your business to grow to get CRM tool, you might find that using one from the start gives much better results.
That said, CRM tools can get expensive, so we decided to put a few of them to the test. We wanted to see whether their prices were justified, and whether, perhaps, there were cheaper (or even free) tools that small businesses can feel comfortable using from the get-go.
What we got is a solid list of 10 CRM tools best suited to small businesses that caters to a variety of industries.
Table of Contents
What to look for in small business CRM software?
There’s a plethora of CRM software to choose from out there — free, expensive, feature-packed, simple, you name it, and they all have their own target audience.
What may be a good choice for a bank might not fit an SEO service company or a small local bag manufacturer. They all have different priorities and limitations.
To narrow down this list of best CRM software for small businesses, we analyzed the tools according to the criteria we list below.
CRM software prices can range from free to over $1,250 per person a month.
While enterprises might be able and willing to invest a fortune into customer relationship management, small companies have to be a little more calculated with their expenses.
Therefore, pricing was a major factor in our choice of CRM software for this list. This also included a free trial and free plan options.
Naturally, when investing in a piece of CRM software, you want to know that it will be able to do what you need it to do — organize individual customer data and help inform future decisions for your sales and marketing teams.
That said, since the focus of this text are CRM tools for small businesses, an important scoring criterion was the balance of software features and price.
Ease of use
A CRM tool must have an intuitive layout that anyone can use, regardless of their background and technological prowess.
Buying an overly complicated tool will only result in confusion and wasted time, which is why ease of use was high on our list of priorities.
Technical support and tutorials
Small businesses are mainly composed of essential team members and rarely have an IT technician on hand. This is why education materials and reliable technical support play an important role when choosing a CRM tool.
Frequent jumping from software to software can get exhausting and break up the team’s workflow. This is especially true for CRM software that houses all your essential customer data.
So, as a growing company, it’s recommended that you choose a tool that can grow along with you.
What is the best CRM software for small businesses?
It’s natural to get lost in a vast pool of choices. So, to make things easier for you, we researched over two dozen CRM software, tested them, and compiled our impressions into this list of the 10 best CRM tools for small businesses. Enjoy!
#1: Plaky — best for team collaboration
Plaky is an intuitive CRM tool ideal for small businesses thanks to its simplicity and a comprehensive free plan. It’s perfect for small companies looking to connect all their teams using a single platform that will grow and develop along with their business.
|Plaky pros||Plaky cons|
|– Free to use|
– Unlimited users and projects
– Excellent technical support
– Project management features
– Sales and CRM templates
|– Limited integrations|
– No dashboard
What do you get from Plaky?
Plaky is a free-to-use CRM tool that lets clients have:
- Unlimited users,
- Unlimited projects, and
- A highly customizable workspace for all their teams.
This means companies can have their sales, marketing, and service teams tracking their customer interactions within the same software, each in their own unique way.
With Plaky, users can track sales and keep a record of all of their leads and client information. Users can also easily track a customer’s progress through the sales pipeline by using the Kanban board.
Unlike most CRM tools that take some getting used to, this software is as intuitive as it gets, which makes it suitable for people with different ranges of technological literacy.
Creating a new task and assigning it to the right team member is as easy as a click of a button, and creating new boards is as simple as visiting Plaky’s project management template center and choosing the appropriate customizable template for your project, such as a contact list template.
Since Plaky also offers project management features, the software can be used by the entire company, improving workflow and collaboration among all company teams.
However, something to keep in mind is that Plaky lacks in integration options and doesn’t have a dashboard. So, it might not be the best option for those looking for complete automation and instant reports.
Why is Plaky best for team collaboration?
A Plaky workspace can hold an unlimited number of users for free. This makes it perfect for new and small businesses that want to use Plaky as the one platform to rule all company workflows.
In other words, Plaky can fit an entire business on one platform and give them all the flexibility to customize their own workspaces to fit their needs. Moreover, it offers seamless collaboration with all the other teams in the office, or on-the-go using the Plaky Android or iOS apps.
💡 Plaky Pro Tip
Smooth cross-team collaboration is essential if you want your business to run like a well-oiled machine. Learn more about project collaboration in this guide:
What is Plaky’s highlight feature?
