Best CRM Software Of 2024 – Forbes Advisor

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Customer relationship management (CRM) software is a tool that helps salespeople and businesses manage interactions with prospects and customers. In addition to core CRM features such as sales pipeline management and robust reporting, the best CRM software providers offer advanced features such as document management, lead scoring, quote estimates and autodialer functionality.

The best CRM software for you will be based on your specific use case and needs. To assist you with choosing the right CRM tool, I reviewed dozens of products and compiled a list of the top ten providers, breaking down each option according to features, pricing, support quality and overall reputation.

The Forbes Advisor Small Business team is committed to bringing you unbiased rankings and information with full editorial independence. We use product data, first-hand testing, strategic methodologies and expert insights to inform all of our content to guide you in making the best decisions for your business journey.

Of all the CRM services on the market today, Zoho CRM is unbeatable when it comes to robust features, competitive pricing and ease of use. It’s powerful and versatile enough to suit the needs of various business sizes and industries with its vast feature set and large integration library. Plus, it’s also available for free for up to three users and offers low-cost paid plans starting at $14 per user per month, making it one of the most budget-friendly and scalable CRMs in the industry.

Zoho CRM provides dozens of essential features, including sales and marketing automation and product customization. Some useful features come with the free plan and are available without signing up for a premium account. For instance, with a free account, I could create and send out customized emails with attachments. I also appreciated the ability to let leads opt out rather than risk getting labeled spam.

Zoho CRM has also worked to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) into its features, though this is a premium tool only available with the Enterprise and Ultimate plans. AI primarily assists in predicting customer responses and determining the optimal times or methods to engage with them. Zoho also uses AI to transcribe and summarize calls, allowing team members to understand the most crucial conversation points as quickly as possible.

With AI advancing across many forms of business technology, I believe it might be a mistake for Zoho to limit access to these features to the highest service plans, as some competitors have made similar AI tools available at no extra cost. That aside, Zoho CRM offers a flexible array of sales and marketing tools that will easily fit the strategies of many companies.

Our advisory board member, Teajai Kimsey adds: “I have the Zoho Solo set up on my phone, and it’s great for micro businesses or freelancers just starting out with contact management, tasks and invoicing with payment processors.”

In addition to its core features, Zoho CRM has numerous integration options that link it with top-tier products and services such as Shopify, HubSpot, UPS, Salesforce, Etsy and many more. I did appreciate the wide range of shipping integrations, though I would have liked as much diversity for e-commerce, which only included Amazon, Etsy and eBay.

In addition to third-party solutions, Zoho CRM connects to internal products such as Zoho Desk, a useful customer service automation tool, and Bigin, a simple-to-use option to help smaller businesses streamline their customer operations.

Zoho CRM starts at $0 thanks to its forever-free tier, available for up to three users. If you need more service tools or support for a larger team, Zoho’s premium plans start at $14 per month when billed annually.

Zoho CRM has a standard support option for customers with a paid subscription, known as Classic Support. This includes onboarding support through Zoho’s customer success team and technical support up to eight hours per day. Customers can also access Zoho support by email, chat, phone or a self-service portal.

I believe Classic Support should cover the needs of most businesses, but if you want in-depth, on-site training, dedicated support related to integrations, etc., then you should consider Premium Support. Priced at 20% of your subscription fee, it’s a level of support available to both Zoho CRM and Zoho CRM Plus users.

Who should use it: Anyone looking for a robust CRM software offering a range of sales and marketing features for a reasonable price

Salesforce CRM is one of the most robust customer management systems, and it stands out for its vast customization capabilities and advanced analytics and reporting. It’s an ideal solution for established businesses looking for a comprehensive, all-in-one CRM and sales data platform to optimize the sales process and increase sales revenue.

While Salesforce offers a wide range of features, such as lead management, advanced workflows, customizable sales pipelines, forecast management, quotes, contracts, lead auto-assigning, bulk email sends, marketing campaign management and advanced analytics and reporting, its leading feature is its customization capabilities. While many CRMs claim to be customizable, I have found Salesforce to be not only one of the most customizable but also one of the easiest to customize, eliminating the headache of configuring a CRM that works for your business.

On the flip side, our advisory board member, Teajai Kimsey, says: “While Salesforce does offer automation (a plus for follow-up and other tasks), I’ve found Pardot (their automation program) to be clunky and not so intuitive.”

As a sales and CRM powerhouse, Salesforce integrates with over 1,000 other platforms. While its mid- and top-tier plans offer more features, such as lead scoring and automations, analytics and reporting are the only add-ons it offers that come at an additional charge. What I find disappointing is that most CRMs include this feature for free, and while the Salesforce analytics and reporting are admittedly more advanced than many of its competitors, they cost an extra $75 per user per month with annual billing.

Salesforce CRM starts as low as $25 per month through the Starter suite. Its pricing plans are on the more expensive end of CRM, especially towards the highest tiers, but for larger companies or brands with the budget, Salesforce will likely be worth the purchase.

Salesforce is reachable by phone or chat; if it is more convenient, you can request a callback later. I appreciate that Salesforce encourages customers to reach out with negative or positive remarks, as both are useful for improving future service.

Who should use it:Larger sales teams or businesses needing advanced sales reporting, pipeline customizations and collaboration features provides a unique array of management tools that can help you stay on top of projects and attain maximum productivity while ensuring team members hit crucial deadlines.

Creating the exact sales CRM setup you need to manage everything from sales pipelines to capturing leads is easy. To get started with, I selected a few specific CRM features, and after creating an account, I tested the features. For instance, I set up a series of boards for contacts, leads, client projects and more.

