Top 10: CRM for small business

Updated: August 01, 2023

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software for small businesses is a valuable digital tool designed to help businesses manage their interactions with customers and prospects more effectively. CRM software provides a centralized platform to store and organize customer data, including contact information, communication history, purchase history, and preferences. This data can be used to create detailed customer profiles and segment customers based on their characteristics and behavior. Small businesses can use CRM to track sales leads, manage customer inquiries, and automate marketing campaigns. Additionally, CRM software often includes features like task management, calendar integration, and analytics to help businesses streamline their sales and marketing processes and gain valuable insights into customer behavior. With CRM for small businesses, companies can improve customer satisfaction, build stronger customer relationships, and enhance their overall sales and marketing efforts to grow and succeed in a competitive marketplace. Some of the most popular CRM software for small business are listed below.

See also: Top 10 Online CRM software

2020. HubSpot’s new end-to-end sales hub aims to simplify CRM for mid-market customers

HubSpot, renowned for its role in shaping the concept of inbound marketing, has unveiled the HubSpot Sales Hub Enterprise. While the company has been providing a CRM tool for five years, which has successfully addressed the usability concerns of salespeople, the new offering aims to deliver a comprehensive approach that caters to the needs of not only sales professionals but also management and system administrators. HubSpot recognizes that larger players in the industry, such as Adobe, Salesforce, and SAP, typically acquire various components of the technology stack and integrate them into their solutions, or customers themselves piece together different elements. In contrast, HubSpot believes that developing a unified, integrated solution in-house will naturally result in a more user-friendly experience.

2020. Zoho introduced Bigin - pipeline-centric CRM for small business

Alongside the widely-used Zoho CRM, Zoho has introduced Bigin, a new pipeline-centric CRM specifically designed and priced for the requirements of small and micro businesses. Bigin revolutionizes CRM by incorporating a user-friendly interface reminiscent of spreadsheets, making it accessible to anyone without prior CRM knowledge or the need for additional resources to implement the software. During the development of this product, Zoho identified that small businesses were often misled by vendors who offered stripped-down CRM features under the guise of being suitable for their needs. In contrast, Bigin includes crucial features such as multiple pipelines, integrated telephony, and workflow automation, providing small businesses with an optimal feature set for managing comprehensive customer-facing processes within their CRM. Notably, Bigin distinguishes itself as the most cost-effective CRM system currently available, priced at $7 per user per month with annual billing.

2018. Zendesk acquired Base CRM

Zendesk, a customer service software company, has recently acquired the startup Base, which specializes in providing CRM solutions for small businesses. Although Base may not have the same level of recognition as CRM giants like Salesforce, Microsoft, or Oracle, it has developed an advanced sales force automation platform infused with its own artificial intelligence capabilities. By integrating Base's capabilities, Zendesk will now have an additional crucial component, alongside customer service and marketing, to complete its core offering of customer data management. Established in 2009, Base has amassed over 5,000 customers. It's important to note that Base was already available for sale in Zendesk's app marketplace, resulting in some overlap. However, Zendesk plans to transition existing customers to Base while ensuring ongoing support for all Base customers.

2018. Salesforce launched CRM for small business - Essentials

Salesforce has had limited presence in the small business market, and this holds true for many of its CRM competitors as well. Within this market segment, many companies have relied on Microsoft products such as Outlook and Excel instead of dedicated CRM solutions. The primary factors driving this choice have been cost considerations, familiarity, and ease of use. To address this, Salesforce has launched a new product called Salesforce Essentials, priced at $25 per user per month. It encompasses essential CRM features, including the integration of Einstein Artificial AI to enhance productivity, alongside the Salesforce Trailhead online learning platform, which simplifies the user experience. Additionally, Salesforce Essentials customers are eligible for a promotional offer resulting from Salesforce's partnership with Google. This offer grants them three months of G Suite by Google Cloud at no additional cost.

2017. Zoho CRM Plus gets fresh new design

Zoho has introduced an update to its all-in-one customer engagement suite, Zoho CRM Plus. The latest version brings a refreshed interface and a streamlined user experience by eliminating unnecessary clutter. The app selector has been replaced with a new navigation bar located on the left side, offering improved accessibility. With the new Quick Links feature, users can quickly navigate to the specific part of the product they wish to access. Additionally, Zoho CRM Plus intelligently adapts to user behavior, prioritizing recently accessed records and placing them prominently under Recent Items. Furthermore, users now have the convenience of configuring settings for all Zoho CRM Plus apps in one centralized location. The update also introduces advanced filters for cross-app searches, allowing users to retrieve relevant data from different teams within their organization.

