9 Best Free CRM Software for Startups in 2022

Laptop with the words, Customer Relationship Management.

Consumer retention efforts have changed drastically in the last decade. Customer relationship management (CRM) software is more robust than ever, and there are countless ways this software helps companies connect with their clients. CRM systems are designed to be a central, internal space where businesses can store prospective and current data to help grow their business, which is why they’re perfect for entrepreneurs. We’ve compiled a list of the best CRM software so you can take your startup to new heights.

Recommended CRM Software: HubSpot


Top CRM Software for Entrepreneurs

It can be hard to choose the CRM software that best fits your business needs. That’s why we’ve done the research — so you don’t have to. First, there are three main types of CRM systems you should be aware of: analytical, collaborative, and operational. 

Operational CRMs simplify a business’s main processes so that it can generate leads faster. Analytical CRMs use data collection and analyses to serve their customers, and collaborative CRMs are all about bringing together a business’s marketing, sales, and service data so that everyone in the company can better understand their base. 

Now that you know the basics, here are some of the best free CRM software available to entrepreneurs: 

  1. HubSpot CRM
  2. Freshworks CRM
  3. Zoho CRM
  4. EngageBay
  5. Bitrix24
  6. Agile CRM
  7. Insightly
  8. Capsule
  9. Apptivo CRM

Best Free CRM Software: HubSpot

We recommend HubSpot CRM for startups because of its flexible pricing plans, accessibility, and variety of tools and resources.

Visit HubSpot

1. HubSpot CRM

About

HubSpot is an industry leader in marketing and sales, so it’s no surprise HubSpot CRM made the list, too. HubSpot boasts a collaborative CRM, meaning there are plenty of tools for your marketing and customer service teams to use as well. No matter the size of your startup, you can get started with HubSpot’s CRM for free. 

Notable Features

  • Available around the globe
  • Strong API integration to help with tracking
  • Ability to automate several sales processes

Pros

  • Access to helpful content and Hubspot training materials
  • Automatic notifications when leads open your communications
  • Robust organizational features for sales teams

Cons

  • Interface might not be as streamlined as well as other CRMs
  • More powerful features are only available on paid plans
  • Free CRM plan is more sales-oriented

Best For:

  • Startups who need help with website construction but don’t have IT capabilities
  • A more established startup team
  • A rapidly-growing salesforce

Recommended: Get started with HubSpot today!

2. Freshworks CRM

About

The Freshworks CRM, Freshsales, is all about uniting your salesforce. It’s a great tool for startups looking to streamline sales communication, track leads, and stay organized. Their AI tool, Freddy, takes some of the guesswork out of CRM navigation so that your salesforce can do what they do best: make connections. 

Notable Features

  • 24/5 customer support, regardless of payment plan status
  • AI tool (“Freddy”)
  • “Freemium” plan that grows alongside your business

Pros

  • Instinctive
  • Affordable
  • Reliable

Cons

  • Expects sales team to be well-versed in marketing campaign execution
  • Can be outgrown quickly depending on startup needs
  • “One size fits all” mentality

Best For:

  • A sales-heavy startup
  • Smaller teams (anywhere from one to four members)
  • Self-starter salespeople

Get started with Freshsales today!

3. Zoho CRM

About

Zoho is a great tool for startups looking to take their business to new heights. Not only is it the top-rated CRM, but it’s also designed to help businesses in various industries stay organized. From real estate to retail or nonprofits, Zoho can do it all. 

Notable Features

  • New Canvas design studio allows you to re-envision your CRM at any time
  • Designed to also support a remote salesforce
  • Customizable CRM for your business’s needs

Pros

  • Small business-friendly
  • Easy to navigate interface
  • Strong product offering

Cons

  • Not the best CRM for a startup that’s still trying to get off the ground
  • No live chat feature
  • Some issues with email integration

Best For:

  • Aesthetically-inclined entrepreneurs
  • Established startups that are looking to take their sales game to the next level
  • Remote office culture/startup

Get started with Zoho today!

4. EngageBay

About

The EngageBay CRM does exactly as it sounds: it helps your startup boost engagements that you can transform into sales. While other previous CRMs on this list were mostly sales-focused, EngageBay offers a wide array of marketing tools, including email marketing, landing page assistance, and more. If you’re looking to spread the word about your startup, EngageBay could be a great place to start. 

Notable Features

  • Excellent marketing campaign integration abilities
  • Powerful landing page builder
  • Social media and text message integration capabilities

Pros

  • Strong selection of tools available for the free plan
  • Unified software that allows for more than just sales organization
  • Live chat integration tool for company websites

Cons

  • Little to no training or content materials
  • The ability to track information in the software may leave users wanting more
  • No option to design your own landing page — must use EngageBay templates

Best For:

  • Smaller startup teams (EngageBay can support a team of up to 15)
  • Creative entrepreneurs who rely on customer engagement from newsletters
  • Startups whose website generates a majority of their sales leads

5. Bitrix24

About

Bitrix24 is the ideal CRM software for entrepreneurs with large supply orders. Startups that need to send quotes or invoices, see projections of their new sales funnels, and even integrate social media ad campaigns will find this system useful. Bitrix24’s website also offers educational content and client support that help entrepreneurs with any problems that arise. 

