The Best CRM for Midsize and Small Businesses: The 2022 CRM Industry Leader Awards

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The Market

Many CRM product suites are similar and help companies of all sizes solve their business problems. However, small and midsize business (SMBs) have far different requirements when it comes to features, pricing, setup, and installation than their larger counterparts, making it a challenge for many to match the right CRM to their individual needs.

SMBs account for about 44 percent of the total worldwide CRM market, which has been valued at up to $61.6 billion this year and could surpass $170 billion by 2030, according to Precedence Research.

Today’s CRM software for SMBs addresses the needs of these organizations with a balance of affordability, functionality, and flexibility, giving them a ready-made solution they won’t have to build themselves while leaving room for customizations and extensions so companies are not stuck with only the basics as their business needs grow. And ideally, solutions should fit within company budgets.

The Top Five

With an exclusive emphasis on no-code/low-code platforms, Creatio’s strength is allowing users to create processes that can be easily changed as businesses grow. This ability “can be a force multiplier for smaller businesses that often have to do more with less,” says independent CRM analyst Marshall Lager. Rebecca Wettemann, founder and CEO of Valoir, agrees, pointing out that Creatio “is a strong player in the midmarket, particularly for customers that are looking to tailor CRM to their specific needs without the need for developer resources or expertise.”

Freshworks has its roots in the customer service space, but it has expanded into marketing and sales in the past few years. Its full suite now includes Freshmarketer, Freshsales, Freshdesk, and Freshchat. Kate Leggett, a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research, hails the suite for being “unified on one platform and delivered with straightforward and modern experiences.” Further, the company “appeals to teams with straightforward requirements looking for a solution that’s easy to deploy and use,” she adds. “The quality that was always evident in Freshdesk is reflected in its broader suite of CRM apps,” Lager asserts. “It’s just an amazing, no-nonsense platform that really knows how to use AI as a supportive technology for employees.”

Salesforce in 2018 began offering its Essentials package specifically for the SMB segment, and that product has now become a key element in the company’s portfolio. With Essentials, Salesforce offers “a popular midmarket choice for customers looking for a best-in-class CRM,” says Wettemann. It “reduces the time and expertise needed to deploy Salesforce at the midmarket level and makes it more accessible despite its breadth and depth of functionality,” she adds. Lager agrees, noting that while Salesforce’s strength has been seen mostly in the enterprise space, “there is still plenty of value in its offerings for SMBs.” Salesforce Trailhead “offers a wealth of free resources,” which are especially attractive to SMBs, says Jim Dickie, a research fellow at Sales Mastery.

With a newfound emphasis on low-code/no-code platform capabilities that make it easy for SMBs to build and customize marketing, sales, and service workflows, SugarCRM has really taken the lead in the midmarket CRM space, and that’s not by accident. Wettemann calls it “an attractive option” for midmarket customers, but Lager goes even further in his praise. “The same things that make Sugar a good fit for larger enterprises shine even brighter downmarket,” he says, adding that Sugar “has done well in embracing the idea of the platform, with coordinated apps and a wealth of integrations.”

Many analysts, including Lager, see Zoho’s platform as “the textbook example of a turnkey CRM for small businesses.” Plainly put, Zoho’s unique product is “no-fuss, no-muss, and you get every application for one price, and they all work without the hidden cost of professional services,” Lager adds. Wettemann agrees, saying Zoho “really shines in the midmarket,” offering core marketing, sales, and service capabilities that “can be easily configured and integrated with Zoho’s other products, such as project management, finance, collaboration, and event management.” Paul Greenberg, president of the 56 Group, hails Zoho for offering “small-business strength with upmarket midmarket capabilities.”

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