The main goal of any CRM is to bring an entire sales chain together in one system, from order receipt to shipping to closing financial documents. But often we also want to maintain our communication histories with the customer. And what happens if client-facing personnel leave the company? How do we pass on their contact and sales history? It would be great if we could also adapt our CRM to the specific processes in our company without needing a whole team of programmers.

In this article, we’ll introduce you to the most common CRM solutions for automating business processes in this way and explain what to look for when choosing such a system.

A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system is crucial for managing businesses of all sizes and sectors, from startups to multinational corporations. 

A CRM system enables companies to:

  • Operate in a unified space.
  • Manage deals: Lead Management and Sales Pipeline Management. 
  • Manage customer interactions: Company Profiles, Contact and Customer Database Management.
  • Store communication history and agreement and transaction records.
  • Customize according to specific business processes.
  • Automate sales from order receipt to deal closure.

Top CRM Systems

Customer Relationship Management systems help companies structure their relationships with customers, partners, and contractors. They automate the entire lifecycle of transactions and orders, from receiving requests to shipping to closing financial documents. So, how do you choose the right CRM to help unite your teams and become your company’s central business environment? This overview will introduce you to the key players, their strengths and weaknesses, unique features, and pricing. It will also help you choose a CRM that fits your business needs.

1. Planfix

Planfix stands out by offering more than a standard CRM; it’s a no-code platform that allows for extensive customization to match any business’s unique workflow and scale.


Key Planfix Features

Planfix offers a wide range of features that cover the needs of the sales department and the associated teams involved in customer interaction:

  • Sales and marketing automation: Includes tools for managing sales pipelines, emails, and segmenting your contact database.
  • Leads and deals management: Planfix offers ready-made solutions designed for the needs of your sales department.
  • Directories: Create catalogs for your products and services, add exchange rates, and handle multi-currency transactions.
  • Company and contact management: Keep all your customer data organized in a single card.
  • Scheduling and planning: Use calendars, planners, reminders, and notifications to optimize your workflow.
  • Automation and customization: Take advantage of scripts, webhooks, and buttons to adapt Planfix to your specific needs.
  • Communication: Connect your corporate email, virtual email, and IP telephony services.
  • Social media integration: Seamless integration with platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
  • Messengers and chats: Communicate with customers via popular messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Telegram, FB Messenger, Viber, and internal/external chat.
  • Diverse task views: Choose from different task views, including Gantt charts, tables, trees, chronicles, and location-based views.

Who is Planfix Suitable For

  • Startups;
  • Small Business;
  • Mid-Market;
  • Enterprise;
  • Non-profit.

Planfix Pros

  • Planfix is an all-in-one system. Planfix covers all aspects of the customer workflow, from multichannel lead generation and custom funnel management to project and order management, ongoing customer support, and future deals and orders.
  • Improved customer interaction. Take customer engagement to a new level with comprehensive communication history, documents, and orders.
  • Business process automation. Streamline your sales process from request to deal closure with automation.
  • Document management.  Keep all your transactions and customer documents in one place. Create templates for standard documents such as contracts, quotes, and invoices. 
  • Versatile reports. Generate reports for various contexts, track expenses and profit margins on deals, and make profit and cost predictions across different categories and perspectives. Visualize data with meaningful graphs and charts.
  • Omnichannel communication. With Planfix, you can receive and respond to messages from messengers and social networks directly in the system.
  • Customizations. Customize pipelines for different sales departments and create workspaces for individual teams. 
  • Logging and security. Gain insights with user activity reports for tasks and projects while ensuring data security. 
  • Flexible permissions.  Distribute access, even down to specific customer card fields. For example, share information only with C-level, top managers while restricting access for other sales department members.
  • Versatile marketing tools. Segment your customer base, integrate external services for SMS and email campaigns, or communicate with your customers directly from Planfix.