Plaky is a rare piece of software that offers unlimited users and projects in its free plan, making it perfect for small businesses with a tight budget.
In the sea of expensive CRM software, Plaky stands out as a free option with all the features you’ll need to get started with customer relationship management and contact tracking the moment you log in.
Available for: Web, Android, iOS
|Plan type||Plaky pricing|
|Paid plans||Pro — $4.99/user/month (or $3.99/user/month billed annually)|
Enterprise — $10.99/user/month (or $8.99/user/month billed annually)
#2: Salesforce — best for case management
Salesforce is a popular tool with a host of advanced CRM features you can customize to fit your business.
It’s a comprehensive piece of software that has everything that even the biggest companies may need in a CRM tool. However, this means it may come with a slightly steeper learning curve and a price that a small business may not be willing to pay.
|Salesforce pros||Salesforce cons|
|– Long trial period|
– Comprehensive feature set
– Email integration (Gmail and Outlook)
|– No free plan|
– Confusing pricing system (read the fine print)
– Can get expensive
– Technical support difficult to reach
What do you get with Salesforce?
Salesforce offers several different versions of its software, including one geared towards smaller businesses. This version offers users some very useful sales and service options, such as contact, lead, and pipeline management, detailed dashboards, and automatic report creation.
Salesforce is one of the more expensive CRM options out there starting at $25 per user a month (billed annually) for their small business Essentials plan. The Essentials plan supports up to 10 users and is also the only one in their lineup that you can get a monthly subscription for. All the other plans require an annual contract.
We tried contacting Salesforce support to find out the price for the Essentials plan (billed monthly) but were unable to reach a human representative.
Salesforce has an active YouTube channel with plenty of creative videos and commercials, but no real step-by-step tutorials on how to use it that we could find. This might make it difficult to hit the ground running if you opt for this tool without any prior experience in using CRM systems.
That said, the system offers a handy in-app walkthrough for new users that covers the basics pretty well. It might take some time to get used to, but the layout of the client information is easy to follow.
Why is Salesforce best for case management?
Salesforce has a clean and intuitive setup for managing questions, tech support tickets, sales correspondence, and more.
The software also offers email integration with Gmail and Outlook, which allows you to track correspondence and send emails directly from the app as shown in the picture above.
Every open case has a progress bar and a separate page where all the interactions with the customer in question are recorded, making it easy to dig up relevant information at any given moment.
What is Salesforce’s highlight feature?
The highlight feature of Salesforce is without a doubt Einstein GPT — an AI tool that is capable of:
- Recording phone calls with customers,
- Highlighting relevant sections of the conversation based on keywords you input, and
- Transcribing those sections, among other things.
Einstein GPT is an amazing tool, but it’s, unfortunately, available only to high-tier customers.
Available for: Web, Android, iOS
|Plan type||Salesforce pricing|
|Free trial||30 days|
|Paid plans||Essentials — $25/user/month (billed annually)|
Sales professional — $75*/user/month (billed annually)
Service professional — $75*/user/month (billed annually)
Marketing cloud account engagement — $1,250*/user/month for up to 10,000 contacts (billed annually)
Contact if the number exceeds 10,000.
*All plans except for the Essentials plan require an annual contract
#3: Insightly Sales CRM — best for integrations
Insightly is a fairly intuitive CRM tool geared towards small and medium-sized businesses. It’s pricey, even more so than Salesforce on its starter plan, but it makes up for it in integration and customization options.
|Insightly pros||Insightly cons|
|– Intuitive and easy to pick up|
|– Free plan is limited and allows only 2 users|
– Sales, marketing, and service CRM sold separately
What do you get with Insightly?
Insightly Sales CRM is a colorful tool with a ton of features and customization options. It offers standard CRM features such as contact, lead, and pipeline management, but also some other useful features such as email templates and capturing leads directly from your business webpage.
Another interesting feature of Insightly is the user’s ability to customize the dashboards in any way imaginable, as you can see in the image above. Users can create a new dashboard for any metric they want to track and choose:
- The types of chart they want to use among 42 different types of charts, including a map chart,
- The categories and values the chart will display and the order in which they’re arranged,
- The date range, source, and visibility for the data,
- And even details such as what the X and Y axes, colors, trend lines, grid lines, and legend will look like.
