CRM Software for Startups

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We all know that the key to building a successful company is the customer. It is essential for any startup to keep in mind their clients and customers and provide them with an outstanding service. This is especially important in the software industry. But, most of the time, it’s not so easy to remember and keep track of everything with so many customers and so many tasks involved. Finding a good CRM software for startups can be a great solution for this problem.

Why Your Business Needs A CRM Software đź’Ż

CRM is a vital part of any business and its success. CRM software will allow you to maintain those relationships with customers, develop and make them stronger.

A CRM tool will ensure that all your customers’ relationship history and customer records are kept safe and easily accessible.

This helps your startup or small business to predict what a customer may need in the future based on what they have required in the past.

👉🏼 Ultimately, having an effective CRM tool will help you and your sales team to generate more new business.

The easier it is for you to communicate with the customer and vice versa, the more satisfied that customer will be and the more likely it is for them to refer you to other potential customers.

What CRM Features Do You Need? đź‘Ź

Your CRM platform should have the following features for efficient customer transactions.

Automation

Automation is the key feature in making you and your customer interactions easier. Find software that allows for setting up custom rules and that comes with sales automation features.

With automation, you can ensure that:

  • Customer queries are followed up on
  • Completed work is noted and management is notified
  • Sales communications are kept track of
  • Completed lead generation forms from customers for your business are sent to the correct departments for perusal.

Customization

Your business needs are specific and different from those of your competitors. Therefore, you need a CRM tool that allows room for those specifics.

When you customize the features in your software, you allow for more accurate sales analytics to be recorded and this can help your business have a clear idea of its revenue goals.

Customization also allows for an easier UI which makes workflow easier.

Integrations

There are many ways of including integration and third-party integration in your CRM tool.

  • Email Integration

One of the popular integrations is through email services. Using email automation with your platform will help with customer communications.

The responses from customers through newsletters and email campaigns help sales reps identify which customers are likely to convert and act accordingly.

Email integration also allows for targeted campaigns towards customers. Campaigns will use the updated CRM data to fit the exact needs of a specific customer.

  • Calendar Integration

Having a calendar integration in your CRM tool is beneficial for you and your employees.

Where the CRM tool manages all the customer appointments and other scheduled events, an integrated calendar will assist your employees and you in planning daily activities without having to switch between platforms.

  • Kanban Integration

Kanban boards help with organizing tasks and make it easier to navigate completed tasks and unfinished tasks.

The best CRM for Startups 

Close

Benefits:

  • Startup-friendly CRM provides pipeline view, voice call (including call recording), SMS, reporting, and email marketing features (including custom email sequencing) in one place
  • Pre-recorded voicemail offers a time-saving feature for sales reps, and a predictive dialing feature allows reps to auto-dial multiple numbers to improve sales agent productivity
  • Many useful integrations with other platforms, including Mailchimp, Slack, Zendesk, Google Sheets, Facebook, and Zapier

Drawbacks:

  • Bulk data importing of CSV files will often produce duplicate leads, requiring you to do some manual clean-up

Pricing:

  • Start plan is $29.75 per user/per month billed annually, and $35 per user/per month billed monthly
  • Basic plan is $55.25 per user/per month billed annually, and $65 per user/per month billed monthly
  • Professional plan is $80.75 per user/per month billed annually, and $95 per user/per month billed monthly
  • Business plan is $123.75 per user/per month billed annually, and $145 per user/per month billed monthly

A full-featured 14-day free trial is available. 

Website: close.com

Agile CRM

Benefits:

  • Agile CRM offers a free, full-featured sales CRM for up to 10 users, which is explicitly targeted at startups
  • The platform integrates contact management, marketing automation, real-time alerts, and VoIP telephony, social suite, and email and web tracking
  • Stick your appointment calendar online and Agile CRM will automate all your upcoming voice calls and follow-ups
  • Easily attach documents to deals, companies, contacts, and emails in-app. 

Drawbacks:

  • Price increases dramatically as you upgrade between versions; may cause problems as your company scales
  • Not that many customization options

Pricing:

  • Free version is available for up to 10 users.
  • Starter version is $8.99 per user/per month (billed every two years)
  • Regular version is $29.99 per user/per month (billed every two years)
  • Enterprise version is $47.99 per user/per month (billed every two years)
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There are no free trials available for paid plans.

