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6 Best CRMs for Startups in 2024 [Pricing & Reviews]

From securing funding and establishing a brand identity to attracting and retaining customers, startups grapple with numerous hurdles that can make or break their success.

Among these challenges, managing and nurturing customer relationships is a pivotal task. This is where CRM comes into play.

In this blog, I’ll introduce you to the 6 best CRMs for startups. This objective comparison guide will help you find a tool that sets the stage for sustainable growth.
Tool Best For Pricing
BIGContacts Contact Management & Email Marketing Forever free plan for startups with all premium features. Paid plan starts at $9.99/month.
Insightly Integrated Marketing & Customer Service Starts at $29/user/month.
Podium Integrated Payment Experience Starts at $249/month for up to 1000 contacts.
Keap Sales and Marketing Automation Starts at $159/month.
Bitrix24 Team Collaboration Starts at $49/month for up to 5 users.
Streak Gmail Users Free for up to 500 contacts. Paid options start at $15/user/month.

Which is the Best CRM for Startups?

If you are short on time, here’s a quick look at my top three picks from the list –

  • BIGContacts: Best for small businesses and startups looking for a simple CRM tool that maximizes the effectiveness of their contact management, email marketing efforts, and outbound sales.
  • Keap: Best for startups aiming to automate marketing and sales processes for better lead nurturing and conversion.
  • Bitrix24: Best for startups with remote teams looking to enhance team collaboration.

You’ll find a more comprehensive comparison of the top 3 tools toward the end of this guide.

6 Best CRM for Startups

To create this list, I evaluated the ease of use and scalability, ensuring that the chosen tools cater to the varying startup sizes. I considered my own experience and weighed the reviews from trusted online sources and insights from industry peers. Finally, pricing played an important role in the selection, as startups often work within tight budgets.

1. BIGContacts – Best for Contact Management & Email Marketing

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I came across BIGContacts while looking for effective CRM for SaaS startups. This tool not only caters to basic CRM needs but also scales seamlessly as a startup grows.

I was instantly drawn to the simplicity and intuitiveness of this tool. It helps me organize, sort, view, and engage with contacts from a centralized contact dashboard. I can also track my sales pipeline, automate tasks, and send personalized email campaigns.

Even better, BIGContacts is designed for ease of use and flexibility, which I love. I can easily modify fields, processes, and workflows. Also, knowing that if I run into issues, their 24/7 delightful support is just a call away is reassuring.

What You’ll Like:

  • Enables you to capture, organize, and segment contacts using custom fields, tags, and lists
  • You can create recurring tasks, set priorities, assign them to team members, and sync them with contacts
  • Automated drip campaigns deliver the right message based on your contacts’ behavior and actions
  • Customizable sales pipeline with an easy drag-and-drop interface
  • Reports and analytics tools help analyze data for business insights, customer behavior, and trends
  • Flexible, scalable, and transparent pricing options – a perfect recipe for startup success

What You May Not Like:

  • Constant internet connectivity is required for optimal performance
  • Periodic updates, although useful, may require users to understand new features or tweaks

Pricing:

  • Forever free plan for startups with all premium features. Paid plan starts at $9.99/month.

2. Insightly – Best for Integrated Marketing & Customer Service

Insightly - Best for Integrated Marketing & Customer Service

Image Source: Insightly

Insightly helps centralize customer data and create a single source of truth for an organization.

The easy customization, from objects to project management stages, empowered me to adapt the system to my needs. The marketing automation recorded a significant growth impact, with A/B testing and flexible email templates.

Its customer support features exceeded my expectations, driving satisfying and efficient customer interactions with convenient support portals, ticketing, and knowledge management.

What You’ll Like:

  • Enterprise-grade segmentation, journeys, and dashboards to manage customer interactions
  • In-depth analytics enhance your understanding of customer health, helping make informed decisions
  • Empowers remote teams with user-friendly mobile apps
  • Tickets, portals, and SLAs enhance the customer support experience
  • Validation rules and process automation capabilities improve business productivity

What You May Not Like:

  • Some users mention a steep learning curve, which can slow adoption
  • Pricing is expensive compared to other CRM alternatives

Pricing:

  • Starts at $29/user/month.

3. Podium – Best for Integrated Payment Experience

Podium - Best for Integrated Payment Experience

Image Source: Podium Knowledge Base

For startups that require a single platform for managing payments and contacts, I would recommend Podium.