I noted that the format of the boards felt similar to what I’d used in’s work management setup; if you are familiar with using other products, then the CRM side will feel very straightforward. However, if you’re new to its boards and organizational setup, it could take some getting used to.

Teajai Kimsey, a marketing expert and our advisory board member, agrees on the different setup of “While it has some features like a CRM, it is laid out with a more project/deadline focus. You could call a project a ‘sales deal’ and add associated contacts, but that’s not really the way it’s set up.”

Though does not have add-ons, it’s worth noting that it, of course, has a number of features that are only available with its top-tier plans. For example, these features include advanced administrative controls for team management purposes, the ability to restrict IP addresses, access to a dedicated account manager, all sales management and operations features, lead scoring and the ability to integrate with Salesforce. is free to try. I like that you can test and become familiar with boards and tools at no cost and without having to share credit card information beforehand. If you decide to sign up for premium services,’s sales CRM starts at $12 per seat per month with the Basic plan.

You can contact’s support team by chat or email; you can also request a call. You can also access support articles, videos and community forum posts through the help center.

Who should use it: Businesses or sales teams that need sales, project management and account management capabilities.

Apptivo stands out as one of the best CRMs for its sales funnel builder and its level of flexibility and customization, making it a good choice for businesses striving to adapt the tool to their specific workflow rather than the other way around. Custom views, layouts and fields can be easily adjusted—this feature alone sets it apart from competitors that often prescribe a one-size-fits-all solution.

As a feature-rich CRM, it offers a range of features beyond vast customization capabilities and its advanced sales funnel builder, which allows businesses to get an intricate understanding of their sales process, from lead generation to deal closure. It also has helpful sales automation features, such as email sequencing, to save your sales team from spending time on repetitive tasks and ensure consistent follow-up.

It also has a mobile CRM, so it’s a good choice for businesses with on-the-go sales teams.  While some CRM platforms may have sophisticated analytical tools, what I find unique about Apptivo is that it demystifies this by breaking down win-loss analyses, sales projections and performance metrics into digestible visuals. This means actionable insights are more readily available, even for those who aren’t data scientists.

Teajai Kimsey, our advisory board member, shared her thoughts on Apptivo’s features and functionality as well: “The interface is very basic and doesn’t seem to tie the pieces together within the program. For example, it doesn’t pick up a company website/name from the email domain. So companies have to be entered separately. But it does integrate with a large number of outside programs.”

All available Apptivo features are included in its tiered plans. For example, its top-tier plans include the ability to connect to more apps, SMS functionality for sales and marketing purposes, more workflows (up to 300), email sequencing, custom branding, territory management and more.

Apptivo starts at just $15 per month for the Lite plan when paying annually. Most plans are priced publicly, though you must contact the sales team for a quote to upgrade to the Enterprise plan. If you want to try Apptivo before purchase, you can sign up for a 30-day trial account or schedule a demo.

If you have questions or encounter any issues, you can contact Apptivo’s sales or support teams by phone or by completing the contact form on the website.

Who should use it:Those needing a suite of business apps in addition to core CRM functionality

Agile CRM stands out as the most feature-rich free CRM, including the ability to automate complex marketing tasks, offering a lifeline to small businesses where resource constraints are a daily reality. The essence of the platform is to ensure that personnel limitations don’t translate into restricted marketing capabilities. The Drag-and-Drop Designer empowers even those with limited technical skills to create intricate marketing workflows. With just a few clicks, small businesses can construct multi-step campaigns, ‌nullifying the steep learning curve often associated with CRM platforms.

While many CRMs include sales and marketing features, I find that Agile CRM goes above and beyond in this area. In addition to its behavior-based segmentation, it automatically tags and scores leads based on distinct activities, such as email interactions and website visits. This feature allows small businesses to target the right audience segments, reducing the waste of resources on poorly targeted marketing campaigns. The real-time alerts about high-potential leads further help to streamline effort and focus.

Beyond marketing, Agile CRM also extends its automation into the sales process. The platform can qualify a lead and route it to the appropriate sales representative. This creates a harmonious alignment between sales and marketing teams, ensuring that leads don’t fall through the cracks and that customer engagement remains consistent and timely. By automating these various elements, Agile CRM provides small businesses with a tool that caters to their specific needs: Managing intricate marketing campaigns and customer interactions without requiring a steep investment of either time or money.

In addition to its CRM, Agile CRM offers several other software solutions geared toward helping businesses improve their operations and drive more sales. This includes help desk software, service automation, live chat solutions and productivity tools such as RPA software, which can eliminate the need for repetitive tasks through bots, automations, task management and data management. And our advisory board member, Teajai Kimsey, adds that Agile has one of the better social media integrations.

Agile CRM is free for up to 10 users. If you want access to features such as email campaigns or a landing page builder, you must sign up for a premium plan, which starts at $9.99 per month if billed annually. Overall, Agile CRM is very cost-effective and should fit the budgets of most companies.

If you aren’t sure where to start with Agile CRM, you can register for one of its weekly training workshops. For more traditional assistance, you can reach Agile’s support team by phone or email; if it’s easier, you can also have a support agent call you.

Who should use it:Sales teams and businesses needing a robust free CRM option for a team of up to 10 users.

HubSpot earns its reputation as a go-to CRM for businesses of all sizes thanks to its advanced features, including robust sales and marketing tools to help supercharge businesses. One key advantage is its ability to scale with a business between its free and low-cost plans and comprehensive enterprise-level plan, making it ideal for businesses of all sizes and growth stages.

