Finding software can be overwhelming. We've helped thousands of small businesses choose the right small business CRM software to better grow, manage and monetize customer relationships.

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Zendesk Sell

Zendesk Sell (formerly Base) is the web and mobile-based customer relationship management application that allows B2B and B2C sales professionals to manage sales, track leads and engage proactively with customers from anywhere. The... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 67 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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Keap

Keap (formerly Infusionsoft) is a cloud-based sales and marketing solution that offers customer relationship management (CRM), marketing automation, and e-commerce functionalities in one suite. Keap helps small businesses across various... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 57 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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NetSuite CRM

NetSuite CRM+ is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) solution for small and midsize organizations. NetSuite caters to thousands of customers across a wide range of industries including wholesale distribution, manufacturing,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 53 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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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. Optimize... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 51 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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FreeAgent CRM

FreeAgent CRM delivers a next-gen work experience on a customizable cloud-based platform help teams unlock productivity and grow sales effortlessly.  Stay in the zone, with AI-guided selling. See only what you need when you need... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 29 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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Salesforce Sales Cloud

The Salesforce Sales Cloud is an on-demand CRM platform offering applications for small, midsize, and enterprise organizations, with a focus on sales and customer relationships. This Salesforce platform has CRM capabilities that include... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 25 recommendations

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Deployments: Cloud
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Top Producer Systems

Top Producer is a web-based CRM system suited for agents or brokerages in the Real Estate industry. The system helps agents personalize follow up and manage clients from initial contact, to long-term repeat and referrals. Build your... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 22 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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Thryv

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 streamline... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 19 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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SalesNOW

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 contact,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 13 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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vcita

vcita is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) solution for small businesses. Entrepreneurs and business owners can manage their client engagements from any device from anywhere. It enables organizations to drive more... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 12 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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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 includes an... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 12 recommendations

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Deployments: Cloud
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SugarCRM

SugarCRM is a cloud-based application for handling sales automation, marketing automation, account management and customer relationship management needs. SugarCRM offers features such as customizable home pages, a new-user "wizard"... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 10 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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Ontraport

Ontraport provides a customer relationship management (CRM) system for small and growing businesses looking to automate marketing and sales efforts. The solution includes tools for email marketing, lead scoring, lead nurturing, lead... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 9 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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Market Focus

Market Focus is a proven email marketing and CRM system designed to boost sales, keep you organized, and differentiate your company from competitors. It contains email content including 100 mortgage and real estate videos, holiday... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 9 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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Nutshell

Nutshell is a sneaky powerful cloud-based CRM and sales automation tool for small businesses. The Nutshell platform offers sales process and collaboration tools, email sync with Gmail and Outlook, fully customizable reporting, and... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 8 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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BoomTown

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. The... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 8 recommendations

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Prophet CRM

Prophet CRM from Avidian is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) application that can be integrated with Microsoft Outlook for extending Outlook's functionalities. The solution enables multiple sales teams to unify... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 8 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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Claritysoft

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 within... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 8 recommendations

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Shape

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 businesses... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 7 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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Quick Base CRM

Quick Base is an application development platform that enables people to build business applications without coding. The platform is cloud-based and accessible on any browser or mobile device. Users can build apps on Quick Base by... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 6 recommendations

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Buyers guide

What is Small Business CRM Software?

Small Business CRM software is a tool for small businesses who need to manage interactions with both current and prospective customers. CRM systems offer tools for sales, marketing and customer support.

With the growing number of affordable, Web-based products on the market, more and more small businesses are looking for customer relationship management (CRM) software to manage interactions with both current and prospective customers.

Many are seeking to upgrade from basic email marketing or contact management systems. However, the capabilities of CRM systems can range widely, with varying levels of functionality for sales, marketing and customer support. We developed this guide to help buyers understand exactly what these products can offer, so they can select the solution that best meets their needs.

Here's what we'll cover:

What is Small Business CRM Software?
A Comparison of Top Small Business CRM Solutions
Common Reasons Small Businesses Shop for a CRM Solution
Common Features of Small Business CRM Software
Pricing: Web-Based vs. On-Premise
Key Considerations for Small Businesses

A Comparison of Top Small Business CRM Solutions

There are many popular small business CRM solutions on the market, and it can be hard to know what distinguishes one product from another and which is right for you. To help you better understand how the top small business CRM systems stack up against one another, we created a series of side-by-side product comparison pages that break down the details of what each solution offers in terms of pricing, applications, ease of use, support and more:

Top Insightly Comparisons Top Zoho CRM Comparisons Top Zendesk Comparisons
Insightly vs. Base
Insightly vs. Nimble
Insightly vs. Zoho CRM
Insightly vs. Zoho CRM
SugarCRM vs. Zoho CRM
UserVoice vs. Zendesk

Common Reasons Small Businesses Shop for a CRM Solution

Thousands of small businesses contact us every year, looking for advice to help them select the CRM solution best suited to their company. Some are just getting started, while others are looking to replace an outdated or problematic system.