This is the only feature we’ve had difficulty figuring out, so it might take some finicking to master, but it’s a useful option nonetheless.
The software is also fairly easy to get used to and has integrated walkthroughs for new users.
All of that said, the price of around $350 per user a year (at the cheapest) is nothing to ignore. The software has a free plan, but it’s limited to 2 users, 2,500 contacts, 2 custom fields, and 10 emails per day.
One important thing to note is that Insightly has 3 different versions of its CRM software — sales, marketing, and service. So, a business that needs a CRM tool for their marketing and sales teams will have to purchase Insightly Marketing and Insightly Sales software separately.
Why is Insightly best for integrations?
Insightly integrates with a whopping 551 other platforms, which includes popular apps such as Slack, Asana, Calendly, Shopify, and many, many others. This helps users connect with all apps they’re already using and smooth out their workflow by automating mundane tasks.
What is Insightly’s highlight feature?
Insightly offers something called AppConnect — a workflow automation tool that allows customers to easily build their own integrations without the need for a developer.
Available for: Web, Android, iOS, Gmail and Outlook sidebars
|Plan type||Insightly pricing|
|Free trial||14 days|
|Free plan||Yes, for up to 2 users|
|Paid plans||Plus — $29*/user/month|
Professional — $49*/user/month
Enterprise — $99*/user/month
*All prices billed annually
#4: Zoho — best for ecommerce
The first thing we noticed about Zoho’s CRM tool is that it’s fairly similar to Salesforce in both its aesthetics and basic functionality.
The software offers all the features one would expect from an established CRM tool, with plenty of upgrade options small businesses can choose from as they grow.
|Zoho pros||Zoho cons|
|– Website visit tracker|
– Social media integration
– Report generator
– Gamify feature
|– Most of the best features available only on higher tiers|
– Better technical support is charged extra
What do you get with Zoho?
Besides all the basic CRM features — such as lead, contact and deal records, and pipeline and task management — Zoho has a couple of useful options available on its Standard plan. Namely, there’s an option to track website visits allowing you to collect more leads, as well as the ability to see your email open rates and get notified about them in real time.
Users can also connect their business’s social media profiles to Zoho and manage interactions directly from the software.
Overall, Zoho’s CRM tool is fairly user-friendly and easy to get used to. If there’s any confusion about how to use the software, there are many tutorials available online, including those on Zoho’s own YouTube channel. That said, there is no in-app walkthrough for new users like with Salesforce or Insightly that we’ve noticed.
One of Zoho CRM’s standout features is Zia — an AI that can identify sales anomalies, predict the probability of a successful deal for each individual lead, determine the best times to contact your leads, and much, much more. Unfortunately, Zia AI is only available in the Enterprise and Ultimate tiers.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Zoho customer support is available to all paid users but only during regular business hours (8 hours a day, 5 days a week). This means that it will be difficult to get a hold of support, especially if you live in a different timezone. Zoho does offer better customer support plans, but you’ll have to pay extra for them.
Finally, do read the fine print. With Zoho, local taxes, VAT, GST, etc. are not included in the plan prices displayed on their website.
Why is Zoho best for ecommerce
The aforementioned ability to connect your website to Zoho CRM to keep track of your website visitors with an existing CRM account in real time (their geo-location, the pages they visit and for how long, the website they came from, etc.) is a great way to gain better understanding of your customers and how they interact with your products.
Additionally the option to integrate your social media profiles and keep track of your marketing campaigns within the software makes Zoho a great fit for small ecommerce businesses right out of the box.
What is Zoho’s highlight feature?
Zoho offers one of the most unique additions to its CRM tool we’ve encountered so far — the Zoho Motivator. This is a feature that turns your team’s daily work into a game, creating friendly competition, awarding badges for tasks performed, and making work more fun.
But, keep in mind that this is essentially an add-on that integrates with Zoho CRM and is purchased separately.
