Customer relationship management software is a must-have for any company in the digital age. The thing is: what is the best CRM software?
I tried many of these in the past, as I am no longer a big fan of spreadsheets. I tested them the same way I tested the best accounting software for Amazon sellers and the best Amazon product research tools in my previous reviews.
Today, I will show you more than nine of the best CRM software programs you can choose. In the end, I will also provide you with my top two best picks to make things easier for you.
Here is a quick view of the best CFRM software list:
1. Salesforce – The best CRM software for small businesses and large ones that need a complete and reliable CRM platform.
2. Bitrix24 – Best CRM software for people who want a free tool with an unlimited number of users.
3. ZenDesk – Best customer relationship management CRM for people who need either a service helpdesk tool or a sales management tool.
4. Zoho CRM – Zoho CRM is best for people who want a combined tool for customer retention, project management, and sales.
5. HubSpot – Best for people who will eventually expand their business and need other specialized areas of a CRM.
6. Pipedrive – Best for people who have active sales teams.
7. FreshWorks – Best for sales teams who want a highly focused tool for marketing automation.
8. Microsoft Dynamics CRM – Best for big businesses that want a robust CRM.
9. Nimble CRM – Best for people who want a simple CRM tool for a small business.
10. Monday.Com – Best for companies that need not only a CRM but also a program that tracks projects.
The best CRM software for small businesses and large ones that need a complete and reliable CRM platform.
Pricing: The Salesforce sales CRM starts at $25 per user per month.
Unique Feature: It is one of the few customer relationship management systems that has everything you need.
Salesforce is a popular CRM software because of the sheer number of things that you can do with it. For example, you can use the sales force automation process for your marketing.
Hands down, Salesforce is one of the best as even the biggest companies use it for their operations as a sales CRM. People who learned the secrets to making money online can also use the platform to provide service to their customers.
- Sales – this is the part of the software that your sales reps or sales team will definitely love. You can register leads here, give them a call as part of your sales process, and also manage your customer data.
- Service – if you take customer service support, it is the system you use to manage cases. With this system, you can do telephony integration, create a knowledgebase, and even empower your customers with self-service options.
- Marketing – the people in your marketing arm surely have a sales pipeline. The marketing system is where they can find leads, send emails, and also close deals to complete the sales cycle.
- Analytics – of course, all businesses must run on data. Here, you will get all kinds of reports that you need to see how your business is going.
- Enablement – this feature is about helping your customer service representative become the best there is at his job. Here, you can create onboarding processes, Sales Force Automation, coach, and document the coaching sessions between the supervisor and the subordinate.
What I like about Salesforce is that the company does not charge an arm and a leg. You can start using the platform for as little as $25 per month per user.
- There are many types of cloud services
- There is unlimited power and support from this provider
- There is a mobile app that you can access no matter where you are
- Lots of integration options
Salesforce does not have a single menu for its pricing. The service you get is what determines the cost. It can range between $25 and $300 for small businesses. For big businesses, it can go to thousands of dollars per month.
Best CRM software for people who want a free tool with an unlimited number of users.
Pricing: There is a free plan and three paid ones.
Unique Feature: There is a free plan that provides you with a lot of the things you need from a customer relationship management tool.
Bitrix 24 is unique because it offers a lot of services for free. I like it because the creators did not just create a software program for customer service—they created a system where you can also build your online store.
Here are the things you can do with it:
- Collaborate with your employees
- Gather data, analyze it, and use it for business intelligence
- Create an online store
- Automate processes or your HR team
One thing you might want to look into is the employee management system. With this tool, you can manage attendance, automate workflows, and also make announcements and appreciations for good work done.
- Collaboration – apart from being software for CRM data, you can use it as a communication channel. It has calendar features, chat, video calls, online meetings, etc.
- Sales CRM – it is a complete suite of CRM from lead generation, sales, quotes, invoices, and even sales automation. You can also improve customer interaction with rules and triggers.
- Task and Projects – you can use the system to send tasks to your sales teams or those who need to run marketing campaigns. Here, you can use the Gantt chart, Kanban, templates, and many more.
- Sites and Stores – you can do your marketing automation and improve your business processes because it is hosted in the same server and system where you generate leads and provide service to your customers.
- Has several communication channels
- It comes with a website builder and even an online store
- You can manage tasks and projects
- There is a built-in video calling system
- You can build a knowledgebase
- Basic – costs $39 per month; the maximum is five users the only difference between this and the free one is that you can build an online store with this account.
- Standard – costs $79 per month; user cap is 50, and you have storage of 100GB.
- Professional – costs $159 per month; user count is unlimited. You now have access to an HR software platform plus business process automation.