Website: agilecrm.com

HubSpot CRM

Benefits:

  • Manages workflows for improved project management; you’ll be able to effectively assign and track leads, keep an eye on the sales process, and record customer interactions across channels
  • HubSpot for Startups program offers discounts of up to 90% for eligible startup ventures, with tailored training and support for startup-friendly on-boarding
  • Works with both G Suite and Microsoft Office, so whichever platform your business favors, it runs without headaches
  • Zapier integration makes it easy to share information across apps (Google Sheets, Slack, Facebook Lead Ads, etc.) to extend features and help your company’s growing operations 
  • HubSpot CRM is free, so you can get started without overhead, while paid add-on packages for HubSpot pile on features like reporting, AI, and advanced automation

Drawbacks:

  • Customization options are limited, which could be an issue for very niche startups
  • The basic, no-cost CRM’s features are many, but basic, and you may eventually need to buy Sales Hub or one of HubSpot’s other add-on packages to boost the CRM’s capabilities

Pricing:

  • HubSpot CRM is free, and the number of users is unlimited
  • Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, and Service Hub add-on packages are $50 each per user/per month, billed monthly
  • HubSpot CMS starts at $300 per month, billed monthly
  • All-inclusive Starter Growth Suite starts at $113 per user/per month, billed monthly

There are no free trials for the add-on packages.

Website: hubspot.com

Copper

Benefits:

  • Copper provides startup-friendly features like automated data entry, smart identification, lead and customer tracking, plus optimization of sales contacts and opportunities 
  • Integrates natively with G Suite, meaning data import is seamless from Gmail and other Google tools you (probably) use every day
  • Improves management of teams and workflows with weekly pipeline progression reports using drag-and-drop functionality, custom filters, and alerts when deals might be going stale
  • Provides an eye-pleasing sales pipeline for easy tracking and managing of leads through the qualification process

Drawbacks:

  • There is a bit of a learning curve, so be forewarned you’ll need to set aside some time to meaningfully implement it at your startup
  • There can be issues with importing data from Excel, meaning you’ll be required to manually enter information into Copper

Pricing:

  • Basic plan is $19 per user/per month, billed annually
  • Professional plan is $49 per user/per month, billed annually
  • Business plan is $119 per user/per month, billed annually

Copper offers a 14-day free trial for all plans.

Website: copper.com

Zoho CRM

Benefits:

  • Zoho CRM is easy-to-use with simple user interface targeted at startups and small businesses, including customizable modules, automation, and social media features
  • Allows you to define your workflows and rationalize everyday tasks, as well as manage leads
  • Data porting features allow you to quickly migrate your data from spreadsheets and contact management software to the Zoho platform, making implementation pretty straightforward
  • Integrates with Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ for reaching out and engaging with leads quick and snappy, at just the right time
  • There’s a free CRM for up to three users—great news for super-lean startups, although (as one might expect) it is somewhat limited features-wise, with less customizability and no mass emailing feature

Drawbacks:

  • Zoho lacks individual email tracking and individual lead notifications, which can be limiting if you rely heavily on one-on-one engagement
  • Add-on modules are priced on top of the existing CRM product you purchase, so costs can add up when you want to expand your use of the platform

Pricing:

  • Free version is available for up to three users and is targeted at home businesses
  • Standard version is $12 per user/per month, billed annually
  • Enterprise version is $35 per user/per month, billed annually

A free trial is available for the Standard and Enterprise versions.

Website: zoho.com/crm

SugarCRM

Benefits:

  • Provides a comprehensive CRM solution covering marketing, sales, and customer service, with an emphasis on cross-team sharing of relevant and useful intel
  • Lets you map customer journeys to get your messaging right, and automate complex business processes like lead routing quote review and approval with drag-and-drop flowchart
  • Vendor customer support is attentive, which is a major plus for startups who need quick answers and issue resolution times; on top of that, there’s a large user community surrounding SugarCRM, so you can talk shop with other startups

Drawbacks:

  • You have to have at least 10 people on your team to use SugarCRM, so it might not be appropriate for very small startups 
  • SugarCRM app’s roots are in the open-source, developer community, so there’s a moderate learning curve, meaning you’ll need to take time out to learn the platform

Pricing:

  • Sugar Professional plan is $40 per user/per month (10 user minimum), billed annually. 
  • Sugar Enterprise plan is $65 per user/per month (10 user minimum), billed annually 
  • Sugar Serve plan is $80 per user/per month (10 user minimum), billed annually
  • Sugar Sell plan is $80 per user/per month (10 user minimum), billed annually
  • Sugar Market plan is $1,000 (unlimited users, 10,000 contacts per month), billed annually
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A free trial is available for all plans. After answering a few questions on the vendor website, you’ll be assigned the version of SugarCRM that best matches your business needs.  

