You’ve taken your time to build the best product possible, and now can’t wait for your customers to buy and use it.
Ask any entrepreneur who has been in business long enough, and they’ll intimate to you that the key to your success is not simply hidden in producing an array of quality products. It also has a lot to do with how you handle customers, including how you interact with them, how you manage your pipelines, and how much you understand them.
To better handle your customers, every small business needs a good CRM process and software.
If you can invest in the best CRM software for small business, you can successfully take this burden off your shoulders. The result: high customer satisfaction levels you could only have dreamed about, had you dismissed the idea of using a CRM software.
Technological advances of the last few decades have had a great impact on CRM bringing about new CRM software 2019 programs that, among other things, are customizable, and scalable.
Most of these CRMs that have made it in our list of the best CRM software for small business in 2019 have outstanding analytical capabilities, power prediction engines, and are highly automated.
Choosing the best CRM software for small business is never easy. With dozens of software in the market, it can be hard to figure out what you should know and the factors you should consider when choosing a CRM software for your small business.
Given all that is at stake in choosing the best CRM software, we have compiled a list of ten best CRM for small business 2019, so that the decision you make will accelerate your small business in ways you never thought possible.
Table of Contents
- Before Choosing Software
- Criteria used to rank the different software programs
- Benefits of using CRM software
- The 10 sales software for small businesses in 2019
- Subscribe to Our SoftwareWise Blog
Before Choosing Software
The following are questions that can guide you in choosing the best CRM software for small business:
1. What are your requirements?
From the onset, you must define your requirements. These include:
The kind or integrations that you need – for instance, if you are not looking to have an all-in-one sales and marketing system, a solution like Salesforce – which is quite pricey – might be unnecessary.
The features you need from a CRM – for a business in its very initial stages of operations, you may not have as many leads to justify needing features like sales automation or predictive lead scoring. You can very much handle these manually.
2. Do you want on-premise or cloud-based solution?
Choosing on-premise CRM means that you will need a server at your workplace on which you will house this software while using Cloud-based CRM only gives you access to the CRM software environment on the web, but it will be hosted by the company that makes it. For most entrepreneurs, a cloud-based solution is the best CRM software for small business, but that in no way takes away from the merits of an on-premise sales software.
Pros of on-premise CRM
- More flexibility – With their wide customization capabilities, on-premise CRMs allow companies to tailor the interfaces, features, etc. in ways that perfectly supports the needs of their enterprises.
- Greater control – On-premise CRM does not hand over any control to a third party because all its components are housed within its premises.
- Tighter security – For security reasons, some business executives are uncomfortable with handing over its systems to third parties which increases the chances highly confidential customer information leaking to unauthorized parties.
The cons of on-premise CRM
- Higher upfront costs – The initial costs associated with putting up on-premise CRM systems is usually significantly higher than those of cloud-based CRMs. These include licenses as well as hardware and software support.
- Takes longer to get a return on investment – The initial costs of an on-premise deployment mean that it takes a business longer to outset the costs and deliver an ROI.
- Unending maintenance tasks and costs – Without a service provider to take over the administration and maintenance of the system, the small business or startup has to do all the heavy lifting, including incurring the costs associated with maintaining the entire system, both hardware and software. For small businesses with often limited resources, the strain can be enormous.
The pros of cloud-based CRM
- Fast implementation – With no complex process of installation to go through, cloud-based CRMs are essentially hassle-free. You are set up in no time with little or no technical expertise.
- Low initial investment – Unlike on-premise CRMs, the cloud-based ones have low initial investment demands, whether its paying for software, servers, or hardware. What’s more, there are no maintenance costs involved.
- Always up-to-date software – Cloud-based CRM software does not require the user to update it, Instead, the service provider ensures that the systems stays up to date.
- Seamless access – Cloud-based CRMs give users round the clock access regardless of their location, keeping them connected to their business’ database even on the go, collaborating with the rest of the people in the organization.
The cons of cloud-based CRM
- Data is not hosted on your server – With cloud-based CRMs, all your business data, including sensitive and confidential customer data is hosted on the servers of your service provider. This can be unsettling to many business leaders.
- Can be expensive over time – while cloud-based hosting allows users to immediately get access to the system with little initial investment, the costs over time are often higher than those of on-premise CRM solutions.
- Less flexibility on features – Most CRM vendors price their CRM solutions based on the features they will give you access to. With premium features and an increased number of them costing more, many startups and mall businesses end up working with notable feature restrictions based on what they can afford.
- Possible downtime – It is not unusual to find your business with no access to your system because the service provider’s systems are experiencing downtime. What’s more, your access to the system can be hindered or limited as a result of a slow internet connection.
