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9 Cheap Salesforce Alternatives that Make CRM as Simple as Amazon.com

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Update 9/22/15: This post has been updated with additional CRMs based off the great suggestions and feedback in the comments. The pre-existing solutions on this list have also been updated so their information is current.

CRM software has been helping sales teams manage their contacts and communication since the 1980s. However, most sales people use a fraction of the capabilities of their CRM and many still hate using it altogether. Additionally, with starting price points often north of $50/user/month, affordability remains an issue particularly for startups and small businesses where the benefits of CRM are untested.

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Salesforce.com (now just Salesforce) was a huge step forward when it came on the scene in the early 2000s to dethrone vendors like Siebel and Act, and a number of CRM alternatives have taken their lead and focused on two things in their CRM offerings: ease of use and low price.

The nine CRM software products listed below all have two things in common:

  • First, they all have offerings priced at less than $25/usereven when you grow beyond a handful of users – which makes CRM affordable for everyone from freelancers and startups to growing companies.
  • Second, they all place a very high priority on being dead-simple to use so that salespeople and account managers actually don’t mind using them – which apparently is not all that common.

After an exhaustive search in our database of over 400 CRM software products, here are my favorite CRMs that match the above two criteria and do a great job of serving the needs of small to midsize businesses. All of them happen to be Web-based.

Base CRM

I love how Base describes their software as the CRM that your sales team “will actually use,” and that they make the bold claim that it will make you 10x more productive. Launched in 2009, Base’s most popular features are call tracking and recording, as well as their impressive sales analytics. Base can even analyze recorded calls! Additionally, Base’s mobile app is one of the most beloved on this list if Android reviews are anything to go by.

Pricing:

  • $25/user/month for up to 5 users gets you 2 GB of storage per user, a built-in dialer, task management, email automation, geolocation, and integration with MailChimpXero, and others.
  • $75/user/month gets you all that plus 5 GB of storage per user, document management, task automation, and sales forecasting.
  • $125/user/month gets you all of the above plus 10 GB of storage per user, lead scoring, sales intelligence, call analytics, autodialer, product catalog, and multilevel permissions.

All of these include unlimited contacts, leads, deals, and tasks.

Highrise

Highrise was launched in 2007 and then later spun off by 37signals, which is widely known for simplicity of software design. They also are the developer of the renowned project management software application, Basecamp, so if you are an avid Basecamp user then you should seriously consider Highrise for your contact management needs. Highrise’s biggest sell is that they are very easy to use for small businesses just starting out with CRM. Their pricing is very flexible for small businesses and they’re very light, so there are no fancy features to confuse a CRM beginner. It also integrates with Zendesk, Freshdesk, MailChimp, FreshBooks, Hubspot, Constant Contact, and many others.

Pricing:

  • $0 for up to 2 users, no files, 250 contacts
  • $24/month for up to 6 users gets you 5,000 contacts, 10 deals, and 5GB of storage
  • $29/month for 1 user, 20,000 contacts, unlimited deals, and 5 GB of storage
  • $49/month for up to 15 users gets you 20,000 contacts, unlimited deals, and 15 GB of storage
  • $99/month for up to 40 users gets you 30,000 contacts, unlimited deals, and 30 GB of storage
  • $149/month for unlimited users, 50,000 contacts, unlimited deals, and 75 GB of storage

Pipedrive

Launched in 2010 to better serve small sales teams, Pipedrive claims to be “so easy to use that salespeople love it.” Pipedrive has some great features: it’s multilingual; it works in all major currencies; it offers seamless integration with the Google apps suite (Maps, Docs, Gmail, etc.). It shines best though, with its pipeline features. Pipedrive offers an elegant timeline view that allows salespeople to look out and see all their future events, and estimated dates of sales. A sales manager can access a master timeline that integrates all their salespeople’s timelines into a single view in order to easily manage the team and make sales forecasts.

One reviewer notes that Pipedrive is very focused on closing deals, and offers few features continuing a relationship after the close of the (first) deal. As a result, Pipedrive may be best suited for companies who focus on their sales efforts and do very little customer follow-up after the deal, like real-estate companies.

Pricing:

  • $12/user/month regardless of how many users you have and has no limits on the number of contacts or storage

Nimble

Nimble was launched in 2009 as a social CRM, meaning that it not only connects with your email but also your social media accounts, recognizing the growing role of LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook as forums for engaging with prospects. What really makes Nimble special, though, is its inbox feature. Nimble creates an in-CRM message inbox that collects not only your emails with clients, but all your interactions with them on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. You can also send messages from directly within the CRM. Furthermore, you can set up an activity stream that allows you to see everything your client or prospect has recently posted on social media. This kind of impressive integration really helps make Nimble a one-stop sales shop, which is fairly unusual, even for a CRM.

Pricing:

  • $15/user/month, and you get 5GB of storage and 30,000 contacts.

Integrations include Freshdesk, HubSpot, MailChimp, HootSuite, Constant Contact, AWeber, Freshbooks, and many more.

Insightly

Insightly was launched in 2009 and is a fantastic option for small businesses. One thing that sets them apart is that they have integrated project management functionality into the software so you can stay on top of customers in relation to your projects all-in-one. They also integrate with MailChimp.

It should be noted that Insightly is really targeted at small businesses, which is reflected in their lightweight style and pricing options.