Website: sugarcrm.com

Bitrix24

Benefits:

  • Bitrix24 is a well-rounded, comprehensive CRM that handles sales management and marketing campaigns, and helps your team collaborate effectively
  • Allows you to create unlimited work and user groups, set up an HR help desk, and centralize the storage of documents in-app
  • Bitrix24 offers a free version for up to 12 users with 5 GB of storage, targeted specifically at startups, with HR, task, lead, contact, and project management tools (it’s actually the most popular free CRM in the world)

Drawbacks:

  • UI is also somewhat “maximalist,” which can hinder app navigation
  • Learning curve and app customization/configurability limitations might be problematic for some startups

Pricing:

  • Free starter business tool suite for up to 12 users
  • Start+ plan for up to 2 users is $19 per month billed annually, and $24 per month billed monthly
  • CRM+ plan for up to 6 users is $55.20 per month billed annually, and $69 per month billed monthly
  • Project+ plan for up to 24 users is $55.20 per month billed annually, and $69 per month billed monthly
  • Standard plan for up to 50 users is $79.20 per month billed annually, and $99 per month billed monthly
  • Professional plan for unlimited users is $159.20 per month billed annually, and $199 per month billed monthly

The prices above are for the cloud-based version; On-premise solutions are also available. There are no free trials for paid plans. 

Website: bitrix24.com

Pipedrive

Benefits:

  • Flexible and results-oriented CRM designed to help startups get organized
  • Construct multiple sales pipelines with customizable, unique stages appropriate to a specific product/service’s context
  • Reminders, notifications, and follow-up alerts automatically keep your head at where it needs to be
  • Customize data fields and workflow for your distinct business processes
  • Low learning curve speeds pace of implementation

Drawbacks:

  • Pipedrive does not include an internal emailing platform, so you’ll have to use the app’s Mailchimp integration
  • Pipedrive Dealbot integrates with Slack, giving you a heads up in both apps when a deal is identified, won, or lost, but the notification often gets lost in the average high-activity Slack chat

Pricing:

  • The Essential plan is $12.50 per user/per month billed annually, and $15 billed monthly
  • The Advanced plan is $24.90 per user/per month billed annually, and $29 billed monthly
  • The Professional plan is $49.90 per user/per month billed annually and $59 billed monthly
  • The Enterprise plan is $99 per user/per month, billed annually

A 14-day free trial is available for the Essential, Advanced, and Professional plans.

Website: pipedrive.com

Streak

Benefits:

  • Built directly into Gmail, where you probably do most of your work already; Streak has desktop and mobile apps with all the G Suite integrations included, so you can access your work inbox and other tools you need at all times (just download the Google Chrome extension and/or the mobile app and you’re good to go)
  • Email integration automatically captures data from your contacts and emails and notifies you as leads progress through each stage of your pipeline
  • Keep in-app notes, centralize record-keeping, utilize data tracking on your contact correspondence, and find out if leads have or haven’t opened your emails

Drawbacks:

  • Streak runs as a Chrome Extension, so if you change devices you’ll have to download and install it again
  • Paid versions are priced at a level equivalent to more full-featured CRMs, which might be a dealbreaker for some

Pricing:

  • Personal version for individual use is free
  • Professional plan is $49 per user/per month, billed annually
  • Enterprise plan is $129 per user/per month, billed annually

The Professional plan is available as a 14-day free trial.

Website: streak.com

Nimble

Benefits:

  • Simple CRM for startups that integrates sales optimization, contact management, cross-channel recording of communications, deal and task management, and more
  • Centralizes data storage easily; for example, you can instantly auto-sync all your contacts just by entering your email address
  • Nimble is known for its social media-centric features like social search and powerful tools for market segmentation
  • Integrates with Office 365 and G Suite, so you can quickly import and organize contacts from the platform you’re already using

Drawbacks:

  • Many users say that Nimble’s Android app isn’t up to par with its iOS app
  • Nimble does not offer bulk message deletion; instead, it needs to be done one page at a time, which can be a bit frustrating if you’re really trying to clean house
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Pricing:

  • Contact edition is $12 per user/per month, billed monthly.
  • Business edition is $25 per user/per month, billed monthly.

