Top 10 CRM for startups must Consider in 2021

Working at a startup has its own set of challenges. It is hectic. It is fun. But when your day is full of task juggling and non-linear work, it often causes the adoption of a random assortment of digital tools. It requires management. Over time, the clutter pile only grows and eats into your productive time that is better left for advancing your business agenda or cracking a deal.

To stay agile and well-coordinated in a startup, you will need help. This is where the CRM for startups plays a role in helping your business. CRM software is the savior. They put your house in order by storing your contacts’ information and centralizing your business processes. They allow you to scale your business. 

Features such as Sales Pipeline Management and Lead Management drive the revenue. Two-way sync with other apps, workflow automation, and automated data entry eliminates the menial tasks and saves time. For all these reasons, adopting a CRM for startups is pretty much a necessity. 

Startups fair well with CRM software that – 

  • Is highly scalable and works efficiently with thousands of customers.
  • Prioritizes usability with intuitive UIs and workflows. This allows the employees to get up to speed with minimal training or interruption.
  • Is flexible enough through modules, customizations, or add-ons to rivet when there is a change in company strategy and policy. 

One of the difficulties for any startup is acquiring more customers or having an effective team collaboration. But all this is unattainable until the organizational processes and workflows are streamlined. This makes business owners of all types ponder upon the top CRM tools for their businesses. Usually, efficient CRM software should help you engage with your target audience. It should offer insights into the audience’s pain points.

But there is a challenge.

You cannot opt for CRM for startups if you have never used tools of that kind. We have, therefore, put together the 5 best CRM tools to help you make an informed decision. They are – 

  1. Pipedrive
  2. Streak
  3. Freshworks
  4. Zoho
  5. Close
  6. Hubspot
  7. Agile
  8. Zendesk
  9. Insightly
  10. Apptivo

Why Do You Need A CRM for Startups?

If you think that customer is king, you don’t need to ask whether or not you need CRM software. Some startup owners are yet to get started with using CRM tools. This is because not everyone knows the benefit of these tools in their marketing process. Usually, CRM for startups enables the business owners, sales team, employees, etc., to improve their relationship with potential or existing customers. But if you are contemplating how a CRM tool can fuel your startup, then read on. 

A CRM tool –

  • Allows you to offer unmatched customer support
  • Helps with lead reporting
  • Enables you to organize customer data effectively
  • Helps in Customer Segmentation
  • Allows you to build strong customer relationships early on
  • Prepares your business for growth and scalability
  • Helps with lead nurturing, primarily if you use a CRM with marketing automation

The CRM for startups have been picked based on factors such as – 

  • Integration with Other Tools
  • Ease of Use
  • Customization
  • Cost-Effectiveness
  • Customer Support

Since we have the top 5 CRM for startups to choose from, let us dive right into each one of them. All these options have valuable features. But you must read each feature, benefit, drawback, and the pricing plans when selecting one.

1. Pipedrive

pipe drive logo
An ideal CRM for startups, Pipedrive tracks team performance, sets objectives and adjusts their course of action. It offers a built-in system in the phone to track and record calls along with third-party integrations with commonly used tools such as QuickBooks and Slack.

Some of the Best Features of Pipedrive

  • Outbound calling, call recording and logging, and insights
  • Customizable product catalog
  • Third-party integration with QuickBooks, Xero, Slack, etc.
  • Workflow automation and detailed visual sales pipeline
  • Customer support via 24/7 phone & live chat
  • Extensive tutorials, online knowledge base, training videos, and community hub

Some of the Benefits of Pipedrive

  • Results-oriented, flexible and agile CRM designed to help organize startups
  • Construct multiple sales pipelines with unique, customizable stages appropriate to a specific context of a product/service
  • Notifications, Reminders, and follow-up alerts automatically keep you streamlined for the next course of action
  • Customize data fields and workflow for business processes
  • A low learning curve speeds the pace of implementation

Some of the Drawbacks of Pipedrive

  • Its biggest drawback is that there are no free plans, unlike all the other CRMs on this list
  • It does not include an internal emailing platform
  • Its Dealbot integrates with Slack, giving a heads up when a deal is identified, won, or lost. But very often, the notification gets lost in the high-activity Slack chat

Pricing Plan

  • Essential plan is $15 billed monthly and $12.50 per user/per month billed annually
  • Advanced plan is $29 billed monthly and $24.90 per user/per month billed annually
  • Professional plan is $59 billed monthly and $49.90 per user/per month billed annually
  • Enterprise plan is billed annually at $99 per user/per month

2. Streak

Streak logo
Streak is an excellent CRM for startups that rely on Google Workspace for managing leads and projects, support tickets, etc. The users can now boost their inbox with additional mail merge, email tracking, and multiple pipelines. Given that every new business venture begins with G Suite for sending emails, sharing documents, etc., Streak is ideal for them.  The best thing about integrating Streak with the Gmail accounts of your sales teams is that it enables them to manage and organize emails with their potential and existing clients. It helps them track the stage where prospects are in the sales funnel. Streak helps you monitor schedules, client projects, sales, and send mass emails, etc. The Streak browser plugin is compatible with most popular browsers, making it a user-friendly CRM for startups.