2017. G Suite-centric CRM service ProsperWorks raised $53M

ProsperWorks, a provider of Google-centric CRM tools, has successfully raised $53 million in a Series C funding round. The primary objective of ProsperWorks has always been to simplify the usability of CRM systems and help companies derive value from their services. In contrast to other alternatives, ProsperWorks focuses on deep integration with Google's G Suite, aiming to deliver a user experience that aligns seamlessly with Google's product ecosystem. This integration ensures that users can effortlessly transition between different productivity applications without feeling a constant need to switch contexts. With the newly secured funding, ProsperWorks intends to double its engineering team, thereby accelerating product development. The company also plans to introduce new industry-specific solutions to enhance its service offerings. Furthermore, ProsperWorks is actively exploring opportunities for international expansion. Notably, the company has prioritized a complete redesign of its platform, which will bring significant benefits to its existing user base.

2017. Pipedrive CRM gets $17M

Pipedrive, a CRM platform specifically developed to enhance sales for SMBs, has successfully secured $17 million in Series B funding. The newly acquired capital will be allocated towards product and technological advancements, expanding the partner ecosystem, and global marketing efforts. Pipedrive boasts a customer base of over 30,000 small businesses from 140+ countries, positioning itself as a formidable competitor against well-established players in the SMB CRM space. Originally recognized for its sales software catering primarily to salespeople rather than managers, Pipedrive has evolved into a comprehensive CRM platform. It has achieved this by integrating with over 50 online software solutions and consistently adding new integrations each month. These integrations encompass a range of business tools including Google Apps, Trello, Zapier, Mailchimp, Yesware, and Pandadoc.

2016. Office 365 gets its own built-in lightweight CRM

Microsoft has introduced a new tool, called Outlook Customer Manager, designed specifically for business owners utilizing Office 365 and Outlook. This lightweight CRM solution caters to companies seeking to track customer interactions and history, yet may not be ready for a more robust platform like Dynamics 365. With Outlook Customer Manager, businesses can conveniently monitor ongoing tasks and deals directly within Outlook. The tool includes pop-up reminders to assist users in effectively managing their customer relationships. Once activated, Outlook Customer Manager automatically organizes customer-related information, encompassing emails, meetings, calls, notes, files, tasks, deals, and deadlines. This data, derived from email, calendar, and call log data sources, is presented in a timeline format alongside the inbox. Users have the ability to associate specific tasks with contacts, companies, or deals, enabling them to engage with customers promptly. Additionally, the tool can present lists of deals categorized by stage, close dates, priority, and amount, facilitating efficient deal management.

2016. Highrise CRM improves reporting and activity feed

One of the major criticisms faced by Highrise has been its lack of reporting capabilities. Recognizing the need to provide numerical insights rather than just content, the developers have introduced a new feature to address this concern. By simply clicking on the new activity filter called "Statistics from Latest Activity," users can access reports on various activities such as notes created, emails received and sent, tasks assigned and completed, and deals won. Furthermore, Highrise has enhanced the filtering options for Activity Feeds, allowing users to filter by Email, Notes, Comments, or Files, as well as by User. Users can still choose to filter by Latest Activity to view everything at once, or they can narrow down their focus by selecting Notes to exclusively view notes, or even further by limiting the view to notes created by themselves or another specific user. These filtering options are also available for contact, deal, or case activity feeds.

2011. Evernote Hello - pesonal CRM in your notebook

We recently highlighted the service called CardCloud, which offers electronic business cards as a modern alternative to traditional ones. However, Evernote, the note-taking service, has now come up with an even better solution. Their free iPhone app, Evernote Hello, not only allows you to remember the people you meet at business meetings or conferences but also links them to the notes you've taken during these interactions. Here's how it works: after a conversation, you can take out your iPhone, launch Evernote Hello, and ask the person you met to enter their contact information (or you can do it yourself based on their verbal input). You can also take a picture of the person, or they can do it themselves. If they provide an email address, the app will automatically send them your electronic business card. After bidding farewell, you can add the meeting details to the contact card (to remember where you met this person) and include meeting-related notes. The next time you encounter them, you can add a new meeting and additional notes to the existing card, creating a history of your interactions, much like a CRM system. Furthermore, this information will be accessible in your Evernote online account and Evernote desktop app if you use them.