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Best CRM software in 2021: Top solutions for SMBs

If you want to make the most of your sales pipeline, customer relationship management software allows your business to monitor customer interactions, track deal progress, and analyze financial performance.

CRM software can be just what a growing small to mid-sized business (SMB) needs. If you want to make the most of your sales pipeline, then customer relationship management software allows your firm to monitor customer interactions, track deal progress, and analyze financial performance.

From marketing automation to advanced analytics, CRM tools include a range of features tailored toward small business buyers. Most of the providers that offer CRM solutions allow a free trial of their products. Some even offer 'free-for-life' versions of their products.

Paid-for versions of these cloud-based CRM tools come with increasingly advanced features and allow SMBs to manage a large number of sales contacts. Here are some of the main CRM solutions available to SMBs.

Capsule CRM

Simple yet powerful


Capsule CRM describes itself as "Simple yet powerful CRM". That's a big plus for SMBs that are looking to give their sales teams the benefits of CRM software without an overly technical approach. Capsule CRM makes it easy to track and trace opportunities and a starter version of the CRM solution, with basic features for up to two users and room for 250 sales contacts, is available for free.

Both the Professional version of the software ($18 per user per month), which allows 50,000 sales contacts and 10GB storage per user, and the Teams version of the software ($36 per user per month), which allows 50,000 sales contacts and 10GB storage per user, can be trialed free for 30 days.

Capsule CRM includes straightforward contact management features, allowing sales staff to segment their audiences. The CRM solution includes strong customization and personalization. Advanced sales reporting is an additional feature in the Teams version.

View Now at Capsule CRM

Salesmate CRM

Analytics and integrations


Salesmate CRM boasts more than 2,500 customers and its software offers an intuitive approach to customer relationship management. The company says its smart features use analytics and integrations to save your business time at all stages of the sales cycle. Salesmate CRM can be trialed free for 15 days.

The Starter subscription for Salesmate CRM costs $12 per month on an annual basis and the price rises to $15 per month if you pay monthly. The same is true for the Growth plan, which is a version of the CRM solution that is set up for growing teams -- subscription costs here are $24 per month on an annual subscription and $30 per month if you pay monthly.

Salesmate CRM offers strong features for sales pipeline and contact management. The Growth version of the software also includes some unique elements. These features include goal management for tracking the sales pipeline; email reminders, schedulers and metrics; and custom reports and analytics for checking sales results.

View Now at Salesmate CRM

Microsoft Dynamics 365

Huge range of pricing options

Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a broad suite of cloud-based tools and the software giant offers versions of the tool for all manner of departments, from sales through to commerce and HR. When it comes to CRM, Microsoft says Dynamics 365 can help sales and marketing teams to create seamless customer experiences through marketing automation, shared data, and connected business processes.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 boasts some big-name customers and the tool is highly rated by market analysts, including Gartner, which positions Microsoft in the Leaders Quadrant of its CRM Magic Quadrant.

Microsoft offers a huge range of pricing options that vary according to business function and number of users. Price per month for the Dynamics 365 app starts from $65 for the first sales professional user; subsequent sales users can expect to pay $20.

View Now at Microsoft Dynamics 365


Cloud-based CRM


From lead generation to scoring and conversion, Zoho says its CRM software allows SMB sales teams to focus their efforts on the hottest leads. The cloud-based CRM is maintained by Zoho, rather than being run on-premise. And instead of requiring many customizations, Zoho says SMBs can dive into its CRM software quickly.

The company says it boasts more than 50 million users for its products globally. The company offers a 15-day trial and a free edition of its CRM product for up to three users. Standard pricing starts at $12 per user per month, if billed annually.

Features include SalesSignals, which sends customer-facing teams real-time notifications when a customer interacts with your company on social media. Zoho CRM works with other popular products, including G Suite, WordPress, MailChimp, Evernote, and Unbounce

View Now at Zoho


Shared view of every customer


One of the key benefits of using Salesforce is that you're using a popular, well-known product. The firm refers to researcher IDC, who suggests Salesforce is the "world's most trusted solution and #1 CRM". Over 150,000 companies, both big and small, use Salesforce.

