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Best CRMs for Startups: Our Top Picks

A customer relationship management system (CRM) is a powerful tool that can help startups manage their relationships with both existing and potential customers. It serves as a centralized hub for storing, organizing, and analyzing customer-related information, such as contact details, communication history, purchase history, preferences, and more. 

By implementing a CRM early on, startups can establish a solid foundation for their customer-focused strategies and pave the way for sustainable growth. In this article, we will introduce you to five of the most popular CRMs for startups (plus an honorable mention) to help you identify which one is the best for your business. 

OneValley Blog Top CRM at a glance

Hubspot CRM Suite – Best for All-Inclusive

Hubspot’s CRM suite is a collection of specialized hubs (marketing, sales, customer service, CMS, operations) that allow you to manage your customer relationships from start to finish. With the full suite, you’ll have access to more robust marketing and customer service tools than the standard CRM, allowing you to manage all of your customers in one place throughout their entire journey with you.  Hubspot has one of the best free plans on the market as well, offering a great variety of basic tools plus some unique features like conversational bots. This CRM prioritizes having an intuitive user interface, though it means losing some ability to customize for unique business needs. 

OneValley Blog Top CRM HubSpot

HubSpot’s CRM could be right for you if:

  • You’re still new to the CRM game and want to explore with a wide variety of free tools

  • You want to be able to manage your marketing and customer service alongside your sales together in one platform

Freshsales – Best for First-time Founders

Freshsales (from Freshworks) is a CRM optimized for sales, offering tools that allow sales teams to attract high-quality leads and build strong customer relationships. Freshsales has a free plan with basic tools and affordable paid plans that can grow with your business. 

OneValley Blog Top CRM Freshsales

Freshsales could be right for you if: 

  • You’re looking to automate your sales processes as much as possible

  • You’re a first-time founder who could use the help of AI-predictive analytics to nail down your sales cycle

Salesforce– Best for Customization

Salesforce is one of the most well-known CRM systems on the market for a reason. It is an extremely robust and fully customizable CRM that allows you to build practically anything you need for your sales team.. While Salesforce doesn’t offer a free plan, you can use a 30-day free trial to check it out. 

OneValley Blog Top CRM Salesforce

Salesforce could be right for you if:

  • You’re in a late-stage startup that needs high levels of customization and specific integrations

  • You are particular about exactly what you want and are willing to put in the resources to build it out 

Zoho CRM– Best for Budget-Conscious

Zoho CRM is known for its affordability and flexibility. It provides lead and contact management, email integration, automation, and reporting. There is a free version of the Zoho CRM available, which allows up to three users to access basic tools like event logging, task automation, and standard reports. 

OneValley Blog Top CRM Zoho

Zoho CRM could be right for you if: 

  • You’re a budget-conscious founder who wants a CRM that can scale at smaller intervals to fit your budget as you grow

  • You want more customization options but don’t want to build something from scratch

Pipedrive– Best for Sales-focused Teams

Pipedrive is a sales-focused CRM, so everything on the platform is optimized for managing a sales pipeline intuitively and efficiently. This means that while they might not deliver on some of the bells and whistles that other CRMs offer for other types of customer interactions, the features and tools available to support a sales team are much stronger for their price point.

OneValley Blog Top CRM Pipedrive

Pipedrive could be right for you if: 

  • You’ve got a small team with a sales-focused approach

  • Your sales cycle is more complex and requires customized activity tracking

Honorable Mention: Airtable – Best for the DIY-er

Airtable is a spreadsheet-database hybrid tool and was technically not created specifically as a CRM. However, due to its flexibility, many people actually love using Airtable as their CRM by building out exactly what they need from scratch, even adding in automation. There are also CRM templates available that you can easily adapt to fit your needs. Overall, it’s a great option as a simple CRM for startups on a budget. 

OneValley Blog Top CRM Airtable

Airtable could be right for you if: 

  • You love to do-it-yourself and are willing to spend more time building your CRM exactly to your preferences

  • You’re already using Airtable for other things and don’t want to spend money on another software

OneValley offers discounted access to these business services through Passport. Check out our Perk Partner program to see more benefits.


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