I want to try and answer the question of whether or not there is a best crm for small business… BUT FIRST… let me state right up front that I have a dog in the hunt! Apricot Rocket is a CRM that I designed and built. It is the product of over 3 years of software development and more money invested that I care to admit. So… YES… I am biased.
But, with that said, I am also something of an expert and I think that I can cut to the chase for you if you are looking for a great CRM for your small business. So, lets start by recognizing the landscape of CRM systems and talk about the Big Dogs.
Based on Alexa.com the following is a good list of the most popular CRM systems as of Summer 2019, with the largest at the top and smaller CRM systems listed below them. The # at the end of the row indicates the Alexa.com ranking for the website in the United States.
- Salesforce CRM – Alexa Rank: 34
- Zoho CRM – Alexa Rank: 64
- Hubspot CRM – Alexa Rank: 166
- InfusionSoft CRM – Alexa Rank: 849
- Pipedrive CRM – Alexa Rank: 2,446
- Ontraport CRM – Alexa Rank: 4,899
- ActiveCampaign CRM – Alexa Rank: 6,386
- Insightly CRM – Alexa Rank: 7,695
- Freshworks CRM – Alexa Rank: 8,753
- Streak CRM – Alexa Rank: 11,991
- vCita CRM – Alexa Rank: 14,042
Are these really the “Best in Class” CRM systems?
Most of the above “Best in Class CRM Systems” have free offers which sound pretty good, at first glance. The problem is that when you look closer the free versions always offer some level of restriction. The restrictions are usually based on either a limited functionality or a limited size of data, therefore it is difficult to compare if their offerings are good deals or not.
The most common limitation on functionality is not including email marketing, and, the next most common limitation is not including the marketing automation tools. Another common limitation is not allowing subusers without an added fee.
The Confusing Part of Chosing the Best CRM for Small Business
It is difficult to get an apples-to-apples comparison for these CRM systems because they each try to slice and dice their offerings to present their system’s strengths and ignore their weaknesses. Understandable… who would highlight their weaknesses?
Here is the thing… if you want the following BASIC functionality none of the systems offer this combination without you having to upgrade or add expensive modules. None of them! (but Apricot Rocket does)
The Best CRM for Small Business should have these features:
Here is the list of what I consider BASIC Features that a good CRM should have:
- Unlimited Subusers
- Email Marketing Templates
- Customizable Emails
- Unlimited Email Messages per month
- Comprehensive Email Statistics
- SMS Text Messaging
- Unlimited Custom Data Fields
- Customizable Data Collection Forms
- Comprehensive Marketing Automation Tools
- Integrated Shopping Cart
- Customizable Shopping Cart Layouts
- Unlimited Products in Shopping Cart
- Affiliate Program Options for Cart System
- Reseller Program Options for Cart System
- Customizable Dashboards
- A Membership Module
- Automated Data Backup Routines
- Integrated Data Management Tools
- Full Website Integration
- Device and Browser Independence – works on all devices and browsers
- Comprehensive Video Tutorials
- Email and Telephone Support Services
Now… pick any 5 items off of that list and each of the system above suddenly start to get much more expensive.
OK… BIAS ALERT !!!
Apricot Rocket offers all of the above without any added up-charge other than based on the # of records you have, therefore, I think that Apricot Rocket has the simplest pricing model in the industry. With Apricot Rocket you pay monthly based on the size of your data base. No long term contracts required.
The only additional charge is to turn the SMS messaging system on ($5/month) and you have to purchase SMS Text Segments if you want to send more than 100 SMS Text message segments per month.
Before you sign up for one of the Big Dogs… check our Apricot Rocket… we are small, nimble, and service oriented. You will like working with us… I guarantee it.