The 9 Best CRM Systems for Small Businesses in 2022

best crm systems for small businesses

The 9 Best CRM Systems for Small Businesses in 2022

According to our experts’ research, the best CRM for small businesses is Freshworks CRM.

Joining this industry heavweight at the summit of small business CRM excellence are:

  • monday.com: Best for managing projects and teams
  • Pipedrive: Best for organisation
  • HubSpot: Best for market automation
  • Salesforce: Best for analytics
  • Zendesk: Lowest starting price
  • Zoho: Best value for money
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365: Best for data management
  • SugarCRM: Best for integrations

These platforms can be seen summed up in this table:

Swipe right to see more
0 out of 0

Zoho

Microsoft Dynamics 365

SugarCRM

Best for

User-friendliness

Best for

Managing big projects

Best for

Enjoyable user experience

Best for

Marketing automation

Best for

Analytics

Best for

Customer service automation

Best for

Value for money

Best for

Data management

Best for

Range of integrations

Price Range

£12-£55 per month

Price Range

£21-£42 per month

Price Range

£14.90-£79.90 per month

Price Range

£38-£2,624 per month

Price Range

£20-£240 per month

Price Range

£15-£79 per month

Price Range

£12-£42 per month

Price Range

£52-£159

Price Range

£64-[bespoke] per month


1. Freshworks CRM

Most user-friendly CRM for small businesses. Great for solopreneurs. Best customer support. Free plan.

Freshsales Logo
Freshsales
Pricing From £12 per user, per month
Quick overview

What’s better than a CRM system that can help maximize your profits? A CRM that’s cheap. We're talking £12 per user per month cheap. Freshsales (also known as Freshworks CRM) fits this mould – in fact, it’s our top CRM pick for sales teams, period. Here’s why.

Firstly, lead scoring. You can prioritize new opportunities by their potential value to your business, and manage contacts, deals, and accounts hassle-free – all from a customizable visual pipeline. Secondly? Integrations. Whether it’s your existing email provider, your SMS marketing tool, or over 100 of the apps your small business uses every day, Freshworks CRM has you covered. Thirdly? 24/5 email, chat, and phone support, included with all plans. Need we say more?

Strengths

Works with ‘Freshcaller’, Freshsales' own integrated VoIP telephony product

Connects to over 100 third-party business apps

Lead management and scoring both available with Freshsales' cheapest CRM version

Weaknesses

Bulk email marketing not available with Freshsales' Sales Cloud – you'll have to opt for its Marketing Cloud plan, instead

Freshworks CRM interface

Freshworks Pricing

FunctionStarting priceHighest price
Freshsales£12 per user, per month (free version available)£55 per user, per month
Freshmarketing£15 per month£79 per month
‘Customer for Life’*£25 per user, per month£99 per user, per month
Customer support: Live chat (24/5), phone (24/5), email, knowledge centre
Data storage limit: 1GB to 100GB per user, dependent on plan. No data storage available with Freshworks’ free plan.
Contact limit: 1,000 to 25,000 (dependent on plan)
Integrations: Freshworks CRM has several key native integrations – including with all of its own products, naturally!

*The ‘Customer for Life Cloud’ plan encompasses Freshworks CRM's core sales and marketing functionalities, and packages those up with key chat and telephony features. 

A separate product, ‘Freshdesk’, caters specifically to the CRM needs of customer service teams.

Freshworks Features

As one of the best CRM platforms out there, you can bet Freshworks comes packed with some handy features. Here are some of our standout favourites:

  • Automating sales sequences: You'll be able to get more sales processed and completed as the more mundane parts of tasks are performed automatically
  • Custom fields: These allow you to gather more precise and specific information from your customers
  • Workflows: Workflows allow businesses to automate menial tasks and save man hours by installing triggers that occur at a specific date or time

Case study: Growth Division

We caught up with Tom Dewhurst, cofounder of small UK growth marketing agency Growth Division, to learn more about how his team uses Freshworks CRM.

Q: How easy do you find Freshworks CRM to use?

“Freshworks CRM is our go-to recommendation for small to medium-sized businesses looking to get started quickly with CRM software.

“We use it internally at Growth Division, and have led its implementation across tens of businesses over the last year. In my view, it's the best value CRM on the market, and is very easy to get started with. The naming conventions for Leads/Contacts/Deals are very straightforward, and the flow between prospects is fairly intuitive.”