Pricing:

  • $0 for 2 users, 10 emails/day, 10 custom fields, 2,500 records, 200 Mb of storage, online community support
  • $12/user/month gives you 500 emails/day, 50 custom fields, 25,000 records, 1 GB of storage, email support, mobile app business card scanner, and onboarding sessions
  • $29/user/month gives you 2,500 emails/day, 250 custom fields, 100,000 records, 10 GB of storage, priority email support, mobile app business card scanner, and onboarding sessions
  • $49/user/month gives you 5,000 emails/day, 500 custom fields, 250,000 records, 100 GB of storage, priority email support, mobile app business card scanner, and onboarding sessions
  • $99/user/month gives you 10,000 emails/day, 1000 custom fields, 500,000 records, 250 GB of storage, priority email support, mobile app business card scanner, and onboarding sessions

PipelineDeals

Launched in 2006, PipelineDeals touts its software as “so fast and easy you’ll actually want to use it.” PipelineDeals has several special features that make it worth checking out.

  • They have a “morning coffee report” feature that sends out an email to each sales person with yesterday’s numbers, upcoming events, and other important analytics.
  • As well, PipelineDeals has a built-in lightweight email marketing system, with templates and automation to the point that, while they integrate with MailChimp, small businesses with little to no email marketing efforts can handle everything from the PipelineDeals system. Not only do they have email templates and can send out batch emails, but PipelineDeals can automate full email campaigns and report on the success of your communications.

Pricing:

  • $24/user/month gets you unlimited contacts, storage, deals and tasks, customer support, and saved searches
  • $48/user/month gets you all that plus email automation, trackable email campaigns, email templates and analytics, unlimited customizable fields, and sales process automations

Nutshell

Nutshell was launched in 2010 as an intuitive and elegant CRM solution. It’s an interesting solution because it’s extremely customizable. It’s possible to pare this solution down to no more than a contact manager, but a large business could also use it as a very advanced CRM, loaded with features. Some of these include:

  • Nutshell’s UI is reportedly very intuitive and, some would even say, beautiful, with enough complexity for the most expert user, and enough simplicity for the most inexperienced user.
  • It can be configured so only certain users can see certain information.
  • It can send out real time push notifications through email or the app to keep people updated on what to focus on.

Pricing:

  • $20/user/month gets you everything

Capsule

Launched by the Zestia in 2008 and based in the UK, Capsule is a wonderful option for small businesses. Its best feature may be its ability to integrate with 33+ other software programs including Xero, FreshBooks, MailChimp, Zendesk, and a bunch of others. Capsule has all the features of a standard CRM, though it is simplified. It’s perhaps best for a company that’s brand new to CRM, but it will treat that company very well. In many ways, Capsule is like getting a Honda as a starter car. It will give you great gas mileage and cheap repairs, and bravely get you through your first job out of college. But one day, you may need to upgrade, maybe to a minivan, or a sports car.

Pricing:

  • $0 for up to 2 users, 10 MB of storage, 250 contacts, unlimited opportunities and cases
  • $12/user/month, 2 GB of storage/user, 50,000 contacts, unlimited opportunities and cases, premium integrations

OnePageCRM

All the aforementioned products are less than ten years old, but OnePageCRM feels the most like a startup. Launched in 2010 and based in Ireland, they are focused on delivering a “superior user experience” for small sales teams. This focus is really visible throughout the design of the CRM, as all their standout features are clearly intended to help salespeople vs. sales managers. Their best features:

  • A lead clipper that allows you to collect a lead’s information from LinkedIn or Gmail with a single click.
  • Their app provides reminders of not only when things are due, but also when things need to be started, so that salespeople can prioritize projects and not save them until the last minute.
  • As one action is finished in the CRM, it prompts you to set the next action so that you are encouraged to follow-up with all your clients.

Pricing:

  • $12/user/month for everything*

*If you pay annually, they’ll bring that price down to a cool $11/user/month, making it one of the better bargains we have seen.

Really Simple Systems

Really Simple Systems was founded in 2006, and is popular because, like the name says, it’s actually a really simple system. It’s perfect for small to medium size businesses, and they even boast a few larger customers with over 600 employees. Its flexible pricing is among its best features. They start with a free offering, and can grow with your business, adding on extra features for monthly fees if and when you need them.

As well, and similar to PipelineDeals, Really Simple Systems has a built-in full-blown email marketing system that may be all your marketing team needs.

Pricing:

  • $0 for up to 2 users gets you 100 accounts and unlimited contacts, tasks, activities, and opportunities
  • $8/month for up to 2 users with 200 accounts, with an additional $15 per user after that (up to 5 users)
  • $50/user/month for unlimited accounts and advanced features

With all of these tiers, you can add on different features that may not come standard for a monthly price.

Less Annoying CRM

Less Annoying CRM was founded in 2009 with the purpose of helping small businesses succeed. To do this, they have focused on removing features that small businesses don’t need, taking out buzzwords and just staying simple. Their mission shows throughout the software. For instance, all of a lead’s information—from phone number to contact notes—can be found on one simple page. They automatically place all events and tasks on a calendar, and a sales manager can see all their employees’ tasks and events integrated onto one view. Also, they have a special view where salespeople can see a prioritized lead list, with each lead’s most pertinent information visible in abbreviated form.

Pricing:

  • $10/user/month gets you everything

Others?

It is worth noting that I did come across other inexpensive CRMs that also focus on simplicity, but only have a few employees. While every software company starts this small, and I am cheering them on, I’d like to see them gain more traction before wholeheartedly recommending that they make your short list. Examples include Stride, Batchbook, Tactile CRM, Clevertim, and AlbertCRM.

According to our own research, Salesforce remains the CRM market leader, but its starting price point for teams greater than five people is $65/user/month. That includes functionality that many smaller teams don’t need at the outset.