Registration is free, so you can try it anytime you like. No credit card is required.
Best customer relationship management CRM for people who need either a service helpdesk tool or a sales management tool.
Pricing: There are two types of CRMs with three plans for each one.
Unique Feature: Zendesk has specialized tools for sales pipeline management and customer information for service-oriented CRMs.
ZenDesk is the best CRM software program for contact management and sales teams. It has two areas of specialization, and you do not even have to buy both.
Here are the things it can do:
- Customizable sales pipeline
- Task and appointment setting
- Email integration with tracking
- Call tracking and recording
- Recording of text messages
- Sales forecasting
- Analysis and reports
- Task automation
- Marketing for sales
- AI-powered knowledge managent systems
With ZenDesk, you have a complete suite of tools that allow you to create a customer service channel. For example, you can create a ticketing system.
In the ticketing system, a customer can file a report or an issue. From here, the customer service agent in your office can reach out to this customer and help him fix the issue.
- Messaging – your sales reps can use the CRM solutions platform to engage leads. You can contact your leads and customers through social platforms, your website, and mobile.
- Self-Service – you can create a self-service portal on your website, which customers can use to resolve simple issues. This should help you save money as they no longer have to speak with a customer service representative.
- Agent Routing – the platform allows your employees to route customers to the right department. For example, if a caller wants to know more about the product, the agent can route him to a sales rep.
- Email integration is a sales CRM tool that you can use for your marketing campaigns. You no longer need a separate sales CRM to gather leads or send them sales messages.
- Great for building customer relationship
- The CRM database has a ticketing system that customers can use
- The platform is highly customizable
- there are thousands of apps you can install or integrate
ZenDesk offers its service in two types. The first one is Zendesk for Service, and the other one is Zendesk for Sales. The price ranges vary from $19 to $99 per month. If you want to have both the sales and customer service CRM, you must contact ZendDesk.
ZenDesk offers a free trial that you can get now.
4. Zoho CRM
Zoho CRM is best for people who want a combined tool for customer retention, project management, and sales.
Pricing: Zoho offers four plans that range from $20 to $65.
Unique Feature: Zoho CRM also comes with the best project management tool.
Zoho CRM is one of best tools you can get if you also want a robust project management system. While the two are different systems, there is only one creator and developer, so they work perfectly well together.
You do not have to get both. If you subscribe to the CRM platform, you will have access to the project management tools, too.
Here are the things Zoho CRM can do:
- Create automated workflows for a sales team
- Store customer information
- Send mass emails as part of your update or sales process
- Manage customer relationships through the CRM platform
- Create forms and sub-forms; create a ticketing system
- Automate your marketing with mass emails, lead nurturing, etc
- Manage your company’s performance with sales forecasting and AI prediction
What you will love about Zoho is that you can customize it. In addition to this, you can also add any kind of sales or communication channel you can think of, such as email, chat, phone, social media, etc.
Zoho can also help you with predictive sales. It is a tool that your sales team will love because they will know the best time to contact a lead, what product they can recommend, etc.
- Sales Force Automation – you can integrate the system with SalesForce. As such, your sales team will not have to do things manually when they want to do sales forecasting.
- Canvas Design Studio – you can use Canva, a software program where you can design banners and even videos. Canva is also one of the best alternatives to photo management software programs.
- Process Management – this system is what you use to create processes like signing off on approvals, assigning tasks, reviewing escalations or tickets, etc.
- Omnichannel – you can integrate the system with social media, web, chat, and even telephones. You can provide customer service in many ways.
- Reports and Analytics – get deep dives or deep analytics from your data. You can figure out what your top drivers are and then make decisions from them.
- There is an integration option with other software programs
- You can enable sales as part of your business processes
- There is a customer and contact management system
- You can customize the software
- Standard – $20 per month; get the basic features.
- Professional – $35 per month; get access to web-case forms, inventory management, and email insights.
- Enterprise – $50 per month; have at least 30 fields for your scoring module.
- Ultimate – $65 per month; get all the features of the tool.
All plans of Zoho CRM are available for a free trial.
Best for people who will eventually expand their business and need other specialized areas of a CRM.
Pricing: HubSpot CRM is a free customer relationship management program. It also has paid plans.
Unique Feature: Complete all-in-one CRM solution for sales, CMS, and customer service.
HubSpot is a popular CRM software that can help you manage not only customer data but also create a sales process for your sales reps.
Here are the things HubSpot CRM can do:
- Create a meeting and scheduling process
- Automate sales pipeline management
- Organize the sale process
- Create playbooks
- Score your leads
- Analyze data
With this software program, you can do everything that you need for your company. The only gripe I have is that the CRM systems are isolated from each other.