Q: What feature of Freshworks CRM do you find most useful?

“I find the ‘Sales Sequences' feature most useful. This allows me to send multiple emails in a time-based sequence, to a specified contact segment.

“I use this feature to follow up with prospects at many different touch points along the customer journey. For example, when they've booked a demo, we send a series of articles and extra information. This feature is available with Freshworks CRM’s lower pricing tiers, and can be very expensive with other CRMs, such as Hubspot.”

Q: What thing about Freshworks CRM would you change?

“I would love it if Freshworks CRM improved its reporting capabilities. The ‘basic reporting' isn't very good, and you’ll need to upgrade to the ‘advanced reporting' to get any real value from this feature. Even then, reporting is reasonably tricky to set up – and the dashboards have quite a few management limitations.

“You have to make multiple reports for each slight variation of variables, which seems like a waste of time, and can cause duplications.”

Freshworks CRM for small businesses: The verdict

Affordable, straightforward, and easy on the eye, Freshworks CRM is an ideal first CRM. There’s a free forever tier, after all, and round-the-clock weekday support is on hand to walk those small business owners with less CRM experience through any teething pains.

Did You Know?

Freshconnect is a free add-on that works with Freshworks CRM’s products for both sales and marketing teams. It’s an internal communication tool that allows your staff to send instant messages to each other, without leaving the CRM software’s interface.


2. monday.com

Best for managing projects and teams. Most intuitive design. Highly affordable.

monday Logo
monday.com
Pricing From £5 per user, per month
Quick overview

monday.com is a slick, drag-and-drop-powered software for visualizing your business’ workload. monday.com is cheap – so cheap, in fact, that we couldn’t find anything that does as much for the same price. monday.com starts at just £5 per user, per month. For that, you’ll get three users and unlimited viewers, plus a system that’s cloud-based, and fully compatible with iOS and Android.

Strengths

Its colorful, intuitive drag-and-drop project management timelines make monday.com easy to use…

...and an absolute pleasure to look at!

Comes with 5GB of file storage

Weaknesses

Zoom integration is only available with monday.com’s ‘Standard’ plan (£9 per user, per month)

monday.com Pricing

FunctionStarting priceHighest price
All£21 per month, for three users£42 per month, for three users
Customer support: Phone, email, knowledge centre
Data storage limit: 5GB to unlimited (dependent on plan)
Contact limit: N/A
Integrations: monday.com integrates with a wide range of email service providers, plus applications that support collaboration, communication, conference calls, event management, and data collection.

monday.com Features

monday.com comes full of features that can benefit any team or business. Some highlights include:

Sales forecasting: monday can use existing sales data to accurately predict how your business will perform in the future

Data importing: If you've been using a spreadsheet or other system to manage your CRM needs, you'll be able to bring that over to monday.com with little fuss

Email tracking: You'll be able to see whether your email has been opened, read, or replied to, which can help you respond appropriately

Case study: Imaginaire Digital

We chatted to Seb Dean, director of small Nottingham-based marketing outfit Imaginaire Digital, to learn more about how his crew uses monday.com.

Q: How easy do you find monday.com to use?

“monday.com’s interface is very visually stimulating, so if you're someone that learns and works best with this kind of tool, it's perfect for you.

“The integrations that monday.com offers are useful, too – being able to connect to the likes of Slack, MailChimp, and GitHub gives us a nice level of flexibility to work with.”

Q: What feature of monday.com do you find most useful?

“One of my favourite features of monday.com is the timeline column (pictured). I benefit from this a great deal, by being able to quickly view the deadlines of each job, without having to dig into the task itself.

monday.com interface

“I'm then able to plan my time more efficiently and, if I need to, jump in and edit the timeline with ease. Having that visual side really helps, because I'm able to gauge how much progress has been made, and develop a better understanding of what’s left to achieve.”

Q: What thing about monday.com would you change?

“I think that the basic plan is missing a few important components that monday.com's project management competitors offer in their paid packages. While I understand why monday.com [limits the features of lower-cost pricing tiers], I think that having a bit more functionality in its basic plan would make it a better platform.”

monday.com for small businesses: The verdict

If you’re looking for a tool to stay on top of projects, collaborate seamlessly with your team remotely, and better manage workflows and processes, monday.com is for you. It’s easy to get the hang of and use, too, and its price point makes it an alluring proposition for smaller teams and sole traders.