It’s a uniquely integrated platform that streamlines the payment experience for your customers and centralizes all relevant information – making it possible to add a personal touch to every conversation.

It replaced convoluted spreadsheets, saving my team considerable time and boosting efficiency. Moreover, it made our marketing efforts doubly effective, spurring business growth at a remarkable pace.

What You’ll Like:

  • Improves customer communication through instant messaging
  • Surveys help gather and handle client feedback effortlessly
  • Automation of routine tasks, follow-ups, and reminders contributes to enhanced productivity
  • Custom tags for contacts facilitate better personalization
  • The AI assistant generates summaries after customer phone calls, helping your team gain better context and insights

What You May Not Like:

  • The pricing lies on the higher end of the spectrum
  • The mobile app has occasional stability issues

Pricing:

  • Starts at $249/month for up to 1000 contacts.

4. Keap – Best for Sales & Marketing Automation

Keap - Best for Sales & Marketing Automation

Image Source: Keap

Keap offers a robust all-in-one sales and marketing automation platform that drives business growth. The CRM isn’t just user-friendly; it’s smart. It collects leads, organizes customer records, and triggers actions in the sales process.

With Keap, I enjoyed personalized automation that saved us from distracting busywork without losing our personal touch in customer interactions.

All in all, this is a great sales CRM for startups that wish to automate redundant administrative tasks and free up more time to drive personalized communication with their customers.

What You’ll Like:

  • Offers a handy Business Line feature that enhances communication management
  • You can easily segment your contacts based on various criteria using lists
  • Marketing automation tools make it easy to nurture leads and send targeted email campaigns
  • Customizable forms and landing pages help capture leads and grow your customer base
  • Pre-built templates for texts and emails save a considerable amount of time and effort

What You May Not Like:

  • Pricing can be steep for small startups
  • Customer support can be inconsistent

Pricing:

  • Starts at $159/month.

5. Bitrix24 – Best for Team Collaboration

Bitrix24 - Best for Team Collaboration

Image Source: Bitrix24 Helpdesk

Bitrix24 is ideal for startups with remote teams, offering features like task management, document sharing, and team communication.

The platform emphasizes collaboration, making it easy to work together and keep projects organized. This online workspace also works well for automating workflows, so you can get things done on time with minimal manual effort.

The omnichannel marketing capabilities of the tool impressed me as well. Plus, I found the ability to customize the sales pipeline to be quite helpful.

What You’ll Like:

  • Robust online store-builder with extensive customization features
  • User-friendly mobile and SEO-friendly templates for developing websites
  • Useful integrations with Google Analytics to track website performance
  • Employee directory for efficient team management
  • Extensive no-code robotic process automation (RPA) for automated workflows

What You May Not Like:

  • Customer support response times need improvement
  • The mobile app experience can be subpar

Pricing:

  • Starts at $49/month for up to 5 users.

6. Streak – Best for Gmail Users

Streak - Best for Gmail Users

Image Source: Streak

Using Streak was like turning my Gmail inbox into a powerful CRM. Streak allowed me to manage all my customer relationships right from Gmail, thus eliminating the need to switch between different software.

My team could share and organize emails and other customer-related data with the utmost ease. The tool provided a smart way to categorize customers and deals using different pipelines, making it incredibly easy to get a snapshot of our sales process.

Additionally, Streak came with an impressive set of email tools, such as mail merge, email tracking, and snippets, that enhanced our email productivity significantly.

What You’ll Like:

  • Offers “Send Later” feature to perfectly time your communications with clients
  • Use of ‘Snippets’ for pre-saved email templates for quick responses
  • “Thread Splitter” feature to separate different conversation threads efficiently
  • Effective integration with other G Suite apps: Sheets, Chat, and Drive
  • Provides a powerful AI co-pilot for your CRM activities

What You May Not Like:

  • Streak is heavily reliant on Gmail, which can be a limitation if your business uses multiple email platforms
  • Several users have reported sync issues between Streak and Gmail, particularly regarding email tracking

Pricing:

  • Free for up to 500 contacts. Paid options start at $15/user/month.

Evaluation Criteria

The evaluation of products or tools chosen for this article follows an unbiased, systematic approach that ensures a fair, insightful, and well-rounded review. This method employs six key factors:

User Reviews / Ratings: Direct experiences from users, including ratings and feedback from reputable sites, provide a ground-level perspective. This feedback is critical in understanding overall satisfaction and potential problems.

