Gone are the days when businesses maintained contact information in phone books, spreadsheets, and physical folders. Today, customer relationship management (CRM) software offers an easier, more organized, and more effectively searchable method for contact management. CRM software can help you enter, store, and manage names, phone numbers, email and residential addresses, and other details in one central location.

Small businesses usually choose a free CRM system to start with — with the option to consider pricing plans in the future. In this article, we'll explain how CRM solutions benefit small business owners and where you can find the best free CRM software for your startup.

What Is Customer Database Software?

As one of the most vital aspects of any business, customer data management holds the key to your success.

CRM software gives you valuable insights into customer behavior. You can use customer data, marketing tools, and CRM sales pipeline tools to plan email marketing strategies, work with email templates, create email campaigns and social media campaigns, make follow-up phone calls, and send your visitors timely deals to help drive sales.

CRM software can benefit multiple industries, including retail, manufacturing, construction, and real estate. Standard CRM features include:

  • Project management
  • Task management tools
  • Workflow automation
  • Sales automation and/or helpdesk
  • Marketing tools
  • Lead generation
  • Pipeline management
  • Marketing automation
  • Lead scoring
  • Email marketing and email tracking
  • Customization
  • Social media integration
  • Integration with Gmail and Outlook
  • Customer support channels
  • Mobile app access

Using a CRM platform, you can offer far better customer support and close deals faster and more effectively.

How Customer Database Software Benefits Small Businesses

If you are a small business owner, your customer base is extremely important. To generate more customers, you need to focus on improving your customer relationship management strategies.

Here's how CRM solutions can benefit your small business:

Contact Management

CRM tools enable easy contact management — displaying accounts, invoicing activity, lead generation reports, and so on. You can update this information via web forms, live chats, and other add-ons. By creating a comprehensive database of customer activity, you get a clear insight into where you stand with them within the sales funnel.

Improved Workflow

CRM software helps your sales team by streamlining the general workflow, letting them interact with clients in real-time. The software also automates repetitive tasks, like setting reminders, scheduling email campaigns and phone call follow-ups, and setting up social media campaigns.

Driving Sales

Choosing the right CRM solution can enhance the sales process by sending notifications to your sales team when prospective customers visit your website. This allows them to follow up with the right leads and promotional material.

Coaching Your Team to Success

CRM platforms give you full visibility into your sales pipeline, with detailed reports on how each member of your sales team is faring. This enables you to coach your team to success.

Typically, small businesses work on a limited budget. You can initially choose a free plan. Once your startup starts expanding, you can choose paid plans.

Free Customer Database Software for Small Business

You can find several types of CRM software online. Many of them offer free versions and paid plans. Each system offers different features and functionality, so it's important to do your research.

Here are some free customer relationship management software programs that could potentially work for your small business.


EngageBay CRM software comes with the contact management functionality to maintain up to 1,000 customer records. Each record stores emails, deals, workflows, lead generation reports, live chats, and more. The platform further offers businesses the option to customize sales pipelines for different products. Sales sequences, which enable you to create automated, personalized email templates and email campaigns, are yet another useful feature.

EngageBay's marketing suite features lead scoring, email templates for email marketing, landing pages, and more. The social suite enables you to keep track of your social media accounts. The user-friendly service suite offers helpdesk functionality, ticketing, priority tracking, and ticket count.

EngageBay's mobile app is available for both Android and iOS. The app's simple user interface helps you with contact management, accessing customer data, and responding to users in real-time. You can collaborate across verticals and manage workflows right from your mobile app.

EngageBay is ideal for small businesses just starting out. There is a free pricing plan; paid plans start from $8.99 per user per month.

Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM focuses on handling the needs of a startup that's growing and evolving. This software provides a free plan to start with. CRM features include contact management for up to 5,000 records, task management, project management, workflow automation, marketing automation, and more.

Zoho's marketing suite offers landing pages, lead scoring, email templates, email marketing, email campaigns, email tracking, and social media-based functions within its free plan. SalesIQ presents live chat and advanced customer support. Once you know a visitor is interested, you can schedule a phone call within the chat. Additionally, SalesIQ will send you a notification when a visitor returns to your website.

The Zoho mobile app, which is available for Android and iOS, helps you and your sales team respond faster to potential leads and close sales faster.

Zoho CRM is free for three users; paid plans start from $12 per month per user.

HubSpot CRM

HubSpot CRM solutions offer integration with multiple apps. The free plan lets you choose from over 150 apps in categories including project management, task management, email marketing, email campaigns, email tracking, e-commerce, forecasting, and more. Several apps provide free versions, as well — this gives you greater functionality to help your small business.

HubSpot offers contact management for unlimited users: the system lets you maintain over 1 million contacts. Features include landing pages, lead scoring, marketing automation, sales automation, email campaigns, email tracking, email marketing, pipeline management, customer support, helpdesk, live chat in real-time, and ticketing.

The HubSpot CRM mobile app is available on both Google Play and Apple. Incorporating several useful features, the mobile app presents a simple user interface.


Freshworks is a leading SaaS company that provides a suite of CRM solutions and add-ons specially designed to serve small businesses. The free plan enables customer relationship management across multiple platforms, helping you collect and analyze customer data, improving the sales process, and driving sales.

Freshworks CRM software lets you craft web forms, create email templates, email campaigns, live chat, and more. The CRM platform also offers a mobile app, which is compatible with iOS and Android devices.

Offering a "freemium" plan, Freshworks lets you get started with its free version. You can choose from multiple pricing plans as your small business scales up.

Agile CRM

Agile CRM solutions offer a suite of services to help your sales team. Including marketing automation, sales automation, lead scoring, and customer support, it offers security and integration with other devices and apps, as well. The cloud-based SaaS is mobile-app ready and popular for its ease of use.

Agile CRM features include single-page contact management, landing pages, easy calling and voicemail automation, appointment scheduling and follow-ups, workflow automation, project management with drag-and-drop task lists, email marketing, email tracking, lead scoring, real-time alerts, social media integration, helpdesk, customer support, ticketing, and more.

Agile CRM can be used by 10 users for free. Beyond that, you can choose from multiple pricing plans.


Salesforce is yet another popular CRM software ideal for small businesses and startups. The platform offers efficient contact management, lead scoring, sales automation, workflow automation, and marketing automation tools.

Salesforce CRM tools also help your sales team with lead generation, email marketing, email templates, email campaigns, social media integration, integration with Gmail and Outlook, collaborative forecasting, and more. The CRM software also offers technical API support for developers and technical guides and a 24/7 helpdesk.

You can try Salesforce for free and then choose from multiple pricing plans.

Keep Track of Your Small Business Finances With Skynova

A CRM is great, but if your business is struggling to manage its finances, it won't really matter. That's where Skynova can help. Tailored to the needs of small businesses like yours, Skynova can help streamline your business processes by offering comprehensive accounting software that allows you to keep accurate records of your income, expenses, sales tax, and payments. You can also create invoices in seconds.

See how our software products and business templates can help you keep track of your small business finances with ease.

Notice to the Reader

This article's information on CRM systems is only meant to offer general guidelines and may not apply to your particular small business. Make sure to consult with a professional for individual tax or financial advice.