Bear in mind, though, that it won’t bear phone integration, or the elaborate tracking and analytical tools that CRM offers.

3. Pipedrive

Best for organization features. Great for integrations, security, and contact management. Great usability

Pipedrive logo
Pipedrive
Pricing From £14.90 per month
Quick overview

Pipedrive is a new face on the CRM scene, but that doesn't mean they should be disregarded. In fact, they're one of the stronger CRM platforms on offer, bring highly streamlined and usable, having loads of integrations, and having the best organizational functionalities of any platform we've looked at.

Likely inspiring its name, PipeDrive's signature aspect is its pipeline builder. It's an easy (or even fun) to use drag-and-drop system that allows you to automate workflows and pipelines to be as efficient as possible.

Pipedrive is available at four different pricing tiers. You can start with its ‘Essential’ plan ($14.90 per user, per month), although it’s fairly sparse when it comes to features. We recommend springing for at least Pipedrive’s ‘Advanced’ plan ($24.90 per user, per month), to benefit from its excellent email marketing and sales automation capabilities.

Strengths

Fairly affordable

High-quality chatbot

High quality organisation tools

Weaknesses

No free tier

Support isn't reviewed particularly well

Pipedrive Pricing

FunctionStarting priceHighest price
Sales/Marketing/Service£14.90 per user, per month£79.90 per user, per month
Customer support: 24 hour live chat, email, knowledge centre
Contact limit: Unlimited on all plans
Integrations: Pipedrive works with a wide range of platforms, as well as integrating with custom third-party apps.

Pipedrive Features

Pipedrive is a great choice for anyone looking for a CRM platform. As for specific standout features, here are a couple:

Workflow builder: Automate entire workflows, allowing you to save time for other tasks

Email tracking: See which customers engaged with which emails, allowing you to optimise your communication

Revenue projections: See where your business is headed through projections based on your current statistics

Pipedrive for small businesses: The verdict

Pipedrive makes it a point to compare themselves to each and every one of their competitors on their site, and for good reason! They offer a great package that can rival any of their competitors, being extremely affordable, very usable, and coming with some great organization tools.

4. HubSpot

Best small business CRM for marketing automation. Ideal for creating and executing email campaigns. Free plan.

HubSpot Logo
HubSpot
Pricing From £38 per user, per month
Quick overview

What makes a free CRM plan generous, do you think? Is it unlimited users? Features for boosting your sales, marketing, and customer service automation efforts, perhaps? Or is it being able to store up to one million contacts? Whatever your definition of the perfect cheap CRM looks like, HubSpot is close to it. And yes, while it is one of the more expensive CRMs to upgrade, the fact is that you may not even need to – especially because HubSpot works so seamlessly with G Suite, Outlook, and most of the tools your team already uses every day.

As with most free and cheap CRM software, though, there is a catch. If you use HubSpot’s free CRM product in conjunction with its Marketing Hub, any contacts you add to the free version will automatically end up in the database of your paid marketing tool. Unsurprisingly, this can lead to costs quickly ballooning (HubSpot charges you for extra contacts – go figure!), so it’s worth making a mental note of.

Strengths

Sports a stunning interface, and even more immaculate UX (user experience)

Powered by drag-and-drop functionality

Its free plan includes strong list segmentation and email marketing capabilities

Live chat and conversational bots included

Weaknesses

When you want to upgrade from HubSpot’s cheapest CRM plans, things get expensive – fast!

HubSpot Pricing

FunctionStarting priceHighest price
Sales/Service£33.60 per user, per month (free version available)£990 per user, per month (minimum of 10 users required)
Marketing£33.60 per user, per month£2,624 per month (for up to 10,000 contacts)
Customer support: Live chat, phone, email, knowledge centre
Data storage limit: 1,000 documents to no limit (dependent on plan)
Contact limit: Most HubSpot products have no limits, though its marketing offering restricts you to between 1,000 and 10,000 contacts (dependent on plan)
Integrations: HubSpot integrates with over 300 applications via the HubSpot App Marketplace.
Is your business a startup? You might be eligible for 90% off, with HubSpot’s ‘HubSpot for Startups’ program.

