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Thryv is an all-in-one business management solution designed to help small businesses with essential business functions. With Thryv, business owners can expand their online presence, improve any customer relationship, and streamli...Read more about Thryv

4.2 (495 reviews)

107 recommendations

HubSpot Sales Hub

Supercharge your sales process with Sales Hub, a powerful and easy-to-use sales CRM that includes sales engagement tools, configure-price-quote (CPQ) functionality, and robust sales analytics and reporting for growing teams. Optim...Read more about HubSpot Sales Hub

4.5 (448 reviews)

81 recommendations

FreeAgent CRM

FreeAgent CRM is a fully-featured CRM that helps your team get organized, gain visibility into day-to-day work, and get more done with a powerful, easy-to-use sales platform your sales team will actually love. Work smarter and f...Read more about FreeAgent CRM

4.7 (72 reviews)

53 recommendations

Less Annoying CRM

Less Annoying CRM is a customer relationship management solution built for small businesses. It offers cloud-based deployment, various configuration options and a dashboard that provides an overview of contact information, project...Read more about Less Annoying CRM

4.8 (577 reviews)

47 recommendations

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Claritysoft CRM

Claritysoft is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) solution designed for midsize and large enterprise businesses. It offers sales automation, customer service and support, marketing automation and social CRM withi...Read more about Claritysoft CRM

4.5 (167 reviews)

46 recommendations


Shape's cloud-based solution offers tools designed to manage online marketing and promotions, capture leads from online sources, organize sales pipelines, connect with customers and automate everyday tasks. Shape is suitable for b...Read more about Shape

4.8 (41 reviews)

34 recommendations


Top Producer is an all-in-one business management platform designed specifically for real estate agents and teams. Grow your database and convert more leads with cutting-edge lead generation and marketing automation. Smart follow-...Read more about TOP PRODUCER

3.8 (247 reviews)

26 recommendations

Maximizer CRM

Maximizer CRM is a powerful solution specifically designed for sales. We understand the unique challenges faced by sales managers and sales teams. That's why we provide a game-changing alternative to complex CRM solutions and cumb...Read more about Maximizer CRM

4.0 (350 reviews)

24 recommendations

Salesforce Sales Cloud

Grow your revenue and profits with intelligent sales automation with Sales Cloud. Help every rep be more efficient. Close more deals. Collect cash faster. Boost growth and profit with intelligent automation and integrated tools fr...Read more about Salesforce Sales Cloud

4.4 (18242 reviews)

20 recommendations


SugarCRM is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform, expertly crafted to enhance interactions with prospects and customers while accelerating sales success. Renowned for its cost-effectiveness, this potent solution enabl...Read more about SugarCRM

3.8 (406 reviews)

16 recommendations


Boomtown provides marketing and sales automation solutions for the REAL ESTATE industry. Through Boomtown, brokers can select and customize a lead generation website, track and nurture leads, and monitor team success and sales. Th...Read more about BoomTown

4.5 (234 reviews)

13 recommendations


FunnelMaker is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) solution designed for businesses of all sizes. The solution offers a user dashboard and helps in automatic sales tracking, email tracking and opportunity manageme...Read more about FunnelMaker

4.3 (26 reviews)

11 recommendations


Workbooks offers growing companies a SaaS platform to run their business and engage with their customers – at an affordable price. Workbooks designs, develops and implements its own software, which is targeted specifically at mid-...Read more about Workbooks

4.3 (109 reviews)

10 recommendations


SalesNOW by Interchange Solutions Inc. is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) and sales force automation solution that allows sales teams, management and executives to manage aspects of sales cycle including conta...Read more about SalesNOW

4.6 (83 reviews)

10 recommendations


LeadSquared is a cloud-based marketing automation and customer relationship management (CRM) solution for businesses of all sizes. It serves clients in industries such as finance, e-commerce, education, health and wellness, market...Read more about LeadSquared

4.3 (157 reviews)

8 recommendations

Creatio CRM

Creatio is a global vendor of a no-code platform to automate workflows and CRM with a maximum degree of freedom. Creatio offering includes a no-code platform (Studio Creatio), CRM applications (Marketing, Sales and Service), indus...Read more about Creatio CRM

4.7 (117 reviews)

6 recommendations


Lofty is a marketing and customer relationship management (CRM) suite designed for small and midsize real estate businesses. Chime provides team management features, lead and customer management and content management. Lofty sen...Read more about Lofty

3.8 (86 reviews)

5 recommendations


Issuetrak is a flexible issue tracking software solution that can be configured to suit the needs of a variety of industries and usages, including IT Help Desk, Customer Support, Project Management, and more. Issuetrak can be dep...Read more about Issuetrak

4.6 (187 reviews)

4 recommendations

Pipeliner CRM

Pipeliner has revolutionized CRM with our unique visual interface, no-code workflow automation engine, and instant, dynamic insights and reporting.

 This CRM provides both salespeople and sales management with many ways of displ...Read more about Pipeliner CRM

4.6 (214 reviews)

3 recommendations

BNTouch Mortgage CRM

BNTouch Mortgage CRM is a fully integrated digital mortgage system, CRM, marketing, and POS tool offering a comprehensive mortgage business growth platform for loan officers and mortgage companies. BNTouch Mortgage CRM includ...Read more about BNTouch Mortgage CRM

4.5 (66 reviews)

2 recommendations

Buyers Guide

Last Updated: March 16, 2023

Startups—they're not just the youngest members of the business world. Their new ideas and limitless potential draw a lot of attention. And while it's easy to poke fun at their button-down cultures, the truth is: startups regularly face some of the business world's toughest and most high-stakes decisions. Fortune 500 companies rarely encounter make-or-break decisions. For a startup, every decision can be make or break.

