Our CRM software picks for 2022

By: RAECHEL CONOVER | Fact Checked By: JAMIE OSTROE | Updated: November 10, 2022

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In today’s digital age, there are numerous ways your customers are getting contacted daily by multiple sources, leaving you a tiny window of opportunity to reach them. A customer relationship management (CRM) system will streamline your company communications, and help you make the most out of your time with your contacts. Our detailed guide will help you identify the best CRM software for your company.


Our Top Picks

  1. Freshsales – Best CRM Software for Small Businesses
  2. Salesforce Sales Cloud – Best CRM Software for Nonprofits and Healthcare Industry
  3. Pipedrive – Best CRM Sales Software
  4. Zoho CRM – Best for Remote and Hybrid Teams
  5. HubSpot CRM – Best Free CRM Software

CRM Software Reviews

All the CRM software companies we review in our list are well-known in their industry and offer a range of desired features that help businesses manage their customer contact and data across multiple channels. We started with a long list of 85 vendors and narrowed it down to the five best CRM software offerings based on key features, reputation, customer service, and pricing. Read our full methodology for more information about how we selected these top five picks.

freshsales logo

Freshsales – Best CRM Software for Small Businesses

Freshsales is an engaging CRM focused on helping small to mid-size businesses accelerate revenue and context-driven sales. Utilizing personalized engagement, it helps companies improve client interactions, deepen customer relationships, streamline lead management, shorten the sales cycle, and grow business at an affordable rate small and mid-sized businesses can afford.

Freshsales offers rich features and many customizations even in its lower-priced plans. You’ll get automation, several contact management views, robust reporting, and extras like AI-powered chatbots that engage customers on your website in real time and lead them to customized forms that capture the exact information you need.

In user reviews, Freshsales customer support is highly rated, with all users finding it professional, fast, and helpful. Some reviewers said that even though it’s not as flashy as some of the more prominent names in the category, it has all the CRM features they need at a reasonable price point.

Pros
  • Free version available
  • Engages costumes on multiple channels
  • Many customizations
Cons
  • Plans limited to 1,000 marketing emails/mo
  • Fewer bells and whistles than other options

Freshsales features

  • Customization – Customizations begin at the free level, and users can expect the ability to set unique sale activities for your team to track, create custom fields, and create custom roles and permissions for your team. It also offers multi-currency and multi-language.
  • Customer management – Freshsales tracks detailed customer information and logs activity. Each customer is broken down into a detailed section and highlight reel to help reps get the information they need quickly.
  • Workflow automation – Many automations are available. Create sequences, web forms, and auto-assign leads as they come in. Automate workflows, emails, and contact chats.
  • Integrations – Freshsales has a marketplace of integrations that include popular tools like QuickBooks, DocuSign, Zapier, and PandaDoc. It also gives API access for further integration.
  • Reporting – Choose from pre-built reporting or custom created by you.

What markets does Freshsales serve?

Freshsales is the best CRM software for small to mid-size businesses. With its low-price points and robust client-facing features, it’s useful to help small sales teams increase sales and revenue, shorten the sales cycle, and manage their leads.

salesforce logo

Salesforce Sales Cloud – Best CRM Software for Nonprofits and Healthcare Industry

Salesforce Sales Cloud is one of the most popular names in the CRM industry. It is an AI-powered software with automation that scales to elevate every rep while providing intelligent insights to accelerate deals. It utilizes real-time data across all channels to help you access customers faster and more efficiently.

This service is tailored to several specific industries including to nonprofits through Salesforce.org the healthcare industry with its innovative Health Cloud.

Salesforce Sales Cloud offers several key features, add-on options, four pricing options, and two customer service plans. Users find Salesforce Sales Cloud to be an extremely agile CRM software that allows them to track and plan all customer activity.

Pros
  • Lead and opportunity management included
  • Easy to automate and save time
  • Many add-ons to choose from
Cons
  • Higher-level customer support costs extra
  • Annual contract required

Salesforce Sales Cloud features

  • Customization – Salesforce Sales Cloud allows companies to customize their sales process, paths, milestones, report configurations, dashboards, user profiles, page layouts, custom fields, and other key data points within the platform.
  • Customer management – Companies can track all customer information and activity across channels and easily manage leads and opportunities.
  • Workflow automation – Salesforce Sales Cloud uses a visual workflow with drag-and-drop simplicity to automate processes easily and save you time.
  • Integrations – Third-party integrations include Gmail, Outlook, and Google apps. Beyond that, if you don’t have built-in integrations, you need to purchase a license for MuleSoft, work with their integration partners, and use apps on AppExchange.
  • Reporting – Real-time, customizable reports and dashboards are available on all payment plans. Advanced reporting like cross filters, joined reports, bucketing, and history tracking are available on the two higher-priced plans.