Some of the Best Features of Streak

  • Chrome extension for Gmail integration
  • Core CRM for reminders, tasks, storing meeting notes, and call logs
  • Knowledge-base with in-depth tutorials
  • Generate and manage quotes and invoices
  • Multiple custom pipelines for sales, hiring, support, partnerships
  • Enables Gmail to automate responses, view customer history, and leverage mail merge

Some of the Benefits of Streak

  • Streak has mobile and desktop apps with all the G-Suite integrations. It enables you to access your work inbox and other tools you need
  • Email integration captures your contacts and email data and keeps you notified as the lead progresses via different stages of your sales pipeline
  • Centralizes record-keeping, keeps in-app notes, utilizes data tracking on your contact correspondence to find out if leads have or haven’t opened your emails

Some of the Drawbacks of Streak

  • Streak runs as a Chrome Extension. Changing devices would mean you will have to download and install them again
  • Its paid versions are priced very similarly to fully-featured CRMs
  • It lacks a product catalog. The available training is limited to Streak University videos on YouTube

Pricing Plan

  • Personal version for individual use is free of cost
  • Professional Plan is appraised at $49 per user/per month and billed annually
  • The Enterprise plan is priced at $129 per user/per month and billed annually

3. Freshworks

freshworks review
Freshworks is a CRM for startups that manage your leads. It ranks them in the manner of importance, assigns them to those responsible for sales, and schedules follow-ups. It tracks all your leads irrespective of which stage they are in the sales funnel. Whether you want to schedule an email or create an email template, Freshworks takes the cake. Its Collaborative Notes feature allows everyone in your team to see precise detail when checking on a specific lead. It helps you and your team unlock more time for other vital tasks. 

Some of the Best Features of Freshworks

  • Freshworks offers full support to partner add-on, customization, third-party, and more,
  • Organized presentation of 1152 features arranged into the standard CRM structure, with clear modules and sub-modules,
  • Multi-currency and Multi-language,
  • Creates custom modules to capture information unique to your business process.

Some of the Benefits of Freshworks

  • Email management, Lead management, and Pipeline management
  • Lead management lets you grab leads from emails automatically, helps you sort your lead scoring criteria to keep track of who is most likely to convert
  • There’s a ‘Free Forever Startup Plan’ limited to 10 users and 10,000 records

Some of the Drawbacks of Freshworks

  • With the expanding use of Freshsales, you will access more complex and difficult-to-use features
  • Sorting and filtering tasks are less intuitive

Pricing Plan

  • The Blossom Plan for small teams is priced at $12 per user/per month and billed annually
  • The Garden Plan for growing teams is appraised at $25 per user/per month and billed annually
  • The Estate Plan for large groups is priced at $49 per user/per month and billed annually
  • The Forest Plan for enterprises is $79 per user/per month and billed annually

4. Zoho

zoho reviews
One of the best CRM for startups, and small and medium-sized businesses, Zoho strikes an outstanding balance between offering features within the software and highlighting integration options with other tools you’re probably already using. Zoho has an extensive range of email marketing tools. If you are a freelancer trying to reach out to a high volume of prospective clients, Zoho can be an excellent choice for you. It integrates with G-Suite as well.

Some of the Best Features of Zoho

  • Customizable invoices and quotes
  • Offers an online and onsite training program
  • Customer support through calls, live chat, and email
  • Project management and team collaboration tools
  • Built-in phone system and video conferencing
  • Customizable pricing pages, product information, and customer database

Some of the Benefits of Zoho

  • Zoho CRM has easy-to-use customizable modules, social media features, and automation
  • Manages leads
  • Defines your workflows and prioritizes everyday tasks
  • Data porting enables quick migration of data from contact management software and spreadsheets to Zoho
  • Integrates with social media platforms such as like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for engaging with leads
  • Offers a free CRM super-lean startup with up to three users but with limited features, customizability, and the absence of a mass emailing feature

Some of the Drawbacks of Zoho

  • It lacks individual lead notifications and individual email tracking limiting one-on-one engagement
  • Its add-on modules are priced in addition to the existing CRM product you purchase, adding up your costs. 

