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2023 CRM for small business reviews

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The best CRM for small businesses varies by user need. Why is this in CEOgolfshop? Half of our customers are in the marketing department and we’re doing internal review so why not share the results. Most CRM comparisons cite support and cost vs actual functions businesses needs. For example, how many people will use it, customized fields of what to track, and whether automation is needed. My review reflects specific needs. If yours match, this will be a great CRM resource for you.

Author’s criteria for vendor selection:

  1. Under $100 per user per month
  2. No fees for the number of contacts. If you want to import leads lists and dial out, this can add up fast.
  3. Email from within CRM. Everyone does this, but some require Outlook or Gmail, not something we’ll use.
  4. OSx App supports click to call and automatically updates the contact that a call was made. Not a third party where privacy may go out the window.
  5. Phone app & cloud CRM in sync in real time
  6. Dynamic filtering
  7. Custom search saves
  8. Custom user roles
  9. Strong security and privacy. Not having a GDPR statement would eliminate them because that would mean not they’re not keeping up.
  10. Export data
  11. GDRP compliance. Even though it does not apply to our sales, it’s a level of data security expectation.
  12. Share leads and reports by product to non-users.
  13. Document library for sales team by brand.
  14. Send documents, including NDA for signature.
  15. Create a quote
  16. Dedupe imported leads

Wish list:

  • Predictive contact time
  • Auto-fill insights for leads
  • Create form letters from template for print
  • Autodialer

Things that are not needed:

  • No need to get paid from CRM or ecommerce store

Some of these I’ve reviewed in the past so I updated my comments and made a quick MAYBE or NO so I don’t waste any time on it.


  1. EngageBay– $29.99 per user per month is now $50 and contacts Reduced from 50,000 Contacts to 5,000 contacts. Unlimited is $85. $49.49/mth/user get you quotes and proposals ($13 without that and leaderboard) 25,000 Branded Emails, first plan to offer call records. One platform for all your Marketing, Sales, and Support teams. MAYBE, looks limiting.
  2. Salesmate– Freemium model. Powerdialer only with Boost $40 per user per month, email metrics & other only with growth $24/ user per month. Yes, email tracking. No email scheduling; Integration via IMAP,. Make and receive calls/texts in Salesmate by purchasing local and toll-free numbers starting at $1.1/month. Once you enable the phone feature, you can always top up your credits. Check calling rates / SMS rates. On top of the pre-defined reports, you can create an unlimited number of custom reports. INtegrates with xero, zoom, mailchimp, ring central. Connect your Google calendar or Microsoft Calendar in just one click. MAYBE
  3. Hubspot– sales, marketing & operations hubs. promo Starts at $20/mobilled at $360 $240/yr upfront; $30/mobilled monthly; Includes 1,000 marketing contacts 2 users, $25/th each additional. CRM Starter bundle $50/mth unlimited users. . Hubspot Suite starter includes 2 users, 5000 documents. Starter includes 5 documents, therefore, for a team solution must get Starter. 4 users, $80/mth on monthly plan. That’s fine but there are items that will get expensive. For example, only includes 500 minutes calls. Jumps from about $1000 year to $1200/mth. NO
  4. Freshsales 39/mth paid annual or $47.mth closest to pipedrive pro. Powered by AI- helps generate email subject, content . Only Enterprise has Sales ForecastingDeal TeamsQueue Callback (Virtual Hold)Dedicated Account ManagerWebsite TrackingField-level PermissionsAdvanced MetricsHoliday RoutingCall Recording Opt-outStandard SandboxCustom ModulesAuto Profile Enrichment. free version- no sales goals, has Features include Book Uber, Mobile app for Android and iOS, Activity Timeline, Tasks, Appointments and Notes, Google Maps, Data Import and Export, Migration from other CRMs, Voice Notes, Built-in Phone, Buy Local and Toll-free Numbers, Inbound Caller ID, Chat Widget, Mobile SDKs, Deal Management, Topics, Record Scope, Role-based Access, Contact Management, Account Management, Contact Lifecycle Stages, Rename Modules, 24×5 Support. Invoices- requires chargebee, QB, Stripe Paypal, charigify or zuora. Quote management is PandaDoc, docusign, dealhub. TESTING-
  5. Pipedrive– $59 pro monthly. Share any live dashboards with other stakeholders – whether they’re Pipedrive users or not – with just one click.  See which accounts generate the most revenue, how many opportunities your salespeople win or lose and why . At this time it is not possible to apply a different rate to different deals. – conflicting info YES . Only in professional plan. I really like this product but the shortcomings are probably dealbreakers, starting with email, doesn’t sync with Apple mail. Does not sync with ical or anything Apple. I looked at Calendly for booking meetings from email- the privacy policy looks horrible; You share not only contacts, but notes, docs and everything else, no limiting. Not interested in using Google calendar for privacy reasons. They don’t recommend IMAP email. All the email syncs in and out. I’d prefer, it’s just outbound email and the tracking is recognized. Other: xero is best integration for accounting. See also Sales Dashboards & Analytics by Dear Lucy. Professional, Power and Enterprise plan users free of charge. Centralize the entire documentation process by sending trackable quotes, proposals and contracts. Get notified when they are opened by a customer and request eSignatures from your clients to close deals faster. TESTING
    • Revenue forecast reports and view  
    • Reports with custom fields 
    • Automatic assignment of leads based on rules 
    • dedupe 
    • Inventory is via integration like QB
    • Invoice can be generated from quotes; uses your 3rd party storage To connect Smart Docs, go to a deal or contact’s detail page, click the Documents tab and select Connect cloud storage. You can connect using three providers – Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive or SharePoint.
  6. Nutshell: Import one or more contacts from Apple Contact; export vcard to computer then import, then Finish. Said there was one company and one person imported, but nothing there- free trial problem? Works like CenPOS when manual filling in will look for matching company and or person. Plan, book, and manage your appointments and meetings, Automate booking confirmation emails, pipeline List view, Map view, Chart view and Board view, central repository for customer knowledge, Collect leads directly from your website. Pay per user, 5 users $95/mth. Pro is $42 per user per month- it’s a must for funnels and pipeline, unlimited click-to-call and phone recordings, unlimited CRM contacts and no data limits. Scheduler will only cost your team $37/month total when you purchase Revenue Booster- mail Power up: send personal email sequences directly from your inbox. Automatically send activities scheduled in Nutshell to your Google or Office 365 calendar (no iCal). One click dial. Don’t want to set up email sync? Not a problem! Send your outgoing messages into Nutshell by adding to your email’s bcc field, and forward received emails to as wellCan’t do proposals- Pandadoc is great but $65/mth/ user for version needed. TESTING
  7. Zoho CRM Plus. Free CRM not bad, but for every “add on”, it’s a different URL, login, app. Zoho CRM Plus eliminates that, starting @ $69/mth/ user. All users pay same regardless of need, though you can limit acces via permissions. Dashboards is for internal only.


