4 Great Salesforce CRM Alternatives for Small Businesses

Anastasia Lamotchkina

Salesforce can be a robust tool that powers all of the customer relationship management needs of your business. After all, it’s one of the most established names in the business and it’s loaded with features and apps.

Whether or not Salesforce fits your budget, you find it to be lacking a personal touch, or you are simply unhappy with some of the aspects of Salesforce, there are some great alternatives on the market that are worth exploring; especially for small-medium businesses.

1. Insightly
The great thing about Insightly is that it was designed specifically with small businesses in mind. Unable to find a stable CRM solution for the previous company the founder had started, he decided to sell it off and focus 100% on creating Insightly instead. A relatively new company in the CRM space, users have been flocking to the app since its launch.
This app takes into consideration the fact that many SMB owners and employees often have to wear many hats, and are faced with many responsibilities. As such, it is a one-stop-shop that boasts seamless integration between its many components. Aside from internal cooperation, Insightly also connects its users with many of the necessary apps and programs they already use (such as Office 365 and Mailchimp). Neatly organized pipelines are another major plus for busy project managers.
Not many. The search feature could use a little boost, reporting options are a little limited, and the mobile app is far from perfect, but overall this is a fantastic little solution to a lot of major problems.
2. Pipedrive
Recently a startup itself, Pipedrive has earned itself millions of dollars worth of venture capitalist backing since 2010. Created by two direct salesmen that have been working in sales for quite some time, the company’s aim was to design a super simplified solution for CRM in the sales department.
Simplicity is the word with Pipedrive. From drag-and-drop functionality to an ultra user-friendly interface, this is the perfect software for beginners or busy people who do not want to spend a lot of time on the learning curve for business tools. All of your sales data is well organized, and the capability to import and export data easily is an asset for many. Lots of great visuals make for impressive reports, and helpful features such as scheduled calls always keep next steps top-of-mind.
The system can be a little glitchy sometimes and bugs do happen. Compared to other programs the number of applications that Pipedrive integrates with is a little limited. Overall, however, Pipedrive offers a streamlined and simple CRM perfect for most salespeople.
3. Nutshell
Sponsors of the 2014 SXSW and recommended by the festival’s organizer, Nutshell CRM is a force to be reckoned with. The differentiator with Nutshell is the company’s focus on mobile.
One thing that we really love about Nutshell is its focus on beautiful design. In a sea of functional yet poorly designed sales tools, Nutshell is a relief for users with an appreciation for ease and aesthetic. The program is very user-friendly and intuitive, making it both easy and pleasant to use across all (most) platforms. Apart from usability, users highly appreciate the exceptional customer service provided by the Nutshell team.
If you are towards the medium end of the Small Medium Business scale, it’s possible that Nutshell will feel a little bit limited for your needs. The system is barely customizable, and even customizable extras cannot be bought. It’s also definitely a better sales program than an all-inclusive CRM system. If your company does a lot of auditing, you may find Nutshell to be a bit of a pain.
4. Nimble
Nimble CRM understands the value of social media in understanding today’s customer. The system is built around this concept, allowing you to capture and record valuable information about your contacts, as well as communicating with them, through a plethora of online and offline channels.
Nimble is brainless to set up and nearly as brainless to utilize. Many of its users appreciate the conglomeration of all of the customer’s info pulled from their known social profiles into one convenient place. The “tagging” feature allows users to gauge and keep track of prospects based on themed categories, or even single out a specific person. As far as the sales pipeline goes, the setup is a rather solid one and its quite modern in terms of insights and engagement.
While social media is undoubtedly a crucial piece of the CRM pie, there are many businesses that still do follow a more traditional process. If yours is one of them, then perhaps Nimble is not the answer to your CRM questions. As a social-backed system, the software does still have trouble keeping up with all of the latest integrations, although to be fair this is understandable from a feasibility standpoint. There have also been a few issues noted with the email function, however the company seems to be working towards making improvements in this area.
Overall, what we want to highlight is that choosing a CRM system is definitely an important decision. While we absolutely have nothing against Salesforce (in fact, it’s a fantastic program!), it’s good to know that there are many software options available to small & medium business that can cater towards your company’s specific set of needs.