The 6 best CRM software in 2021

The best CRM software in 2021

Learn about the best CRM software for lead management and workflow automation.

What is CRM software?

Customer relationship management software, Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) is a process that manages customer relations in your business, according to the most basic definition.

However, it can also represent a mindset, an approach, or a software solution.

CRM software was created to make customer management more accessible and less time-consuming.

It crms assists businesses in tracking and managing customer interactions and recording interactions between a company, its prospects, and existing customers.

CRM Software benefits

CRM software consolidates all customer data in one location, allowing businesses to drive growth and profits.

Amongst other things, what is a crm system it makes it significantly easier for businesses to:

Increase efficiency: Having all of your business data in one location allows for better workflow, easier team collaboration, and better project management.

Increase transparency: Everyone in your organization gains visibility into your business processes, resulting in greater clarity and better teamwork.

Retain customers: By relying on a single source of truth, everyone can work with greater confidence, resulting in better long-term customer relationships.

Increase your sales –

Streamlining the sales process, creating a pipeline, automating tasks, and analyzing sales data will increase sales and sales productivity.

The best CRM software solutions combine with almost all aspects of your business, enabling you to track customer relations, streamline rules, and increase sales.

A CRM tool will serve as a central repository for storing customer or prospective contact information. It will track multiple sales pipelines, optimize workflow management, log customer communications, and analyze sales and marketing performance.

Crm best software, for example, allows a salesperson to scan a prospect’s business card, create a follow-up task, send an email campaign, log a phone call, close a deal, view recent social media posts, and track the status of the project all within the same software solution.

This article will dissect the key features and benefits of CRM software and outline the best solutions available on the market for all business types. If you’re looking for small-business CRMs, look no further.

What to Think About When Buying CRM Software

What is CRM?

Many businesses use a customer relationship management (CRM) system to nurture and monetize relationships with prospects, customers, and partners.

Initially, a spreadsheet can suffice, but investing in a CRM solution can boost productivity and help close more deals as a business grows.

The focus of each best CRM software solution varies, ranging from project management tools to marketing automation to lead generation, so look for specifications that meet your needs.

To support you make a decision, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions about CRM software below.

CRM software assists you in managing relationships with business prospects, closing deals, and increasing the productivity of internal resources.

It enables you to do the following in practice:

Save information about your contacts, such as names, job titles, emails, and phone numbers.

Assign and track workflow tasks such as sending follow-up emails, writing business proposals, and tracking invoices to sales teams.

Analyze and improve sales and marketing activities by creating custom reports, forecasting future revenue, and anticipating sales bottlenecks.

CRM software provides you with tools to help you win new business.

 Email templates, Automatic workflows, and campaigns, and performance reporting are examples of these.

Without a CRM solution, you’d have to do a lot of manual work to store, track, and interact with contacts, and your sales pipeline would be slower because there would be no automation or reminders.

Many CRM solutions can integrate with Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, Slack, Mailchimp, and business intelligence programs such as Microsoft Power BI.

Most CRM providers allow imports from spreadsheets or contact apps like Google Contacts, making it easy to populate your CRM database with customer data from other sources.

How much does CRM software cost?

CRM software is typically priced as a monthly or yearly subscription, with feature complexity varying between plans.

Unless otherwise stated, the quoted price is usually per user.

Many vendors provide an unlimited number of free tiers, while paid plans progress from Starter to Professional to Enterprise in terms of functionality.

Add-ons, such as phone credits, premium support, or access to automated marketing tools, can sometimes be purchased separately.

The first paid tier in best CRM software, which generally works well for small businesses, typically ranges from $8 to $29 per month, charged yearly.

Mid-tier plans are priced for growing businesses and range from $20 to $75 per month.

Compared, Zoho CRM offers a competitive set of features in its $23 monthly Professional plan.

Finally, the Enterprise or higher tiers are more expensive, offering more customization options and a higher level of support: the price ranges from $40 to $150 per month, with HubSpot’s full CRM suite reaching a whopping $4,000 per month.

1. Freshworks

The best CRM software in 2021

Freshworks – Ideal for small businesses

If you value convenience over customization, this is the product for you.


