What is the best CRM for small business owners?
Customer relationship management (CRM) software can help you manage your administrative processes and build stronger connections with your clients. But with so many options on the market today, what is the best CRM for small business owners today?
This guide to the best CRM for small business owners will help you learn more about the features offered by top-performing CRM software. With accurate information in hands, you can confidently decide which CRM tools might be right for your small business needs.
What is customer relationship management (CRM) software?
Customer relationship management (CRM) software broadly refers to software that helps you store and manage customer data. A CRM system will allow you to analyze this data and integrate it with other information, such as accounting, inventory, marketing KPIs, and more.
While the primary purpose of CRM software for a small business is to help you manage your customer interactions, the additional CRM features offered tend to vary by the provider, which is why it's important to match your company's needs with the right CRM platform.
The best CRM software for a small business will offer features that include:
- Contact and lead management
- Sales management
- Marketing automation
- Project management
- Inventory management tools
Sales teams will find these CRM features to be particularly useful, though CRM software also can integrate your sales process with the other needs of your small business. The right CRM platform can even help you generate new leads and build your revenue.
But your customers will love the benefits that they get from a CRM for small businesses, too. Improved communication will enhance customer satisfaction and help you turn first-time customers into regular clients.
The best small business CRM software
Which CRM solution is right for your small business? Finding the "best" CRM for small business really depends on your needs. Here are some of the best CRM software platforms out there today, along with a short overview of the features they provide.
Invoice2go, a Bill.com company has helped hundreds of thousands of small businesses transform how they handle projects, invoices, and clients. We provide CRM solutions that rival even the best CRM software providers.
We're best known for our invoicing platform, allowing users to create and send customized invoices to their clients. Our tools help you manage your customer payments and keep track of your company's cash flow.
Our automated features will even send payment reminders to your clients, minimizing the number of outstanding and unpaid invoices you have to track down.
But we also offer project management features that help you monitor your workflow and your core business processes. These invoicing and project management features are available through our mobile app.
Our comprehensive reporting tools can even help you analyze your performance and provide sales forecasting to see where you're headed, making our platform one of the best small business CRM solutions for small business owners today.
Salesforce is arguably one of the best-known CRM software platforms for small business owners that's on the market today.
While the company has been known for providing solutions for larger corporations for years, its products are easily adaptable to the needs of small businesses thanks to its Small Business Pricing Solutions. The Essentials package is available for $25 per user per month.
Salesforce offers a comprehensive set of features, including marketing, service, and sales tools, all of which can be uniquely customized through the dashboard. This CRM for small business owners offers internal business tools, including third-party integrations for popular communication apps like Slack.
The downside is that Salesforce is a bit pricier than some competitors. There is no free plan available, though users can access a free trial to test out some of the tools for themselves.
Small businesses that are just starting might want to take advantage of the free plan offered by HubSpot CRM. The free plan offers a surprising array of features, including tools that you can use for communication, deal management, and over 300 third-party app integrations that can be used to optimize your key sales and business processes. You'll even receive a notification when a customer doesn't open your email.
These features make HubSpot's basic plan one of the best free CRM software platforms on the market today.
But if the features offered by the free plan aren't enough, you can always upgrade to one of the premium plans. Paid plans start at $45 per month for two users, but they offer advanced marketing tools and workflow automation solutions that can benefit your entire team.
This makes HubSpot CRM something of a two-edged sword. The free CRM features are hard to resist, though the price of the premium plan is quite a jump. If you're a small business owner, you might consider using the free plan when you first start, but research other small business CRMs to find the features you'll likely need for the future.
Less Annoying CRM
You didn't read that wrong; there really is a software provider known as Less Annoying CRM! This software provider specializes in CRM software for small businesses, offering a single, flat-rate package with contact management and task management features designed to improve communications and increase productivity.
The simple user interface makes it easy to juggle multiple contacts and view your calendar. However, some users may be frustrated by the lack of integrations, limiting you to the program's core features.
You can log outside emails into the CRM system, though there is no way for the CRM software actually to integrate with popular email providers.
But the total monthly cost is quite low. This might make Less Annoying a viable choice of CRM software for small business needs, though some companies might want to look to other providers for more advanced features.
Bigin by Zoho
Many small businesses are already familiar with the tools offered by Zoho. Bigin is the company's CRM solution, streamlined to eliminate features that aren't commonly required by small businesses.