What this means is that if you get the Sales Hub, you only pay for that, and you cannot use the marketing hub.
As far as the sales pipeline goes, HubSpot has a complete suite of everything you could possibly need to manage your sales from start to finish.
- Marketing Hub – this feature is what you use to create your marketing programs. For example, you can create a series of emails that the system will send automatically.
- Sales Hub – it is the main CRM of the tool for driving sales. You can charge in multiple currencies, create product descriptions, etc.
- Service Hub – it is a customer service software where you can keep customer data. Your customer service representative can save notes and also answer customer inquiries from here.
- CMS Hub – build a website and use the program as your content management system. There is no need to use WordPress anymore.
- Operations Hub – it is the program that allows you to manage your employees. Here, you can assign tasks, keep the team updated, and align them all to achieve a common goal.
While HubSpot is an excellent software program, it can be a little intimidating to use. In addition to this, each has a different price point, so you must choose what type of CRM you really want to use.
- There is a free plan
- Live chat is an option for customer service
- The customer relationship management CRM is easy to use
- Integration with other programs to improve the efficiency of marketing campaigns
- Conversation routing is possible
There is no single price matrix for the HubSpot CRM. Small businesses can use the sales CRM for free, but the features have limitations. Depending on the type of service you want, the price range is between $50 and $1,200 per month.
Best for people who have active sales teams.
Pricing: Available in four types of plans.
Unique Feature: PipeDrive offers an affordable alternative to other sales CRM solution programs in the market.
PipeDrive is not just a customer relationship management CRM but also a strong sales tool. The focus of this CRM software program is to help you drive sales.
Here are the things it can do:
- Create sales processes
- Send emails automatically
- Answer consumer questions with a chatbot
- Integrate with 250+ software programs
PipeDrive is what I recommend to small businesses that are still in the process of growing their sales. Of course, you can also use it as a CRM for customer service, but it is best used for marketing automation, customer retention, and conversion rate improvement.
- Sales Automation – you can design how the system will interact with your customers to drive upsells. You also have the option to automate every aspect of the sales process.
- Marketing Automation – this part of the system is what allows you to make follow-ups automatically. Your sales teams no longer need to contact the customers manually.
- Sales Management CRM – with this feature, you can use the customer relationship management solution as a sales platform. Manage your leads, create web forms, chatbots—anything you can think of to drive sales.
- Chat Platform – use the built-in chat system to engage with your target customers. You can use the live chat feature or create a chatbot that answers the most common questions of your target consumers.
- Insights and Reports – with the reporting and analytics feature, you can see data from a new perspective. The reports will help you identify areas that need improvement and act on them
- Easy to use
- The system has a specific focus on sales as a CRM
- You can import data from other sales CRM solution programs
- Essential – costs $15 per month per user; get access to 24/7 support and more than 275 integrations.
- Advanced – costs $29 per month per user; you now get access to email sync, templates, and scheduling.
- Professional – costs $59 per month per user; the call tracking feature is now active.
- Enterprise – costs $99 per month per user; there is an unlimited number of user permission and visibility settings.
You can get PipeDrive now because they offer a free trial for 14 days.
Best for sales teams who want a highly focused tool for marketing automation.
Pricing: There is a free account, and you have to upgrade to get more features.
Unique Feature: It is one of the few CRM vendors that have separate but specialized tools for different business areas.
FreshWorks is an all-in-one CRM solution program. Here, you can manage customer relationships, create marketing automation systems, implement a ticketing system, and so much more.
Here are the things that it can do:
- Customer service
- IT management
- Employee database
- Employee tools
- Marketing and sales automation
- HR management
As you can see, it has everything that you can possibly need from a tool. However, I want to point out here that you will not get all of these in a single plan, even if you pay for the top tier plan.
- FreshDesk – this is the feature where your employees can assist customers with their concerns. You can also set up your website where the consumers can file tickets.
- FreshSales – it is the sales CRM tool that a sales team can use to create a sales process, automation, and increase conversion rate.
- FreshMarketer – this one is what you need to create a customer journey from start to finish. Use this CRM tool to automate your emails and send information blasts.
- FreshService – it is the CRM tool that allows you to ensure customer satisfaction. Here, you can do SLA management, create a knowledgebase, implement a self-service portal, and many more.
These features are separate CRM tools or CRM solution platforms. You need to pick one that precisely fits your needs.
Of course, you can purchase several of them, and the company will help you create a single yet integrated system for all your customer data management needs.