Notable Features

  • Offers order management and payment processing features
  • Measures key metrics like customer life value and acquisition costs
  • Unlimited customer database so you can always access past information

Pros

  • Robust sales automation process
  • Strong mobile app to help you be more hands-free
  • Extremely small business and entrepreneur-friendly

Cons

  • Does not offer a ton of marketing-based tools
  • Weak audio conferencing tool
  • Myriad features can lead to a more cluttered user interface

Best For:

  • Retail/inventory-based startups like restaurants and bakeries
  • Startups who rely on sales promotions for lead generation
  • Transportation and storage entrepreneurs

6. Agile CRM

About

The Agile CRM boasts over 30 integrations to help streamline countless marketing and sales processes. Not only does Agile’s sales-based CRM help keep things organized, it also allows users to foster friendly competition among sales teams. This software is sure to keep you and your team on your toes. 

Notable Features

  • Phone integrations help salespeople stay on script
  • Easy to use “drag and drop” web page building tool
  • Ability to “gamify” sales goals and track who’s in the lead

Pros

  • Users can easily attach documents to email campaigns, customer deals, and more
  • Automatic call distribution tool optimizes customer response times
  • “All in one” CRM tools

Cons

  • Integration software not optimized for Android phones
  • More robust features only available for paid plans
  • Difficult to add custom fields to email campaigns/landing pages/etc. 

Best For:

  • Startups who rely on phone calls for lead generation
  • Entrepreneurs who are looking for a good introductory CRM system
  • Small startup teams (anywhere from one to four members)

7. Insightly

About

The Insightly CRM is perfect for startups that are looking to focus on and cultivate better customer relationships. This software ensures clients that the services sold are delivered on time while holding the business accountable. Not only that, but users also have the ability to create sales networks that allow others within the company to see who’s connected to who. 

Notable Features

  • Ability to build and deploy custom apps via the CRM
  • Network building capability 
  • Strong workflow automation features

Pros

  • Free for two users
  • Users are able to design and customize their dashboards
  • Affordable and easy to navigate

Cons

  • CRM system may seem “basic” to some users
  • Outlook integration may leave users wanting more
  • Must have a user account for everyone on your team

Best For:

  • Consultants who find themselves juggling multiple clients
  • Marketing and advertising startups looking to boost sales
  • Nonprofit startups that thrive on relationships

8. Capsule

About

Sometimes less is more. The Capsule CRM software takes that to heart to bring users a simple yet powerful management system. Like Insightly, Capsule wants to put your customers at the forefront of your business by allowing you to create customer profiles to foster more authentic relationships. 

Notable Features

  • Ability to adapt your sales pipeline within the CRM
  • Caller ID via the Capsule mobile app lets you know when a lead is reaching out
  • Customer profile creation

Pros

  • Simple, easy-to-use interface
  • Robust chat integration 
  • Small business-friendly

Cons

  • Customized reports may leave users wanting more
  • Not a ton of features available on the free plan
  • Lack of interface customization and design may leave some users wanting

Best For:

  • Creative entrepreneurs (you’ll love the simple aesthetic!)
  • Entrepreneurs providing IT and tech services
  • Smaller startup teams (anywhere from one to four members) and consultants

9. Apptivo CRM

About

Just like with Bitrix24, the Apptivo CRM does wonders for startups that communicate often with their warehouse suppliers or need to send (and keep track of) frequent invoices. Their workflow approval process is simple to use, and the website offers an abundance of helpful content and training materials. If you’re looking to keep all of your financial and sales materials in one place, Apptivo may be the CRM for you. 

Notable Features

  • Customizable ecommerce features
  • Approval workflow
  • Customizable layout

Pros

  • Affordable pricing
  • Easy onboarding/training process
  • Offers integrations with most tech companies (Gmail, Slack, etc.)

Cons

  • Mobile app may leave users wanting more
  • Not as intuitive as other CRMs
  • Email marketing tool may leave users wanting more

Best For:

  • Retail/inventory-based startups like restaurants and bakeries
  • Startups who rely on sales promotions for lead generation
  • Ecommerce startups

FAQ

What is CRM software?

A: A CRM software is an internal system designed to be a central space where companies can store prospective and current data to help grow their business.

What are the 3 types of CRM?

A: The three types of CRM are collaborative, analytical, and organizational. 

  • Operational: simplify a business’s main processes to help with lead generation
  • Analytical: use data collection and analyses to better serve customers
  • Collaborative: bring together a business’s marketing, sales, and service data so that everyone in the company can better understand their base.

Do startups need CRM?

A: Yes! CRMs are perfect for keeping a startup’s sales and marketing information organized. Plus, there are plenty of options that allow you to find the perfect fit for your business.