5 Best Small business CRM software for 2021 [comparaison]

By Nguyen Oanh
Published: 22/09/2021
software backgroundSmall business CRM software for 2021: Reviews and Comparison

Are you looking for a small business CRM software? What is the best CRM system for your team?

Small and medium-sized businesses, despite booming development, are not all equipped with CRM systems (customer relationship management), a precious key to better perform in commercial activity. CRM software will help you manage interactions with both current and potential customers, saving your precious time and energy to focus on growing your business.

Good news, we have put together a comparison of the best CRM software for small businesses, based on precise criteria, to help you make your choice.

But first, let’s find out what small business CRM software is and which criteria you should consider in selecting CRM tools.

What is Small Business CRM Software?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. A CRM system is a platform that manages customer information and experiences and connects the different departments from marketing to sales to customer support into one cohesive system. Overall, CRM will help your team free up time. A CRM solution is now an important part of large businesses but is still less common in small businesses. Fortunately, there are CRM systems built specifically for small businesses that can help get you started.

Why do small businesses need CRM software?

Organizing a huge customer database and managing customer experiences always takes a lot of time for companies, especially for small businesses. That’s where a CRM system appears like a Customer Relationship Management solution for companies. This useful tool helps keep everyone in your company on the same page, brings marketing, sales team, and customer support together with all the data they need to succeed in their roles.

Reasons why small businesses looking for good CRM software:

  • Organizing the customer information and client management

  • Generating, tracking, and managing leads more effectively

  • Searching for automated functions like sending emails, sales reporting, sticky notes, and memories

  • Renovating or changing the current CRM solution

  • Monitoring the sales process and improving the sales planning

CRM Applications for Small Business

  • Contact Management: Every small business needs to manage its contact data, tasks, notes, files,… The core application of CRM solutions is to organize these pieces of information into a single database instead of putting them in ​​individual inboxes or address books.
  • Sales Management: The sales management application helps small businesses to track deals at different stages of the sales pipeline, integrates sales activities and appointments with the general contact database. Some may also include limited automation. This tool is necessary for any small business that needs to organize a high volume of leads and automate follow-up.
  • Marketing Automation: A CRM marketing automation application allows small businesses to streamline, analyze and automate key marketing tasks and workflows, including segmentation, lead generation, capture and nurturing, relationship marketing, customer retention, and account-based marketing. CRM marketing automation is mostly used to speed up processes and eliminates time-wasting tasks, as well as to create personalized, targeted marketing campaigns to send to your customers. This tool is necessary for small businesses that need to attract potential customers through Email marketing or Web traffic.
  • Customer Service Management: Small businesses need to resolve a high volume of customer inquiries and/or complaints. Customer service applications allow small businesses to document, track and resolve customer issues in order to improve customer experiences.

Which criteria should you consider in choosing CRM software for your business?

The customer relationship management (CRM) softwares presented in this comparison have in common that they have key functionalities, essential to any good CRM solution. There are many, including:

  • Management of the sales pipeline,
  • Contact management (leads and customers),
  • Detection of business opportunities,
  • Marketing automation,
  • File storage,
  • Task and follow-up reminders,
  • Event scheduling and a calendar,
  • Process or workflow tracking,
  • Reports and analyzes, etc.

In addition, we have taken into account the fact that small businesses must find a balance between:

  • a solution powerful enough to help them effectively structure their sales processes;
  • and rates adapted to small and medium-sized businesses, which do not have the same budget as a large group.

Finally, we notice today that a significant number of small and midsize businesses have not adopted CRM systems. Consequently, they are not always familiar with this type of solution. This observation implies considering the ease of handling and use of the selected commercial management tools. It also involves looking into the quality of the publisher's customer support, as well as the presence (or not) of documentation to support users.

How much does a CRM cost? Most CRMs are priced per user per month. Some CRMs (like Sendinblue, Zoho CRM, Hubspot CRM, etc.) are email marketing-focused, and as such their pricing is instead dependent on the number of contacts you have. The pricing depends also on features. The more powerful the features are, the more expensive it will be per month.

Some tips for choosing your CRM software

Customer Relationship Management Software all offer a different range of features. It is up to each organization to find the formula that suits it among the many CRM software available on the market.

This is why we recommend that you perfectly frame your project to implement a new tool upstream:

  • What are the business and organizational goals of your company?
  • Who will be the affected users?
  • What are their concrete needs to achieve the previously determined objectives?

From these various questions, you will determine the list of features necessary to meet your growth ambitions.

