Best CRM systems for small businesses

best crm systems for small businesses

By Rob Binns | Senior Writer

The six CRM software suppliers your small business needs to know about


Sometimes, it’s the smallest of businesses that come with the largest of workloads. Contact numbers, emails, spreadsheets, folders… it’s enough to make your head explode. How do you keep tabs on all the admin, while keeping all your staff on the same page?

With a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, that’s how. It’s software that’ll help automate your workflow, and get more engagement out of your customers. It also acts as a central hub for all your business’ lead, deal, pipeline, and client information, which can be accessed any time, and from anywhere in the world.

Choosing to start using a CRM is the easy part. But choosing exactly which CRM is right for your small business? Well, that’s a tad more difficult.

But that’s what we’re here for.

We’ve rounded up our top six CRM systems for small businesses. Jump straight to our table for pricing, or skip to our FAQs for all the answers to those burning CRM questions you’ve been sitting on. Or, if you’re already sold on a CRM system for your business, fill out our webform to get quotes from top suppliers.

best crm systems for small businesses

C, R, M: the building blocks of better customer relationships


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The best CRM systems for small businesses

We compared the range of CRM software on the market for UK businesses. As it turns out, the best CRM systems for small businesses are Freshsales, Zoho, Salesforce, Insightly, Copper, and Nimble.

Explore the table below to jump straight to a specific supplier, or scroll down for all six of our expert reviews.

Best forPricing from:Free trial?Free plan?Read more
salesforce logo smallScalability£2030-dayXSalesforce review
freshsales logo smallSales teams£1230-dayFreshsales review
copper crm smallGoogle integration£1514-dayXCopper review
zoho logo smallValue£1015-dayZoho review
nimble logo smallCustomer satisfaction£2314-dayXNimble review
insightly logo smallEase of use£2314-dayInsightly review

Salesforce

Best for scalability

You’ve probably seen the name pop up a lot already in your research, and with good reason, too – Salesforce’s industry-leading CRM software is used by more than 150,000 customers worldwide. But don’t let its size put you off – this CRM is as well-suited to small businesses as it is large ones.

Salesforce is a scalable, intuitive, and ambitious platform that can help take your business to the next level. And, while the pricing plans do get steep quickly, its ‘Salesforce Essentials’ plan won’t be too big a stretch on your budget.

Supplier Rating: Salesforce review

Salesforce pricing (per user, per month)

Salesforce EssentialsLightning ProfessionalLightning EnterpriseLightning Unlimited
Sales Cloud£20£60£120£240
Sales and Service CloudNot available£80£140£260

Pros:

  • Access to a huge range of integrations through the Salesforce AppExchange
  • Offers some of the most advanced sales analytics money can buy

X Cons:

  • It can be difficult to get the hang of its premium features
  • Gets expensive, fast

Freshsales

Best for sales teams

Freshsales is a small business’ dream. With a free plan and a range of low-cost, customisable pricing tiers, this CRM is the perfect way to hit the ground running. And though it’s light on hassle, it’s not light on features.

You’ll get pipeline management and thousands of daily bulk email sends, plus territory and lead assignment features, too. Better still, Freshsales’ configurable sales reporting tool makes it ideal for sales teams of all shapes and sizes. It also comes with a 30-day free trial, so what have you got to lose?  

Supplier Rating:

Freshsales pricing (per user, per month)

Sprout

BlossomGardenEstate

Forest

£0

£12 per user, per month£20 per user, per month£40 per user, per month

£65 per user, per month

Pros:

  • Quick and simple to set up
  • Integrates with Mailchimp, Zapier, Google, Freshdesk, and more

X Cons:

  • May be too simplistic for the needs of some small businesses

▶ Read more: Freshsales vs Salesforce


Copper

Best for Google integrations

Let’s face it – these days, we use Google for just about everything. So it stands to reason that your CRM needs to work seamlessly with the G Suite applications your business relies on. Thankfully, this is where Copper excels – so much so that it’s Google’s own top CRM selection.

It boasts analytics and forecasting tools, for boosting the performance of sales and marketing teams alike. Better still, Copper CRM automates all your emails, contacts, and account details – so you can wave goodbye to data entry, and say hello to closing more deals.

Supplier Rating:

Copper pricing (per user, per month)

PlusProfessional

Enterprise

Paid annually£15 ($19)£39 ($49)£94 ($119)
Paid monthly£19 ($24)£54 ($69)

£94 ($119)

Pros:

  • Intuitive and attractive interface
  • Over 12,000 customers, including heavyweights like Peugeot and Google

X Cons:

  • Heftier price tag of better plans may outprice many small businesses

Zoho

Best for value

Zoho CRM is an easy to use, easy on the eye solution for staying on top of your customer relationships. And with its free plan (and no-obligation 15-day trial), you won’t have to open your wallet to start opening some windows of opportunity.

