Confident woman in her home office looking at a computer screen and talking on the phone.
Sales, marketing and customer service teams use CRMs to track leads and personalize conversations. — Getty Images/fizkes

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is vital to your small business, regardless of whether you have five or 100 clients. CRM software stores customer data, such as contact information and purchase details. Advanced tools automate workflows, integrate with websites and offer reporting options.

Sales, marketing and customer service teams use CRMs to track leads and personalize conversations. The best CRM for your small business depends on your needs and budget. Fortunately, there are plenty of free and inexpensive cloud-based programs. Here are six CRM tools that can help your business thrive.

Agile CRM: Good choice for solopreneurs

Agile CRM is free for up to 10 users and 1,000 contacts. Pricing starts at $9.99 per user per month with annual prepayment and social monitoring and marketing automation. Solopreneurs, startups and small teams can appreciate that Agile CRM provides tools for lead scoring, email tracking and help desk ticketing.

It also features built-in form and landing page builders and unlimited deals and tasks. But, the free version doesn’t integrate with Shopify or Stripe and only supports one third-party integration.

[Read more: How to Choose the Best CRM Software]

Britix24: Free CRM, communication and collaboration tools

Britix24 is an all-in-one platform with built-in customer relationship management, team collaboration, sales intelligence and project management tools. It’s free for an unlimited number of users, and paid plans start at $39 for five users with annual prepayment. Unlike other small business CRMs, Britix24 offers cloud or on-premise deployment options.

All plans include hundreds of features, such as:

  • Unlimited deals and contacts.
  • CRM analytics reports.
  • Product catalogs with unlimited items.
  • Visual pipelines.
  • CRM forms.
  • Sales and marketing automation.
  • Inventory management.
  • Live chat and social media integrations.

The best CRM for your small business depends on your needs and budget. Fortunately, there are plenty of free and inexpensive cloud-based programs.

Freshsales: Excellent customer service options

Freshsales (formerly Freshworks CRM) is free for unlimited users, and paid plans start at $15 per user per month with annual billing. Plus, it has a longer free trial (21 days) for paid plans than HubSpot or Agile CRM. The software helps you monitor deal progress with a visual sales pipeline and includes a built-in phone dialer.

Freshsales stands out for its customer service, as even the free plan offers 24/5 (24-hours, five days a week) phone, chat and email support. Other vendors limit customer service to email or only offer a knowledge base for businesses using the free version.

HubSpot: Unlimited users and a million contacts

HubSpot provides a free plan for unlimited users and up to one million contacts. Paid plans come with a 14-day free trial and plans start at $45 per month with an annual prepayment. It’s an excellent choice for companies with a large volume of customer records, as other free plans are typically limited to 5,000 or fewer records.

In addition, HubSpot’s free plan is packed with features for managing customers and sales, including:

  • Contact website activity tracking.
  • Hundreds of App Marketplace integrations.
  • Help disk ticketing.
  • Email automation.
  • Ad management and retargeting.
  • Reporting dashboard.
  • Document repository.

[Read more: 12 Common CRM Questions Answered]

Streak: Recommended for Gmail Users

Streak’s free version includes essential CRM functions, such as private pipelines, email tracking and unlimited contacts. It integrates with Google, allowing access to CRM data in Gmail, Sheets, Chat, Drive and Calendar. Paid plans start at $15 per user per month with annual billing.

CRM features on the free plan consist of:

  • A single view for tasks and reminders.
  • File attachments.
  • Custom columns and fields.
  • Meeting notes and call logs.

Zoho CRM: Free workflow automation tools

Zoho CRM is free for up to three users, and paid plans start at $14 per user per month with annual billing. It stores up to 5,000 records, supports workflow automation and offers team collaboration tools. Zoho CRM works well for small teams that want to centralize their leads, deals and contacts. It allows colleagues to message each other, leave status updates or share files from the browser-based program or mobile app.

However, Zoho CRM lacks third-party integrations and has lower limits than other free CRMs. For instance, HubSpot’s free version allows unlimited users, a million contacts, and hundreds of integrations.

[Read more: Ready to Grow Your Business? It's Time for CRM Software]

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Published March 25, 2022