CRM software has been helping sales teams manage their contacts and communication since the 1980s. However, most sales people use a fraction of the capabilities of their CRM and many still hate using it altogether. Additionally, with starting price points often north of $50/user/month, affordability remains an issue particularly for startups and small businesses where the benefits of CRM are untested.
9 salesforce alternatives (now just Salesforce) was a huge step forward when it came on the scene in the early 2000s to dethrone vendors like Siebel and Act, and a number of CRM alternatives have taken their lead and focused on two things in their CRM offerings: ease of use and low price.
The nine CRM software products listed below all have two things in common:
  • First, they all have offerings priced at less than $25/user – even when you grow beyond a handful of users – which makes CRM affordable for everyone from freelancers and startups to growing companies.
  • Second, they all place a very high priority on being dead-simple to useso that salespeople and account managers actually don’t mind using them – which apparently is not all that common.
After an exhaustive search in our database of over 400 CRM software products, here are my favorite CRMs that match the above two criteria and do a great job of serving the needs of small to midsize businesses. All of them happen to be Web-based.

Base CRM

I love how Base describes their software as the CRM that your sales team “will actually use,” and that they make the bold claim that it will make you 10x more productive. Launched in 2009, Base costs $15/user/month for as many users as you’d like. That includes 2GB in storage per user and unlimited contacts.
They do offer a $45/user option which includes sales forecasting and a $125/user option that enables you to make calls directly from the application without dialing. But $15 gets you all the core CRM functionality you expect and it integrates easily with MailCimp, Xero, and others. Base should make any company’s CRM short list. They are used by all size businesses, ranging from tiny ones all the way up to behemoths such as GE, Merck, Allstate, and Xerox.


Highrise was launched in 2007 by 37signals, which is widely known for simplicity of software design. They also are the developer of the renowned project management software application, Basecamp, so if you are an avid Basecamp user then you should seriously consider Highrise for your contact management needs. If you are a freelancer or a very small business with 1-2 users and fewer than 250 contacts then you can actually use it for free. Otherwise, they have three pricing tiers.
$24/month covers up to six users and 5,000 contacts. $49/month will cover up to 15 users/20,000 contacts and $99/month will cover up to 40 users and 30,000 contacts. You get about 1GB of storage per user. My guess is that very few companies with more than 40 salespeople use Highrise, but at such low prices (what equates to a few dollars per user) it is a great deal for smaller sales teams. It also integrates with Zendesk, Freshdesk, MailChimp, FreshBooks, Hubspot, Constant Contact, and many others.


Launched in 2010 to better serve small inside sales teams, Pipedrive claims to be “so easy to use that salespeople love it.” It’s also cheap at $9/user/month regardless of how many users you have and has no limits on the number of contacts or storage. It does seem light on built-in integrations but works with MailChimp and does not charge for its API key.


Nimble was launched in 2009 as a social CRM, meaning that it not only connects with your email but also your social media accounts, recognizing the growing role of LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook as forums for engaging with prospects. For $15/user/month, you get 5GB of storage and 30,000 contacts. Integrations include Freshdesk, HubSpot, MailChimp, HootSuite, Constant Contact, AWeber, Freshbooks, and many more.


Insightly was launched in 2009 and is the only CRM on this list that allows up to three free users with no time limit. Otherwise, their pricing model reminds me very much of Highrise, which means that their price per user is very low. $29/month covers up to six users and 25,000 contacts. $49/month covers up to 15 users and unlimited contacts. $99/month covers up to 40 users and unlimited contacts. Like Highrise, you get roughly 1GB storage per user.
One thing that sets them apart is that they have integrated project management functionality into the software so you can stay on top of customers in relation to your projects all-in-one. They also integrate with MailChimp.


Launched in 2006, PipelineDeals touts its software as “so fast and easy you’ll actually want to use it.” The price tag is $24/user/month and that includes unlimited contacts and storage. They offer out-of-the-box integration with MailChimp but not too much else.


Nutshell was launched in 2010 as an intuitive and elegant CRM solution. Pricing is $15/user/month with a minimum of three users. That comes with both unlimited contacts and storage. Integrations include MailChimp and Zendesk. They seem like a small and friendly company.


Launched by the Zestia in 2008 and based in the UK, Capsule is $12/user/month and includes 2GB of storage and 50,000 contacts. It’s actually free for two users and 250 contacts. It integrates with Xero, FreshBooks, MailChimp, Zendesk, and a bunch of others. They seem extremely focused on simplicity.


All the aforementioned products are less than ten years old, but OnePageCRM feels the most like a startup. Launched in 2010 and based in Ireland, they are focused on delivering a “superior user experience” for small sales teams. Pricing is $10/user/month which includes 1GB in storage, unlimited contacts, and integration with MailChimp.
MailChimp was clearly the common theme among all of these offerings!
It is worth noting that I did come across other inexpensive CRMs that also focus on simplicity, but only have a few employees. While every software company starts this small, and I am cheering them on, I’d like to see them gain more traction before wholeheartedly recommending that they make your short list. Examples include StrideBatchbookLess Annoying CRMTactile CRM,Clevertim, and AlbertCRM.
According to our own research, Salesforce remains the CRM market leader, but its starting price point for teams greater than five people is $65/user/month. That includes functionality that many smaller teams don’t need at the outset.
I do still think they deserve to make your short list and, depending on the complexity of your needs, they may be the best solution for many companies. But for those of you that are new to CRM or have been burned by poor user adoption in the past, these nine solutions are worth a serious look!
Looking for Customer Relationship Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Customer Relationship Management software solutions.