What markets does Salesforce Sales Cloud serve?

Salesforce Sales Cloud is designed for mid-size to enterprise businesses and provides features that appeal to many industries. It is one of the best CRM software for healthcare industry with its specific Health Cloud that creates a scalable customer-first health experience and provides process automation specific to the healthcare industry. It also has a specific offering for nonprofits that encompasses fundraising, marketing, engagement, program management, grantmaking, and operations. This can be found at Salesforce.org.

pipedrive logo

Pipedrive – Best CRM Sales Software

Designed specifically for sales teams, Pipedrive is one of the best sales CRM software today. It offers features that automate the sales process, encourage team collaboration, and make forecasting the sales cycles accurate.

On the customer-facing side, it enhances the customer journey through the sales pipeline, generates new leads, and boosts the bottom line while cutting costs and simplifying the sales process.

Pipedrive offers four competitive pricing plans and 24/7 customer support and integrates with over 300 business programs. It has an open API, so if the features or integrations you need aren’t available, you can create them yourself.

Overall, users appreciate the lead management piece and find incredible value in teams being able to collaborate to close deals.

Pros
  • Designed for closing sales deals
  • Optimizes sales processes
  • Provides 24/7 customer service
Cons
  • No free version
  • Does not integrate with social media

Pipedrive features

  • Customization – Numerous customizations are available, such as creating custom processes and stages in the sales pipeline, custom fields, and an open API for custom integrations and features.
  • Customer management – Tools and analytics to track every customer’s journey through your sales pipeline.
  • Workflow automation – Automates repetitive tasks and administrative chores as well as the steps in the sales process to keep you working efficiently towards your sales goals.
  • Integrations – Integrates with 300 business programs, and if one is unavailable, the open API allows you to create custom integrations as needed.
  • Reporting – Real-time metrics on a visual dashboard and customizable reports reveal insightful patterns that create actionable tasks and goals.

What markets does Pipedrive serve?

Pipedrive is designed to help sales teams close deals quickly and efficiently through one centralized, customizable, and automated program.

zoho crm logo

Zoho CRM – Best for Remote and Hybrid Teams

Zoho CRM is part of the Zoho family of products and brings a streamlined CRM to your remote and hybrid teams that allow you to unite your sales, marketing, and service teams all in one place with the same data and goals.

Through robust automation, comprehensive analytics, and customized solutions, you will see increased leads, accelerated sales, and actionable sales performance measures. Zoho CRM integrates with over 500 programs through the Zoho marketplace.

Zoho CRM features a free version and four paid tiers that offer many desired features, including customizations, automation, real-time analytics, and more. In addition, Zoho CRM has a remote work feature that allows you to host online meetings, manage group audio and video calls, and streamline communications across your team no matter where they work.

In Zoho CRM reviews, customers are happy with the service and especially love that the program enables omnichannel connections with their customers. However, some gripes surface regarding the super admin function and its potential to delay customizations that regular users want and need.

Pros
  • Specific features for hybrid and remote teams
  • Omnichannel customer communication
  • Free trial and free version available
Cons
  • Only super admin can setup customizations
  • Priority support and onboarding is an add-on

Zoho CRM features

  • Customization – Zoho CRM allows you to customize many things within the program, including layouts, fields, filters, information collected, data and how it’s seen, and even language and currency.
  • Customer management – Manage your customer contacts, lead, and deals all in one place.
  • Workflow automation – Automate your sales routines and chain together multiple rules within processes. Test and view analytics to see how your automation is working.
  • Integrations – Integrates with over 500 programs through the Zoho Marketplace.
  • Reporting – Monitor every aspect of your sales cycle with analytics on leads, deals, activity, email, and KPIs. Get customized reports and make data-driven business decisions.

What markets does Zoho CRM serve?

Zoho CRM appeals to the remote and hybrid workforce with remote features that make it easy for teams to collaborate globally. Language and currency customizations are available to further accommodate worldwide collaboration.

hubspot crm logo

HubSpot CRM – Best Free CRM Software

HubSpot CRM will help you close more deals, create lasting professional relationships, and manage your pipeline more effectively. With features such as sales engagement, reporting and analytics, and pipeline management, you have everything you need in one centralized location that integrates with over 1,160 tools.

