The 6 Best CRM Software Systems for Small Businesses in 2023

CRM system on laptop thumbnail
Rob Binns

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Based on our research, the best CRM platform is Zoho, specifically the Professional plan. It's reasonably affordable ($35 per user per month), and comes with tools like a marketing email design editor, and invoice/quote creation, as well as the CRM staples.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) will help you automate your customer service team’s issue management efforts, and tailor your marketing campaigns for better results. CRM software also acts as a central hub for all your small business’s lead, deal, and client information, accessible any time, and from anywhere in the world.

Choosing to start using a CRM is the easy part. But choosing exactly which CRM is right for your small business? Well, that’s a little more difficult.

If you’re short on time and just want to begin comparing quotes, we can help with that too. Simply provide us with some details about your requirements, and the type of CRM software you’re interested in. In return, we’ll put you in touch with leading CRM suppliers, who’ll provide you with quotes tailored to your small business.

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$14 – $52 per user per month

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$15 – $69 per user per month

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$22.50 –  $120 per user per month

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Price Range

$19-$150 per user per month

Price Range

$25 –  $75 per user per month

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1. Zoho

Best value for money. Simple to get the hang of, easy to use.

Zoho Logo
Zoho CRM
Pricing $14 – $52 per user per month
Quick overview

Zoho is one of the most affordable CRM softwares on the market, but it more than holds its own against more expensive packages. Sure, the interface isn’t as jazzy, but it gets the job done. If email is your main use for CRM, Zoho will really come into its own. Free for up to three users, with paid plans starting at $14/user/month (billed monthly).


Free for up to three users

Easy to use and to set up

Great email marketing tools, plus web forms for collecting lead info


Mobile app has quite limited functionality

Reduced customer support

Standard $14 per user per month
Professional $23 per user per month
Enterprise $40 per user per month
Ultimate $52 per user per month
Zoho CRM interface


  • Transparent, accessible pricing
  • No. Contact. Limit.


  • No VoIP capability… which is a biggie
  • No phone support

Zoho for small businesses: The verdict

Don’t let its simple, intuitive UI fool you – there’s a lot more to Zoho than meets the eye. With myriad integrations, a variety of plans to scale with your operations, and ‘Zia’ – the software’s conversational, AI-powered assistant – Zoho ticks all the boxes a small business CRM should.

2. Freshsales CRM

Most user-friendly CRM for small businesses. Great for solopreneurs. Best customer support. Free version.

Freshsales Logo
Pricing Free – $69 per user per month
Quick overview

If you’re a small business looking for a good, affordable CRM system without all the bells and whistles, Freshsales will be right up your street. Get up and running in next to no time with an easy, useful dashboard, packed full of features you’ll actually use. Freshsales is popular across the board, but it’s the small businesses that sing its praises the loudest. Paid plans start at $15/user/month.


Great for automating tasks such as logging phone calls

A simple software that’s easy to pick up, and won’t require much training

Free trial available


Offers fewer third party integrations than competitors such as Zoho and Salesforce

Free Free
Growth $15 per user per month
Pro $39 per user per month
Enterprise $69 per user per month
Freshworks CRM CRM interface


  • Free version available
  • 24/5 phone-based support for all users – Freshworks CRM is the only provider to offer this
  • Budget-friendly


  • No social tracking
  • You’ll need to upgrade to at least Freshworks CRM’s ‘Growth’ plan to make it worthwhile

Freshworks CRM for small businesses: The verdict

Affordable, straightforward, and easy on the eye, Freshworks CRM is an ideal first CRM. There’s a free forever tier, after all, and round-the-clock weekday support is on hand to walk those small business owners with less CRM experience through any teething pains.

Did You Know?

Freshconnect is a free add-on that works with Freshworks CRM’s products for both sales and marketing teams. It’s an internal communication tool that allows your staff to send instant messages to each other, without leaving the CRM software’s interface.

3. HubSpot

Best small business CRM for marketing automation. Ideal for creating and executing email campaigns. Free plan.

HubSpot logo
Pricing $25 - $120 per user, per month
Quick overview

Each of HubSpot’s packages for marketing, sales, and service teams start at a relatively budget-friendly $25 per user, per month. We recommend the Growth Suite, though – it includes HubSpot’s Marketing, Sales, and Service ‘Hubs’ in a single package, with a tasty discount to boot. Upgrading any of HubSpot’s plans to the ‘Professional’ tier ($80 per user, per month for the Growth Suite) buys you task automation, as well as three standout features for marketing teams: A/B testing, website traffic analytics, and video hosting.


Impressive free version available, along with a 30-day free trial

Offers discounts for startups


No 24/7 phone or live chat support

It’s expensive!