Available for: Web, Android, iOS
|Plan type||Zoho pricing|
|Free trial||15 days|
|Free plan||Yes, for up to 3 users|
|Paid plans||Standard — $14*/user/month|
Professional — $23*/user/month
Enterprise — $40*/user/month
Ultimate — $52*/user/month
*Prices for annual billings (local taxes, VAT, GST, etc. not included)
Pipedrive is an intuitive and condensed CRM tool that small businesses can use to effectively track their sales and manage their customer interactions. It also offers in-app task management that users may or may not use, depending on their preference.
|Pipedrive pros||Pipedrive cons|
|– Simple UI and easy to use|
– Clean layout, data is easy to read and follow
– Sales Assistant
|– Lacks more sophisticated features|
– Not suited for larger businesses and more complex workflows
– Lagging data entries
What do you get with Pipedrive?
With its Essentials plan, Pipedrive is the second most affordable CRM tool on this list (after Plaky), offering many of the same sales functionalities as some of the more expensive tools, minus the fancy bells and whistles.
In other words, Pipedrive is a focused tool, mostly geared toward sales project management. It might not be ideal for businesses looking to organize and track their marketing campaigns or service activities, but it’s an excellent sales management tool that we haven’t had a hard time figuring out.
Pipedrive also offers a wide variety of integrations as well as 24/7 customer support for all paid users. That said, while we haven’t had interaction with Pipedrive’s customer support, complaints about their quality of service are a common occurrence on review websites such as G2 and GetApp.
For example, user Stephane B. stated on G2 that one of his problems with the software was that “They do not seem to have a ticketing system. Chat was the only option available, and we had to reexplain our case to over ten support staffers!”
Another G2 user by the name of Eden B. says: “Support are not trained enough to know how to resolve issues or use the CRMs features from a real end-user perspective, and require extensive work on the customers part to report issues, often again and again as issues don’t get resolved.”
Another thing worth mentioning is that Pipedrive — while suitable for small businesses — cannot accommodate larger teams and more complex/customized workflows, even on its high-tier plans.
One thing we noticed immediately while simply trying out the software is the several-second lag that happened every time a new entry was added. The entry sometimes took so long to appear that the page needed a refresh.
Keep in mind that this was only our experience at the moment of testing in Q2 of 2023. It might have been a temporary issue that has since been fixed. However, if the issue persists, it has the potential to hinder businesses working with a large amount of data.
Why is Pipedrive best for small-scale sales teams
The intuitive design and user-friendly interface make it easy for anyone to start using it right away, regardless of their technological background.
Pipedrive offers a variety of sales features, even on its lowest-tier plan. It’s a good choice for small sales teams looking for a simple and straightforward solution.
Growing businesses, handling larger amounts of data will have a harder time making Pipedrive work for them.
What is Pipedrive’s highlight feature?
Pipedrive offers a so-called Sales Assistant that analyzes past performance and gives suggestions for the future to improve performance. This is a very limited version of the type of AI Salesforce and Zoho offer, but it’s useful nonetheless — and it’s available on all of Pipedrive’s paid plans.
Pipedrive also offers Chatbot and Live Chat features, which are quite useful, but they are add-ons that must be purchased separately at almost $400 a year.
Available for: Web, Android, iOS
|Plan type||Pipedrive pricing|
|Free trial||14 days|
|Paid plans||Essential — $9.90*/user/month|
Advanced — $19.90*/user/month
Professional — $39.90*/user/month
Power — $49.90*/user/month
Enterprise — $59.90*/user/month
*All prices billed annually.
#6: Freshsales — best for communication with customers
Freshsales is an award-winning CRM tool, part of the Freshworks software collection, along with Freshmarketer, Freshdesk, Freshservice, and Freshchat.
However, just like Insightly Sales CRM, Freshsales is singularly focused on sales customer management. So, businesses wanting a simple all-in-one CRM tool for all their teams will have to purchase Freshmarketer and Freshdesk separately.
|Freshsales pros||Freshsales cons|
|– Intuitive UI|
– Comprehensible information layout
– Freddy AI available across all tiers (except free)
|– Only focused on sales, marketing and service management tools sold separately|
– Might take longer to set up automations and import all the data
What do you get with Freshsales?
Freshsales offers a colorful host of features that all seamlessly work together. With this software, sales teams can keep track of all their:
- Accounts, and
- Connect their email and calendar to the tool,
- Manage products,
- Track project KPIs, and much more.
