Best CRM for Startups in 2023 (Free and Paid)
Our recommendation for most startups is HubSpot CRM because it offers the most value of any CRM, while Zoho CRM is also a strong contender with its top notch features, which makes it an ideal choice for startups experiencing rapid growth.
The best CRM for startups is a must-have in today’s competitive world. With a CRM tool, you can learn more about the path your customers take to purchase, and what it takes to ensure long-term loyalty.
Customer Relationship Management tools help startups and businesses to develop stronger, more lucrative, and longer-lasting connections with their customers. The more information you collect for your CRM, the easier it is to segment your audience, and deliver personalized experiences to each group.
Today, we’re going to be looking specifically at the CRM solutions best-suited to startups, eager to leverage opportunities with their growing customer base.
What is the Best CRM Software for Startups?
- HubSpot CRM – Best Overall CRM for Startups
- Zoho CRM – Best for Growth
- Metrilo – Best for Ecommerce Businesses
- Keap – Best for Inventory Management
- Sendinblue CRM – Best for Marketing
- Pipedrive CRM – Best for Analytics
- Streak CRM – Best for Gmail Users
- Agile CRM – Best Free CRM
Let’s dive in.
1. HubSpot CRM
The HubSpot ecosystem is a collection of powerful digital tools intended to help startups boost their profits, attract more customers, and outshine the competition. With HubSpot, you can access software for everything from marketing to service and sales. The comprehensive selection of “Hubs” available from the provider includes access to a CRM.
HubSpot’s CRM allows business leaders to track a host of valuable details about their leads in a single, convenient space, so they can make their workforce more efficient and streamlined. There’s a free version of the technology available, which offers a quick way to check out some of the fundamental features. You can then add extra features with the HubSpot hubs.
Easy-to-use and brimming with insights, HubSpot’s CRM will allow you to track customer conversations, build comprehensive contact profiles, and even assign follow-up conversations to specific members of your team. You can also access a range of valuable analytics and reporting tools.
The pricing for HubSpot CRM is a little different to anything else we have to cover on this list. Startups can access the fundamental features of the CRM for free, then you can pay for any additional features you might want from the sales and service hubs to bolster your CX strategy.
For instance, the “Starter” sales hub for $50 per month comes with access to email tracking, email sequences, calling and conversational bots.
- Wide range of package options to choose from with free CRM access
- Extensive customer profiles with contact details
- Easy to track employee performance and assign specific tasks
- Territory and project management options for sales
- Quotes, invoices, proposals, and client tracking components
- Access various features for free
- Additional features can quickly add up
- Slight learning curve to get used to all the features
Further reading 📚
HubSpot CRM Review: A Strong CRM That’s Forever Free
2. Zoho CRM
Probably one of the better-known tools in the CRM market, Zoho comes with everything from email templates for reaching your customers, to drag and drop reporting and profile management. There’s plenty of add-ons and integrations to access for this tool, or you can unlock the benefits of the REST APIs and webhooks for custom integrations.
The Zoho sales CRM enables immersive customer information tracking, project management, workflow automation and more. You can also set up automatic payments with a range of payment gateways, and multi-currency global selling.
Rated as one of the best tools in the world for customer management, Zoho CRM brings all of the solutions you need for understanding your audience into one package, without the need for any complex learning curves. There in-depth customer profiles are particularly impressive, and you can connect with customers using telephony, email, or live chat.
There’s a free package for Zoho CRM available, which supports a single user, offering multi-currency transactions and hosted payment pages. For more functionality, you can upgrade to the Basic package at £39 per month with support for up to 500 customers.
The Standard Zoho CRM package is £79 per month, with automated workflows, custom buttons, and web tabs, and the Professional package is £199 per month with advanced branding and integrations.
- Lots of advanced sales features compared to alternatives
- Wide range of integrations and API access
- Powerful customer and workflow tracking
- Automatic payments with a range of payment gateways
- Immersive customer contact options
- Quite a lot of features to learn for beginners
- Can get quite expensive
Popular for startups looking to leverage the flexible and scalable environment of WooCommerce and WordPress, Metrilo has earned quite the following over the years. Metrilo works seamlessly with your existing WordPress ecosystem, so you can minimize the stress of having to work with developers to hook in new connections.
