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The best CRM software for your business in 2022

If you run or are starting a businesses, the best ingredient for success isn’t what accounting software you use, your hiring practices, or your office layout — it’s how you deal with your customers. But gone are the days of rolodexes and handwritten address books. In the 21st century, any business worth its salt uses CRM software. CRM, or customer relations management, is a broad term that covers pretty much anything your company does to connect with customers. This includes things like managing customer contact information, running targeted messaging and ad campaigns, consolidating all customer communications, generating sales leads, and providing fast and direct customer service, among many other things.

If all this sounds complicated, that’s because it is, but the best CRM software is designed to integrate all of these processes into one easy-to-manage system, greatly streamlining this process by leveraging modern technologies like online connectivity and cloud computing. There are a few things to consider before choosing the best CRM software for your business, though, as they’re not all built for the same thing. Below, we’ve laid out the best CRM software suites along with their various features, pricing, and what sets them apart from the competition. If you’re looking for a better way to manage your customer relations in 2022, we’ve got what your business needs right here.

Zoho CRM

The Zoho logo on a white background.
  • API integration: Yes
  • Mobile support: Yes
  • Cost: From $14/month
  • Third-party app support: Yes
  • Automated sales and marketing: Yes
  • Trial period: 15 days (30 days for Ultimate Plan)

Zoho is a leader in the customer relationship management space and has earned its place at the top of our roundup of the best CRM software. Zoho CRM offers all of the features we look for in a good CRM suite, including live customer chat, a chatbot AI, easy sales and marketing pipeline management, advanced customer analytics, email routing, and more. It’s also easy to set up and use, which is important for small businesses without an advanced IT team and any others who maybe aren’t the most tech-savvy. Especially with support from Zia, Zoho’s AI-powered assistant that helps you work smarter not harder. Zia increases sales productivity and both speeds up and makes various tasks so much easier with accurate predictions and delegation opportunities.

Zoho CRM also integrates with many third-party enterprise and workflow apps including Microsoft Office, Slack, Shopify, Google Workspace, and MailChimp, among others. Zoho CRM automates much of the workflow as well, and provides advanced analytics as well as real-time notifications when a customer interacts with your business to help you get a bird’s-eye view of what’s working, what’s not, and how to drive more sales. Another excellent feature to note is that Zoho CRM has over 500 extensions spanning each stage of the sales process. Canvas for Zoho CRM is another benefit, and industry-first, which allows you to redesign the look and feel of the CRM to match business needs and create a more meaningful experience.

Zoho CRM does come in a free edition for small businesses, but it’s limited to three users maximum. Pricing starts as low as $14 per user per month for the Standard plan and scales up from there. The $52/month Ultimate tier gives you 30 days free, which should be ample time to try out all the advanced features of the top Zoho CRM service plan. There is a 15-day trial period offer with most plans, so you can give them a try.

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HubSpot CRM

The HubSpot logo on an orange background.
  • API integration: Yes
  • Mobile support: Yes
  • Cost: Free tools available, premium plans from $45/month
  • Third-party app support: Yes
  • Automated sales and marketing: Yes
  • Trial period: None, but free CRM tools are available

Hubspot is another of the best CRM software suites and is a great pick for smaller businesses. That’s because it’s super intuitive to set up and use, has fantastic email integration, and — perhaps most importantly — you don’t actually have to spend a cent to use its basic CRM features.

Hubspot’s pricing structure is a little different than other CRM service providers: It operates on a freemium model, giving you access to many CRM tools without cost. Then, if you decide you need to add on some additional marketing and sales tools, you can sign up for these premium plans starting at $45 per month. These premium add-ons offer things like marketing contacts and advanced sales tools, giving you some flexibility and allowing you to scale your plan with the size and needs of your business.

The free CRM tools provides by Hubspot are good on their own, though, so we recommend trying those out and then deciding if you need more. Hubspot’s free CRM services include email marketing, live customer chat, sales landing pages, ad management, chat bots, contact management, and third-party app integrations, so you’ve got a lot to work with here. And “free” means “free” — this isn’t a trial period.