Startups may have their own needs, in some cases related to but unique from the needs of small businesses in general. If you're a startup, check out our guide to CRM for startups here.

Small businesses most commonly look to purchase a CRM system because they are:

  • Hoping to consolidate customer records and reduce double-entry.
  • Seeking to automate functions (alerts, follow-up emails etc.).
  • Looking to generate, track and manage leads more efficiently.
  • Needing specific features (e.g., trouble ticket management).
  • Frustrated with current CRM software (too complicated or not enough features).
  • Experiencing transition or company growth.

Screenshot of Pipedrive

Live dashboard in Pipedrive

Core CRM Applications for Small Businesses

Application Function Best for...
Contact management The core component of any CRM solution, contact management systems consolidate critical customer data (e.g., names, addresses and company info) into a single database, as opposed to scattering it across many individual inboxes or address books. Most small businesses; any business that needs to organize contact information or associate notifications, tasks, notes, files etc. with specific customers.
Sales management Basic sales management applications allow businesses to track deals at different stages of the sales pipeline, integrating sales activities and appointments with the general contact database. Some may also include limited automation (e.g., automatically sending follow-up emails or setting up reminders) and reporting. Any small business with a dedicated sales team, or that needs to organize a high volume of leads and automate follow-up (e.g., real estate agencies).
Marketing automation Entry-level marketing automation applications allow small businesses to quickly set up landing pages, Web forms and email templates that inspire potential customers to take action. They may also offer some degree of automation to send targeted, personalized messages based on prospects’ behavior. Small businesses with a dedicated marketing team, and/or looking to attract potential customers through email marketing or Web traffic.
Customer service management Simpler customer service applications typically focus on basic trouble ticket management, which allows small businesses to document, track and resolve customer issues. Small businesses with a dedicated customer service team, or any business that needs to resolve a high volume of customer inquiries and/or complaints (e.g., software companies).

Pricing: Web-Based vs. On-Premise CRM

Most small businesses should consider hosted, cloud-based CRM solutions. Because these systems are hosted by the vendor, they eliminate the need for you to have a dedicated IT team for managing and maintaining your own server. They also drastically reduce upfront investment and installation costs.

In addition, they typically offer monthly subscription pricing, which makes them scale well for fast-growing companies that need to add additional user licenses or features down the road.

However, small businesses with sufficient IT resources and capital may still benefit from on-premise CRM systems. These solutions usually require purchasing an expensive perpetual license up front, but they may become the cheaper option if you use the same system over an extended period of time.

You can see how pricing for these two models compares to figure out what works best for you using this tool. However, keep in mind that with on-premise solutions, you might also pay additionally for upgrades, customizations or maintenance.

Key Considerations for Small Businesses

With so many options and feature sets to choose from, selecting the right CRM for your small business can quickly become an overwhelming task. To narrow things down, here are four key factors for small businesses in particular to keep in mind as they evaluate different products:

Which Applications to Prioritize?
Because CRM encompasses so many functions (e.g., sales, marketing and customer service), many entry-level products are actually “best-of-breed” solutions. This means they focus on only one of the core applications listed above (although all CRM systems will provide some level of contact management functionality). “Integrated suites,” meaning solutions combining multiple applications in one software package (often billed as “professional” or “enterprise” editions) are much more expensive.

So before you begin shopping, start with a clear assessment of exactly which functions you need. The “Best for...” column in the chart above provides recommendations as to which types of companies may need which applications.

System Complexity and Ease-of-Use
Many small businesses we speak with say they’re replacing their CRM system because it’s too complicated or difficult to use. And if your employees find it too burdensome to input data into your program, you’ll wind up with a spotty, incomplete customer database, which defeats the entire purpose of having a system in place.

As a result, small businesses should pay particular attention to ease-of-use as they evaluate CRM software options. Consider solutions with smart, intuitive interfaces. Also, take advantage of the demos and trials offered by many companies to get a real sense of how user-friendly a system is.

Integration Considerations
While small businesses may not have as many integration requirements as larger companies, you should still consider CRM solutions that integrate with programs that you and your employees already use, such as email clients, calendars and accounting software.

For instance, integration with email clients such as Outlook and Gmail will make it much easier to import contacts and conversations into your new system. It also allows your employees to continue using the programs they’re comfortable with, while ensuring your contact database remains comprehensive and up-to-date.