The COVID-19 pandemic turned many businesses toward cloud-based software to stay connected to their customers as well as employees working from home. The best CRM software saves you time by tracking consumer data and helping you follow up with business leads. You can also compile reports and keep your entire company updated with relevant info at all times. 

However, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by a CRM’s many features and options. Business owners may wonder: Will my sales team need training on such a large software change? How much time will this take? How can I know if the initial investment will be worth it? To make sure your new CRM will work for you, you first need to understand your business needs. Specifically, what do you want your CRM to do for you? 

We tested and ranked the top CRMs of 2022, including Salesforce, Zoho CRM, Hubspot and more. We narrowed it down to the best five listed below, followed by more recommendations for specific business needs.

Our Top Picks

Best For

What We Like

Zoho CRM

Best Lead Generation Tools

Zoho Suite Apps 

✅ High level of customization


Best CRM Powerhouse

Excellent call logging and tracking 

Awesome free version


Best Customer Support Incorporation

Ticketing system for service 

Good integration


Best Pipeline Customization

✅ Easy onboarding with weekly

walkthrough webinar

✅ Perfect user experience score


Most Established Reputation

Third-party app integration 

✅ Massive training support

In This Review:

    How Do We Test the Best CRM Software?

    We spent more than 100 hours testing 15 CRMs. Many CRMs have different goals, which makes comparing them like comparing apples to oranges. Some companies focus on data collection and reporting, while others push project and task management for teams.

    Our top five picks — Zoho CRM, Pipedrive, Hubspot, Salesforce and Zendesk — scored highest across all criteria including user experience, work management features, price, customer support and reputation. But the best CRM software for you may come down to just one of these categories, which is why we give you four additional companies to consider. Take a closer look at our testing criteria then dive into all nine CRM providers.

    FactorPercentage of ScoreDescription
    User Experience30%The best CRMs shouldn’t be too complicated for your business to adapt to. Ask yourself: How steep is the learning curve? Are there helpful videos, guided tutorials and live webinars available? Can you learn by doing?
    Work Management20%Your CRM should enhance your sales process and lead tracking. Ask yourself: Does the CRM platform help you manage and customize your pipelines, track sales, generate reports, forecast revenue and more?
    Pricing20%CRM software can be expensive, so you want to make sure you’re making a valuable investment. We review each pricing tier’s features and resources to determine if the cost is commensurate with the software’s overall value.
    Customer Support20%Your CRM support team should be easy to reach and answer your questions promptly. Ask yourself: Can you talk to a live sales rep via chat or phone? Is 24/7 support available? Are there user help forums available to you?
    Reputation and Credibility10%We review customer feedback and evaluate the company’s overall reputation as part of our scoring. We look at the company’s ratings on popular customer review sites, how large the company is and how many years the company has been in business.

    Best Lead Generation Tools: Zoho CRM

    UX experience: 4/5

    Customer support: 24/5 chat, 24/5 phone

    Free trial: 30 days (for Ultimate)

    Free plan: Yes – up to 3 users

    Zoho CRM provides the best CRM tools in the industry to generate and maintain leads. Its lead scoring is top-notch and its Zoho Suite Apps bundle gives you all-in-one comprehensive support for every side of your business. You’ll also find that it provides outstanding email marketing, beautiful dashboard views and easy pipeline creation.

    Zoho is simple and easy to learn to use yet powerful enough to drive all your business workflows. Full-bred features like multiple currencies, robust pipeline management and third-party integration are all at your disposal. 

    Best of all, Zoho’s customization puts other CRMs to shame. Despite the range of capabilities and apps, we found the learning curve wasn’t too high compared to its competitors. 

    Zoho is a large company with more than 10,000 employees worldwide. It also enjoys favorable reviews on Capterra, App Store and Google Play for its mobile app. However, you’ll want to invest in the higher tier plans, as the lowest tier plans only allow up to 100,000 contacts and won’t provide workflow automation like the top tiers.

    With a competitive price, easy-to-navigate interface and visually appealing reports, Zoho CRM is the best CRM software we tested, especially if you want to generate more leads.

