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Small business CRMs – the best free and paid-for tools

As one of the world’s biggest software markets, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) technology has transformed the way that businesses communicate with their customers.

Utilised by an estimated 91% of businesses (with 10+ employees), CRM systems allow companies to combine a number of key functions including, sales, marketing and customer service. This in turn helps to improve efficiencies, customer retention and business growth.

The impact that this technology can have on businesses of all sizes makes it a vital piece of technology to implement. However, affordability of CRMs will play a huge role in the decision-making process for small businesses in particular. Despite this, there are plenty of options out there that will provide a cost-effective yet highly functional solution to your CRM requirements.

To help make this decision easier, we’ve compiled a list of some of the top free and paid-for CRMs on the market currently:



The perfect solution for start-up businesses looking for a highly cost-effective CRM; HubSpot offers an entirely free plan which gives you vast lead nurturing capabilities, so that your sales and marketing efforts can be organised and actioned effectively.

HubSpot will particularly suit the requirements of small businesses with no prior experience of using a CRM, as it is easy to use and comes with a huge library of resources to support you.


Praised for its flexibility and ease of use, Freshsales’ ‘free forever’ Sprout package offers seamless integration with some leading apps, including Zapier, MailChimp and Google Apps. This allows you to effectively manage your data, customer support function, email marketing, accounts and more; all from one central location. Furthermore, with unlimited user access for the free version, Freshsales will grow alongside your team.

Whilst features are relatively limited compared to other plans that the platform offers, for those just getting started in the world of CRMs, this could be the ideal option.



Boasting over 45 million users, Zoho provides a comprehensive range of integrations with its own and third-party applications. This allows small businesses to completely customise the system to meet their specific requirements.

Its easy-to-use functionality, not to mention the support of the platform’s very own AI-powered assistant, means that even the least technically-minded amongst us will be able to navigate Zoho. In terms of cost, it is highly accessible for small businesses, at just £10 per user, per month for its standard package (billed annually).

Sales Force

Arguably one of the most well-known CRM systems on our list, Salesforce also offers businesses some really impressive capabilities. Often misconstrued as a CRM for larger businesses, in reality Salesforce offers solutions for companies of all sizes, including a dedicated small business package.

Salesforce can be up and running in just a few minutes. As with the majority of CRMs on our list, its cloud-based technology means that it will easily scale up or down in line with your business needs. Access to this popular CRM will cost you £20 per user, per month (billed annually).

The CRMs we have discussed are just a small selection of a much wider variety of systems open to small businesses, all of which will provide a cost-effective (or free) solution to effectively managing your sales pipeline and customer relationships.

Which CRM software do you use? What has worked well for your business? We’d love to hear your thoughts on Twitter, get in touch with us today.

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