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Top CRM Programs for Small Businesses (February 2023)


CRM (customer relationship management) software aids firms in boosting sales, fostering expansion, and offering remarkable customer experiences. There are various CRM platforms available, and each has a unique combination of features and advantages. We've put together a reference of the finest CRM software for small businesses on the market right now to make it easier for you to do your research.

We examined the best CRM systems available by evaluating each one's cost, features, and usability. We hope that this guide will assist you in identifying the best option for your team.

Advantages of a CRM

Utilizing CRM software has countless advantages. To begin with, it acts as a central hub for client data, makes that data available to other departments, tracks sales arranges analytical data, and promotes team cooperation.

How to Pick the Best CRM Program

The greatest CRM software may provide a significant return on investment. However, the search can be confusing due to the abundance of CRM platforms available. Follow these easy steps to identify the ideal CRM for your small business to help you avoid choice fatigue.

step 1: Know Your Objectives and Priorities

It is crucial to understand why you initially desire a CRM system. A CRM system will only benefit your company if you set clear objectives. Start with a business audit or gap analysis to help explain goals. Examine annual business performance reports to locate areas that require improvement and to create critical objectives with deadlines. Business objectives could include diversifying the company's product offerings, boosting sales, or improving customer service. Consider using a CRM system to assist you to achieve your business goals after you've identified them.

step 2: Determine the requirements of your team

It is crucial to determine precisely who will use the system and why. CRM software is typically used primarily by sales and marketing departments, but for the system to function well, every department needs to be included in the decision-making process. Find out each team member's demands and how they believe the software system could assist them in carrying out their responsibilities.

step 3: Determine Key Elements

It's bewildering how many CRM features and tools there are. Make a list of what you're looking for before starting your search to gain control of the issue. Make a list of "must-have" features to help you focus by whittling down your selections. Create the list by compiling the data obtained from team members, your company objectives, and schedule checkpoints. For instance, software with marketing automation, lead tracking, and data analysis can be on your must-have list if you want to use CRM for marketing.

Whatever your area of focus, be sure that strong data security and customer support features are on the list of absolute necessities. Two-factor authentication, encryption, and advanced user permissions are essential software security features. When issues or problems emerge, customer support tools like live chat and phone support will be essential.

step 4: Consider Various CRM Types

There is no one-size-fits-all CRM system, even though they all aim to help you improve relationships with your clientele (thus the name). Depending on the elements they emphasize, CRM solutions can differ greatly. There are three main categories of CRM:

* Collaborative. The primary goal of a collaborative CRM is to deliver a seamless customer experience across all corporate divisions. For larger businesses with separated marketing, sales, and customer support teams who need assistance exchanging real-time customer information, collaborative CRMs are fantastic.

* Operational. The customer relations process is streamlined by the operational CRM. It offers the most comprehensive CRM solution of the three. Sales force automation, marketing automation, and service automation are the three automation elements that operational CRMs commonly use. The automated responses assist in directing the customer's journey through the sales pipeline beginning with their initial engagement with your website.

* Analytical. Using digital platforms, it is simple to gather a lot of customer data. But if you don't have a mechanism to examine it, the data is useless. Data from your consumers are analyzed using analytical CRM, giving you a thorough understanding of their purchasing habits and patterns. This information can be used by business owners to create more intelligent marketing strategies and improve customer service.


step 5: Establish a Budget

The price of CRM software varies greatly depending on factors like user count, features, subscription base, and more. The cost per user each month ranges from $9 on the low end to $99 on the high end. Some businesses do provide free software downloads, but the features, users, and storage are severely constrained.

Setting a budget at the outset to use as search criteria is another strategy for narrowing down the abundance of businesses. Having a firm ceiling can help you rule out possibilities that are outside of your established spending limit.

step 6: Look at the Best CRM Platforms

Start researching the possibilities you have chosen once your search has been limited to a few. You can utilize a few crucial factors to decide whether a platform will be a good fit for your needs.

* user opinions. Read through the customer reviews of the program that is on your list. Pay attention to the advantages and disadvantages that the review lists. Compared to the company's website, this version of the software will be more truthful.

* via word of mouth. Inquire about the CRM system used by your coworkers and other business owners. Do they approve of it? If not, why not? Would they suggest it to a person in your field?

* trade periodicals. Trade publications and websites are excellent resources for knowledge on everything related to your sector. Spend a few hours looking for any trade journals that have mentioned CRM software.

* impartial software comparisons. Numerous trustworthy websites that are not connected to software firms score, contrast, and list items for customers. For your reference, we have published our list of the top CRM programs on one such website, Forbes Advisor.

Once you have focused your search on a single software source, try it out to make sure it functions properly for your business. Most CRM suppliers give their products a free, full-featured trial period. Utilize this to make sure the system satisfies your expectations and business objectives.


Forbes Advisor evaluated 39 different data factors from CRM businesses to determine the top CRMs for 2023. Each ranking was created by evaluating each competitor using the same set of characteristics while comparing products inside a certain category. Based on our criteria, the best CRM software earned the highest total scores.

The pricing features provided, and convenience of use were among the statistics we examined. We also took into account features like lead and project management, third-party integrations, analytics tools, email marketing, multicurrency support, and pipeline management. For pricing, we took into account the monthly cost per user for each premium plan. To verify whether user experience meets marketing claims, we also looked at consumer reviews.

2023 CRM Trends

The use of CRMs is essential in today's business environment, and a variety of CRM trends are spreading. Here are the top CRM trends we believe will emerge in 2023.

CRM functionality and sophistication are rising

Systems for managing customer relationships are always improving in complexity, functionality, and breadth. CRM software providers now provide upgrades to current features while also developing specialized solutions for a range of requirements. By making acquired data more valuable and usable, technological advances frequently alter how we use CRMs in the corporate world.

Machine intelligence

One of the technologies that have had the biggest impact on how consumer data is used is without a doubt artificial intelligence. The technology covers a wide range of topics, including language processing, machine learning, and predictive analytics. To improve both internal and external procedures and the consumer experience, businesses are implementing more and more AI technologies.

Predictive models (trigger events, customer behavior, project timelines, etc.), customer service (chatbots, self-service, sentiment analysis, etc.), and lead management are the main areas where we anticipate AI to flourish (customer preferences, nurturing schedules, upselling suggestions, etc.). AI has the power to both directly serve customers and offer business personnel better resources and advice for organizing and streamlining their job.

Only 12% of CRM software users in 2019 used AI solutions, according to research from Freshworks Inc., but 75% expressed interest in learning more about the potential of AI technology.

Growth of CRM in New Markets

CRM is not just for large businesses and specialized industries. Up until recently, the bulk of businesses using CRMs were big organizations in the distribution, real estate, insurance, and consultancy sectors. The importance of CRMs is now being recognized by more industries than ever before, and these sectors are looking for methods to incorporate these tools into everyday company processes. According to Stellaxius's research, the overall use of CRM increased by 18% between 2018 and 2019.

Small Business CRMs and Industry-Specific CRMs

CRM development that meets the specific requirements of different sectors has increased. Hospitality, finance, construction, and healthcare are a few examples of sectors that have historically profited little from CRM. Additionally, small business owners are starting to understand the benefits that CRMs may provide for customers and conversion rates. Even more sectors and companies of all sizes are anticipated to start utilizing CRMs in the future.

fewer obstacles to adoption

Adopting CRM technology into your company's routine operations is now simpler than ever. CRM businesses will continue to prioritize lowering the cost of, making CRMs simpler to use, and making CRMs simpler to implement. Businesses that have been reticent to incorporate CRM technology into their operations will be urged to do so.

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