PlanMinimum usersPrice (paid annually)Price (paid monthly)
Starter 2 $15 per user per month $25 per user per month
Professional 5 $320 per user per month $356 per user per month
Enterprise 10 $2,000 per user per month Annual payment only
HubSpot CRM interface


  • Fantastic customer approval ratings
  • Extensive knowledge base
  • Slick user interface


  • Among the more expensive CRM systems you’ll find – particularly its marketing automation module
  • Onboarding fees apply ($375 for the Professional plan, $3,000 for the Enterprise plan)

HubSpot for small businesses: The verdict

HubSpot’s not cheap, and we can certainly see why this CRM’s price tag will dissuade some of the more thrifty small business owners out there.

Investment here, though – which you can make from $50 per month, or else stick with a free plan – scores you the finest marketing CRM features around… full stop!

Small businesses looking to graduate from Mailchimp and engineer email marketing campaigns with more serious firepower should look no further.

Likewise, small businesses looking to do more with their data, and reach their customers across new channels – social media, for instance, or via chatbots – will find plenty to love about HubSpot.


Best for managing projects and teams. Most intuitive design. Highly affordable. Logo
Pricing $8-custom per user, per month
Quick overview

At $8 per user per month, the ‘Basic’ plan offers an app for both iOS and Android, as well as 5GB of storage and whiteboard collaboration. We’d recommend at least going for’s ‘Standard’ plan, though. It adds timeline and calendar views, advanced search functionality, and up to 250 app integrations – and, at just $10 per user per month all in, the plan’s not that much more expensive than its predecessor.


24/7 customer support available, plus daily live webinars and a comprehensive knowledge base

Color-coded boards are refreshingly easy on the eye


It doesn’t offer the same depth of features as an out-and-out CRM system does

TiersPrice (billed annually)Price (billed monthly)
Basic $8 per user/month $10 per user/month
Standard $10 per user/month $12 per user/month
Pro $16 per user/month $20 per user/month
Enterprise Custom Custom CRM interface


  • Easy to use
  • Affordable
  • Integrates with your online store


  • No audit trail, segmentation, or social tracking features for small businesses: The verdict

If you’re looking for a platform to stay on top of projects, collaborate seamlessly (and remotely!) with your team, and better manage workflows and processes, is for you. It’s easy to get the hang of and use, too, and the price point makes it an alluring proposition for smaller teams and solopreneurs.

Bear in mind, though, that it won’t bear phone integration, or the elaborate tracking and analytical tools that CRM offers.

5. Zendesk

Lowest starting price. Excellent customer service automation features for small businesses.

Zendesk logo
Pricing $19 - $150 per user, per month
Quick overview

Despite being the only CRM provider on this list not to offer a marketing product, Zendesk makes up for it with affordable, effective solutions for sales and service teams. ‘Sell’ starts from just $19 per user, per month, while ‘Support’ – Zendesk’s product for service teams – is available at the mouth-wateringly low price point of $5 per user, per month.

Upgrading to Zendesk’s ‘Growth’ tier ($49 per user, per month) adds reporting dashboards and advanced call analytics, plus sales goals and forecasting. The ‘Professional’ plan ($99 per user, per month) adds skills-based routing to your customer service team’s armory, while your sales hotshots will benefit from lead scoring, task automation, and extra sales pipelines.

Team $19 per user per month
Growth $49 per user per month
Professional $99 per user per month
Enterprise $150 per user per month
Zendesk CRM interface


  • Extremely low starting price
  • Excellent ticket management capabilities
  • Robust VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol)* functionality


  • No document storage
  • Lacks the same level of data analysis as Salesforce and SugarCRM

Wait… what is VoIP? 

VoIP is the name for the technology that allows small businesses to make and take calls over the internet, rather than with a conventional phone line. When CRM software has VoIP capabilities or integrations enabled, it means you can dial contacts and leads – providing their phone numbers are saved on the system – directly from within the CRM’s interface.

As you can imagine, it’s a pretty important feature!

Zendesk for small businesses: The verdict

A lack of marketing functionality hampers Zendesk’s capabilities as an ‘all in one’ CRM solution. But for sales and service teams, it has plenty to offer, and its renowned customer support will have small businesses singing.

Its service CRM solution starts at just $5 per user, per month, too – one of the lowest rates around.

6. Salesforce

Best for analytics. Most comprehensive all-round CRM, with 24/7 phone support available.

Salesforce Logo
Pricing $25 – $300 per user per month
Quick overview

There’s a reason why, when googling CRM systems, you’ll find plenty of articles with titles such as ‘7 Best Alternatives to Salesforce’; it’s really set the bar high when it comes to CRM systems, and seems to have a plan to suit everyone. But when it comes to affordability and value for money, how does it stack up? Plans start at $25/user/month.


Good range of features that make it well-suited to medium-large businesses

Huge number of integrations available, including a number of Salesforce’s own. This makes it a really robust tool for marketing as well as sales

Free trial available


One of the pricier systems around

Not the easiest to get to grips with quickly

Very small businesses should opt for a cheaper, easier product

Essentials $25 per user per month
Professional $75 per user per month
Enterprise $150 per user per month
Unlimited $300 per user per month
Salesforce CRM interface


  • Its ‘Einstein Analytics’ add-on is one of the most advanced reporting tools money can buy
  • No contact limit
  • Free trial available for sales, service, and analytics modules...