More than just a basic CRM, Metrilo is essentially a plug-and-play solution for enabling business growth. Companies can access everything from ecommerce analytics, to email marketing tools and integrations with SendinBlue to help enhance your customer retention strategy.
Metrilo is very flexible for business leaders, with no limits on users, traffic, data, or emails on any of the plans available. There’s also a powerful range of tools for managing customers, sending emails, and checking analytics about your target audience. All the visitor information you need is captured in the same environment, making segmentation easy.
The foundational “Essential” plan from Metrilo starts at $119 per month with access to ecommerce analytics, product insights, and a host of extra tools for tracking customer relationships. There’s a “Pro” plan with a customer database where you can access individual profiles and live activity view too, for around $199 per month.
The “Premium” plan comes with all the features of the Pro plan, including customer feedback tools and excellent customer support for $299 per month.
- Easy integration with WordPress and WooCommerce
- Cart abandonment tools to help improve conversions
- Customer segmentation and comprehensive profile tracking
- Custom domains to help boost marketing strategies
- Easy scalability for startups
- Relies on Sendinblue for enhanced email marketing
Further reading 📚
Metrilo Review (Feb 2023): Does This Software Warrant The Price Tag?
A market leader in the world of ecommerce and sales, Keap is a tool designed to help business leaders track meaningful relationships with customers and unlock more leads. With Keap, you can access everything from automated marketing tools with templates, payments, and landing pages, to comprehensive customer relationship tracking.
Keap is an all-in-one tool for powering amazing customer relationships, with text messaging functionality, email marketing, and a range of automation options. There’s also a mobile app so users can access everything they need to progress a sales pipeline on the move.
Keap also offers a wide range of custom reports, with real-time insights and historical overviews so you can understand your customers better and make stronger decisions for your business. There’s even a fantastic customer support team on hand to help you address common queries, and dozens of integrations available for tools like Shopify, Salesforce, Magento, and Zendesk.
Keap gives you a taste of the functionality you can experience with the CRM system with a 14-day free trial. After this, your pricing depends on the functionality you need, and the contacts you manage. Lite pricing starts at around $79 per month for 500 contacts and 1 user, while the Pro package costs $169 per month with extra sales pipelines, automations, and landing pages.
The extensive “Max” package is $199 per month with greater support for engagement analytics, lead scoring, recurring upsells and more.
- Integrates with a host of leading tools for extensive analytics
- Lots of lead capturing and marketing tools
- Excellent level of customer service and support
- Automated marketing across email and SMS
- Payment solutions built into the service
- Fantastic reporting and analytics
- Can be quite expensive for smaller startups
5. Sendinblue CRM
For most people, Sendinblue is best-known as an email automation and marketing solution, designed to nurture and capture leads. However, the solution can also offer a lot more than you might expect, including a comprehensive CRM system. With Sendinblue, you can launch campaigns to attract customers, and interact with your clients through SMS and email.
Sendinblue prioritizes ease-of-use, with an intuitive interface where you can manage all your contacts, set up your automated marketing campaigns, and access social media integrations. There are also various customizable reports to help you understand which strategies deliver the best results.
Sendinblue also works easily alongside a range of other tools for business growth, including various website builders and Enterprise Resource Planning software. This ensures you can connect various pieces of data across your business roadmap.
There are various packages available for Sendinblue, starting with a basic package of lead management and lead generation tools for free. However, you can only send a specific number of emails with the free package (300 per day).
For more functionality and a stronger sales pipeline, you can set up paid pricing at $25 per month for the Lite package, or upgrade to $65 per month for the Premium service. There’s also an Enterprise package with custom pricing.
- Excellent custom marketing with automated emails and SMS
- Powerful customer analytics and reports
- Convenient lead generation and CRM in one
- Multiple subscription options
- Free package ideal for beginners
- Some limitations on analytics and reports
- Slight learning curve
6. Pipedrive CRM
Another excellent CRM software solution for start-up companies looking to upgrade the sales process, Pipedrive has it all. With more than 90,000 customers worldwide, Pipedrive attracts small businesses and innovators with a wide selection of capabilities,
You can create and track automated email campaigns, forecast potential sales outcomes, implement custom deal states, and more. There’s also a host of useful integrations with popular tools like Drip and more. With a mobile app, it’s easy to keep an eye on customer data and forecasting details on the move.