HubSpot Features

As far as features go, HubSpot isn't lacking by any means. Here are three of their most remarkable features:

Mobile app: HubSpot's mobile app allows you to use its multitude of features and tools while on the go

Analytics tools: You'll be able to analyse your sales and customer service responses to fine tune your business

Scoring: HubSpot will give contacts and companies scores, allowing you to prioritise your attention

Case study: TopLine Comms

We spoke to Luke Budka, head of digital PR and SEO at small B2B agency TopLine Comms, to learn more about how they use HubSpot.

Q: How easy do you find HubSpot to use?

“HubSpot has probably the best user interface (pictured) of any piece of small business software I’ve ever used – a grand statement I know, but they’ve really put a lot of time and effort into making it intuitive.”

HubSpot CRM interface

Q: What feature of HubSpot do you find most useful?

“The CRM ties closely together with HubSpot’s included marketing solutions: primarily its email, list-building, and workflow functionalities. It also tracks contacts if they’ve opted into your marketing cookies. This means a contact’s CRM record contains information on the pages they’ve visited on your website, the emails, CTAs and social posts they’ve engaged with, and the workflows they’re a part of.

“This is super powerful, because it means you can easily auto-enrol contacts from the CRM into workflows. For example, if a contact engages with a particular social post or a certain email – or visits a specific page on your site – then they can be auto-enrolled into a series of sales emails.

“The beauty here is in the simplicity, because it doesn’t require specialist knowledge to set up. And, if you do get stuck, the knowledge bank is excellent – as is the speed with which HubSpot’s support team responds.”

Q: What thing about HubSpot would you change?

“Inevitably something this slick doesn’t come cheap! The ‘Marketing Pro’ setup costs £7,860, and includes 1,000 contacts. If you have more than that, then you can expect them to start bumping up the price – though deals can always be done!

“HubSpot will also charge a one-off £2,450 onboarding fee. You can negate this by onboarding via a certified HubSpot partner, though.”

HubSpot for small businesses: The verdict

HubSpot’s not cheap, and we can certainly see why this CRM’s price tag will dissuade some of the more thrifty small business owners out there.

Investment here, though – which you can make from £33.60 per month, or stick with a free plan – scores you the finest marketing CRM features around… full stop!

Small business teams looking to graduate from MailChimp and engineer email marketing campaigns with more serious firepower should look no further. Likewise, if you want your small businesses to do more with data, and reach customers across new channels – social media, for instance, or via chatbots – you'll find plenty to love about HubSpot.

5. Salesforce

Best for analytics. Most comprehensive all-round CRM, with 24/7 phone support available.

Salesforce logo
Salesforce
Pricing From £20 per user per month
Quick overview

Best in class analytics, 24/7 phone-based support, and pricing that starts from £20 per user, per month? We like the sound of that. Offering thousands of app integrations, unlimited contacts, and just about every feature a small business could ask for, Salesforce is one of our top CRM selections. Be warned, though – Salesforce does come with a fairly steep learning curve, and beyond its cheapest tier, it gets expensive – and fast. We’d recommend small businesses stick to the ‘Essentials’ plan, to keep costs down!

Strengths

Its ‘Einstein Analytics’ add-on is one of the most advanced reporting tools money can buy

No contact limit

Free trial available for sales, service, and analytics modules...

Weaknesses

… but not for its marketing automation product

24/7 phone-based support is restricted to Salesforce’s more expensive pricing plans

Pricing
FunctionStarting priceHighest price
Sales/Service £20 per user per month £240 per user per month
Marketing £320 per month £1,000 per month
Analytics £60 per user per month £120 per user per month

Salesforce Pricing

FunctionStarting priceHighest price
Sales/Service£20 per user, per month£240 per user, per month
Marketing£320 per month£1,000 per month
Analytics£60 per user, per month£120 per user, per month
Customer support: Live chat, phone (24/7), email, knowledge centre
Data storage limit: 10GB + 2GB (files), 10GB + 20MB (data)
Contact limit: No limit
Integrations: Salesforce has a large app exchange (conveniently titled ‘AppExchange’), where you can connect the CRM to over 2,000 third-party applications.

Salesforce Features

Here are three of Salesforce's standout features:

Mobile app: One app allows you to access and control all of your CRM information

Sales forecasting: Data-driven predictions will allow you to see where your sales are likely headed

Automation: Basic daily tasks can be automated, allowing you to free up time for more complex goals

Case study: JellyBean

We spoke to Laura Hogan, owner of small Birmingham-based marketing agency JellyBean, to learn more about how she uses Salesforce.