Get the complete pricing guide for 20+ popular CRM solutions!

I do still think they deserve to make your short list and, depending on the complexity of your needs, they may be the best solution for many companies. But for those of you that are new to CRM or have been burned by poor user adoption in the past, these nine solutions are worth a serious look!

Looking for Customer Relationship Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Customer Relationship Management software solutions.

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About the Author

Michael Ortner

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Mike started Capterra in 1999 as the first website dedicated to helping people find the right software for their business. Today, Capterra lists over 20,000 software companies, displays more than 15,000 software reviews, and receives over 1,000,000 monthly visitors. He's been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Fox News, and Inc. Magazine, among other publications, where he's spoken on topics ranging from the business software industry to running and growing a business in the 21st century. Mike received a business degree from Georgetown University and a philosophy degree from the University of London. He lives in McLean, VA with his wife and five children.

Comments

Nice post, we use Nimble internally and like it’s single view of the customer.

No Podio? Podio not only has lots of potential but it beats these other guys in plenty of areas. Ease of use, simplicity, and free for 5 users! $9 there after. Not to mention lots of other little perks.

Honestly, I thought Podio was just project / web collaboration software. I am unfamiliar with their CRM. I’ll have to check it out!

Hi Michael and thanks for this article. I’m adding a comment just to mention the new kid on the block : http://YouDontNeedaCRM.com . Of course it’s not a full CRM but it’s a great lead management SaaS tool.

Cheers

Really Simple Systems was voted third as a Free CRM in this 2014 Poll.

http://www.reallysimplesystems.com/news/really-simple-systems-voted-3rd-in-2014-poll-10-free-crm

Really Simple Systems Premium and Enterprise has its own integrated Email Marketing suite which permits unlimited email marketing and integrated reporting: http://www.reallysimplesystems.com/tour/crm-marketing

Firmao.net for $25/user/month gives you CRM with:

1. Integration with a virtual voip switchboard
2. Integration with a powerful report engine IReport (barcodes, charts, tables etc.)
3. Invoicing management. With editable invoice templates
4. Offers, agreements, orders management. With editable offer templates
5. Seriall issuing of invoices
6. Tasks, projects planning with an integrated Gantt chart too
7. Full email integration
8. Mobile versions iOS, Android, Win 8
9. Company assets management
10. Integration with external calendars like ex. google
11. English, German, Polish version
12. Additional fields that lets you easily customize the software
13. Cloud or on Premise licence
14. Full available API that lets you integrate CRM with other software
15. Firmao could be customized to meet your special needs too (Java, Spring, Hibernate, JavaScript, Sencha, Rest technologies)

Regards
Rafal Namiecinski

Update:
16. 10 GB Cloud storage space for every user in the company
17. Full log of data changes made by every user
18. Flexible permissions list that can be granted to particular users

Regards
Rafal Namiecinski

Just to add you’ll also find that Pipelinersales CRM also integrates with MailChimp 🙂

We use MailChimp to help you align Sales & Marketing. In this way your marketing emails can really support your sales process and the buyer journey.

You can get a 30 day free trial from http://www.pipelinersales.com

Take a look at Salestrakr CRM at http://www.salestrakr.com. It’s $24.95 per user per month and provides all the key features of Salesforce, faster and at a much lower price. Storage space, unlimited. Number of contacts, unlimited. Salestrakr offers a 15-day free trial (no credit card needed) at https://secure.salestrakr.com/signup/trial.html.

I would like to add Inboundio http://www.inboundio.com/ to this list. It features an in-built CRM and other essential inbound marketing tools- minus the expensive yearly contract. I’ve been using it to promote my business, and love it!

Great list, by the way. I’ll have to give some of these a try! thanks!

You’re missing our one;

http://www.birdcrm.com

Check it out, it’s super simple, easy and cheap.

Great article Michael, been looking to replace Highrise since 37Signals have stopped developing it and we were having trouble taking full advantage via gmail.

We have found Podio, and while it is not an obvious replacement it does to the job. It is a much more modular approach to business automation as a whole, but we have managed to replace Highrise (work in progress) using a 3rd party Podiomail.

It looks rather daunting and does take a fair bit of effort, but the pricing is affordable for small businesses and there seems to be a large community behind it.

I have no connection to Podio and while there are wrinkles, it serves a higher purpose and can do a lot more than just CRM – which is important if you want to avoid building a business that is connected with string to a plethora of online point solutions.

I’d like to mention our product – RadiumCRM – as it fits in nicely with your CRM search. We have a dead-simple to use interface and it comes in under the $25 /user criteria you have here.

The big focus our app was to design something that is tightly integrated with a user’s Gmail suite (Gmail, contacts, and calendar) as we think an email client and a CRM are companions to each other. We are heavy Gmail users ourselves so we wanted something to sync with that and cut down on the repetitive tasks.

If you’re a heavily Gmail user you should give us a spin http://www.radiumcrm.com

For Germany you can add Wice CRM to the list. It is 100% cloud, made in Germany and hosted in Germany, first user is for free. And it is very, very fast. See http://www.CRM-programme.de or http://wice.de

I recently tried to find the best CRM’s from the perspective of a small startup.
http://crmbrief.com/articles/detail/2145/top-5-free-crm-services-in-2013

Nice post Michael. These are great for short-term operations. The trend I noticed with the people who used some/all of them, is that after a period of a few months, they start feeling those apps could do a ‘little more’ to accommodate their needs. Then begins yet another saga of looking for ‘CRM that fits our needs’. The best is to know what your business needs are or your desires are, then select through the process of elimination.

