Top CRM Software for Small Business and Enterprise

Definition of CRM Software

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is technology that helps businesses manage their interactions with current and potential customers. CRM software centralizes customer data and documents into one system so businesses can better track and nurture leads, build stronger customer relationships, and close more sales.

CRM software typically includes features like contact management, opportunity tracking, task management, customer communication tools, sales automation, marketing automation, reporting and analytics, and more. By bringing all these capabilities together in one platform, CRM software provides a 360-degree view of the customer so sales, marketing, and service teams have the information they need to best serve customers.

Overview of the benefits of using CRM Software 

There are many benefits to using CRM software for both small businesses and large enterprises:

  • Improves organization and efficiency - CRM software helps consolidate customer information into one centralized database rather than having it scattered across emails, spreadsheets, etc.

  • Enhances customer service - By having a unified view of each customer, employees can provide more personalized and seamless service.

  • Increases sales - Sales teams have better insights into customer needs and can nurture relationships more effectively to close more deals.

  • Improves marketing effectiveness - CRM tools help segment customers, identify upsell opportunities, and target campaigns.

  • Provides analytics and reporting - CRM platforms include reporting tools to identify trends, measure ROI, and optimize strategies.

  • Scales with business growth - Cloud-based CRM systems are flexible to adapt to changing business needs.

Overall, CRM software helps businesses streamline processes, boost productivity, enhance customer experiences, and drive revenue growth.

Types of CRM Software

Industry-specific CRM software

Some CRM platforms are tailored for specific industries like:

  • Healthcare - Includes features for appointment scheduling, patient portals, medical billing, and more.

  • Real estate - Helps realtors manage listings, clients, offers, transactions in one system.

  • Financial services - Tracks customer portfolios, investments, and other financial data.

  • Hospitality - Manages guest reservations, loyalty programs, and dining bookings.

Industry-specific CRM systems are customized with the precise features and workflows needed for a particular field.

PR CRM software

Public relations teams use PR CRM software to build and manage relationships with media contacts. Key features include:

  • Media database to store journalist contact info and publication details.

  • Tracking past and upcoming PR activities like press releases.

  • Monitoring press mentions and coverage.

  • Distributing press kits and managing product loans.

  • Email marketing and media list management.

Financial services CRM software

Financial CRM platforms help banks, insurance firms, and other financial companies manage customer relationships by providing:

  • Client portfolio overviews with investment summaries.

  • Tools for tracking client interactions and communications.

  • Financial transaction histories and account management.

  • Mortgage loan management and origination.

  • Advisor performance dashboards and goal tracking.

Popular financial CRM solutions include Salesforce Financial Services Cloud, AdvisorEngine, and Wealthbox.

Mortgage CRM software

Mortgage CRM software helps lenders manage the mortgage process including:

  • Borrower information and loan applications.

  • Loan origination and status tracking.

  • Communication with borrowers and real estate agents.

  • Mortgage processing checklists and workflows.

  • Closing task management and e-signature capabilities.

Leading mortgage CRM systems include Salesforce Financial Services Cloud, Floify, and Mortgage Coach.

All-in-one CRM solutions

All-in-one CRM tools provide a suite of integrated sales, marketing, and customer service capabilities in one platform. This can include:

  • Contact management

  • Lead and opportunity tracking

  • Marketing automation

  • Email and campaign management

  • Help desk and knowledge base

  • Reporting and analytics

Popular all-in-one CRM solutions include HubSpot, Salesforce, Zoho, and Freshworks.

Standalone CRM system

Standalone or specialized CRM software focuses on a specific subset of capabilities like:

  • Sales CRM - Lead/opportunity management, pipeline tracking, forecasting.

  • Marketing automation - Campaign creation, email marketing, landing pages.

  • Customer service - Ticketing, knowledge base, live chat.

Companies can choose standalone tools and integrate them together to create a custom tech stack.

Common Features of CRM Software

Account and contact management

CRM tools allow you to store and track details about both accounts (companies) and contacts (people) in one place. Typical account/contact management features include:

  • Profiles with fields for name, title, company, email, phone, etc.

  • Activity history tracking like emails, calls, meetings.

  • Custom field creation to capture specialized data.

  • Segmenting contacts into groups or lists.

