The Best CRM Software of 2021

Marth Kendall Custard

You could boost your company's profits by almost 100% by retaining just 5% more of your customers. This is all the more important in the challenging times brought on by the pandemic and the resulting economic fallout. That’s where CRM software comes into play. CRMs are a critical avenue for small businesses to build and improve relationships with their customers. 

CRMs are geared toward improving the success of small businesses, but they can act as a central nervous system for your company as a whole, keeping customer information, calendars, task assignments, and more all in a central location. From sales tracking and calendar management tools to lead capturing, funneling, sales insights, and forecasting, these tools offer small businesses both macro and micro views of their tasks and needs. 

Instead of asking whether or not your small business needs CRM, you should be deciding which CRM is best for your small business. Now is a good time to consider implementing a CRM so you can hit the new year with an efficient and organized process in place to reach your 2021 goals. Here’s a look at our top 10 CRM software picks, along with a guide to help you decide which is best for your business.

Visual thinkers
First-time CRM users
Businesses seeking a simple CRM solution
Service-based businesses
Small sales teams that want a big technological solution
Those on a budget
Those that want an on-premises CRM
Small businesses that want a CRM provider they can trust
Independent businesses
Small businesses
$8 per seat per month (3 seat minimum)
Starting at $12.50per month
$18 per user per month
$19per month
$29 per user per month (billed annually)
$12 per user per month
$30/user/month for the cloud or $99 one-time fee for on premises
Quote-based. Prices have been recorded at $39- $69 per user per month
Free
$90/month for first use + $10/month for additional users
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
14 days
14 days
30 days
14 days with no card
21 days
15 days
30 days
None
N/A
15 days

The Top 10 CRM Software - In-Depth Reviews

  • 1

    monday.com

    Visual-based small business solution
    monday.com
    • Best forVisual thinkers
    • Price$8 per seat per month (3 seat minimum)
    • Free trial14 days

    Celebrated for its ease-of-use and capabilities, monday.com’s CRM is a favorite among mid-sized businesses and budding start-ups. 

    Monday.com boasts one of the most approachable pipelines in the industry. The view is deceptively simple, with plenty of space for lead details, customer info, and tasks organized within a clean interface. Monday.com lets you capture and prioritize leads, set tasks and deadlines down to the minute, and track sales progress reports. 

    Another strength is its capacity for collaboration; accessible timelines with a Kanban view allow teams to stay on task and share information in one central location. This might explain why it’s the favored CRM software for industry-leading companies like Wix.com and Philips. 

    Monday.com easily integrates with Google Drive, Slack, Trello, and Dropbox, and also offers dedicated mobile apps for iOS and Android. Customer support is well represented with webinars, tutorials, and several avenues for contact.

    Pros
    • Simple customization
    • 14-day free trial
    • Timelines with Kanban view
    Cons
    • Falls short on marketing tools
    • Too expensive for some midsize businesses
  • 2

    Pipedrive

    Accessible solutions for small businesses
    Pipedrive
    • Best forFirst-time CRM users
    • PriceStarting at $12.50per month
    • Free trial14 days

    Pipedrive’s visual-driven CRM pipeline makes managing sales leads a breeze. Designed primarily for small to midsize businesses, it offers a touch of everything that could benefit a small business—workflow automation, statistics tools, and customizable lead stages—all smartly packaged in software that values accessibility over complexity.   

    The compelling feature is the pipeline itself, which allows sales teams to collect, track, prioritize, and optimize sales leads. Customer data can be easily stored in the pipeline, which is tweaked as leads advance or fall behind. Lead-booster, Pipeline’s lead generation tool, uses a Chatbox to automatically route hot leads to sales reps, and can sync up with the calendar to schedule appointments. The software also features sales reporting and forecasting tools as well as email integration. 

    Part of Pipedrive’s charm is its usability; even those new to CRM can pick it up in a short amount of time, then scale their use as they assign and track leads. The software connects with hundreds of apps and has 2-way sync with Google apps and Drive in the Essential plan. For Google Drive integration, opt for the Advanced Plan at $24.90 per month.

    Pipedrive comes in 3 plans with progressively more advanced features, though users can take advantage of the free 14-day trial to play around and see if it's right for them. The Essential plan ($12.50 per month) is equipped with mainly lead management tools, while the more advanced plans branch into advanced communication tracking, automation and growth, insights and reports, and privacy and security.

    Pros
    • Seamless pipeline view
    • 2-way sync with Google apps
    • 14-day free trial
    Cons
    • Not ideal for larger businesses
    • No VoIP system
  • 3
    Sleek and easy-to-use CRM solution
    Capsule
    • Best forBusinesses seeking a simple CRM solution
    • Price$18 per user per month
    • Free trial30 days

    Capsule CRM is a good solution for businesses that want an easy-to-learn tool that their sales staff can jump into immediately, without the need for extensive training. 

