Top 10 Cheap Alternatives to Salesforce for SMBs in 2021
Customer relationship management, or CRM, is an essential tool for businesses of any size, but not all companies can afford technology as robust as Salesforce CRM. Even if budget isn't the issue, many businesses, especially smaller ones, simply don't need all the bells and whistles that Salesforce offers.
That's why the first step in choosing the right solution for a small business is to understand CRM's primary purpose. From there, businesses can assess their additional needs and choose tools that promise to meet them.
At its core, CRM systems enable companies to organize their customer information in one centralized repository and to track and analyze every interaction with customers or prospects. But that's just the beginning.
When used to their full potential, CRM systems can take various interactions and data points to create actionable sales pipelines. They can even apply artificial intelligence to recommend certain types of engagements that might drive leads further down the pipeline. Plus, they can maintain records of post-sales interactions, such as support conversations. Beyond these essential functions, there are a few additional features that most basic CRM tools offer. They include the following:
- Marketing automation workflows;
- Segmentation and personalization;
- Contact management;
- Native integrations with third-party services;
- Social media integrations;
- Detailed and actionable analytics;
- Opportunity notifications;
- Revenue attribution; and
- Mobile access.
So what are the best tools for small businesses to consider?
Below, we break down 10 alternatives to Salesforce.
HubSpot's basic CRM tool is completely free—no strings attached. What's more, it offers forever-free plans to ensure that if anything changes current users will be safely locked into their existing plans. But beware, this free version provides a basic dashboard to view the sales pipeline, including contact and sales activity, detailed reports, and performance on a user or team basis. For separate sales, marketing, and customer service hubs with advanced capabilities, companies will want to opt for the paid version.
Our favorite feature: Users can get real-time notifications about lead behavior, and if the opportunity is right, they can place calls from right within the CRM system.
The price: The core CRM software is free, but Marketing, Sales, and Service Hubs start at $50 per month.
Zoho offers marketing and sales features with cloud-based apps and online productivity tools. It can organize contacts, automate marketing, manage sales transactions, and provide a platform for delivering customer support via chat. It also seamlessly integrates with most other marketing tools and social media channels for lead capture.
Our favorite feature: For paid users, Zoho offers an artificial intelligence-powered voice assistant to create intelligent dashboards and forecast business trends. Think of this as Siri or Alexa for customer engagement needs.
The price: Free for up to three users. For more users, it's $12 a month, billed annually.
Insightly is fundamentally a project management tool with CRM functionality. It's a highly customizable platform that allows users to convert opportunities into projects. And, because Insightly integrates with calendar and tracking apps, sales teams can keep leads moving and monitor milestones along the way. There aren't many automation tools in the basic tier offering, which makes Insightly's free version difficult to scale.
Our favorite feature: Google and Microsoft calendar integrations make setting deadlines simple in Insightly.
The price: Free for up to two users. Professional plans start at $29 per month.
Salesflare's platform excels at gathering leads from public sources, including social media platforms, email signatures, published articles, and more. It also has extensive integrations with popular marketing tools, which extend its capabilities beyond just sales functions. Sales opportunities are organized into easy-to-use dashboards, and like other platforms on this list, it generates a to-do list to keep sales moving forward.
Our favorite feature: File exchanges with customers are very simple and automatically sorted and tracked so sales teams can refer back to them as needed.
The price:Prices start at $29, billed annually.
noCRM's key strength is its lead management. The platform enables sales teams to pull data and create leads directly from various sources, including email, business cards, social platforms like LinkedIn, and other locations. Then, sales teams can manage these leads through an interactive, dynamically updated feed that offers in-depth insight into sales activity and prioritizes tasks for sales teams to execute./p>
Our favorite feature: noCRM.io's sales script generator can help teams sell more effectively. It populates the dialogue based on activities so that teams are always prepared.
The price: Plans start at $12 per month for multiple users.
vTiger is fairly full featured for a small business CRM tool, offering email marketing automation, internal communication features, project and inventory management, forecasting, lead scoring, and segmentation. One red flag, however, is that its user interface isn't as intuitive as others on this list, and users often need to have multiple windows open to perform some functions. Still, it offers the best price-to-performance ratio in the small business CRM market.
Our favorite feature: A proactive alert system keeps sales teams in the loop on any lead activity, maximizing their ability to close deals.
The Price: vTiger starts at $10 per user per month, billed annually.
Less Annoying CRM has a funky name but a solid offering for some of the smallest businesses, including startups. It provides basic lead management capabilities to get companies started. It doesn't offer as many integration opportunities or automation features as some other small business CRM providers, but it's effective at compiling leads from spreadsheets and email, organizing them, and supporting pipeline management for users. There's a built-in opportunity calendar, but the platform also integrates with other tools, such as Google Calendar, for users who prefer a more familiar interface.
Our favorite feature: Less Annoying CRM allows for multiple pipelines to be assigned to a single user, a feature that some of the more robust platforms on this list don't offer.
The price: $10 per user per month.
Freshworks relies on artificial intelligence-powered lead scoring to help sales teams prioritize leads that are more likely to convert. It also enables users to set up workflow automation, gain insights into conversations, track events, and use the 360-degree customer view to get a high-level glance at the full customer relationship on a single screen. Its weakness, however, is while there are some integrations with third parties, they're relatively limited compared to other players on this list.
Our favorite feature: The interface is unparalleled across both the web-based dashboard and mobile apps thanks to its ease of use. It's more intuitive than what other providers offer.
The price: Plans start at $12 per month, billed annually.
Nimble isn't designed specifically for small businesses, but it's flexible enough to support the needs of companies of any size. It performs all of the principal functions of a CRM system, but it's uniquely powerful for companies that are looking to unify their data from disparate platforms. It automatically populates profiles and interaction histories based on contact lists, email, and social media. Its integration with Twitter is particularly effective.
Our favorite feature: Nimble has a rules engine that learns from past user behaviors and patterns to predict and recommend relevant contacts and engagements.
The price: Plans start at $19 per month, billed annually.
SuiteCRM is an open-source CRM tool, which makes it highly customizable in the hands of the right users. Though the possibilities are endless with this tool, its open-source nature means it requires savvy developers or IT teams to build and add the functionality that's needed. For users who can take true advantage of SuiteCRM's flexibility, it's the perfect CRM platform.
Our favorite feature: With SuiteAssured, SuiteCRM offers a total care package for its CRM tool, providing support as users customize the solution for their needs.
The price: Basic plans are free, but pricing for add-ons such as SuiteAssured is determined based on the number of users.
There are plenty of choices out there for small business users, regardless of their budgets. Most providers offer free trials and base plans, so very little commitment is needed while testing the waters. Start with the one that most aligns with specific needs and iterate from there.