May 28, 2022

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Best CRM Software for Small Business 2021

Popular CRM Software

The use of customer relationship management (CRM) software is on the rise. According to the Salesforce State of Sales, sales organizations using CRM software have grown from 59{de3fc13d4eb210e6ea91a63b91641ad51ecf4a1f1306988bf846a537e7024eeb} in 2018 to 65{de3fc13d4eb210e6ea91a63b91641ad51ecf4a1f1306988bf846a537e7024eeb} in 2020. As the industry continues to grow, more small businesses are asking themselves if they also need to invest in a CRM.

While CRMs are sometimes considered a sales tool, they’re much more than that. Many CRMs offer extensive marketing and customer service tools to help draw in new customers and reinforce a company’s existing customer relationships. And even that is just scratching the surface of what modern CRMs are capable of. With different companies offering content management features, analysis enhanced by artificial intelligence (AI), and industry-specific customizations, there can be a lot of information to process when choosing a CRM.

In our Best CRM for Small Businesses rating, we will give you insight into the CRM providers that may be right for your growing company. You will also learn what a CRM is, why small businesses need one, what features you will want, and how CRM pricing works.

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Marco VDM

Best CRM Software for Small Businesses

Nimble »

4.2 out of 5

Monthly Cost $25/User & Up
Subscription Monthly or Annual
Free CRM
Mobile App
View Plans »
Agile CRM »

3.8 out of 5

Monthly Cost $14.99/User & Up
Subscription Monthly or Annual
Free CRM
Mobile App
View Plans »
Zoho »

3.8 out of 5

Monthly Cost $9/User & Up
Subscription Monthly or Annual
Free CRM
Mobile App
View Plans »
Apptivo »

3.7 out of 5

Monthly Cost $10/User & Up
Subscription Monthly or Annual
Free CRM
Mobile App
View Plans »

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Best CRM for Small Businesses of 2021

After extensive research, we’ve compiled a list of the top Small Business CRM Software of 2021. These CRM platforms, which are often web-based, offer features ranging from lead management to AI-enhanced chatbots. We’ve listed the Best CRM for Small Businesses below. Follow the links in the companies’ names to read our full reviews. You can also read more about the Best CRM Software here.

Less Annoying CRM: Less Annoying CRM is No. 1 in our Best Small Business CRM and Best CRM Software of 2021 ratings. It is a great choice for small businesses looking to make a simple CRM buying decision. Less Annoying CRM offers a single tier of service that is reasonably priced at $15 per user per month. It was designed for small businesses and includes access to all of Less Annoying’s CRM features for this price. You can try out Less Annoying CRM for free for 30 days, with full access to the CRM to see if it is right for your company.

Nimble  »

Nimble

Best CRM of 2021 (Tie)

Monthly Plan Cost
$25/User & Up
Subscription Plan
Monthly or Annual
Mobile App

Nimble: Also placing first in both the Best CRM Software and Best CRM for Small Business ratings is Nimble. Similar to Less Annoying CRM, Nimble provides a single tier of CRM service that includes access to all of its features. A month-to-month subscription costs $25 per user per month and an annual contract is discounted to $19 per user per month. You can also purchase more prospecting credits and add additional contact records for an additional fee.

Agile CRM  »

Agile CRM
Monthly Plan Cost
$14.99/User & Up
Subscription Plan
Monthly or Annual
Mobile App

Agile CRM: Agile CRM is in the No. 3 spot on our Best CRM for Small Business of 2021 rating. It also makes our list of the Best Free CRM Software. If you are a small business interested in purchasing a CRM but not ready to make a purchasing decision, you may be well suited by Agile CRM’s free plan. It offers 10 users access to 1,000 contacts and is a great way to test out how your team can benefit from using a CRM. You can easily upgrade to Agile’s paid Starter plan for $14.99 per user per month, which gives you access to more features and a total of 10,000 contacts.