    How Much Does Zoho CRM Cost?





    $20/user per month

    $14/user per month


    $35/user per month

    $23/user per month


    $50/user per month

    $40/user per month


    $65/user per month

    $52/user per month

    Best CRM Powerhouse: HubSpot

    UX experience: 4/5

    Customer support: 24/7 chat,

    business hours phone for certain plans

    Free trial: 14 days

    Free plan: Yes

    HubSpot has one of the more original approaches to CRM software. It would be smart to start with the excellent free version of HubSpot CRM. When choosing this option, unlimited users, no time limit and up to 1,000,000 prospects are immediately available to you. After that, you’ll want to customize with Hubspot’s add-ons called “Hubs.”

    HubSpot offers a Marketing Hub, Service Hub, Sales Hub and a CMS Hub. Each hub has its own pricing and tools like automatic email logging and ticketing for customer service. Businesses can choose which hubs they want to build into their free plan. 

    HubSpot aims to help small businesses and startups. The free CRM version will work great for many, but it doesn’t have much call logging and tracking. The free version only gives 15 minutes of call time per month.

    HubSpot’s user interface (UI) is great and makes it easy to jump in and get started. It’s also simple to begin third-party integration through HubSpot’s App Marketplace. The learning curve for all these Hubs and apps is also low because of HubSpot’s education and training guides.

    HubSpot acquired PieSync in 2019, which has helped improve calls taken directly in browsers. One thing to note is that HubSpot is still missing some dashboard customization and customer support by phone compared to its rivals. 

    With 16 years in the business and over 6,600 employees, HubSpot is the leader in digital inbound marketing. The HubSpot Academy is a loud voice for online education. Though all the CRM Hubs can get costly, small businesses get more than 90% off their first year with the HubSpot Bundle.

    How Much Does HubSpot Cost?




    Marketing Hub Starter

    $50/month for 1,000 contacts

    $45/month for 1,000 contacts

    Marketing Hub Professional

    $890/month for 2,000 contacts

    $800/month for 2,000 contacts

    Marketing Hub Enterprise


    $3,200/month for 10,000 contacts

    Sales Hub Starter

    $50/month for 2 paid users

    $45/month for 2 paid users

    Sales Hub Professional

    $500/month for 5 paid users

    $450/month for 5 paid users

    Sales Hub Enterprise


    $1,200/month for 10 paid users

    Service Hub Starter

    $50/month for 2 paid users

    $45/month for 2 paid users

    Service Hub Professional

    $400/month for 5 paid users

    $360/month for 5 paid users

    Service Hub Enterprise


    $1,200/month for 10 paid users

    CMS Hub Starter



    CMS Hub Professional



    CMS Hub Enterprise



    Operations Hub Starter



    Operations Hub Professional



    Operations Hub Enterprise



    Best Customer Support Integration: Zendesk

    UX experience: 5/5

    Customer support: 24/7 chat and phone

    Free trial: 14 days

    Free plan: No

    Zendesk is comprehensive and simple in every sense. Its two products, Zendesk Support and Zendesk Sell, integrate so well that they hardly seem like separate entities. Zendesk is best known for its ticketing system that helps businesses serve customers and solve issues. If you’re looking to join your lead tracking and customer service, Zendesk is your best bet.

    But there’s more to explore. The Zendesk Suite includes Zendesk Support, Zendesk Sell and a host of other modules. Zendesk Explore drops all its analytic and reporting capabilities into one module. Zendesk Chat lets you add chat functionality to your website within minutes. 

    You’ll find helpful articles and user forums in Zendesk Guide and Zendesk Gather. It’s all packaged in a beautiful, intuitive UI that’s easy to learn and one of our favorites to use.

    You’ll get 2,000,000 contacts on the lowest pricing plan, which also comes with nice and easy-to-use reporting. If you want to see everything about your interactions with leads and customers in one place, Zendesk is the option for you.

    With 14 years under its belt and more than 6,000 employees, Zendesk has favorable reviews on Capterra, the App Store and Google Play. Capterra even named it a Top Performer and awarded its Established Player distinction in 2021.

