The Best CRM Systems For Managing Contacts and Improving Sales

Customer relationship management (CRM) software has become an invaluable tool for businesses looking to organize their contact data and improve their sales processes. CRM systems consolidate all information related to prospects and customers in one centralized location, provide insights through reporting and analytics, and help streamline the sales pipeline. Choosing the right CRM platform can lead to increased productivity, higher customer retention, and ultimately more closed sales. This article will examine the key features to look for in a CRM system and review some of the top options on the market today for both small businesses and large enterprises.

What to Look for in a CRM System

When evaluating CRM solutions, there are certain core features and functionalities that the top platforms tend to share. The right CRM software for your business should include:

Contact ManagementThe ability to store and track detailed contact profiles for leads and customers including contact info, communications history, notes, documents, and more.
Sales Pipeline ManagementCRM platforms let you define, segment, and manage your sales workflow with stages like lead, prospect, opportunity, closed/won.
Analytics and ReportingGain insights into sales performance and trends through dashboards and reports. Track KPIs like deals closed, sales cycle length, and revenue over time.
Software IntegrationsLeading CRM systems integrate with popular software like email, calendars, telephony, marketing automation, accounting, and more.
Flexible PricingOptions like monthly subscriptions, tiered pricing for different features, scalable packages to fit business needs and growth.
Mobility and AccessCloud-based CRM platforms provide access via web browsers and mobile apps for sales teams on the go.
Ease of UseAn intuitive, straightforward interface to ensure user adoption across sales teams, with customization options.

Top CRM Systems for Small Businesses

Small businesses have unique needs and tight budgets. Here are some of the top CRM platforms designed for SMBs:

Salesforce Essentials

Salesforce is the undisputed leader in CRM software. Salesforce Essentials offers a pared-down CRM solution at an affordable price point for small businesses.

Key Features: contact management, sales force automation, sales reporting and dashboards, mobile access

Pricing: $25/month per user

Pros: lightweight and easy to use, Salesforce quality and support, highly customizable, seamless Salesforce ecosystem integration

Cons: limited feature set compared to full Salesforce, additional costs for add-ons

Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM is a flexible and budget-friendly CRM platform for small businesses. It provides strong sales pipeline management coupled with email marketing and social media integration.

Key Features: sales pipeline management, email integration, campaign tracking, mobile apps, social media integration

Pricing: $12-$20/month per user

Pros: very affordable, great email marketing features, third-party integrations

Cons: interface not as slick or intuitive as some competitors

HubSpot CRM

With its free CRM software, HubSpot aims to attract small companies. The platform focuses heavily on email marketing automation.

Key Features: contact management, deals pipeline, email integration and automation, sales reporting

Pricing: Free version available, paid plans $45-$800/month

Pros: free version available, great for email marketing and workflows

Cons: paid upgrades needed for robust features, focused on inbound not outbound sales


Freshsales is the CRM platform from Freshworks, emphasizing simplicity, ease of use, and automation for SMBs.

Key Features: contact/deal management, email/calendar integration, sales pipeline, call/email automation

Pricing: $19-$79/month per user

Pros: very user-friendly and intuitive, built-in phone with call tracking

Cons: smaller market share than other platforms, limited native marketing features

Best Enterprise CRM Systems

Larger businesses have more complex needs and processes. Here are some top enterprise-level CRM solutions:

Salesforce Sales Cloud

The full-featured Salesforce Sales Cloud delivers sophisticated CRM for large businesses. It provides deep customization and scalability to match company growth.

Key Features: contact management, opportunity tracking, sales forecasts, workflows and approvals, complex role-based security

Pricing: $75-$300/month per user

Pros: highly customizable, proven with large sales teams, excellent analytics, seamless ecosystem integration

Cons: complex set up and training required, steep learning curve, high cost at scale

Microsoft Dynamics 365

Microsoft Dynamics 365 combines CRM, ERP, other business solutions in a unified platform that is familiar for many enterprises.

Key Features: sales force automation, XRM framework for customization, AI-enabled insights, LinkedIn integration

Pricing: $95-$210/month per user

Pros: integrates with Office 365 and other Microsoft products, customizable, strong partner ecosystem

Cons: less user-friendly than other CRMs, requires technical resources to customize and manage

Oracle CX Cloud

Oracle CX Cloud is a feature-packed enterprise CRM platform with advanced marketing and sales automation.

Key Features: account management, marketing automation, sales prediction, configure-price-quote, integrated billing

Pricing: Contact Oracle for custom quote

Pros: full-suite of sales, marketing, and commerce solutions, highly scalable

Cons: very complex and may require consultants, expensive, not ideal for SMBs


SAP C/4HANA delivers an intelligent suite of integrated CRM applications leveraging automation and advanced analytics.

Key features: lead/opportunity management, marketing automation, sales planning and forecasting, order/contract management

Pricing: Contact SAP for custom quote

Pros: real-time data and reporting, AI-driven insights, industry specializations

Cons: high complexity and cost, extensive training required, longer deployments

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a CRM

When evaluating the many CRM options on the market, keep these key factors in mind:

Customer SupportLook for responsive and knowledgeable support teams to help optimize your CRM.
ScalabilityEnsure the platform can grow and scale with your evolving business needs.
CustomizationSeek out customization and integration options to match your unique workflows.
Data SecurityVerify the CRM employs robust security measures and controls.
TrainingFactor in whether vendor provides training resources and materials.
Industry-Specific FeaturesSome CRMs cater to certain industries like financial, healthcare, retail, etc.


The right CRM system can help drive sales performance and efficiency for any size business. Carefully weigh the options to find software that best fits your budget, functionality needs, and future growth goals. The platforms profiled here represent some of the top CRM solutions available to suit different business requirements. Leverage the robust features of today’s CRM technology to boost productivity and profits. With the proper CRM in place, businesses can optimize their contact data, improve communication, and streamline processes to connect better with customers and close more sales.

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