The 5 Best Ecommerce Platforms for Large Companies in 2021

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 26 May 2021

We’ve carried out in-depth research into the best ecommerce platforms for large companies, and the results are in…


In this chaotic COVID era, you don’t have time to search for and test different software yourself. That’s why we’ve conducted extensive research into the best ecommerce platforms for large companies, rigorously testing them and creating unique overall ratings out of five for each one.

We finalised our ratings by hand-testing each platform’s sales tools and website functions, and examining their inventory management and marketing features, paying particular attention to their multi-channel integrations. For large companies, these are the most important areas of ecommerce.

Below, you’ll find a quick overview of the five platforms that topped our research results, followed by individual reviews and real life examples of large companies using that platform.

The best ecommerce platforms for large companies:

Ecommerce platformBest forLarge business price plan Bespoke plan?Overall rating /5
BigCommerceBest for international growth£220/monthBigCommerce Enterprise4.4
ShopifyBest for inventory management£219/monthShopify Plus4.3
WixBest value for money£22/month4.2
WooCommerceBest for building a store from scratch Custom pricingAlready bespoke4.1
SquareBest for simplicity£54/month4.0

BigCommerce (4.4/5)

Best for international growth

toyota bigcommerce screenshot
Toyota – BigCommerce customer

BigCommerce review

Used by household names like Ben and Jerry’s and Toyota, BigCommerce is clearly one of the best ecommerce platforms for large companies.

In our testing, we were impressed by its seamless integration with all the main social media channels, plus Amazon and eBay, which could help your store reach enormous audiences across the globe.

BigCommerce also provides lots of SEO (search engine optimisation) guidance while you’re uploading products, so you can improve your site’s visibility on Google’s results pages. Your business can scale even further by signing up to the bespoke ‘Enterprise’ plan, with pricing based on your annual sales figures.

Don’t forget, these are all in-built features that are being continually updated, so there are no unexpected costs to worry about – unlike with Shopify, which relies on third party apps for some ecommerce functions. Another plus for BigCommerce is that, in contrast to Shopify, BigCommerce waives its own transaction fees. 

Though it dropped points due to our research participants finding it difficult to use, and restrictive in terms of design flexibility, BigCommerce’s significant advantages mean it’s still the best ecommerce platform for large companies.

Pros:

  • Offers a wider choice of in-built features than any other platform, helping your business grow without unexpected costs
  • Brilliant SEO prompts and tips when you’re adding products
  • Superb multi-channel integration, exposing your business to billions of active users worldwide

X Cons:

  • Editing interface could be much easier to navigate, and there is no ‘undo’ button for anything other than text updates
  • The only platform that doesn’t provide a mobile app to help you grow on the go
  • Relatively restrictive design control

BigCommerce pricing

BigCommerce offers a 15-day free trial period and three price plans, with the ‘Pro’ plan aimed at large companies. It also offers an ‘Enterprise’ plan for businesses earning over £300k per year, with custom pricing.

It’s worth noting that BigCommerce is the only platform that requires certain revenue brackets for your business to qualify for each plan.

PlanCost (billed annually)What you’ll getRequired revenue (past 12 months)
Pro£220/monthFilter products with colour and size variants

Dedicated SSL security

Google review on your site

0% transaction fees

£130k – £300k
EnterpriseCustom pricingPriority customer support

API support

Price lists

0% transaction fees

99.99% web hosting uptime

£300k+
BigCommerce is designed to help large companies like yours grow across the globe Start Selling on BigCommerce

Shopify (4.3/5)

Best for inventory management

heinz shopify screenshot
Heinz – Shopify customer

Shopify review

Currently supporting the websites for Heinz and The Economist, Shopify is another heavy-hitting platform.

That’s no surprise when you consider Shopify’s powerful and user-friendly inventory management features. We particularly liked how you can upload multiple products at once, generate daily revenue reports, and view all your multi-channel sales in one place.

Shopify’s multi-channel selling is excellent – enabling you to sell via Facebook, Amazon, Instagram, and more – but you will have to install additional apps to do so (in contrast to BigCommerce). You’ll also need to install an app if you want to sell subscription-based products.

While Shopify supports an impressive 100+ payment processors, making it easier for your business to make sales across the globe, you’ll need to pay transaction fees unless you use Shopify Payments (again, unlike BigCommerce). You can get even more information in our full Shopify review.

Pros:

  • Powerful and customisable inventory management features to make your company’s growth even easier
  • Offers the best sales-specific features of any platform we tested
  • Far more user-friendly than BigCommerce

X Cons:

  • Transaction fees imposed unless you use Shopify Payments (unlike BigCommerce)
  • Required to reformat your entire site should you change templates after going live
  • Costs of installing apps can quickly soar

Shopify pricing

Similar to BigCommerce, one of Shopify’s three price plans is aimed at large companies, while it also offers a bespoke plan, ‘Shopify Plus’, for businesses generating £1,500 or more per month in revenue:

PlanCost (billed annually)What you’ll get
Advanced Shopify£219/month

0.5% transaction fees (unless using Shopify Payments)

Advanced reports

Third-party calculated shipping rates

Shopify PlusCustom pricing

Support 10,000 transactions per minute

Manage up to 10 stores at once

Shopify Plus Academy training guides and customer support

Shopify has incredible inventory management tools to help your large business scale Start selling on Shopify

Wix (4.2/5)

Best value for money

logmein wix homepage
LogMeIn – Wix customer

Wix review

Ensuring the success of your large business means cutting costs where you can, which is where Wix comes in. Its value for money also makes it an excellent alternative to Shopify.

Wix is far cheaper than BigCommerce and Shopify, and provides SEO guides, intuitive design tools, and access to the Ecwid app (costing £0–£99 per month, on top of your Wix subscription, depending on the size of your store), which gives your site powerful ecommerce tools to rival the more expensive platforms – all on a £22 per month price plan, which is actually Wix’s most expensive. You can read more about its pricing in our full Wix Ecommerce review.

Like Shopify, Wix relies on third party apps for most of its multi-channel integration, which will increase your monthly costs. It’s also worth remembering that you’ll be unable to switch templates after you’ve gone live, but you are able to preview your site before publishing.

Pros:

  • Offers more creative freedom than Shopify and BigCommerce, allowing you to build and convey your brand message with ease
  • Add product videos to help improve the customer’s experience
  • More affordable than BigCommerce and Shopify

X Cons:

  • The amount of creative freedom can become a hindrance when trying to adhere to ecommerce best practice
  • Relies on apps for most of its multi-channel integration
  • Syncing your physical inventory is harder than on Shopify or BigCommerce

Wix pricing

Wix offers a 14-day free trial period and three ecommerce-specific plans. The most suitable plan for large companies is the Business VIP plan (remember you can install the ECWID app for extra ecommerce functionality):

PlanCost (billed annually)What you’ll get
Business VIP£22/month

50GB storage

Unlimited video footage hours

Priority response on Wix Answers

VIP support

Collect 3,000 customer reviews

Wix is brilliant value for money and can help your large business cut costs Start selling on Wix

WooCommerce (4.1/5)

Best for building a store from scratch

all blacks shop woocommerce screenshot
All Blacks Shop – WooCommerce customer

WooCommerce review

WooCommerce is the ecommerce plugin that turns your WordPress site into a powerful online store.  As an open-source platform, it’s free to install and you can build a totally unique website from scratch, as long as you know how to code, or hire a web developer to help you.

Unlike using website builders (that’s every other platform on this article), you’ll need to source and pay for your own web hosting (we recommend Bluehost), security, and domain name.  You’ll also need to handle all your site’s updates and maintenance, but that should be simple work for your IT department.

That said, WooCommerce is not for tech beginners, but it does offer limitless customisation, which can help you create a truly bespoke website without relying on templates.

Pros:

  • Limitless customisation, allowing you to create a truly unique online store
  • Free to install (but you’ll have recurring costs to consider like web hosting, security, and other apps)

X Cons:

  • By far the least beginner-friendly platform we tested
  • Self-hosted platform which means you’ll need to handle all the updates and maintenance yourself

WooCommerce pricing

As an open-source platform, WooCommerce offers no set price plans. It’s free to install, but you’ll need to pay for different services in order to build a successful online store:

  • Web hosting (we recommend Bluehost at £14 per month)
  • Domain name (£10 per year)
  • Security (£8 per year)
  • Themes (£0 to £100+)
  • Other plugins (£0 to £300+per year)
  • Web developer fees (£70+ per hour)
WooCommerce enables you to create a truly unique online store for your large business start selling on woocommerce

Square (4.0/5)

Best for simplicity

the salon square screenshot
The Salon – Square customer

Square review

In stark contrast to WooCommerce is Square, the all-in-one package that’s ideal for time-conscious users.

It's the best ecommerce platform for large companies that need a new website built within an hour, and don’t mind using one brand (Square) to provide both the online store and payment processor. Square packs a punch for such a simple platform, offering multi-channel integration, abandoned cart recovery emails, and excellent revenue and traffic reports. 

However, it does appear quite restrictive when you consider its limited design options, and its single available payment processor (you can install PayPal on the most expensive price plans, though), which isn’t ideal for large companies.

Pros:

  • Easiest platform to use when you don’t stray far from the site’s generated design
  • In-built insight dashboard providing data on sales, customer journeys, and recovered sales via abandoned cart emails
  • Excellent marketing features for such a simple platform

X Cons:

  • Lacks prompts and tips to help you get started
  • There are no templates so you are restricted to the site’s generic design
  • Expensive transaction fees if you don’t use Square’s payment processor

Square pricing

While it’s one of the best free ecommerce platforms, we recommend that you sign up to at least the ‘Premium’ plan, which is aimed at large companies:

PlanCost (billed annually)What you’ll get

Premium

£54/month

Customer reviews

Instagram and Pinterest integration

Abandoned cart recovery emails

1.75% transaction fee for European cards

2.9% transaction fee for non-European cards

Square is the ideal solution for your large business if you're stuck for time start selling on square

Expert verdict

Following an extensive period of research and testing, we’ve selected and reviewed the best ecommerce platforms for large companies available in the UK. You may already know which platform is right for you, but let’s recap the top three…

BigCommerce is our top recommendation, and is the best option for international growth, providing everything you need to scale your business as an in-built feature.

In close second is Shopify and its superb inventory management tools, followed by Wix and its combination of affordable price plans and impressive ecommerce features.

The main reason these are the best ecommerce platforms for large companies is because they provide multi-channel integration. This feature is crucial for your business in reaching new audiences across the world and boosting sales, which is what running a large company is all about.

Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.

The 5 Best Ecommerce Platforms for Subscriptions

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 26 May 2021

Read on for everything you need to know about the best ecommerce platforms for subscriptionsno subscription required…


Finding the best ecommerce platform for subscriptions requires a little research – you can’t just select any old software and expect it to offer what you need. Thankfully, we’ve done all that research for you.

We thoroughly tested a wide range of ecommerce platforms to see which of them deliver the best features for businesses selling subscriptions online. Thanks to our in-depth research, not only will we recommend the best platforms, but we’ll advise on the different price plans you should choose, and the apps or features you should use.

The 5 best ecommerce platforms for subscriptions

Ecommerce platformRequired price planExtra app/feature needed?
SquarespaceCommerce Advanced  (£30/month)No
WixBusiness Unlimited (£16/month)

Business VIP (£22/month)

No
SquareAny (£0 – £54/month)Recurring Invoices feature
ShopifyAny (£22 – £219/month)Yes – we recommend PayWhirl 
BigCommerceAny (£22 – £220/month)Yes – we recommend Rebillia Platform

Ready to subscribe to more info? Great. Let’s look at each platform in more detail…


1.  Squarespace – Commerce Advanced plan (£30 per month)

Squarespace is the best ecommerce platform for subscriptions because it offers the best value for money. 

It has the best ecommerce features of any ‘non-ecommerce-specific’ website builder, offering everything you need to start selling subscriptions, already in-built, at just £30 per month, making it one of the top ecommerce platforms for small businesses.

During our testing, we particularly liked the order automation feature – once a customer purchases their first subscription, Squarespace then handles all the subsequent orders, meaning you don’t need to worry about follow up emails or rebilling issues.

Squarespace might not be quite as simple to use as Wix or Square, but it also offers the sleekest templates of any platform we tested, enabling your subscription boxes, packages, or membership deals to truly stand out from the competition.

Read Full Squarespace Review

squarespace subscriptions

Pros:

  • Excellent multi-channel integration – sell your subscriptions via Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and more
  • No extra app costs to worry about, unlike with Shopify or BigCommerce
  • Order automation feature means you don’t need to worry about rebilling or sending follow up emails

X Cons:

  • You cannot create free subscription products
  • Wix has more affordable price plans
  • Supports just two payment processors, compared to Shopify’s 100+ options

How to offer subscriptions on Squarespace:

  1. Sign up to the Commerce Advanced plan.
  2. Enable the customer accounts feature, so visitors can save their details on your website.
  3. Sell only physical or service-based products (you can’t sell digital subscriptions).
  4. Use Stripe as your payment processor (it’s not possible through, PayPal, Squarespace’s only other supported payment processor).
Squarespace is the best ecommerce platform for subscriptions that we tested Start Selling on Squarespace

2. Wix – Business Unlimited (£16 per month) or VIP plan (£22 per month)

The (close) second-best ecommerce platform for subscriptions is Wix, the user-friendly option that offers two suitable, affordable price plans to choose from.

On Wix, you can add product videos to help visitors better understand your subscription products, customise your template to your heart’s content, and make use of its SEO Wiz tool, which provides prompts to help your website rank higher on the search engine results pages.

However, Wix has weaker multi-channel integration than Squarepsace. You’re only able to sell via Instagram, but you can install apps to help you sell through other channels.

Overall, Wix is an affordable and easy-to-use option for you to start selling physical and service-based subscriptions.

Read Full Wix Review

wix subscriptions

Pros:

  • Add product videos to improve the buyer’s experience
  • Excellent SEO tools to help search engine users find your business more easily
  • More affordable price plans than Squarespace, Shopify, and BigCommerce

X Cons:

  • Multi-channel integration could be stronger
  • Cannot switch templates after you go live unlike on Squarespace, Shopify or BigCommerce
  • Amount of creative freedom can feel daunting at first to tech beginners

How to offer subscriptions on Wix:

  1. Sign up to the Business Unlimited or Business VIP plan.
  2. Connect to a payment processor that supports recurring payments (Wix Payments, IsraCard, Stripe, or PayPal).
  3. In the dashboard, visit Products > Create a Subscription.
  4. Sell physical or service-based products (you can’t sell digital subscriptions).
Wix is one of the most popular ecommerce platforms in the world sell subscriptions on wix

3. Square – using the Recurring Invoices feature on any plan

Square price plans from from £0 per month to £54 per month

Short on time and watching your budget? Then Square might be for you.

It offers a totally free plan that comes with multi-channel integration to help you sell via Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, and you can have your site created within an hour. On this plan, you simply pay 1.9% per transaction instead of a monthly fee, making Square one of the best free ecommerce platforms we tested.

Square is excellent value for money, but you should know that there’s very little design flexibility and there aren’t any templates, so you should use Wix or Squarespace if you want to spend time designing a unique storefront. What’s more, Square’s process for setting up subscriptions isn’t nearly as seamless as it is on the other platforms (we explain how to do it below).