Essential Features & Functionality: The value of a product is ascertained by its core features and overall functionality. Through an in-depth exploration of these aspects, the practical usefulness and effectiveness of the tools are carefully evaluated.

Ease of Use: The user-friendliness of a product or service is assessed, focusing on the design, interface, and navigation. This ensures a positive experience for users of all levels of expertise.

Customer Support: The quality of customer support is examined, taking into account its efficiency and how well it supports users in different phases – setting up, addressing concerns, and resolving operational issues.

Value for Money: Value for money is evaluated by comparing the quality, performance, and features. The goal is to help the reader understand whether they would be getting their money’s worth.

Personal Experience / Experts’ Opinions: This part of the evaluation criteria draws insightful observations from the personal experience of the writer and the opinions of industry experts.

Which is the Best CRM for Startups?

When looking for the best CRM software for startups, you must ensure it matches your unique needs without getting in your way.

To help simplify your selection process, I’ve narrowed it down to three top options:

Option A: BIGContacts

BIGContacts offers an intuitive and easy-to-use CRM solution perfect for startups looking for simplicity and effectiveness. With features like contact management, task automation, email marketing, customizable pipelines, and reporting, it streamlines customer interactions and helps you stay organized.

Option B: Keap

Keap is a powerful sales and marketing automation CRM for small businesses and startups. Its user-friendly interface allows you to create email campaigns, segment contacts, and automate follow-ups. With its comprehensive features, Keap is an ideal choice for startups aiming to automate marketing and sales processes for better lead nurturing and conversion.

Option C: Bitrix24

Bitrix24 is a versatile collaboration platform that suits startups with remote teams. Beyond CRM, it includes project management and communication tools, making it an all-encompassing solution for startups looking to enhance teamwork and streamline customer relationship management.

In my opinion, if you’re seeking a straightforward and efficient CRM solution for your startup, BIGContacts is worth considering. To explore its full potential, I encourage you to opt for a free trial. This hands-on experience will provide you with a deeper understanding of how BIGContacts can benefit your startup’s growth and customer engagement.

Learn More About the CRM for Startups

What is a CRM for a startup?

A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system for a startup is a software tool designed to help businesses manage and improve their interactions with customers and potential clients. It serves as a centralized database to organize contact details, communication history, and sales opportunities. With a capable CRM, you can tackle the complexities that come with the growth of a startup, such as reducing churn, centralizing customer data, or maintaining productivity.

Do small companies or startups need a CRM?

A CRM helps small businesses and startups manage their limited resources more efficiently, improve customer engagement, and boost sales. It provides insights into customer preferences, automates routine tasks, and enhances communication, which can be crucial for growth.

For more information on why CRM is important for your business, watch:

What features make a CRM tool suitable for startups?

CRM tools suitable for startups typically have features like contact management, lead tracking, email marketing, sales automation, integration capabilities, user-friendly interfaces, scalability, and affordability. These features enable startups to efficiently manage customer relationships, generate leads, and grow their business without overwhelming complexity or cost.

How can a CRM help my startup grow?

A CRM can help your startup grow by:

  • Providing a centralized database for contact details and communication history.
  • Automating repetitive tasks, saving time and reducing errors.
  • Enhancing lead management and conversion rates.
  • Improving customer segmentation and targeting for more effective marketing.
  • Facilitating better customer service and support.
  • Offering insights and analytics to make data-driven decisions.
  • Scaling with your growing business needs.

How do I choose the best free CRM for startups?

To choose the best CRM for your startup, first, assess your unique requirements. Analyze your business processes and determine which CRM features are crucial for your operations. You can narrow down your options by answering these questions and finding software that matches your needs.

Here’s a short video that will help you make an informed decision:

How much does a CRM system cost for a startup?

CRM pricing varies widely depending on the software provider, features, and the number of users. Some CRM solutions like BIGContacts offer free plans, while others may charge on a per-user or subscription basis. Typically, startups can expect to pay anywhere from a few dollars for basic plans to more substantial fees for advanced features and scalability.

Do you want to make more sales?

BIGContacts is the #1 contact management software & CRM to close more sales.

About the author

The BIGContacts Editorial Team is a passionate group of CRM experts dedicated to improving your customer relationships with top-notch content. We stay ahead of the curve on trends, tackle technical hurdles, and provide practical tips to boost your business. With our commitment to quality and integrity, you can be confident you're getting the most reliable resources to enhance your contact management and business process automation initiatives.