  • Price: $15 per user per month
  • Yes, the plan is free.
  • 21-day trial
  • Phone and email support are available (Mon-Fri)
  • Purchase Motives +Intuitive, user-friendly interface+
  • Strong sales capabilities, including a built-in phone

Reasons to stay away.

  • -There is no business card scanning tool. -There is no internet-scraping lead generation feature.

Freshworks CRM is best suited for small to medium-sized businesses that value ease of use over advanced customization.

Its desktop and mobile interfaces are incredibly user-friendly, with quick access to contact records and communications and drag-and-drop Kanban-style provisions for sales pipeline management.

If you give it enough historical data to work with, Freddy AI, its intelligent assistant tool, can also help advise which deals to close and how.

Its primary focus is on increasing sales team productivity and closing deals.

You can integrate your email client into the software, including Microsoft Outlook and Gmail, allowing you to generate email templates, send bulk emails to prospects, including log incoming and outgoing messages.

In addition, there is a built-in calling tool with a recording feature that automatically updates customer communication records. In terms of lead generation tools, business card scanners, Freshworks CRM is limited.

However, it includes customizable web forms that collect lead data from your website and automatically assign sales leads.

Please read our full Freshworks review; Freshsales CRM reviews to learn more about the sales-focused CRM; Freshdesk CRM review to learn about its customer engagement CRM; Freshmarketer CRM reviews to learn about the marketing CRM component Freshservice review to learn about its IT support CRM.

2. Insightly

The best CRM software in 2021

Insightly is the best tool for project management.

  • At its core, sales productivity


  • Price: Starting at $29 per user/month.
  • Yes, the plan is free.
  • 14-day trial
  • Email and phone support are available (at additional cost)
  • Reasons to purchase +Integrated project management tools+
  • An easy-to-use interface
  • Over 250 app integrations are available.
  • Reasons to avoid -No live support options included with plans.
  • -The built-in telephony feature is an extra cost.

Because you can customise contact data fields, sales funnel stages, and more, Insightly is an excellent CRM system for managing complex sales pipelines.

Workflow automation, such as scheduling emails when sales stages change, can save a lot of time and refocus team efforts on relationship nurturing.

Another advantage is its integration capabilities: contact sheets can integrate social media posts, and communications can be drawn from Mailchimp, Microsoft Outlook, and other programmes.

Insightly’s reporting function can also work with Microsoft Power BI to create advanced custom dashboards and reports, allowing you to measure and plan your sales productivity.

However, lead generation features are limited: while Insightly has a business card scanner, it cannot scrape the internet for new leads.

You also don’t get much help: Insightly’s plans only include email and knowledge base support, and phone assistance is an extra cost.

3. Salesforce

The best CRM software in 2021

Salesforce is a global CRM leader, offering advanced, customizable functionality, a user-friendly design, and exceptional reporting tools.

Salesforce Sales Cloud is the central CRM core, which can be integrated with Marketing Cloud for email automation or Einstein Analytics for AI-powered business intelligence, among other things.

While the lower Sales Cloud tiers are similar to those offered by Zoho CRM or Apptivo, the Enterprise features justify the higher prices.

Enterprise plans and above include excellent reporting and prediction, app development, full sandbox, sophisticated method automation, and external system integrations through web services APIs, in addition to pipeline management, call and email logs and customizable contact management.

Salesforce Sales Cloud is simple to use and focuses on getting leads through the door, but you can customize a significant portion of your interface to meet the needs of your team, from dashboards to reports and contact forms.

Large organizations’ app development and sandbox features can help make teams even more productive by customizing permissions and customer verticals, workflows across territories, and sales funnel stages.

  • Salesforce is best suited for medium-sized and enterprise-level businesses.
  • For good reason, the market leader


  • Price: Starting at $25 per user per month.
  • There is no free plan.
  • Trial period of 30 days
  • Email ticketing and phone support are available.
  • Reasons to purchase +All-in-one functionality+Advanced customization.
  • Reasons to avoid: -Priced higher than the competitors-No free plan.

4. Zoho

The best CRM software in 2021

Zoho – A best all-around toolkit

If you’re a member of the Zoho ecosystem, this is an excellent option.


  • Price: Starting at $14 per user per month.
  • Yes, the plan is free.
  • Could you email us for assistance (Mon-Fri)?
  • +Integration with the Zoho suite+
  • Lead generation via social media plus
  • Workflow automation and customization
  • Avoidance factors include a steep learning curve and limited customer support.

