June 30, 2023

Best CRM for Startups (2024)

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Tags: CRM

Aug. 14, 2023: Added video companion piece

At TechnologyAdvice, we assess a wide range of factors before selecting our top choices for a given category. To make our selections, we rely on our extensive research, product information, vendor websites, competitor research and first-hand experience. We then consider what makes a solution best for customer-specific needs. 

By defining business needs, we can determine the essential features organizations in various sectors require, and select platforms that will cover all bases. Reputable providers known for their ease of use and customer satisfaction are added to our compilation list for further analysis. 

We then evaluate each solution on the list based on the features they offer, considering the platform’s usability, integration capabilities, customization options, mobile access, and any other relevant functionalities. Price plans, hidden fees, customer reviews, and customer support are also assessed in the selection process. 

Technology Advice writers will often take advantage of free trials and demos to get a first-hand user experience of available software. Finally, we curate a comprehensive list based on the previously stated factors, ensuring readers have the necessary tools to make an informed decision.

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a crucial sales tool for all operation levels, from small businesses to corporate enterprises. For startups, CRM software offers myriad tools to help organize and manage sales pipelines, automate various processes, and ultimately, scale their business. We curated a targeted list of CRM solutions that offer straightforward pricing plans, modular platforms designed for scalability, extensive documentation for new users, and user-friendly interfaces so you can make the right decision for your growing sales teams. 

According to our experts at Technology Advice, here are the top five CRM solutions for startups in 2024:

Less Annoying CRM: Best for straightforward pricing


Pros

  • Simple, affordable pricing structure
  • Clean, intuitive interface
  • Collaboration tools included
  • Integrates well with Google Workspace, Office 365

Cons

  • Lacks advanced features such as AI, analytics
  • No mobile app
  • No social media integration

Contact management: Users can easily store details about their contacts, and track every interaction with them. It also provides a unified view of notes, files, tasks, events, and pipeline information all on one page.

Calendar and tasks: LACRM allows users to manage tasks and events linked directly to contacts or projects. It includes a built-in calendar that syncs with Google Calendar.

Sales pipeline: The platform enables tracking of leads and opportunities in a clear pipeline report, offering a simple visual overview of potential sales.

Customization: Users can customize almost everything in the CRM to fit their workflow. This includes custom fields, pipeline setup, lead report configurations, and more.

Collaboration: The software is designed to make it easy for teams to work together, with shared contacts, notes, files, tasks, events, and pipelines.

Free customer support: LACRM offers free customer support via phone and email. They also provide a variety of tutorial videos and resources. Cloud-based: LACRM is a cloud-based CRM, meaning you can access it from anywhere with an internet connection.

$15/user/month

While LACRM may not have some of the more advanced features of larger CRMs, its simplicity, affordability, and user-friendly design make it a popular choice among small businesses. The company prides itself on its no-nonsense pricing structure that simplifies the CRM purchasing process for teams that need to implement a CRM software and move on to the next order business. LACRM offers all of the basic features of a CRM solution, without adding complicated and often never-adopted bells and whistles—and the cost associated with them.

Less Annoying CRM (LACRM) is a user-friendly, cloud-based software solution aimed at simplifying contact and lead management for small businesses. Launched in 2009 by brothers Bracken and Tyler King, it was born out of a mission to combat complexity often found in traditional CRMs. With its intuitive interface, customizable features, and affordable flat-rate pricing, LACRM offers a “less annoying” approach to managing customer relationships.

Pros

  • Free version offered
  • Modular-based platform for scalability
  • Extensive guides, tutorials
  • Seamless integration with a variety of tools

Cons

  • Many features only available at higher-priced tiers
  • Lacks customer service features

Contact Management: Centralize contacts and record every interaction automatically

Email tracking and notifications: Track email interactions and receive notifications when a prospect opens an email or downloads an attachment

Pipeline management: Visualize your sales funnel and organize your sales pipeline with drag-and-drop functionality

Deal tracking: Monitor the progress of deals, stages, and values

Task management: Set and assign tasks and reminders for your team

Live chat and bots: Engage with prospects and customers in real time on your website

Meeting Scheduling: Sync with Google or Office 365 calendar to schedule meetings

Ad management: Track and measure ad campaigns across platforms

Marketing automation: Automate marketing tasks and workflows (part of HubSpot’s Marketing Hub)Reporting and analytics: Create detailed reports on sales activity, productivity, and individual performance

Free plan available 

Paid plan starting at $45/user/month

HubSpot is a major player in the CRM space, offering several pricing tiers with varying levels of functionality. This can be a double-edged sword, as it means growing costs as your business expands. HubSpot mitigates this effect by offering a truly modular approach to its platform. Individual tools or “hubs” can be added so your business only invests in the features it needs. Couple that with its extensive guides and tutorials, and team members will become HubSpot experts in short order, growing their CRM software skills in line with your scaling company.