Q: How easy do you find Salesforce to use?

“Salesforce has been JellyBean’s CRM resource for sales, marketing, and automation since we started.

“Salesforce at full use has been transformative to our sales and marketing functions; however, it took us several months of perseverance to understand how it can best work for our small business.

Salesforce CRM interface

“This involved taking a trial and error approach to some of its functions, and the customer service and technical support at Salesforce aren’t very responsive or helpful when issues arise.”

Q: What feature of Salesforce do you find most useful?

“We’ve found Salesforce’s most useful feature to be the level of customisation possible.

“As a small business, we like to generate regular pipeline and forecast reports that we can relay to our team, and many of the CRM systems we've tried over the years haven't been capable of generating reports that reflect our industry or our sales process.

“Salesforce’s breadth of features means that once it’s set up and honed to your needs, you can spend more time speaking to actual clients and prospects who are likely to convert. It also means you can spend less time trying to save, edit, amend, and update CRM records (which with other CRM software is really frustrating).”

Q: What thing about Salesforce would you change?

“Like all small businesses, we find Salesforce to be incredibly expensive compared to its competitors. Still, Salesforce has become a core part of our planning.

“At £60 per user per month, the cost of the CRM is significantly more than other options. However, it’s so heavily ingrained into our small business that the cost of removing and retraining staff would also be expensive.”

Piqued your interest? Read more about what the market leader can do for your small business with our Salesforce review.

Salesforce for small businesses: The verdict

The ‘catch’ with Salesforce is a simple one. The more advanced you need it to be, the more expensive it is.

However, it’s a drawback that also plays straight into the hands of small businesses. Because Salesforce starts at just £20 per user, per month, it’s not only affordable, but you can be sure that you’re not paying for any features that you don’t need. And, as your small business grows and your data, reporting, and contact management needs balloon, you can upgrade the CRM to fit the scaling dimensions of your operations accordingly.

The sparkling interface, drag-and-drop pipelines, and lack of all contact limits are just a bonus!

You’re halfway through our list of the eight best CRM systems for small businesses.

Ready to compare prices from leading CRM providers? Hit one of the buttons below to fire up our quick quote-finding form. We’ll ask a couple of questions to find out what your main priorities are in a CRM, and match you with providers that are the best fit.

Then, you’ll receive free quotes from leading providers, each tailored to your small business’ exact size and unique requirements.


6. Zendesk

Lowest starting price. Excellent customer service automation features for small businesses.

Quick overview

With robust modules for sales and customer service, Zendesk is a versatile CRM offering plenty of value for small businesses. You can get started with a monthly fee of just £5 per user, and benefit from some of the highest quality help and support we came across during our research. Zendesk’s contact management features are a breeze to use, as is calling people through their profiles (pictured). That said, Zendesk – perhaps more than any other small business CRM here – ails from freemium software’s biggest weakness; that you’ll need to upgrade to the most expensive plans to enjoy its finest features.

Strengths

Extremely low starting price

Excellent ticket management capabilities

Excellent ticket management capabilities

Weaknesses

No document storage

Doesn't provide the same level of data analysis as Salesforce and SugarCRM

Zendesk Pricing

FunctionStarting priceHighest price
Sales£15 per user, per month£79 per user, per month
Service£39 per user, per month£79 per user, per month
Customer support: Live chat, phone, email, knowledge centre
Data storage limit: For sales teams, it’s 2GB to 25GB per user, per month. For customer service teams, it’s 30MB to 200MB per agent, per month in data storage, and 500MB to 10GB per agent, per month in file storage (dependent on plan). More storage can be added at an additional cost.
Contact limit: N/A
Integrations: Zendesk’s sales and service products are supported by a range of free integrations. These enable a variety of functions and services, including live chat alerts, and the ability to connect the CRM to your social media platforms.

Zendesk Features

Zendesk comes with some very nifty CRM features! These include:

Data reports: All of Zendesk's various analytics can be compiled into reports in order to provide easy reading of important stats.

ROI calculator: Less of a feature within the platform, and more one about the platform, but Zendesk offers a calculator to help you figure out how much you could save through use of a CRM platform

*Wait… what is VoIP? 

