4 Customer-Relationship Management Systems for Small Businesses

Does your small business routinely seek customers for large projects? Does it sell particular products or solutions to clients on an ongoing basis? In either case, a customer-relationship management system may be an ideal way to keep track of your clients and prospects.

In general, CRM software helps you track people’s contact information, correspondence with your company, and purchase histories in one location. It can also alert you to follow-up steps.

Here are a few CRM vendors that offer systems appropriate for small businesses.

Base — Base, which bills itself as a “post-PC” CRM system, offers mobile apps for Android, iOS, and Windows devices. This allows you to track contacts and follow up on leads from any location. Most notably, you can call contacts directly through the platform, record or take notes on those calls, and automatically log the call details (including date and duration) in your system. Prices start at $15 per user per month.

Batchbook — This CRM system helps you organize contacts from a spreadsheet into visual groupings based on company names or other affiliations. You can add pending deals, track where each prospect is in your sales process, and set up email or text alerts for your follow-up tasks. The website is optimized for mobile devices, and Batchbook also offers apps for iPhone and Android. Pricing starts at $20 per month (after a 30-day free trial) for an unlimited number of users.

Highrise — This tool developed by 37signals — the team behind Basecamp project-management software — allows you to save and organize emails, notes, and contact information for up to 30,000 clients. You can use the tool to keep track of project discussions and proposals, set follow-up tasks, and share communications activity with the rest of your team. Highrise offers a free plan for two users and up to 250 contacts (but no attached files); premium plans start at $24 per month for one to six users. An iPhone app is available as well.

Salesforce — Salesforce is one of the most popular CRM systems around. Although it’s often used by large companies, it’s useful for smaller businesses, too. One of its best features is AppExchange, which offers more than 1,800 apps for integrating popular services with the platform (including Gmail, Google Analytics, LinkedIn Sales Navigator). Salesforce offers mobile apps for Android and devices, too. The basic sales and marketing version starts at $25 per user per month (after a 14-day free trial).

About Kathryn Hawkins

Kathryn Hawkins is a principal at the content marketing agency Eucalypt Media. She's written about business, marketing, and entrepreneurship for publications including BNET, TheAtlantic.com, Inc.com, and owns and operates the positive news site Gimundo. Follow her on Twitter at @kathrynhawkins.
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CRM is only half the answer.  Besides a good CRM solution like Salesforce, you need a lead generation tool that fully integrates into your CRM.  At NetSphere Strategies, an eCommerce technology and consultancy organization near Chicago IL, we use Hubspot for our outbound marketing efforts.  In addition, we use LinkedIn to populate our CRM with professional contacts, which feeds Hubspot for our marketing initiatives.  All three are integrated as a complete seamless solution for sales and marketing activities.


I have been in the technology business for a long time.  The technical and marketing support our Team receives from Hubspot is the BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE I have encountered - period.  The marketing support we receive combined with the technical and analytical features provided by the Hubspot tool, acts like a Digital Sales Rep for our organization.


If you don't have your CRM, contact database and marketing tools integrated, you have not effectively provided your sales team with an optimal sales platform to drive business.


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