  • Account hierarchy mapping to show relationship between contacts.

Opportunity management

Sales teams use opportunity management to track potential deals in the pipeline. Common opportunity management capabilities:

  • Opportunity records to track deal details like value, close date, etc.

  • Visual sales pipeline to monitor deal progress.

  • Forecasting potential revenue from pipeline.

  • Sales stages to indicate where a deal is in the process.

  • Deal assignment to sales reps.

Lead management

Lead management helps businesses capture and nurture new potential customer opportunities. Lead management features include:

  • Lead capture forms to gather prospect contact info.

  • Lead scoring to gauge lead quality and prioritize follow-up.

  • Lead assignment to sales reps.

  • Workflow automation to nurture leads with emails and tasks.

  • Conversion of leads into accounts/contacts and opportunities.

Sales analytics dashboards

CRM analytics provide data-driven insights into sales performance. Sales leaders can track metrics like:

  • Sales revenue and forecasts

  • Win/loss rates for opportunities

  • Sales cycle length

  • Lead conversion rates

  • Sales rep performance

This reporting allows managers to pinpoint areas for improvement.

Benefits of CRM Software

Keeping track of customer interactions

CRM software gives businesses a single source of truth to store details of every interaction with a customer, including:

  • Call and email history

  • Meetings and scheduled tasks

  • Notes from conversations

  • Deal updates and milestones

  • Service case details

This provides context on the current status of customer relationships and any previous issues.

Improved organization

CRM systems consolidate customer data into one centralized database rather than having it scattered across individual spreadsheets, notebooks, file folders, email inboxes, etc. 

  • Get a complete view of customers in one screen

  • Quickly find any information on existing accounts and contacts

  • Identify duplicate records and merge them

  • Standardize data entry and storage

Overall, a CRM improves organization and ensures critical customer data is accessible to employees when they need it.

Increased revenue

CRM software helps boost sales through:

  • Better lead management to convert prospects into customers.

  • Higher win rates by understanding customer needs.

  • Upsell/cross-sell opportunities identified through customer data.

  • Automated workflows to guide customers through sales funnel.

Companies report revenue growth of 10-20% after implementing CRM software.

Shared understanding of account status

Since CRM systems give every employee access to the same customer information, this creates alignment across the business on:

  • The status of sales opportunities and deals in the pipeline.

  • Key contacts and decision-makers at each account.

  • Historical interactions, issues, and details for each customer.

This shared understanding ensures coordinated and consistent customer service.

Users of CRM Software

Sales and business development teams

Sales reps and business development teams rely on CRM systems to:

  • Monitor sales performance and forecasting.

  • Communicate with prospects and customers.

  • Share customer data with other departments.

CRM is essential for sales teams to execute the customer acquisition process efficiently.

Marketing teams

Marketing professionals use CRM tools for:

  • Storing prospect contact info and lead management.

  • Segmenting customers for targeted campaigns.

  • Sending email campaigns and tracking results.

  • Measuring campaign ROI.

  • Tracking social media engagement.

  • Marketing automation.

Customer service teams

Customer service teams rely on CRM platforms to:

  • Manage support tickets and cases.

  • Monitor service performance KPIs.

  • Manage knowledge base articles.

  • Identify customer trends and pain points.

  • Access full customer profiles while troubleshooting issues.

CRM improves customer service by providing agents with a 360-degree customer view.

Related Software to CRM Software

Sales analytics software

While CRM platforms offer reporting, dedicated sales analytics tools like Salesforce Datorama provide deeper data insights by:

  • Integrating data from multiple systems - CRM, ecommerce, marketing, etc.

  • Advanced visualization with drill-down dashboards and custom graphs.

  • AI-driven analysis to surface trends and insights.

  • Forecasting and scenario modeling capabilities.

Lead-to-account matching and routing software

These tools (like Leadspace or LeanData) automate matching leads to existing accounts and contacts in the CRM to avoid duplicates. Lead routing sends new leads to the right sales rep based on territory, workload, etc.

Proposal software

Proposal software (like PandaDoc or Qwilr) helps sales teams create customized, branded proposals to send to prospects and customers. Features include:

  • Proposal templates

  • Drag-and-drop editing

  • Forms and e-signature capabilities

  • Analytics on proposal views and engagement.