    It allows businesses to create leads from an intuitive dashboard and track deal flows throughout the pipeline. Capsule CRM integrates with an array of other business solutions that are in common use, so it should fit right into any company's existing workflow without issue.They even offer a free starter CRM for 2 users and up to 250 contacts.


    Pros
    • Easy to use
    • Attach unlimited documents to leads
    • Free version
    Cons
    • Lacks some advanced CRM features
  • 4
    Suite of tools for service-based businesses
    vcita
    • Best forService-based businesses
    • Price$19per month
    • Free trial14 days with no card

    Designed explicitly for small, service-based businesses, vCita has drawn more than 100,000 professionals to its specialized CRM software.

    vCita is one of the rare products tailored to small businesses that operate on appointments. Professionals such as accountants, therapists, medical professionals, and consultants will benefit most from the calendar management feature that allows them to book appointments and manage their schedule. The software also offers billing and invoicing services-- another big plus for independent professionals. On the user side, a client portal allows clients to book appointments and make payments online. vCita also offers marketing campaigns and lead capturing to help professionals grow their business while managing their existing clients. 

    vCita offers a free 14-day trial as well as 3 packages, starting with the Essentials package and topping out at the Platinum package that includes customized marketing campaigns sent out to a maximum of 10,000 recipients.

    Pros
    • Designed for appointment-based professions
    • Client-facing payment and scheduling portal
    • 14-day free trial
    Cons
    • Not ideal for non-service companies
    • Largest package only supports 20 team members
  • 5

    Freshworks CRM

    Harnesses AI for sales and marketing
    Freshworks CRM
    • Best forSmall sales teams that want a big technological solution
    • Price$29 per user per month (billed annually)
    • Free trial21 days

    Freshworks CRM is a solid mix of automation, clean layout, and high powered functionality. Formerly known as Freshsales, this tool scales all the way through to enterprise levels, and takes massive advantage of automation to help lead sales and marketing teams do more every workday.

    The platform also offers add-ons so businesses can add more contacts, phone credits, improve workflow, and even integrate WhatsApp Business. 

    Pros
    • AI-powered lead scoring
    • Cloud-centric
    • Automation and workflows
    Cons
    • Free trial only 21 days
    • No reports with free forever startup version
  • 6
    Budget-friendly sales and marketing solutions
    Zoho
    • Best forThose on a budget
    • Price$12 per user per month
    • Free trial15 days

    Zoho has plenty to offer small to midsize businesses on a budget. It’s reasonably priced but thoroughly equipped with lead generation tools, social media marketing capabilities, and reporting and forecasting features. Though Zoho is focused primarily on sales processes, it offers a solid set of tools for customer service and marketing teams, including live chat customer support, website visitor tracking, and auto responding. 

    While clients who already use Zoho’s other software are at an advantage, its CRM software is approachable by anybody. It integrates with apps such as Shopify, MailChimp, and Office360. Zoho also offers a free version for up to three users with limited capabilities, as well as tiered plans with increased user capacity and advanced features that accommodate businesses at whatever level they require

    They also have a new pipeline-centric CRM built and priced for small businesses. It’s called Bigin and can also be tried for 15 days, free of charge. Bigin is designed to help businesses engage prospects, manage pipelines, and close deals. It is priced at $7 per user per month and integrates with the G-suite as well as Zoho CRM, Microsoft 365, and even Twitter.

    Pros
    • Free version available
    • Social media capabilities
    • Good for sales, CS, and marketing teams
    Cons
    • Works best with Zoho business software
    • Dashboards can be overwhelming
  • 7
    On-premises and cloud CRM solutions
    InfoFlo
    • Best forThose that want an on-premises CRM
    • Price$30/user/month for the cloud or $99 one-time fee for on premises
    • Free trial30 days

    InfoFlo CRM is a great choice for businesses that want to run a CRM tool locally on their own server. It also includes the functionality necessary to run on the cloud for a basic and advanced subscription.

    The basic product is backed by a wide library of add-ons to add features such as PBX and advanced searching.


    Pros
    • Cloud and on premises
    • Advanced search feature
    Cons
    • Not a huge user base
    • Missing some integrations
  • 8
    Easy sales pipeline visualization
    Sage
    • Best forSmall businesses that want a CRM provider they can trust
    • PriceQuote-based. Prices have been recorded at $39- $69 per user per month
    • Free trialNone

    Sage CRM is a cloud CRM that allows businesses to visualize their sales pipeline, set targets for sales teams, and link marketing campaigns to sales leads.

    It is equipped with a host of sales and marketing functions, which is likely what makes ita serious CRM with many big clients. It's not the cheapest option on the market, but it does provide good value considering all of the features it offers.