- There are five platforms that you can use
- Creating an account is free
- Use the platform to manage customer relationships
- The system allows for workflow automation
- Easy CRM data management
There is no single price point for Freshdesk. There are five CRM tools in the entire ecosystem, and you must choose the right CRM software for your team. You can also test these programs for free through their free trial. You can sign up for a free account, but the features will have limitations.
Best for big businesses that want a robust CRM.
Pricing: There is a free trial; all the rest are expensive.
Unique Feature: Works best for Microsoft platforms; you have a universe of tools in your hand.
No one thought Microsoft would venture into CRM tools, but here they are. However, Microsoft’s target market here is different.
Here are the things you can do with Microsoft Dynamics:
- Create a 360-degree sales process
- Establish a standard customer service channel
- Store customer data in one platform
- Manage remote and field customer service processes
- Project management
As a huge company, Microsoft also wants enterprise clients. It is why the services are costly. In addition to this, you will not get a single CRM tool.
What you need to do is decide what tools will benefit your company. Then, choose which Microsoft platform fits this business need.
- Customer Data – you can keep customer data and also create surveys to understand your consumer needs.
- Sales and Marketing – you can use the system to manage your supply chain, create guides, and even create an intelligent order management system.
- Customer Service – this is the part of the tool that allows you to provide customer service to your consumers. The CRM is broken into field service, remote assist, and live customer service programs.
- Project Management – it is the part of the system where you can work with teams, assign tasks to them, and measure the rate of accomplishment of the project.
- A big ecosystem with Microsoft
- Built for big businesses
- There are different tools for every kind of work you need
- It comes with fraud protection
- Works best with Microsoft environments like MS Office, OS, etc.
Microsoft Dynamics does not have tiered plans like most of the customer and sales CRM tools that we have here. The product is expensive, and suffice it to say that you will pay about $1,500 per tenant per month.
You can get Microsoft Dynamics for free with their free trial offer.
9. Nimble CRM
Best for people who want a simple CRM tool for a small business.
Pricing: There is only one plan.
Unique Feature: Nimble offers a clean platform that is so easy to use and understand.
Nimble is a software program that you want if you are looking for simplicity. The tool is useful for both marketing and contact management.
Here are the things it can do:
- Unify your message inboxes
- Sync calendars
- Manage your contacts
- Create custom fields
- Marketing and outreach
You can also use Nimble for your sales processes. If you want to track your team’s activities, you can do it also in the program.
- CRM Tool – you can do contact management and data enrichment with the tool. You can also track the activities of your team members.
- Customer and Lead Management – you can unify all your contacts and view data on one dashboard. You can create tasks and sync your calendars.
- Marketing and Outreach – you can do email tracking, customer segmentation, and send email blasts. There are templates in the system that allows you to create pre-made sales and marketing emails.
- Work in the Cloud – you can access the platform on a browser extension, GMAIL, and even Outlook.
- Mobile Apps – the CRM tool has a mobile app for iOS, Android, and Outlook.
- Easy to use
- The CRM has a focus on customer relationships
- It comes with a sales CRM
- You can integrate it with other email platforms
Nimble is available as a monthly plan or annual plan. The monthly plan costs $25 per month, while the annual one costs $19 per month (billed for one year). You can get Nimble for free with their free trial option.
Best for companies that need not only a CRM but also a program that tracks projects.
Pricing: You can get a free account and then upgrade to any of the four paid plans.
Unique Feature: Designed for project management, lead management, and contact management.
The Monday Sales CRM is also a project management tool, even if it is a CRM. The CRM option is already baked into the system.
Here are the things you can do with it:
- Manage sales and marketing activities
- Get leads and nurture them to become paying customers
- Onboard your customers
- Manage team tasks and projects
- Sales Pipeline – manage your sales from start to finish; add marketing automation, email blasts, and customer retention plans to your processes.
- Contact Management – add details about your contacts and then use them as a reference. Your customer service representatives can use the system as a basis for solving a customer’s issue.
- Lead Management – from lead capture to nurture to sales, all the systems you need are in one place to increase conversion.
- Customer Projects – manage the projects of your customers with ease. You can have calendars, Gantt charts, process documentation, etc.
- Easy to use
- Built for task management and customer service
- Has a lead capture feature
- You can use it to manage projects of your customers
- Basic CRM – costs $10 per seat per month; get 5GB in storage and unlimited contacts.
- Standard CRM – costs $10 per seat per month; you can manage deals and also use GMAIL and Outlook integrations.
- Pro CRM – costs $10 per seat per month; there is a sales forecasting feature, and you can now use the email automation system.