Pricing Plan

  • A Free version is available for up to three users, targeted at freelancers or small businesses
  • The Standard version is priced at $12 per user/per month and billed annually
  • The Enterprise version is priced at $35 per user/per month and billed annually

5. Close

close reviews
Close reduces the mundane tasks such as contact field updating and data entry. It maximizes the time spent in contacting, developing, and closing leads. It is intensely focused on driving more revenue for small businesses and startups. With its easy-to-use Email Sequences feature, you can send an automated series of drip sales emails to new client leads that come in automatically or manually. 

Some of the Benefits of Close

  • Offers pipeline view, SMS, reporting, voice calls (including call recording), and email marketing features in one place.
  • Pre-recorded voicemail feature allows sales reps to auto-dial multiple numbers to improve sales agent productivity.
  • Several valuable integrations with platforms such as Mailchimp, Slack, Google Sheets, Zendesk, Facebook, and Zapier

Some of the Drawbacks of Close

  • The bulk data importing of CSV files often produces duplicate leads, requiring a manual clean-up

Pricing Plan

  • The Start plan is priced at $29.75 per user/per month and billed annually along with a $35 per user/per month billed monthly
  • The Basic plan is priced at $55.25 per user/per month billed annually along with a $65 per user/per month billed monthly
  • The Professional plan is appraised at $80.75 per user/per month billed annually along with a $95 per user/per month billed monthly
  • The Business plan is priced at $123.75 per user/per month billed annually along with a $145 per user/per month billed monthly

6. Hubspot

hubspot logo

An all-in-one solution for content management, inbound marketing, sales, and customer service, HubSpot CRM offers a free CRM for unlimited users. It scales up as a business grows. With its comprehensive free edition, the CRM outshines the other paid CRMs in the market. The Hubspot CRMs can be used across your sales, marketing, and customer service teams.

Some of the Best Features of Hubspot CRM

  • Organize your sales process using simple automation, deal pipelines, and custom properties
  • Configure, price, and quote tools include commission and split calculations, products library, and e-signatures.
  • Track goals with period-based quota. Then view the performance metrics on the reporting dashboard.

Some of the Benefits of Hubspot CRM

  • The Hubspot CRM keeps all your sales and marketing, and customer service data in one place
  • It is an extensive App Marketplace to connect your other tools
  • Outstanding Customer Support
  • Customizable Templates And Reports

Some of the Drawbacks of Hubspot CRM

  • It needs a lot of configuration.
  • The platform must be appropriately used in order to be worthwhile. 

Pricing Plan

  • Starter Plan begins at $45 per month billed at $540 per year.
  • Professional Plan begins at $800 per month billed at $9,600 per year.
  • Enterprise Plan begins at $3,200 per month billed at $38,400 per year.

7. Agile


Agile CRM has advanced capabilities such as inbound and outbound calling, call recording, call automation, and call logs. The system integrations support various existing marketing, social, and eCommerce tools that you may already be using. 

The Agile CRM offers email integration that enables users to sync their data with email services, including Microsoft Exchange, Gmail, Office 365, and IMAP services. The users can track website visitors to examine customer behavior. Further, the marketing automation tools help the users create marketing workflows.

The software also offers email integration, allowing users to sync data with email services, including Gmail, Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, and IMAP services. Users can track website visitors to examine customer behavior, and marketing automation tools aid the users in creating marketing workflows with a drag-and-drop interface.

Some of the Best Features of Agile CRM

  • The Agile CRM is built-in two-way telephony with auto-dialer, call recording, voicemail drops, post-call automation, scripts, and conferencing features.
  • Training through educational resources and webinars.
  • Customizable product catalog and customer contact fields.
  • Marketing automation with customizable newsletters, email marketing, multi-channel campaigns, email tracking, and video email capabilities.

Some of the Benefits of Agile CRM

  • Efficient email marketing tools
  • Contact management is made easy
  • Affordable prices
  • Easy-to-use setting
  • Enabled Management interface for beginners
  • Automated sales pipeline system for closing deals quickly

Some of the Drawbacks of Agile CRM

  • Single integration feature for the Starter package
  • Third-party integration issues
  • Buggy email capabilities
  • Limited third-party integrations
  • Lack of reporting
  • Limited service automation features

Pricing Plan

  • The Starter Plan begins at $14.99 per month billed at $9.99 per year.
  • The Regular Plan begins at $49.99 per month billed at $39.99 per year.
  • Enterprise Plan starts at $79.99 per month billed at $64.99 per year.

8. Zendesk


Zendesk is a cloud-hosted CRM for startups, small businesses, and large enterprises. It offers an easy-to-deploy solution to increase productivity, improve customer satisfaction, and reduce costs. Additionally, the product integrates different support channels such as chat, web, email, and social media.