If users have an existing contact list somewhere else (e.g., in an .csv, .xlsx document, Google contacts, Outlook contacts, or another CRM software), they can be easily imported into Freshsales.
Freshsales also has a number of editable templates used for creating automated workflows. Users can activate the templates as they are or customize them according to their preferences and make their day-to-day tasks much simpler. An example of such a workflow would be to automatically add a task to create a project any time a deal is made.
Freshworks is a well-rounded sales CRM tool, but it’s not the cheapest, especially if users want to use their CRM software for more than just sales. This makes it a good option for small businesses that are sales-focused and are willing to set aside a budget for sales customer management.
But, those who need a budget solution that will cover all of their teams will probably find their match in another software.
On top of that, there is an option to generate reports, but they tend to be confusing, and customizing them is cumbersome. As G2 user Aru P. says, “The reporting on email opens and clicks isn’t that great, and I have often found it misleading. When I wanted to pull out reports on certain types of users, I had to add a tag and then take a report because the built-in reporting didn’t support that.”
While we have never contacted their customer support, having encountered no issues during testing, we know that their reputation is less than stellar on popular review websites such as G2 and GetApp.
A GetApp user by the name of Abhisheh S. said: “Customer support is not up to the mark. They always respond very late.”
Another user, Mahesh N. reported on GetApp: “Their support is the worst. For every small issue, they push a Calendly link in your face and want you to schedule. And for every issue, the calendar is blocked out days. They just say sorry that’s when you will get help. They offer some free onboarding hours but the person just has a script and is unable to solve any of the issues.”
Why is Freshsales best for communication with customers
Freshsales offers several useful customer communication tools for tracking and improving communication, such as:
- Freddy AI chatbot,
- Bulk emails,
- Cloud-based phone support,
- Email sync with Gmail and Outlook,
- SMS, phone, and email conversation tracking, and more.
What is Freshsales’s highlight feature?
The use of AI in CRM drastically increases the value users get from their sales software. So, it’s not surprising that the feature that stands out in Freshsales among the sea of basic sales features is precisely Freddy AI.
Similarly to Zoho’s Zia and Salesforce’s Einstein GPT, Freddy analyzes your CRM data history, identifies patterns, and offers predictions and insights into customer behavior, giving you recommendations for the best course of action, and much more.
Freddy also functions as a chatbot and the first point of contact between your business and the customers. It’s worth noting that, although limited in use, Freddy AI exists on all paid tiers, including Growth.
Available for: Web, Android, iOS
|Plan type||Freshasales pricing|
|Free trial||21 days|
|Free plan||For up to 3 users|
|Paid plans||Growth — $15*/user/month|
Pro — $39*/user/month
Enterprise — $69*/user/month
*Prices billed annually.
#7: Hubspot — best for email marketing
Hubspot CRM suite is an all-in-one platform for managing customer information within the sales, marketing, and service departments.
There is an option to get each of them separately at more than half the price, but we chose the CRM suite for this list because it makes for a multi-purpose tool that can be used across the entire organization.
|Hubspot pros||Hubspot cons|
|– Has a free plan|
– Good customer support
– Great email marketing management features
|– Upgrades are very expensive|
– Steeper learning curve
What do you get with Hubspot?
There’s no sugarcoating it — Hubspot is really expensive, and this can be a problem for small businesses looking to scale up on a budget. However, Hubspot offers a free version of their software which, albeit limited, offers enough functionality for those looking to dip their toes into customer relationship management.
Seeing as the Hubspot CRM suite has functionalities for marketing, sales, and service management and the layout is slightly different than with most other CRM tools, the software has a steeper learning curve.
Once users create a free account, they’ll be greeted with a useful demo that goes over all the basic functionalities they’ll need to get started. But, keep in mind that it will take a while to get familiar with everything.
Within the free version of the Hubspot CRM suite, users get all the necessary basics to start with their sales, marketing, and service information management including detailed lead, contact, and pipeline management.
There are also some quality-of-life features such as the software’s ability to draw certain information from Linkedin, for example, and automatically fill out most of the customer profile. That said, most of the best features are hidden behind a paywall.
When it comes to customer support, our experience was positive — the agent replied in a matter of seconds and promptly answered all the questions in a professional manner.
Why is Hubspot best for email marketing?