HubSpot is a sales and marketing CRM that offers a wide range of features geared towards helping businesses sell more efficiently, such as form automation, list segmentation, live chat and SEO recommendations, helping businesses generate leads, manage customer relationships and market without breaking the bank.

Teajai Kimsey, a digital marketing professional of over 20 years and our CRM Advisory Board expert, says, “I’ve used HubSpot since 2016 and have set up two other businesses on this CRM. One thing that I use a lot is the reporting dashboards for sales, marketing and service.   The platform does a great job of tracking where leads originated, whether it’s paid or organic.

Another fun fact is that HubSpot integrates with CallRail—a system that tracks calls from Google Ads—and even adds the contact to the database automatically.”

In addition to its CRM, HubSpot offers a unified dashboard for marketing, sales, customer service, operations and commerce functionalities, which avoids the cost and complexity of integrating multiple stand-alone tools. HubSpot’s detailed list segmentation enables granular targeting, giving businesses a leg up in creating personalized marketing strategies.

HubSpot starts at $0 thanks to its free plan, which is available for up to five users; no credit card is required to sign up.  Upgrading to the Starter plan costs $15 per seat per month and works for those who want access to essential marketing tools such as landing pages, email marketing support and live chat.

If you create a custom bundle, you can buy strictly marketing or sales tools or combine features and either pay an annual subscription upfront or pay month-by-month. I like the flexibility of creating my own custom bundle and deciding whether to pay monthly or pay for everything at once. HubSpot’s pricing and feature flexibility easily suit the needs of a wide range of businesses.

If you are using HubSpot for free, you can access the community help center. If you pay for the Starter plan, you can contact live support by email or chat. Professional and Enterprise-level customers can reach the support team by phone. I am not a fan of turning customer support into a hierarchy, and if you aren’t interested in paying extra to guarantee timely support, alternative CRM services are available.

Who should use it: Businesses that want to integrate their sales, marketing and service teams together on one platform

Bitrix24 is one of the best CRMs that offers a feature-rich free forever plan with unlimited users. It has a wide range of features, including project management, lead generation, task management, file management, a website builder, a myriad of marketing tools and more. Another feature that I find makes it a good choice for larger businesses is that it also includes contact center software. While its paid plans appear very expensive at first glance, unlike most CRMs, its plans include multiple users, so while it starts at $49 per month, this is for up to five users, making it one of the most competitively priced CRMs on our list for businesses with larger-sized teams.

Bitrix24 goes beyond the standard CRM feature set with a range of features covering a variety of components in business, from lead generation and fostering contacts to managing projects, marketing and even building a website. Bitrix features include:

On the other hand, while Bitrix24 offers a wide array of features, it lacks the ability to enrich customer data from social, schedule appointments, auto-route leads and perform behavior-based segmentation.

Teajai Kimsey, our advisory board member, appreciates Bitrix24’s interface a handful of features:

“The interface is clean, colorful and intuitive, which I really appreciate because I love to use color as part of my organization process. They have AI called ‘CoPilot’—one of the few CRM tools that has integrated AI as part of the platform. I am sure we’ll see this integration more and more in the coming year. There are also options on how you want to view the CRM, like Kanban or list view. It has a good email marketing function, and it features ‘Robotic Process Automation’ to perform tasks that are repeated with each new contact or customer.”

Outside of Bitrix24’s CRM, it also offers several other software solutions. These include a unified telephony system, a calendar tool to improve team organization, a contact center solution to help businesses better serve their customers, advanced task management, and an e-commerce-enabled website builder.

Thanks to its free plan, Bitrix24 has a starting price of $0. Premium plans start at $49 per organization per month if you sign up for an annual subscription. Each pricing tier covers a specific number of users until you get to the Enterprise plan, which adjusts your rate according to how many additional people you intend to add.

In addition to how scalable Bitrix24 is in terms of pricing, I appreciated how each plan clarified how much of a feature you would be getting at a certain plan tier. For example, while you get a few “tasks and projects” features with a free plan, as you upgrade you unlock a more comprehensive experience with each category. This approach makes it easier to gauge whether a certain plan represents good value for money.

Bitrix24 provides varying levels of support according to your plan. Free users can access self-help tools such as a free webinar, newsletter and Bitrix24 Partners. There’s also the helpdesk section, where you can find all sorts of support articles that cover general questions and troubleshooting.

For more specialized support, you need at least the Basic plan, which includes live chat support during business hours. Similar premium support is available for on-premise plans. You can send an email or, if you’re in the United States, leave a voicemail message.

Who should use it: E-commerce and online businesses with larger teams that generate sales from paid social media marketing

HoneyBook is a client workflow management solution with a top-notch CRM built-in, giving service providers all the features they need to manage contacts and customers, schedule appointments, sign contracts, manage projects, create invoices, accept online payments and more. I find that it is well-designed with a modern and intuitive interface, making it easy for new users to hit the ground running. While it doesn’t have a free version, it does offer low-cost plans starting at $8 per month when billed annually, making it one of the more affordable options in the market.

What I really like about HoneyBook is that it is designed to meet the needs of service providers. It allows users to manage contacts, create automated workflows to avoid repetitive tasks, schedule meetings or book appointments, manage projects, send invoices, accept online payments and more. It also gives users the ability to track inquiries, helping you and your team stay on top of any incoming leads. HoneyBook also offers built-in forms questionnaires, giving businesses an easy way to follow up with clients and customers.

