What’s the best CRM software for small businesses?

What’s the best CRM software for small businesses?
Enterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation

Posted: Mon 22nd Nov 2021

There are a number of low-cost customer relationship management (CRM) software programs developed with small business owners in mind. Each either has a free trial or remains free while your company has fewer than a certain number of employees.

Here, we’ve chosen some top CRM software examples, with the help of our Enterprise Nation community of small business owners, entrepreneurs and business advisers.

From the recommendations we received, we compiled this list. We hope you find it useful when deciding on a CRM for your small business or start-up.

Not sure what CRM is right for your business?

Dell Technologies can support small businesses with free, tailored, one-to-one tech advice. Real people, offering real advice to keep your small business ready for what’s next.

Call a Dell Technologies Advisor today on 0800 085 4878 or chat with them online at the Dell website.

Top CRM and sales software for small business

Salesforce Essentials

This is a condensed, streamlined version of the full Salesforce platform, designed purposely as CRM software for small business.

Starting at £20 ($25) per user per month, it caters to the typical small business budget, recognising that most businesses of this smaller size don’t need a vast and daunting range of functions.

It’s simple to implement, with an online learning platform, Trailhead, built in to guide users through the set-up process. Great for people with limited IT skills or technical knowhow.

Once up and running, Salesforce Essentials has many (but not all) of the features you’ll find in the full version. This includes tools for:

  • storing and managing contact information

  • capturing data from customer emails

  • customising the sales process

  • receiving and answering customer questions, and managing customer feedback

  • providing customer support via email, phone, live chat and social media

  • integrating with other programs such as Dropbox, Zapier, DocuSign and data import tools such as Apsona

There’s also:

  • a smartphone app, with the same functions as the Essentials desktop version

  • the AppExchange, a third-party app marketplace offering more than 5,000 apps and solutions to help businesses grow

Our members say...

Mary Butlin, founder of Tonica CRM & Insight

For Mary Butlin, Enterprise Nation adviser and founder of Tonica CRM & Insight, Salesforce Essentials is one of her top CRM recommendations for small businesses.

“It meets many needs, as it’s able to fulfil the requirements of multiple departments,” Mary says. “This is ideal for small organisations, who can use it not only for things like HR and marketing but for tracking customers/service users as well.

“If you’re a charity, Salesforce is totally free. You get 10 free user licenses, which are renewed every year. Just don’t fall into the trap that because it’s free CRM software, you don’t need to allocate any budget to your CRM in future. There are fees for any apps you buy, and there may be times when you need paid consultancy support.

“For other businesses, the flexibility of being able to customise and automate a lot of things, and the ability to add apps via the AppExchange, is invaluable.”

Learn more about Essentials at the Salesforce website

HubSpot CRM

Aimed specifically at small businesses, HubSpot CRM provides free access to its core features from the outset, while offering optional paid add-ons. This unique pricing model means it can be very attractive to those businesses that operate on a limited budget.

With access to the main CRM functions at the moment of sign-up, businesses can take advantage of free features that include the following:

  • A user-friendly interface

Setting up HubSpot CRM is simple. The software integrates easily with e-mail programs like Outlook and Gmail, while installing template add-ons is done via the click of a mouse button.

The platform makes initial tasks such as importing contacts and configuring users really straightforward.

This area of the platform is for training and knowledge, providing a wide range of learning materials, technical documents, courses and community forums.

  • Templates

You can find free, time-saving templates for things like landing pages, blogs, e-mails and more in the HubSpot Marketplace.

  • Click-to-call and call recording

You can call clients directly from HubSpot and record the conversation. The system saves the call for future reference.

Optional add-ons – which carry a cost – include the Marketing Hub. Paying for this service gives you access to marketing features such as:

  • an analytics dashboard

  • tools for:

    • creating blogs and other content

    • e-mail marketing

    • social media

Our members say...

Jade Brindley, founder of Koa Consulting

Jade Brindley, founder and managing director of Koa Consulting, says: “HubSpot CRM is our favourite CRM here at Koa Consulting and is the system we use. It offers a free version and has a lot of free add-ons which, from a marketing perspective, is always nice.

“With HubSpot, you can log and track deals and set reminders and tasks for people, as well as integrate the platform with Microsoft Outlook. And it has an Android and iOS app, so you can access it on your smartphone or tablet on the go.

“All in all, it’s a fantastic, free CRM system that integrates with lots of other systems to allow you to seamlessly generate leads and track proposals.”

Learn more about HubSpot CRM at the HubSpot website

Capsule CRM

Capsule CRM is designed to meet the needs of smaller teams while, at the same time, enabling their businesses to become more organised, efficient and sales-driven. It’s also been created with business growth in mind.

The platform is free for up to two users. That free access lets you use the basic version of the service and manage up to 250 contacts. After that, prices start at around £14 ($18) per user per month, for the Professional tier of subscription, which should meet the needs of most small businesses.

Capsule CRM’s functionality includes tools for:

  • managing contacts

  • organising tasks

  • tracking sales

  • generating reports and data to help with decision-making

  • integrating with accounting software programs such as QuickBooks, Freshbooks, Xero and Sage, as well as other programs like MailChimp, Zapier, Google Contacts and many more

  • customising your dashboards and features

Our members say...

“Capsule CRM is very user-friendly, with a lot of brilliant functionality. It’s extremely cost-effective and the process of setting it up is very easy,” says Mary Butlin of Tonica CRM & Insight.

“Personally, I love the fact that the business is based in the UK. It’s great to support a ‘local’ software supplier when so many other software suppliers are based in the US.”

Jade Brindley of Koa Consulting says: “Capsule is a good entry-level option for businesses that haven’t used a CRM before. It’s easy to use, has a good range of features and is free for up to two users.

“It’s limited to 250 contacts, which may not be a problem initially but could cause issues further down the line. It includes plenty of free integrations and customisations, including syncing with Outlook.”

Learn more about Capsule CRM at the website

Other CRM software you might try


A sales-focused CRM that also works as an account management and marketing tool. Straightforward to set up and use, it provides a visual representation of the sales process from beginning to end.

Learn more about Pipedrive


A very useful CRM for setting tasks and reminders, logging details and viewing dashboards, but particularly project management. It’s free of charge for up to two users, and has an app you can install on your phone or tablet.

Learn more about Insightly


A simple CRM that offers a basic free edition for up to three users. After that, there are flexible, month-to-month contracts with tiered pricing plans depending on the depth of features you need.

Learn more about Zoho

Dell Small Business Solutions

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When you run a business, Dell Technologies Advisors are there to help with the right tech solutions. From PCs to secure datacentre systems, cloud solutions and more. Call an Advisor today on 0800 085 4878 or chat with them online at the Dell website.

Relevant resources

How to set up your first CRM and help your small business make more sales

This article looks at how to choose the right CRM software, what information to keep, and how to set up a sales pipeline for your business.

How to choose the right accounting software for your small business

Here, we explain what accounting software does, what to consider before you buy, and how to pick the most suitable option for your business.

What’s the best e-commerce platform for small businesses?

With the help of our Enterprise Nation community, we identify some of the top e-commerce software programs and apps for small business.

Enterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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