These integrate with CRM platforms to quickly convert opportunities into finished proposals.

CPQ software

Configure, price, quote (CPQ) tools like Salesforce CPQ allow businesses to generate quotes and proposals tailored to each customer based on:

  • Pricing rules and discounting

  • Available inventory

  • Custom requirements

  • Preferred payment terms

CPQ streamlines and automates quoting to get customers the right configurations and pricing.

Challenges with CRM Software

Overwhelming amount of features

Large CRM platforms offer so many features that it can be difficult for businesses to adopt and use all of them. Trying to overhaul processes to take advantage of every capability at once leads to poor user adoption. It's better to phase in features gradually once existing workflows are established.

Dated information

If sales and service teams don't diligently update CRM records, data will become outdated. Bad data defeats the purpose of CRM. Companies should provide training and set policies to ensure employees keep information current.

Change management

Transitioning from spreadsheets and manual processes to new CRM software involves change management. Employees may resist learning and adopting new technology. Leadership must clearly communicate CRM benefits, offer sufficient training resources, and incentivize usage to drive user adoption.

Companies that Should Buy CRM Software

Small business CRM

Even small businesses can benefit from CRM systems. Affordable options like Zoho CRM and HubSpot CRM provide essential features like contact management, email, calendar, and reporting. CRM gives small businesses a scalable solution as they grow.

Mid-market CRM

Mid-size companies need deeper CRM functionality like marketing automation, advanced reporting, and integrations with financial systems. Robust platforms like Salesforce Lightning, Oracle CX Cloud, and Microsoft Dynamics 365 offer extensive capabilities for mid-market growth.

Enterprise CRM

Large enterprises require fully customizable CRM systems that can handle thousands of users and complex workflows. Salesforce Sales Cloud, SAP C/4HANA, and Oracle Sales Cloud are leading enterprise-scale CRM solutions with capabilities like:

  • AI-driven analytics and insights

  • Industry-specific solutions and workflows

  • Full API and third-party integration options

  • Robust access controls and security

Enterprise CRM platforms provide deep functionality to meet the needs of global corporations and large organizations.

How to Buy CRM Software

What Does CRM Software Cost?

CRM software costs vary widely depending on the solution, features, and number of users. Some pricing models to consider:

  • Per user/per month - Typically $5-$100/user/month. Scales with team size.

  • Flat monthly fee - One set price for unlimited users. Predicts costs.

  • Per feature set - Pay for specific modules like sales, marketing, or service.

  • Percentage of revenue - Vendor receives percentage of revenue generated.

Be sure to factor in any one-time setup fees, training costs, and customization services as well.

Implementation of CRM Software

Proper implementation is key to CRM success. Steps for effective implementation include:

  • Defining business processes and requirements.

  • Customization and integration development.

  • User training and adoption resources.

  • Testing and quality assurance validation.

  • Change management and communication strategy.

Working closely with vendors or implementation consultants can help guide businesses through a smooth and successful rollout.

Best CRM Platforms 2023


HubSpot offers an all-in-one inbound CRM platform that includes marketing, sales, and service tools. Features include contact management, email marketing, landing pages, lead management, and reporting. HubSpot CRM is free for basic usage making it popular for small businesses.


The market leader in CRM, Salesforce provides sales, marketing, and service solutions tailored for businesses of all sizes. Robust capabilities for account management, forecasting, customer service, and more.

Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM provides strong sales force automation coupled with email marketing, social CRM, and mobile capabilities. Affordable pricing and deep third-party integrations make it a versatile CRM option for small businesses.


While Zendesk focuses heavily on customer service ticketing, its Sell platform offers full CRM support for sales teams as well. Zendesk is ideal for service-driven organizations.


Insightly is designed for small to medium businesses, providing essential CRM features like managing contacts, tracking opportunities in the pipeline, and reporting. Integration with popular apps makes Insightly a flexible CRM choice.


Pipedrive is a sales-focused CRM platform centered around an intuitive visual pipeline. Lead, deal, and pipeline management features make it easy for sales teams to visualize the sales process and track progress.


Apptivo is an affordable CRM solution built specifically for small businesses. It provides tools to manage contacts, track leads, analyze deals, and report on pipeline performance. Apptivo also includes


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