But that doesn't mean that Bigin lacks a robust set of features. The sales pipeline management tools allow you to handle multiple sales pipelines with relative ease. With this information in hand, you can analyze and adjust your sales pipeline at every stage, providing comprehensive management of your sales process through advanced features.
This CRM for small business owners also provides workflow automation and making phone calls through the app itself. The mobile apps for iOS and Android are rated well for customer satisfaction and being extremely user-friendly.
Solo entrepreneurs might be able to use the basic features offered by the free plan, but paid start at a low monthly cost.
Growing businesses might consider their higher tiers' advanced business management features.
For many small businesses, communication is paramount. Streak provides a small business CRM system designed with email and contact management in mind.
Streak integrates directly with Gmail and all of the G Suite mobile apps. It can be used through a simple browser extension on your Chromebook or PC.
These features allow you and your sales reps to capture CRM data from your contact list and emails. You'll also receive notifications that help you manage every part of your sales pipeline. Plus, you can use and customize email templates to help showcase your brand.
Streak is completely free for single users. But the Professional and Enterprise versions are available for a reasonably low annual fee. This makes it a helpful tool for sales teams that need help with customer or lead management. However, the program lacks the advanced features offered by other kinds of small business CRM software.
Keap offers contact and sales pipeline management solutions ideal for small businesses, solo entrepreneurs, and eCommerce platforms.
The most significant feature of this CRM system is its ability to manage a database of business contacts and leads. Keap provides contact management solutions that let you pool and manage data from sources such as:
- Other CRM software
- Email accounts
- Scanned business cards
- A custom form on your company webpage
- Manual data entered from sales calls
This makes Keap one of the most powerful lead management systems out there, though the higher price can be prohibitive if your sales team is on a tight budget.
The Lite and Pro versions offer a free trial, though no other free plan exists. Monthly fees for this program fall in the mid-range.
BenchmarkONE is a centralized CRM platform with both sales and marketing in mind. It goes beyond the basic CRM software by providing advanced reporting and analytical features, making it an ideal CRM for small to midsize companies.
The marketing automation of this CRM system is designed to drive more leads and stimulate business growth. The result is a sales hub that helps small business owners to manage new leads and keep their sales teams organized.
The downside is that the free plan is only good for one user. You'll need to consider one of the other tiered plans for a larger sales team. Available plans are:
- Core (2 users): $70 per month, billed semi-annually
- Pro (5 users): $139 per month, billed semi-annually
- Enterprise (unlimited users): $199 per month, billed semi-annually
However, none of the packages include customer support tools, which means that BenchmarkONE doesn't provide the same type of comprehensive small business CRM tools as other CRM software providers.
Nimble is one of the best CRM for small business professionals who are looking for a data-rich user experience. It can aggregate customer data from external databases and social channels.
Customer segmentation features allow you to group your contacts into specific categories. You or your sales rep can then send customized email templates to various segments of your contact list.
Nimble's dashboard allows you to create and manage a sales funnel, helping you understand the progress of every deal as it moves through the sales process. Reporting tools tell you when your emails have been received or opened, giving you insights into some of your key business metrics.
In addition to its Android and iOS mobile apps, the core product offers a variety of add-ons to its basic CRM features. No free plan is available, but Nimble has a reasonable monthly cost.
Sometimes, the best CRM software is the one that includes special features. Freshsales offers a wide variety of features, including:
- Accounting integrations
- Project management tools
- Deal management features
- Email tracking
The mobile apps offered by this CRM software for small business teams also provide multi-language support, making it an excellent option for small businesses on the go.
Freshsales provides several tiered plans that range from $12 to $79 per month, billed annually. Users also gain access to tech support through email, phone, or chat.
Solutions for your small businesses
Your small business is your passion. We can help you meet your small business goals by providing innovative solutions to common challenges faced within your industry. Just sign up for our free 30-day trial to see our features in action.
Frequently asked questions
There's a lot of variation in CRM software features for small business professionals. Here are answers to some of the most common questions about a CRM for small business owners.
Some CRM software for small business professionals can help you attract new leads. Look for marketing automation tools or similar features which you can use to attract new customers to your business and help you follow up with existing clients.
While some CRM software for small business owners will allow you to have as many users as you'd like, most providers will charge you a fee per user. It's essential to match your CRM solutions to the size of your company's sales or leadership teams to ensure everyone has access to the tools that they need.
Many CRM platforms allow you to create a sales funnel, driving customers toward an end goal. Your CRM software dashboard will allow you to monitor this process and supervise each step, helping you to assess the results of your sales and marketing strategies.