The Best CRM Software for 2024

monday CRM logo
monday

Best for Project Management

Pipedrive logo
Pipedrive

Best for Automation

NetSuite logo
NetSuite

Best for ERP Capabilities

Salesforce logo
Salesforce

Best for Small Businesses

Freshsales logo
Freshsales

Best for Communication

If you feel your marketing, sales and support teams should get better results, it may be time to invest in top-notch customer relationship management (CRM) software. The right CRM software can help you generate more leads, improve sales conversion rates and deliver market-leading after-sales service. 

There are numerous CRM providers, each with unique selling points and target markets. I’ve researched and analyzed 10 of the leading CRM software vendors, paying particular attention to their essential features, strengths, target users and best use cases to help you decide on the best CRM platform for your needs. 

What is CRM software?

CRM software is an application that helps businesses efficiently manage, track and store all lead, prospect and customer interactions during their buying journeys. CRM systems give marketing teams the data and insights they need to run more successful campaigns. They store in-depth customer histories to help sales reps close deals and assist support teams in resolving issues across multiple communication channels. 

CRM platforms improve efficiency via customized lead- and ticket-management tools and workflow automations that handle repetitive manual tasks, freeing teams to focus on more strategic work. CRM software generates in-depth business performance reports that help leaders make better decisions and identify opportunities to become more efficient and profitable.

Compare Our Best Picks

Our Top Picks for 2024
Pipedrive
Pipedrive logo
NetSuite
NetSuite logo
Salesforce
Salesforce logo
Freshsales
Freshsales logo
Zoho CRM
Zoho CRM
Hubspot
Hubspot logo
Insightly
Insightly logo
Zendesk
Zendesk logo
Thryv
Thryv logo
Best for

Project management

Automation

ERP Capabilities

Small businesses

Communications

Remote and hybrid teams

Integrations

Customization

Complete customer life cycle

Service businesses

Starting prices per user (reflects annual payment discount)

$9 per month

$14 per month

Custom

$25 per month

$9 per month

$14 per month

$15 per month (Bundle)

$29 per user (CRM Plus)

$19 per user

From $199 per location

Free trial for paid plans

14 days

14 days

14 days

14-30 days

21 days

15 days

14 days

14 days

14 days

14 days

Support

24/7 live chat and email support (phone call on request)

24/7 web chat and email, 16/5 Enterprise and Power plans

24/7 email and chat

24/7 with Premier Success Plan

24/5

8/5 (Classic), 24/5 (Premium)

24/7

24/7 email and limited phone

Office hours (24/7 on Premier plans)

24/7

Integrations

Over 200

Over 400

2,300

2,000

500

Over 800

Over 1,500

Over 2,000

Over 1,700

40

Rating
4.8
4.6
4.6
4.8
4.6
4.7
4.8
4.4
4.5
4.3
Scroll Table
monday CRM logo

mondayBest for Project Management

Editor's Rating: 4.8/10

Pros & Cons

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Pros
monday's superb project management features can help with transformation projects, <a href="https://www.entrepreneur.com/growing-a-business/7-steps-to-launch-an-expert-social-media-marketing-campaign/376459">social media marketing campaign</a> planning and execution, and much more.
monday lets you customize dashboards to motivate your team members and steer them toward their targets. For example, you can display a rep's sales pipeline or current lead scores.
Managers can easily automate repetitive tasks and business processes using the platform's intuitive interface to boost their staff's productivity.
Cons
monday's pricing structure requires you to buy seats in set increments, so you may end up paying for seats you don't need or having some reps unable to access the system.
Although a more intuitive interface is being rolled out, you must be familiar with formulaic logic to program more advanced customizations.
The Standard tier offers valuable features, but you are limited to a certain number of actions per month.

Our Review for monday

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monday is a great example of a CRM system that prioritizes the user experience. Out of the box, it offers excellent sales pipeline management tools, a leading customer data management system, an easy-to-use workflow automation suite and excellent team collaboration tools.

I was impressed by how monday extends the best aspects of its project management tools — specifically, the logical, clear and intuitive interface — to help users quickly and accurately customize numerous business processes, including lead generation pipelines and automated analytics and reporting. Users can access hundreds of preloaded process customization templates.

