Best CRM for Small Businesses

This time around, I’m going to take a different approach in lining up CRM solutions. In stead of just a straight out comparison of “the best CRM”, pitting two against each other, or doing a plain list, we’ll be sizing up the best CRM for small business.

The Contenders:

We’ll be looking at four contenders very briefly, and sizing up by their price, feature sets and sustainability, which one is going to not only be affordable to a small business, but which one is truly the best CRM for small business on a practical end.

These are the more popular CRM solutions out there, but by far not the only ones. While one of these four will be the best one out of my list, there are many good (but far less popular) solutions out there, one of which may in fact be better.

I can only review so many CRM solutions (as accessing them takes doing), so I tend to stick to the ones that have made quite a name for themselves. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because usually fame in software has to be earned.

Salesforce:

This is the most famous CRM solution out there, if the internet is to be believed. I can see why many people love it so much, too. It has the most flexible system going, with custom reports, forms, dashboards and all kinds of nifty formulas and automations for the database being just the icing on the cake.

Salesforce’s crowning achievement and their biggest claim to fame, though, is the massive app exchange system, which basically lets unlimited new features be added on through a simple app market not dissimilar to mobile or game console DLC systems in its ease of use and directness. Salesforce isn’t perfect, though.

While it’s able to absolutely grow with any business to any scale, it’s impenetrably expensive for small businesses, with its lowest rates being over fifty dollars per user per month. Ouch!

Netsuite:

Netsuite has quickly become Salesforce’s closest direct contender, taking a similar route in its design philosophy. With an infinitely flexible data processing system, and all manner of custom reports and forms, it’s basically the Pepsi to Salesforce’s Coke.

And, just like Salesforce, their app system has recently lifted the limits on features and functionality. But also not unlike Salesforce, while Netsuite is at least penetrable to medium businesses with great ease, it’s still very expensive to small businesses.

Zoho:

Zoho is actually designed for medium businesses, but it’s priced in a way that it’s also accessible to smaller business budgets. This gives users a solid CRM solution that’s not drastically overpowered, but is overpowered enough to allow growth.

It lacks the app extension of the previous two, and isn’t nearly as possible to reshape and customize and program. However, knowing they are a business scale demographic solution, they offer easy migration to Salesforce or Netsuite once you outgrow them.

Sugar CRM:

Sugar CRM is the open source, small-footprint system actually designed for small businesses. It’s possible to completely reshape this system to your needs, at the cost of doing it by working on source code, rather than simply WYSIWYG editors and extension systems.

It’s a financial commitment in the long run doe to the expenses of polishing it into the thing it’s capable of being.

The Winner:

So, which is the best CRM for small business? Salesforce and Netsuite can grow with anyone and are infinitely powerful, but they’re too powerful and overpriced for a small business. Sugar CRM takes way too much work to get it running at a superb level, costing more than Salesforce or Netsuite in the long term. This leaves Zoho, which while proclaimed as medium business, should be called an SMB solution it seems!

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Michael Taylor
Michael is the Lead Author & Editor of CRMSimplified Blog. Michael established the CRM blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to CRM.
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