    How Much Does Zendesk Cost?

    Zendesk Support Team$25 per user/month$19 per user/month
    Zendesk Support Professional$59 per user/month$49 per user/month
    Zendesk Support Enterprise$125 per user/month$99 per user/month
    Zendesk Sell Team$25 per user/month$19 per user/month
    Zendesk Sell Professional$59 per user/month$49 per user/month
    Zendesk Sell Enterprise$125 per user/month$99 per user/month
    Zendesk Sell Elite$249 per user/month$199 per user/month
    Zendesk Suite Team$59 per user/month$49 per user/month
    Zendesk Suite Growth$99 per user/month$79 per user/month
    Zendesk Suite Professional$125 per user/month$99 per user/month
    Zendesk Suite Enterprise$199 per user/month$150 per user/month

    Customers who want more personalization should ask about Zendesk Enterprise and Zendesk Enterprise Plus.

    Best Pipeline Customization: Pipedrive

    UX experience: 5/5

    Customer support: 24/7 chat,

    24/7 phone on certain plans

    Free trial: 14 days

    Free plan: No

    Pipedrive provides some of the most excellent and straightforward pipeline management in the industry. It allows you to add and edit new stages in your process with ease. It also makes it possible to quickly get in tune with the fluid UI, which netted a perfect user experience score. 

    The mobile app will sync your email and phone with no issues. We also enjoyed Pipedrive’s onboarding and customer experience, which was easy and user-friendly. There’s even a weekly live walkthrough webinar on how to use Pipedrive. There are also helpful “?” icons in the software that you can hover over for explanations on features.

    Speaking of features, the deal and stage probability functions help you rank your leads and focus your next-best sales strategy. You can also create chatbots for your website with ease, similar to Zendesk.

    Pipedrive is uniquely suited for sales workflows, so you won’t find marketing integration here. It’s also not a task management tool. That may be particularly well-suited for smaller teams focusing only on their pipelines. On lower tiers, there’s a 3,000-contact management limit. The higher tiers offer good CRM automation options and templates to help improve your pipeline workflow.

    Pipeline has been around for 11 years and runs a tight ship with less than 1,000 employees. Its reviews are favorable on Capterra, with most reviews praising the features, price, pipeline customization and call abilities directly from the app, which are awesome for tracking activity.

    How Much Does Pipedrive Cost?

    Pipedrive Pricing PlansMonthlyYearly
    Essential$18 per user/month$12.50 per user/month
    Advanced$33 per user/month$24.90 per user/month
    Professional$59 per user/month$49.90 per user/month
    Enterprise$119 per user/month$99 per user/month

    Most Established Reputation: Salesforce

    UX experience: 4/5

    Customer support: 24/7 phone

    Free trial: Up to 30 days

    Free plan: No

    It’s impossible to discuss CRMs without mentioning Salesforce. By far the biggest and most popular CRM software today, Salesforce isn’t the best CRM for everyone, but it will meet the needs of many big and small businesses. 

    Beyond Salesforce’s brand recognition, 22 years in business and more than 65,000 employees worldwide, the biggest draw of its software is the reporting and data analytics. Like other CRMs, you’ll get valuable activity tracking for calls, emails and interactions. You’ll also be able to customize your process and workflows (up to a point). What many businesses love most about Salesforce is its data collection, visualization and reports. 

    Salesforce can report data with ease because every pipeline step or piece of data has its own landing page. That means you’ll do a lot more clicking to get where you want to go. Because of that, the UI often feels clunky or slow. However, the immensity of the software means it’s powerful and versatile for businesses of any size.

    Well-regarded mobile apps, a long free trial for higher plans, unlimited contacts and engaging user forums round out a superior CRM product. Salesforce also continues to evolve with innovations like AI, social collaboration opportunities and good interplay with Salesforce partners like Accenture and IBM. 