Recommend this one http://www.bpmonline.com/products/crm/features

Hello Michael,
For startups and small businesses a good alternative is Web3Box CRM. Costs is better than the big crm’s solutions ($25 or $39 depend of the package) and most important the UI has only the functionality people need for daily activities. When you give me a user interface with more than 10 buttons in a screen ….. I will have to spend half of the day learning and half doing some useful work. We eliminated this complexity inside of Web3Box CRM and was a bid success, people love it. After a demo and 1 hour training, our customers started to use the crm and find out that the crm is a daily useful tool. Of course … the “complexity” is good to be here and it’s but for the top management staff and not for the Rep’s.

Another CRM that is missing off of this list which is amazingly flexible, intuitive, and easy to use is Workbooks CRM out of the UK. We have been using Workbooks since May of last year and haven’t looked back since. It is powerful, and it’s robust api allows you to integrate any cloud solution with an API. Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Hubspot, Linked In, Twitter, Magento, Quickbooks, Freshbooks, Zillow to name a few.

Hi Michael,

This is a good roundup. May I suggest adding Sage CRM to your comprehensive list?

Sage CRM is a popular customer relationship management tool with small to medium businesses. It’s a cloud-based solution that enables business people to manage CRM from their mobile devices. You can also use Sage CRM to manage relationships with customers on social media.

We offer a free 30 day trial for customers via our website

If you have questions about Sage CRM, I’m happy to answer them.

I look forward to your next post.

Bryan Collins,
Sage CRM
@sageCRM

Michael , you must be a funny and satirist . You need cheap alternative to SF and you need it should perform as equal as Amazon.com. It is well and carefully written article.

If you need free alternatives to salesforce my choice is zurmo. It is open source, fully secured and catchy point is an open source project under the GNU General Public License Version 3 (GPLv3). One day it will rule the open source kingdom.

If you need cheap salesforce alternatives, my choice is salesintegra, the emrging crm which is best suites for the companies having large sales team. It’s reports are excellent and based on best business intelligence. One day salesintegra will rule the CRM queendom.

insight.ly is worth to mention here and it is best and powerful integration with google apps

Michael,

Love your personal jungle gym feature! Cloudai Assistant wouldn’t have made your list because we are $29.99 per seat but for that price we have one of the most robust and easy to learn and use drip marketing systems. We have a built in quote engine for health insurance (others charge $100+ per seat) an automated commission calculation system, shared folder so sales and customer service teams as well as call centers can utilize it. Google Calendar sync. Integrated with soft phone and predictive dialer and much more. You can’t get close to those functions at $29.99 per seat. If you would like, I could send you a PowerPoint demo for future reference should you later write a similar article?

Check out our offering at https://intellika.teamlabpartners.com/ , Our product offering include not only CRM but along with you get DMS , PMS , Chat , wiki and many more features and all this at an unbelievable price…. Check it out yourself with our 45 days unlimited free trial….

There is a new CRM player in town called Salesbox CRM, it delivers everything covered by the article and more. Full market automation, built in artificial intelligence, is truly mobile, affordable and off the shelf. Its nothing like any CRM before it and comes for a one single filtrate, equally for all price tag of 19,99 USD a month. It comes with more functionality and integrations than the giants, what do you think about preset integrations with mail chimp, Facebook, LinkedIn, your mail, calendar, contact register, maps, dial function, and camera functions. It is even integrated with Dropbox and its all setup in minutes. Its also the first CRM that launches corwdsourced contact data management so you never again have to buy contact data. Check it out on http://www.salesboxcrm.com/the-crm or sign up for the beta on http://salesboxcrm.com/enroll-to-the-july-beta-test/ or listen to what our GENIUS has to say http://salesboxcrm.com/TheBETA.html.

Really enjoyed your article. I’m a bus dev employee for a company that doesn’t provide any basic CRM Tools.

I’m looking for a personal edition CRM that is cloud-based, can integrate with Outlook as well as LinkedIn.

The challenge is that the company I work for locks our laptops down very tightly and does not allow employees to load third party software. I had to jump through hoops to allow MS BCM and You Tube access.

Can anyone make any suggestions? Costs need to come out of my pocket so price is also a consideration.

Thomas,
I apologize for the delayed response! Regarding an online, personal edition CRM that integrates with Outlook and LinkedIn, the first few that come to mind are Insightly, Nimble, and even Salesforce given that they have a $5/month Contact Manager. I’m sure there are others as well. I hope this helps. Feel free to engage a Capterra Advisor if you would like more hand holding.

– Mike

No CRMnext? With its proven track record of delivering high impact CRM solutions with strong vertical solutions for Banking, Insurance, Media, and Telecom sectors, it gives out innovations like Autonoma Integration, Autobot upgrades and Codeless configuration capability have helped customers to establish a high impact execution platform across the organization. Its customers include Fortune 1000 companies and global brands like TATA, Reliance, Pfizer, Fullerton, HDFC, Bajaj, Max, S&P, ICICI, Axis etc.

Suggestions for easiest integration with all-Apple devices? The ability to simply schedule an appointment through iCal with a contact on my iPhone and track client communication activity would meet most of my needs.

I’ve used ‘CM” since 1991. I lost count at about 264 new CRM programs out there now! All these work if you’re willing to put in the time. A key factor is what bulk email program connects to your CRM, as a year later you have many levels of Prospect interest. Knowing what Fields to customize and what vendor has sharp customer service is important. Value added webinars from your CRM vendor can make or break your CRM effort, its not just pounding on Prospects with the Easy Button. Its training every single day and firing lazy salespeople that whine that its too much work to “input data”. Its never been easier to “sell” as we have incredible tools that tell you in seconds who is bugging you. I work in 8 times zones with 24,000 potential Prospects and sent 189,000 emails last year with a 35% average open rate. I use SalesForce just as a tool, its so stone age its not funny, and ALL these CRM’s listed are more responsive than SF.