Planfix Cons

  • Although Planfix comes with extensive features and customization options, it can sometimes go beyond the scope of a typical CRM system.
  • Configuring the system may seem complex for beginners due to its numerous features and extensive customizability.

Planfix Cost and Free Version

Planfix offers a flexible, comprehensive pricing structure, including a free product version. The free version is ideal for start-ups and small teams starting a new project. The flexibility of Planfix allows you to scale the product as your project evolves. Over time, Planfix transforms from a pure CRM system into a unified information hub that brings together the work of all your teams:

  • Free – $0,
  • Plan A – $8,
  • Plan B – $18,
  • Plan X – $28.

2. ClickUp

ClickUp is a versatile platform that allows you to set up task and project management as well as customer sales processes in a unified environment.


Key ClickUp Features

In addition to task management, ClickUp can also be used to automate the sales department and set up a CRM:

  • Custom Statuses,
  • Automation,
  • Tags,
  • API calls,
  • Smart notifications,
  • Various views: List, calendar, timeline.

Who is ClickUp Suitable For

  • Startups;
  • Small Businesses;
  • Mid-Market.

ClickUp Pros

  • Preconfigured CRM templates.
  • An extensive list of integrations.
  • Real-time collaboration: document sharing, chat.
  • Unlimited storage space in all paid plans.

ClickUp Cons

  • Limited mobile app functionality.
  • Limited security settings: Some settings, such as custom roles and permissions, are only available in the Enterprise version.
  • Missing private workspaces and customized interfaces in the cheaper versions.
  • Two-factor authentication is only available for Business and Enterprise plans.

ClickUp Cost and Free Version

With ClickUp, there’s not just a paid version but a completely free one, too:

  • Free – $0,
  • Unlimited – $7,
  • Business – $12,
  • Enterprise – prices available upon request.

3. Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM is a popular solution for managing your sales department. Thanks to its wide range of individual services, your company can customize the CRM system and seamlessly integrate the functions of other departments, such as marketing, HR, and support. It should be noted that you’ll need to purchase some of these individual products separately, which may affect the final cost of the solution.


Key Zoho CRM Features

Features that help automate the work of the sales department include: 

  • Workflow automation.
  • Deal management.
  • Process management.
  • Journey orchestration.
  • Flexible customization options.
  • Access to predefined reports and dashboards.

Who is Zoho CRM Suitable For

  • Small Business,
  • Mid-Market,
  • Middle+.

Zoho Pros

  • Workflow rules.
  • Reports: custom and scheduled in all plans, except Free.
  • Sales forecasting.
  • Free plan for 3 users.

Zoho Cons

  • Some products are licensed separately.
  • Custom buttons are only available on the Enterprise plan and above.
  • Multi-currency support isn’t included in the free version.
  • Scheduled emailing is only available with the Enterprise plan and above.
  • Customer support response time may be slower.

Zoho CRM Pricing and Free Version

Zoho CRM offers pricing plans suitable for businesses of all sizes, and there’s even a lifetime free version:

  • Free plan: €0 for up to 3 users,
  • Standard plan: €14,
  • Professional plan: €23,
  • Enterprise Plan: €40,
  • Ultimate plan: €52.

4. HubSpot Sales Hub

HubSpot Sales Hub is a solution for managing digital commerce, sales department processes, and customer communication. Users often praise HubSpot Sales Hub for its user-friendly and flexible system. However, it’s worth noting that companies considering this product should have a budget to match, as it’s not exactly a low-cost option.


Key Features of HubSpot Sales Hub

HubSpot Sales Hub most useful features: 

  • Deal Tags,
  • Email templates, tracking, and notifications,
  • Templates and custom goals,
  • Deal Pipeline,
  • App Marketplace integrations,
  • Sales automation.

Who is HubSpot Sales Hub Suitable For

  • Small businesses;
  • Mid-sized companies;
  • Non-profit organizations.