With real-time notifications, savvy email marketing, and a classy LiveChat feature, Zoho helps you automate the boring stuff. This streamlines your workload, and frees you up to do what you do best – growing your business.

Supplier Rating: Zoho review

Zoho pricing (per user, per month)

FreeStandardProfessionalEnterpriseUltimate Edition
Paid annually£0£10£16£30

£85

Paid monthly£0£14£24£36

N/A

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Produces colourful reports for showcasing your business’ performance

X Cons:

  • Social media integration could be improved
  • Average customer support

Nimble

Best for customer satisfaction ratings

In the thorny world of the digital product reviews space, it’s difficult for a product to come out smelling of roses – but Nimble’s CRM does just that. It’s highly rated by its customers across all the big online review sites, and it’s not hard to see why – transparent pricing, low fees, and more than 100 app integrations make Nimble a sharp selection for small businesses. However, its interface and capabilities may be too simplistic for businesses looking for a more advanced CRM system.

Supplier Rating:

Nimble pricing (per user, per month)

Paid annually£15 ($19)
Paid monthly£20 ($25)

Pros:

  • Built to work seamlessly with Office 365 and G Suite
  • Simple deal pipeline offers instant and actionable insights

X Cons:

  • Prices only available in US dollars

Insightly

Best for ease of use

If you like the colour orange, you’ll probably love Insightly CRM. As well as being brightly rendered, it also boasts one of the most attractive interfaces you’ll find on the market.

Insightly displays all your business’ contact, lead, and pipeline info in vibrant, clear dashboards. And even if you’re not partial to a bit of colour, you’ll love being able to easily export your data.

Impress stakeholders and power perfect presentations with graphs and charts that tell a story. What’s more, you can do all this from anywhere, thanks to Insightly’s award-winning apps for your smartphone or tablet. Convenient!

Supplier Rating: Insightly review

Insightly pricing (per user, per month)

Free

Plus

Professional

Enterprise

£0

£23 ($28)

£39 ($49)

£78 ($99)

Pros:

  • Friendly customer service
  • Excellent onboarding, with simple guidelines and loads of resources to get you started

X Cons:

  • Lacks the in-depth analytics features offered by other CRM suppliers
Receive quotes from top CRM suppliers for small businesses Start now

Next steps

So, what’ll it be? The tried-and-tested approach of a CRM heavyweight such as Salesforce, or more of a cheap-and-cheerful solution like Insightly or Nimble?

Perhaps you’d prefer not to pay for CRM software at all, and want to plump for a free plan from Freshsales, or Zoho. The world is your oyster.

But if you’re still not sure which one of these shiny CRM pearls is the best fit for your business, then let us help. Just take a minute to fill out our free quote-finding webform, and we’ll match you with top CRM suppliers who’ll be able to provide you with tailored quotes.

It’s quick, easy, and who knows? It could be the best decision your small business makes this year.


FAQs

What does CRM software do for a business?

Feeling clued up on the suppliers, but still not sure what a CRM system can do for you? Read on…

Contact management

For most businesses, making lasting connections with customers is high up on their list of priorities. But it’s not always easy – unless you have a CRM system, that is. Contact management helps you capture key contact information, and store notes on interactions to follow up later.

You’ll know exactly which members of your team are dealing with which customers, too, so there’s no treading on toes – and no deals slipping through your fingers.

 Sales management

Managing a sales team (and their egos) can be complicated, but CRM makes it easier. Sales management helps you keep track of team member activities – who’s selling the most, and why? A CRM helps you draw on analytics from day-to-day business, and – crucially – use these to drive better, more motivated teams.

Customer service management

All businesses, at some stage, will have to deal with complaints. But do you have a system set up for handling them? If not, CRM can help. Customer service management lets you log customer issues, and take deep dives into any recurring problems.

Marketing and social media automation

But by now, you’re asking – what’s the point of having all that data, if you’re not going to use it? Well, don’t worry – with a CRM system, you can. CRM software lets you craft and deliver targeted bulk email marketing campaigns to your database.

Good CRM systems also work with social media. Save time by automating posts to your followers, and keep them engaged with relevant curated content. You can also integrate CRM software with social listening tools, allowing you to (quite literally) tap into what people online are saying about your brand and industry.

I need CRM software tailored to my industry. Can you help?

Absolutely. Plenty of CRM systems come with solutions tailored to specific industries – you just have to know where to look for them. Whether you run an accounting firm, a hedge fund, a law firm, or even an airline, there’s CRM software out there for you.

And as a reminder, if you want to compare complimentary quotes from top suppliers, just fill out our form – you know where to find it.

Rob Binns Expert Market
Rob Binns Senior Writer

Rob writes mainly about the payments industry, but also brings industry-specific knowledge of CRM software, social media monitoring, and invoice finance. When not exasperating his editor with bad puns, he can be found relaxing in a sunny corner, with a beer and a battered copy of Dostoevsky.

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