Capterra does a great job of interviewing Prospects that count, I use their service and its first class. This blog is a good example of a value add that ‘gives it away’ and walks the talk vs just selling you leads.

Bookmark Capterra’s Twitter feed, its a daily education of great tips, new ideas.

Michael, please check out why CRM thought leaders are bullish about Converge Enterprise (www.convergeenterprise.com) It is a great all-in-one Cloud based platform for SMBs offering Sales, Marketing, Service and Collaboration. Whosoever has seen the application just falls in love with the UI and the ability to adapt to your business. The price points starts from $29 for Professional and $59 for Premium. Some of the reviews on Converge can be found at http://www.crmsearch.com/convergeenterprise.php and http://www.crmidol.com/review/3/10/2013/converge-enterprise

Thomas,

Did you find something ?

Mike,

I researched the options you mention (thanks for the great article btw!)

Insightly is integrated only with other google products (docs, gmail, …). Nimble only proposes to connect with Facebook, twitter, google+,… you can add contacts from outlook & linkedin through one-shot uploads of csv files but it’s not integrated. Salesforce is impressively interconnected with Outlook (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-jfxXYvlhU) but requires to download a program (which is a problem for Thomas) and is quite pricy if you want to add some options to the contact manager.

No breakthrough app out there?

PS: Also tested Zoho but was not convinced..

Michael, you should probably add an edit to your Highrise section that Basecamp is looking to sell it.

I was just about to put on our startup on Highrise but got spooked off when I saw their announcement on 37signals.com.

Now I’m here looking for an alternative, so thanks for posting this.

I am surprised InTouch CRM (http://www.intouchcrm.com/) hasn’t made this list. InTouch is an entry level sales and marketing automation software, perfect for small and medium sized businesses. Definitely worth checking out!!

I just came back to thank you again for this article. We evaluated these (plus 2 more) and decided on pipedrive. It wasn’t a slamdunk though; we thought others including BaseCRM were great as well, we just saw pipedrive as the best fit. Also, we were reassured by their roadmap; the features we most want improved are already in pipedrive’s backlog.

Thanks to you and to some of those who made comments with recommendations as well. It’s nice to be working and not researching for tools.

I would also add InTouch CRM (http://www.intouchcrm.com/) cheap and easy to use! Definitely have to try it!

That very interesting. Need to check them out. Great article. goo.gl/FVzPQE

Another solution to mention in this discussion is TrackVia (hhttp://www.trackvia.com/trackvia-solutions/online-crm/), which lets users build custom CRM solutions with a simple drag-and-drop interface. And the solution is mobile optimized, so you can take your CRM with you wherever you go.

ah awesome! Thank you! Insightly is the CRM I was looking at. Good to see it made the cut! Cheers 🙂

Hi

Interesting stuff and predictably there are hundreds of CRM databases – as a ZOHO Alliance partner I have to say that my clients are convinced that this is a great tool. However, that has as much to do with the way it is implemented and the support that they get. That is what turns these systems into tools “that people will actually use”.

Where ZOHO is strong is that it integrates with a range of other business modules that support the CRM approach to business – which is not just about sales automation. It is about a seamless conversation with clients one at a time. So for that you need to include the delivery of projects and how products and services are supported let alone invoicing them (Accounts). It also depends on the people issues within the organisation (HR) and you may want to understand what your clients think about the service they are getting (NPS, Surveys etc) as well. All of this comes within the ZOHO framework. Most systems offer integration of course. But what is different about ZOHO is that they not only support the products but this integration as well.

Mike please take another look at ZOHO and the range of solutions they have keeping the Customer Relationship Management approach in mind rather than just sales and marketing automation.

Can anyone make a recommendation on CRM that works well for a small landscape/hardscape construction company? Our challenge is that we have two companies, a Landscape company and a Hardscape Construction company, which run separate accounting systems, but share leads, customers and cross sell. I would like to have a Dashboard that shows all leads but can track separately as well. I guess that would be in the set ups and tagging? Thanks for the help.

Nice Review. I would like to recommend another CRM services from SenServe Limited. CRM Company which provides many features like stay in touch with colleagues and customers, manage tasks and contacts, track deals and team performance and many other useful features. You should check out their services also and should include it into the above list of CRM services.

LeadMaster has been around 17 years, has thousands of customers and is 1/3 the cost of salesforce. It is an All-in-1 system and includes advanced capabilities such as marketing automation and full workflow.The software is intuitive and has many features that are not available in CRM system in this price range.

Check out the free trial…

http://www.leadmastercrm.com

Hi Michael,

After reading your article and almost every comment listed here so far, I’m honestly now even more overwhelmed than before I started my search for a CRM solution.

Let me give you a sense for what I’m looking for that I just can’t seem to find and you can tell me how to get it.

I work in a startup for an Electronics components distributor in Asia. As a Business Development Manager, I like all others have a sales target that I need to meet. Till date, I’ve been using my pathetic Excel spreadsheet, which has now officially drained me because I’m running out of space to write in each cell per account, and I’m in need to move.

The challenge I’ve found with many of the CRM systems I’ve found is that to my industry, I can’t find something customized enough to work for me. Here are a few things I’m looking for. Can you suggest what can work?

Important: if I can find a CRM solution that works for me and it’s successful for me, I’ll become a success story and create a business case to launch it for our entire team.

