What are the best CRM systems for small businesses?

If you own or run a small business, investing in a CRM system may be well down your list of priorities.

Time and money are precious commodities after all, and there are probably a hundred and one other things you’d rather be doing to keep your business ticking over than setting up a CRM.

However, if you pick the right system and implement it in the right way, then a CRM can not only become a central part of your operations, but can also accelerate your growth and help you achieve your objectives much quicker than without one.

A good CRM system has many business benefits. It can help streamline your sales processes, enhance your customer relationship management and optimise your resources to free-up capacity.

It can also help facilitate better communication and standardise your key processes which, in turn, can help you cut back on the amount of admin your business needs.

When you translate these benefits into financial terms, this could add up to quite a saving.

So, the question you should ask yourself shouldn’t be whether your business can afford to invest in a CRM system, it should be whether you can afford not to.

What is a CRM system?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. A CRM system helps your business manage its customer data.

CRM systems are designed to support a host of key business processes, including sales, marketing and business development, as well as providing real-time, evidence-based insights on a range of key issues to help you improve the performance of your business.

You can also link your CRM to your social media platforms and other business applications to automate processes and improve communication both with your clients and prospects and your team.

Most cloud-based CRM systems provide a complete solution to customer, sales and business management, are available from anywhere with an internet connection and can be linked with other business support apps to give you total control of every aspect of your business.

What is a CRM system used for?

Most businesses use their CRM system as a central hub for customer and prospect data, which enables them to track customer engagements and share this information across the organisation.

With the right CRM, the details of every interaction and contact your business has with a customer are recorded and made available instantly to anyone within your team, so whoever is dealing with the customer can pick up where you left off.

It can also track emails, meetings and presentations, to give your business a complete picture of the relationship you have with each and every customer and how it has developed over time.

This can lead to stronger relationships, more cross-selling and upselling opportunities, and the ability to spot and resolve potential issues quickly and to the customer’s satisfaction, to help keep the relationship on track.

But, with so many options available and so many different CRM systems on the market, it can be hard to know where to start.

Here, we take a closer look at some of the best CRM systems for small businesses to help you find the one that’s right for you.


This is our personal favourite here at Koa Consulting and is the system we use. It offers a free version and has a lot of free addons which, from a marketing perspective, is always nice.

HubSpot allows you to log and track deals and set reminders and tasks for people, as well as integrating with Microsoft Outlook.

You can add project management software at a big cost. It also offers free integrations with some project management software, such as Asana or Monday. HubSpot also has an Android and iOS app, so you can access it on your smartphone or tablet on the go.


A few of our clients use Zoho, which is a nice and simple CRM system that, like HubSpot, offers a basic free version for up to three users.

It allows you to log and track deals and set tasks to remind yourself to do things.

You can add Zoho projects for as little as £2.40 a month. It also comes with an app, so you can use it easily on your smart device.

However, it doesn’t integrate with Outlook for free, nor does it offer any free additional integrations, so if you want to upgrade it, you’ll need to pay a subscription.


Capsule is a good entry-level option for businesses which have never used a CRM before. It’s easy to use, has a good range of features and is free for up to two users.

It is limited to 250 contacts, which may not be a problem initially but could cause issues further down the line as you get closer to that limit.

It includes plenty of free integrations and customisations, including syncing with Outlook.

Although it doesn’t have any free project management integrations, it will integrate with Tiny Enterprise.


Insightly is a good CRM for project management, setting tasks and reminders, logging details and viewing dashboards.

Like Capsule, it’s free for up to two users, and has an app so you can access it on your phone or tablet. We’ve road-tested this CRM here at Koa and liked it very much. We just liked HubSpot’s interface that little bit more, and didn’t really need the project management elements as much.

However, if projects are your thing, Insightly would be the best choice.


Salesforce is one of the leading global CRM platforms. It offers a wide range of options, depending on business size and need.

In the UK, its small business solutions start from £20 per user per month, with a free trial.

It offers separate solutions for sales, service and marketing, and has options for start-ups and non-profits.

As you’d expect, Salesforce is a lot more in-depth than some of the free CRM systems on offer, which is reflected in the price.

But, if your business is serious about investing in a CRM system to help you transform the way you manage your customer relationships, then Salesforce should be one of the first options you look at.

Still unsure? Give us a call…

If you’re a small business, it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to choosing and implementing the right CRM system for your needs. That’s where Koa Consulting can help.

Our expert team has many years’ experience in implementing CRM systems for organisations of all sizes. We can also provide training and support to help them get the most out of their investment.

This includes managing entire new CRM implementations, translating your business needs to your CRM supplier and providing review and improvement support in this business-critical area.

We can also review your customer journey and experience to help you ensure you’re offering great service and providing long-term value to your clients, with a clear strategic plan to help you maximise your relationships and get more from your customers.

For a free consultation to discuss how we can help you unlock the business benefits of CRM for your organisation, get in touch today.