I really like the platform’s attention to detail. Workflow tools such as Kanban and Gantt reports and color-coded leads in the visual sales pipelines let managers know where every live deal is at a glance.

You’ll need to connect the platform to third-party apps to unlock mass marketing and one-to-one communication tools. However, there’s an excellent app selection, and the integration process is straightforward.

Pipedrive logo

PipedriveBest for Automation

Editor's Rating: 4.6/10

Pros & Cons

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Pros
Pipedrive's lead- and deal-management tools make it easy for sales teams to track every opportunity.
Sales managers can automate analytics and reporting to get real-time and historical insights about each rep's performance and overall deal flow.
Although Pipedrive is primarily a sales platform, its marketing suite and omnichannel communications are among the best on the market.
Cons
Pipedrive's focus on marketing and sales is great, but there are more suitable options for companies that need support-team solutions.
Some of the platform's most useful features, such as the ability to manage numerous open deals, are restricted on lower tiers.
Other features, including team goals and two-way email syncing, aren't available on lower-tier plans.

Our Review for Pipedrive

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Pipedrive is an excellent sales-focused tool for managing multiple deals at different stages. The vendor understands its target market well, as is evident in the platform’s vast array of sales tools and automations.

CRM software works best when it knows its audience, and Pipedrive gets this exactly right. Companies have numerous options to improve sales performance. For example, they can create multiple sales pipelines or set up helpful reminders and notifications when a sales rep needs to move a deal to the next stage.

Users get more than 30 pre-built and fully customizable sales task management automations out of the box, including handy functions that launch welcome campaigns and send introductory emails.

I really like the Smart Contact Data option, which appends the customer records on a company’s database with LinkedIn data. Third-party configure-price-quote (CPQ) apps are excellent for companies with highly customized products and services at various price levels.

Pipeline’s built-in marketing platform is excellent, especially the email marketing and power dialing features. The 400 apps in the platform’s marketplace can extend this solution’s functionality.

NetSuite logo

NetSuiteBest for ERP Capabilities

Editor's Rating: 4.6/10

Pros & Cons

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Pros
As part of NetSuite's broader <a href="https://www.entrepreneur.com/growing-a-business/how-to-harness-cloud-based-enterprise-resource-planning-to/454293">enterprise resource planning</a> (ERP) package, you can manage marketing, sales, support, accounting, order management and inventory tracking, all from one screen.
The relationship management program strengthens your relationship with commission-only staff or partners.
The e-commerce customer portal is very well executed and simplifies how you manage online orders and deal with online customers.
Cons
NetSuite CRM is part of a broader Oracle NetSuite subscription and can't be used as a stand-alone platform.
NetSuite's extensive features will likely be much more than a small business needs or can afford.
This is a highly customizable and complex system, and the learning curve for staff without prior ERP experience is steep.

Our Review for NetSuite

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You must subscribe to NetSuite’s broader ERP package to use NetSuite CRM. However, if you do, NetSuite CRM is an excellent option for your business. It’s a capable and feature-packed CRM solution.

Like most modern CRM systems, NetSuite CRM allows you to track a customer’s progress from initial contact to the point of sale and beyond. The ERP part of the software fills in the details in between, making it a viable solution for even the most complicated businesses.

Unlike most other platforms I looked at, NetSuite CRM doesn’t have a built-in omnichannel communications and marketing tool, which I found disappointing. You’ll need to use third-party providers for this function. However, NetSuite will record the data these plug-ins generate, so the CRM software can provide high-level functions, like sales forecasting, CPQ, granular analytics and reporting, upsell recommendations and e-commerce management.

I like that NetSuite is incredibly customizable; you can get it to work precisely as you envision it. If you want to extend the platform’s functionality, you can select from more than 2,000 apps in the NetSuite marketplace.

Salesforce logo

SalesforceBest for Small Businesses

Editor's Rating: 4.8/10

Pros & Cons

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Pros
Salesforce CRM offers an extensive range of valuable features, such as 5,000 daily emails and drag-and-drop customization, even on its less-expensive tiers.
Thousands of third-party apps in the Salesforce app marketplace can add extra functionality to the platform.
All customers can access an extensive online self-service guide, an active user community and company support.
Cons
Because Salesforce is so customizable and feature-rich, it can take time to determine precisely what you want Salesforce to do and to roll out the solution across your business.
You may need to hire authorized implementation agents to help you set up complex customizations.
Given the sheer range of options, knowing exactly how much Salesforce will cost can be challenging. Additionally, some tiers require upfront annual payment.