VoIP is the name for the technology that allows small businesses to make and take calls over the internet, rather than with a conventional phone line. When CRM software has VoIP capabilities or integrations enabled, it means you can dial contacts and leads – providing their phone numbers are saved on the system – directly from within the CRM’s interface.

As you can imagine, it’s a pretty important feature!

Zendesk for small businesses: The verdict

A lack of marketing functionality hampers Zendesk’s capabilities as an ‘all in one’ CRM solution. But for sales and service teams, it has plenty to offer, and its renowned customer support will have small businesses singing.

Its service CRM solution starts at just £5 per user, per month, too – one of the lowest rates around.

7. Zoho

Best value for money. Simple to get the hang of, easy to use.

Zoho Logo
Zoho
Pricing From £12 per user, per month
Quick overview

A free plan and a free trial? Sign us up. As well as boasting one of the most user-friendly, eye-catching, and dynamic interfaces around, Zoho’s CRM is also one of the cheapest. For just $12 per user, per month, Zoho’s ‘Standard’ plan sets the standard – offering everything its free plan does, plus workflows, lead scoring, and mass email capabilities. Add in multiple pipelines and custom dashboards, and Zoho emerges as a CRM that’s equal parts style and substance.

Strengths

Zoho’s cheapest CRM plan includes email insights and sales forecasting

Custom reporting available

No contractual commitments

Weaknesses

Zoho (especially its cheapest CRM plans) may prove just a little too simplistic for the needs of some businesses

Zoho CRM interface

Zoho Pricing

FunctionStarting priceHighest price
Sales/Marketing/Service£12 per user, per month (free version available)£42 per user, per month
Customer support: Live chat, phone, email, knowledge centre
Data storage limit: 10MB to 10GB (dependent on plan)
Contact limit: No specified limit
Integrations: Zoho works with a wide range of platforms, as well as integrating with custom third-party apps.

Zoho for small businesses: The verdict

Don’t let its simple, intuitive UI fool you – there’s a lot more to Zoho than meets the eye. With myriad integrations, a variety of plans to scale with your operations, and ‘Zia’ – the software’s conversational, AI-powered assistant – Zoho ticks all the boxes a small business CRM should.

8. Microsoft Dynamics 365

Best small business CRM for data management. Great for reporting and analytics.

Microsoft Dynamics 365
Quick overview

If Freshworks is the belle of the ball, Dynamics 365 is its stately gentleman. It’s classy, complex CRM, offering more insights and number-crunching than most of its peers, but lacking user-friendliness. It’s also more expensive than a lot of the other CRM software we reviewed, though with a starting price of £52 per user, per month, it shouldn’t cause your accountant too many headaches.

Strengths

Its generous contact limits pave the way for your small business to scale

Its sales and service modules are affordable...

Weaknesses

…though we can’t say the same for its marketing automation product!

No social tracking

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Pricing

FunctionStarting priceHighest price
Sales$65 (£52) per user, per month$199 (£159) per user, per month (10 user minimum)
Marketing$1,500 (£1,192) per month for up to 10,000 contacts*Fixed price ($1,500 (£1,192) per month) for the system; extra lots of 5,000 contacts cost $250 (£199) each
Service$50 (£39) per user, per month$95 (£75) per user, per month
Customer support: Phone, email, knowledge centre
Data storage limit: 32GB, though up to 4TB of additional storage can be purchased.
Contact limit: 10,000, with additional bundles of 5,000 contacts available to buy.
Integrations: Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers plenty of integrations with third-party apps. We recommend using Zapier as the initial conduit between Dynamics and available integrations.

* Reduced to $750 (£596) if you already use another Microsoft Dynamics product, and have a minimum of 10 users

Microsoft Dynamics 365 interface

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for small businesses: The verdict

Dynamics 365 is certainly a comprehensive CRM tool. However, how much your small business gets out of it will depend largely on not only your tech-savviness, but on the amount of time and effort you’re willing to spend getting to grips with the system’s impressive breadth of features.

Those who are willing will be treated to a super scalable CRM system that offers elaborate insights into helping you understand the performance of your marketing, sales, and customer service efforts. When it comes to that, Dynamics 365 is one of the finest tools a small business can own.

9. SugarCRM

Huge range of integrations. Good for more established small businesses.