HubSpot Pros

  • Automatic lead rotation.
  • Workflow extensions.
  • Stripe payment processing (US).
  • Support for multiple currencies.

HubSpot Cons

  • Fixed number of users in plans, e.g Professional plan starts at 5 users.
  • Limits on the number of pipelines (boards).
  • Calculated properties (calculated fields) are only available in the Professional and Enterprise plans.
  • Limitations on data export.

HubSpot Sales Hub Pricing and Free Version

There is a free plan among the pricing plans offered by HubSpot Sales Hub. However, the range of functions is limited and may not be suitable for setting up a comprehensive CRM system:

  • Free Plan: $0,
  • Starter Plan: $18,
  • Professional Plan: $450,
  • Enterprise Plan: $1,500.

5. Sales CRM

The Sales CRM is a software solution for managing the deal lifecycle for small and medium-sized businesses. This platform allows you to customize your business processes, connect teams, and organize your company’s operations in a unified environment.


Key Sales CRM Features

Among the key functionalities beneficial for lead and deal management, the following are worth noting:

  • Comprehensive, customizable dashboards,
  • Contact management,
  • Process automation,
  • Email integration and automation,
  • Sales tracking.

Who is Sales CRM Suitable For

  • Small-Business;
  • Mid-Market. Sales CRM Pros

  • Lead and deal management,
  • Email templates,
  • Workflow automation,
  • Sales forecasting with the Pro CRM plan,
  • Free plan forever. Sales CRM Cons

  • Limited storage time for account logs: Logs are retained for one week on the Basic plan and six months on the Standard plan.
  • Many communication features are only available for the Pro version onwards
  • Limited access for non-registered users.
  • A limited number of views (boards) in the first two plans.
  • IP restrictions/Content Directory are only available in the Enterprise plan. Sales CRM pricing and free version

There is no information about a free version of Sales CRM on the manufacturer’s website:

  • Basic – $10,
  • Standard Plan – $14,
  • Pro – $24,
  • Enterprise – Prices available on request.

6. Pipedrive

Pipedrive is a user-friendly CRM system perfect for setting up a sales department in a small company. Automation templates for processes and scenarios make onboarding a breeze, especially for teams without experience with such systems.


Key Pipedrive Features

Pipedrive offers various tools for team collaboration and lead and deal management optimization. Highlights include:

  • Lead and deal management,
  • Visual sales pipeline,
  • Reports and dashboards,
  • Contact history,
  • Email open and click tracking.

Who is Pipedrive Suitable For

  • Small businesses;
  • Mid-sized companies.

Pipedrive Pros:

  • Intuitive user interface.
  • 24/7 support chat.
  • Business management features.
  • Customizable pipelines.

Pipedrive Cons

  • Limited customization options for deal cards and pipelines (available with Pro).
  • Calculated fields (available with Pro).
  • Teams – automatic task assignment, pipeline settings, and reports (available with Pro, limited to 3 users).
  • Custom/advanced security settings only in the most expensive package (requirements for setting/changing strong passwords);
  • Others have preset settings.

Pipedrive Cost and Free Version

Pipedrive does not offer a free version of its product. Therefore, the only way to test the functionality and find out if it meets your needs is to use the trial version, which is offered for a very limited period – only 14 days. Other price options: 

  • Essential: €12.50,
  • Advanced: €24.90,
  • Professional: €49.90,
  • Power: €59.90,
  • Enterprise: €74.90.

7. Salesforce

Salesforce is one of the most well-known solutions that allows you to customize your CRM system to your company’s specific needs and foster collaboration between teams. However, be prepared that you may need to invest time in configuration due to its powerful functionality and extensive capabilities. Also, this solution’s cost is unsuitable for every small business or newbie business startup.


Key Salesforce Features

Salesforce offers numerous tools for sales departments and automating key sales processes, including:

  • Workflow and process automation,
  • AI-powered insights,
  • Customization,
  • Sales process management,
  • Real-time lead management.