Our Review for Salesforce

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When reviewing Salesforce CRM, I was impressed that this platform brought enterprise-level functionality to small-business owners.

For example, Salesforce’s powerful artificial intelligence (AI) features are the best executed and most useful on the market. For a small fee on top of your subscription package, Salesforce’s Einstein AI will handle jobs such as finding and executing time-saving workflow automations, thereby reducing the time your staff spends on manual data-entry tasks.

I was also impressed that Salesforce centralizes data from other apps so that sales, marketing and customer service teams always work with the latest information. I found the omnichannel communication platform excellent for mass marketing and one-to-one conversations between a company and its customers. Perhaps most impressive is the availability of thousands of built-in and third-party apps, many of which are free or low-cost.

Freshsales logo

FreshsalesBest for Communication

Editor's Rating: 4.6/10

Pros & Cons

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Pros
The Freshsales bulk email sender is impressive, as are the analytics and real-time notifications that show live events, like open and click-through rates.
Companies can run telemarketing and social media campaigns from Freshsales and add a chatbot to their website.
The deal management functionality is excellent and improves reps' interactions with prospects.
Cons
Although Freshsales has a built-in <a href="https://www.entrepreneur.com/science-technology/business-should-your-business-switch-to-voip/79842">Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)</a> service, it lacks many features you'd expect from a stand-alone provider.
If you exceed the chatbot usage limit, you will incur extra charges of $75 per 1,000 chat sessions.
Not many enhancements are offered, and many of the more helpful functions, like sales sequences and workflows, have seemingly arbitrary caps.

Our Review for Freshsales

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Strong customer relationships are built on regular, quality, predictable and personalized communications at all stages of the sales cycle. I like how Freshsales CRM, part of the Freshworks platform, handles this task.

The solution’s email, telemarketing and social media marketing platforms are well designed and easy to use for prospecting. For companies running Freshsales, outreach will become much more straightforward and manageable.

The platform’s sales management features are also excellent. I was impressed with the platform’s built-in AI, which can help reps identify promising leads. I also like how the VoIP system allows reps to connect with customers in more than 90 countries from within the platform.

Although Freshsales has many upsides, there’s a slight learning curve for setting up and executing sales automations, workflows and other features. However, you should still consider this system because of its excellent wider functionality, especially its reporting and analytics.

I like how the platform integrates seamlessly with Google Business Messages, Line, WhatsApp, Messenger, SMS and more. An impressive 500 apps are available in the Freshworks marketplace.

Zoho CRM

Zoho CRMBest for Remote and Hybrid Teams

Editor's Rating: 4.7/10

Pros & Cons

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Pros
Zoho CRM's robust sales, marketing and customer service features are part of an intuitive, well-executed and clever platform.
Zoho CRM's AI features are particularly impressive for improving internal business functions and customer communication quality.
An active market of third-party developers creates apps to extend the platform's functionality.
Cons
Zoho CRM's less-expensive options lack some of the most valuable features.
Customization options tend to be limited to higher service tiers, so companies on lower plans have less scope to adapt the system to their business.
There are some online complaints about connectivity, and if you want help outside regular business hours, it will cost you more.

Our Review for Zoho CRM

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Zoho CRM is an excellent option for businesses with remote teams and hybrid working arrangements. I really like how the system simplifies remote work management and helps you create uniform, specific workflows for teams in various locations.

In companies where office attendance is not compulsory, maintaining high standards across the board can be challenging. However, Zoho CRM’s customizable workflow options effectively address this concern.

The well-stocked Zoho marketplace offers more than 1,000 apps. I was pleased to see the number of communication and collaboration apps this CRM tool offers, including popular software such as Slack, Mailchimp, Google Workspace, GoTo Meeting, Docusign and Everbrite.

All users get access to Zoho’s impressive omnichannel platform that supports mass and one-way communication with customers by phone, email, social media, messaging apps and even website chatbots.