HubSpot CRM offers a robust free version, followed by three paid plans. HubSpot is known to provide exceptional online training, educational tools, and courses with certifications for its programs, and CRM is no different. The HubSpot knowledge base is brimming with helpful information.

On the higher-priced plans, a quick onboarding process will have you up and running in no time. Other notable features include document and conversation tracking, sales automation, relationship building, a meeting scheduler, pipeline management, and deep insights with accurate forecasting.

Pros
  • Robust free version available
  • Over 1,160 integrations
  • Large knowledge base and even educational opportunities
Cons
  • Limited to 1,000 contacts on Starter plan
  • No phone support with the cheapest plan

HubSpot CRM features

  • Customization – Custom reporting is available at the Professional level, and many more customizations are available at the Enterprise level.
  • Customer management – You can create detailed customer records, track communications, and more from the HubSpot free CRM level.
  • Workflow automation – Automation starts at the Starter level, where you can create sequences such as emails and follow-up tasks for each prospect.
  • Integrations – HubSpot CRM integrates with over 1,160 programs.
  • Reporting – A reporting dashboard brings all your data into one visual place. Custom reporting is available at the Professional and Enterprise levels.

What markets does HubSpot CRM serve?

HubSpot CRM is the best free CRM on the market. With its robust features, unlimited users and data, and 1,000,000 stored contacts, it operates just as well as paid options on the market. With plenty of add-ons and upgrades, it is also an excellent tool for growing businesses that want a program that will scale and grow with them.

Compare the best CRM software side-by-side

Software Name Why we picked It Starting price for cheapest plan Highlights
Freshsales Best CRM Software for Small Business $15 / user / month Utilizes customer-facing tools to interact and personalize the customer journey, while internal tools streamline and automate processes.
Salesforce Sales Cloud Best CRM Software for Nonprofits and Healthcare Industry $25 / user / month Voted by many as the best overall CRM software, it offers a mix of customization and automation that drives efficient growth.
Pipedrive Best CRM Sales Software $14.90 / user / month Designed as a sales CRM many customizations, automations, and integrations are available to help teams collaborate and close deals.
Zoho CRM Best for Remote and Hybrid Teams $14 / user / month Created with remote and hybrid teams in mind, it offers tools that make remote work and collaboration easier and more efficient so everyone is on the same page in the sales cycle.
HubSpot CRM Best Free CRM Software $27 / month / 2 users Robust free CRM that offers everything you need in a CRM for free plus over 1,160 integrations.

What is CRM software?

Customer relationship management (CRM) software helps businesses organize, track, and manage relationships and communication with current and potential customers. CRM software helps companies of all sizes and industries, but there are vendors that offer CRM solutions specifically for sectors like real estate, healthcare, construction, and others. CRM software centralizes customer information and equips all your employees with the streamlined data and information needed to close deals and meet your customer needs.

CRM software can include tools that help you collect customer data and send automated sales and marketing messages based on events like:

  • Email sign ups
  • Purchases
  • Website visits
  • Cart abandonment

The best CRM software will help you centralize this information and streamline your sales, marketing, and customer service processes by bringing all parts of the customer journey into one platform.

What does a CRM do?

Along with saving time and staying organized, there are many CRM features and benefits to love. Above all, the most important CRM feature is that it allows companies to collect and store important customer data. The primary way a CRM benefits an organization is through its ability to centralize customer information into one system that can be used across teams and departments, creating a more consistent customer experience across every channel.

Companies use CRMs to streamline processes all the way from lead acquisition to sales, onboarding and customer success. HubSpot CRM, for example, is great for marketing teams, while Pipedrive aims to help sales teams automate and close deals. As part of the biggest name in the CRM space, Salesforce Sales Cloud CRM software is designed to help marketing and sales teams automate processes and work more efficiently.

CRM software can help companies increase productivity and efficiency, manage communications with customers and leads, and provide detailed analytics on their customers and their activity to help them determine what processes and communications work and what doesn’t.

What makes a good CRM?