Who is Salesforce Suitable For

  • Mid-sized companies;
  • Enterprises.

Salesforce Pros

  • Built-in AI to accelerate business processes, provide work insights and automation.
  • Customization to meet the needs of each company, team, or business unit.
  • Risk management.
  • Customized reports across different dimensions.

Salesforce Cons

  • Price – it may not be affordable for every company.
  • Many features come at an additional cost or are included in more expensive packages.
  • Add-ons are available for an additional fee.
  • Sales teams – business distribution (available with Enterprise).
  • Many integrations are available only for the Enterprise version.

Salesforce Cost and Free Version

Salesforce does not offer a free version of its product in its pricing plans:

  • Starter: $25;
  • Professional: $80;
  • Enterprise: $165;
  • Unlimited: $330;
  • Unlimited+: $500.

8. Creatio

Creatio is a no-code system that allows you to configure your organization’s visual design and business processes. A wide range of market integrations allow you to use familiar applications and services alongside this CRM.


Key Creatio Features

  • Lead and opportunity management,
  • Templated workflows,
  • Automated communication processes,
  • Sales forecasts,
  • Order and contact management,
  • Sales performance analysis.

Who is Creatio Suitable For

  • Small companies;
  • Mid-sized companies.

Creatio Pros

  • Code-free system.
  • CRM for marketing, sales, and service can be separated.
  • Customizable interface for your company or team.
  • Configuration of automatic business processes.

Creatio Cons

  • Stability issues and regular bugs.
  • Products are purchased separately: Marketing, Sales.
  • Non-transparent pricing – price is based on the quantity of solutions needed.
  • Paid support, which is billed separately.

Creatio Costs and Free Version

The pricing plans include no free version, but a trial version is limited to 14 days. Look closely at the price plans, consisting of the platform price and an add-on – a module for a specific direction:

  • Growth: $25;
  • Enterprise: $55;
  • Unlimited: $85.

9. Odoo

Odoo is a comprehensive solution that integrates the operations of all teams and departments into a single information environment. It facilitates the streamlined configuration of end-to-end business processes across sales, marketing, logistics, HR, finance, and more.


Key Features of Odoo

Odoo offers a range of functional capabilities for the sales department and other teams involved in customer engagement, including:

  • Predictive lead scoring,
  • Live chat,
  • Pipeline management,
  • Email templates,
  • Opportunities analysis,
  • CRM dashboard.

Who is Odoo Suitable For

  • Small businesses;
  • Mid-sized companies;
  • Non-profit organizations.

Odoo Pros

  • On-premise option for Enterprise.
  • Suitable for small teams when the goal is to cover a single need (free plan).
  • Allows large companies to configure their entire operation in a unified environment.

Odoo Cons

  • The product is split into individual applications (free use is limited to one application – therefore only part of the functionality).
  • Lack of detailed description of product functionalities.
  • Unintuitive user interface, outdated design.
  • Paid support and training (according to customer feedback).

Odoo Costs and Free Version

Odoo offers a free version, but it is limited in functionality. More specifically, you can only use one product – One App Free. So, if you want to add modules such as finance or project management to your CRM, you have to buy each product separately:

  • Standard: €14.90,
  • Custom: €24.90.

What Should you Look for in a Good CRM System?

With so many software solutions for managing customer relationships, enhancing commerce, and optimizing sales department operations, choosing a specific solution can be challenging. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to what features a top-notch CRM system should include. Below are the most important factors and tools to consider.

The Intuitiveness of the User Interface and Settings

Some companies rely on integrators to configure and integrate systems into their business. This approach is often optimal as it eliminates the need for internal specialists or extensive learning. However, if budget constraints or the organization’s size necessitate self-configuration, it’s crucial to evaluate the user interface and the availability of training materials to determine if you can set up the CRM independently.