The Zoho mobile app is particularly impressive. It offers full functionality for both managers and agents. Many platforms treat mobile apps as an afterthought, but that’s not the case for Zoho. I was pleasantly surprised by how effectively Zia, the platform’s AI assistant, works on the mobile app, helping staff members complete routine tasks and manage their days effectively.

Hubspot logo

HubspotBest for Integrations

Editor's Rating: 4.8/10

Pros & Cons

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Pros
HubSpot's laser-like focus on being the leading marketing- and sales-based CRM software has created an excellent system for driving more leads and improving conversion rates.
HubSpot's large marketplace features impressive sales, marketing and customer service apps alongside favorites such as Slack, Google Drive and Facebook.
HubSpot's excellent shared dashboards make intercompany collaboration straightforward.
Cons
Some of HubSpot's most valuable features are available only on higher service tiers.
Additional costs apply if you exceed caps on specific actions, like WhatsApp conversations, marketing contacts and application programming interface (API) calls.
The Professional plan comes with a compulsory onboarding fee that starts at $3,000.

Our Review for Hubspot

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The HubSpot marketplace is not the biggest; NetSuite and Salesforce have twice the number of apps. However, I was impressed that HubSpot’s marketplace had a wide assortment of apps focused solely on improving marketing, sales and customer service team performance.

Since its launch, HubSpot has been the tool of choice for companies that want to drive better results from their marketing and sales teams. It has an excellent — and well-justified — reputation in the marketplace.

The platform’s built-in marketing and sales automation features are superb. If you want to extend functionality, you can choose from more than 750 marketing apps, 600 sales apps and 200 customer service apps in the marketplace.

I found much to like about HubSpot, including its standout omnichannel communications and marketing platform. And if customers want to contact you in a specific way, HubSpot has an app for that.

HubSpot’s customer segmentation and general marketing tools are superb, as are the reports that link responses to campaigns (attributions), forecast sales volumes, and identify drop-off locations in sales funnels.

The user interface is simple, making it a breeze to set up and manage automations. I really like that HubSpot offers a free plan with limited functionality so you can test the platform at no cost.

Insightly logo

InsightlyBest for Customization

Editor's Rating: 4.4/10

Pros & Cons

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Pros
Managers can customize the elements that team members see on their dashboards, helping them focus on their productivity, revenue and other targets.
This highly configurable system can be customized with numerous <a href="https://www.entrepreneur.com/science-technology/workflows-are-the-future-of-automation/356816">workflow automations</a>, such as streamlining tasks and sending marketing campaigns.
Cons
Customer support is limited to email on the entry-level plan; users who need immediate help must wait.
Many customization options, including custom dashboard creation and task queue management, are available only to higher-tier customers.
You must pay $35 per user per month to access VoIP functionality, which includes 500 minutes per month. Other CRM providers don't charge for this.

Our Review for Insightly

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Insightly CRM is highly intuitive and comes packed with dozens of valuable features out of the box. While it’s a lesser-known platform, I like that it has attracted enough developers to populate its marketplace with an impressive 2,000 available integrations.

More than 260 sales and marketing apps are available in Insightly’s app marketplace, with direct links to Shopify, Adobe Commerce, Microsoft Advertising, Buffer (social media marketing), X (formerly Twitter) and Twilio. The marketplace also boasts app categories such as AI and machine learning, collaboration, finance and accounting, and project management. I really appreciate the volume and quality of the available apps.

I was also impressed by how simple Insightly makes it to customize dashboards and automate repetitive tasks. These features free managers to focus on their core activities, making the tools particularly crucial for improving team productivity and performance.

Analytics and reporting are superb across the board. I was impressed by the level of granularity the system provides on marketing campaign performance and customer satisfaction levels.

Zendesk logo

ZendeskBest for Complete Customer Life Cycle

Editor's Rating: 4.5/10

Pros & Cons

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Pros
Zendesk's lead management tools are excellent thanks to their seamless integration with the system's omnichannel communications and comprehensive CRM data.
Zendesk's AI usage is among the best on the market. Features include website chatbots that handle initial contacts and help with in-call resolution prompts on live calls.
Zendesk's ease of use and impressive range of 1,500 productivity-enhancing apps make it easy to customize the platform.
Cons
Although Zendesk is not the most expensive CRM, less expensive options can match Zendesk's functionality.
Customer support is handled via a ticket system, so you must wait for support even if your issue is urgent.
Larger businesses may have to pay extra if they exceed the limits on features such as API calls and the number of sales pipelines.