Features:
1. Account information
2. Have a way so if I call the contact from my land line or my cell phone, the CRM tracks if the person picked up and how long the call went.
3. Have the page where I take notes split by product type for that account
4. Have an export feature so that it spits out all my notes for each account into a “readable” format for my suppliers who need to know the status of the account.
5. Have the CRM on my phone so if I’m on the move I can use it.
6. Allow me to give a potential scoring on the account based on several factors
7. Since I’m a distributor and I need to promote my suppliers products, I want to know which products I sold the customer (by product type) and if I want, I should be able to export my results by product type for those accounts that information.
8. Break my accounts up into active, disqualified, prospecting, stalled, and bad fit accounts

9. Have the CRM allow me to add as many extra fields into my CRM for my own custom use!!! This is BIG because I don’t want to deal with asking a technical person on their team to do it for me and I don’t want to pay for it unnecessarily.

Is there such a small business CRM that can do such a job for me? I’d love you forever if you can help me find something to start with.

You’re missing one

https://www.easysimplecrm.com

Check it out, it’s super simple, easy and cheap.
It’s not just a clever name.

Great article! I have used HighRise, Zoho and Pipedrive. I prefer Pipedrive because it is easy to navigate and get set up. Also I use LinkedIn to find sales leads and use a Chrome extension that can move my LinkedIn contacts into Pipedrive for free. Otherwise I must pay for Ecquire to do this for other CRMs: http://goo.gl/Y6o7aX As a SMB this option of only paying for what I need is vital for my company. I guess larger enterprises do not need to take this into account!

[…] I searched around and can’t really recommend any particular one, but Capterra came up with 9 cheap and easy to use CRM solutions that can work for […]

We use Invenias – Outlook sits within it and Linked In is directly accessed from within the programme which generally fitted our requirements – not cheap as chips but strange that no-one has mentioned it?

ACE Contact Manager CRM (http://www.goace.com ) is just US$4/ per user per month ! and is used for last 41 years through continuous enhancements !!

Interesting and Useful Article.
I would urge your viewers to have look at Onsite CRM Software ,build primarily for small business. With Responsive design,Countless features and affordable pricing it is one of the best CRM.

Like everyone else on this thread, I’m going to shamelessly promote our CRM: https://www.saarif.com

Cost effective (at $19-$24), unlimited data!, sleek, easy-to use.

Introduction of cloud technology makes business process lot simpler, effective and well managed. This system helps your business to run smoothly without any time or location constraints.

Thanks you Michael for the nice overview.
I’m trying to find a good and simple CRM-Software solution for our company, that is easy to sinc (two ways) with ms outlook. I found InfoFlo CRM which seems to meet the criteria above too, since it cost $99 one time payment. Is there anyone who has experience with it?

Thank you for sharing such useful information. Your article helped me to understand career prospects in software testing industry. Testing is the part of the software development. It assists the programmers and developers to create stunning application catering the requirement of individuals.

Your blog about salesforce is useful for those who want to become a salesforce expert. Thanks for sharing this informative blog. Currently I have finished Salesforce Certification course in Chennai at a leading IT Academy. Those who want to become a salesforce certified professional in a short span of time reach FITA. They give professional and real time training for all levels of trainees.

Great article, this is really helping me to reduce the list of tools I’ll actually test. Just one correction : Base seems to cost $25 dollars per user and not $15.

Base is $25 per month, not $15 as stated.

How important is a built in email client? for SMB’s looking for an affordable CRM with a built in stand alone email client have a look at http://SalesProCRM.com I have had a lot of clients migrate to SalesPro for just this feature alone.

Good info, thank for sharing. I need it.

The article is a bit misleading for the following reason. An alternative would suggest that I can get similar functionality from these other solutions. You cannot, so none of these product offerings is actually an alternative to SF.com. Sure they are cheap and easy to use and if you need a basic contact management solution then fine they will work, but these products don’t offer the applications or functionality that Salesforce.com does.

There are two companies however that are alternatives; they are Commence CRM and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. These solutions like Salesforce.com offer integrated Marketing, Project Management, a Help Desk Ticketing system with a customer portal and a host of other features that are simply not available from the 9 companies listed here. Companies that do not select Salesforce often select one of these two alternatives.

Check also 8am (www.8amweb.com).
Light, easy, and starts at $18 per month (NOT per user).

While Salesforce is the 800-pound gorilla, there are definitely other options. Another great choice, especially if you’re looking for simple CRM, is http://www.claritysoft.com

To a few posters’ points, choosing the right CRM depends on the functionality you need. However, I’ve also seen a number of CRM’s that have lots and lots of functionality, but sat on the shelf, un-used by sales teams, because they were too complex.

Salesbox CRM is the first comprehensive mobile-first system that I’ve come across. Great user experience and simple to use. Also comes with a built-in marketing tool and still really cheap to use. Two free users.

Hi,

Great post. However, I don’t have the time to try all them out :-/ I’m looking for a simple solution to create web forms and get submitted forms on a database (CRM). But, I can’t find any that lets you work with Google Analytics custom dimensions. Any ideas? Thanks

Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after looking at some of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely happy I discovered it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back regularly!

I’m somewhere between all of my data being jammed into Nimble and finding the look of Salesforce Marketing Cloud​ archaic – I want something that parses new emails directly from incoming or sent cloud email and puts them into a ‘potential contacts’ list, which I can then add to ‘follow up’ activity scheduling if required, or simply aggregate the email chains under individual contacts along with notes field so I can call log. Outstanding proposals / sales funnel would be a benefit.