3. What do you need the system to do for you?
Sit down and come up with a set of requirements that whichever software you choose must deliver.
For most small businesses, the best CRM software for small business:
- Must include contact management
- Must have the capacity to track your business sales pipeline
- Must enhance your efforts in customer support and service
4. Who will use the system?
To answer this question, you must figure out how many people will need access to the CRM software and the various permissions they will require.
For instance, if your team is full of engineers, then it is preferable that you go for a CRM with complex features. However, for a team of people not so tech savvy, a simpler CRM would be the better solution.
5. Which provider should you choose?
When choosing the perfect provider of the best CRM software for small business, consider their track record when it comes to helping SMEs grow, as well as how easy it is to use their CRM software.
Read more about How to Choose Right Software for Business here.
Criteria used to rank the different software programs
Before we reveal our 10 best CRM software for small business, it is important to discuss the criteria we used to rank them.
On a basic level, a CRM software is supposed to help business enterprises manage contacts and help track trading activities that result in conversions.
However, most of today’s best CRM software for small business do so much more; they have added features like process automation, system integration, and analytics.
But given that these features also significantly increase the cost of sales software for startups and small businesses, it is important for a small business to be deliberate in its search for the best CRM software for small business that gives it value for its money.
In our list, we used the following criteria:
- Price – we checked each program’s per-user monthly fee against others as well as other additional costs for add-ons, etc.
- Workflow automation – We considered the methodology of each tool’s sales process and follow-up tasks
- Business opportunity and trade deal management – We considered each program’s ability to track business deals until conversion.
- Contact management – Our focus here was comparing how easy and straightforward it is to search, create, or edit contacts. We also looked into how each of these best CRM software for small business worked with phone calls, email, etc.
- Reporting tools – We looked into what data each tool avails to sales managers to help them better monitor their sales pipelines and teams,
- Customization – We analyzed how each tool handles customizations, including sales processes, opportunity fields, and contact fields.
- Customer satisfaction – We analyzed tons of product customer reviews online to come up with a list of ten that, for the most part, customers agree on.
Benefits of using CRM software
- Better client relationships – Makes clients feel like you genuinely care about them.
- Automation of everyday tasks – the best CRM software for small business take the burden of repetitive tasks off your employees’ shoulders by automating them.
- Improved efficiency in serving clients – Gives you more insights into your clients, allowing you to find more effective ways to serve them.
- Improved ability to cross-sell – Helps you to better understand the needs of your customers so that you can provide other complementary solutions.
- Cost savings – Over time, using the best CRM software for small business goes a long way in helping small businesses reduce their costs.
- Less client attrition – Reduces the risk of attrition significantly by reducing the number of people within your organization that are involved in your business-to-client relationship.
- Increased team collaboration – Business teams and departments that use the best CRM software for small business collaborate better than those that don’t.
- Greater staff satisfaction – By giving your employees greater insights into your company’s customers, these tools help them better satisfy their needs and solve their problems.
- Increased revenue and profitability – the best CRM software for small business has been found to improve productivity while reducing sales cycles, ultimately increasing profitability.
- Improved analytical data and reporting – By storing information in one database, CRM programs help small businesses to improve their ability to analyze data for better decision making.
The 10 sales software for small businesses in 2019
We have listed Zoho CRM as our very first CRM in this list of the 10 best CRM software for small business in 2019 because it is a forward-looking solution that gives the businesses and teams that use it incredible leverage. It is intuitive and robust, yet also quite inexpensive.
The software allows businesses to bring all the conversations between their salesforce and their customers in one place. This makes it easy for a business to extract even more leverage and take advantage of emerging opportunities in these conversations.
What’s more, one big difference between Zoho and other CRMs is the fact that it allows companies to create an array of personalized actions and fields.
Moreover, with Zoho, you can organize groups of customers for easier tracking. This makes it a perfect option for a small business looking for a flexible CRM solution.
Furthermore, Zoho CRM offers a wide range of integrated apps, including Desk, SalesIQ, and Analytics. Consider signing up for Zoho One. It is the provider’s bundle with all these apps. Using this bundle will eliminate the need for you spending extra to get these solutions from other companies.
2. HubSpot CRM
HubSpot is an excellent CRM for a small business that wants to enter into this space.
With its free CRM package, small businesses that are just getting started could try out its solution to familiarize themselves with using CRM systems. HubSpot CRM also makes it easy to upgrade to its paid plans. However, its paid plans are quite expensive.
The completely free version of HubSpot CRM is quite popular with small businesses and includes practically all the basic features you may expect from a CRM software; you can keep track of your business activities, including company profiles, contacts, assigning deals and tracking them, as well as managing all the data in a quite detailed dashboard.