Having said that, we found that Square also offers excellent in-built email marketing features, which can really help you promote new subscription services and gain more sales. 

square subscriptions

Pros:

  • Generous free plan with multi-channel integration, making it excellent value for money
  • Offers useful in-built dashboard to help you keep track of your subscription sales
  • Quicker and easier to build a site than any other platform on this article

X Cons:

  • Limited design and customisation because there are no templates
  • Only supports one payment processor on the free plan (PayPal is available on the other plans)
  • Enabling subscriptions isn’t as seamless as on the other platforms

How to offer subscriptions on Square:

With Square, there’s no ready-out-the-box ‘subscription’ option, like there is on Wix and Squarespace. Instead, you need to set up a recurring invoice series, which is still simple to do, but it does require some extra steps:

  1. Go to Invoices on your dashboard.
  2. Click Recurring > Create Recurring Series.
  3. Select a customer from your directory, or enter new details (you can only enter up to nine customers at once).
  4. Choose the customer’s card you’d like to charge from the Invoice Method drop-down.
  5. Toggle Allow Automatic Payments.
  6. Select start date, recurrence frequency, and the end date.
Watching your budget? You can start selling subscriptions for free on Square Start selling on square

4. Shopify – using the PayWhirl app on any plan

Shopify price plans range from £22 per month to £219 per month

Shopify is one of the most comprehensive ecommerce website builders on the market, so why isn’t it the best ecommerce platform for subscriptions?

First things first – Shopify came top in our ‘sales features’ research, offering the best sales-specific features of any platform.  You can sell your subscriptions via social media platforms and online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay. Plus, you’ll get an online invoice generator to help you take payments more easily.

On the downside, you’ll need to install a third-party app to start selling subscriptions on Shopify.

Installing an app is an extra cost to consider on top of Shopify’s price plans, and it’s another set of your own subscriptions to juggle. However, using apps can enable you to sell digital products, unlike on the other platforms.

Read Full Shopify Review

shopify paywhirl app

Pros:

  • Superb multi-channel integration with all the main social media platforms including Facebook Messenger, plus Amazon and eBay
  • Best inventory management features of any platform we tested, helping you upload products and ship orders with ease
  • Access to app market makes it more customisable than Squarespace or BigCommerce

X Cons:

  • Relies on apps for subscription capabilities, which can get expensive on top of its price plans
  • Transaction fees imposed unless you use Shopify Payments
  • Price plans aren’t as affordable as Squarespace, Wix, or Square

How to offer subscriptions on Shopify:

  1. Visit the Shopify app store.
  2. Search for ‘subscriptions’ in the search bar.
  3. Select an app (we recommend PayWhirl, scoring 4.8/5 in the Shopify app store thanks to its generous fee plan and a 14-day free trial on its premium plans).
  4. Click Add app.
Shopify has brilliant sales-specific tools to help you sell more subscriptions start selling on Shopify

▶ Read more: What are the best Shopify alternatives?


5. BigCommerce – using the Rebillia Platform app

Another powerful platform, BigCommerce is designed to help your business scale into an ecommerce empire. 

It offers the widest range of in-built features of any platform we tested, with unrivalled data reports and zero transaction fees to boot (unlike Shopify, which imposes its own fees unless you use Shopify Payments). Yet, it’s still not the very best ecommerce platform for subscriptions.

For all its in-built features, you’ll still need to install an app to start selling subscriptions. Again, this is another cost to consider on top of BigCommerce’s price plans, which are already the most expensive in this article. However, that’s simply because it’s the best platform for large companies.

bigcommerce rebillia platform app

Pros:

  • Has widest choice of in-built sales features of any platform we tested, helping you scale your subscription business with ease
  • Zero transaction fees on all price plans, unlike with Shopify
  • Multi-channel integration across all the main social media platforms

X Cons:

  • Requires an app to start selling subscriptions, which can add to your monthly costs
  • The most difficult-to-use platform in this article
  • No mobile app to help you sell on the go, unlike every other platform here

How to offer subscriptions on BigCommerce:

  1. Visit the BigCommerce app store.
  2. Search for ‘subscriptions’ in the search bar.
  3. Select an app (we recommend Rebillia Platform – it was designed specifically for BigCommerce stores, and is the highest-rated ‘recurring payments’ app by users, starting from £15 per month).
  4. Click Get This App.
BigCommerce can help turn your subscription-based business into an ecommerce empire Start selling on BigCommerce

Expert verdict

We’ve shown you the best ecommerce platforms for subscriptions, backed up by our independent research and user testing. Now, you should have a clearer idea of  which one your business should subscribe to. Let’s just recap what we covered.

The best ecommerce platforms for subscriptions are:

  1. Squarespace (on the Advanced Commerce plan).
  2. Wix (on the Business Unlimited or VIP plan).
  3. Square (using the Recurring Payments feature).
  4. Shopify (by installing an app).
  5. BigCommerce (by installing an app).

Out of them all, we recommend Wix or Squarespace. These platforms provide everything you need to start selling subscriptions already in-built, while also offering superb marketing tools to help you start reaching more subscribers more easily.

Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.

Business Recycling: How to Manage Your Commercial Waste Responsibly

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 22 January 2021

Get acquainted with the who, what, and how of commercial recycling in 2021


Recycling: the data’s in, and it doesn’t reflect well on UK businesses.

Recent studies suggest that not only does a whole quarter of England’s entire waste output come from enterprise organisations, but as many as nine in ten businesses don’t have a green policy in place.

Yet it's difficult to see why UK companies are dragging their heels here. Commercial recycling has so many benefits, ranging all the way from the noble (the planet, boosting employee morale) to the downright self-serving (saving you lots of money, and improving public perceptions of your business).

So read on to find out how to handle your business’s recycling, and learn more about the types of waste you can recycle in the UK.

We’ll also shine the spotlight on one of the country’s leading providers of affordable waste management services, and you’ll be able to compare commercial recycling quotes that are tailored to your business, too.


How to handle my business’s recycling

Did You Know?

It’s over 30% cheaper to recycle than it is to create general waste.

The business case for recycling is obvious – with landfill taxes rising year on year, straight up waste disposal isn’t all that cheap anymore. Plus, the cultural, environmental, and hygiene advantages of commercial recycling all speak for themselves.

So just how do you handle your business’s recycling?

Basically, your options boil down to either doing it yourself, or outsourcing it to a third party company. If you’re keen on the latter, we’d recommend exploring our guide to the best waste management companies in the UK. Or, you can skip to our top business recycling company recommendation below.

But more on that soon.

If the DIY route is more your thing, stay put – because it’s time to talk about waste transfer licences.

1. Get a waste transfer licence

Firstly, any form of commercial waste disposal – whether that’s recyclables, confidential documents, or general rubbish – doesn’t come free.

If you:

  • Transport waste (a carrier)
  • Buy, sell, or dispose of waste (a dealer)
  • Arrange for someone else to buy, sell, or dispose of waste (a broker)

… then you need a waste transfer licence. This applies to not just regular waste, but recycling, too.

Failure to register as either a waste carrier, dealer, or broker can result in fines of up to £5,000. Plus, disposing of your business’s rubbish without this licence constitutes fly tipping – an act which can land you with a fine of up to £50,000, or an unwanted shoutout in the local paper.

If you plan on keeping your business’s recycling in-house, you’ll need to register as a waste carrier. This costs £154 to do.

Licences are also divided into upper and lower tiers. If your business’s recycling responsibilities fall into the former category, you’ll need to renew your registration every three years, at the cost of £105.

You’d better make sure all the details on your application are correct before you submit them, too – updating them after the fact will cost you an extra £40!

2. Separate your recycling from your general waste

Now your licence is sorted, it’s time to start recycling. But to do that, you’ll need to make it as easy as possible for you and your staff to segregate recyclable materials from the regular old rubbish.

By far the most straightforward way of doing this is to use colour-coded bins.

Colour-coded business recycling containers

Colour-coded bins help you keep rubbish out of the recycling (and vice versa), and make it simple for your staff to get on board with.

They’ll also help you separate out the different types of recyclable materials, allowing you to keep your dry mixed recycling away from the glass.

We’d also recommend removing personal employee bins, and placing recycling containers in strategic points around your building. Locating the paper box next to the printer, for instance, is a match made in sustainability heaven.

You can also implement a mini recycling rewards scheme, to incentivise your staff to cut out old, lazy habits.

3. Reduce and reuse

Okay, so recycling gets most of the plaudits. But what about the other two ‘R’s’? Don’t they deserve a little love?

As a matter of fact, they do. Reducing and reusing are really the foundations for any successful recycling policy, and are even baked into the Environment Protection Act’s waste management hierarchy.

Infographic visualising waste hierarchy

A couple of ways you can apply these principles at work are:

  • Reducing the amount of rubbish you produce. This includes getting rid of cheap, single-use plastic (straws, we’re looking at you!), and, if necessary, modifying some of your existing admin processes. Laminated paper, for instance, can’t be recycled – can your business do without?
  • Reusing items you no longer need in fun, creative ways. Whether that’s keeping misprints to use as scrap paper, or re-employing an empty glass jar as a plant pot, try to regularly engage your staff in your sustainability efforts.

For more tips on how to achieve this, check out our guide to reducing plastic pollution at work.


What type of waste can I recycle?

The type of waste you can recycle at your business is divided into two main categories; dry mixed recycling, and glass.

You can also secure special arrangements to recycle textiles, wood, inert waste (such as bricks), and WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment).

Dry mixed recycling

This includes:

  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Tins
  • Plastic bottles
  • Cans

This does not include:

  • Glass
  • Black refuse bags
  • Wood
  • Waxed paper cups
  • Liquids
  • Textiles
  • Polystyrene
  • Food waste

Glass

Glass bottles aren’t only good for holding refreshing beverages. They’re great for the economy, too – if you recycle, that is. Research estimates that, for every 100,000 tonnes of glass recycled, 500 jobs are created.

Moral of the story: recycle your glass!

These are the types of recycling available to UK businesses. For the types of waste removal, see our separate article.


The best companies for business recycling

Chosen to outsource the handling of your business’s recycling? You’ve made a good choice… a really good choice.

Firstly, you won’t have to deal with the expense – or the hassle – of acquiring a waste transfer licence. Secondly, when you sign up with a waste management provider, they’ll provide your bins for you. Thirdly? Well, you’ll get not only your business’s recycling sorted, but your rubbish, too.

This allows you to satisfy your business’s Duty of Care (as described in Section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990), as well as fulfil your moral and spiritual obligations to the planet.

Plus, there are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to outsourcing your business’s recycling and waste management. You’ve probably already heard of the ‘Big Five’, after all – a kind of cabal of the industry’s biggest suppliers, which includes names such as Biffa and Veolia.

But, while these huge, transnational service providers have a monopoly over recycling collection services in the UK, our top pick is a company with a more homegrown flavour. Introducing…

CheaperWaste

Newcastle-based CheaperWaste provides glass collection and dry mixed recycling services to UK businesses. On top of that, its rubbish disposal services are also pretty fab, with food waste, skip hire, and confidential waste disposal all available. The company is also going strong throughout COVID-19, too, supporting its customers by continuing to operate throughout the pandemic. CheaperWaste has even added PPE and COVID-19 test kit disposal to its litany of services, to complement its existing hazardous and clinical waste collection offerings.

To find out more, head to our dedicated CheaperWaste review – updated for 2021, and boosted with videos and case studies for your reading pleasure.


Compare quotes from commercial recycling providers

There’s no easier way to say it. Outsourcing to a waste management company just makes things easier.

The process of obtaining accurate quotes for your business, though – and comparing multiple suppliers accordingly – isn’t so simple. Trawling the net for opaque pricing info, wading through a sea of open tabs, braving the brain-numbing, repetitive drone of on hold ‘music’… who’s got the patience for that?

Not us. That’s why we came up with a better way to get quick quotes from leading companies. Keen to try it out?

Simply provide us with a few details about your business by answering the first question of our quote-finding quiz below. It’ll only take about 30 seconds, and it’s designed to give us a better idea of your requirements.

Understanding exactly what you’re looking for in terms of a business recycling solution helps us to help you. Our algorithm will only match you with the waste and recycling collection suppliers that are the right fit for your business, to save our time – and yours.

These suppliers will then be in touch to provide quotes and advice that are all completely tailored to your requirements.

And the best part? It’s free – you just have to be based in the UK to be eligible.

Happy researching!

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Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.

The Best Ricoh Photocopiers 2021

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 31 December 2020

Can you recall a better Ricoh review than this one? We certainly can’t…


Ricoh has been rocking the photocopier world since 1955, producing powerful machines that deliver high-quality prints. In recent years, Ricoh printers have become even greener, making them a sound investment for almost any modern business.

However, with so many options out there, pinpointing the right Ricoh photocopy machine price, model, or even series for your business can be tricky. That’s why we’ve done our research and selected the very best of Ricoh’s bunch.

In this article, we’ll discuss three series of Ricoh printers – the IM Series, MP Series, and SP Series – with detailed information on pricing, features, and benefits. By the end, you’ll know exactly which one to choose for your business.

Ricoh IM Series

The IM, or ‘Intelligent Multifunction’, Series does exactly what it says on the tin – serve different photocopying functions to suit busy working environments.

Known as MFDs (multifunction devices), these Ricoh printers have been designed with what the company describes as scalable intelligence, security, sustainability, and simplicity in mind. In short, the IM Series is a solid choice for almost any business.

Models within the IM Series typically cost between £1,000 and £4,500, depending on their size, PPM (prints per minute), and multifunction capabilities. Below, we examine the three best Ricoh IM Series photocopiers: the IM C4500, the IM C2000, and the 430F.

Ricoh IM C4500

Cost: £4,195

PPM: 45

Colour printing? Yes

The A3-compatible C4500 model can handle even the highest of printing volumes, making it a useful addition to medium and large businesses, particularly with its 10.1” smart touch screen.

You can connect the copier up to your mobile to control its multiple functions remotely, which include double sided printing, folding, stapling, scanning, and advanced finishing settings – including ‘finger-friendly’, which crimps the paper’s sides to reduce the risk of dreaded paper cuts.


Ricoh IM C2000

Cost: £2,195

PPM: 20

Colour printing? Yes

The C2000 is another powerful A3 colour photocopier featuring a 10.1” touch screen, suitable for busy businesses looking to print full colour brochures and banners with ease.

While it can’t match the C4500 for printing speed, it does offer equally impressive features such as eco-friendly staple-less finishing, and double-sided printing and scanning.

Get free quotes and save money on your next photocopier Get Free Quotes

Ricoh IM 430F

Cost: £1,695

PPM: 43

Colour printing? No

Smaller in size but delivering a higher volume of PPM than the C2000 (43 compared to 20), the 430F is a compact multifunction photocopier that ticks most boxes

This model can print, scan, fax, and produce a single print in just six seconds. On top of that, it automatically switches between paper trays, meaning it doesn’t ever need to run out of paper.

It’s slightly cheaper than the other two IM Ricoh models, given that it only prints in black and white, but it’s a great choice if you need a quick, reliable, high-quality photocopier.

As far as Ricoh photocopy machine prices go, this one’s a steal.


Ricoh MP Series

High-speed printing with A3 capabilities, the MP series is one of Ricoh’s finest. These models are ideal for busy working environments that need fast and regular printing, scanning, copying, and faxing options.

This considered, the MP series models come at a higher cost on average than the IM series models, with prices ranging from £1,200 to £9,000.

We understand that photocopier costs can be confusing sometimes, with so many different models, versions, and functions out there. The easiest way to find the best Ricoh photocopy machine price is by comparing free quotes. We can sort this for you.

All you need to do is tell us what you need from your next printer on our quick webform (it only takes a minute), and we’ll match your business with the best photocopier suppliers for your unique requirements.

They’ll then be in touch with more details and no-obligation quotes for you to compare before spending a penny. It’s quick, easy, and free to get started.


Ricoh MP 6055SP

Cost: £6,495

PPM: 60

Colour printing? No

This model is everything a multifunction Ricoh printer should be – easy to use, with a high paper capacity (4,700 sheets to be exact), and a quick PPM.

It doesn’t sacrifice printing clarity, either, with an impressive 1200 x 1200 dpi max print resolution, even on A3 prints.

In typical Ricoh style, the MP 6055SP comes with various eco-friendly features such as a low-power sleep mode and a staple-less printing option.


Ricoh MP 9003SP

Cost: £8,850

PPM: 90

Colour printing? No

The MP 9003SP is one speedy character, with an almighty 90 PPM. However, with Ricoh photocopiers, it’s not all about pace. It’s about paper.