Zoho  »

Zoho

Best Budget Small Business CRM

Monthly Plan Cost
$9/User & Up
Subscription Plan
Monthly or Annual
Mobile App

Zoho CRM: Zoho CRM ties for the No. 3 spot in our rating of the Best Small Business CRM Software of 2021. Zoho CRM recently launched Bigin, a sales-focused CRM solution for small businesses. Bigin by Zoho CRM is the best budget CRM for small businesses. Free for a single user with some limitations, you can also purchase Bigin for only $9 per user per month, or $7 per user per month if you commit to a year contract. If you are looking for an inexpensive solution to your CRM needs, Zoho CRM may have a good option for your small business.

Apptivo  »

Apptivo
Monthly Plan Cost
$10/User & Up
Subscription Plan
Monthly or Annual
Mobile App

Apptivo: Rounding out our Best CRM for Small Business rating is Apptivo in the No. 5 spot. Apptivo offers five tiers of CRM service. Starting with a free Starter plan for one user, you can test out Apptivo’s capabilities. Its top tier plan is the Enterprise plan, which would not be recommended for small businesses. The rest of Apptivo’s plans add additional features, storage limits, and app integrations that may help your small business for a reasonable price. The Lite, Premium, and Ultimate plans all fall within the price range of the other CRMs to make the Best Small Business rating, which gives you the ability to pick and choose exactly what you need with your budget in mind.

Customer relationship management (CRM) software allows you to track and organize all of your interactions with customers and leads in one centralized place. Without a CRM, businesses often use notepads, spreadsheets, databases, and various other means to keep track of their customer interactions. And while these systems work, they lack the efficiency and reliability needed to ensure customers and prospects didn’t get lost. By using a CRM solution, companies can streamline the sales process and ensure that leads don’t slip through the cracks.

A CRM platform works by taking client leads and customer data, which it then organizes and analyzes in ways designed to strengthen existing customer relationships and bring in new potential clients.

Some basic functions of CRM software include lead and contact management as well as various automation features. These range from simple tasks, such as reminding you to contact a potential client or send out emails, to more complex tasks like customizing reports and creating marketing forecasts. Some CRMs can automatically add information from your teams’ emails and phone calls into the CRM, allowing your employees to spend more time working on leads or helping customers instead of entering sales calls.

Marketing-focused features may allow you to do A/B testing for potential marketing campaigns or use SEO to update your current marketing materials. Marketing automation can schedule the release of emails or posts to social media accounts at specific times. The results of these campaigns can then be analyzed and potential leads funneled to your sales team.

Sales-oriented features keep lead information organized with information such as the days and times your team contacted a lead and what was discussed. The CRM can then analyze this information and show where in the sales pipeline each lead is and when they might be ready to move forward to the next step of the sales process.

All the information for a lead stays in the CRM system after they become a customer so your customer service teams can use the details for added context. Customer service features may also include chatbots on your corporate website that can answer frequently asked questions or gather information before a customer speaks to an actual service representative. Saving each connection a customer makes with your company in the CRM means that if a customer has an ongoing problem, any service representative will have access to the full history of the issue and can see what has already been done or is currently being done to solve it.

A CRM is important because it’s a data-driven platform that can save small businesses time and effort in day-to-day operations. A good CRM ensures everyone has access to the same business-critical information that provides important insights regarding specific customers, sales, marketing, customer service, and emerging trends. According to LinkedIn’s State of Sales Report of 2020, 97{de3fc13d4eb210e6ea91a63b91641ad51ecf4a1f1306988bf846a537e7024eeb} of sales professionals consider sales technology (such as CRMs) to be “very important” or “important.” And 53{de3fc13d4eb210e6ea91a63b91641ad51ecf4a1f1306988bf846a537e7024eeb} of the top-performing salespeople report that they are “very confident” in their CRM data, which may indicate a greater usage of their CRM.

CRMs also can improve team management. For example, because everyone knows what everyone else is working on, leads can be assigned to members of your sales team that have the most time to nurture them. This will ensure that there are no bottlenecks in your sales pipeline.

A marketing-focused CRM, or in some cases the marketing features built into a more general CRM, can help users perform a variety of marketing-related tasks. These range from search engine optimization to A/B testing e-commerce-based marketing campaigns. CRMs can also analyze the results of your campaigns, and more advanced CRMs can make market forecasts.