💡 Why not writing a specification for your CRM project? This exercise helps you ask yourself about all the elements that will allow you to select the perfect software:

  • What type of accommodation do you want?
  • What are the interoperability and scalability needs?
  • What is your budget? Etc.

Moreover, this question of the budget remains central for small businesses. These companies are in fact in a pivotal situation: compared to very small businesses, they require a more powerful tool that is available to a greater number of users... but they do not have the same finances as a large group! Therefore, we recommend that you agree on the envelope to allocate to your CRM system, and study in-depth all the pricing aspects:

  • quality/price ratio,
  • number of users,
  • "hidden" costs,
  • subscription conditions and termination options,
  • cost of deployment,
  • free or not free customer support and training, etc.

Finally, we found that the majority of CRM solutions offer free trials. For your sales teams, this is a golden opportunity to test different solutions, to define which ones they feel most comfortable with. In this way, you promote their adoption… and increase your chances of success!

The Best Small Business CRM Software for 2021

monday.com CRM

The software promise

monday.com CRM is a cloud-based work management platform offering a simplified way for you to manage any team and any project while creating a more transparent work culture.

With this CRM software, you can:

  • Manage sales pipelines
  • Build marketing campaigns
  • Facilitate recruitment processes
  • Create video production planning
  • Reassure tasks management
  • Track the progress
  • Product roadmaps
  • Manage business processes
  • Establish design planning
  • Track bug
  • Manage event
  • Construct planning

The strong points

monday.com is definitely a powerful CRM software that is customizable to fit your business needs. With this software, you can build your workflows in any way that works for you and your team. This is the reason why more than 100,000 business teams in diverse industries around the world rely on monday.com, from big companies like Wix and The Discovery Channel to small businesses just getting started.

Here are the 5 most useful Monday.com features:

  • Time tracking: This tool helps your team know how much time is spent on each task so you can make better, smarter decisions on how you spend your time.
  • Dashboards: Dashboards are used to see what’s important at a glance. It helps small businesses gain valuable insights, track project progress, estimate workload, and monitor budgets. It also keeps your business team focused and motivated on the high-level goals that push work forward.
  • Integrations: Seamlessly integrate popular external tools from Jira and Slack to Gmail and Mailchimp, and further streamline your workflow.
  • View: monday.com offers several ways to view the data in your boards from Gantt Chart View for your project plans to Chart View for tracking progress.
  • Automation: monday.com takes that task off your hands so you can be more productive on the work that really needs your time and attention.

Pricing

There is a free version that includes the following features:

  • Unlimited tables
  • Unlimited documents
  • More than 200 models
  • More than 20 types of columns
  • Up to 2 employees IOS and Android apps

The paid plan starts from $25 per month for 5 users which is an affordable price for small businesses. The standard subscription is the most used. It has more features like:

  • Unlimited free visitors
  • Unlimited items
  • 5 GB of file storage
  • Priority customer service
  • Create a dashboard based on 1 board
  • Calendar and Gantt views
  • Calendar view
  • Access for guests
  • Automation (250 actions per month)
  • Integrations (250 actions per month)
  • Create a dashboard that combines up to 5 boards

​​Our opinion

The strengths of Monday.com:

  • Powerful features and robust functionality
  • Impressive, modern user interface
  • Excellent support team and quick to respond
  • Certifications: ISO 27001, GDPR, ISO 27018

The solution includes a powerful mobile application to support salespeople on the go. Finally, the free version remains a real bonus. You test the software to start developing yourself… before switching to a paid offer with successful features.

monday.com CRM

One Place to Manage Your Entire CRM Sales Pipeline
Learn more about monday.com CRM

ACT!

The software promise

ACT! is a great CRM system ideal for small businesses and startups that combines marketing automation and sales pipeline management into a centralized platform. The platform offers rich functionality, flexibility in operations, and exceptional benefits that fit perfectly for every customer. This solution includes tools for sales process automation and is suitable for businesses in any industry.

The strong points

Here are some powerful features of this CRM solution:

  • manage a sales pipeline,
  • track interactions with leads and existing customers,
  • access CRM email marketing tools,
  • organize customer details, emails, notes about your accounts, attachments, campaign results, and even industry-specific data,
  • sync data such as account updates and pending sales opportunities,
  • built-in CRM features that enable business growth teams to track lead sources, competitor activity, emails, and more.

ACT! provides a shared calendar that can help improve teamwork. This solution offers a Microsoft Outlook integration and connects with other apps like Dropbox, Slack, and more. ACT! Companion is a mobile CRM app that is compatible with iOS and Android devices to assist salespeople on the move.