Salesforce's CRM platform gives users across all departments — including marketing, sales, commerce, and service — a single, shared view of every customer. Salesforce offers a number of pricing options to SMBs. It's Essentials, which is good for up to 10 users, is an all-in-one sales and support app that costs $25 per user per month, if billed annually.

Its Sales Professional and Service Professional solutions both cost $75 per user per month, if billed annually. The top option -- Pardot Growth -- offers a suite of marketing automation tools for any size team. The cost here is $1,250 a month, billed annually, for up to 10,000 contacts.

View Now at Salesforce

Agile CRM

Free for up to 10 users


Agile CRM says there are three top reasons to use its product: it's all-in-one, next-generation, and affordable. The all-in-one nature of Agile CRM allows SMBs to manage sales, marketing, and service in one platform. One of the key benefits of Agile CRM is its Marketing Automation capability, allowing firms to run multiple campaigns in a timely manner.

The next-generation definition of Agile CRM comes from the fact it's a cloud-based service that the software firm says is "trusted" by more than 15,000 customers. As for the third main reason to choose Agile CRM -- affordability -- then the tool is free for up to 10 users.

The Free edition of Agile CRM can hold up to 50,000 contacts and includes email tracking. It's Starter product -- offering email campaigns, analytics, and marketing automation -- is $8.99 per user per month, so long as you sign up to a two-year deal. Monthly payment costs for Starter are $14.99. It's Regular (from $29.99 per month) and Enterprise products (from $47.99 per month) offer increasingly advanced features.

View Now at Agile CRM


Enterprise-grade security


One of ConvergeHub's core values as an organization is helping small businesses grow -- so the company should be well-suited to the CRM software demands of SMBs. ConvergeHub's cloud-based tool allows SMBs to manage sales, marketing, service, and billing from one platform.

The company draws attention to its enterprise-grade features, including security. It's a scalable platform that includes advanced features, around sales pipeline management and workflow automation, that will help SMBs to keep track of deals in a secure manner.

CovergeHub Starter is priced at $9 per user per month, if billed annually ($11 quarterly). The Pro edition is $29 per user per month, if billed annually ($35 quarterly), while Premium is $59 annually ($65 quarterly).

View Now at ConvergeHub


Meaningful experiences


SugarCRM believes its software allows sales teams to deliver more meaningful experiences. As well as awards from major publications, SugarCRM suggests proof of its success is the fact its Net Promotor Score ranks higher than its major competitors.

Sugar CRM offers a range of plans for marketing, sales, and service teams. Professional starts at $52 per user per month, which is billed annually and for 10 users minimum. Sugar is designed to meet the needs of fast-growing small businesses. The firms' other plans range from $80 per user per month and include a range of additional features, such as advanced workflow, SQL reporting, and/or storage space.

The company says more than two million users in 120 countries are using SugarCRM to -- in the company's words -- "fuel extraordinary customer experiences". Those experiences are powered by the firm's commitment to innovation, including the delivery of AI-based predictive insights.

View Now at SugarCRM


For salespeople, by salespeople


Pipedrive started in 2010 and claims to have created "the first CRM platform made for salespeople, by salespeople". Pipedrive's visual sales pipeline prompts staff to take action. Data-led reporting, meanwhile, gives a view of both scheduled and completed activities.

Pipedrive says its CRM software is used by more than 90,000 sales teams around the world. Reference customers like the ability to customize data fields and workflow.

Like other providers, Pipedrive offers a free trial. Prices start from $12.50 per user per month, billed annually, for Pipedrive Essentials. The Advanced plan starts at $24.90 per user per month, billed annually.

View Now at Pipedrive


Robust privacy practices


Founders Girish Mathrubootham and Shan Krishnasamy begin work on creating a user-focused cloud-based customer service software in 2010. The company launched its Freshsales CRM product in 2016. Today's version allows sales teams to use AI-based lead scoring, phone, email, and activity capture.