This machine can hold 4,300 sheets and includes a 2,000-sheet booklet maker, and a 100-sheet bypass tray for thicker paper types.

Our favourite feature? Of course, it’s the Human Detection Sensor which warms up the printer as you approach, helping to reduce your office’s environmental impact.


Ricoh MP C307SPF

Cost: £1,365

PPM: 30

Colour printing? Yes

Cost-effective and capable of colour printing, the C307SPF makes an excellent addition to any small to medium-sized business.

This compact, green machine has a low consumption energy rate, while enabling you to efficiently send documents directly from your smartphone, and share files with address book contacts from its 10.1” touchscreen.

Compare free quotes today and save on your next photocopier Get Free Quotes

Ricoh SP Series

At the more affordable end of the Ricoh scale is the SP Series, with costs typically ranging from £300 to £500. These models print A4, fax, scan, and copy at reasonable prices. While it can’t match the MP or IM Series for printing speed, the SP Series offers reliable options for small businesses that require low volume printing.


Ricoh SP C261SFNw

Cost: £370

PPM: 20

Colour printing? Yes

Small and sturdy, the SP C261SFNw can fit inside the smallest offices while producing big and beautiful A4 prints.

Its standout feature is the two-sided Single Pass Document Feeder which allows you to scan both sides of your document in a single pass, speeding up your copying, faxing and scanning duties.

It also comes with a 4.3” touchscreen and a colour output of 2,400 x 600 dpi. This is the most affordable Ricoh photocopy machine price you’re likely to find, so we highly recommend this model for businesses on a tight budget.


Ricoh SP 330SFN

Cost: £433

PPM: 32

Colour printing? No

This no-frills model requires low maintenance, but delivers high-quality prints – with a 1,200 x 1,200 black and white dpi and a 35-sheet automatic reverse document feeder, which enables multi-page faxing, copying and scanning.

We also like the optional 5GHz Wi-Fi, which means less congestion on your broadband and a sturdier wireless connection, helping the SP 330SFN run smoothly.


Ricoh SP 3710SF

Cost: £387

PPM: 32

Colour printing? No

Tired of repurchasing ink cartridges? The SP 3710SF comes with an Ultra High Yield Toner which enables you to print for up to a year (if you’re printing around 500 pages per month).

It also comes with a 35-sheet automatic reverse document feeder that allows quick, multi-page faxing, copying, and scanning.

Overall, this model would suit small offices with low-volume printing requirements.

Compare free quotes today and save money on your next photocopier Get Free Quotes

Expert verdict

We’ve shown you the best Ricoh printers from three of its most popular ranges. The IM Series is the most recent, boasting environmentally-friendly and cost-cutting features, the MP Series has the fastest models, while the SP Series represents the most affordable option for small businesses.

We love each of these multifunction printers, but balancing the right Ricoh photocopy machine price with suitable photocopy functions and speeds can prove tricky, especially with so many different models out there. That’s where our service can help.

Simply tell us what you need from your next photocopier on our short webform, and we’ll match you up with trusted suppliers that best cater to your printing needs. They’ll then be in touch with more information and no-obligation quotes for you to compare. Best of all, it’s free to get started.

Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.

Common CRM Problems and Solutions

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 1 October 2020

We break down seven of the top issues businesses face when implementing, securing, and utilising CRM – and what your business can do to solve them


Since you’re here, we’ll assume you’re already fairly well acquainted with the benefits a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system can offer your business – that is, the problems it solves.

But what about those it creates?

Like us humans, no CRM system is perfect. And, before you reach the golden lands of souped-up sales, juiced-up marketing campaigns, and faster customer service that CRM offers, chances are you’ll encounter a few potholes along the way.

But don’t go hitting the panic button just yet – these common CRM problems can all be solved, and your business’ system (and approach to customer relationships) will be all the stronger for it.

So what are these common CRM problems we speak of, you ask?

We’ve broken down seven of the problems most frequently cited by business owners as being the major early pitfalls of CRM software – and how you can tackle them. Whether you’re still thinking about a CRM system or have installed one recently, this guide will help you sidestep the most common issues.

Let’s explore.


#1: Under-utilisation of the system

So you’ve installed your CRM, and your staff are using it… but are you getting the most out of your software’s features and capabilities? 

Problem

There’s a good chance you’re not. Statistics tell us that almost half (43%) of CRM users take advantage of less than half of the features their software has to offer. But why?

Is it laziness? A lack of employee engagement, or resistance to using the system?

In some cases, yes – but for many teams under-utilising their CRM systems, it’s simply a lack of awareness of what the software can do

CRM is often mistakenly used interchangeably with CMS (contact management software), or seen as just a database for storing customer records. While CRM does do this, it’s really so much more.

The power of CRM lies in how it allows you to manipulate key data – identifying trends, analysing buyer habits, and generating accurate sales forecasts. CRM isn’t just a place to store information, but an intelligent set of tools to empower smarter, savvier sales, marketing, and customer service CRM efforts.

Chances are, your team just aren’t aware of all that yet.

Solution

Thankfully, there are a couple of ways around this one.

The most obvious is to explore the full functionality of what your CRM software can do. You can do this by getting in touch with your CRM supplier’s support team via phone or live chat.

You can also tap into your CRM provider’s online knowledge base for tutorials, videos, and articles to get you started. Many CRM suppliers also have platforms for dedicated customer communities: where you can ask questions, participate in threads, and learn more about the nuances and intricacies of your CRM software.

It’s then up to you to relay these benefits to your team – though if that’s too much, you can always arrange a live demo with your CRM supplier, who’ll do it for you.

Of course, it may be the case that you don’t need all the features offered by the CRM. This is important to understand, as you may be able to downgrade to a more modest plan that’s better-suited to your current needs – and save some cash in the process.

Jump to #5: the system is too expensive


#2: Security issues

So your CRM system has a lot of features – way more, in fact, than you first suspected. But how secure is it?

Problem

This common CRM problem can be expressed in a single question…

“How do I keep my data safe?”

The answer? Well, that depends…

Solution

How you keep a handle on your CRM system’s cyber security will depend on the mode of deployment you’ve selected: on-premise or cloud-based.

On-premise software is deployed on servers physically located at your business’ premises. Cloud-based software’s servers are managed and operated by the company you choose to provide your CRM system.

If you’ve selected an on-premise solution, you’ll have more control over your system’s security, data, user rights, and setup. As such, you’ll need to take a more hands-on approach to securing your servers. This includes:

  • Installing firewalls and antivirus technology
  • Ensuring physical access to your servers is limited and controlled
  • Regulating employee behaviour in and around the location of your servers
  • Securing your local internet connection with strong passwords
  • Regularly updating your operating system

If you’ve selected a cloud-based system, your chosen CRM supplier should relieve you of most of the duties of CRM cybersecurity. 

We should note – because cloud-based CRM is operated over the internet, many business owners worry that it’s not as safe. But don’t fret – cloud-based systems these days are as secure (if not more so!) than their on-premise counterparts.

We can recommend one of these cloud based CRM systems:

 


#3: Choosing the wrong software

It may seem an obvious error, but this common CRM problem is a particularly insidious one. Because by the time you realise the software you’ve deployed is the wrong one, the damage may already have been done…

Problem

So, you’ve picked the wrong system. Why fret? It happens. 

Whether it’s getting sucked in by the siren song of a good deal, or caving to high-pressure sales tactics, many business owners end up saddled with a CRM that’s simply not right for them.

As for the system, there are many reasons a particular CRM might not gel with your business or industry. Maybe you’ve picked software that specialises in marketing automation (such as HubSpot), when actually your priority is selling – and what you really need is something like Salesforce or Maximizer

You might even be going down a blind alley with CRM, when what you really need is project management software, such as monday.com.

Perhaps you’ve selected a plan with too many (or too few) features. It could even be that the system’s interface just doesn’t resonate with you – it may be hard to use, or unpleasant to look at.

So what can you do about it?

Solution

Well, you’ve started by exploring our CRM content… so you’re already on the right track. But why not go one step further, and compare quotes with us?

It’s free, takes about 30 seconds, and is undeniably the quickest, most hassle-free route to your dream CRM system. Here’s how it works.

Simply provide us with some details about your current CRM setup. Do you currently use a CRM or a CMS? Which features are you most interested in? How many users will the system need to support?

Once that’s done, we’ll match you up with one or more CRM suppliers. Not just any suppliers, though – exclusively ones that will be a good fit for the specific needs of your business. They’ll then get in touch with you directly to explain more, and provide quotes tailored to your requirements. Problem solved!


4: Out-of-date information

People change, and so does their data. So how do you ensure that your business is always working with the freshest, most accurate information?

Problem

CRM does a lot. Capturing leads via your websites and social media channels, feeding these to your sales team, and managing all that customer data from a central location? Yep, it’s a lot.

Naturally, though, CRM doesn’t do everything. And, if you’re expecting it to update your client information for you, you can think again.

It’s a common CRM problem. After a while, CRM systems get bogged down with outdated client data. Old phone numbers, switched companies, new job titles –  things are constantly changing, and you need to keep up.

Here’s how.

Solution

First of all, give your CRM database a spring clean. Remove contacts whose emails are bouncing, or have been consistently unresponsive to your calls. Get rid of (or re-engage!) any unclosed leads or prospects overstaying their welcome in the system.

You should also think about deleting any email templates you no longer use, along with any old reports. This will serve the dual purpose of refreshing your CRM system, while freeing up storage space – though if the latter’s an issue, you can always purchase more.

You can also ensure your customer data is accurate by re-engaging lapsed customers with fresh deals and discounts. Run an email marketing campaign that offers benefits in exchange for a customer’s details. Your CRM database will rejuvenate before your very eyes!


#5: The system is too expensive

CRM breaking the bank? Let’s take a look at how you can trim costs…

Problem

CRM software is profitable. So profitable, the stats suggest, that it can increase revenue by over 40% per sales representative.

That said, there are many reasons why you’re not seeing the ROI you expected from your CRM just yet. Implementation issues, privacy hurdles, poor staff engagement with the system… any or all of these common CRM problems may make you feel like you’re not getting enough for your money.

Here’s what to do if your CRM is proving too expensive right now.

Solution

Simple… downgrade!

CRM is almost always priced in tiers. A basic version will be cheap, while a more feature-rich version (which you’ve probably ended up with) requires considerably more investment. So, by downgrading, you can free up cash flow.

That said, you don’t have to sacrifice features to save money. CRM is priced per user, per month – so you can cut down on costs by reducing the amount of your staff who have access to the system.

And if times are hard and neither of the above options are feasible, you can lump for a free plan. Free CRM software is severely limited, and we tend not to recommend it for ambitious businesses. But it might be just what you need to take a breather, recalibrate your CRM strategy, and save some money to boot.

For more information, head to our page on CRM software costs.


#6: Privacy and ethical issues in CRM

According to the statistics, 74% of CRM users believe that the software has enhanced their access to customer data. But at what cost?

Problem

G, D, P, R. By themselves, four harmless letters. But when combined, they stand for General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – game-changing legislation introduced only a couple of years ago.

The GDPR ushered in a strict set of rules about how businesses are allowed to collect, manage, and utilise customer data. Since collecting, managing, and utilising customer data is sort of a CRM system’s raison d’etre, you can start to see the kind of roadblocks this legislation throws up for your team.

But it’s not just about striving to stay compliant (and avoid the hefty fines for those who get it wrong). There are obviously some distinct ethical issues floating around the storage and usage of customer data, and you owe it to your customers to protect their privacy.

So how do you juggle compliance and customer care, while striking a balance between profit and principle?

Solution

Ask The Experts
Question symbol

How do you navigate the privacy and ethical issues in CRM?

To find out, we got in touch with Alex MacLachlan, CRM Marketing Manager at a prominent London-based lead generation outfit.

Alex, how would you describe the privacy and ethical issues involved with CRM? Are there any?

“The main CRM privacy issue is that people give you their personally identifiable information, and you are then responsible for its security and, for a lack of a better word, its “use”.

“As someone with access to effectively every piece of customer data we have, I need to be really careful with how I analyse it and how I can share it (note – I generally can’t).

“I think even in a world without GDPR, I would always make sure that these customers have consented to what we are sending them. One, because otherwise they are going to get upset and complain, as you are effectively breaking their trust. Two, if I was in their shoes (being signed up to so many emails as I often am), would I deem this as acceptable?

“This speaks more about ethics than privacy. People have trusted you with their personal data, and it’s your responsibility as a CRM/data controller to only send them what they have permitted you to – anything outside of that and, in my view, it’s unethical.”

What tips do you have for small email marketing teams, to ensure they remain GDPR-compliant?

Here are my top three tips.

1. Make sure everything is logged 

“Consent statements, opt-in/out messages, and other data processes all need to be logged – ideally on a monthly basis. You need to be able to state where you’ve got the customer data from, what they’ve consented to (and when), and what you’ve been sending them.”

2. Limit the number of controllers

“The more people you have that are able to change opt-in/out statements, consent pathways, and data fields, the more potential mistakes there are to be made – and the harder they are to trace. If you keep a tight list of who can change things and stay on top of your CRM system’s user permissions, you’ll stay on the right side of the legislation.”

3. Remember that GDPR doesn’t just apply to marketing

“Make sure your processes for all other aspects of your business are GDPR compliant. A big one is hiring; how do you share CVs? Where do you dispose of them once the candidate has been interviewed? You can very easily land on the wrong side of GDPR with this sort of thing.”


#7: Low employee engagement

Who is Fred, and how you can bring him into the 21st century?

Problem

No matter how hard you try to implement a new way of doing things, there’ll always be resistance. 

Think of Fred, that grumpy, belligerent salesman who was chewing the fat by the water cooler when dinosaurs still roamed the earth. This relic is set in his ways, opposed to change – both technological and social – and has no interest in any of this ‘new-fangled’ CRM software you’ve put in front of him.

Fred is of course an archetype, but there are plenty like him – employees who, for whatever reason, refuse to engage with new ways of doing things

Data tells us that six in ten salespeople are unwilling to change the processes that work for them, and – according to Tech.co – more than one in five businesses cite ‘embracing technology’ as the biggest challenge facing their company.

So how do you get your employees using your CRM, and engaging with the myriad features and possibilities it offers?

Solution

Well, you do it by showing them just how powerful your CRM system can be.

After all, CRM shouldn’t be seen as something to be forced upon your salespeople. It makes their jobs easier! 

Likewise, the carrot almost always works better than the stick. Offer juicy incentives for your top earners, while rewarding the most creative marketing campaigns.

Once the Freds in your office catch on to how much time and effort a CRM can save them – and that it’s a shortcut to that bonus you’ve offered – they won’t be complaining.


Next steps

You’re pretty well-equipped. Not only do you know what CRM does – and how it can benefit your business – but you have a comprehensive understanding of the pitfalls involved with implementation and uptake, too.

Armed with knowledge of these early CRM perils (and their solutions, of course) you’re in a position to seize control of your business’ destiny; forging more meaningful, enduring relationships with your customers.

If you already have a CRM, that is. 

For those among you yet to find the right CRM supplier, don’t fret – we can help. You have a couple of options here:

  1. To do more research, head on over to our page on the best CRM systems for small businesses. We’ve researched, rated, and ranked eight leading suppliers to make things simple for you.
  2. Compare quotes right here, right now. Hit one of the buttons below to get started with our quick questionnaire. When you’re done, we’ll match you with hand picked CRM suppliers, who’ll be in touch with tailored quotes.

Good luck, and thanks for reading!

Compare Quotes from Leading CRM Software Providers and Save
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1. Does your practice already use CRM software? YES NO
Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.

The Best CRM Systems for Law Firms

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 27 August 2020

Revolutionise your firm with a better way of managing your cases, staff, and client relationships. Contrast suppliers, crunch prices, and compare quotes from top law firm CRM providers with us


SalesforceOsprey ApproachActionstepClioLegallyCRM
 ProWide range of third-party app integrationsVery user-friendlyFlexible, affordable pricing plans24/5 customer supportIdeal for single practice and solo firms
X ConTough to get to grips withExpensiveNot easy to customiseUser experience can be clunkyNo phone-based customer support
Best forAnalytics and reportingData securityWorkflow automationPractice area versatilityShoestring budgets
Price (per user, per month)From £20From £120From £39From £49From £30

No matter what kind of law you practice, people will always be at the heart of what you do. Whether it’s keeping your staff on the same page, winning new clients, or maintaining those important business connections, it’s your relationships that determine your success.