ACT! is guided by an Executive Leadership Team with a wide range of experience working in and with businesses of all sizes. Some are entrepreneurs themselves, and others have worked with the largest companies in the Fortune 100.

Pricing

There are 2 versions: ACT! Pro and ACT! Premium. The ACT! Pro standard version is already pretty complete. It includes:

  • Relationship & Task Management
  • Opportunity Management
  • Email Template Library & HTML Editor Campaign Management
  • Standard Reports Act! Companion Mobile App
  • Data Import Tool Digital Support
  • 4Gb Cloud Storage
  • 10 000 Emails/mo
  • Office & Google Integration
  • Dynamic Groups
  • Dashboards & Analytics
  • Integration with Popular Apps
  • Team Management
  • Marketing Automation (Optional)
  • Digital & Phone Support

The paid plan starts from $15 per month. If you want more functionalities, Full-featured ACT! Premium helps you build lasting relationships, close deals faster, and make informed business decisions. Add ACT! Marketing Automation to optimize all the ways you communicate with prospects and customers to maximize engagement and drive business growth! You can test ACT! free for 14 days to see if it's right for you.

Our opinion

ACT! platform promises very good value for money. This CRM tool focuses primarily on essential features for salespeople, which are also very powerful features, and also provides marketing features.

Unfortunately, ACT! Pro works only through a remote desktop. However, small businesses already using ACT! Premium can transfer to a hosted ACT! environment more easily because ACT! Premium is designed from the start to be able to do this.

Sendinblue

The software promise

Sendinblue is the smartest and most intuitive CRM platform for growing businesses. It’s a powerful email marketing service that provides reliable email delivery, email marketing, automation, transactional emails for eCommerce, smart segmentation, and more.

Sendinblue offers an SMS marketing chat which is a powerful tool that allows you to connect with customers and leads in real-time.

The strong points

Here are some interesting features of Sendinblue:

  • Easy segmentation and personalization
  • Automate your marketing and sales processes in no time.
  • Create time-sensitive offers for your customer segments, and automate this process
  • Step up transactional emails with on-brand designs and reliable deliverability
  • Landing page and signup form builder
  • Real-time statistics
  • Easy Facebook ads and retargeting
  • Detailed and actionable analytics
  • Automatic send time optimization
  • A/B testing
  • Connect with your leads and customers in real-time with the Live Chat tool

Pricing

Sendinblue platform has a free version which is a good entry point to familiarize yourself with the tool and its interface. It already includes many features to increase your sales performance:

  • Email Campaigns
  • Mobile-friendly email designer
  • Email template library
  • SMS marketing
  • Email & SMS personalization
  • Chat
  • Unlimited contacts & details
  • Advanced segmentation
  • Customizable signup forms
  • Sales CRM
  • Transactional Email and SMS sending
  • Core API features
  • Advanced templating language
  • Workflow editor
  • Page tracking
  • Real-time reporting

The paid plan starts from $25 per month.

Our opinion

  • It is easy to implement and use. Its high level of automation saves users valuable time and promises rapid interface mastery. Sendinblue's drag-and-drop form builder is the easiest way to create a newsletter template.
  • A wealth of transactional email and SMS features
  • Includes basic CRM functionality
  • Impressive range of automation and integration
  • Expanded template building options
  • The free version is already very complete.
Sendinblue

All-in-One Marketing Platform
Learn more about Sendinblue

Less Annoying CRM

The software promise

Less Annoying CRM is a small business customer relationship management (CRM) software that offers cloud-based deployment, various configuration options, and a dashboard that provides an overview of contact information, projects, files, and other information.

Less Annoying CRM provides:

  • Contact management
  • Calendars and tasks
  • Leads and pipelines
  • Work with multiple users
  • Easy customization
  • Mobile access
less-annoying-crm-introduction© Less Annoying CRM

The strong points

Here are some advantageous features of Less Annoying CRM:

  • All of your contact information in one place: From one simple screen you can see all of the notes, files, tasks, events, and pipeline information related to a contact.
  • Your team's events and tasks are on one calendar: You can even set up sharing with other users at your company so that everyone can stay on the same page, and you can sync with Google Calendar for easy access from your phone.
  • Never let another lead slip between the cracks.
  • Easy collaboration with others at your company: Each user has their own login and password, and you decide who has access to what.
  • Less Annoying CRM software gives you complete control, and you can set it up in minutes.
  • Less Annoying CRM is entirely web-based so you can access it from any computer, tablet, or smartphone, anywhere in the world.