Zendesk help desk offers a reliable ticketing system, multi-channel support, excellent self-service options, and advanced analytics. But it goes beyond its functionalities to provide a complete suite of application modules for customer service.

Some of the Best Features of Zendesk 

  • Flexible ticket management with automated workflow
  • Advanced analytics and robust reporting
  • Customer-facing web interface
  • Multi-channel support via phone, web, social media, and email. 

Some of the Benefits of Zendesk 

  • Over 100 out-of-the-box integrations with third-party apps
  • Open API for seamless integration into the business
  • Mobile support with Android apps and iPhone/iPad
  • Easy to install and deploy.
  • More than 20 template reports and dashboards for analytics. 

Some of the Drawbacks of Zendesk

  • API is potent but sometimes a bit difficult to utilize.
  • The tagging and sorting aren’t the best.

Pricing Plan

  • The Suite Team is priced at $49per agent per month and billed annually.
  • The Suite Growth is priced at $79per agent per month and billed annually.
  • The Suite Professional begins at $99per agent per month and is billed annually.

9. Insightly

insightly logo

Insightly offers several project management tools to maintain post-sale customer relationships. Startups can quickly team members on board and scale-up. It is due to the reliable help center that offers in-depth tutorials and seeks advice from the Insightly community hub. Insightly is a convenient CRM for startups.

Some of the Best Features of Insightly

  • It helps manage bills and invoices.
  • The Enterprise plan includes a product and services catalog.
  • Offers a help center with in-depth tutorials and a community of like-minded professionals.
  • Provides the option to integrate call logging and phone dialer.
  • Streamlines business processes, tracks milestones and utilizes real-time data dashboards.

Some of the Benefits of Insightly

  • Insightly offers powerful automation, data integration, and organization. 
  • Users can now manage and organize contacts and organizations.
  • Address books, task lists, opportunity leads, emails, and much more can be linked. 
  • In-built project management functions such as milestones, events, and tasks can be scheduled. 
  • A versatile dashboard view allows you to track and view the progress of business activities.
  • Reliable and safe infrastructure employs bank-grade encryption, secure offsite storage, redundant cooling and power systems, daily backups, and disaster recovery contingencies. 

Some of the Drawbacks of Insightly

  • The free version has minimal storage.
  • Lacks social media integration.

Pricing Plan

  • The Plus Plan is priced at $29 per user/month, billed annually
  • The Professional Plan begins at $49 per user/month, billed annually
  • The Enterprise starts from $99 per user/month, billed annually

10. Apptivo

apptivo logo

Apptivo is a CRM for startups that serves their growing sales and marketing needs. It can integrate your projects, sales, and financial data into a single platform. This ensures the growth of the business with better insights and customer engagements. The ‘Contacts and Opportunities’ feature allows you to manage the client accounts with relevant data attached to each item. It enables you to communicate directly with clients by using the software for easier access to their data.

Some of the Best Features of Apptivo 

  • Apptivo enables users to define their company, business, organization, or concern as a customer. 
  • This CRM for startups has a Leads app that utilizes web forms to collect leads from prospects.
  • It allows for the customization of apps and fields.
  • An integrated system allows for easy conversion. 

Some of the Benefits of Apptivo

  • Generate more repeat sales by digging opportunities from processed marketing, sales, and financial data.
  • Enables you to add more features to match the complex processes of your business as it grows.
  • It nurtures long-term customer relationships and sales with engaging and responsive customer communications.
  • The CRM distributes your sales resources where needed the most. The software processes your market data to generate analytics.
  • Access and manage the account from anywhere across the world via the web-based tool.

Some of the Drawbacks of Apptivo

  • The standard sales conversion is not automatically available and needs to be customized.

Pricing Plan 

  • The Lite Plan is dedicated for small sales teams to manage deals & send quotes and is priced at $8 per month, per user, and billed annually.
  • The Premium Plan is well-suited for fast-growing teams that need an all-in-one CRM at $12 per month, per user, and billed annually.
  • The Ultimate Plan is for large teams that need automation and integrations. It is priced at $20 per month per user and billed annually. 

Final Word

CRM helps you organize your workflows and helps your organization grow. Not only it streamlines your daily operations, but it also makes distributed work productive.

Irrespective of what your business is about, CRM for startups can help tie your day-to-day work together. A CRM with features such as Lead Management, Contact Management, Marketing Automation, and Sales Pipeline Tracking will give you a competitive edge. While finding an appropriate CRM for your business will take some cross-comparison, you are good to get started with the list of the abovementioned CRMs. 


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