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the options when you’re comparing CRM software vendors. In general, a good CRM should include these five features:

  1. Customer management – tools that allow companies to track and store current customer information, leads, and opportunities.
  2. Customization – a good CRM software should fit in and work with your company and its unique needs. To do this, the CRM software must be easily customized so you can take the reins and control what it manages.
  3. Workflow automation – the ability to automate processes is another feature to look for in the best CRM software. For example, tracking activity from customers that visit your website and guiding them through your sales funnel is one process that can be automated to achieve higher results.
  4. Integrations – like with most business software, you want your CRM to integrate with other internal systems. Many CRM vendors, such as Zoho CRM, also offer other business tools and products, so it easy to add in services as you grow. It’s also helpful if your CRM software integrates with third-party programs you already use or offers an API for endless integrations you might need.
  5. Reporting – finally, you want your CRM software to provide detailed reports and analytics. A good CRM software allows you to customize what you track and how it is reported to you. It should break it down into easy-to-understand parts that help you analyze and create actionable tasks and forecasting.

How much does CRM software cost?

CRM software typically costs around $14 per month per user when billed annually. This low entry price point includes Pipedrive and Zoho CRM, with Freshsales just a notch higher at $15 per month. The most expensive is HubSpot CRM starting at $27 per month. If you opt to pay monthly, the price is a few dollars more per month per user.

Several vendors like HubSpot CRM, Freshsales, and Zoho CRM offer a free CRM service. HubSpot CRM stands out here for the most offering at the free level. Beyond the free level, the basic level from our vendors typically includes contact management, limited customizations, some workflow automation ability, reporting, and integrations. As you progress in price point, you get more of all these items. Different levels of customer service are also included and increase as you move up in priced plans.

The most expensive on our list is the Enterprise level that all our top picks offer. The highest price is Salesforce Sales Cloud at $300 per user per month. HubSpot CRM bills the Enterprise level a bit differently. For $5,000 per month, you get ten user accounts. This does come with a required $3,000 one-time onboarding fee.

CRM software FAQ

Which CRM software is best?
There are many types of CRM software, and it’s important to define your unique needs to decide what will be the best for you. The best CRM software is one that aligns with your business. In our research, we have found that the best CRM for small business is Freshsales, while HubSpot CRM is the best free CRM software.

If you’re a startup or have a remote/hybrid workforce, Zoho CRM is a great option. Pipedrive is one of the easiest to use and is a great sales CRM software, while Salesforce Sales Cloud is one of the best CRM software for healthcare industry, nonprofits, sales, and marketing.

What is CRM software used for?
CRM software has many uses. It first and foremost manages your customers, leads, and opportunities showing each account’s activity and relationship with the company in one centralized location. This provides everyone in a company with the information they need to contact a customer and close a deal.

Beyond that, a CRM helps companies automate processes to save time and reach customers more efficiently. It also provides useful data and analytics that help companies make smart decisions that impact the bottom line.

Which is the best free CRM for startups?
Several companies offer free CRM software. After studying 85 well-known CRM software, we found that HubSpot CRM is the best free CRM software, making it a great option for startups. It offers robust features such as contact management, reporting dashboards, and over 1,160 integrations. If a company is growing, it can easily upgrade or add on items – several that are also free to scale and grow with the company.

How we chose the best CRM software

We curated a long list of 85 CRM software vendors and identified 16 of the most popular ones to narrow our focus. From there, we chose five top picks based on features offered, brand reputation, and customer service.

We collect information from vendors and verify it through:

  • Customer reviews
  • Expert reviews
  • Vendor and parent company websites

To determine which companies deserved to be on our final list, we scored each of them on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent) across the following criteria:

  • Variety of features: We looked for services that offered customer, lead, and opportunity management, customization, automation, integrations, and reporting. A company scores higher when it offers all these features because it means better account management, improved customer service, increased bottom line, and more efficient processes.
  • Customer support: We looked for companies that offer multiple ways to access customer support and learn the program, including a resource library, FAQ or forum, a chat feature, email, and a dedicated customer service line. Services that included all these features scored highest in this section.
  • Brand reputation: We studied what customers said about each CRM software company. Reviews and ratings from trustworthy third-party review sites were compiled into a percentage rating to get a sense of each vendor’s reputation with its customers.
  • Pricing and transparency: We not only compare actual pricing and plans for each vendor but judge companies on whether or not this information is easily available online – or if you have to go through a demo to get it. Companies with transparent pricing and free trials get a better score.
  • Onboarding and support: We look for companies that offer multiple types of ongoing customer support and whether one-on-one onboarding is included or only available as an add-on service.