Using lead management and contact management features, a CRM can keep the sales process focused. Potential customers can be manually assigned to a sales person, and in some cases automatically assigned. All contacts can then be tracked and analyzed so the sales team knows where in the process each lead is and when the lead is ready to move onto the next step in the sales process. Managers are also able to stay in the loop with what their team is doing and notice any trends in real time without having to wait for updates.

Comparison of the Best CRM Software of 2021

Nimble »
On-Premise
Cloud-Based
Free CRM
Language Support English
Freshworks CRM »
On-Premise
Cloud-Based
Free CRM
Language Support Over 10 Languages
HubSpot »
On-Premise
Cloud-Based
Free CRM
Language Support 7 Languages
Agile CRM »
On-Premise
Cloud-Based
Free CRM
Language Support 2 Languages
Nimble » Company
On-Premise
Cloud-Based
Free CRM
English Language Support
Freshworks CRM » Company
On-Premise
Cloud-Based
Free CRM
Over 10 Languages Language Support
HubSpot » Company
On-Premise
Cloud-Based
Free CRM
7 Languages Language Support
Agile CRM » Company
On-Premise
Cloud-Based
Free CRM
2 Languages Language Support
Pipedrive » Company
On-Premise
Cloud-Based
Free CRM
16 Languages Language Support
Salesforce » Company
On-Premise
Cloud-Based
Free CRM
18 Languages Language Support
Zoho » Company
On-Premise
Cloud-Based
Free CRM
9 Languages Language Support
Insightly » Company
On-Premise
Cloud-Based
Free CRM
6 Languages Language Support
Apptivo » Company
On-Premise
Cloud-Based
Free CRM
English Language Support
Keap » Company
On-Premise
Cloud-Based
Free CRM
10 Languages Language Support
Zendesk Sell » Company
On-Premise
Cloud-Based
Free CRM
29 Languages Language Support

Determine your company’s specific needs and choose a CRM that fits what you’re looking for. Most CRMs can accomplish basic tasks like lead management and contact management, but many can also do things like create report dashboards to organize and display information, and some basic automation like sending out emails. There are also more sophisticated CRM applications that can deploy AI-enhanced chatbots to improve customer interactions and service and deploy more advanced automation.

A CRM’s capabilities can be expanded with a wealth of add-ons available from many companies. Some companies may only have a couple of third-party integrations. Others, like Salesforce, have thousands of third-party apps to increase functionality.

CRMs generally cover three categories: sales, marketing, and customer service. While most CRMs offer some combination of all three, some may focus on just one aspect – most likely sales. Others may choose to split a CRM into three different services, requiring you to subscribe each separately.

The upside of CRMs that cover all three categories is that most of the features you need will be built in. The downside is that some of the top features for an individual category may not be included. This is why it’s important to know why you want a CRM and what your goals are. You can choose a well-rounded CRM that gets you most of the way there in all three categories, or choose a specialist CRM that can give you the most sophisticated features in one area. If you have the funds, you can choose a company that offers specialist CRMs in each of the categories, customizing them to your industry and company.

Small businesses will also be best suited by a cloud-based CRM that offers a mobile app. Cloud-based services require a minimal upfront investment because they don’t require server installation or maintenance. They are a budget-friendly option for small businesses and provide easy scalability as your company’s needs grow. A cloud-based system, also known as a Software as a Service (SaaS) is managed by the CRM provider. The CRM provider will keep your system up to date at all times, allowing you to focus on using the CRM instead of maintaining it. Your team will also have the ability to remotely access the CRM while in the field, which is made easier through the user-friendly interface of a mobile app.

Regardless of what type of CRM your company needs, whether that is marketing-, sales-, or customer service-focused, a cloud-based CRM is the best option for a small business.