But with so many leads, clients, and cases to keep track of, staying on top of things – and staying compliant – can be a real headache. That’s where a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system comes in.

CRM software provides your law firm with a central hub for all your crucial contact and client data. No big ring binders, no spreadsheets – just slick, straightforward software that streamlines your workflow. Sound good? We agree.

That’s why we're taking a look at the best CRM systems for law firms in the UK. Jump to a supplier in the table above, or skip straight to our law firm CRM system FAQs. Alternatively, take 30 seconds to provide us with your firm's specific CRM requirements, via our free quote-finding questionnaire. We'll then match you with leading CRM software suppliers, who'll be in touch with you directly to provide tailored quotes.


Best CRM systems for law firms

How does Salesforce acquit itself as a top CRM provider? Can Actionstep do your firm justice? Is Clio all it’s cracked up to be?

We reviewed the big CRM names in the legal industry, putting each supplier's software on trial. Our top five picks for UK law firms are Salesforce, Osprey Approach, Actionstep, and Clio – but we’ll let you be the judge!

Top five CRM systems for UK law firms:


Salesforce

Best for analytics and reporting

Salesforce comes with some serious pedigree. As the world’s number one CRM, it boosts the business of over 150,000 companies around the world. Its cloud-based software lets your team collaborate on cases and projects – you’ll know exactly who’s dealing with who, and what progress has been made so far. As well as letting you run your firm from your smartphone, Salesforce also offers the most advanced business analytics on the market. It lets you drill down into how people find your services, how they tick, and – crucially – how to turn them into clients.

Overall Rating :

Read more: Top Analytical CRM Software for UK Businesses

Salesforce pricing

Salesforce EssentialsLightning ProfessionalLightning EnterpriseLightning Unlimited
Sales Cloud£20 per user, per month£60 per user, per month£120 per user, per month£240 per user, 

per month

Service Cloud£20 per user, per month£60 per user, per month£120 per user, per month£240 per user, per month
Sales and Service CloudNot available£80 per user, per month£140 per user, per month£260 per user, per month

With additional rates for its various marketing modules and feature-enhancing add-ons, Salesforce's pricing is too complex to unpack here. Plus, we do that much better in our dedicated Salesforce review, where we explore the CRM behemoth's latest rates, features, packages, and user-submitted opinions.

And, for more information about how much you can expect to pay for your CRM system in general, we have you covered. Head on over to our CRM software costs article for everything you need to know.

Pros:

  • Basic package offers excellent value for money
  • Enormous range of integrations with the software and applications your firm uses every day
  • Coaching and goal-setting features help drive increased performance from your legal team

X Cons:

  • Salesforce's more advanced features can be difficult to get the hang of

Osprey Approach

Best for data security and GDPR compliance

Osprey Approach is high-flying legal software that’s tailor-made for the industry. And you don’t just get CRM – there are several more feathers to the cap of this smart solution. Besides CRM, Osprey Approach also offers practice and case management functions, budget planning, and simple email integration. Better still, it boasts some of the highest levels of data security out there. That means your contact data is safe, and fretting about your GDPR obligations becomes a thing of the past.

Overall Rating :

Osprey Approach pricing

Osprey Approach offers three pricing plans. All include:

  • Case and practice management features
  • Integrated legal accounting
  • Workflow automation
  • Document and form production with inclusive precedents
  • Time recording and reporting capabilities
  • Tools for sales teams, as well as email marketing functionality
ProfessionalEnterpriseQuantum
From £120 per user, per monthFrom £140 per user, per monthFrom £180 per user, per month

However, Osprey Approach's cheapest plan, ‘Professional' – though it still clocks in at a hefty £120 per user, per month – is only offered as an app for desktop only, compatible solely with Windows. To use the legal CRM software on mobile apps for iOS and Android, you'll need to be on the ‘Enterprise' plan, or above.

Upgrading to Osprey Approach's ‘Quantum' plan adds a host of impressive features, including voice-activated case management, and AI support. Your firm will also benefit from ‘Approach2Quote' – an AI-powered chatbot that allows you to provide conveyancing quotes directly through your website.

Pros:

  • Extremely user-friendly
  • The team is highly responsive on social media sites such as Twitter
  • Offers a range of bespoke packages to fit the unique needs of your law firm

X Cons:

  • One of the more expensive legal CRM systems out there
  • Can be slow to load and prone to freezes

Actionstep

Best for workflow automation

Built solely for the legal industry, Actionstep offers a complete, cloud-based practice management system. Its intelligent workflow technology breaks your workload down into decision trees and manageable, bite-sized chunks. That keeps you from getting bogged down in the repetitive admin stuff, while freeing you up to get stuck into cases – and to grow your firm! Actionstep's CRM for law firms also offers an easy-to-use ‘Client Portal’ - a secure space where you can chat with your clients, and collaborate on documents in real time.

Overall Rating :

Actionstep pricing

ExpressPractice ProEnterprise
Paid annually£39 per user, per month£69 per user, per monthOn enquiry
Paid monthly£49 per user, per month£79 per user, per monthOn enquiry

Of Actionstep's three pricing tiers, ‘Express' is only for single practice and solo firms. If you've outgrown the small business CRM stage, though, we recommend plumping for ‘Practice Pro'. At a reasonable £69 per user, per month, it's ideal for boutique and multi-practice firms looking to scale. The plan provides everything you get with Actionstep's basic plan, plus:

  • A client portal
  • Customisable workflows
  • Consolidated billing
  • External data reporting
  • Advanced calendar synchronisation

An extra £10 per user, per month buys you Actionstep's ‘Enterprise' plan – ideal for multi-divisional firms. For the additional outlay, you'll score multi-currency, integrated general ledger accounting, plus banking, financial reporting, dashboards, and access to an online knowledge base.

Pros:

  • Fantastic customer support
  • Presents case notes in a digestible ‘newsfeed’ style
  • Pricing plans offer flexibility, as well as value

X Cons:

  • Can be difficult to set up and customise to your liking

You're just over halfway through our list of the top CRM software for law firms… time to start comparing quotes?

Simply hit one of the buttons below to start our quick questionnaire. It takes just 30 seconds to do, and by telling us more about your firm's specific requirements, we can help ensure that you receive the best, most personalised rates on legal CRM software.

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1. Does your firm already use CRM software? YES NO

Clio

Best for lawyers across all practice areas

Already trusted by thousands of law firms worldwide, Clio (which acquired prominent law firm CRM provider Lexicata in 2018, and subsequently rebranded it) is a scalable CRM that’s designed to grow with your practice. Through its colourful, intuitive interface, you’ll get all the insights you need to drive more value for you and your clients – no matter which area of law you ply your trade in.

Overall Rating :

With a CRM service catering to practice areas from criminal law and conveyancing to immigration and intellectual property, you can be confident that the team behind Clio understands the unique pressures and pain points of your practice.

Clio pricing

Atypically for CRM software, Clio comes at a single per user, per month cost, rather than offering several ascending pricing plans. Clio will cost you £49 per user, per month (or £56 per user, per month if you select monthly, rather than annual, billing).

And you get plenty of features for your money, too, including:

  • Matter management
  • Online payments and billing
  • Xero, QuickBooks, and Microsoft Office 365 integration
  • Unlimited data storage
  • Legal calendaring

Pros:

  • Integrates seamlessly with G Suite, Outlook, Mailchimp and more
  • Highly-rated customer support
  • Tailor-made for law firms

X Cons:

  • Online reviews suggest that elements of the user experience (UX) could be improved

LegallyCRM

Best for firms on a shoestring budget

Riffing off the title of the 2001 megahit film Legally Blonde, LegallyCRM likely won’t provide as many laughs (or cringes) as the Reese Witherspoon vehicle. But what the up-and-coming Polish-based CRM provider will offer is affordable, no-frills CRM that – as the name suggests – is tailored solely to the requirements of the legal industry.

Overall Rating :

We'll admit – feature-wise, it's much more basic than the other CRM systems for law firms on this list. However, LegallyCRM negates this with generous data storage limits (you'll get a whopping 50GB with its most basic plan), as well as zero limits on the amount of users you can have accessing the system – a rarity when it comes to CRM.

LegallyCRM pricing

When it comes to pricing, only the very smallest of firms should think about opting for ‘LegallyBasic' –as the name implies, it'll be too simplistic for the needs of most lawyers.

That said, most small law firms should be well served by LegallyCRM's mid-range plan, LegallyMLM (£49 per month), which includes invoicing and billing, as well as specific modules for solicitors, consultants, and agents.

LegallyBasicLegallyMLMLegallyMLM and Marketing
$39 (£30) per month$65 (£49) per month$116 (£88) per month

Pros:

  • Sports a colourful interface reminiscent of monday.com's project management software
  • Easy to use

X Cons:

  • Marketing modules are only available with LegallyCRM's most expensive plan (£88 per month)
  • Customer support isn't UK-based (or phone-based)
  • Not as proven or as established in the CRM space as its competitors
Want to learn more about how monday.com can help you boss your workload, and take your projects to new heights? Try it free for 14 days.

Next steps

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a partner, an associate, or a paralegal – CRM software will improve the speed and efficiency of your work.

It’ll bring your remote teams closer together, and promote better, more open communication with your clients. And, by automating and simplifying key processes, it’ll free you up for what you’d rather be doing (which, presumably, is winning cases).

So let us help you find the best CRM solution for your law firm. Simply provide us with some details about your firm's requirements via our free quote-finding form. We’ll ask a couple of basic questions about the size of your team and practice, and match you with CRM suppliers that fit your needs. They'll then be in touch with you over the phone to offer their legal CRM expertise, and provide tailored quotes.


FAQs

What are the benefits of CRM for my law firm?

Prepare for those big meetings

CRM provides intelligent contact management, pulling records of all your client interactions into one place. Whether you last spoke on the phone, in a meeting, or via social media, it’s all there. Tap into your conversation history with ease, and never enter that meeting without everything you need to know (quite literally!) at your fingertips.

Prioritise client interactions

When you’ve got so much on your plate on a day-to-day basis, it’s easy to let big portions of your to-do list fall by the wayside.

A CRM system provides automatic reminders to help keep you on track – and lets you sort tasks by their immediate priority. This helps your customer service team handle issues with pace and professionalism, and ensures that you get more of the important stuff done, today.

Work from anywhere

Most CRM systems for law firms are cloud-based. That means that you – or anyone else in your team – can access the software from anywhere with an internet connection. You can log in and start work with ease, from your smartphone, tablet, or Apple Watch. This makes CRM software a great way to improve your team’s collaboration, while working from a beach in Mexico!*

*Or your home office.

Read more: The Best Cloud-Based CRM Software

Build better marketing campaigns

CRM systems enable you to craft good-looking, engaging emails. Using a CRM database, you can construct targeted bulk email marketing campaigns to get more out of your audience. With the right approach, you can re-engage those lapsed clients, bring in a whole new generation of business, and boost your bottom line to boot.

Read more: The Best Marketing CRM Software

Is there free CRM software for law firms?

Free CRM software is available. Freshworks CRM, Zoho, Insightly, and Bitrix24 all offer CRM pricing plans, completely gratis. However, there is a catch – that these plans come largely stripped of their best features.

Plus, you’ll almost always have to pay for any CRM system that comes as an industry-specific solution. And it makes sense, too – time has gone into creating an intelligent product that's designed to understand your business’ needs. Companies aren’t going to be giving it away!

Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.

The Best Cloud-Based CRMs in 2021

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 11 January 2021

Find out what cloud-based CRM is, and how it can help you manage your team, tasks, and communication from wherever you are in the world


Since you’re here, you’re probably pretty familiar with what a CRM (customer relationship management) system is – not to mention all the benefits it can bring to your business.

How about the term ‘cloud-based’, though? This term doesn’t have anything to do with the weather. But, when it comes to traversing time zones and facilitating smoother, speedier collaboration across remote teams and locations, cloud-based CRM certainly offers a ray of sunshine – particularly amid the stormy skies of COVID-19.

So what is cloud-based CRM, exactly, and what are its key advantages? Is it right for you, or would your business be better served by an on-premise solution?

We’ll look at all this, as well as reviewing and ranking our top 18 cloud-based CRM providers for small businesses. You can skip to the list here, or – if you’re short on time – cut straight to the chase and start comparing cloud-based CRM providers.

Simply provide us with a few details about your current setup and requirements, and you’ll hear from leading CRM suppliers, who'll be in touch with tailored quotes. Our quote-finding form takes just 30 seconds to complete, and is free for UK-based businesses.


What is cloud-based CRM?

Low (if any) up-front costs, then a monthly fee

Nothing to download or install

Industry-leading security assurances

Ideal for small businesses!

When CRM software is cloud-based, it means that your business’ information is hosted in the cloud – that is, on the servers of the company providing the CRM.

Essentially, it means that you’ll access the CRM through the internet, rather than from a system installed on a set of computers at your office. Rather than hosting all of your data (contact details, quotes, emails, interactions, and more) in-house – on servers owned, operated, and maintained by your business – you’ll essentially outsource this, letting the CRM provider do the grunt work for you.

Cloud-based is just one of three options when it comes to deploying your CRM system. There’s also on-premise (which we discuss below), as well as a hybrid system, which combines the best of both worlds… but at a hefty price.

As far as CRM for small businesses goes, we’ll always recommend cloud-based deployment. Read on to get to grips with our top 18 cloud-based CRM software suppliers.


The best cloud-based CRM for small business

Now you’ve decided that cloud-based CRM is the best avenue for your business, it’s time to pick the right provider. And, because you’re busy running that business, we’ve made it simple to make the right choice. 

We looked at a range of key suppliers in the CRM space; rating, reviewing, and ranking them based on several factors crucial to small businesses. These include task tracking and scheduling, workflow management, a group calendar, and effective external communication features – essentially, anything that can improve the efficiency and ease with which your team collaborates.

Here are the top cloud-based CRM providers, according to our data:

Salesforce

Like its logo, Salesforce is fully cloud-based. It also just happens to be CRM's biggest name, with almost one-fifth of the market share, and a slick app that makes remote work a breeze. Businesses with more demanding reporting requirements should plump for Salesforce's add-on analytical module, Einstein Analytics – as far as CRM systems go, it doesn't get any better.

HubSpot

Excellent email marketing capabilities and an impressive free plan elevate HubSpot's completely cloud-based CRM software above most of the competition.

Zendesk

Zendesk makes up for its lack of an offering for marketing teams with dynamic, cloud-based CRM software designed to help sales and customer service teams smash their targets.

Freshworks CRM

Synergising a stylish, refreshing interface with strong customer support, Freshworks CRM (formerly Freshsales) boasts an entirely cloud-based CRM solution that also manages to deliver that quality small businesses crave so dearly – affordability! Learn more about how much one of Freshworks CRM's plans can help you save with our complete guide to CRM software costs, updated for 2021.

Dynamics 365

At the other end of the pricing scale sits Microsoft's own foray into the overcrowded (over-clouded?) cloud-based CRM space. For the extra outlay, Dynamics 365 offers granular insights into your business' key sales and service metrics – and its product for marketing teams is simply phenomenal.

SugarCRM

With no arbitary usage limits on contacts or users, and a completely bespoke approach to catering to your business, SugarCRM is cloud-based software at its most tailored.

Zoho

For highly affordable, clean-looking cloud-based CRM that your Grandma could use, make Zoho your top pick. It won't help you stun stakeholders or boardrooms with in-depth analysis or mind-blowing reports, but it has a free version (or a free 15-day trial, if that suits you better) – and small businesses could easily do a lot worse.

monday.com

Tiptoeing the line between a more basic project management tool and an advanced, fully-fledged CRM, monday.com's cloud-based solution will, nevertheless, get the job done. With a unique, colour-coded layout that’s easy to manipulate and filter (not to mention interpret!), it's a pleasure to use, too.