  • Zoho
  • Freshworks with FreshSales CRM
  • Pipedrive

Pipedrive Pro vs ZohoCRM Plus

  • Pipedrive Pro can share dashboards with non-users
  • ZohoCRM Plus- can choose email sync (one-way 2 way)
  • ZohoCRM Plus – chat, phone, web visitor all tracked

Workflow & Operations with or without same CRM:

  • Share a dashboard- could be good for clients in onboarding process (SaaS) or sales cycle for Water Conservation product.
  • Task mgmt same as above – but for internal
  • Doc & forms library – sales, training, internal
  • Inventory mgmt Pandadoc is probably integrated with every CRM I looked at. Limited payment options. (Note

CRM’s that do not meet my criteria and why:

  1. Keap- 500 contacts, 1 user for $79/mth at full price. $430 for 2 users and 20,000 contacts after introductory promo.
  2. MethodCRM- it’s a Quickbooks plugin. No need and for B2B I’d be surprised if it worked the way I’d like.
  3. Kintone- minimum 5 users @$24 per user per month; large company, customize the way you want, well built out.
  4. Monday– 2nd time looking at, signed up for test, don’t like useability but will circle back. Only available in Pro, 3 seat $48 or 5 seats, minimum $80/mth- Private boards, custom formulas, Chart view, tags. Only available in Enterprise: Salesforce integration, audit log- who signed in/when, custom roles, Core products: Work Management, Sales CRM, Dev. Since our needs are first CRM, and 2nd operations like inventory then sales commissions (which won’t be in any CRM), I don’t think this is best for our type of small business. NO.
  5. Cheap, current GDPR, free for 2 users, Enterprise $64/user is only one with custom reports, looks scalable. $43/mth has the minimum service level needed. Says focus is B2B, same as me. Dig deeper. NO.
  6. Daylite- compares itself to the big boys like hubspot and salesforce. It’s a business management solution and CRM, built for MAC only. You download the app and bring in watever calendar and contact data you want- one (drag and drop), some (select multiple), or all. Select as many calendars as you want to add in. I don’t see how to generate a quote and then convert to invoice either in the application or with integration.; the xero integration appears to be new or else just doesn’t look very robust from AU integration and I do not want to generate invoices from QB. Very affordable at $29.99 for 1 users, $30/month per pack of 3 additional users. Features interaction tracking, calendar and reminders, list management, email templates, deal pipelines, project management, task management, files and documents, and more. Use Daylite hands-free on the go using Siri- Cool! your payment will be processed by Recurly, Inc. (“Recurly”), Bright Market LLC d/b/a FastSpring (“FastSpring”) and Bambora Inc. (“Bambora”, with Recurly, FastSpring, and Bambora collectively referred to as the “Third Party Processors. NO.
  7. Salesforce– In my multiple years of experience (every 5 years or so), customization is a pain, long set up time, slow to use. Starts at $1250 paid in advance. They are not for SMB

Sales Commission SaaS:

Most solutions do not track commissions and there are many reasons to keep outside of CRM, including complex commissions and customer credits that impact commission.

  • Upflow- invoice, auto remind, does not seem to be commission oriented.


We went with ZOHO CRM in 2020, different business needs in 2023 so decision pending.zoho crm. is a wholesale and retail distributor of luxury brands, including Fairway & Greene, Club Glove and Windbrella umbrella’s, for corporate, resort, and end-user. CEOgolfshop is based in South Florida, between Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale, FL. Online store