Freshsales CRM

The Freshsales CRM logo on a white background.
  • API integration: Yes
  • Mobile support: Yes
  • Cost: Free plan available, premium plans from $15/month
  • Third-party app support: Yes
  • Automated sales and marketing: Yes
  • Trial period: 21 days, free basic plan available

Freshsales is another great CRM solution for smaller businesses as it’s lightweight and quick to set up. If you run a smaller company and you’re looking for a no-nonsense CRM software suite that you can have up and running fast, Freshsales is one worth checking out. It even features a handy AI assistant to help keep things running smoothly. If all of this tech stuff intimidates you, then Freshsales is by far one of the simplest and most straightforward CRM suites available.

There’s also a basic free plan available, with premium tiers starting at $15 per month per user. You can take advantage of a 21-day free trial for the paid plans as well. The free plan is pretty basic, though; you get contact and account management, live chat, email integration, and mobile support, but you don’t get any sales or customer interaction analytics. Nonetheless, it’s a good way to give Freshsales a spin and decide if you’d like to shell out the cash for one of the paid plans to unlock some more advanced features (or at least take that 21-day trial for a spin).

Some of the more advanced features that come with the premium tiers include sales pipeline management, customer analytics, AI chatbots, workflow automation, sales lead generation, and extensive third-party app integrations. For being so easy to use, Freshsales is also highly customizable, so advanced users shouldn’t shy away from it thinking that it’s too bare-bones. It’s one of the best CRM software suites for small businesses

Salesforce CRM

The Salesforce logo on a white background.
  • API integration: Yes
  • Mobile support: Yes
  • Cost: From $25/month
  • Third-party app integrations: Yes
  • Automated sales and marketing: Yes
  • Trial period: 30 days

Like Zoho, Salesforce is another household name in the business software space, and it’s a name you might have heard of already. It’s easily one of the best CRM software suites out there and is a top choice for larger businesses and more advanced users looking for a full-featured customer relationship management solution, although it works well with companies of pretty much any size — provided that you can navigate through its broad and powerful set of tools.

Salesforce offers pretty much everything you could want from a CRM software service, depending on which plan you choose. Contact management, lead generation, email integration, live chat, workflow automation, sales forecasting, mobile support — it’s all there. But where Salesforce really shines is in its third-party support. Its dominant market presence lends it perhaps the most widespread third-party support of all of the best CRM software providers, giving you a huge amount of collaboration and app integration options.

The drawback of Salesforce is that, as one of the most advanced, powerful, and feature-rich CRM software solutions out there, it can be a bit daunting for the uninitiated. There’s a bit of a steep learning curve involved with setting up and using Salesforce. It’s also one of the more expensive CRM suites, starting at $25 per user per month for the basic Essentials plan and going up to $300 for the Unlimited package, but there is a 30-day free trial period so you can enjoy a little risk-free hands-on time with it before you commit.

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Less Annoying CRM

The Less Annoying CRM logo.
  • API integration: Yes
  • Mobile support: Yes
  • Cost: From $15/month
  • Third-party app support: Yes
  • Automated sales and marketing: Yes
  • Trial period: 30 days

As its name pretty clearly suggests, Less Annoying CRM aims to provide a simpler and more streamlined customer relationship management software solution than its competitors. As powerful as services like Salesforce may be, the truth is that many businesses, especially smaller ones and sole proprietor companies, don’t need (or want to deal with) all those bells and whistles. Less Annoying CRM bills itself as one of the cleanest and most user-friendly CRM software suites out there. It’s also one of the cheapest.

The basic plan starts at $15 per user per month, and you get a 30-day trial period to give everything a whirl without having to commit any money. Its web-based software is slick and intuitive, and it offers mobile support as well. In fact, Less Annoying CRM has some of the best mobile website integration we’ve seen. It also provides all the basics of what you want CRM software to do, from email marketing and contact management to lead generation and third-party worfklow app integration.

The drawback of that simplicity and ease of use is that some of its features are a bit basic, but that’s to be expected (and if you want a simpler and more easy-to-use CRM suite, then you’ve probably already accepted this trade-off). For instance, its reporting capabilities fall behind the competition. Nevertheless, Less Annoying CRM is one of the best CRM software platforms for small- to mid-sized businesses, startups, and sole proprietor enterprises that are looking for something simple and easy to use.

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