We use Pipedrive + Kixie.com phone service for an amazing sales solution. All our calls and emails are automatically synced in Pipedrive and new contacts are created off phone calls. Call recordings of sales calls are stored in the cloud too!

Michael
Thanks for a great article, this is useful information for newbies who don’t know where to start.
I used SFDC in my past employment with a large US IT vendor but now having scaled down to owning a small shop and working directly with the general public (as opposed to companies) and having signed up for thr free trial it doesn’t appear to be an obvious fit.
I also signed up to the free (entry level) variant of Capsule CRM and it may be sufficient for our moderate needs. In an ideal world I would go with SFDC but as you require the higher cost Enterprise Edition for personal contacts we will see how this goes in the short term.
First impressions are good and it appears simple to use and manage.

Great article Michael! One addition which would be perfect for this list would be ProsperWorks (https://www.prosperworks.com/), a simple CRM for Google Apps. ProsperWorks, seamlessly integrates with Gmail and is highly recommended for small businesses as it is very simple and easy to use with almost zero data entry. Would love to hear what you think!

Hi Michael, interesting article. I wasn’t familiar with some of these so will certainly check them out.

Here’s three more that I would highly recommend – we use these consistently within our company.

1. Found.ly – each sales rep has their own account to find and build their on targeted list of leads. The tool also searches for the email addresses and social records so that our team can prospect out.

2. Streak CRM. each sales rep has their own professional gmail account with Streak CRM built in (it’s really smart as the CRM is built into your inbox).

3. Rapportive. another incredible tool that provides insights into the prospect to improve engagement rates.

We’ve trialled various combinations of tools and this is delivering significant and predictable growth for our outbound activity.

A very good article I must say. I stumbled upon this article doing a google search on CRM cost implementation. I must say you have included the most crucial points. I am definitely going to use this information you post here to talk to my future clients. I will push this url in the process. By the way http://crmprogrammer.com does a great job in implementing cost effective CRMs and ERPs. You might find some information there.

Keep up the good work,

Cheers.

What are the top questions that a SMB/Startup owner has to ask before selecting a CRM?

Hi Michael,
It is a great article and there is a lots of useful comment/post too. Although many blogger evangelizing their own product/service and its attractive price. Nothing wrong with it.
As a SMB/Startup owner I would like to know what are the questions I need to ask about one or the other product before I choose one?
How can I determine my real need instead of going through each features and learn which does what and would I really need that?
I admit I am not well educated on CRM but I feel the need of some tool that can help me to grow.
Thanks for the article again!

Hi All

Got to weigh in, OpenCRM was 10 years old in March and given the SME tagline, lots of our subscribers certainly fit the bill. Take a look http://opencrm.co.uk.

Good to see all the usual players here and some of the emerging companies.

Graham

I need a crm that is similar to the raw speed and utility of a client hosted software. I want a non-cloud crm that syncs with cloud. Something like act! But more feature rich when it comes to product catalogs and quoting… is there any crm that is real software first, cloud application second?

I have come across PMAM CRM at http://www.pmamcrm.com. found just at $10/user per month which has lot many features like sales lead generation, lead management, email campaign, Marketing automation, Detaild report with simple dashboard. Also it is available on google apps. PMAM CRM is available for 15 days free trial also one can ask for demo online. https://www.pmamcrm.com/PCRM_Pricing.aspx

CRM software is important for any small business. I appreciate that the blogger is giving us cheaper alternatives to salesforce.com. Small businesses are on a tight budget and have to watch every dollar spent. If they can save on the CRM software, they can use that money to hire new people. Invisume can help companies save time and money in hiring new salespeople. It matches the best-qualified candidates with employers.

VTECRM is another good alternative, I’m working with it since 2 years and the latest release is full of nice stuff, as a module-creation tool available both in free and business edition. It’s a smart, friendly and complete CRM, quite similar to Vtiger but with something more in usability. I work with the server edition but I’m trying the latest release VTE community 15-05 on my Windows PC and it’s a big improvement.

[…] lead’s activity. Salesforce, the most well-known CRM provider, charges is but there are also some cheaper alternatives. We personally love Insightly’s CRM, which has a great modern UI, a generous free plan and […]

Hi all,

Is there a free or affordable CRM (or simple lead/pipeline management) system out there with good linked integration? So the linked network of our employees can be used in sales (like linkedin sales navigator but then with lead management features)? Best regards

[…] are lots of CRM products out there for even the smallest businesses (Capterra lists its picks for best small-business CRM software). If you think CRM can help you manage customer relationships, improve your marketing results and […]

Hello All,

Good to be part of a greater community.

Have a look at BuzzFlow (http://www.buzzflow.io). It’s a very simple CRM with many apps. Helping small businesses to automate most of their processes like, Sales, Support, Asset Management, Debt Collection, Recruitment and many more. It’s a all in one for a single subscription.
We believe the cool thing of BuzzFlow is that everything is in one screen in your Gmail Inbox.

In my role as CMO of a startup — and a former player in the CRM world — I was anxious to find the right, new app for us. I looked at at least a dozen and did trials of four, including Insightly, PipeDrive and Nutshell mentioned above. While each had some nice attributes, none fit our needs — in part to lack of fully indexed databases. Then, I learned that Hubspot had released a free CRM for small business. it rocks and is full integrated with SideKick for email managements. Far and away the best I’ve seen — even if it is a loss-leader for Hubspot.

