10 of the best CRM software tools for small business owners

With more prospects enquiring about your products or services, long-term customers providing repeat business, and warm leads in the pipeline – a bunch of post-it notes with their details attached to your desk simply won’t do.

You’re a growing business, and you need to keep on top of potential, new and existing clients a lot more effectively than you’ve been used to.

This is where a good old CRM tool will change your world. But with hundreds of systems available on the market, which do you choose? We’ve picked out 10 of the best CRM systems for freelancers and small business owners, so you’ll never have to worry about losing track of a client or customer ever again…

1. Insightly

CRM and project management that's easy, powerful and affordable. That's the promise from Insightly – a tool that doesn't just consider customer relationship management, but allows you to manage all of your emails, calendar events and projects as well. With Insightly, you can keep track of every client and customer that you've nurtured and free up your time to concentrate on the things you do best – whether that's designing, building, crafting or making.

There's a free trial and then a Free plan if you're happy to stay with Insightly. The most advanced plan costs $29 per user/month, if billed annually.

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2. Pipedrive

Reflecting the natural flow of the sales pipeline, Pipedrive will suit those who are more visual and prefer to see things laid out simply on screen. It’s an easy-to-use interface that allows you to focus on the right prospects or clients at the right time – whilst giving you a solid overview of where you’re at. With a mobile app that makes it accessible from anywhere, and a cheap price to boot – this tool offers an affordable, simple and convenient solution for your CRM needs.

A 30-day free trial is available, then it's €12 per user per month thereafter.

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3. Freshdesk

Freshdesk calls itself the customer support software that gives you everything you need to delight your customers. It might be slight overkill for the humble freelancer, but it allows you to stay on top of communications effectively with its multi-channel support.

A 30-day free trial is available, and then you can choose from five different plans – starting from a free option right through to the most advanced at $70 per month.

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4. Base

Base likes to set itself apart from other CRM systems. It believes it’s a next-generation sales productivity platform with just powerful sales tools that will impact your business. With Base, you can manage the customer journey in a way that fosters lifelong business relationships.

How? It can: help you know if your clients are reading emails you send them with view notifications; save you time with personalised email templates; provide real-time updates anytime, anywhere with its mobile apps; keep details records of all customer interaction in one location; automate tasks to help you maintain a steady communication cadence with customers.

Try Base for free and then get on to its Starter plan for $25 per user/month.

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5. Capsule CRM

Capsule is clean, straightforward and easy-to-use. Use it to keep track of the people and companies you do business with including all your communications with them, opportunities in the pipeline, and what needs to be tackled next.

There's a 30-day free trial and then it's £8 per month thereafter for the Professional level. This includes 2GB storage per user, 50,000 contacts and unlimited opportunities and cases. Premium integrations include Xero, FreshBooks, MailChimp, Wufoo and more. For the freelancers out there, you'll be happy with the Free option – which gives you more than enough to get started.

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6. SAP

SAP offers all-in-one customer engagement and brings together sales, service, and marketing to give you everything you need to grow a profitable business. Track all your customer interactions in one place, and generate and nurture leads. It's one single platform that allows you to create targeted email campaigns, score your leads and measure campaign effectiveness.

A 30-day trial is available, and then it's £15 per user, per month for a three-month plan.

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7. SalesforceIQ

SalesforceIQ claims to be the smart, simple CRM to grow your business. It allows you to connect your Gmail or Exchange account to its system, and then your emails, meetings, and phone calls are automatically captured, keeping your deals up to date so you're free to focus on creating. With a mobile app and Chrome extension you can also get instant access to your CRM data, right from your inbox. It means you can stay on top of every lead with predictive notifications, email shortcuts and dynamic scheduling.

You can try it for free, and then it starts from £17 per user, per month if billed annually.

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8. Nutshell

Win more deals and build customer relationships that last – that's the promise from Nutshell. Nutshell's CRM tool will help you nurture relationships and find opportunities for upsell. It also helps you remember when to connect with your most important customers. It's a simple solution and one that offers contact management, 360-degree insights, lead management and performance tracking.

There's a free 14-day trial and then it starts from $20 per user, per month – if billed annually.

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9. Daylite

Daylite is the Mac CRM focused on productivity. It allows you to build amazing customer relationships with improved customer service, more effective processes and the chance to save time and improve efficiency. Brought to you by Marketcircle.

Following a 30-day free trial, expect a monthly plan priced at £22 per user per month.

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10. Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM claims to give you a 360-degree view of your complete sales cycle and pipeline. You can identify trends, spot opportunities, increase efficiency and reduce costs with the right answers, right now. A nice little feature is the ability to capture leads from your website with spam-free forms. You can also improve your workflow by streamlining your sales processes.

Offering just a 15-day free trial, Zoho's plans start from $12 per user/month if billed annually.

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