Pricing

Less Annoying CRM tool promises very good value for money with $15 per user per month which is an interesting price for all the functions. They also offer free personalized help to every customer, regardless of size.

Our opinion

Less Annoying CRM software also has more useful features:

  • Log email conversations: Automatically process and log your mail
  • Free updates: Less Annoying CRM software automatically installs the upgrades for you so you don’t have to spend too much time on it.
  • Easy importing: You have to export the information from your current system to a spreadsheet, and upload that to the site.
  • Daily agenda emails: Email reminders to note all of your daily tasks and events.
  • One-click export: This feature makes it easy to access and export data.
  • Always backed-up: Their servers are hosted on Amazon.com's industry-leading infrastructure, and they keep two different types of backups so you don’t worry about losing your information.
  • Security: Less Annoying CRM app offers 256-bit encryption to ensure the security of your information.
  • Free phone and email support: Even during your free trial, you can reach the free client service via phone or email.

The pricing is interesting with lots of powerful CRM features. It’s easy for every small business that starts using CRM software.

Less Annoying CRM

Sales Force Automation Software
Learn more about Less Annoying CRM

Salesmate.io

The software promise

Salesmate offers simple, personal, and productive experiences for your sales team and customers. This platform allows you to generate more leads, close more deals, and build long-term customer relationships by delivering personalized experiences across marketing, sales, and customer service touchpoints across all channels – email, text, chat, web, calls, and eBusiness.

The strong points

A number of powerful features explain how Salesmate can help you win more deals and create long-term customers relationship:

  • Prospect and lead management: Automated and personalized prospecting with targeted emails, texts, calls, follow-ups
  • Sales pipeline and activity tracking: Track contacts, deals, sales, and conversations
  • Sales automation and sequences: Create reusable sales playbooks and automated cadences to avoid the repetitive task
  • Sales intelligence and reports: Collect the best insight for sales pipeline and team’s performance with built-in intelligence.
  • Salesmate offers the industry’s best built-in calling and texting in 90+ countries which have powerful features such as call recording, call masking, voicemail drop, power dialer, and call transfers for your small business.
  • Connect your sales@ and support@ inboxes, organize all messages, send them to the right prospect, respond to customer requests, track notes, provide exceptional customer experience.
  • Salesmate will automatically connect dots across all customer touchpoints to enable your sales team to have insightful conversations.
  • Automate sales and engagement business processes: route leads, sync customer data across systems, entrust tasks, send personalized greetings, etc.
  • You can access Salesmate for remote sales from any computer, tablet, or smartphone, anywhere in the world.

Pricing

Salesmate offers simple and affordable pricing for your small business. The paid plan starts from $12 per month and you can save more than 20% with the annual subscription. You can test all the Salesmate features for free in 15 days.

Every plan includes:

  • 24/5 Chat & Email Support
  • Support docs, Videos & Community
  • Onboarding Help
  • US & EU Data Centers
  • iOS and Android apps
  • Access to APIs & Integrations

Our opinion

With pricing starting from $12/user and lots of functional features, Salesmate platform offers one of the best value for money. This is definitely the best CRM tool for businesses in SaaS, software, marketing, real estate, insurance, finance, etc. industries. It is one of the highest-rated CRM platforms and has won 21+ industry awards just in 2020.

Salesmate

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
Learn more about Salesmate

Comparative table of the best small business CRM software 2021

CRM Software Target Main asset Pricing
Monday.com CRM Any type of business Powerful features and robust functionality. Impressive, modern user interface. Free version It has a free version. The paid plan starts from $25 per month with a basic subscription
ACT! Small Business Tools for sales process automation From $15 per month with the essential subscription
Sendinblue Any type of business Email Marketing Service Automation and free version. It has a free version. The paid plan starts from $25 per month
Less Annoying CRM Small Business and Startup Functional coverage. Facilitate teamwork. From $15 per month

with no complicated pricing tiers, no hidden fees, and no contracts

Salesmate.io Small Business The high degree of customization and functional depth From $12 per month for the Starter packs

Because the choice of a CRM impacts the company at many levels (management, marketing, sales, customer support), it is essential to establish specifications with all the stakeholders in the project. It is on these bases that a first selection can be made to get as close as possible to the needs of the company and find the appropriate CRM software.

There is no better software than the one that will truly meet the needs of your business. Take the time to see if the software has the features you need, but also if the ergonomics are good!

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