On the other hand, it lacks more advanced marketing features, such as customer segmentation, drip email marketing and campaign management like HubSpot. It also lacks the ability to enrich customer data using websites or social media profiles like Nimble CRM.

Teajai Kimsey, our advisory board member, noted a few features she enjoys about HoneyBook:

“Once set up, the opening dashboard is a nice ‘at a glance’ screen to give you current performance, tasks, appointments etc. It will sync contacts from Gmail or Outlook—great for setting up a new database or adding a new employee with their own outside business contacts. It has a Chrome extension that allows new contacts and deals to be added from the Gmail inbox, which keeps you from having to switch between tabs. Being a fan of all things Google, the Chrome extension is a big plus. And since I often do freelance work, the time-tracker is something I can see myself using.”

All HoneyBook features are available as part of a plan. However, it’s worth mentioning that while its entry-level Starter Plan ($8 per month) offers a long list of features, it does lack in a couple of areas. To start, with its built-in scheduler, users can only create one session type with this plan, which will likely be too limiting for the average user. The Starter plan also lacks automations, expense tracking, roles and permissions and the ability to connect to many integrations, such as QuickBooks, Zapier, Meta ads, Zoom and Calendly. That said, chances are, you will find its mid-tier Essential plan to be more suitable. It jumps in price to $16 per month with annual billing.

HoneyBook starts as low as $8 monthly through the Starter plan, although you could pay less if there is a discount available. Whether you go month by month or choose to pay upfront for a yearly subscription, I think HoneyBook’s pricing easily fits the budget of most small businesses. If you aren’t sure about committing to a paid plan, HoneyBook offers a seven-day trial.

HoneyBook offers 24/7 customer support by email and phone, with differing contact options available if you need to connect with sales, customer service or the security team. There are also self-help options available through the website’s help center. I do think HoneyBook could benefit from a live chat option, particularly since there’s evidence that contacting HoneyBook for problem-solving via phone is effective, given that the only phone number available is primarily for handling billing inquiries.

Who should use it: HoneyBook is an ideal CRM and client management solution for businesses in the service industry, such as home service providers, consultants, law firms, marketing agencies and creatives (such as professional photographers).

Nimble CRM elevates the practice of customer relationship management by embedding social media into its core functionality. While most CRMs offer social media as an afterthought or add-on, Nimble centralizes it, offering social profile matching and enrichment right off the bat. By automatically fetching and integrating information from various social networks into your contact records, Nimble provides a 360-degree view of clients and prospects, offering businesses a richer context and more meaningful engagement points.

Beyond its standout social media features, Nimble offers specialized features such as data enrichment and group messaging. Data enrichment allows businesses to augment their existing contacts with additional details, thereby adding layers of insights that can be pivotal for targeted marketing. Group messaging, on the other hand, is not mere mass mailing; it’s a feature designed to send personalized messages to segmented contacts, complete with open-and-click tracking.

Teajai Kimsey, our advisory board member, is a fan of the dashboard feature in Nimble: “I really like the ‘Today’ dashboard in this CRM. It’s a fully customizable widget to show what’s most important to the user (deals, tasks, etc.).”

One thing about Nimble that I find not only unique but also very helpful is that in addition to its CRM, it also has a sales prospecting extension. With it, users can more quickly source new leads, enrich existing contact records with information from social media and websites, and quickly access contacts from any webpage.

Nimble CRM has a very straightforward plan structure. It starts at $24.90 per month with annual pricing; paying monthly costs $29.90. I think Nimble’s pricing suits small businesses that want a transparent payment structure and absolutely no guesswork. Thanks to Nimble CRM’s 14-day trial, you know exactly what features you’re buying and if it’s worth your budget before purchasing its service.

Nimble has what I consider to be a pretty robust customer support system. It has a customer care section with articles and videos to help you understand and use its product. It also has an AI chat feature that directs you to live sales and support agents and tells you exactly when they are online or will become available. For instance, I was informed an agent would be online in two hours; I could leave a brief message that explained my question or issues ahead of time.

In addition to the support section, you can also send emails to relevant departments or even join an “Introduction to Nimble” webinar.

Who should use it: Those needing a no-frills CRM solution with straightforward pricing and solid prospecting features

Salesmate is a modern and intuitive solution that zeroes in on what smaller enterprises need most: tracking, organizing and automating sales activities without overcomplicating the process or overstretching the budget. The tiered pricing plans, starting at $23 per user per month with annual billing, offer flexibility in feature sets, allowing businesses to incrementally integrate more advanced functionalities such as Goal Management and Power Dialer as they grow.

It goes beyond mere contact management to offer features such as multiple pipeline management and workflow customization. These functionalities bring discipline to your sales operations, enabling a company to monitor deals in various stages and to automate repetitive tasks. The Team Inbox feature in its higher plans consolidates all customer correspondence in one place, making team collaboration more organized and effective. Email sync and tracking amplify your outreach strategy by offering real-time updates on how recipients interact with your emails.

Teajai Kimsey, our advisory board member, sees a lot of value in Salesmate’s features:

“Salesmate states that they specialize in small to mid-size businesses. That being said, they have some unique features that are really interesting when you want to know which sales/marketing efforts are the most successful:

Beyond its CRM, Salesmate also offers email and SMS marketing software to help businesses communicate easily with contacts, automation to supercharge operations, campaigns to generate leads and analytics for added insights to help businesses make informed and strategic decisions.