Insightly

Like monday.com, Insightly's cloud-based CRM software prioritises style over substance, with an engaging set of dashboards that brings your data to life. Yet, predictably, Insightly's vibrant interface comes at the expense of the more developed, well-rounded set of features you see with the likes of Salesforce and HubSpot.

Maximizer

Maximizer offers both on-premise and cloud-based CRM variants, as well as an even more flexible hybrid solution. Though its interface is a little dated (and the user experience could certainly use a scrub up), Maximizer still sports strong sales forecasting and deal management features to give your sales team a boost.

Sage

With a suite of business services ranging from accounting software to accepting payments online, Sage's cloud-based CRM software is an equally accomplished entry into the arena. Sage is perfectly capable (if a little clunky) CRM software, though it suffers from a marked lack of transparency when it comes to its pricing plans. On-premise deployment is also available.

Copper

The only CRM software made for Google (and highly recommended by them), Copper integrates natively with Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Chrome, and everything else with a big, multi-coloured ‘G' on its branding.

webCRM

With a clean, stripped-back interface, intuitive mobile app, and high levels of usability, Danish cloud-based CRM software company webCRM serves up a satisfying blend of hygge and productivity.

Nimble

Offering seamless integration with Office 365 and Dynamics 365 (remember that one?) Nimble's versatility makes up for the somewhat cumbersome nature of its central dashboard.

Pipedrive

Powered by the extreme simplicity and visual splendour of a colourful, drag-and-drop pipeline builder, Pipedrive is more than just cloud-based CRM. It's silky, satisfying software that'll help you close deals, turn your site's users into leads, and handle service issues with speed and savviness… and it's downright fun to use, too!

Really Simple Systems

What's in a name? With Really Simple Systems… well, everything. Its cloud-based CRM software is easy to get to grips with, easy to get the most out of, and offers a passable free version, too – though we wouldn't recommend it to anyone other than very small businesses.

Sendinblue

With a free version and a range of affordable pricing plans, Sendinblue is your marketing team's ticket to quicker, more effective, and more well-optimised campaigns. Its highly user-friendly (and cloud-based!) interface will have you not only crafting beautiful, persuasive marketing communications, but A/B testing, customising, and targeting like a pro, too.

Apptivo

Another startlingly good entry into the cloud-based CRM canon, Apptivo is also notable for being extremely affordable. You can get your hands on it for just $8 (£6) per user, per month. And, unlike many of its competitors, Apptivo's basic plan doesn't skimp on the necessary functionality – you'll get 1,000 mass email sends per user, per month, generous data storage limits, and 2,000 API (Application Programming Interface) calls, too. Customer support is included.

Eighteen providers... but which one's right for your business?
Compare quotes from leading cloud-based CRM suppliers
Do you already use CRM software? YES NO

What are the advantages of cloud-based CRM?

It’s simple.

Unlike with on-premise systems, cloud-based software does away with laborious implementation processes. There’s no elaborate software to download or install, and you won’t have to actually host your business’ data on physical servers at your office.

That means no faffing around with routers, cables, storage devices… you get the picture. Plus, the lack of actual equipment you’ll have to store on your premises frees up physical space, allowing you to expand your team… and maybe finally get that coffee machine the sales team have been pining for.

With cloud-based CRM, you just open up your browser, log in, and start working.

It’s collaborative.

That leads us to the next of cloud-based CRM’s key strengths – how seamlessly it facilitates team collaboration across multiple locations and time zones. 

Cloud-based software updates in real-time. If you close a deal at 10am, your boss knows about it by 10:01. Plus, because you can save records of conversations (whether they took place via email, telephone, or social media) directly within the CRM, it’s easy to know who’s dealing with specific clients and requests, and avoid your sales and customer service agents treading on each other’s toes. 

What cloud-based CRM also serves to do is remove the issues that ‘data siloing’ can have on your team’s effectiveness. There’s no information locked away in desk drawers or archaic email threads, and no important contact details buried in old, forgotten stacks of notebooks.

Nope – just everything in a single, centralised location, accessible in a click.

It’s mobile.

Why wait until you get into the office to check on the status of your latest big deal, or survey the health of your pipeline?

Cloud-based CRM is fully mobile. Most providers offer an app, which allows you to view and update information within the CRM in real-time. Again, there’s nothing to download or install, and no expensive or clunky tech to lug around.

It’s not ideal for your work-life balance, sure… but productivity-wise, it’s a dream!

It’s secure.

Ask any business owner why they’re yet to make the jump to the cloud, and they’ll most likely cite data security as the reason. After all, unlike with an on-premise solution, your data isn’t stored on servers located at your own place of business – rather, it’s hosted by your chosen cloud-based CRM provider.

So is there veracity to the claim that cloud-based systems aren’t safe?

In truth, there’s not. Considering how much it actually costs to ensure an on-premise system is secure – a price tag that’s probably beyond the budgets of most small businesses – it’s actually safer to go with a cloud-based service. Why?

Well, CRM providers utilise the finest in data encryption, ensuring that your business’ details are immune from cyber attacks. Cloud-based CRM companies also boast automatic data recovery features, as well as two-factor authentication – helping you stay safe, while remaining completely GDPR-compliant.

It’s affordable.

Cloud-based CRM all but eliminates the costs associated with implementation, installation, data migration, and maintenance. When you choose a cloud-based system, you also won’t pay any significant upfront CRM software costs – rather, you’ll pay only a monthly licence fee to use the service. 

What this licence fee actually comes to will depend on several things – the features you require, the number of users that’ll need access to the software, and, of course, which cloud-based CRM software provider you choose for your business.

And as you already know, picking the right cloud-based CRM provider is easier said than done. So, to get an idea of how much a cloud-based CRM solution that’s tailored to your team will cost, let us help.

Simply tell us your requirements – that is, the amount of people that’ll require access to the system, and the specific features (if any) you’ll need. We’ll then work to match you with leading cloud-based CRM providers, who’ll be in touch with quotes tailored to your company. The form itself takes around 30 seconds to fill in, and it’s free for UK-based businesses.


What is on-premise CRM?

Large initial outlay, then few ongoing costs

Customisable… very customisable

Offers more operational control and visibility, with less reliance on the internet

Ideal for larger businesses

On-premise CRM (also known as ‘self-hosted CRM’) is the main alternative to cloud-based varieties. It’s a form of software deployment that means that, rather than being stored ‘in the cloud’, your company’s data is stored on your own servers.

Our research indicates that the best on-premise CRM software comes from SugarCRM, Maximizer, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and Salesforce.

To compare these systems, and explore the more advanced features that they have to offer businesses, head over to our guide to the best analytical CRM software for UK businesses.

What are the advantages of on-premise CRM?

It’s cheaper in the long run.

On-premise systems are usually charged from the get go, in the form of a lump sum. There are other ongoing costs, sure – you’ll still have to pay somebody to maintain the system, and fix any glitches or bugs that might develop over time – but that initial outlay is the most significant.

On-premise systems also aren’t great for cash flow – for most small businesses, it’s more convenient to pay a monthly fee, rather than fork out thousands of pounds in the first instance. As a general rule, however, on-premise systems will usually work out cheaper than their cloud-based counterparts over time.

It’s customisable.

Unlike cloud-based CRM, on-premise versions typically come with source code access. This means that – providing you have the team or the tech know-how to pull it off – you can customise an on-premise CRM to your heart’s content.

It offers more visibility and control

Sure, on-premise systems aren’t necessarily more secure when it comes to data, and setup is a more time-consuming process than with a cloud-based system. 

This notwithstanding, an on-premise option still offers greater visibility and control over the entire implementation process. From security and setup to data and user rights, you’ll enjoy greater ownership over how your CRM looks, as well as how and where it can be used – allowing you to stay compliant with the laws and regulations of different countries.

It’s less reliant on the internet.

While cloud-based CRM software derives much of its flexibility from the internet, the downside is that it’s reliant on it. If your internet goes kaput, you can be confident that your cloud-based CRM is going down with it.

On-premise systems, however, are more robust to fluctuations in your connectivity, leaving you less at the mercy of your internet service provider.

Cloud-based vs on-premise CRM: Which one's right for you?
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Do you already use CRM software? YES NO

Next steps

Cloud-based CRM is an essential tool for managing and engaging your client base, and nurturing those all-important customer relationships. And what’s more, 87% of businesses (and counting!) now use a cloud-based CRM solution. That’s… a lot. 

Can you afford to be part of the 13% getting left behind?

If the answer is no, let us give you a hand. Take a minute to provide us with some details about your team’s requirements. It’s free for UK-based businesses, and when you’re all done, we’ll match you with the cloud-based CRM providers best-poised to help you scale. They'll then be in touch with tailored, no-obligation quotes.


How we analyse and rate CRM software providers

At Expert Market, it’s our aim to provide you with the most accurate, up-to-date, and transparent product and service reviews possible. So, to help you better understand the best CRM software options out there, we’ve conducted in-depth, extensive research into the CRM software market and its top companies.

Here’s how we did it:

Independent researchers

We worked with three independent researchers to rate eight different CRM systems over a total of 40+ hours. This included five separate varieties of CRM software, as well as more than 61 specific features. Using a bespoke, industry-style algorithm, we rated each provider across four key metrics.

Ratings

  • Help and support: we assessed the level of customer support (such as email, phone, or live chat), as well as its availability (24/7, or weekdays only?), to provide a weighted score for each CRM supplier.
  • Affordability: our affordability algorithm took into account the cost of CRM ownership over 12 months – based on the average buyer – as well as factors such as free trials and money-back guarantees.
  • Features: we assessed each supplier on five specific features per type of CRM. We then weighted these scores, and translated them into a point value system. This allowed us to form accurate ratings for each CRM provider, broken down by the industry it best serves.
  • Customer approval: we assigned each provider a ‘customer score’, which involved seeking opinions from within the community, as well as feeding data aggregated from online sources into a unique algorithm. This allowed us to calculate overall customer approval scores for each CRM supplier, in real time.

survey

We take the integrity of our research seriously. If you’ve got any questions at all about our research process, feel free to get in touch with Rob, our CRM specialist, at rob.binns@expertmarket.co.uk.

Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.

The Best CRMs for Customer Service in 2021

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 11 January 2021

We’ve researched, ranked, and rated the six best customer service CRM software solutions for UK businesses. Find yours today, and compare tailored quotes from suppliers


Salesforce logo whiteZendesk logo whiteFreshworks logo whiteHubSpot logo white newZoho logo whiteDynamics 365 logo white
Customer service CRM supplierSalesforceZendeskFreshdeskHubSpotZohoDynamics 365
Starting price*£20£5£11£33.60£10£39
Highest price*£240£149£75£990£40£75
Issue management capabilities£
Customer interaction trackingX
Customer loyalty tracking£XXX
Customer history
Compare customer service CRM quotes

* Per user, per month


We’ve all been there. Stuck on hold, getting bounced from one customer service agent to another, trying to resolve an issue. When you finally do get to speak to a real person, they’re clueless to your situation, and you have to explain everything again.

It’s bad customer service, and you don’t want it happening at your business.

Enter customer service CRM (customer relationship management) software. With it, you’ll turn your agents into lean, mean service machines. No more spreadsheets, no more notebooks, and no more data silos – just a system that unifies communication across your email, social media, and phone channels, and helps you prioritise, organise, and handle customer service issues with aplomb.

But which CRM is the right fit for your business? We’ve researched, rated, and ranked six leading customer service CRM providers in the UK to answer that very question for you. With a team of independent researchers, we assessed each CRM provider across four key metrics, as well as four features crucial to the smooth running of your service team. Which supplier came out on top?

Let’s find out.


The best customer service CRM for UK businesses in 2021

According to our research, the best CRM for customer service teams is Salesforce Service Cloud. Comprising the rest of the top six is Zendesk Support, Freshworks CRM’s Freshdesk, HubSpot Service Hub, Zoho, and Dynamics 365 for Customer Service.

But before you dive into our research and rankings of the best CRM software for UK customer service teams, why not compare CRM software quotes with us? Simply provide us with a few details about your business, and you’ll receive quotes tailored to the size and unique needs of your customer service team, for free.


1. Salesforce Service Cloud

As our top CRM pick for customer service, Salesforce (somewhat predictably) cleans up across the board for customer approval ratings, features, and help and support. And, while it scores slightly lower on price – its expensive premium plans see to that – its basic plan should still be accessible for most small businesses.

As well as topping our list of the best sales CRM software, Salesforce also bosses our rankings for customer service CRM. Built on the pioneering Salesforce Customer Success Platform, Service Cloud is an industry-leading customer engagement tool for businesses of all sizes. From streamlining key processes to creating automated workflows, Salesforce Service Cloud frees your team up to do what they do best – provide world-beating customer service.

Starting price£20 per user, per month
Highest price£240 per user, per month
Customer supportLive chat, phone (24/7), email, knowledge centre
Data storage limitN/A
Contact limitN/A
Free trial?30-day free trial

Salesforce Service Cloud for customer service: feature analysis

We investigated whether each supplier offers the five following features that are important for customer service CRMs, and how well it can do them.

Issue management capabilities? Salesforce boasts strong case and issue management functionalities across all plans. 

Upgrading to Salesforce’s more expensive tiers (i.e. Enterprise or Unlimited) provides advanced issue management functionality, including case re-routing and case milestone tracking. All plans enable quick, seamless communication between your customer service agents.

Customer interaction tracking? Yes.

Customer loyalty tracking? Yes.

Customer history? Yes. Salesforce Service Cloud’s ‘Field Tracking History’ capability allows you to track any field changes to accounts, cases, and service contracts over the last 18 months. This ensures that you keep your finger on the pulse regarding any changes in your customers’ situations or details, and can react accordingly.

To find out more about what these features do – and how they can benefit your business – jump to our section titled ‘How CRM can improve customer service‘ below.

We rated all six customer service CRM providers on their ability to deliver the four features above. For more information about what these features are – and why they're so essential to the smooth running of your customer service team – head to our section ‘How can CRM improve customer service‘ below.

Pros:

  • 24/7 phone-based support available
  • Case re-routing and case milestone tracking included as standard
  • No data storage or contact limits

X Cons:

  • Can be complicated to set up and use, and onboarding support is recommended

Curious to find out more about how Salesforce can elevate your business to new heights? Read our Salesforce CRM review now.


2. Zendesk Support

A classy customer service CRM tailored to the needs of small teams, Zendesk Support soars in the metrics of both help and support and price, and boasts a strong weighted customer approval score of 85%.

With seamless social media and channel integration, a slick ticket prioritisation tool, and a multilingual interface that allows agents to work in their own language, Zendesk Support is a top pick for customer service teams. It’s great value, too, with packages starting from a mere £5 per user, per month, and plenty of data storage thrown in.

Starting price£5 per user, per month
Highest price£149 per user, per month
Customer supportLive chat, phone, email, knowledge centre
Data storage limit30MB to 200MB per agent (data), 500MB to 10GB per agent (files); dependent on plan
Contact limitN/A
Free trial?Free 30-day trial

Zendesk Support for customer service: feature analysis

Issue management capabilities? Included as part of Zendesk’s ticketing system.

Customer interaction tracking? Yes, across all plans.

Customer loyalty tracking? Yes – Zendesk allows you to generate NPS surveys to gauge customer engagement with and loyalty to your brand.

Customer history? Yes.

Pros:

  • Offers over 500 integrations via Zendesk Marketplace
  • ‘Guided mode’ feature lines up tickets for your staff to work through, helping prevent task ‘cherry-picking’

X Cons:

  • As with most customer service CRM software, you’ll have to shell out more for the premium features

3. Freshdesk

Freshdesk (from Freshworks CRM) is our joint-top customer service CRM pick for price, but its limited features prevent it from reaching the heady heights of our list’s summit. Freshdesk still boasts a strong customer approval score, though, and its help and support is among the best we found.

