The 2016 CRM Market Leaders: Small-Business CRM Suite

Article Featured Image


Price is of the utmost importance for small businesses. Nevertheless, smaller solutions may not be delivering the depth of functionality that businesses of all sizes require. Overall, larger CRM vendors received stronger marks despite higher prices—particularly when it comes to depth of functionality and company direction—indicating that small businesses may be willing to pay more for additional capabilities. Analysts also noted that larger vendors offer more integration options, suggesting that small businesses are looking for more than a bare-bones solution to power their operations.


Despite receiving scores of 3.8 and 3.9 in customer satisfaction and five-year cost, Hubspot struggled with our judges in depth of functionality, receiving just a 2.9. According to Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst at Constellation Research, the company’s inbound approach “has created a strong community of misguided marketers who by now realize you need more than inbound to win.” Nevertheless, Wang notes Hubspot’s “strong appeal” to small and medium-size businesses (SMBs). And Kate Leggett, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, says that the solution offers a “good breadth of core CRM capabilities,” noting in particular its ability to automatically log data from emails, Web sites, and calls.

Infusionsoft continues to be a popular choice for SMBs, receiving strong scores of 4.0 and 4.5 in customer satisfaction and five-year cost. According to Wang, the company has a “strong offering for SMBs across the board.” He notes that new integration with accounting software providers Xero and Quickbooks—as well as new payment capabilities—will be essential in attracting prospects. Leggett has a similar take, saying the solution offers “all-in-one sales and marketing capabilities.”

Although it is geared toward medium- and enterprise-size companies—and can be expensive—Salesforce.com continues to be a solid option for SMBs, receiving strong scores of 4.3 and 4.5 in depth of functionality and company direction. According to Leggett, the solution “is a full-featured CRM that may offer a depth of capabilities that is more than what a small business requires.”

SugarCRM posted decent marks across the board, with a pair of 3.8s in depth of functionality and company direction and a 3.7 in five-year cost. According to Leggett, the company’s range of capabilities “can be too much for a very small business.” However, Wang notes that the company “continues to improve its offering over time,” and is a “favorite shortlist contender among prospects.”


Microsoft emerges as the category winner for the third year running, with strong marks across the board. Last year, the company earned a 4.1 in depth of functionality, and it continues to impress analysts in that area, receiving a 4.2 this year. According to Wang, the departure of Bob Stutz, former Microsoft corporate vice president and head of Dynamics CRM, has had an impact on deals, yet product development remains strong with Jujhar Singh, general manager of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, in charge. He also notes that the company needs to do a better job of understanding the Dynamics customer base. Nevertheless, he says that Microsoft offers “one of the best products in the market.” Leggett agrees, though she notes that the company, like Salesforce.com and SugarCRM, may provide more functionality than most small businesses need.

One to Watch

Zoho slipped from the leaderboard this year, receiving low marks in company direction and customer satisfaction. Nevertheless, Leggett lauds the company’s “broad depth of capabilities” and says that the solution “can power a small business end to end.” Leslie Ament, senior vice president of research and principal analyst at Hypatia Research Group, says that Zoho “allows small-business users to select and choose exactly the functionality they need for the exact number of users [with its subscription model]” and adds that “businesses can accomplish a lot on Zoho, and the cost of ownership is low.” 

CRM Covers
for qualified subscribers
Subscribe Now Current Issue Past Issues