Update 4/18/17: This post has been updated with additional CRMs based on the great suggestions and feedback in the comments. We now have 14 tools to recommend! The pre-existing solutions on this list have also been updated so their information is current. HubSpot added a free CRM tool to its marketing suite, which is worth checking out, but it doesn’t make this list because HubSpot’s pricing doesn’t meet the $25/user/month criteria.
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.
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/user – even 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 more than 500 CRM software products and reading countless user reviews, I’ve chosen this list (in alphabetical order) of CRMs that serve the needs of small and midsize businesses (SMBs). All of them meet the two criteria laid out above, and, in addition, all are web-based.
Launched by Zestia in 2009 and based in the U.K., Capsule is a wonderful option for small businesses. Its best feature may be its ability to integrate with more than 30 other software programs including Xero, FreshBooks, MailChimp, Zendesk, and a bunch of others. Capsule has all the features of a standard CRM, but nothing advanced. 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 base model 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. Update: Capsule recently announced API v2 to enable easier and deeper integrations.
Tracking the sales process in Capsule
- Free: up to two users, (10 MB of storage, 250 contacts, unlimited opportunities and cases)
Professional: $12/user/month, (2 GB of storage/user, 50,000 contacts, unlimited opportunities and cases, premium integrations)
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.
- $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
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.
- $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
InStream was founded in Poland in 2015, and quickly caught hold in the SMB CRM market. It comes in at No. 4 on Capterra’s Top 20 Most Affordable CRM Software list, starting at only $6/month for single users. They even offer a free plan for one user and 100 contacts. InStream automatically synchronizes contacts with social media accounts. Users praise InStream for its sleek interface, robust feature-set, and attentive customer support.
- Free: (one user, 100 contacts)
- Freelancer: $6/month, (one user, 500 contacts)
- Basic: $10/month/user, (up to 5,000 contacts)
- Business: $19/month/user, (up to 25,000 contacts)
- Premium: $29/month/user, (unlimited contacts)
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.
Update: On Jan. 17, 2017, Less Annoying CRM released Version 3.6 with speed improvements and an updated design.
- $10/user/month gets you everything
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.
- Everything: $22/user/month ($25 if billed monthly), (25,000 contacts, 2 GB of storage, )
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:
- A very intuitive user interface (some might 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.
- Starter: $19/user/month ($22 if billed monthly), (pipeline tracking, sales and forecast reporting, phone, live chat, and email support)
- Pro: $35/user/month ($39 if billed monthly), (everything above, plus funnel reporting, sales process automation, multiple pipelines, and more)
- Pro+: $69/user/month ($79 if billed monthly), (everything above, plus onboarding, dedicated customer success manager, quarterly business reviews
Launched in 2010 and based in Ireland, OnePageCRM is 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 versus sales managers.
Their best features include:
- A lead clipper that allows you to collect a lead’s information from LinkedIn or Gmail with a single click.
- Reminders of not only when things are due, but also when things need to be started, so 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.
- Everything: $12/user/month*, (unlimited contacts and deals, 1 GB of storage)
*If you pay annually, they’ll bring that price down to a cool $11/user/month, making it one of the better bargains we’ve seen.
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 G 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 salespeoples’ 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 for 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 less customer follow-up after the deal, such as real estate companies.
- Silver: $10/user/month ($12 if billed monthly), (2 GB storage/user)
- Gold: $21/user/month ($25 if billed monthly), (5 GB storage/user)
- Platinum: $63/user/month ($75 if billed monthly), (100 GB storage/user)
ProsperWorks is the only CRM on this list that earned top-10 spots on Capterra’s Most Affordable (No. 5) AND Most User-Friendly (No. 10) lists. The San Francisco-based company, which was founded in 2011, claims that its deep integration with G Suite makes it “the only CRM recommended for Google.” The ProsperWorks team includes leaders from Facebook Mobile, and Salesforce.
- Basic: $19/user/month ($24 if billed monthly), (up to 5 users, 30,000 records, 5 custom fields, 2 GB of storage, self-service support)
- Professional: $49/user/month ($64 if billed monthly), (unlimited users, 100,000 records, 25 custom fields, 200 GB of storage, self-service support, professional features)
- Business: $119/user/month (billed annually), (unlimited users, 500,000 records, 100 custom fields, 500 GB of storage, on-call support, professional and business features)
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 SMBs, and it even boasts a few larger customers with over 600 employees.
Its flexible pricing is among its best features. It starts with a free offering, but 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 also has a built-in full-blown email marketing system that may be all your marketing team needs.
- Free: up to two users, (100 accounts, unlimited contacts, 10 MB of storage)
- Starter: $14/user/month, ($15/user/month if billed monthly), (10 users, 500 accounts, 1 GB of storage)
- Professional: $30/user/month, ($33/user/month if billed monthly), (unlimited users, 5,000 accounts, 5 GB of storage)
- Enterprise: $46/user/month, ($50/user/month if billed monthly), (unlimited users, accounts, and storage)
With all of these tiers, you can add on different features that may not come standard for a monthly price.
This Halifax-based company has been a major player in the CRM game since 2003, and their product has only gotten stronger over the years. Salesboom.com claims more than 4,000 clients in over 159 countries. Honeywell and Citigroup are some of the bigger names in their portfolio, but Salesboom.com also caters to small businesses with its $14/user/month Team package. Reviewers praise Salesboom.com for its responsive customer support and training, and several comment that it’s easier to use than Salesforce.
- Team: $14/user/month (minimum 5 users), (5 GB of storage)
- Professional: $45/user/month, (10 GB of storage, professional features)
- Enterprise: $95/user/month, (unlimited storage and customizations, 24×7 support, professional and enterprise features)
Part of the SutiSoft family of software—which includes well-regarded accounting and HR tools—SutiCRM makes its way onto this list because of its $5.95/user/month price point, and Suti’s focus on ease-of-use. The company was founded in Los Altos, California in 2006. Suti includes social CRM features, and available add-ons include help desk, expense management, and asset management. New features in the latest update include campaign ROI, dashboard customization, and case escalation.
- Free: up to 3 users, (reports and analytics, mobile access)
- Small business: $5.95/user/month, (sales forecasting, campaign automation, campaign ROI calculation)
- Enterprise: Contact the company for pricing, (waterfall chart, customer profile management, reports scheduler)
Teamgate, operating out of Lithuania and then expanding into London, is only 5 years old, but it has made quite an impression on its users in that time. With almost 100 reviews on Capterra, Teamgate rates 5/5 overall, as well as for ease-of-use, and customer service.
Teamgate integrates with G Suite, MailChimp, LinkedIn, WordPress, and Slack, among others. It earned the best-of-the-best spot on Capterra’s Top 20 Most User-Friendly CRM Software list. Bonus: check out Teamgate’s About Us page and hover over the employee pictures for some fun Easter eggs.
- Starter: $9/user/month ($11/user/month if billed monthly), (interaction tracking, email sync, reminders)
- Professional: $22/user/month ($29/user/month if billed monthly), (lead management, activity reporting, multi-level permissions)
- Enterprise: $39/user/month ($49 if billed monthly), (analytics, lead scoring, Smart Dialer tool)
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 Batchbook, Tactile CRM, Clevertim, AlbertCRM, TeamWave, SuiteDash, SalesMate, and Simple CRM System.
According to our own research, Salesforce remains the CRM market leader, but its starting price point for teams greater than five people is $75/user/month. That includes functionality that many smaller teams don’t need at the outset.
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.