As far as free but still the best CRM software for small business go, HubSpot occupies the very top spot. It delivers all the basic features of a CRM in a customizable, centralized database and is flexible enough to serve individuals, as well as B2C and B2B businesses, from an array of industries.
HubSpot also affords its users the ability to integrate popular apps like Microsoft Dynamics, Shopify, and Salesforce.
The big difference between its paid versions and its free one is the fact that while you still get access to reporting dashboards, the reports in the free version are pretty basic. To get customized, detailed reports, you will need to upgrade.
HubSpot is also featured as one of the best email Marketing Software for Small Businesses
Insightly is a simple CRM for small business. This online project management and CRM solution makes it to this list of the best CRM software for small business because it allows small businesses to create trust and loyalty among their customers, maximizing the opportunities to grow their business and increase revenue.
It includes an automated address book, notifications, file sharing, and flexible calendaring. Its user interface is easy to use.
In addition, Insightly has plenty of integration and customization options, and includes project management features like tracking and task management. That said, it is important to note that Insightly does not offer custom reports or dashboards.
The free version of Insightly CRM allows access to two users. Some of the functionalities they can access include task, project management, contact records, and opportunity. Others include voice notes and relationship tracking.
The functionalities that you would not get access to using the free version include calendar syncing, business card scanner, and lead assignment.
Therefore, the free Insightly CRM plan is best suited for teams of two or solopreneurs. Users who have no problem using a different CRM to manage their appointment calendar, or those who would be willing to enter their customers’ contact details manually can also consider the free plan.
If your small business has big ambitions, then Pipedrive is likely the perfect fit.
Pipedrive is today one of the fastest-growing privately-owned companies in the United States and without question, the fastest-growing CRM provider. It already has over 50,000 SMBs as customers, it is not surprising that we have included it in our list of this years’ 10 best CRM software for small business.
By design, Pipedrive CRM offers you the ability to organize your sales, control your sales activities, and plan ahead, so that you can stay focused only on the actions that matter.
This CRM system provides you with a full overview of your sales pipeline, allowing you to monitor deals at every stage of the sales process. This will help you focus on the right deals and activities so that you can decide the deals your business should prioritize.
With Pipedrive, everything can be customized: from custom products to contacts, and pipeline stages. The platform includes flexible lead processes, letting you capture leads from an array of sources, then sort them out in whichever ways you choose. Pipedrive is optimized for mobile devices and integrates well with any software architecture.
Due to its efficiency in sales-focused environments, it is a favorite among salespeople; it helps them predict whether certain potential deals require additional actions so that they can be closed. This streamlines the process of prioritizing tasks by addressing the most urgent ones first.
Salesforce CRM is an all-in-one CRM platform, and among the very best CRM software for small business as well as big companies and multinationals.
It, among other things, provides businesses with contact management, lead generation, sales forecasting and seamless integration with various apps and tools. This provides a notably seamless experience for users.
Salesforce creates a database for the various types of customer communications based on the data it collects both with the presales and post-sales customer interactions. For small businesses, Salesforce has a bundle it calls Lightning Essentials. Among its features is advanced contact management, including follow-up reminders, and email integration.
Users also get access to dashboards and reports, allowing them to easily keep track of every activity and monitor key metrics. That said, the Salesforce CRM platform is quite sophisticated and learning to make the most of its many features takes time.
The good news is that it does have a community forum where users share their experiences and knowledge, helping each other learn how to use the platform.
SugarCRM has become quite popular among small businesses. It allows users to hyper-personalize their interactions with the customers, which in turn helps the business improve the quality of its offerings and increase consumer loyalty.
Its integrated sales, support, and marketing activities contribute immensely to positive outcomes for customers, and by extension, the business.
The platforms’ reporting features are pretty impressive: they are customizable, they offer many sales tools you can use and are extremely in-depth. The SugarCRM open source project was ended in 2018, but the provider still offers a free 7-day trial.
This software’s customer support team is extremely responsive, and its updates are released now and then. No wonder many customer reviews of this CRM would seem to agree that Sugar CRM is one of the best CRM software for small business in 2019.
Sugar CRM establishes sales forecasts and qualifies prospects. Its most prominent features include marketing campaigns, sales force automation, statistical tools, collaborative tools, and customer service.
The program’s integrated sales, marketing, and support functionalities result in better customer experiences, ultimately leading to better business outcomes.
For tech-savvy entrepreneurs, SugarCRM rich features and developer-centric focus make it an attractive proposition. The CRM can be customized and offers incredible learning resources, perhaps more than most cloud-based CRM software programs.
Freshsales CRM is particularly an excellent choice for lead capture and qualifying, as well as event tracking.