  • …but not for its marketing automation product
  • 24/7 phone-based support is restricted to Salesforce’s more expensive pricing plans

Salesforce for small businesses: The verdict

The ‘catch’ with Salesforce is a simple one. The more advanced you need it to be, the more expensive it is.

However, it’s a drawback that also plays straight into the hands of small businesses. Because Salesforce starts at just $25 per user, per month, it’s not only affordable, but you can also be sure that you’re not paying for any features that you don’t need.

And, as your small business grows and your data, reporting, and contact management needs balloon, you can upgrade the CRM to fit the scaling dimensions of your operations accordingly.

The sparkling interface, drag-and-drop pipelines, and lack of contact limits are just a bonus!

Next Steps

Still not sure which CRM software is right for your small business? Here’s a recap.

  • Freshsales CRM: easy to use, easy to look at… easy to summarize!
  • HubSpot: ideal for marketing teams, with an intuitive drag-and-drop interface you’ll love.
  • for a CRM platform, it's great for managing projects and motivating teams.
  • Salesforce: the industry leader, and for good reason. Trust us – its advanced analytical features justify the price tag.
  • Zendesk: affordable, with a range of pricing plans made to scale with your small business.
  • Zoho: user-friendly and, handily, one of the best cheap CRM systems going. Its generous free version means it’s at least worth trying.

So, what next? Well, if you’re at least half as curious as our researchers, you’ll want to find out more – specifically, how much a solution tailored to your small business’s requirements will cost. Luckily, we can make that much easier than it sounds…

Simply take 30 seconds out of your day and give our free quote-finding form a whirl. In exchange for some details about your small business’ specific requirements, we’ll match you with the CRM suppliers that fit them. You’ll then receive quotes tailored to your preferences and team size.

And, if you have experience using any of the small business CRM software we’ve reviewed, let us know. We’re a user-focussed bunch here at Expert Market, and are always looking to add testimonials from small US businesses to our site.

If you use CRM and have something to say about it, let me know at Until then!

Frequently asked questions

What Does CRM Software Do for a Small Business?
Feeling clued up on the suppliers, but still not sure what a CRM system can do for you? Read on…

✔ Contact management

For most small businesses, making lasting connections with customers is high up on their list of priorities. But it’s not always easy – unless you have a CRM system, that is. Contact management helps you capture key contact information, and store notes on interactions to follow up later.

You’ll know exactly which members of your team are dealing with which customers, too, so there’s no treading on toes – and no deals slipping through your fingers.

✔ Sales management

Managing a sales team (and their egos) can be complicated, but CRM makes it easier. Sales management helps you keep track of team member activities – who’s selling the most, and why? A CRM helps you draw on analytics from day-to-day trading, and – crucially – use these to drive better, more motivated teams.

✔ Customer service management

All small businesses, at some stage, will have to deal with complaints. But do you have a system set up for handling them? If not, CRM can help. Customer service management lets you log customer issues, and take deep dives into any recurring problems.

Marketing and social media automation

But by now, you’re asking – what’s the point of having all that data, if you’re not going to use it? Well, don’t worry – with a CRM system, you can. CRM software lets you craft and deliver targeted bulk email marketing campaigns to your database.

Good CRM systems also work with social media. Save time by automating posts to your followers, and keep them engaged with relevant curated content. You can also integrate CRM software with social listening tools, allowing you to (quite literally) tap into what people online are saying about your brand and industry.

I'm In the Process of Setting Up My Own Small Business. Is CRM Right For Me?
Of course! CRM software isn't just for more established small businesses – it's an ideal way of managing key supplier and deal information, while nurturing a growing customer base.

Plus, you can get some (albeit heavily limited) CRM systems completely free, so won't have to worry about another overhead clogging up your expense sheet.

Up next: Compare CRM Software Costs 2022

And as a reminder, if you want to compare quotes from top suppliers, just complete our form with some details about your requirements. Hit one of the buttons below to get started, and enjoy your tailored, no-obligation quotes and advice – they’re on us.

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Written by:
Rob Binns
Rob Binns Services Expert

Rob writes mainly about the payments industry, but also brings to the table industry-specific knowledge of CRM software, business loans, fulfilment, and invoice finance. When not exasperating his editor with bad puns, he can be found relaxing in a sunny (socially-distanced) corner, with a beer and a battered copy of Dostoevsky.

Reviewed by:
James Macey Senior Business Software Researcher

James thinks all businesses can improve if they use the right technology. At Expert Market, he utilises his 4+ years experience as a researcher to offer specialised advice on a wide range of categories from CRM to Fleet Management.