Though Freshdesk doesn’t boast as many features as Salesforce, it’s much more accessible in terms of pricing (which starts at £11 per user, per month). It’s also one of the most fun customer service CRM systems to use. You can create tickets in a flash, easily prioritise conversations by urgency or date, and organise support requests by the channel they came in from. It’s no wonder its customers love it so much!

Starting price£11 per user, per month (when billed annually – expect to pay 30 to 40% more on a monthly plan) (free version available)
Highest price£75 per user, per month (when billed annually – expect to pay 30 to 40% more on a monthly plan)
Customer supportLive chat (24/5), phone (24/5), email, knowledge centre
Data storage limitN/A
Contact limitN/A
Free trial?Free version and 21-day free trial available

Freshdesk for customer service: feature analysis

Issue management capabilities? Freshdesk enables excellent issue management across all plans. Key highlights include its priority setting feature, split ticket functionality, and (for those on the Garden plan up) the ability to create customised satisfaction surveys to monitor progress against your customer service goals.

We particularly love ‘Freddy', Freshdesk's AI-powered solution to managing customer success, and ideal for tackling your ever-growing list of repetitive, mundane tasks. The productivity-boosting bot comes with Freshdesk's ‘Forest' plan (£75 per user, per month), which provides 3,000 ‘Freddy sessions'.

Each session equals one use of the bot (one email send, or 24 hours of chat replies). When you max out, an extra 1,000 sessions will cost you $100 (£77). Not to be confused with ‘Freddo', of the delicious, chocolatey variety – but just as good at keeping people happy!

Customer interaction tracking? Yes, across all plans – even its free one!

Customer loyalty tracking? Freshdesk’s Garden plan and above enable you to integrate your CRM with Survey Monkey – letting you capture overall customer loyalty and track NPS scores.

Customer history? Yes.

Pros:

  • Sports an excellent free plan, with features spread out across all pricing tiers
  • Solid customer support, with round-the-clock service included as standard

X Cons:

  • You’ll pay up to 40% more to be billed monthly
Want to increase the speed and efficiency of your team's customer service?
Answer the question below to start telling us about your requirements
Do you already use CRM software? YES NO

4. HubSpot Service Hub

Though HubSpot excels in its CRM offerings for sales and marketing teams, its customer service-focussed software doesn’t quite hit those same lofty heights. Hamstrung by a more limited range of features and a hefty price tag, HubSpot’s Service Hub is redeemed by wonderful help and support, and superlative customer approval ratings.

Many customer service CRM providers do automation well, but HubSpot Service Cloud takes it to a new level entirely. Its conversational bots do the talking for you, while a live chat feature enables you to work out issues in real-time, via your website. What’s more, HubSpot’s a pleasure to use – its stripped-back, modern look and feel makes it easy to get to grips with, and there’s phone-based support if you get stuck.

Starting price£33.60 (when billed annually – expect to pay around 25% more on a monthly plan) (free version available)

Are you a startup? You might be eligible for 90% off, with HubSpot’s ‘HubSpot for Startups’ program.

Highest price£990 (10 user minimum)
Customer supportLive chat, phone, email, knowledge centre
Data storage limitN/A
Contact limitN/A
Free trial?Free version

HubSpot Service Hub for customer service: feature analysis

Issue management capabilities? Yes – these are included as part of HubSpot’s ticketing system. With this feature, you can record, organise, and track all of your customers' issues from a single dashboard, which is accessible to your entire team via the cloud.

Customer interaction tracking? No.

Customer loyalty tracking? No, but Service Hub’s Professional and Enterprise plans allow you to run NPS surveys to calculate overall customer loyalty.

Customer history? Yes.

What do we mean by ‘the cloud'? Head to our guide to the best cloud-based CRM for small businesses to find out.

Pros:

  • Offers intelligent in-built reporting tools for measuring performance
  • Laudable customer support

X Cons:

  • Expensive upper pricing tier
  • No customer loyalty or interaction tracking
Did You Know?

HubSpot also ranks highly on our list of the best CRM systems for small businesses. Why not take a look?


5. Zoho

A poor customer score, so-so features, and help and support ratings that lie at the wrong end of the spectrum are offset by Zoho’s biggest selling point – it’s really, really cheap!

As with its products for sales and marketing teams, Zoho’s customer service CRM lacks the same depth of features as the Salesforces and HubSpots of this world. However, Zoho makes up for its shortcomings with a low starting price of just £10 per user, per month, an intuitive interface, and a generous free version. Sure, you won’t get much in the way of customer service analytics here – but for all the basic stuff, Zoho should suffice.

Starting price£10 per user, per month (free version available)
Highest price£40 per user, per month
Customer supportLive chat, phone, email, knowledge centre
Data storage5,000 records (10MB) to 5,000,000 records (10GB)
Contact limitDepends on the type of correspondence
Free trial?Free version available

Zoho for customer service: feature analysis

Issue management capabilities? Yes. Zoho even allows you to create solutions whereby the system tracks issues automatically, and uses the customer’s initial query to populate the relevant fields when replying.

Customer interaction tracking? Yes.

Customer loyalty tracking? No.

Customer history? Yes.

Pros:

  • Boasts an interface that’s as easy to use as it is on the wallet
  • Purchasing an annual subscription gets you a 20% discount

X Cons:

  • No customer loyalty tracking
  • Too simplistic for the customer service demands of larger teams

6. Dynamics 365 for Customer Service

Bringing up the rear is Microsoft’s own answer to the CRM needs of customer service teams. Though much more affordable than its solutions for sales and marketing, this saving is reflected in Dynamics 365 for Customer Service’s scaled back list of features, and indifferent help and support.

Normally renowned for its big data, analytics-focussed approach to CRM, Dynamics 365’s offering for customer service teams is surprisingly light on features. There’s no loyalty tracking capability, while the interface – tough to use and void of visual flair – ails from an ironic lack of dynamism. Still, it’s cheap. And, if you’re a Microsoft lover looking for a way into a system that’s normally beyond the budgets of most businesses, Dynamics 365 for Customer Service might just be the software for you.

Starting price$50 (£39) per user, per month
Highest price$95 (£75) per user, per month
Customer supportPhone, email, knowledge centre
Data storage limitN/A
Contact limit100,000 cases per month
Free trial?Free trial available

Dynamics 365 for customer service: feature analysis

Issue management capabilities? Yes, and all basic case management features are included. Among our favourites are case re-routing, and the ability to convert service issues into knowledge articles.

Customer interaction tracking? Yes.

Customer loyalty tracking? No. Dynamics 365 for Customer Service currently offers no way of keeping tabs of individual loyalty to your brand. 

Customer history? Yes.

Pros:

  • Cloud-based, but with on-premise options available
  • Reasonable pricing range

X Cons:

  • No live chat support
  • No customer loyalty tracking capability

How can CRM improve customer service?

In addition to the basics (customer support, price, contact limit, and whether there’s a free trial), the best customer service CRM providers below are ranked by their ability to perform the following four crucial functions:

Handily, these functions also serve as an excellent example of how CRM can improve your business’ customer service. Let’s take a look.

Issue management capabilities

When customer service issues arise – and no business is perfect, so rest assured they will – you’ve got to respond with speed and professionalism.

And, with customer service CRM, you can. CRM software allows you to create ‘tickets’, with which you can record, organise, and track any issues that have been reported to your team. Using a simple drag-and-drop queue, you can keep tabs on the status of each issue, and easily spot links between different cases.

You can also prioritise issues, and assign team members to specific ones – thus increasing the accountability of your team, and ensuring that cases are resolved with greater efficiency.

Customer interaction tracking

As with CRM for sales and marketing – where tracking customer interactions helps you sell to them – CRM for customer service allows you to monitor how and where your client base is interacting with your brand.

Is that through social media? Do your customers prefer to get in touch via email, or would they rather pick up the phone and give you a call? Tracking your customers’ interactions with your brand helps you understand their preferences, and empowers you to tailor how you deliver your service going forward.

Customer loyalty tracking

Acquiring new customers is all well and good… but the real business is in retaining them.

It’s cheaper, for one. Plus, statistics show that your probability of converting an existing customer is around 60% to 70% – with new customers, that figure is as low as 5%.

Given this, engendering customer loyalty to your brand and services becomes even more crucial – as does being able to accurately track it.

CRM allows you to gain invaluable insights into your business, courtesy of your customers themselves. From directly within the CRM, you can reach out to your client base with surveys and feedback requests, allowing you to better understand your business’ NPS (Net Promoter Score), and how it’s impacting on your bottom line.

Customer history

A key benefit of customer service CRM is being able to build up a rich, detailed history of each interaction you have with your customers. 

Having a comprehensive record of what conversations you’ve had – and whether they took place via phone, email, or social media – allows you to better understand the customer, and where they are in their journey with your business.

Plus, when your team grows beyond a certain size, having a customer history database isn’t just a plus – it’s a necessity. When one service agent picks up the phone, it won’t always be the same one that the caller dealt with last time – so it’s important that they have all the info they need to handle the new enquiry, right at their fingertips.


Next steps

Though we’ve ranked these six customer service CRM suppliers based on their features, help and support, customer approval ratings, and price, there’s still more research to do to find the right system for you. 

And ultimately, the system you choose will be defined by the unique requirements and restrictions of your own business.

Bargain hunter? Go for Zendesk Support, or – at a stretch – Zoho.

Hung up on the aesthetics? HubSpot Service Hub is your best bet, while Freshdesk also provides a high level of usability with fewer costs.

Dynamics 365 is for the hardcore Microsoft fans only, while Salesforce Service Cloud, as our top pick, is recommended for all.

Remember, which customer service CRM is best for you always comes down to the bespoke needs of your team. And that, in turn, is why we always take your needs into account when you use our free quote-finding service.

Simply tell us what CRM features you want, how many people it’s for, and what (if any) contact management software you’re already using. We’ll do the rest, and you’ll be contacted with tailored quotes from leading CRM software suppliers. It’s that easy!


How we analyse and rate CRM software providers

At Expert Market, it’s our aim to provide you with the most accurate, up-to-date, and transparent product and service reviews possible. So, to help you better understand the best CRM software options out there, we’ve conducted in-depth, extensive research into the CRM software market and its top companies.

Here’s how we did it:

Independent researchers

We worked with three independent researchers to rate eight different CRM systems over a total of 40+ hours. This included five separate varieties of CRM software, as well as more than 61 specific features. Using a bespoke, industry-style algorithm, we rated each provider across four key metrics.

Ratings

  • Help and support: we assessed the level of customer support (such as email, phone, or live chat), as well as its availability (24/7, or weekdays only?), to provide a weighted score for each CRM supplier.
  • Affordability: our affordability algorithm took into account the cost of CRM ownership over 12 months – based on the average buyer – as well as factors such as free trials and money-back guarantees.
  • Features: we assessed each supplier on five specific features per type of CRM. We then weighted these scores, and translated them into a point value system. This allowed us to form accurate ratings for each CRM provider, broken down by the industry it best serves.
  • Customer approval: we assigned each provider a ‘customer score’, which involved seeking opinions from within the community, as well as feeding data aggregated from online sources into a unique algorithm. This allowed us to calculate overall customer approval scores for each CRM supplier, in real time.

survey

We take the integrity of our research seriously. If you’ve got any questions at all about our research process, feel free to get in touch with Rob, our CRM specialist, at rob.binns@expertmarket.co.uk.

Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.

The 7 Best CRM Software for Marketing in 2021

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 11 January 2021

We’ve researched, ranked, and rated the seven best marketing CRM systems for UK businesses. 


HubSpot logo white newSalesforce logo whiteFreshworks logo whiteDynamics 365 logo whiteZoho logo whiteSugarCRM logo whitemonday.com logo white
Marketing CRM supplierHubSpotSalesforceFreshworks CRMDynamics 365ZohoSugar Marketmonday.com
Monthly pricing from£33.60£320£15£1,192£10£1,000£35
Contact limit1,000 to 10,000None1,000 to 25,00010,000?**10,000N/A
Daily email send limit?*5,0005,00010x your contact quota250 to 1,000?*?*
Web forms
Campaign designX
Batch email marketing£
Email tracking£X
Customer targetingX
Compare marketing CRM quotes
* Determined by email service provider.

**Dependent on correspondence type.

= The product supports this feature

£ = The product can support this feature, though an additional integration with a third-party service may be required

X = The product does not support this feature


Marketing has never been particularly easy. Even the idea of it is almost crazy – sending unsolicited messages to people you don’t know, enticing them not only to open your email, but to read it, click it, and (hopefully!) end up making a purchase.

Nope, marketing has never been easy at all. Unless, that is, you’re using the right CRM software.

Good marketing CRM software enables you to target customers with campaigns tailored to their tastes and habits. You can create forms to capture leads on your website, and turn browsers into sales-ready leads. Better still, you'll be able craft sequences of stunning emails, and send them in bulk to a custom audience – then monitor their performance to optimise future campaigns.

So, which marketing CRM is right for your business? Let’s find out.


Best marketing CRM for UK businesses in 2021

According to our research, the best CRM for marketing teams is HubSpot Marketing Hub. Making up the rest of the top seven are Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Freshworks CRM Marketing Cloud, Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing, Zoho, SugarCRM’s Sugar Market, and monday.com.

How did we decide, exactly? Jump to our methodology to find out.

Before you lose yourself in our research into the best marketing CRM providers in the UK, why not compare CRM software quotes with us? Simply provide us with a few details about your business, and you’ll receive quotes tailored to the size and unique needs of your marketing team. It takes 30 seconds, and it’s free.

1. HubSpot Marketing Hub

With full marks for features and a superlative 93% customer approval rating, HubSpot is our top CRM pick for marketing teams. Also registering strong help and support scores, HubSpot is only let down by its price point, which reaches a hefty maximum of £2,624.

When it comes to engineering effective marketing, HubSpot can’t be topped. Its impressive free version allows you to connect the CRM system to your Facebook Ads account, and engage with your open, click, and bounce metrics. Upgrading can be expensive, sure – but it’ll also unlock HubSpot’s powerful marketing automation tools, and let you drill down into the sources of traffic to your website.

Check out HubSpot's Pricing
Starting price£33.60 per month for up to 1,000 contacts (when billed annually. Expect to pay around 25% more on a monthly plan) (free version available)
Highest price£2,624 per month for up to 10,000 contacts
Customer supportLive chat, phone, email, knowledge centre
Contact limit1,000 to 10,000
Free trial?Free version

HubSpot Marketing Hub for marketing teams: feature analysis

We investigated whether each supplier offers the five following features that are important for marketing CRMs, and how well it can do them.

Web forms? Yes.

Campaign design? Yes, on HubSpot’s Pro plan and above.

Batch email marketing? Yes, although the number of emails you’re permitted to send per day will be determined by the email server you’re using. Handily, HubSpot alerts you when you’re near your daily limit, allowing you to reschedule any overspill to a day when there’s less on.

Email tracking? This feature is available across all of HubSpot Marketing Hub’s plans.

Customer targeting? Yes.

To find out more about what these features do – and how they can benefit your business – jump to our section titled ‘How we rated the best marketing CRM software‘ below.

Pros:

  • Offers an intuitive, aesthetically-pleasing interface
  • Integrated analytics let you measure the ROI of your content campaigns

X Cons:

  • As the features add up, so too do the costs… quickly!

2. Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Though registering strong ratings across the board for features, customer approval, and help and support, Salesforce suffers from a complicated, expensive pricing structure that may exclude marketing teams with more modest budgets.

We always recommend Salesforce. With its industry-leading set of AI-powered analytics, and a huge range of cross-channel marketing integrations, it’s… hard not to! Of course, all that functionality doesn’t come cheap. Salesforce is one of the most expensive products around, and its CRM for email marketing doesn’t exactly buck the trend. This one’s for more established marketing teams, only.