- Enterprise CRM – costs $10 per seat per month; get all the features available on the platform.
The free plan is called Individual, and it is free. There is also a free trial option for the paid plans.
A customer relationship management software program is a tool where you keep records and data about your customer. For example, it tells you what the customer bought and his account number, address, and many other things.
CRM systems are important for a company to manage their business processes. The CRM system serves as a repository of information that is accessible to any employee who has sufficient privileges.
The employees who access the software also do it to store notes. Then, the next employee can read this history and help the customer better.
CRM programs are a dime-a-dozen. Yet, it is not a new technology. To help prevent you from getting confused, I have several tips on the aspects you need to look for when deciding which CRM platform to get.
A customer relationship management software program must be flexible in the sense that you should be able to “program it” to fit your business. For example, what kind of customer information can you keep?
What if you want to add fields where the customer service representative can add more data? The ideal software must allow you to add, edit, and remove certain aspects of the tool according to your business needs.
2. Workflow Automation
Is there a way to automate the software so small businesses can save money from repetitive tasks and labor? Automation is a key aspect not just in terms of using the best email marketing programs, but also for billing and other things.
For example, let us say that you want to send an invoice to your customers every 15th of the month. This task should no longer be manual. A good CRM program should be able to do this from the backend.
Part of the sales cycle is to upsell products to a consumer who calls. If you have new products in your sales pipeline, can the agent taking to the customer make the upsell?
Sales integration is an important component of growing your company, especially for utilities and products that can be upgraded. If this is your kind of business, choose a CRM that has a sales integration capability.
How will your customer contact you? Is it via chat, email, or phone call? The CRM system must be able to handle all of these communication channels.
How does this work? Let us say that a customer filed a technical ticket from his app (your company app). Once the customer service representative opens this ticket, the CRM must immediately show the account details of the customer.
In addition to this, the agent must have an automatic way of sending his email response or chat response to the customer without having to look for his contact information.
Where do you want the CRM software servers to stay?
- Do you want them to be in your office, accessible only by your IT team?
- Or perhaps you want it to be in the cloud, with backup systems running automatically every hour?
It is your decision.
The advantage of an in-house CRM is the guarantee that all your data are private. However, if the system is down, you have to fix the issue yourself.
For cloud-based CRM programs, you do not have to worry about backups and making sure that the servers are running. However, you may not know where exactly these servers are. It is also possible that the company can get hacked.
Is the server reliable? When do the servers go through maintenance, and do the companies upgrade the security systems? You must look for a CRM provider who can guarantee an uptime of more than 99%.
Capacity is also an issue. What if you have one million customers? Can the CRM sustain the same level of service? You might think that this only applies to enterprise accounts, but no.
You would be surprised that many CRM systems limit the number of customer data points you can store. So, before committing to a software program, know its capacity.
The best CRM software program is one that you can customize. What it means is that if you want to move a certain area to the left, top, or right, the developers should be able to do it.
Customization also includes branding. Surely, you do not want your employees to see that you are using outsourced software.
In addition to this, you must be able to receive training from the software developer. Ideally, they should have videos at the ready. You can use these videos to teach your employees how to use the software.
Finally, the software must be easy to use. If not, your employees will have a hard time serving your customers. They will spend so much time tinkering with the system.
In this day and age where many companies make apps, ease of use has become a basic expectation, not a bonus. The CRM must not be crammed with information. It must be clean, and there have to be lots of white spaces, so it is easy to the eye.
1. What does a CRM system do?
A CRM system is a software program that stores customer data and other important things. With a CRM solutions software program, a customer service agent can also type notes about his interaction with a customer. Modern machines can also be integrated with a helpdesk system.
2. What are some examples of CRM software?
When you call your internet service provider, the person taking your call is looking at a CRM software program. The same thing goes if you call your utility company or bank. The CRM program tells the agent your account name, number, kind of paid plan, credit card balance, previous concern, etc.
3. Should I consider a free CRM?
If you are a small business, then you certainly need to consider a free CRM solutions software program. It is better to use this kind of program than Microsoft Excel or any kind of spreadsheet.
4. What other tools integrate with CRM software?
You can integrate many tools with the best CRM software, such as email responders, financial software programs, a sales CRM, a customer satisfaction survey program, and many more.
SalesForce is a powerful tool that big companies use, and yet they have systems in place for small businesses. The CRM software is excellent for lead management, pipeline management, and sales.
On the other hand, Bitrix24 is completely free, and you have so many rooms to expand the features you have once you are ready to upgrade.
Overall, get the Bitrix24 platform if you want a free customer relation management software program then upgrade later or migrate to Salesforce once your business has grown.