Hubspot has a few interesting features related to emails. Namely, there’s an email builder with pre-made customizable email templates and email integration, which allows users to track customer email interactions directly from the software.
It’s also possible to get notified whenever a prospect opens your email or clicks on the link or document attached to the email. This makes it easy to keep a record of all leads who have the potential to become paying customers.
What is Hubspot’s highlight feature?
One feature we haven’t noticed so far in other tools is the “Lists” feature. This is sort of like an advanced filtering tool — it allows users to filter through all of the contact information that exists within the software based on the filters or some other criteria, and create a list where all the items share a common characteristic.
Users can create any type of list they want and make it so that, whenever a new entry that matches the characteristics they’ve determined is created, it automatically gets added to the list. These lists can then be used for anything the user wants, such as email marketing, for example.
Available for: Web, Android, iOS
|Plan type||Hubspot pricing|
|Free trial||14 days|
|Paid plans||Starter — $30*/month (includes 2 paid users, every additional user costs $25 extra)|
Professional — $1,600*/month (includes 5 paid users, every additional user +$100/month)
Enterprise — $5,000*/month (includes 10 paid users, every additional user costs $120 extra)
*Prices billed annually.
#8: monday.com — best for customization
You might be familiar with monday.com as a project management tool. If you’ve ever used it, you probably know how bubbly the software is and how easy it is to figure out how to get from point A to point B. The monday.com CRM tool is quite similar.
|Monday pros||Monday cons|
|– Easy to use|
– Large template library
|– No free plan|
– Has a minimum number of users (3)
– Highly expensive for individuals and small businesses with under 3 people
What do you get with Monday?
With monday.com CRM, you get an easy-to-use interface with most actions being only 1–2 clicks away (quite literally). In case any of the users are new to CRM, the software offers an in-app step-by-step walkthrough that teaches them everything they need to know.
Users who have already used some sort of CRM or spreadsheet to keep track of their customer information before can easily import it into monday.com. It’s also possible to connect the business Gmail or Outlook email to the software and manage all email interactions directly in the CRM tool.
Another great thing about monday.com is that it offers a variety of integrations. Although miniscule in number compared to some of the other CRM tools on this list, monday.com integrates with many of the most popular platforms such as SurveyMonkey, MailChimp, Hootsuite, Facebook Ads, Harvest, and others.
The software has reporting, branding, and automation options as well, but they could use some more work if they are to catch up to the other CRM tools on this list.
Ultimately, monday.com is a decent CRM tool, but it can get expensive and teams that need more complex sales, marketing, and service functionalities may be better off setting aside a larger budget for something like Salesforce.
💡 Plaky Pro Tip
See how Plaky compares to monday.com:
Why is Monday best for customization?
Similarly to Plaky, monday.com users can customize their workspaces to their heart’s content. It’s possible to add any number of columns to the lists users create.
There is also a vast library of column types, as well as the option to create custom labels, connect different boards, add different views, customize dashboards, and much more. And this is without adding integrations into the mix.
While we listed monday.com’s customizability as an advantage in the table below, it’s worth mentioning that it may make the software feel overwhelming to new users.
What is Monday’s highlight feature?
monday.com has a vast library of templates users can customize to fit their needs. This includes onboarding templates, email templates, marketing and sales pipeline templates, and much, much more.
Available for: Web, Desktop (MacOS and Windows), Android, iOS
|Plan type||Monday pricing|
|Free trial||14 days|
|Paid plans||Basic — $10*/user/month (must have minimum 3 registered users)|
Standard — $14*/user/month (must have minimum 3 registered users)
Pro — $24*/user/month (must have minimum 3 registered users)
Enterprise — Contact sales
*Prices billed annually.
#9: Really Simple Systems — best for writing reports
Really Simple Systems is true to its name. This is a straightforward CRM aimed mainly toward small businesses. The version we’ll be covering here includes only sales features, but with expansion capabilities.
|Really Simple Systems pros||Really Simple Systems cons|
|– Straightforward and intuitive|
– Good customer support
|– Marketing and service add-ons significantly increase the price|
– No mobile app
– On the pricier side
What do you get with Really Simple Systems?