Despite its starting price of $23 per user per month, which is not the most competitive, I find that Salesmate CRM is a good value for price. It is a scalable solution, with a good amount of sales, marketing and management tools available with each plan, with the right balance to make upgrading make sense as your company grows and needs change. The Enterprise level provides a fully customizable experience, though you must request a sales quote.

For those who need more time to consider the product, Salesmate offers a 15-day trial. During this trial, you get unlimited access to the product and can better determine if its features work for your CRM needs. No credit card is required, and you can cancel anytime during the trial.

Salesmate has a support portal through which you can access useful video tutorials, search the help center for answers to common questions and use the community forums. As for live support, there is a website contact form. I do think Salesmate’s support options are somewhat lackluster compared to other providers, particularly if a customer is facing a timely issue.

Who should use it:Businesses with salespeople or teams who make a lot of outbound calls

Zendesk Sell is a leading CRM platform from Zendesk, which also offers a separate help desk platform that you can integrate with your CRM. With Zendesk for Service, you can manage support tickets, create chatbots, set up a help center for customers to use and communicate with customers via social media and more. I really like this feature because it streamlines communication channels and consolidates customer interactions, making it easier to provide efficient and personalized support.

Soumya Mahapatra, the CEO of Essenvia, shared his experience with using Zendesk Sell: “We’ve been using Zendesk Sell for our CRM work for several years now in part because Zendesks’ other services are such a core part of our business. We use them for our help center, for analytics and for chat, along with a few other features we’re experimenting with. The prospect of having one fewer software license to manage was one of the big reasons we went with Zendesk for CRM, and we definitely haven’t been disappointed. While there are dedicated CRM platforms out there with more features in that particular domain, Zendesk is so flexible that we have a hard time saying no to it.”

When testing Zendesk Sell, I focused primarily on its capability to customize up to 20 sales pipelines. This feature allowed me to experiment with different configurations to see how well the tool could adapt to varied sales processes. Setting up each pipeline to mimic different segments of a typical market allowed me to gain insights into how this could potentially streamline operations for a sales team. APIs on its base plan is a boon, too.

Sell Team, Zedesk Sell’s cheapest plan, offers APIs, pre-built dashboards, call tracking and recording, text messages, email and calendar integrations and up to two customizable sales pipelines.

Another aspect I explored in depth was the integration with email and calendars. During the trial, I could see how it might reduce scheduling conflicts and streamline communications. Automatic updates are a valuable feature for maintaining order and ensuring no customer interaction is overlooked.

The call tracking and recording feature is quite thorough. I tested how it recorded interactions, noting the ease with which one could replay and analyze calls. This functionality suggested it would be useful for teams needing detailed records of customer interactions for compliance or quality assurance purposes.

While Zendesk Sell has no free plan, its trial lets you test out each plan level, including its highest tier with task automation, prospecting, sales forecasting, goals tracking and deal scoring. For a CRM to lock its deal scoring behind its most expensive plan is unusual—some offer lead scoring for free.

Add-ons include Premier plans, which give a one-hour response time guarantee, tailored monitoring, 24/7 support and a designated support team. A technical account manager can be added to help tailor your tech projects and help each Zendesk service work cohesively. Professional services are also available as an add-on. These allow for hands-on configuring of your CRM, consulting, data migration, custom apps and more.

Zendesk Sell plans start at $19 per agent per month when paid annually and $25 month-to-month. For its Sell Professional plan, you’ll pay $149 per agent, per month when paying month-to-month or $115 per agent per month when paying annually. It also has an enterprise plan starting at $169 per user, per month on an annual subscription.

Zendesk Sell’s multi-language support enhances global usability. It offers digital support through its help center and community forums, which provide immediate answers and troubleshooting assistance.

For newcomers, the CRM includes on-demand training and guided learning paths to facilitate quick mastery of its features. For businesses requiring deeper support, Zendesk Sell offers additional services such as Premier Plans, a Technical Account Manager and Professional Services. These add-ons are designed for users needing advanced help with customization or integration, and they incur an additional cost. This setup allows businesses to scale support based on their specific requirements and complexity.

Teams that require a highly customizable CRM with detailed tracking and support for scaling customer relationship management should consider Zendesk Sell.

More than 400 integrations, personalized onboarding, AI sales assistant

More than 400 integrations, personalized onboarding, AI sales assistant

More than 400 integrations, personalized onboarding, AI sales assistant

During my review of Pipedrive, its practical approach to scalability struck me, especially considering its Enterprise-level plan is only $99 per seat per month. The starting plan at $14 per seat per month provides essential CRM features, making it accessible for smaller businesses or those just beginning to systematize their sales processes. This entry-level price includes tools for managing leads and pipelines, which are fundamental for organizing sales activities.

What sets Pipedrive apart, however, are its add-on upgrade features. For an additional fee, you can choose to include website visitor tracking, lead generation, email marketing, document management or project management functionality. The upside is you only have to pay for the features you want. The downside is these cost extra in addition to your core CRM fee.

Dillon Hill, Head of Growth at Cosmoforge, shared why he likes Pipedrive: “Pipedrive stands out as our top recommendation for small businesses primarily due to its intuitive dashboard design. Even those new to CRM systems will find it straightforward to locate essential features, overcoming one of the most common hurdles with adopting new technology. This ease of navigation significantly increases the likelihood of leveraging the full benefits of the system. Additionally, Pipedrive’s transparent pricing model eliminates financial surprises, making it a practical choice for budget-conscious businesses.”