Our Review for Zendesk

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I was impressed that Zendesk’s unified customer database allows companies to manage all stages of the sales cycle, from cold prospecting to closing deals and beyond.

As more sales and inquiries come from online forms, I appreciate how Zendesk measures, analyzes and reports on dozens of client touchpoints. Sales managers can monitor a diverse range of metrics to see what works best. These include email click-through and open rates, website visits, inbound calls and texts, and more.

I really like that Zendesk provides features to help you build a self-service online knowledge base for your customers. The AI tools can help you decide what content to use on the self-service areas. You also get a choice of more than 100 visual layouts and themes, which is great for branding.

Zendesk’s omnichannel communications tool is excellent for mass marketing and one-to-one communications. I particularly like the power dialer, as phones are still crucial all-around tools in marketing, sales and support.

I also appreciate Zendesk’s customizability and collaboration tools, particularly the “side conversations,” where a colleague can join a live conversation with a client or act as a “light agent,” hiding their involvement.

Thryv logo

ThryvBest for Service Businesses

Editor's Rating: 4.3/10

Pros & Cons

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Pros
Thryv is a one-stop shop for CRM, social media, payment and local advertising for a fixed monthly fee.
The platform manages various tasks, including appointment booking, reminder sending, calendar management, estimate and invoice creation, and <a href="https://www.entrepreneur.com/growing-a-business/5-tips-to-control-your-online-reviews/430311">online review</a> management.
Thryv offers unlimited 24/7 support to clients on all plans by phone, email, web chat and its online community.
Cons
The Professional and Plus packages include a website, which you'll pay for even if you don't need it.
Thryv charges per location per month, so if only a handful of team members use the Business Center and Marketing Center services, it will be very expensive per seat.
A $250 one-time onboarding fee, combined with the first month's subscription, may make this solution out of reach for one-person businesses.

Our Review for Thryv

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Thryv is a simple, versatile CRM system and a compelling proposition for service businesses, especially smaller firms that serve local areas.

There are two primary services: Marketing Center and Business Center.

  • Marketing Center: I was underwhelmed by the Marketing Center options, which are designed to help you build and manage marketing campaigns. This service costs between $199 and $349 monthly, with a $250 onboarding fee. I found this a bit pricey; you could probably source many of this offering’s functions for $1,000 from freelancers on sites such as Fiverr.
  • Business Center: The Business Center is a much better package. It’s a scaled-back CRM system with features that are essential to service businesses, like sending estimates and invoices, accepting client payments, and recording appointments. Healthcare businesses can add HIPAA compliance for an additional small fee each month. The Professional and Unlimited packages cost between $349 and $499 a month, which is pricey if you have only two or three employees. The Business Center package offers many features from the Marketing Center option, plus either 10,000 or unlimited email and SMS marketing messages.

Thryv is somewhat lacking compared with the other CRM systems on this list. However, it has earned its place here because it’s an intuitive, user-friendly system that offers smaller service businesses a highly relevant set of features. If the vendor changed from a per-location pricing model to a per-user model, this platform could be more compelling for its target market.

CRM software costs

CRM systems have become much more affordable in recent years, especially as many platforms target small business owners. Several factors contribute to CRM software costs, including the following: 

  • Subscription costs: You typically pay a per-user-per-month charge for CRM software (with the exception of Thryv, which charges per location). Starter packages can range from as little as $9 per user per month with Freshsales to $25 per user per month with Salesforce. Most platforms offer tiers where the number of bundled services increases with the price. Many CRM vendors offer a discount if you pay your subscription fees annually in advance instead of monthly.
  • Add-on fees: CRM platforms often charge add-on fees for utilizing third-party apps and integrations to boost functionality. Other add-on services, including AI functions, incur additional costs. Add-on fees are typically charged per user per month.
  • Fees for exceeding limits: You also may need to pay extra for exceeding limited options, like API calls and workflow allotments. However, this is generally only for high-level enterprise users.
  • Setup fees: Some providers charge setup and implementation fees. For example, HubSpot charges a $3,000 professional onboarding fee for its Marketing Hub Professional package.