A 14-day free trial of the full-featured Business edition is available; no credit card required. There are discounts for annual rates.

Website: nimble.com

Less Annoying CRM

Benefits:

  • Affordable, startup-ready CRM with pipeline management, lead tracking, collaboration, and follow-up notifications
  • Standard ‘workspace’ view provides activity view, showing the number of contacts at each step of your customer journey, plus an overview of the day’s scheduled events, like meetings, as well as tasks; these tasks can be checked off like items on a to-do list, ultimately increasing efficiency
  • Provides effective sales force automation
  • Many vendor-designed integrations with apps including Mailchimp, Google Calendar, and Google Contacts (third-party integrations are available for many, many others)

Drawbacks:

  • 50,000 contacts is the maximum you can input into the CRM before it starts lagging
  • App notifications are sent via SMS or email, rather than in-app, which can lead to confusion sometimes

Pricing:

  • $10 per user/per month, billed monthly. 

LACRM offers a risk-free, 30-day free trial for its only pricing plan.

Website: lessannoyingcrm.com

Insightly

Benefits:

  • Streamlined, user-friendly CRM platform for tracking contacts, communications, projects, sales and documents in a single interface
  • Provides customization options for structuring and accessing customer data, including customized data capture, display, and validation; users can also create their own specialized fields to add unique information, such as customer types, subscriptions, contract renewal dates and billing ID numbers
  • Smooth pipeline integration between CRM features, like managing contacts and customer data, tracking opportunities (aka sales leads)
  • Insightly sidebar runs as a handy Chrome extension, letting you save Gmail messages directly to your CRM so you can easily cross-reference contact information

Drawbacks:

  • Two-way sync for Google Calendar can be a bit wonky at times, with events not displaying for other team members 
  • Custom fields for contacts are capped at 25

Pricing:

  • “No-frills” plan is free for up to two users
  • Plus plan is $29 per user/per month, billed annually
  • Professional plan is $49 per user/per month, billed annually
  • Enterprise plan is $99 per user/per month, billed annually

A 14-day free trial is available for the Plus and Professional plans. 

Website: insightly.com

Nextiva

Benefits:

  • VoIP-centric, full-stack business suite with CRM platform for marketing, sales, and customer support
  • Stabilize your startup and rationalize daily operations with centralized data, detailed information on sales activity, and more
  • Designed with customer-facing roles first-and-foremost, with chat, telephony, analytics, and surveys in one place

Drawbacks:

  • Implementation can be time-consuming

Pricing:

  • Basic plan is $35 per user/per month for 1-4 users, billed monthly
  • Pro plan is $38 per user/per month for 1-4 users, billed monthly
  • Enterprise plan is $55 per user/per month for 1-4 users, billed monthly
  • Contract plans are available for 12, 24, or 36 months

No free trial is available. Contracting pricing is variable; price per user decreases with the length of contract and size of the organization. 

Website: nextiva.com/features/crm

Freshsales

Benefits:

  • It’s easy to get up-and-running with critical startup features like lead management, email management, and pipeline management 
  • Lead capture lets you grab leads from emails automatically, and you can also sort out your own lead scoring criteria to better keep track of who’s who and who’s most likely to convert (it’s possible to set custom organizational parameters too)
  • There’s a “free forever startup plan” limited to 10 users and 10,000 records (aka leads, contacts, accounts, and deals); it’s a bit hidden, however (you’ll have to sign up for a 21-day free trial, which gives you the full-stack version of the software; at the end of the period, you’ll be asked if you’d like to commit to one of four paid plans or continue with the free, no-frills version)    

Drawbacks:

  • Once you start to expand your use of Freshsales and access more complex features, there is a significant learning curve
  • Sorting and filtering tasks is less intuitive than it could be

Pricing:

  • Blossom plan for small teams is $12 per user/per month, billed annually
  • Garden plan for growing teams is $25 per user/per month, billed annually
  • Estate plan for large teams is $49 per user/per month, billed annually
  • Forest plan for enterprises is $79 per user/per month, billed annually

A 21-day free trial is available for all Freshsales plans.

Website: freshworks.com/freshsales-crm

COnclusion

So you’re looking for CRM software for your startup. You know that you need it to track your leads, manage your contacts, remind you of important tasks and even manage your opportunities . But which CRM is the best for startups? Larger companies might not need every feature that companies like Hubspot or Waicorp offer, but they come with a hefty price tag. On the other hand, you don’t want to cheap out on something that I consider the lifeblood of every business.

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