Pipedrive’s Essential plan allows for up to 3,000 deals per company, 30 custom fields per company and 15 reports per user. With this plan, you can manage leads and deals, customize your pipelines easily, have a leads inbox, get notifications when a deal is idle too long, track your communications and access hundreds of integrations.

Each successive tier of Pipedrive builds on the last, introducing more sophisticated capabilities. For instance, the Advanced plan not only retains all features from the Essential plan but also introduces automation builders and email tracking, which is important for enhancing marketing communications. The Professional and Power plans further extend these functionalities with AI-driven tools and comprehensive project management features, catering to more complex sales operations.

What particularly impressed me was the Projects add-on. This feature integrates directly into the CRM, offering tools for detailed project oversight. It organizes tasks, timelines and interactions within Pipedrive, which could significantly improve how sales projects are managed, especially for teams dealing with multifaceted sales cycles.

Pipedrive plans start at $14 per seat per month, billed annually, and go up to $99 per seat per month, billed annually. Its most popular plan includes an AI sales assistant and email tools for $49 per seat per month, billed annually. It has no free plan.

With support in 22 languages, Pipedrive caters to a diverse, global user base. It includes an online help center and chatbot support, available to all users for quick troubleshooting and answers to common questions.

Live chat support is provided round-the-clock for most plan levels. However, the extent of live support availability varies based on the subscription plan chosen.

For more personalized assistance, Pipedrive offers specialized support options like personalized onboarding and access to a dedicated customer success manager, but these services are contingent upon meeting minimum seat requirements. This tiered approach ensures that larger teams or those with more complex setups receive support that aligns with their needs.

Pipedrive is perfect for businesses that need flexible, visual tools for managing sales processes and prefer a pricing model that allows them to scale features according to growth.

During my testing of Freshsales, I found the 21-day trial period to be extremely useful for thoroughly exploring its capabilities without requiring any upfront investment. The CRM starts at a monthly fee of $9 per user when billed annually, making it one of the more affordable options on the market. This affordability, coupled with a great set of foundational features in the Basic plan, including contact, account and deal management represented in Kanban views, provides a solid base for any small to medium-sized business starting their CRM journey.

Jeremy Vrchota, CEO of Cota Systems, shared his experience with Freshsales: “As a startup, Freshsales has been a great tool for our company. The interface was easy to use and understand. The CRM software has been very adaptable to our business needs, being able to customize each page, field and sales pipeline. Freshsales has made it easy to manage our leads and track all correspondence via email sequence analytics to help us succeed as a small business.”

Freshsales includes a dashboard where managing contacts, accounts and deals is straightforward and visually organized. The free tier supports basic CRM functionalities for up to three users and is ideal for startups.

The Basic plan provides an effective setup for managing contacts, accounts and deals with visual tools like Kanban charts, which allow for the tracking of sales processes. Higher plans introduce more detailed sales management tools like sales forecasting and automated workflows, which is beneficial for businesses scaling their operations.

Upon upgrading to a higher-tiered plan, the introduction of AI tools and advanced custom fields significantly expands Freshsales’ capabilities. These features support a deeper analysis and automation of sales activities, although navigating the interface to use these advanced features proved a bit challenging at times. Despite its simplicity in some areas, Freshsales may require a learning period to maximize the use of its more sophisticated tools.

Freshsales offers a free CRM for up to three users that include all the basics such as contact management, account management, activity timelines and kanban views. Paid plans start at $9 per user per month, billed annually, and go up to $59 per user per month, billed annually.

Support options across all plans include email, phone and chat 24×5, ensuring help is readily available during business hours. Freshworks Academy teaches you the ins and outs of how to use its tools, and there’s even a certification. Otherwise, access its knowledge base or community support.

Freshsales is a great choice for businesses that want to enhance their sales processes without things getting too overwhelming, though learning the ins and outs of the platform takes a little getting used to.

During my free trial of Insightly, I found its mobile app great for managing sales tasks on the go, which is ideal for traveling salespeople or field teams. While Insightly has a free plan, its accessible starting price of $29 per user per month, billed annually, offers another relatively economical option. Its 14-day trial is great for testing its primary CRM capabilities, such as lead routing and email automation, and its detailed project management tools, such as task scheduling and monitoring through interactive dashboards.

Vance Tran, the co-founder of Pointer Clicker, likes Insightly for its ticketing feature: “When it comes to customer service teams relying heavily on ticketing, we often point them to Insightly. The ability to track and manage support requests is where this platform truly shines compared to sales-driven alternatives. Overall it’s a great fit for any business where customer support is core.”

I had a lot of success with Insightly’s project oversight tools. It gives detailed permission settings and plenty of customization options, allowing you to adapt the system to various business requirements. The mobile app’s features, like scanning business cards directly into sales pipelines and recording voice notes, significantly enhance productivity for field teams or even solopreneurs who like to keep tabs on their own progress.

With Insightly All-in-One, you can access its CRM, Marketing, Service and AppConnect tools, though this comes with quite a hefty price tag. These plans start at $349 per month and go all the way up to $2,599 per month—billed annually.

In addition, with All-in-One, you’re paying for AppConnect setup, which is a required $3,000. This is on top of the $1,500 guided product onboarding and a $3,000 minimum annual spend for Premier Support and Success (or 20% of the license, whichever is higher).

CRM plans start at $29 per user per month, billed annually, and go up to $99 per user, per month, billed annually. It also has a free plan for up to two users.