    There is an on-premises option available, but the vendor must be contacted for this option’s pricing details.

    Pros
    • 100% cloud-based
    • Dashboard that gives a clear overview of the business
    Cons
    • Not the cheapest tool on the market
    • Support materials are lacking
  • 9

    Hubspot

    Free software with plenty to brag about
    Hubspot
    • Best forIndependent businesses
    • PriceFree
    • Free trialN/A

    Hubspot’s CRM software is free and therefore best suited to small businesses that only needthe core essentials. That said, it’s earned high reviews and offers a solid line-up of tools that make it worth considering for SMBs looking to increase sales.

    Hubspot CRM has a clean dashboard that lets you sort deals and track all pertinent information which can be sorted by lead status, name, amount, or by custom filters, all so businesses can view their sales funnel in real-time. The software syncs up with Gmail and Outlook and includes tons of free communications tools such as live chat, cross-team emails, and a central inbox for sales, marketing, and customer service teams to manage conversations.  

    Most notably, Hubspot allows an unlimited amount of users and storage that can reach up to a million contacts. While limited for clients with advanced needs, Hubspot exceeds what you’d expect for free software and is a capable solution for small businesses looking to improve organization and productivity.

    Pros
    • Free software
    • Up to 1 million contacts
    • Unlimited users
    Cons
    • Basic software
    • No statistics or forecasting tools
  • 10
    Mailchimp and Mailjet email marketing integra...
    Axonaut
    • Best forSmall businesses
    • Price$90/month for first use + $10/month for additional users
    • Free trial15 days

    Axonaut is a diverse CRM system designed for the needs of small businesses. Although this French company is still a relative minnow in the CRM ecosystem, it contains an attractive online interface and an email and email marketing-focused set of integrations.

    Pros
    • Email marketing support
    • Drag-and-drop functionality
    • CRM and customer support
    Cons
    • No free tier
    • No iOS app
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the top 5 CRM systems?
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Monday.com, Pipedrive, Keap, vcita, and Hubspot are 5 companies with some of the best CRM systems available.
What is the easiest CRM?
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Pipedrive boasts many characteristics that make it one of the easiest and most accessible CRM systems for new users.
What is the best free CRM software?
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Hubspot is entirely free and has some impressive features that reviewers claim put it in competition with subscription-based CRM systems.

Why Your Business Needs a CRM

Increasing Sales

  • Streamlined client contact boosts sales.

  • Collaborative tools help salespeople close the deal.

Improving Customer Retention

  • Effective feedback logging keeps customers around longer.

  • Integrated “360 degree” views of customer data help you serve them more effectively.

Streamlining Your Sales Funnel

  • A CRM makes it easy to visualize your funnel.

  • Granular reporting helps identify pipeline weak points.

Easy Online Marketing Tools

  • CRMs help marketers plan and track email campaigns.

  • Easily integrate sales and marketing data for better results and a higher conversion rate.

How to Choose the Right CRM Software for Your Business

Price 

The price of CRM software can vary widely based on the number of users, the extent of the software’s functionality, and the specific needs of a company. Many CRM subscriptions are offered in 3 tiers: a basic tier, an advanced tier, and an enterprise tier. Each tier may include access for more users, better software integrations and automation capabilities, and enhanced security.

Because of the number of different factors playing into each subscription package, the average cost of a CRM depends entirely on your business needs. Fortunately, nearly all available CRMs offer trial software periods to let businesses try out CRM features and functionalities.

Setup time

Cloud-hosted solutions can be deployed faster than on-premises ones. 

Look for a CRM with good support and a large user community to easily resolve setup difficulties.

Ease of Use

Many CRMs put a strong emphasis on ease of use. 

Find a tool with good data visualization and that provides streamlined apps to help your salespeople enter and access data on the go.

Add-ons

What does the CRM offer besides lead capture and outreach? Consider looking for a tool with a rich integration library to take advantage of connections with other services you may use.

Customer Service

What hours is the support team available? Look for a support team accessible in your time zone and which provides more than simple ticket support.

Interface

Is the CRM you’re considering visually pleasing? Opt for a tool that makes it easy for your salespeople to visualize their diary and priority appointments.

Your Business, Your Way

With a wide range of CRMs built to meet business needs across any industry, there's no one-size-fits-all solution. To find the ideal CRM for your business, take full advantage of the demo and trial periods offered by most CRM developers. Using and understanding the capabilities, interfaces, and expandability offered by each CRM can help you identify the ideal solution for your company.

Marth Kendall Custard
Martha Kendall Custard is a conversion-driven marketer and B2B content writer who improves brand authority while making sales. She works with SaaS and software companies as well as digital advertising agencies to write strategic blog posts that drive traffic and convert.