I have been a great fan of OnePageCRM which I use in my micro business, it really keeps me on top of the next actions for all my customers. But I am now in a corporate role in a medium size company and want to introduce something that is still cheap and easy but better handles more complex sales where there are multiple relationships between my organisation and our client organisation. (and integrates with outlook)

I have used ACT on and off personally for over 25 years. While I work for a company that doesn’t use CRM for their sales force, I do. I used ACT 2010 and upgraded to 17 premium. I don’t like the expense for a personal-use CRM tool and all I’m looking for is something to work with Outlook, Dymo Cardscan and have an app for Android. I don’t mind paying but free is good, too. Sorry for the question versus comment, but something so simple is truly frustrating – finding an easy, CRM tool for personal use where I can access from a phone, laptop and/or tablet. I have 2900 contacts and many are multiple contacts at the same company branch/location. Any advice is appreciated, as I’m not liking the fact that I can’t synch ACT with my Dymo Cardscanner Executive. Thank You, Dave

David,

You may be interested in our list of free CRM tools, amny of which should be able to support that 2900 contacts number: http://blog.capterra.com/free-and-open-source-crm/

Hi,
Have a look at Sales Horse Rider’s sales manager (http://saleshorseriders.bizfirstonline.com), one of the best contact and customer management app with unlimited free contact list specially designed individuals, small businesses and sales teams.

Great article but I am posting this as a sticky at the top of the comments. I just spent a while on checking the commendations in the comments and wasted my time. So I am commenting to save you guys some of your time.

These comments are for other CRM’s that don’t meet the 2 criteria of this article. They seem to be advertisements for CRM’s that are not Cheap.

Hate that word cheap for a good quality inexpensive product.

Secondly more than half of them don’t fit the simple to learn and use criteria either.

PS I am sticking with ZOHO until I need something more. Until we actually open for business and have a budget. Then I like the one guys comment about analyzing exactly what you need, when you know what you need, and shopping for that.

Also I found the You Don’t need a CRM interesting, I like their USP point. Just do the job of making sales. Less Annoying is like that too.

Also please take a look at SutiCRM. It’s simple and quick.

A lot of great products on this list, thanks for the info! I’ve used several of them over the last few years, and while they all have their positives, none of them were quite the right fit for my needs and the needs of my team. After some serious searching, I found a new tool called SuiteDash (https://suitedash.com) that is really great. The CRM portion is easy to use, and there’s a ton of other features built-in (like file sharing, project management, invoicing, and so on) that are just bonuses! We’ve managed to trim away several other subscriptions we were paying, and we’ve consolidated our whole business management into just SuiteDash.

Check them out at https://suitedash.com

[…] much easier to uncouple and replace parts that didn’t turn out to match as well as you thought. As Capterra points out, “CRM software has been helping sales teams manage their contacts and communications […]

You may also want to have a look at Method:CRM – http://www.method.me – it’s a great small business CRM and definitely hits your two criteria – well priced (starting at just $25 per user per month) and simple and intuitive to use!

I found this helpful. I use TriumphCRM (http://www.triumphcrm.com), an easy to use Sales CRM for small businesses and startups. We moved from using a mix of spreadsheet and contact management system to TriumphCRM and think this has been an ideal first step in our CRM journey.

You might want to use TeamWave (www.teamwave.com) , which has simple features and offered for free without any limitation on user-onboarding.

You get the following:

– Sales pipeline
– Deal view
– Rotten deal altert
– CRM mail box
– Sales task list
– Contacts Management

As TeamWave is a suite of business apps, you can also transfer files from CRM to Project Management app.

[…] from a September 2015 Capterra blog post, “CRM software has been helping sales teams manage their contacts and communication since the […]

We use Maxi CRM (https://crmaxi.com/) in business – easy to use & cheap 🙂

I really like the idea of Nimble being able to see a contact’s social media posts. I am leaning that way, unless someone else also does this and has more to offer.

Hello! Do you know a CRM that has trackable email sending, unlimited storage and maximum of $25 so this is aside for pipelinedeals. Please really need one.

Thank you.

anyone know of a small business CRM that integrates with Outlook POP3 email?
thanks

Well thats a lot of CRM’s and it definitely is scary for us.
Because we are starting up with a small offering which may work well for really small firms still operating out of spread sheets. Its called Taskthru and its basic CRM mode called Taskthru Lite is a CRM where statuses and entries are automated so that there are no manual entries at all saving everyone’s time.
In addition its got the regular features, Document repository, Campaign management, bulk emails, lead management, sales funnel, products integration, Resource engagement with location reporting and most importantly automated lead tracking until closure, with no extra effort at all.
Add to this the basic ERP features, Time and attendance, Payroll, Human Resources, Staff popularity ratings, etc coming as part of it.
For more advanced users who needs project integration, we have Taskthru Projects as well where the CRM is seamlessly integrated into an all automated project management.
Have a look at http://www.taskthru.com, (beta) for more info and for free trials.

[…] need high-end CRM software like Salesforce, which often comes with a bloated price tag. There are plenty of alternatives that are just as powerful. Try something like CapsuleCRM, Pipelinedeals or […]

Nice article. TriumphCRM https://www.triumphcrm.com is an easy to use, no non sense Sales productivity, CRM and activity management tool. Not only helps small business management, sales teams, but also back office teams in managing their activities / tasks that are directly or indirectly related to customers.

Hi Michael,

I think you’ve missed one great and affordable CRM solution! Check this SlideShare presentation about VIENNA Advantage CRM and let me know if you agree with me:
http://www.slideshare.net/Vienna_advantage/vienna-advantage-crm-open-source-customer-relationship-management

I think you’ve missed one great and affordable CRM solution! Check this SlideShare presentation about VIENNA Advantage CRM and let me know if you agree with me:

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