HubSpot CRM is designed to help businesses streamline their sales, marketing, and customer service processes. Launched in 2014 by HubSpot, the CRM offers a wide array of features for startups including contact management, email tracking, deal tracking, and pipeline management. Its free tier is a major draw for cash-strapped startups, while its scalable, advanced features cater to growing businesses. Despite its powerful capabilities, HubSpot can present a learning curve due to its extensive functionalities. Keep in mind that Its premium tiers, while offering more sophisticated tools, may prove costly for some startups.

Pipedrive: Best for sales teams


Pros

  • Free version available
  • Sales focus
  • Easily navigable interface
  • Offers mobile apps for Apple and Android
  • Integrates with a variety of software

Cons

  • Limited functionality with free version
  • No built-in email marketing
  • Limited customer support and lower-tier plans

Sales pipelines: Visual, customizable pipelines allow users to manage their sales process with ease, tracking deals from beginning to end.

Email integration: Pipedrive integrates with various email platforms, allowing users to manage emails directly within the CRM.

Activities & goals: You can schedule activities linked to deals and track goals, fostering a more efficient sales process.

Sales reporting: Pipedrive offers insights and reports on sales data, though the advanced reporting is only available on higher-tier plans.

Lead management: Tools for tracking and nurturing leads, including a feature called “LeadBooster” which helps to capture and qualify leads.

Mobile apps: Pipedrive offers iOS and Android apps, allowing users to manage their pipelines on the go.

Customization: Pipedrive allows users to customize fields, pipelines, activities, and more to match their sales process.

Integration capabilities: Pipedrive can integrate with a multitude of other tools, enhancing its functionalities.

Essential: $14.90/user/month 

Advanced: $27.90/user/month 

Professional: $49.90/user/month 

Power: $64.90/user/month 

Enterprise: $99/user/month

The sales team is the crux of any organization. Pipedrive keeps that team thriving by focusing on the sales pipeline first and foremost. With strong visualization features and highly customizable fields and pipelines, Pipedrive is the ultimate sales hub. Pricing is also reasonable and straightforward for startups and SMBs, but more advanced features are only available at higher price tiers.

Pipedrive CRM is a sales-centric platform established in 2010. Pipedrive’s emphasis is on providing clear visibility and easy control over sales pipelines. It offers features like customizable sales pipelines, email integration, lead management, and robust mobile apps. Pipedrive also provides integration capabilities with numerous tools. Despite its strong sales focus, startups should note that Pipedrive may fall short in areas such as marketing automation and post-sales customer management.

Monday Sales CRM: Best for user experience


Pros

  • Intuitive visual interface
  • Strong automation features
  • Highly customizable

Cons

  • Some security features limited to Enterprise tier
  • Limited email integration

Boards: Monday.com organizes work through boards that can be customized to create a unique CRM system for your startup.

Customizable workflows: Monday.com allows you to build your CRM workflow to match your sales process, with custom statuses and fields.

Automations: This feature can trigger an action based on a status change, date, or user assignment.

Integrations: Monday.com integrates with tools such as Gmail, Slack, and Zoom, and allows for a seamless flow of data.

Visualizations: Multiple view options, including timeline, kanban, chart, and map views, enable startups to visualize their sales process and data.

Collaboration Tools: Centralize communication with context. Share files, mention team members, and keep conversation threads linked to tasks.

Forms: Capture leads or gather information directly into your CRM with customizable forms.

Dashboard and Reporting: Consolidate data from different boards into a high-level view, allowing for real-time insights and reporting.

Basic Plan: $12/user/month

Standard Plan: $14/user/month

Pro Plan: $24/user/month

Enterprise: Contact Monday.com for a customized quote

Monday’s CRM offering builds on many of the features that the company’s flagship software, Monday.com, does well. Monday.com is a project management solution, but the company takes the same approach regarding user experience in its CRM. The platform is intuitive, visually appealing, and makes customization and integrating other apps easier than some of its competitors. The blend of functionality and ease of use ensures team members will adopt many of the tools available within the software.

Monday Sales CRM is a sales-focused extension of the well-known project management tool, Monday.com. Launched in 2023, it provides a customizable platform for businesses to streamline their sales and marketing processes. It is known for its ease of use and well-designed interface, offering features like activity management, sales analytics, and no-code automations. Integration with third-party solutions like Excel, DocuSign, Shopify, and Salesforce is possible. It is particularly favored by small

SugarCRM: Best for predictive analytics


Pros

  • Extensive customer support
  • Easily implemented marketing campaigns
  • Extensive documentation including training and tutorials

Cons

  • Complicated integration process
  • Complex setup that may require IT professionals

60-degree customer view: SugarCRM offers a comprehensive overview of each customer, which includes contact information, communication history, social media activity, and purchase history.

Sales automation and forecasting: Automate your sales process and accurately predict future sales trends with SugarCRM’s forecasting tools.

Customer journey mapping: Track and visualize your customer’s lifecycle from prospect to loyal customer. This feature allows you to provide personalized customer experiences.

Advanced workflow: Create and manage advanced business processes. This feature allows you to streamline and automate routine tasks.