Compare Marketing CRM Quotes
Starting price*£320 per month for email, mobile, and web

£1,000 per month for B2B marketing

Highest price£3,200 per month
Customer supportLive chat, phone (24/7), email, knowledge centre
Contact limitTechnically none, though this is governed by total storage capacity (10,000 contact maximum recommended)
Free trial?None

*Let’s talk pricing. There are many elements that make up the special case that is Salesforce’s marketing product. Each module is priced individually, so the total cost could, theoretically, be any combination of prices.

Basically, Salesforce is a system offering huge scope for your marketing team… but at an equally hefty price!

Salesforce Marketing Cloud for marketing teams: feature analysis

Web forms? Yes.

Campaign design? Yes – all of Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s plans include a drag-and-drop email builder for marketing campaigns.

Batch email marketing? Yes, however, Salesforce limits you to 5,000 email sends per day, per account. It doesn’t exclude duplicate email addresses, either – so you’ll need to make sure your mailing lists are ‘clean’ before launching your next campaign, in order to avoid wasted sends.

Email tracking? You can activate tracking for emails across all of Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s plans.

Customer targeting? Yes.

Pros:

  • Unlimited contact storage
  • Along with HubSpot, it’s the most feature-rich marketing CRM on the market

X Cons:

  • 24/7 phone support is only available with the more expensive plans
Did You Know?

On top of being our runner-up for marketing teams, Salesforce beat out the seven other software providers we researched to be crowned our top CRM system for small businesses.


3. Freshworks CRM Marketing Cloud

Starting at an accessible £39 per month, Freshworks CRM Marketing Cloud (formerly Freshmarketer) also boasts some of the finest help and support of all the marketing CRM systems we looked at. It sports the third-highest customer approval scores, too, though its more modest array of features prevents it from an assault on the top two.

Spearheaded by a wonderful UI (user interface) and 24/5 phone support, Freshworks CRM Marketing Cloud is a top pick for growing marketing teams. It also sits firmly on the affordable end of the shelf – particularly when compared to Salesforce. However, be warned – Freshworks CRM's free plan drastically caps key features, and we recommend upgrading to get the most out of its tidy automation and acquisition tools.

Starting price£15 per month for the Growth plan (free version available)
Highest price£79 for the Enterprise plan
Customer supportLive chat (24/5), phone (24/5), email, knowledge centre
Contact limit500 contacts per plan
Free trial?Free version and free 21-day trial available

Freshworks CRM Marketing Cloud for marketing teams: feature analysis

Web forms? Yes.

Campaign design? A basic email builder is available with Freshworks CRM’s free version, though this grows to a more sophisticated drag-and-drop composer when you upgrade to the paid packages.

Batch email marketing? Yes. Though Gmail and Outlook cap your daily send totals at 300 emails, Freshworks CRM uses its own servers to deliver batches beyond those limits. How much you’re entitled to depends on the plan you select.

Email tracking? Available across all Freshworks CRM's plans, but you’ll need Freshworks CRM Sales Cloud – Freshworks CRM's tailored module for sales teams – to benefit.

If you know you'll be requiring both sales and marketing features, though, you can opt for Freshworks CRM's ‘Customer-for-Life Cloud‘. It combines the best of Freshworks CRM's sales and marketing automation features with chat and telephony, combining everything your business needs into a single, convenient, and affordable package.

Try Freshworks CRM's Customer-for-Life Cloud today – it's free for 21 days

Customer targeting? Freshworks CRM Marketing Cloud offers this functionality, though the level of granularity with which you can target specific customers depends on how much you’re willing to spend.

Basic lists and segments are available with the Growth plan, allowing you to organise your audience based on email activity, contact fields, lists, and journeys.

The more pricey Pro plan, however, allows for more complex targeting. This feature leverages behavioural analysis, enabling you to target customers based on their movement throughout your site, such as cart abandonment.

Pros:

  • The free plan includes 500 contacts and some conversion optimisation features
  • A dedicated account manager is only available with the most expensive plan

X Cons:

  • Expect to pay between 30% and 40% more if you choose monthly billing
Compare marketing CRM software suppliers, for free Request quotes now

4. Dynamics 365 for Marketing

Dynamics 365 registers middle-of-the-road scores across all of our metrics – so it’s fitting that it’s also smack bang in the centre of this list. Solid scores for features and help and support are matched by a good customer approval rating, though its fixed £1,192 price will be a bridge too far for many marketing departments.

Though it offers some of the finest analytical CRM tools on the market, Dynamics 365 isn’t for everyone. Its hefty price point notwithstanding, this marketing CRM’s interface simply doesn’t match the vibrancy of HubSpot’s, or the effectiveness of Salesforce’s. Large marketing teams that are looking to gain an edge over competitors will still find plenty to love here, but smaller businesses are better off looking elsewhere.

Compare Marketing CRM Quotes
Starting price$1,500 (£1,192) per month for up to 10,000 contacts*
Highest priceFixed price ($1,500 (£1,192) per month) for the system, though extra lots of 5,000 contacts cost $250 (£199) each
Customer supportPhone, email, knowledge centre
Contact limit10,000 contacts, with additional bundles of 5,000 available to buy
Free trial?Yes

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

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for marketing teams: feature analysis

Web forms? Yes – Dynamics 365 for Marketing also syncs with LinkedIn lead gen forms, allowing you to pull contact data straight into your CRM database, and easily measure the effectiveness of your LinkedIn campaigns.

Campaign design? Yes. Dynamics 365 enables you to build emails, campaigns, and landing pages with an intuitive drag-and-drop builder. 

Batch email marketing? Yes. Your email send limits are set monthly, and are capped at ten times your quota of marketing contacts (or 1,000 sends per month, if you’re on a trial).

Email tracking? Yes, Dynamics 365’s ‘Insights’ feature provides a detailed breakdown of your customers’ interactions with your emails, such as open rates and clicks.

Customer targeting? Yes, although you’re capped at 5,000 contacts per marketing segment.

Pros:

  • Cloud-based, but also available as an on-premise solution
  • The fixed price for the system offers simplicity...

X Cons:

  • ...though it’s still one of the most expensive CRM systems money can buy!

Cloud-based vs on-premise… what's the difference? Check out our guide to the best cloud-based CRM for small UK businesses to find out.


5. Zoho

It’s a familiar story for Zoho. Though it boasts an excellent rating for price (starting from just £10 per user, per month, it’s the cheapest on our list) Zoho’s features are a tad more simplistic than most of the other CRM systems here. That said, it’s easy to set up, and is still one of the most user-friendly pieces of software we’ve come across.

Known for its price, simplicity, and user-friendliness, Zoho’s CRM software isn’t so well known for its advanced features. It's also a bit of a kick in the teeth having to shell out for a separate product (Zoho Campaigns) to be able to better plan your next marketing drive. That said, you can’t look past a stunning £10 per user, per month price point – and for micro-sized marketing teams, Zoho certainly has plenty to offer.

Starting price£10 per user, per month (free version available)
Highest price£40 per user, per month
Customer supportLive chat, phone, email, knowledge centre
Contact limitDepends on the type of correspondence
Free trial?Free version available

Zoho for marketing teams: feature analysis

Web forms? Yes; the higher the pricing tier, the more forms you can create.

Campaign design? Available on all of Zoho’s paid plans. In addition to this, Zoho has a separate campaign builder product (Zoho Campaigns). Pricing for this starts from as low as £5 (for 250 credits, on a pay-per-email basis), or is available on a yearly subscription for £43.20.

Batch email marketing? Available with all paid plans. Your daily send limit will depend on the plan you’ve selected:

  • Standard: 250 sends per day
  • Professional: 500 per day
  • Enterprise: 1,000 per day

Zoho’s Enterprise and Unlimited editions also enable you to set up auto-replies to your batch emails.

Email tracking? Yes, on all plans.

Customer targeting? Yes.

Pros:

  • Permits a relatively low number of daily email sends
  • Simple to get to grips with

X Cons:

  • Contact limits aren’t specified
  • Not as scalable as HubSpot or Freshworks CRM

6. Sugar Market

Sugar Market offers a wealth of features, including analytics and marketing automation functionality that ranks among the industry’s best. It’d almost certainly be higher up our list, if not for an indifferent customer approval rating, lacklustre customer support, and opaque pricing.

Sugar Market (SugarCRM’s marketing module, previously known as Salesfusion) caters to the more complex marketing requirements of larger businesses. Unlike many other CRM providers, Sugar Market offers just one pricing plan – meaning it’s not as suitable for those starting small and looking to scale. Its pricing isn’t transparent, though, and there’s no option to try the system for free, either. However, those who are prepared to take the plunge will receive a generous contact limit, and a wealth of enterprise-grade marketing features.

Compare Marketing CRM Quotes
Starting price£1,000 per month
Highest priceOn request
Customer supportPhone, email, knowledge centre
Contact limit10,000
Free trial?No  – offers a demo instead

Sugar Market for marketing teams: feature analysis

Web forms? Yes.

Campaign design? Yes.

Batch email marketing? Email sends are supported, though your daily send limits will be determined by your email server.

Email tracking? Yes, using a separate email tracker module, which works like a plugin.

Customer targeting? Yes.

Pros:

  • Visualises your marketing data in stunning, easily-exportable graphs and reports
  • Integrates with a wide range of third-party applications

X Cons:

  • No live chat support available
  • Email tracking can be complicated to set up

7. monday.com

Though suffering from a dearth of features, average customer approval ratings, and less-than-stellar help and support, monday.com is the joint-most affordable (with Zoho) system we have come across. As a gateway to the bigger, more powerful marketing CRM providers, monday.com is a great entry point into the productivity software space.

Walking a line between CRM and project management software, monday.com doesn’t sport the same bells and whistles as the likes of HubSpot and Salesforce. Yet, importantly, it’s affordable – and if you’re looking for a tool to drive productivity while benefiting from basic email marketing functionality, monday.com might just be worth a go.

Start your free trial today
Starting price£35 per month for up to five users
Highest price£69 per month for up to five users
Customer supportPhone, email, knowledge centre
Contact limitN/A
Free trial?14-day free trial

monday.com for marketing teams: feature analysis

Web forms? Yes.

Campaign design? No – monday.com offers campaign tracking only.

Batch email marketing? monday.com integrates with email platforms such as Gmail and Outlook to enable batch email sends. However, it doesn’t offer this feature in-house. Any batch send limits will thus be determined by the email service provider you choose to integrate the CRM with.

Email tracking? No.

Customer targeting? No.

Pros:

  • Integrates with CRM systems such as Salesforce and Copper
  • Inexpensive

X Cons:

  • Falls short as a comprehensive marketing CRM tool
  • No email tracking or customer targeting
  • No live chat support
Compare marketing CRM software suppliers, for free Request quotes now

How we rated the best marketing CRM providers

To rate each CRM supplier on its effectiveness for marketing teams specifically, we extended our explorations to include five key features that a good marketing CRM system has got to do well. This included honing in on functions for marketing teams only – we've looked at CRM for sales teams, and the best customer service CRM in separate pages.

So, in addition to the basics (customer support, price, contact limit, and whether there’s a free trial), each marketing CRM software below is ranked per its ability to perform each of the following crucial functions:

  • Web forms
  • Campaign design
  • Batch email marketing
  • Email tracking
  • Customer targeting

Web forms

You can have the best-looking website in the world – but if it’s not turning your site’s visitors into potential customers, it’s not reaching its full potential. 

That’s where web forms come in. With the right marketing CRM software, you can create and embed a lead capture form into your website. By collecting the name, number, and other demographic details from your website’s users – and sending them straight to your CRM – web forms empower you to turn your website’s traffic into potential deals

Campaign design

Whether you’re designing a one-off email to capitalise on Black Friday or a drip campaign to build your brand, it’s crucial that your marketing looks good.

With a marketing CRM tool, you can build emails that echo your business’ values, with powerful CTAs and an engaging design. And it’s easy – most marketing CRM software runs on simple drag-and-drop functionality

You don’t need an eye for design, either – most CRM software for email marketing provides a range of highly customisable email templates to get you started.

Batch email marketing

CRM software is all about optimising your marketing team’s processes – reaching more customers in less time, with the most effective messages.

And batch email marketing is a good example of this at its finest – after designing your emails, you can send them en masse, to a specific list of prospective customers. 

Email tracking

Of course, it’s not just about sending emails out into the ether and forgetting about them. To grow your business, you need to know how effective your email marketing campaigns have been; that is, how many people are opening, reading, and clicking your emails. 

There’s a few ways in which you can do this, but using marketing CRM software is by far the most straightforward.

Plus, when you use a CRM system to track your sent emails, you can monitor exactly which parts of your messages are getting the most engagement from recipients. Which CTAs (calls to action) are most enticing? Which images scream “CLICK ME!”? Which subject lines do your customers struggle to resist?

Customer targeting

At its most basic level, marketing CRM software acts as a contact database.

As well as providing a safe place for your customers’ names, occupations, and contact details, a CRM system can store a whole range of important client info – which you can use to create smarter, more tailored marketing campaigns, and produce more effective results.

With the right marketing CRM, you can target customers by:

  • Their buying preferences, including previous orders and total spend
  • The nature of their previous visits to your website, or interaction with your brand
  • Demographic information, such as age and gender

Lapsed customers? Re-engage them with a deal or a discount that’s too good to turn down. New customers? Let them know you care, by personalising an email with their name in the subject line. Marketing a product for women only? Filter out the men in your email list to ensure you’re not wasting precious email sends on the wrong audience.


Next steps

Which marketing CRM software provider is best for your business? Let’s recap. 

Small teams are well-catered to by low-cost options such as Zoho, Freshworks CRM Marketing Cloud, and monday.com.

Sugar Market, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and Dynamics 365 for Marketing are all designed for medium-sized to large enterprises that have more complex marketing requirements.

And of course, there’s HubSpot Marketing Hub, which we recommend for everyone.

As we said at the beginning, marketing isn’t easy – and neither is picking the right marketing CRM supplier. You have to balance the level of features your team requires, while keeping within the constraints of your budget, and ensuring you’ll get the top-class help and support you deserve.

Basically, you’ll need to compare quotes from multiple CRM providers to get the best deal. And, thanks to our free quote-finding service, this part is easy.

Simply provide us with some details about your business, answering three straightforward questions about your team, requirements, and the type of marketing CRM software you’re looking to implement. 

You’ll then be contacted directly with tailored quotes from several of the industry’s leading marketing CRM providers, providing you with all the info you need to compare and contrast suppliers, at your fingertips.

It takes less than a minute, and is free for UK-based businesses.


How we analyse and rate CRM software providers

At Expert Market, it’s our aim to provide you with the most accurate, up-to-date, and transparent product and service reviews possible. So, to help you better understand the best CRM software options out there, we’ve conducted in-depth, extensive research into the CRM software market and its top companies.

Here’s how we did it:

Independent researchers

We worked with three independent researchers to rate eight different CRM systems over a total of 40+ hours. This included five separate varieties of CRM software, as well as more than 61 specific features. Using a bespoke, industry-style algorithm, we rated each provider across four key metrics.

Ratings

  • Help and support: we assessed the level of customer support (such as email, phone, or live chat), as well as its availability (24/7, or weekdays only?), to provide a weighted score for each CRM supplier.
  • Affordability: our affordability algorithm took into account the cost of CRM ownership over 12 months – based on the average buyer – as well as factors such as free trials and money-back guarantees.
  • Features: we assessed each supplier on five specific features per type of CRM. We then weighted these scores, and translated them into a point value system. This allowed us to form accurate ratings for each CRM provider, broken down by the industry it best serves.
  • Customer approval: we assigned each provider a ‘customer score’, which involved seeking opinions from within the community, as well as feeding data aggregated from online sources into a unique algorithm. This allowed us to calculate overall customer approval scores for each CRM supplier, in real time.

survey

We take the integrity of our research seriously. If you’ve got any questions at all about our research process, feel free to get in touch with Rob, our CRM specialist, at rob.binns@expertmarket.co.uk.

Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.