Insightly offers phone and email support, as well as paid onboarding and low-code setup, both at a hefty price tag. Paid onboarding is $1,500. Basic support gives a 24-hour response during business hours, whereas for 20% of your Insightly investment (a minimum of $3,000 per year), you can get a four-hour response time 24×5. While this may work great for Enterprise customers, it’s not all that friendly of a support option for small businesses.

Insightly is best suited for medium to large businesses that can afford higher-tier support and are looking for a CRM with mobile functionality and project management features.

AI content recommendations, polls and surveys, drag-and-drop email templates, contact management

AI content recommendations, polls and surveys, drag-and-drop email templates, contact management

AI content recommendations, polls and surveys, drag-and-drop email templates, contact management

I trialed SharpSpring, now part of Constant Contact as Lead Gen & CRM, primarily for its marketing automation features that are especially potent for managing large-scale email campaigns. The pricing model, which adjusts based on the number of email contacts, starts at $12 per month for the Lite version and scales up to $80 for the Premium version, making it adaptable for businesses of different sizes. The Standard plan, at $35 per month, offers a balance with advanced features such as A/B testing and detailed engagement reports, which really help with optimizing marketing efforts.

SharpSpring is great because its marketing tools and CRM work together perfectly to boost lead generation and keep customers engaged. Inside the platform, it felt a lot like an email marketing tool with a side of contact management. It can do a lot with email marketing—templates, automation, A/B testing—and it can handle SMS and social media marketing, too.

Carl Broadbent, a digital marketing expert, agrees that SharpSpring is great for marketers: “If you’re in digital marketing or run an agency that does a lot of lead gen through nurture sequences, SharpSpring is a top-notch choice. The focus here is tightly on lead routing, email campaigns and contact list care. It leans into nurturing prospects down the funnel in an automated yet customizable way. I’d say it’s best for any business that wants to make CRM an extension of their sales and marketing efforts.”

It has over 300 integrations, a marketing campaign calendar, ways to sell products and services via events, automated welcome sequences and drag-and-drop templates. With this integrated set of tools, businesses can manage a range of marketing strategies from one platform.

To run SMS campaigns, plans start at $10 per month, though if you have its Premium plan, you get your first 500 messages per month included. For an additional $10 per month, you can preview what your emails will look like in your customer’s inbox, which is a little jarring, as even the cheapest of cheap email marketing platforms offer this preview as part of the service.

There is no free plan, and prices are based on the number of contacts you have. Plans start at $12 per month for its cheapest option, and its most expensive option starts at $80 per month. For example, if you have 45,000 contacts, you’ll pay $575 per month with its most expensive option, or $430 per month with its cheapest option.

You can chat with Constant Contact on weekdays or call Constant Contact Monday through Saturday, though hours vary by which department you need to reach. There’s also an extensive knowledge base, tutorials, a blog, webinars and a community you can reach out to.

SharpSpring is best suited for businesses with large contact lists and require sophisticated marketing tools to engage leads through email, social media and SMS, especially those looking to integrate these efforts with CRM functionalities.

CRM software is a sales pipeline and customer relationship tool that salespeople and businesses use to manage interactions with leads, prospects and customers. CRM software allows you to create a visual sales pipeline broken down by stages that mirror your overall sales process. It then offers features to help track leads and opportunities as they move through each stage of your sales pipeline toward deal-close.

Start by creating a sales pipeline with individual pipeline stages. From there, set up actions or benchmarks that leads must meet in order to move from one stage to the next. Then, begin generating leads through inbound or outbound methods and track those leads through each stage of your sales process using your CRM. Some CRM tools even offer account management features to help you manage the post-sale customer relationship once a deal is closed.

In addition to the core sales pipeline management features mentioned, the top CRM software also include features such as reporting dashboards, workflow automations, collaboration tools, lead qualification, document management with e-sign capabilities, built-in telephony and industry functionality for niche-specific use cases. The right CRM software for you will depend on your specific sales process and the unique needs of your business.

There are many benefits of CRM software related to the ongoing management of customer relationships as leads and prospects move through your sales pipeline. The top CRM software benefits include the following:

The overall benefits of CRM software are numerous and ultimately depend on the features included with your chosen CRM provider. Let’s now take a look at how to choose the best CRM option for you so you can take full advantage of these benefits.

The best CRM software includes all the core sales pipeline management features you’d expect as well as key advanced features for a reasonable price. When choosing the right CRM provider for your specific needs, make sure you not only assess essential, advanced and industry-relevant features but also pricing, ease of use and customer support. Let’s now take a look at how to choose the best CRM software for you:

With CRMs, it’s all about growing the business by connecting with customers and forming relationships. Sales and marketing need to be seamlessly integrated for a 360-degree view of the business, including conversions, closed sales and ROI on marketing investments. The best CRM platforms understand and support this.

One of the biggest aspects of whether or not a CRM works for you is whether or not it comes out of the box with the features you need—without a steep learning curve. For many busy businesses and professionals, it doesn’t matter what a CRM is capable of doing if you aren’t able to easily figure out how to use it.

Selecting the right CRM for your business means considering your budget and determining what you want to accomplish with your customer data. You likely need lead management and workflow automation, but maybe you also need email marketing and a robust mobile app.

Essential features are core CRM features that all providers offer. When choosing your CRM software, make sure that it includes the following as a baseline:

In addition to the core CRM features offered by most providers, it’s also important to assess available advanced features to ensure that your chosen CRM tool meets your specific needs, such as the following:

There are industry-specific CRMs available for those in niche-specific industries that require a unique set of features. Common industry CRMs include tools for call centers, financial advisors, real estate agents, mortgage providers and more. It’s important to assess the available industry features when choosing a CRM to ensure that your specific needs are adequately met.