Pipedrive’s comprehensive pipeline management tools don’t just ensure you can better understand your customer, you also get the functionality you need to minimize lost conversions and improve business productivity with smart workflows.
The free trial from Pipedrive makes it easy to check out the potential functionality you can expect before you start spending anything. When you’re ready to invest in a CRM platform, the Essential plan starts at $19 per month billed annually.
The advanced package starts at $34 per month, and the performance-boosting Professional package costs $59.90. The most expensive package (Enterprise) starts at $119 per month.
- Fantastic selection of integrations and automation options
- Advanced analytics and custom reports
- Enterprise-grade security and privacy tools
- Premium support with tailored onboarding
- Multi-level analytics and permissions
- No free package available
- Can take a while to understand the features fully
7. Streak CRM
Streak is a unique solution for companies in search of CRM tools. Rather than giving you a comprehensive ecosystem for sales reps, Streak integrates into your Gmail ecosystem, so you can manage your business needs in a convenient email environment.
The CRM solution built into your Gmail landscape helps to keep business pipelines moving, with a convenient and straightforward environment where you can filter, sort, and group data however you choose. Business leaders and individual users can also set and track upcoming tasks. The Streak system comes with project management tools and automation, as well as comprehensive tracking for sales, with custom reports.
Streak’s convenient solution to CRM technology makes it easier to see when you need to follow up on sales opportunities, and even which of your emails are driving the best results. The tool comes with reports to show you which employees close deals the fastest and help with tracking all kinds of customer interaction.
There’s a free package for Streak with basic CRM functionality, mail merge, and email tracking. The paid packages start at $15 for single users and professionals, with extensive link tracking and advanced tools. The Pro package for $49 per month includes shared pipelines, and the Enterprise service for $129 offers priority support.
- Convenient email integration to manage everything in the same place
- Free plan for beginners with good CRM functionality
- Easy data entry and tracking for metrics
- Manage users throughout the sales cycle
- Sales automation capabilities built-in
- Only suitable for Gmail users
- Limited sales forecasting
8. Agile CRM
One of the most popular and user-friendly CRM tools for salespeople and business leaders alike, Agile CRM offers everything companies need to track conversations with customers. The all-in-one sales hub brings team members together to use CRM capabilities when forging stronger, more lucrative relationships with customers.
With Agile CRM, you can create extremely insightful profiles for your customers, integrating information like contact details and LinkedIn profile links. There are sales reporting tools for tracking potential opportunities and changes in your sales trends. What’s more, there’s also a comprehensive helpdesk environment for service people to track tickets.
Ideal for combining your service and sales activities in one place, Agile keeps everyone on the right track with notifications and insightful reports. The solution also integrates with other SaaS tools like Microsoft Outlook and makes it easy to create custom deal milestones.
You can access a free plan from Agile CRM for up to 10 users, which allows you to store up to 1,000 contacts in your CRM environment. However, some key features are reserved for the paid packages, starting at $8.99 per month. You’ll need to pay more if you want appointment scheduling tools, email tracking, marketing features, and custom milestones.
- Excellent for tracking customer experience
- iOS and Android app access for salespeople on the move
- Helpdesk environment for managing sales tickets
- Easy to use for beginners
- Form builders with spreadsheets and popups
- Limited integrations and add-ons to streamline performance
- Free plan lacks crucial sales team features
Choosing the best CRM software
There are countless things to consider when choosing the best CRM software, from which pricing plans suit your budget, to which integrations or Zapier connections each solution an offer. The right CRM should make it easier to track crucial conversations with your customers, and empower unlimited users to achieve their sales goals.
With so many solutions in today’s market offering free packages and demos, it’s worth taking the time to test out some options and see which fits your startup best. Look for something that can easily combine contact management and marketing automation where possible, and remember to track your results with reporting.