More than 15,000 customers use Freshsales CRM, from smaller to larger enterprises, including Dyson and Best Western. The company says robust data-security and privacy practices form an integral part of its product-engineering and service-delivery principles. 

Freshsales CRM comes in various flavors, including Sprout a 'free forever' startup plan. For smaller teams, its Blossom product starts from $12 per user per month, billed annually. The Garden Freshsales CRM offering -- which offers multiple views on sales piplelines -- starts from $25 per user per month, billed annually.

View Now at Freshworks

Vtiger (open source)

For cost-conscious SMBs


When it comes to CRM software for SMBs, Vtiger offers something very different. Vtiger CRM Open Source is a complete on-premise CRM application with one key bonus: SMBs do not have to pay for commercial licenses. That's a potential boon for cost-conscious small business owners.

Vtiger is proving a popular option for firms in all sectors. The provider says there have been more than five million downloads of its open-source CRM software.

For SMBs that want the benefits of continuous updates and software support, there's also the option of Vtiger CRM Cloud Editions. Prices for the One Professional version start at $30 per user per month, billed annually ($42 monthly).

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Copper (Google-based)

A CRM application for G Suite


If your company is a big Google user, then cloud-based Copper offers a distinct advantage: it's a CRM application for G Suite. Integration with key productivity apps, such as Google Calendar, Gmail, and Hangouts, means your team can manage all their contacts, deals, and files from a single location.

After a free 14-day trial, paid-for packages start with Basic -- which is for up to three users -- and is priced at $19 per user per month, billed annually ($24 monthly). Professional -- which offers more tracking, automation, and reporting functions for growing SMBs -- is priced at $49 per user per month, billed annually ($69 monthly).

As well as G Suite integration, Copper includes strong sales productivity features, such as lead, contact, and opportunity management.

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Really Simple Systems CRM

Salesforce-automation feature


Really Simple Systems says its CRM software is designed specifically for SMBs and includes everything you need to manage business-to-business sales and marketing. Really Simple Systems boats customers from a diverse range of sectors, from the British Red Cross to technology and engineering firms.

Really Simple Systems' Salesforce-automation feature gives SMBs visibility of its sales team's pipelines. All versions of Really Simple Systems CRM come with contact management and custom reports. The amount of storage available to your business varies depending on the package you select.

The company says its Free tier offers everything an SMB needs to get going with CRM -- although you're limited to two users. Growing SMBs can opt for the Starter package, which is priced at $14 per user per month, billed annually ($18 monthly). Professional, which offers advanced features, comes in at $30 per user per month, billed annually ($38 monthly).

View Now at Really Simple Systems CRM


Built-in business intelligence


With more than 1.5 million users globally, SMBs can use Insightly to create multi-step business processes with workflow automation. Built-in business intelligence allows users to create data visualizations and monitor the sales pipeline

More than 25,000 organizations use Insightly, from SMBs through to household names, such as Bloomberg, Sanofi, and Bosch. Like other CRM applications, Insightly offers a 'no-frills' plan where two users at a small business can manage sales and contacts for free.

Insightly Plus, which includes 100 custom email templates and 10GB file storage, starts at $29 per user per month, billed annually ($35 monthly). Insightly Professional, which offers more features for finding and managing leads and full access to the firm's business intelligence platform, is priced at $49 per user per month, billed annually ($59 monthly).

View Now at Insightly

Sage CRM

Data-led cloud software


Sage is one of the big players in the cloud software market, offering a range of applications for business functions. Sage CRM is a platform for small businesses to manage various elements of their customer relationships. SMBs can choose from fully integrated CRM or pick Sage Sales, Marketing, and Service modules to suit their business needs.

Sage says the aim of its CRM software is to help SMBs make informed business decisions. It expects sales and marketing professionals to use its data-led cloud software to help identify leads and opportunities. SMBs can send email campaigns in MailChimp and track their success with Sage CRM.

There's very little in terms of pricing on the Sage web site. The company says it's keen for interested SMBs to get in contact to find out more about its deals.  

View Now at Sage CRM