For example, some CRM software offer call routing and call queue features perfect for contact centers with a lot of live telephone agents. Other CRM software focus on the financial industry with the ability to send quotes and estimates, integrate with major financial tools, extra data protection, loan referral tracking, loan transaction tracking and more. Finally, some CRM systems help real estate agents manage both their listings and sales pipeline.

When choosing the right CRM for you, it’s important to assess your industry-specific needs and see if there are specific CRMs built to meet those needs. However, some more general CRMs can also offer advanced features that can work for your specific industry requirements. Ultimately, it’s important to assess all features offered so you can select the best CRM software.

Make sure that the CRM software you choose fits within your budget. Most CRM software offer tiered pricing structures with a range of available features. Some CRMs include a free tier while others typically offer a free trial to test out the platform before you commit to purchasing. When assessing CRM software options, look at the available tiers and ensure the one you choose includes the features you need for a reasonable price. See our CRM pricing guide for more details.

The right CRM software for you should be easy to use relative to its price and feature set. Some CRM providers offer intuitive user interfaces and robust knowledge bases that help you and your team become expert users more quickly. On the other hand, some CRMs are harder to use and require more support but may offer more advanced functionality. It’s important to test the product before you commit to purchasing to ensure it’s intuitive enough for you and your team.

All CRM providers offer a combination of customer support that includes email support, live chat, a customer service phone number as well as a knowledge base or blog. When choosing your CRM software, make sure that it has the necessary customer support to help you take full advantage of the product.

Many CRM solutions are designed to meet the demands of specific use cases and niches. To help you find the best solution for your needs, we’ve created guides to the best CRM software in a variety of categories:

CRM software providers typically offer a tiered pricing structure with three to four individual tiers offering various features at differing price points. Usually, the more robust the feature set the higher the cost. CRM software providers typically charge based on a per-seat basis and include both month-to-month options as well as annual plans offered for a discount. Annual plan pricing is often listed as a monthly cost but requires 12 months of payment upfront.

Most CRM providers will either offer a free tier or a free trial between seven to 30 days. Paid tiers start at $8 per month, per user on the low end and can get as high as $300 per month, per user for advanced tiers suitable for large businesses or teams. However, some CRM providers offer monthly or annual pricing that include more than a single user. For example, HubSpot’s most expensive tier is $500 month-to-month or $450 per month, paid annually, but includes five users.

When considering CRM cost, it’s important to assess it in terms of value for the features provided. It’s important to take full advantage of any free tiers or trials to test-drive a product before deciding to purchase.

Most businesses would benefit from the use of CRM software. CRMs can help with anything from basic contact management to advanced sales pipeline management. If you sell a product or service that requires lead nurturing, or manage ongoing client relationships, then a CRM is probably right for you.

When choosing a CRM for your business, first assess your needs. From there, look for CRM software with an available feature set that meets those needs. Then, consider its pricing, customer service and ease of use to determine an overall value for the cost.

The cost of CRM software varies widely. Typically, CRM providers offer a three-tiered pricing structure with paid tiers ranging from $8 per month, per user up to $300 per monthly user. Some CRMs offer free tiers while others offer free trials between seven and 30 days.

Yes, there are many CRMs that offer a free tier. However, these free tiers are basic and may not include the features you need. That said, they are helpful for testing out the product and assessing things such as its user interface and more. For more information, check out our article on the best free CRMs.

For nearly a decade, Toni Matthews-El has published business topics ranging from cloud communication software to best steps for establishing your own LLC. In addition to Forbes Advisor, she’s published articles for Medical News Today, US News and World Report.

Kelly Main is a Marketing Editor and Writer specializing in digital marketing, online advertising and web design and development. Before joining the team, she was a Content Producer at Fit Small Business where she served as an editor and strategist covering small business marketing content. She is a former Google Tech Entrepreneur and she holds an MSc in International Marketing from Edinburgh Napier University. Additionally, she is a Columnist at Inc. Magazine.

Rachel Williams has been an editor for nearly two decades. She has spent the last five years working on small business content to help entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. She’s well-versed in the intricacies of LLC formation, business taxes, business loans, registered agents, business licenses and more.

Teajai Kimsey is a seasoned marketing professional with over two decades of experience driving digital strategy and innovation across diverse industries. She currently serves as the director of marketing & communications at a leading commercial glazing specialist, where she not only oversees all aspects of marketing for the division but also plays a crucial role as the HubSpot CRM administrator. Her expertise in customer relationship management and ability to leverage data-driven insights have been instrumental in enhancing the company’s marketing efforts and customer engagement. 

Teajai’s entrepreneurial spirit and digital expertise have been the hallmarks of her career. In the early days of digital marketing, she founded a successful agency that rapidly scaled to over $1 million in revenue within just five years. Her innovative approach and leadership earned her a nomination for the prestigious “”40 under 40″” award by a prominent business journal. Teajai’s agency was also recognized as one of her city’s “”Best Places to Work”” for two consecutive years. 

Throughout her career, Teajai has held marketing leadership roles in various sectors, including healthcare, e-commerce and construction. Her areas of expertise encompass content creation, social media strategy, search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing and customer relationship management (CRM) implementation.  

Teajai’s educational background includes degrees in business administration, psychology and management, providing her with a well-rounded foundation for her marketing career. With her track record of success and deep understanding of digital marketing, Teajai continues to be a sought-after expert and thought leader in her field.

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