Really Simple Systems is great for first-time users. All of the options are straightforward and intuitive, and — if anything’s still confusing — there is a help section in the top right corner of the screen that can guide you through the page you’re currently on.
On top of this, Really Simple Systems has an amazing YouTube channel with tutorials that cover everything you need to know about the software.
As for the features, RSS doesn’t offer a lot — the reason for it being so simple. Some types of businesses may find this to be a major downside.
As mentioned above, the RSS we’re talking about is only a sales CRM. There is an option to purchase add-ons for marketing and service, but they significantly increase the overall price.
Some aspects of the software that struck us as well-designed were:
- Simple drag and drop columns,
- Comprehensive and customizable accounts page,
- Report writer feature, and
- Advanced search option that allows users to search through all the information stored on the software, which is then displayed in different categories as shown in the image above, and enables easy navigation through a wealth of information.
Why is Really Simple Systems best for writing reports?
RSS offers 2 different reporting options — list reports and forecast reports.
List reports are a simple rundown of recent activities, while forecast reports help make sales forecasts and predict movement within the sales pipeline.
Moreover, the reports are fully customizable. Users can rearrange the order of the information shown by simply dragging and dropping, or exclude certain information entirely and create focused reports.
It’s even possible to schedule reports and receive them by email at regular intervals of your choosing.
What is Really Simple Systems’ highlight feature?
RSS has an effective email integration system. Besides storing all your email interactions, it also:
- Automatically adds new emails to your timeline,
- Saves any attachments in the business account directory, and
- Automatically creates customer support tasks if integrated with the RSS Service tool, all in real time.
Available for: Web (desktop and mobile)
|Plan type||Really Simple Systems pricing|
|Free trial||14 days|
|Free plan||Yes (up to 2 users)|
|Paid plans||Starter — $17*/user/month|
Professional — $33*/user/month
*Price billed annually.
#10: Less Annoying CRM — best for ease of use
Less Annoying CRM is a customer-funded CRM software with only one paid plan and a 30-day free trial made with small businesses in mind.
|Less Annoying CRM pros||Less Annoying CRM cons|
|– Customized out of the box based on your industry|
– Intuitive and easy to use
– Great customer support
|– No mobile app|
– Limited native integrations
What do you get with Less Annoying CRM?
Less Annoying CRM offers all the standard sales features you’d expect from a CRM tool:
- Task management,
- Event management,
- Contact, business, and lead databases,
- Email integrations, and more.
Speaking of integrations, Less Annoying CRM integrates with Gmail, Outlook, MailChimp, and Zapier.
It’s worth mentioning that there is no mobile app for Less Annoying CRM. Users can log in and use it on their phones, but only through the browser.
Why is Less Annoying CRM best for ease of use?
We tried keeping to the intuitive and straightforward CRM tools in this list, and all of them really are simple to figure out. But, if we had to pick out a winner in the ease-of-use category, it would be Less Annoying CRM.
The software is incredibly easy to use thanks to its layout that’s slightly different from the norm. Namely, there is only 1 “add” button used to create everything — contacts, tasks, events, leads, import data, etc. The data you add then shows up in its respective category.
Everything was made as simple as can be. Moreover, the easy-to-understand video tutorials you get once you log in for the first time leave no room for confusion. And even when the tutorial is over, users can always refer to the help section that will lead them to more guides.
What is Less Annoying CRM’s highlight feature?
With other CRM tools on this list, inputting your industry type has had little bearing when creating an account. Not so with Less Annoying CRM. One of the first things we were asked when starting a free trial with Less Annoying CRM was to choose an industry for our business. We chose “software and IT” from the list and clicked OK.
Then, we were greeted with a video explaining that, while most of the software features are the same for everyone, each industry has a small unique feature specifically intended to cater to their workflow.
In our case, we got 2 separate pipelines — one for tracking sales leads and another for customer issues, plus a tutorial on how to use them.
Available for: Web (desktop and mobile)
|Plan type||Less Annoying CRM pricing|
|Free trial||30 days|
*Price billed annually
Benefits of using CRM software for a small business
CRM software stores and consolidates all information related to clients and client-business interactions. As such, it’s an extremely useful tool for sales and marketing teams.
The major benefits of CRM tools include:
- Providing a comprehensive library of client data,
- Improving cross-team collaboration,
- Informing the decision-making process, and
- Improving customer relationships.