    Of course, with such a large company, Salesforce provides 24/7 phone support, and you’ll likely need that support because Salesforce is a giant product with a huge learning curve for most users. The company has dedicated a ton of resources for training and support, but it will still likely take a lot of time and effort to get the hang of everything. The price is also high compared to other CRMs, including costs for third-party app integrations.

    How Much Does Salesforce Cost?

    Essentials$25 per user/month$25 per user/month
    ProfessionalN/A$75 per user/month
    EnterpriseN/A$150 per user/month
    UnlimitedN/A$300 per user/month

    Best for the Full Sales Cycle: Freshsales

    UX experience: 2.5/5

    Customer support: 24/7 chat, 24/5 phone

    Free trial: 21 days

    Free plan: Yes

    Freshsales is a speedy and clean CRM software offering full-fledged sales cycle support. Part of the Software as a Service (SaaS) company Freshworks, Freshsales integrates well with its sister products. Freshdesk helps with relationship nurturing, while Freshmarketer does marketing campaign automation.

    Some call it “Salesforce for small and mid-sized businesses,” which is true in many ways. You’ll find good reporting on every plan except the free version. You’ll also get AI capabilities with the assistant Freddy and many automation tools for sales activity. Add unlimited contacts, a modern interface, helpful search filters and a good price model, and Freshsales is easy to recommend.

    We found the user experience and learning process more confusing than the competition. You can also only customize lead fields on the highest-paid plan. Even though it’s cheaper than Salesforce, it’s probably not the best choice for small businesses watching the bottom line.

    Freshworks is over 11 years old, has more than 5,000 employees and enjoys great reviews on Capterra. Many user reviews praise the automation tools and love how many features the highest plan provides.

    How Much Does Freshsales Cost?

    Growth$18 per user/month$15 per user/month
    Pro$47 per user/month$39 per user/month
    Enterprise$83 per user/month$69 per user/month

    Best for Easy Communication: Keap

    UX experience: 5/5

    Customer support: 24/7 chat,

    business hours for phone

    Free trial: 14 days (for Pro plan)

    Free plan: No

    Keap in one word: flexible. Formerly Infusionsoft, Keap will work best for fast and agile companies. You’ll get lightning-fast communication, quick contact adds, lead scoring, task management and more. Keap joins sales and marketing in ingenious ways while still allowing pivotal customization to meet your team’s needs.

    Keap only offers one software product. It includes marketing automation like email tracking, making it stand out among the CRM crowd. You’ll also find campaign targeting, tagging, lead management, list building and customizable workflows, all of which are a pleasure to use.

    The Pro plan introduces pipelines and reports. There’s also a landing page builder, social media integration and a beautiful, simple-to-use UI.

    You won’t find call recording here, and the price skyrockets based on how many contacts you need. Also of note is that the lowest-tier plan offers only 500 contacts. Still, Keap provides a lot in a small package. It enables tight teams to combine sales reps, contact lists, communication, task management, calendars, HR, automation and more.

    With over 20 years in business, Keap only houses more than 400 employees. Reviews on the App Store are positive, and Capterra reviews are mostly favorable. Some users found the software confusing and needed to take an entire course to learn how to use it.

    How Much Does Keap Cost?

    Keap Pricing PlansMonthlyYearly
    LiteN/A$56/month for 500 contacts and 1 user
    ProN/A$119/month for 500 contacts and 1 user
    MaxN/A$140/month for 500 contacts and 1 user

    Prices go up based on how many contacts you want, and extra users cost a flat fee of $30 each.

    Best Add-Ons: Apptivo

    UX experience: 4/5

    Customer support: 24/7 chat,

    business hours phone for all plans

    Free trial: 30 days

    Free plan: Yes

    Apptivo is one of the more customizable CRM software today. Its name gives away its secret. Apptivo’s model centers on apps, and the number of paid apps you get access to changes with your pricing plan. 

    Simplicity is key here. It’s a flexible platform with a wide variety of apps to choose from to suit your needs. After signing up for the base CRM, you can visit the App Marketplace to download integrations. You’ll find excellent chat extensions, Outlook, Gmail and much more.