CRM Price Comparison Chart

Nimble »
Yearly Cost – Billed Monthly $300
Yearly Cost – Billed Annually $228
Cost Difference $72
View Plans »
HubSpot »
Yearly Cost – Billed Monthly $600
Yearly Cost – Billed Annually $540
Cost Difference $60
View Plans »
Agile CRM »
Yearly Cost – Billed Monthly $179.88
Yearly Cost – Billed Annually $107.88
Cost Difference $72.00
View Plans »
Nimble » Company
$300 Yearly Cost – Billed Monthly
$228 Yearly Cost – Billed Annually
$72 Cost Difference
View Plans »
Learn More
HubSpot » Company
$600 Yearly Cost – Billed Monthly
$540 Yearly Cost – Billed Annually
$60 Cost Difference
View Plans »
Learn More
Agile CRM » Company
$179.88 Yearly Cost – Billed Monthly
$107.88 Yearly Cost – Billed Annually
$72.00 Cost Difference
View Plans »
Learn More
Pipedrive » Company
$180 Yearly Cost – Billed Monthly
$150 Yearly Cost – Billed Annually
$30 Cost Difference
View Plans »
Learn More
Salesforce » Company
$420 Yearly Cost – Billed Monthly
$300 Yearly Cost – Billed Annually
$120 Cost Difference
View Plans »
Learn More
Zoho » Company
$216 Yearly Cost – Billed Monthly
$144 Yearly Cost – Billed Annually
$72 Cost Difference
View Plans »
Learn More
Insightly » Company
$420 Yearly Cost – Billed Monthly
$348 Yearly Cost – Billed Annually
$72 Cost Difference
View Plans »
Learn More
Apptivo » Company
$120 Yearly Cost – Billed Monthly
$96 Yearly Cost – Billed Annually
$24 Cost Difference
View Plans »
Learn More
Keap » Company
$948 Yearly Cost – Billed Monthly
$672 Yearly Cost – Billed Annually
$276 Cost Difference
View Plans »
Learn More

CRM software can range from free to thousands of dollars a month depending on the size of your team, the features you need, and the provider you choose. The wide variance in price can be overwhelming and leave small businesses concerned with how far they can stretch their business software budget. However, you don’t need to sacrifice quality to save on your expenses when purchasing CRM software.

CRM pricing generally consists of a per user per month fee. The fee is often based on a month-to-month subscription and discounted when you make an annual or multi-year commitment.

You will also find that some CRM providers offer a number of tiers, while others like Less Annoying CRM and Nimble give users a single tier of service with access to all of the available CRM features. Depending on your company’s specific needs, you may find a single plan with straightforward pricing is ideal for you, whereas others will want the flexibility of a tiered plan that gives them options in features and pricing.

The average price of a CRM on our Small Business rating is about $15 per user per month for a month-to-month subscription. Prices range from as low as $9 per user per month (Zoho CRM) to $25 per user per month (Nimble). However, it is important to consider what you get for the price. Each CRM has different limits for areas such as file storage, email automation, contacts, and more. Some CRM providers will allow you to purchase additional contacts and increase file storage limits for an extra monthly fee. Be sure to consider what your company needs and how those needs may grow over time when purchasing a CRM.

You may also want to start by testing out a free CRM. Out of the CRM providers to make our Best CRM for Small Business rating, Agile CRM, Zoho CRM, and Apptivo all offer free CRM software with user capacity and contact limitations. Trying out a free CRM may be a good way to find out how a CRM could help your small business and give you a better idea of which CRM works best for your company. You can learn more about free CRM software in our Best Free CRM of 2021 rating.

Learn more

For more information on CRM software, please see our pages:

Other CRM Software

Before choosing a CRM software for your business, look at our other reviews to determine which CRM is most suitable for your unique business needs.

Other Ratings from 360 Reviews

For more insight into other business services to help grow your company size, look at our other reviews.

How U.S. News Evaluated CRM Software

We explain what matters most when it comes to buying a CRM software by sourcing consumer and professional reviews. U.S. News researched the most important features of CRM services to provide an unbiased evaluation of CRM software. Our goal is to empower businesses with the information and tools they need to make informed decisions. More information about our 360 Reviews methodology for evaluating CRM software is available here.

U.S. News 360 Reviews takes an unbiased approach to our recommendations. When you use our links to buy products, we may earn a commission but that in no way affects our editorial independence.