Mobile CRM: SugarCRM offers a mobile app, allowing users to access CRM data from anywhere at any time.

Self-service portal: Give your customers the tools they need to manage their own account information and track issues.

Integrations: SugarCRM integrates with numerous other software, increasing its functionality.

Sugar Market: Starts at $1,000/month for 10,000 contacts

Additional contacts start at $150/month

Sugar Sell: $49/user/month with a minimum of 3 users

Billed annually

Sugar Serve: $80/user/month with a minimum of 3 users

Sugar Enterprise: $85/user/month with a minimum of 3 users

SugarCRM can be more complicated than the other solutions on this list to figure out. But, once you do, you have opened a new world of possibilities for a more reasonable price than its competitors that offer similar functionality. Its predictive analytics capabilities are second to none, and the platform is highly customizable. What’s more, SugarCRM offers excellent customer support and resources to help teams wrap their heads around the software. 

SugarCRM is a CRM platform that helps businesses manage their interactions with current and potential customers. It’s designed to streamline customer service, marketing, and sales operations by centralizing customer data and providing tools for tracking and managing customer interactions, sales processes, and marketing campaigns.

Founded in 2004, SugarCRM offers various solutions tailored for different business needs, including sales automation, marketing automation, customer service, and an enterprise solution for businesses requiring on-premises control. The platform can be used by businesses of all sizes, from small startups to large corporations, across a wide range of industries.

Key benefits of using a CRM for startups

With the right CRM system in place, startups can catapult their business operations into the big leagues. Much more than just a digital rolodex, a CRM tool is the linchpin for successful customer relationship management. 

Startups have the herculean task of transforming ideas into viable businesses. In the hustle, customer relationships might inadvertently be placed on the back burner. That’s where CRM steps in, turning this potential oversight into a core strength. The power of data at your fingertips, centralized and organized, can be a game-changer. CRM allows you to track, understand, and respond to customer behaviors in real-time, fueling customer retention and loyalty.

Moreover, CRM tools empower startups to streamline their sales processes. CRM tools provide visual interfaces that facilitate easy tracking of leads and deals, enhancing the efficiency of sales teams.

Automation is another ace up CRM’s sleeve. Startups often grapple with limited resources. With CRM, routine tasks can be automated, freeing up precious time for teams to focus on strategic tasks.

Lastly, for startups eying growth, a scalable CRM system is a crucial ally. As your customer base grows, so does the complexity of managing relationships. A scalable CRM ensures that this transition happens smoothly, preventing any customer from falling through the cracks.

Finding the right CRM software for your startup

Choosing the right CRM solution is an instrumental step for startups looking to streamline their sales process, enhance customer relationship management, and drive growth. Whether you opt for a flexible all-rounder like Monday.com, a sales-centric tool like Pipedrive, a comprehensive and robust platform like HubSpot, the simplicity and affordability of Less Annoying CRM, or the extensive features of SugarCRM, the key is to find a CRM that aligns with your business model, needs, and budget.

It’s also important to keep in mind that the most effective CRM software is one that can adapt to your business as it grows and evolves. Hence, scalability, customization, and integration capabilities should not be overlooked in your selection process. Remember, it’s not just about managing customer data – it’s about enhancing customer relationships, optimizing your sales processes, and ultimately, driving your startup to the next level.Looking for the latest in CRM solutions? Check out our CRM Software Buyer’s Guide.

Featured partners

1 Zoho CRM

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Fully-customizable Zoho CRM provides unified solutions for businesses of all types and sizes. Conduct your Sales & Marketing analytics to gain insights using Dashboard views and Automate your daily routines. Customize your CRM theme based on your industry needs using Canvas, Omnichannel communication for streamlined communication between teams and customers, handle customer support from within the platform to improve customer relationships. Get Started with Zoho CRM now!

Learn more about Zoho CRM

2 HubSpot CRM

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HubSpot is an intuitive CRM that makes managing your sales pipeline a breeze. Everything you need to track important metrics, set up time-saving flows and automations, manage clients seamlessly, and grow your business is available in one tidy dashboard. Plans are available for businesses at every stage of growth, starting at 100% free. Start taking the guesswork out of business management today with HubSpot CRM.

Learn more about HubSpot CRM

3 Pipedrive

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Pipedrive is a sales-focused customer relationship management tool that teams of all sizes love using. It visualizes your sales pipeline and helps to make sure important activities and conversations won’t get dropped. It also sports built-in forecasting, integrations with other software such as Google Apps, MailChimp and Zapier and an API for those who like to “roll their own” software solutions.

Learn more about Pipedrive

FAQs

What is CRM for startups?

Customer relationship management (CRM) for startups is a tool that centralizes customer data, streamlines sales processes, automates tasks, and improves customer relationships to drive business growth.

Does a startup need a CRM?

Many startups use CRM software to manage customer data, streamline sales processes, improve customer service, automate repetitive tasks, and provide insights for business growth.

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