    You’ll also get unlimited contacts right off the bat, and mass importing works perfectly. As for Apptivo’s UI, it is smart and includes a punchy mobile app experience.

    The price is also nice for what Apptivo offers. Unfortunately, even with all the apps, some extended APIs are still missing, like MYOB. Another drawback is that other app integrations, like Office 365, don’t work as smoothly as they should. The initial setup and learning curve can also be pretty challenging.

    With 11 years in business and a small team of around 300 employees, Apptivo has favorable to average scores on Capterra and the app stores. Customers love the flexibility of Apptivo’s functionality most. If you’ve got time to spare, the customization Apptivo can bring to your business’ workflow is amazing. Apptivo’s customer service also goes above and beyond compared to other CRM companies.

    How Much Does Apptivo Cost?

    Lite (18 apps)$10 per user/month$8 per user/month
    Premium (46 apps)$15 per user/month$12 per user/month
    Ultimate (57 apps)$25 per user/month$20 per user/month
    Enterprise (65 apps)CustomCustom

    Best for Robust Reporting: Creatio

    UX experience: 4.5/5

    Customer support: 24/7 phone

    Free trial: 14 days

    Free plan: No

    Creatio lives up to its name by offering a creative solution for CRM software. The standout is its UI, which is eye-catching and highly customizable. It’s a great software that will walk you through its learning curve with nice guides and easy pointers. It’s powerful enough to handle your full pipeline, but the real winner here is the fantastic visualizations for reporting.

    Previously called bpm’online, Creatio isn’t the cheapest CRM. However, first-time users searching for an easy-to-read pipeline and reporting management should check it out.

    More than a decade old, Creatio has a team of more than 450 workers and has earned stellar reviews on Capterra. Most users love the simple and easy UI. The consensus is if you like Salesforce, you’ll love Creatio, not least because it’s much prettier to look at. 

    How Much Does Creatio Cost?

    PlansCloud ServersOn-site Servers
    Team$30 per user/month$25 per user/month
    Commerce$35 per user/month$30 per user/month
    Enterprise$60 per user/month$50 per user/month

    Creatio lets you select sales, marketing and service products, but you can also bundle them with Creatio CRM Suite. Above you’ll find the pricing for CRM sales. Creatio is also unique in that it offers on-site server options and cloud servers.

    What to Look for in CRM Software

    Business-customer relationships are now more important than ever. Customer relationship management, or CRM, aims to make that work easier. The best CRM systems collect customer information in one place so that every team has access. They organize lead and client data to help:

    • Take care of existing customers
    • Streamline processes
    • Make reports
    • Improve pipeline touchpoints
    • Gain new customers

    There are three types of CRMs:

    • Operational – Helps businesses focus on and serve the customer through better operations. Marketing, sales and customer service are all included. These CRMs serve as a visual sales pipeline and usually have automation functions. Salesforce and Zoho are examples of operational CRMs.
    • Analytical – Captures customer data to create future-minded reports. They focus on crafting prospective strategies with data to help the business move forward. Zendesk Sell is an example of analytical CRM.
    • Collaborative – Organizes process systems to align internal departments on projects. SugarCRM is an example of collaborative CRMs. They break down silos between departments so that the whole business can move together.

    When evaluating the right one for your company, there are several questions you should ask yourself. 

    How Big is Your Organization?

    Your business’ size and growth opportunities should designate which CRMs you consider. Some CRMs cater to smaller companies, while others collect big data across multiple departments. Most CRMs charge based on how many users use the CRM, so size also affects pricing.

    How Easily Can You Get Total Buy-In From Your Team?

    A CRM isn’t worth anything if it’s ignored. Adoption across your whole team is key to getting the most out of a CRM. If you don’t think most of your team will use the CRM every day to input data and track leads, you’ll only be wasting your time and money.

    What’s Your Budget?

    Some CRMs, like Salesforce, can get pricey quickly. Others, like HubSpot, start with great free versions before introducing paid add-ons as your dependence on the software grows. Some CRMs allow you to cut costs by downsizing how many contacts you want to live in the CRM. Knowing how many users you’ll need also helps with budgeting costs.