We believe Zoho CRM would be a good fit for most people looking for a sales management solution.

It excels at all fundamentals, including contact and pipeline management, communications tracking, workflow automation, and reporting.

However, its added value comes from its ability to integrate with other apps in the Zoho sales, marketing, and project management suites, such as Zoho Invoice and Zoho Campaigns, which can input valuable prospect data into your pipeline.

Furthermore, Zoho CRM can scrape the contact information from social media and scan business cards, making it an effective lead generation system.

The product is highly customizable in use: you can add fields to contact records, create lead assignment rules, and even personalize the look and feel of your CRM interface to maximize internal usage.

Reporting and analytics features, such as customizable performance reports and visualization tools, are also vital. 

5. HubSpot

HubSpot – The best option for free functionality.

If you’re new to CRM tools, this is a great place to start.


  • Price: Starting at $45 per month for two users.
  • Yes, the plan is free.
  • Support by phone, live chat, and online meetings.
  • Reasons to buy +Strong free CRM core+Website marketing integrations, including ad management.
  • Reasons to stay away.
  • -On non-enterprise plans, reporting contacts are limited to 2,000. -Reporting functionality is limited.

While many CRM providers provide free plans, none are as functional as HubSpot CRM’s. Contact management, deal pipeline, call and email logs, and integrations with apps such as Slack and Gmail are all covered.

The core CRM is enhanced with features from HubSpot’s Marketing, Sales, and Service Hubs on paid plans. You can generate chatbots, pop-up forms, and ad retargeting on your website using the marketing functionality andte and track email campaigns.

To help focus your team’s efforts, premium sales features include deal assignment automation, customizable reports, and intelligent lead scoring.

The most significant limitation is that the number of contacts you can market to (via bulk emails or ads, for example) is limited to 2,000 on all plans except Enterprise, which has a limit of 10,000.

You can, however, store and track up to 1 million prospects. While desirable, HubSpot’s integrated sales and marketing functionality come at a high cost. A mid-tier plan that includes sales, marketing, and service hubs can cost up to $1,275 per month.

6. Apptivo

Apptivo – The best app for deal management.

  • Excellent value for money


  • Price: $8 per user/month
  • Yes, the plan is free.
  • Available via live chat, email, or phone.
  • (On the Ultimate plan, this is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.)
  • Reasons to purchase +Client management tools like invoicing+
  • Excellent value for money
  • Avoidance Reasons: -Difficulty navigating Apptivo native apps-Occasional bugs

Apptivo offers a comprehensive set of features, including all standard CRM must-haves, such as pipeline management, email logs, mass emails, sales team assignment, and reporting.

However, the post-deal functionality, which can generate timesheets, track invoices, and even store account-related files, is its selling point.

Apptivo’s Ultimate plan includes up to 10GB of storage per user, allowing you to collaborate on client proposals, project plans, and other internal collateral.

It’s worth noting that two-factor authentication isn’t available on the Starter and Lite plans, which could jeopardize sensitive data.

The user interface is similar to Google Workspace, with native apps performing various functions. For example, the Opportunities app streamlines the sales pipeline, while the Sales Planning app displays team productivity reports.

With 10 native apps and numerous third-party integrations, including Microsoft 365 and Xero, navigating Apptivo can be difficult at first.

Luckily, emails and live chat are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and phone support is available is 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

How We review CRM Software

When review CRM software, we consider feature set, interface and ease of use, plans and pricing, and support options.

A high level of automation in managing leads, deals, and workflow is one feature that could contribute to a high score.

Another significant advantage would be a desktop and mobile interface that allows quick and easy access to basic features.

We examine pricing plans and competitors to determine whether higher subscription prices are justified by features not available elsewhere in the market or whether a good deal can benefit those on a tighter budget.

Generous customer support is also prioritized, particularly for CRM software, which may have a steep learning curve.

More on CRM software

Do you need to learn more about CRM software?

We’ve also explained what a CRM in real estate is, discussed five reasons you need a small business CRM, seven changes to a CRM for business that drive customer growth and ranked the best CRM for real estate and the best free CRM software. 


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