Contact and Company Management

A flexible customer relationship management system is vital since the sales department’s primary focus is on customers. Look for the ability to store data about counterparties – companies and contacts – and check access rights, delegation, and flexibility. Structured and comprehensive customer data and interaction history will enable the sales team to close deals more quickly and enhance cross-selling and upselling efforts.

Customization Options

It’s unlikely that you’ll find a system that perfectly fits all your business needs and processes straight away. Therefore, it’s wise to examine a solution’s customization capabilities. Is the system adaptable? Does it provide open-source code? Will you need programmers, or is it a no-code DIY system like Planfix?

Templates and Preconfigured Settings

Pre-made templates for scenarios, scripts, or business processes can significantly benefit small teams with basic needs or users with limited system experience. Using a preconfigured solution or template simplifies the startup process and minimizes the learning curve.

Flexibility in Analytics and Comprehensive Reports

The broader the range of data collection options a CRM system offers, the more detailed reports your company can generate. Tracking transaction costs, gaining customer insights, conducting cost analysis, evaluating ROI, managing risks, and forecasting are among the analytics that can enhance your business’s efficiency.

Automation of Work Processes

Automation tools can expedite task and project completion, manage orders or transactions through various stages, and, most importantly, minimize errors due to human factors. Automating routine tasks can boost your sales department’s efficiency and free managers from repetitive duties.

Number of Integrations Available

Integrations expand the functional capabilities of CRM systems. Integrating IP telephony, for example, allows for quick order processing over the phone and customer support. Email and SMS services broaden customer communication channels, enabling the marketing department to initiate targeted campaigns.

How do you Choose CRM Software Tools?

When selecting CRM software that will satisfy your business needs, several factors must be considered. We have compiled a brief checklist for you with the essential steps to consider when choosing the best Customer Relationship Management software.

Step 1: Set Priorities and Goals

The first step a company should take before embarking on a search and analyzing the functions of CRM systems is to define its goals. In other words, determine what is most important to your company or business and identify the problems and needs that must be addressed. For a small startup, for instance, maintaining a database and storing communication about projects in an accessible format when acquiring new customers may be crucial. For non-profit organizations, tracking donors and volunteers and launching informational and fundraising campaigns is essential. Producing informative and visually appealing reports for investors and donors is also important.

Step 2: Analyzing Business Needs

Once the primary task(s) the CRM system will fulfill has been identified, it’s crucial to determine which departments will use the software. For example, a small retail company may wish to integrate the sales, marketing, finance, and logistics departments into a single solution. Structuring the responsibilities and tasks of each department is key and requires a CRM system tailored for small businesses.

Conversely, a large company may aim to establish a unified information environment and centralize its business processes in a single system, focusing on scalability. This requires an enterprise-level system. One advantage of Planfix is its scalability, growing with your business from startup to large corporation.

Step 3: Identify Key Features

On one hand, many companies seek extensive features and comprehensive tools for various tasks and automation. However, if you are new to CRM systems or project management tools, it’s advisable to start with the essential features:

  • The ability to configure and customize your pipeline.
  • Integration with various communication channels such as company emails, messengers, and social networks.
  • Integration with lead generation tools.
  • A contact and company database.
  • Access control settings.
  • The ability to integrate different departments into a single system.
  • Document management, including document storage and creation.

Step 4: Budgeting

After defining your tasks, goals, and priorities, you come to the final but equally important step – budgeting. The cost of the solution can be a critical factor for startups due to budget constraints and for large companies due to a high number of employees. Carefully review the licensing policy of the chosen solution. Are there hidden costs for additional services, such as unexpectedly paid support or mandatory fees during onboarding? We recommend considering these nuances when selecting a platform to protect your business from unforeseen expenses that exceed your budget.


To determine which of top CRM systems is the best fit for your company and seamlessly aligns with your business processes, we recommend a trial. Planfix offers a fully functional 14-day trial period. Why wait? You can try it right now! If you have any questions about how the system works or need help setting up specific processes, our Customer Support team is here to assist you.