    Will You Need to Store and Share Documents? 

    Almost all CRMs let you store and share documents in one place. This is important so that all your departments and teams can make sure they’re using the latest data in real-time. CRMs usually operate on cloud-based servers, allowing up-to-the-minute document sharing across all devices.

    Will You Need to Track Deals Through Multiple Currencies?

    Multiple currencies aren’t supported by all CRM software. If your company does work in several countries, translating another country’s currency into your own will be important for your recordkeeping. It also makes for a better experience for your customers when they see prices in their own, local currency.

    Do You Want to Track and Manage Leads Through Your Sales Pipeline?

    CRMs usually let you build and manage lead pipelines. That means you’ll be able to view a sales prospect’s current stage in your sales pipeline. That could be anywhere from first contact to final close. This helps your team stay on the same page and ensures you won’t lose contact with leads.

    Do You Want to Integrate Email into Your CRM?

    Do you contact prospects often through email? If so, CRM integration with your primary email platform can be a huge help. Some CRMs let you send automatic emails and track them so you can see if and when a lead opened your message. 

    Not all CRMs are equal in this regard. It’s important to make sure your email platform of choice is supported before going all-in.

    Do You Want to Gather Data Analytics and Create Reports?

    Some business owners only care about the analytical benefit of CRMs. Sometimes the “end goal” of adopting CRMs is to get hold of those data report spreadsheets. CRMs have an amazing way of generating beautiful and easy-to-read reports to your liking.

    Will You Need a Mobile App for On-the-Go Connection?

    Today so many deals happen over mobile devices that a workable mobile app is key for CRMs. Not all CRMs have a great mobile app, and you can usually tell the quality of each by reading reviews on the App Store or Google Play. Some CRMs will have buggy apps, while others work efficiently on mobile and desktop.

    Do You Want to Customize Your Dashboards?

    CRM software varies regarding how much customization you can do without contacting a developer. If you want hands-on flexibility in how your dashboard looks, Zoho, Pipedrive and Creatio are great choices.

    Do You Want Third-Party Integration? 

    Third-party integration is an important element for CRMs. Studies claim the average business uses more than 100 unique apps and platforms every day. Your CRM should play well with the majority of them.

    Do You Want Cutting-Edge AI and Automation Practices?

    Modern CRMs automate workflows and trigger events for email marketing campaigns and more. This takes organizational work off employees’ plates to focus instead on serving customers.

    Will You Need Other Features?

    Want to import your calendar? Keap will be a massive help if so. Want to log and record calls? Zendesk is for you. 

    Each CRM software has its niche, and it may take some playing around in free trials to find the right one for you. 

    How Important Is It That Your CRM is Easy to Learn and Teach?

    In other words: How much time do you have to learn the CRM? Most new software comes with a big learning curve. That means hours spent in training, meetings with developers and gathering data. If you don’t have much time to spend, we recommend checking our user experience scores for each CRM above. The higher the user experience score, the easier it was for us to jump in and get started in our testing.

    Will You Need Regular Contact with a Support Team?

    Customer service varies between CRMs depending on business size and expense. Like antivirus software, CRM companies often include 24/7 email support, phone service or live chat help, but not for free.

    Some companies, like Salesforce, are known for their training. Others leave it to you to figure out how to use their product.

    How Will You Keep Your CRM Data Safe?

    Since most CRM companies rely on cloud-based servers, you need to make sure you trust the company you choose. After all, you’ll be putting your company’s valuable data in another company’s hands. Research any company you’re interested in before handing all your contacts over. The Gizmodo Advisor Tech team will keep you posted here on any company controversy or breaches that may occur.

    Comparing the Best CRM Software

    Zoho CRM





    Integrated Email



    Our Learning

    Curve Score






    Number of Contacts

    with Cheapest Plan






    Lowest Price

    $14 per user/


    $45/month for

    2 paid users

    $19 per user/


    $12.50 per user/


    $25 per user/


    Prices are accurate as of December 23, 2021.

    Frequently Asked Questions