When you want to be at the top of things dealing with thousands of leads, Freshsales seems like a decent option. It is a contact management hub with a simple and easy-to-use user interface, yet it also has robust features that will help you streamline various aspects of your sales process.
Perhaps its biggest advantage over other CRMs, including the others we have listed here in this list of the best CRM software for small business, is its ability to depict the source of business leads. Indeed, its lead capture capabilities are also noteworthy.
That said, it is capable of doing so much more, including distributing, nurturing, diving, scoring, and verifying leads using several communication channels.
Moreover, users get some advanced features like call recording, affiliate management, call routing, and auto-dialers. It offers all these while remaining flexible and affordable. In addition, many entrepreneurs are bound to love Freshsales’ revenue analytics feature that will allow them to pull out practically all metrics and relevant sources and collate them into reports.
8. Agile CRM
At number eight in this list of the best CRM software for small business is Agile CRM.
This CRM is an all-in-one sales, support, and marketing CRM software, particularly attractive to small businesses. It offers a good number of premium CRM software features yet is quite affordable. These features include reports via email, drag-and-drop automation, and custom appointments.
Agile CRM’s elaborate list of features fits perfectly with practically any business from any industry. One of the fancier functionalities included with Agile CRM is one that allows users to gamify their sales process. This is aimed at invoking a competitive inclination among team members and, hopefully, end up achieving more for the business.
This program supports a number of widgets and to somewhat seamlessly integrates with many apps. Users who use this platform also get access to many plugins. Agile CRM has a free version, but its features are quite limited. The free version supports up to 10 users.
9. Sage CRM
At number nine in this list of the best CRM software for small business is Sage CRM.
Sage CRM is designed with small businesses in mind.
It empowers them by giving them a complete view of their customers’ activities. The information derived from this can be used to make better business decisions, including figuring out how to increase team productivity and coming up with a growth roadmap.
By design, Sage CRM is easy to deploy, whether on-premise or in the cloud. It also takes a short time to do complete the deployment process. Some of the typical tools you can expect to see on this platform include help desk, marketing automation, social CRM sales, mobile interface, and customer service.
Sage CRM allows users to easily create and track each campaign via its rich campaign management feature and its analysis and reports are very thorough. However, Sage CRM does not allow users to track their competition, a feature that most other CRM programs include in the automated sales process.
What’s more, this platform has notable integration restrictions. For instance, the only email integration possible is Outlook. That said, Sage CRM offers a 30-days free trial and is quite affordable.
Zendesk Sell (formerly Base) works for both B2B and B2C business enterprises.
It helps sales professionals track leads, manage sales, and engage with their customers.
Among its notable features, and perhaps a big reason why many customers would agree that it should appear in this list of the 10 best CRM software for small business this year, is its standalone sales automation module that has self-service capabilities, and integrated channel management.
With Zendesk Sell, sales teams can capture, track, and even organize leads, funneling them from various sources, including spreadsheets and websites. This tool has an excellent sales reporting feature which gives users a full view of the sales pipeline. The program includes native Windows, iOS, and Android applications. The provider offers a two-week trial period.
One of the more outstanding functionalities of this CRM is automated lead scoring. This system is designed to push prospects most likely to convert to the forefront and at the same time encourages marketing by word-of-mouth and customer satisfaction.
What’s more, the software includes several features that can help you turn your customers into your brand advocates.
Zendesk Sell has a clean interface where you can see reports and analytics. The interface is intuitive and enhances team collaboration. Its pre-built integrations support apps like Google Drive, Kustomer, HubSpot, DropBox, and MailChimp.
For entrepreneurs who want to first familiarize themselves with using CRM software and would want to do so for free or at a relatively affordable cost, they should consider HubSpot, Agile CRM, Pipedrive, or Insightly.
If you are one of those who would rather work with highly automated CRM solutions, Freshsales, Sage, Zendesk Sell, Zoho CRM, and Insightly would fit the bill.
And for those entrepreneurs who have ambitions to soon transform their small business into big corporations, Salesforce, Sage and SugarCRM are the ones you should consider.
Users who need an easy to use CRM software with a straightforward user interface, Pipedrive and HubSpot should be at the top of your list.
And in our opinion, when it comes to high flexibility, no CRM software quite comes close to Salesforce and Sugar CRM; they can adapt its features to the workflow of the business environment of any enterprise.
Using sales software solutions in today’s business environment has become a necessity. Regardless of the size of your business, CRM tools are important if you are going to make progress in sales and revenue at a relatively short time.
Given that you now have a clearer picture of the various CRM software programs, it is time for you to choose the best CRM software for small business; one that would best serve the needs of your small but growing enterprise.