Best CRM software for small businesses (2024)

Best CRM software for small businesses (2024)

Posted: Wed 3rd Jan 2024

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.

How to choose CRM software for your small business

Choosing the right CRM software for your small business is crucial for managing customer relationships and making your sales processes as efficient as possible.

With a wide range of CRM solutions available in the market, there are a number of factors to consider before making a decision.

  • Can you customise it? Look for a CRM that you can tailor to match your business's specific needs and workflows.

    Work out what you want to achieve with the software, whether it's improving customer service, streamlining sales pipelines, or improving marketing campaigns. Understanding your specific needs will help you narrow down the options and choose the CRM that best fits your business.

  • Is it user-friendly? The CRM you choose should be easy to learn. A user-friendly interface and intuitive design help you and your team to adopt it quickly. That way, there's no learning curve and everyone stays productive from the start.

  • Is it flexible enough for you to change and adapt it? A CRM system should be able to grow and evolve alongside your business. It should also have the ability to accommodate extra users, features, and functionality.

  • Does it make collaboration easy? This is a crucial aspect of any CRM system. It should enable seamless teamwork by allowing team members to communicate and collaborate with the greatest ease.

  • Is it cloud-based? Cloud-based CRM systems offer numerous advantages, including:

    • being accessible from anywhere with an internet connection

    • updating automatically

    • strong data security

  • Does it let you test it for free? Take advantage of free trials or demo versions to test different CRM systems. This will give you a hands-on experience and help you assess the CRM's functionality and capabilities.

  • Is it mobile-friendly? In today's mobile-driven world, it's important to choose a CRM system that is accessible on mobile devices. This allows you and your team to access customer information, track activities, and manage tasks on the go.

Top CRM and sales software for small businesses

Salesforce Essentials

Features of Salesforce Essentials

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

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

Benefits of Salesforce Essentials

  • User-friendly interface: Makes it easy for businesses to navigate and use the platform. It also provides a range of essential features such as lead management, contact management and opportunity tracking, which are crucial for sales and CRM.

  • Easy to scale: The software is designed so you can start with a basic plan and simply upgrade as your needs grow.

Drawbacks of Salesforce Essentials

  • Pricing can be quite high: Small businesses operating on very low budgets might see it as quite expensive when compared to other CRM options on the market.

  • Potential issues with customer support: Some users have reported issues with customer support, experiencing delays or difficulties in getting their questions and concerns addressed.

Our members say...

For Mary Butlin, Enterprise Nation member 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. 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."

HubSpot CRM

Features of 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 some of those listed below.

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

Benefits of HubSpot CRM

  • 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.

  • Comprehensive set of features: HubSpot CRM lets you manage your contacts and track leads with ease. You can also integrate your email marketing.

  • Free version: This makes it very accessible to small businesses with limited budgets.

Drawbacks of HubSpot CRM

  • Average reporting and analytics capabilities: The functionality for creating reports and analysing data isn't as strong as some other CRM platforms.

  • Free version has limitations: The free version of HubSpot CRM restricts the number of users and contacts you can add, which may not be suitable for your type of business.

  • Poor third-party integrations: While HubSpot CRM integrates well with other HubSpot tools, it may not be as seamless when integrating with other third-party applications.

What our members say about HubSpot CRM

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."


Male hands typing on the keyboard of a laptop, on whose screen in a multicoloured spreadsheet


Capsule CRM

Features of 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

Benefits of Capsule CRM

  • Intuitive platform: Makes it easy for your business to manage its customer relationships and contacts, enabling you to track interactions and conversations with customers.

  • Good centralised system for storing customer information: Allows you to access and retrieve data when needed, with no complications.

  • Excellent integration: Capsule CRM integrates well with other software and tools, allowing for seamless workflows and collaboration.

Drawbacks of Capsule CRM

  • Lack of advanced features: Compared to other CRM platforms, Capsule covers the basics but may not offer as much customisation or advanced automation as some businesses may need.

  • Basic reporting and analytics capabilities: May not meet the needs of businesses looking for in-depth insights and analysis.

  • Pricing structure can make it costly: It might become expensive if you need to scale up for a changing business, or add extra functionality.

What our members say about Capsule CRM

Mary Butlin of Tonica CRM & Insight says:

"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.

"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."

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.


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.


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.


Relevant resources

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.

Get business support right to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive business tips, learn about new funding programmes, join upcoming events, take e-learning courses, and more.