The selection of a CRM system is one of the most important decisions a startup can make. It's also one of the most challenging. This Buyer's Guide helps startups meet these challenges by answering and explaining the following:

What Is CRM for Startups?

A Comparison of Top CRM for Startups Solutions

Common Features of CRM for Startups

Deployment and Purchasing Options for CRM for Startups

What Is CRM for Startups?

CRM software comes in more shapes and sizes than probably any other genre of enterprise software. Aside from all-purpose CRM, there's CRM for small businesses, CRM specifically for retail establishments, for banks, insurance agencies and even casinos. That's a lot to consider!

But what about startups? That's where things get complicated. It's easy to see how banks, insurance agencies and casinos would have different requirements for CRM. After all, their Cs (customers) are different, and their Rs (relationship with their customers) are different, so it's no surprise that they'd be managed differently as well.


A handful of vendors representing the tip of the CRM iceberg

But "startup" is a stage of growth, not an industry vertical. So unlike with banking and insurance, there's no way to generalize about the typical startup customer or a startup's typical relationship with a customer. Those things don't exist.

Instead, CRM for startups is software that caters to the particular needs of companies in the early stages of growth. Those particular needs can be generalized, so let's do that! Startups generally do best with CRM software that:

  • Prioritizes usability with intuitive UIs and workflows, allowing staff to get up to speed with minimal training or interruption

  • Is highly scalable, working equally well with a dozen or a thousand customers

  • Is flexible enough (through customizations, modules or add-ons) to pivot when the startup pivots and support changes in company strategy and policy (rather than hinder them)

With those priorities in mind, let's look now at some specific functionality.

A Comparison of Top CRM for Startups Solutions

Top Infusionsoft Comparisons

Top Marketo Comparisons

Top Pipedrive Comparisons

Infusionsoft vs. Ontraport Infusionsoft vs. HubSpot Infusionsoft vs. Salesforce

Marketo vs. Eloqua

Pipedrive vs. Zoho Pipedrive vs. Base Pipedrive vs. Salesforce

Common Features of CRM for Startups

Despite the great variation among CRM products, most will include some or all of the following core applications:

Customer database

Central repository that stores customer information, such as contact details and any records (e.g., purchase orders, RFPs) associated with that customer's account.

Interaction tracking

Tracks customer interactions (usually across multiple channels) providing records of past interactions and reminders (scheduled or triggered) for following up.

Workflow automation

Reduces the number of steps required for specific and commonly repeated processes, saving employees time and reducing errors and omissions.

Reporting and analytics

CRM platforms typically provide many basic data visualization tools, such as graphic reports (for example, of sales activity) and real-time dashboards to monitor KPIs and metrics.

Generally speaking, CRM software is used by any and all of a company's customer-facing departments, mainly sales, marketing and customer service. So, in addition to the core functions listed above, here are some other applications that can be included with CRM, organized by department:

  • Marketing: Including email marketing, event marketing, campaign management. Can also include tools for lead management, such as lead scoring and lead nurturing.

  • Sales: Including contact and opportunity management, workflow automation, territory management, sales forecasting, pipeline analysis and reporting.

  • Customer service: Including tools for trouble ticketing, knowledge management and knowledge base systems, self-service solutions, customer experience, live chat and opinion and feedback surveys.

Startups rely on CRM software to provide the customer experiences that improve metrics such as customer acquisition and churn rates. If those metrics don't turn heads, then the startup risks losing financial backing. A startup's success with a CRM implementation comes down to how well it can select and use the tools listed above to improve their key metrics.

Deployment and Purchasing Options for CRM for Startups

Software as a Service, or SaaS, is cloud-based software, meaning the software is hosted remotely. Compared to the traditional model of on-premise deployment—in which the software is installed on the business's own servers—SaaS is the more popular choice for most startups. It offers several benefits, including:

  • Much lower initial cost. SaaS CRM is typically priced on a per user basis. So if your startup is young and small and will only have two employees using the CRM, then the company only pays for two licenses, and more can be added as the company grows.

  • Simpler IT infrastructure. On-premise CRM installations can require a company to purchase additional hardware (servers, networking equipment). With SaaS, the software can be used from any computer with internet access.

  • Easier maintenance and security. On-premise software needs to be manually updated, while SaaS gets updated by the vendor behind the scenes. SaaS CRM platforms usually have cutting-edge IT security protocols built into the platform, but the IT security for on-premise software is the responsibility of the business itself.

Aside from those deployment options, CRM for startups usually offers several different purchasing choices. As mentioned above, SaaS is usually priced on a per user basis. There are also various freemium, free and open source and free trial options:


A CRM purchase is one of the most important decisions a company can make—it affects many of the most important moving pieces of business in the modern world. It not only helps determine how customers perceive a particular company (i.e., the customer experience), it also determines how efficiently and effectively customer-facing employees carry out their roles.

With all this in mind, startups are encouraged to choose their CRM carefully. Take advantage of the online demonstrations vendors offer, talk to the employees who will use it and consider trying the free trials offered by the vendors on your shortlist.

Of course if you need any help starting your search, completing your shortlist or setting up demonstrations or free trials, give our advisors a call at: (844) 852-3639.