How to choose CRM software

To find the right CRM software for your business, follow these steps.

Decide on the most valuable CRM features for your business.

Before you research CRM vendors, consider precisely what you want your CRM to do. Isolate areas of your business where you could improve, and determine what your company needs to perform to your standards.

If you’re clear on what you want from the get-go, you’ll improve your chances of finding the right solution and not overpaying for features you don’t need.

Set a budget, evaluate options and make a CRM software short list.

Even a small-business CRM system can incur thousands of dollars in monthly fees. Set a budget and stick with it so costs don’t spiral out of control. 

Next, build a short list of potential CRM suppliers. The ones in this guide are a great starting point. You also may benefit from visiting the websites of trade associations and membership organizations related to your industry. These resources will likely offer advice and list special offers on CRM solutions.

You can also survey colleagues, suppliers and customers to learn about their CRM systems.

Contact CRM vendors for free demos and trials.

Contact the CRM vendors on your short list. Many offer free trials of 14 to 30 days. If they don’t, they’ll almost certainly offer a free demonstration. 

Here are a few tips for this stage: 

  • Tell the vendor your budget. When you contact the vendor, explain what you need the system to do, and share your monthly or annual budget. 
  • Test-drive the CRM. During your free trial, upload some data to the platform, and determine how easy it is to use features such as contact management tools. Test all of the core CRM features you’d want in your system to see how well the software functions. 
  • Contact customer support. During your trial, contact customer service. Ask the representative to explain how to customize a specific function. You’ll be able to test how quick and responsive the platform’s support teams are.
  • Ensure you get a thorough demo. If you’re only offered a free demo, ask the rep to walk you through all of the sales, marketing and service tools you’ll need. For example, ask them to demonstrate how to use the platform’s marketing automation features to run an email marketing campaign or show you how the software handles the sales process from start to finish.
  • Involve your team in evaluations. Involve other members of your team when you’re testing CRM software, particularly if they’ll be the ones using the system after it’s rolled out.

Get quotes for the most promising CRM systems.

Request quotes from the vendors whose platforms impressed you the most. Although most CRM providers have set pricing based on user numbers and features, many have some flexibility, particularly if they’re competing with other vendors for your business.

If you already have CRM software and are thinking about switching to a new one, you can also use this process to try reducing the fees you’re paying your current supplier.

Read online reviews of your CRM finalists.

Before making your final decision, check out online user reviews of the CRM platforms you’re considering. 

User reviews will give you an idea of how the system performs in the real world and how responsive support teams are when issues arise. If you can find reviews from companies in the same industry as you, they’ll be even more relevant. It may be worthwhile to go with a more expensive option if the solution’s customers are pleased with its responsiveness and uptime. 

Methodology

When evaluating CRM platforms to find the best options, I examined their marketing campaign functions to rate how well they generated leads and improved sales. I also looked at how well they enriched customer and prospect data, as well as their workflow automation capabilities and their after-sales support. From 65 prospects, I researched 25 in depth and selected the 10 on this page as best-in-class. I assigned best use cases to each vendor based on various factors, including customizability, workflow automations, data enrichment, AI enhancements, reporting, analytics, on-platform features and third-party integrations.

CRM software FAQs

Examples of CRM software include HubSpot, Salesforce, Zendesk, monday Sales CRM and Pipedrive.

What are the three types of CRM?

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The three types of CRM systems are operational, collaborative and analytical. Operational CRM software focuses on streamlining a business’s operations and customer interactions. They focus mainly on a company’s sales, marketing and service departments. Collaborative CRM systems are designed to improve communication and collaboration among people within a business, its customers and other partners. Analytical CRM systems analyze customer data and interactions to provide insights that inform business decisions and strategies. Modern CRM software has elements of all three system types.

Which CRM is the easiest to use?

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CRM systems vary in complexity. However, reviewers and users consider HubSpot, monday, Zendesk, Zoho and Insightly to be highly usable CRMs.

Is Salesforce a CRM?

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Yes, Salesforce is a CRM that launched in the 1990s and has become one of the most popular customer relationship management software packages, with 150,000 users.

What is the number one CRM in the world?

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Although there’s much competition in the market, many analysts consider Salesforce the number one CRM in the world based on the number of users and applications available for the platform.