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Top 5 CRM platforms for the small business

Thanks to the power of social media, customers are better connected, better informed, and their opinions carry more weight than any other time in history. Whether a forum on diabetes, a travel site offering the latest hotel reviews, or the pros and cons of the latest iPad, companies of all sizes can now leverage the latest technologies to listen in firsthand to what customers are saying about their products, goods, and services. Indeed, it’s true that we’re living in the “age of the customer.”




Keeping your customers happy is half the battle of any successful business strategy. If customers are happy, then revenue flows and life is good. Managing that customer relationship is important and for that reason you need the right tools.

Since business today is customer driven through and through, you need to choose carefully the kind of tools you use to track those relationships. This is where CRMs come into play. Customer relationship management (CRM) is defined as “an approach to managing a company’s interactions with current and future customers. It often involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize sales, marketing, customer service, and technical support.”

There are a whole bunch of CRM platforms on the market today; in fact, chances are that you’ve heard of some of the top ones, like Salesforce. What we want to do here is to spend a few minutes covering the top 5 CRMs that are most suitable for the small business player. Read on for the best CRM solutions that can help keep your customers happy and your small business thriving.


Saleforce is hands-down the best CRM on the market, in terms of user base, market segmentation, and all around utility. As a cloud-based CRM, Salesforce has everything you need to find and keep customers, close sales, and grow your business. The main features of Saleforce can be leveraged from its easy to use platform, including contact management, lead generation, opportunity management, sales forecasting, workflow automation, collaboration tools, and much more. Salesforce is not just for enterprises; the same quality is available to small business as well. Salesforce for small-business CRM can help your organization gain a 360-degree view of customers, prospects, and deals to help you increase revenue and close deals. Salesforce offers a broad range of top-line resources, links, videos, and other tools for generating and managing your sales pipeline. Salesforce also gives you enterprise quality at a reasonable price; the basic package starts at $25 per user per month for up to 5 users and the professional version goes for $65.


The product launched in 2005 as a web-based word processor, and additional products were incorporated and distributed as software as a service, including its CRM solution in 2006. Zoho CRM for small business is a complete platform with mobile capability and social CRM available to help turn your company into a customer-focused organization. Zoho offers all kinds of customizable features such as integrated email, visitor tracking, email campaigns, and project management so you can focus on making sales and growing your business as effectively as possible. Zoho offers a generous free basic account for up to 10 users, which is ideal for new startups. You can scale up with additional plans ranging from $12 per user per month up to $50.





Nimble identifies itself as web and SaaS-based platform that provides small businesses with high-end CRM systems combined with social media. This social CRM feature is what drives the real value of Nimble. With Nimble, you can access much of LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter via Nimble, and the platform also offers integration with Google Contacts, Quickbooks, MailChimp, Hootsuite, and a number of other third party products. Nimble pricing, like its name, is simple and easy, offering one unified Business Plan for $15 per user per month. This also comes with a 14 day free trial and doesn’t require a credit card.


Insightly offers a unique integration of both CRM & project management into one easy to use platform, which it claims is used by over 400,000 small businesses worldwide. This integration is a powerful feature that offers small businesses the ability to stay on top of customer relations while tracking project performance against milestones over time. Insightly offers integrations with Google, Evernote, MailChimp, Quickbooks, and Office 365. Different pricing plans are available depending on the size and needs of your business. The freeware version is for 2 users and the Basic Plan is $12 per user per month.





One noticeable feature about Sage CRM is the classic browser based navigation, which may appeal to more traditional users who want to quickly get comfortable with the software. Sage offers a range of features from basic sales, marketing, and customer support automation that helps businesses close more deals faster with the best ROI. Sage CRM offers a unique feature in its e-marketing campaigns called “waves”. These are a way of grouping activities within a campaign, normally in chronological order, which helps keep precise track of everything. Sage pricing is simple with one price plan, which at $39 per user per month, makes it among the most affordable CRM products on the market.

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About Jeffrey Walker

Jeff is a business development consultant who specializes in helping businesses grow through technology innovations and solutions. He holds multiple master’s degrees from institutions such as Andrews University and Columbia University, and leverages this background towards empowering people in today’s digital world. He currently works as a research specialist for a Fortune 100 firm in Boston. When not writing on the latest technology trends, Jeff runs a robotics startup called virtupresence.com, along with oversight and leadership of startuplabs.co - an emerging market assistance company that helps businesses grow through innovation.