The Best CRMs for Sales Teams in 2021

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 11 January 2021

We’ve researched, ranked, and rated the six best sales CRM software for UK businesses. Find yours today, and compare tailored quotes from suppliers


Click the logos to navigate to a
sales CRM supplier
Salesforce vectorHubSpot logo whiteZendesk Sell vectorMicrosoft Dynamics 365 vectorFreshworks CRM mini logo whiteZoho vector
Pricing from*£20£33.60£19£52£25£10
Past sales
Sales forecasting
Quote proposal management££
Lead scoringX
Payment management£££££

Compare sales CRM quotes

*Per user, per month.


What would your business look like if sales increased 29%? What position would you be in if sales productivity went up by a whole third, and the accuracy of your sales forecasting improved by a huge 42%?

Better yet, what if this was all possible from a single platform – one accessible by all of your sales reps in real-time? A platform that offers a live, 360-degree view of deals, prospects, and your pipeline, in just a few clicks?

If this sounds interesting, it’s time to consider what a CRM (customer relationship management) system can do for your sales team. To help you pick the right sales CRM for your business, we’ve researched, ranked, and rated the big providers.

Read on to find out which one is right for your sales team.


The best sales CRM for UK teams in 2021

According to our research, the best CRM for sales reps and teams is Salesforce Sales Cloud. HubSpot Sales Hub is a close second, while Zendesk Sell, Dynamics 365 for Sales, Freshworks CRM, and Zoho complete our top six.

How did we decide? Jump to our methodology to find out

With that clear, it’s time to check out the providers. Scroll on for our reviews and ratings, or – if you’re short on time – start comparing quotes from leading providers now.

Simply provide us with some details about your requirements – including how many users the software will be for, which features you need it to perform, and what (if any) contact management software you’re already using – and we’ll do the rest. 

You’ll then receive tailored quotes from leading sales CRM providers, all for free. 

Job done!


1. Salesforce Sales Cloud

Salesforce is our top CRM pick for sales teams. In our rankings, it gets top marks for features, while its help and support is also superb. If our ratings expose any of this sales CRM’s weaknesses, it’s the price – because, though Salesforce starts cheap, adding the functionality your sales team needs can quickly become an expensive endeavour.

With a huge market share of over 18%, Salesforce isn’t just our top CRM provider for sales teams – it’s the world’s. Upgrading to Salesforce’s premium plans offers more customisability, and adds 24/7 customer support. You’ll also have to upgrade for forecasting and proposal management functionality, as well as Salesforce’s AI-powered lead scoring and analytics.

Compare Sales CRM Quotes
Starting price£20 per user, per month (10 user limit)
Highest price£240 per user, per month
Customer supportLive chat, phone (24/7), email, knowledge centre
Data storage limit10GB + 2GB per licence of files, 10GB + 20MB per licence of data
Free trial?Three months (for Salesforce Essentials), 30 days (all other plans)

Salesforce Sales Cloud for sales teams: feature analysis

Past sales? Yes. Salesforce’s historical trend reporting is a niche feature – and is a little complex to set up – but it’s there.

Sales forecasting? Yes, but only on Salesforce’s Professional plan and above.

Quote proposal management? Yes, but only on Salesforce’s Professional plan and above.

Lead scoring? Yes, but only on Salesforce’s Professional plan and above.

Payment management? Yes, but you’ll need to pay extra for Salesforce’s CPQ (configure, price, quote) tool (£60 per month, billed annually), and acquire Salesforce Billing for full payment functionality. Rates for this aren’t advertised… but it looks expensive.

We rated all six sales CRM providers on their ability to deliver the four features above. For more information about what these features are – and why they're so essential to the smooth running of your sales team – head to our section ‘How we rated the best CRM for sales teams' below.

Pros:

  • An effective app makes it easy for reps out in the field to access and update information on the go

X Cons:

  • Tough to justify the basic plan – you’ll need to upgrade to get your hands on the worthwhile features

Want to know more? Read our Salesforce review.


2. HubSpot Sales Hub

With top marks for customer approval and excellent help and support, HubSpot comes in at a close second. Though it’s somewhat let down by its price point (and, to an extent, its features), HubSpot’s Sales Hub remains a superlative pick for sales teams.

Starting at £33.60 per user, per month, HubSpot isn’t the cheapest sales CRM out there – but it does offer plenty of bang for your buck. With a firm focus on helping small sales teams scale, Sales Hub has a slick, user-friendly database, and a free version that blows most of the competition out of the water.

Check out HubSpot's Pricing
Starting price£33.60 per user, per month (when billed annually. Expect to pay around 25% more on a monthly plan) (free version available)
Highest price£990 per user, per month (10 user minimum)

Are you a startup? You might be eligible for 90% off, with HubSpot’s ‘HubSpot for Startups’ program

Customer supportLive chat, phone, email, knowledge centre
Data storage limit1,000 documents
Free trial?Free version available

HubSpot Sales Hub for sales teams: feature analysis

Past sales? Yes.

Sales forecasting? Also yes – HubSpot’s simple reporting tool provides forecasts based on the number of deals in the pipeline, and your sales reps' assumed probability of closing them.

Quote proposal management? Yes, but only on HubSpot’s Professional plan and above.

Lead scoring? Only HubSpot’s marketing hub allows this – it’s not included as part of the Sales Hub.

Payment management? Not included as standard. However, payment management can be achieved through integrating HubSpot Sales Hub with third-party invoicing and accounting software, such as QuickBooks.

Pros:

  • Email templates and automated sends help you reach more prospects
  • Workflows automate each stage of the sales cycle

X Cons:

  • Lead scoring is missing
  • Key features are excluded from HubSpot’s cheaper plans

HubSpot’s free version also appears in our list of the best free CRM software for UK businesses.


3. Zendesk Sell

Zendesk Sell excels in two key areas: customer support and price point. Its customer scores are also the third highest of all the CRM software we looked at, though its comparatively fewer features for sales teams stop it from launching a serious challenge to Salesforce and HubSpot for the top spots.

At £19 per user, per month, Zendesk Sell sits at the budget-friendly end of the scale. However, you’ll really need to upgrade to one of its more advanced plans to benefit. Its Professional plan unlocks sales forecasting (and the ability to easily estimate deal value and percentage of win likelihood), while the Enterprise plan nets you lead scoring and past sales features.

Compare Sales CRM Quotes
Starting price£19 per user, per month
Highest price£199 per user, per month
Customer supportLive chat, phone, email, knowledge centre
Data storage limit2GB to 25GB per user (dependent on plan selected)
Free trial?Free 30-day trial

Zendesk Sell for sales teams: feature analysis

Past sales? Yes, and upgrading to Zendesk Sell’s Enterprise or Elite plan also gets you the ability to export historical data.

Sales forecasting? Yes, though on the Professional, Enterprise, and Elite plans only.

Quote proposal management? No, though integration with a third-party app such as Quote Roller should fix this.

Lead scoring? Yes, but on the Enterprise and Elite plans only.

Payment management? Not included, though you can integrate Zendesk Sell with an app such as ChargeDesk for free.

Pros:

  • Upgrading to a better plan unlocks premium account management
  • Money-back guarantee

X Cons:

  • 24/7 live chat and phone-based support restricted to Elite and Enterprise packages only
Did You Know?

Zendesk takes bronze on our ultimate guide to the best CRM systems for small businesses. Want to find out why?


4. Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales

Dynamics 365 scores highly for features, and its help and support is among the finest out there. Paradoxically, though, its customer approval ratings are at the lower end of the scale – perhaps because of Dynamics 365’s eye-wateringly expensive prices.

Dynamics 365 – Microsoft’s high-profile entry into the CRM space – utilises artificial intelligence to help supplement your sales data, and make more effective business decisions. Using historical figures, Dynamics 365 provides accurate forecasting, allowing you to plot your pipeline and prioritise your leads with greater precision.

Compare Sales CRM Quotes
Starting price$65 (£52) per user, per month
Highest price£199 (£159) per user, per month (10 user minimum)
Customer supportPhone, email, knowledge centre
Data storage limit32GB, though up to 4TB extra can be purchased
Free trial?Free trial available

Dynamics 365 Sales for sales teams: feature analysis

Past sales? Yes.

Sales forecasting? Yes, with Dynamics 365’s Enterprise plan and above.

Quote proposal management? Yes.

Lead scoring? Yes.

Payment management? Yes, across all plans.

Pros:

  • Cloud and on-premise deployment available
  • Generous data storage limits

X Cons:

  • No money-back guarantee
  • One of the more expensive sales CRM systems on the market

5. Freshworks CRM Sales Cloud

Rounding out the top five is Freshworks CRM Sales Cloud. Though its scores for features and customer approval are at the lower end of the spectrum, it sits with Zoho as a top value pick. Add in impressive help and support rankings, and Freshworks CRM is a safe selection for sales teams.

The only supplier to offer 24-hour support with its cheapest plan, Freshworks CRM Sales Cloud provides a completely free version, plus three different tiers of pricing. That means it’s able to cater to sales teams of various sizes, while also making sure you’re not paying for any features you don’t require yet. Freshworks CRM also boasts native integrations with Mailchimp, Xero, Google Calendar, and Freshdesk to slot comfortably into your business’ current setup.

Starting price£25 per user, per month (when billed annually. Expect to pay 30 to 40% more on a monthly plan) (free version available)
Highest price£79 per user, per month (10 user minimum)
Customer supportLive chat (24/5), phone (24/5), email, knowledge centre
Data storage limit1GB to 100GB per user (dependent on plan selected)
Free trial?Free version and 21-day free trial available

Freshworks CRM Sales Cloud for sales teams: feature analysis

Past sales? Yes.

Sales forecasting? Yes, with Freshworks CRM’s Enterprise plan (£79 per user, per month) and above.

Quote proposal management? No – you’ll require a third-party integration to make this happen.

Lead scoring? Yes – and it’s actually one of Freshworks CRM’s best features!

Payment management? No, although Freshworks CRM has a native integration with QuickBooks.

Pros:

  • Role-based access makes it easy to control who’s using what
  • Allows you to capture leads from webforms automatically

X Cons:

  • Expect a serious cost hike if you want to pay month-on-month
  • The process of converting a lead to a deal or opportunity leaves a lot to be desired

6. Zoho

Zoho is one of the cheapest sales CRM systems we researched. Though it ranks well for value, it’s let down by the lowest customer approval score, underwhelming customer support, and a lack of serious analytics functionality.

Zoho doesn’t boast the same depth and range of features as Salesforce or Dynamics, but it’s user-friendly – and, at just £10 per user, per month, it’s a steal, too. Better still, its sales forecasting and lead scoring features are available across all plans – meaning you get a lot of bang for your buck.

Starting price£10 per user, per month (free version available)
Highest price£40 per user, per month
Customer supportLive chat, phone, email, knowledge centre
Data storage limit20MB to 10GB per user (dependent on plan selected)
Free trial?Free version available

Zoho for sales teams: feature analysis

Past sales? Yes.

Sales forecasting? Yes, across all paid plans.

Quote proposal management? Available on Zoho’s Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate plans.

Lead scoring? Yes, across all paid plans.

Payment management? Yes, though you’ll need an additional product integration known as ‘Zoho Subscriptions’. This helps you bill customers on a one-time or recurring basis, although it comes at an extra cost of up to £150, depending on the size of your business.

Pros:

  • Cheaper plans are generous in terms of features
  • Purchasing an annual subscription gets you a 20% discount

X Cons:

  • Low customer approval ratings suggest Zoho is a little too simplistic for many sales teams
Did You Know?

Like Sugar Serve and Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales, Zoho can be deployed as either an on-premise or cloud-based solution. To learn more about what this means – and which solution is right for your business – head to our article on the best cloud-based CRM for small businesses, where all will be revealed!


How we rated the best CRM for sales teams

To rate each CRM supplier on their effectiveness for sales teams specifically, we expanded our focus beyond the basics (customer support, price, contact limit, and whether there’s a free trial) to five key functions that a good sales CRM system has got to do well.

Each sales CRM system below is thus ranked per its ability to perform each of the following crucial functions for sales reps:

Past sales

In order to prepare for the future – and plan your sales strategy accordingly – you have to learn from the past. That means being able to view historical sales data (and segment it by region, rep, and client), and then export it into reports for clearer viewing and comparison.

Sales forecasting

Just as you need to know what the weather forecast is in order to organise a successful trip to the beach, so will you require an accurate estimate of your future sales to run your business effectively.

Sales forecasting does just this, providing insight into how you should manage your resources, cash flow, workforce, and growth. Taking into account a combination of your business’ historical data, wider economic trends, and your competitors’ situations, effective forecasting is vital to sales success.

Quote proposal management

Sales isn’t all high-flying deals and Wolf of Wall Street-esque banter. A lot of it is admin – preparing quotes, formatting documents, and ensuring sales orders are correct and in pristine condition. 

Quote proposal management is a feature offered by many CRM systems as standard, though sometimes it will require an additional fee or integration. With it, you can propose and send quotes to clients using existing info within the CRM software’s database – thus freeing up your sales team to focus on what matters.

Lead scoring

CRM software sporting this feature allows you to prioritise incoming leads based on how much they’re worth to your business. Lead scoring helps you understand which leads are sales-ready, and which require further nurturing – ensuring that you move on the right opportunities, at just the right time.

Payment management

Like quote proposals, payment management is an inevitable part of the job – but it’s also a productivity black hole, swallowing up your sales reps’ time with invoices and transaction details. 

The best sales CRM software offers payment management tools either as standard, or as a third-party integration – and it's a game changer for sales teams.


Next steps

So, how do you choose the right CRM supplier for your sales team? There are several important factors to think about.

Firstly, the features. Does the software offer lead scoring and sales forecasting? How about the tools required to send quotes and coordinate payments?

Secondly, the price point. If you’d prefer to stick to the cheaper plans, that’s fine – just make sure they still offer the deal and lead management features you’ll need. 

Thirdly, the customer angle. Is the support up to scratch? Will you benefit from round-the-clock assistance, or is that only for the big spenders? What do your prospective CRM system provider’s existing customers have to say about it?

You’ll also need to know what services a CRM offers beyond sales. Here, we’ve just discussed CRM for sales teams, but – if you’re making decisions for other areas of your business, too – you’ll also want to check out our separate guides: CRM for customer service teams, and CRM for marketing.

Those are a lot of variables, and they don’t make choosing the right CRM any easier. So let us help.

Just take 30 seconds, and via this quote-finding form, enter some details about your business. You’ll then be contacted with quotes from leading sales CRM providers, who’ll be more than happy to discuss your CRM requirements in greater detail. Oh, and it’s free for UK-based businesses.


How we analyse and rate CRM software providers

At Expert Market, it’s our aim to provide you with the most accurate, up-to-date, and transparent product and service reviews possible. So, to help you better understand the best CRM software options out there, we’ve conducted in-depth, extensive research into the CRM software market and its top companies.

Here’s how we did it:

Independent researchers

We worked with three independent researchers to rate eight different CRM systems over a total of 40+ hours. This included five separate varieties of CRM software, as well as more than 61 specific features. Using a bespoke, industry-style algorithm, we rated each provider across four key metrics.

Ratings

  • Help and support: we assessed the level of customer support (such as email, phone, or live chat), as well as its availability (24/7, or weekdays only?), to provide a weighted score for each CRM supplier.
  • Affordability: our affordability algorithm took into account the cost of CRM ownership over 12 months – based on the average buyer – as well as factors such as free trials and money-back guarantees.
  • Features: we assessed each supplier on five specific features per type of CRM. We then weighted these scores, and translated them into a point value system. This allowed us to form accurate ratings for each CRM provider, broken down by the industry it best serves.
  • Customer approval: we assigned each provider a ‘customer score’, which involved seeking opinions from within the community, as well as feeding data aggregated from online sources into a unique algorithm. This allowed us to calculate overall customer approval scores for each CRM supplier, in real time.

survey

We take the integrity of our research seriously. If you’ve got any questions at all about our research process, feel free to get in touch with Rob, our CRM specialist, at rob.binns@expertmarket.co.uk.

Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.