SugarCRM logo
SugarCRM
Quick overview

If you can afford the £64 per user, per month price tag (make that £1,000 if you’re in marketing!), SugarCRM offers plenty of sweet features for your small business. Plus – in terms of analytical CRM software, at least – it’s up there with Salesforce and Dynamics 365, and is sure to provide suitably granular insights into the health of your small business’ sales. That said, there’s a reason it’s lower on our list – namely, because of the steep learning curve, and because it’s only more established small businesses that’ll come close to requiring SugarCRM’s daunting breadth of features.

Strengths

Offers an integration for… well, just about any software you can think of!

Feature-wise, it’s all there

Respectable customer approval scores

Weaknesses

It’s pricey...

…and not particularly user-friendly, either

Third-party integration required to enable VoIP calling

SugarCRM interface

SugarCRM Pricing

FunctionStarting priceHighest price
Sales/Service£64 per user, per monthOn request
Marketing£1,000 per monthOn request
Customer support: Phone, email, knowledge centre
Data storage limit: 15GB to 250GB (dependent on plan)
Contact limit: 10,000 contacts
Integrations: Released in April 2020, Sugar Integrate facilitates and connects to over 200 different platforms. Sugar Integrate also offers native integrations with several other leading CRM software providers – including Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, NetSuite, and Sage – which helps if you’re switching from another CRM system, or importing data from elsewhere.

SugarCRM offers both on-premise and cloud-based CRM variants. 

As a small business, you’ll most certainly want to stick to the ease, convenience, and scalability that the cloud-based kind offers. On-premise CRM does, however, offer more scope for tech customization, and – because you’ll have fewer ongoing costs to think about – typically works out to be cheaper in the long run.

To learn more about which option is right for you – and browse top providers – explore our guide to the best cloud-based CRM software in 2022.

SugarCRM for small businesses: The verdict

SugarCRM isn’t the most affordable CRM system going – that’s why we’re recommending it only to the more established small businesses. If you’re already aware of what a CRM system can do, and are looking for a step up to something with a little more of an analytical bent, SugarCRM is a great choice for you.

Next steps

Still not sure which CRM software is right for your small business? Here’s a recap.

  • Freshworks: easy to use, easy to look at… easy to summarise!
  • monday.com: great for managing projects and motivating teams
  • Pipedrive: great for integrations, contact management, and organisation functionalities
  • HubSpot: ideal for marketing teams, with an intuitive drag-and-drop interface you’ll love.
  • Salesforce: the industry leader, and for good reason. Trust us – its advanced analytical features justify the price tag.
  • Zendesk: affordable, with a range of pricing plans made to scale with your small business.
  • Zoho: cheap and user-friendly, albeit simplistic. Its free version means it’s at least worth trying.
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365: a data-driven analytical platform available at a surprisingly reasonable price point.
  • SugarCRM: very feature-rich, but expensive.

Frequently asked questions

What does CRM software do for a small business?
CRM software can perform a bevy of services, including marketing, sales management, customer service tools, and contact management. Some even come with social media management tools, though these may cost extra.
I'm in the process of setting up my own small business. Is CRM right for me?
Of course! CRM software isn't just for more established small businesses – it's an ideal way of managing key supplier and deal information, while nurturing a growing customer base.

Plus, you can get some (albeit heavily limited) CRM systems completely free, so you won't have to worry about another overhead clogging up your expense sheet.

What is the best CRM for small companies?
Due to CRM being a multi-faceted product, different providers are “the best” in different ways. For example, the best CRM for small business marketing is HubSpot, while most user-friendly platform is Freshworks. Zoho also deserves a shout out for being the most affordable platform on the market.
Why do small businesses need CRM?
With the variety of services offered by CRM software, almost any business stands to benefit from investing in a platform. If your business relies on touchpoint with your customers to encourage sales, then CRM will almost definitely be of use.

Our Methodology

We've been writing about CRM software (among various other business softwares) for over 8 years. We've ranked software in order to help small businesses make the right choices using the systems discussed on the infographic below.

Our CRM Research Methodology UK
Duncan Lambden
Duncan Lambden Senior Writer

Duncan (BA in English Textual Studies and Game Design) is an Australian-born writer for Expert Market. His articles focus on ecommerce platforms and business software that allows small businesses to improve their efficiency or reach, with an emphasis on invoice financing and customer relations. He has written for Website Builder Expert and Tech.co, and has been featured in Forbes. In his free time, Duncan loves to deconstruct video games, which means that his loved ones are keenly concerned about the amount of time he spends looking at screens.