Benefit #1: Consolidates client data
The main benefit of CRM software is that it offers a centralized space for keeping and managing your customer information.
Depending on the nature and needs of your business, this can be anything — from interactions with your technical support team and forms they’ve filled out on your website, to the types of items in your offer they’ve shown interest in.
This information is the foundation upon which your sales and marketing professionals base their operations.
Benefit #2: Improves cross-team collaboration
Small businesses vary in size. Some can have 4 employees, some 40 or more. Businesses with a larger number of employees separated into different teams can benefit from the online nature of CRM tools.
Information stored on a CRM platform is always available to everyone who needs it. This includes the sales team, the marketing team, the owner, the investors, the customer support team, etc.
This enables teams to update and analyze information in real time, without wasting time on meetings, creating a smooth project workflow.
Benefit #3: Improves relationships with customers
Imagine you own an ecommerce store that sells handmade jewelry and you have a customer who has had several similar orders in the past 6 months — celestial-themed earrings with amethyst stones. After a quick glance at their info, you notice that they have a number of astrology-related items in their cart and amethyst happens to be their birthstone.
This kind of information allows you to put together a customer profile that can help you maintain a good relationship with the client and upsell your products without turning them away. In this case, your customer is a person interested in astrology who appears to value the meaning of gems and birthstones.
An example of a good course of action would be to send them a personalized birthday message with a one-time discount code for your amethyst jewelry collection. The customer is left feeling appreciated and cared for, which helps nurture a loyal and lasting relationship, and you get a purchase — a win-win.
Benefit #4: Informs the decision-making process
As illustrated in the example above, the information stored in your CRM tool can help you decide what kind of products to promote to your customers to increase your chances of making a sale. But, that’s hardly scratching the surface of what you can do with this information.
For example, this data can help you:
- Decide which new product to launch and when,
- Plan your next social media marketing campaign and see how it’s performing, or
- Keep track of where your customers are located in the sales pipeline by using a simple Kanban board system.
How to choose CRM software for a small business
Try as you might, you’ll never find a CRM tool that fits everyone equally well. So, how do you pick one that’s right for you?
This requires a bit of time, research, and a good grasp of your business’ inner workings. Here’s how to do it.
Step #1: Determine your budget
When you don’t know where to start, setting a limit on the amount of money you’re willing to spend can significantly narrow down your choices and keep you from overspending.
Step #2: Understand your goals
Understand why you are looking to get a CRM tool in the first place. Talk to your team to determine which features are necessary and which you can do without.
Once you have an idea of the kind of tool you need, you’ll have an easier time eliminating those that don’t fit the bill.
Step #3: Ask a friend
While priorities vary from company to company, one way to narrow down your search is to ask for a recommendation from someone you trust.
Step #4: Research
Never settle on a piece of software before doing proper research first. Learn what they offer, read the fine print, find customer reviews, contact their customer support, and make sure you know what exactly it is you’re paying for.
Step #5: Test your top picks
Finally, never buy software without testing it first. Even if a CRM tool has glowing reviews, it doesn’t mean it will be the right fit for your business.
Most services offer at least a free trial or a free plan, so use it to your advantage. Make sure that the tool fits the people who will be using it and that a steep learning curve won’t throw your entire workflow off balance.
You might have to spend some time testing several pieces of software before finding the right one, but at least you’ll be certain that you’ve made the right choice.
Conclusion: Choose a CRM tool that can grow with you
CRM software opens up new opportunities for small businesses. By doing away with spreadsheets and creating a unified database for all the customer information, they help improve interactions, relationships, security, productivity, and chances of sales.
But, there is such a thing as too much choice. Hopefully, this blog post has managed to help narrow it down for you.
The 10 CRM tools mentioned above contain features small businesses will find helpful in their early stages. Go over each of them carefully and narrow the list further based on your personal criteria.
Just remember that switching CRM tools in the late stages can be complicated, so it’s best to choose a piece of software that can grow with you.
✉️ Have you tried any of these apps? How did you like them? Did we miss an app you think deserves more attention? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we may include your insights in this text or some of our future ones. And, if you liked this blog post and found it useful, share it with someone you think would also benefit from it.