5 Business Owners Discuss Their Favorite CRM Systems

Strategic Funding spoke with small business owners to get insights on some of the top-rated CRMs featured on common software reviews sites such as G2 Crowd.

Previously we provided an overview of Customer Relationship Management(CRM) software. Here five small business owners who have used cloud software to improve their customer relationships give us their thoughts on what makes a CRM system good for business and why they chose the one they did:

Pipeline Deals:

Starts out at $25 a month. Benefits include top-notch customer support and features include deal tracking, lead/contact management, mobile CRM, data importing and a number of integrations with other platforms your business might use.

“The support is incredible, which is what a growing company needs the most,” said Jim Jacobs, Principal at Focus Insite. “We always get an answer within minutes on an issue. CRM is the lifeblood of our sales efforts, and we aren’t talking just automation. We need to pick up the phone every day and make things happen. Our business wouldn’t exist without a good CRM, and after about a half dozen attempts, Pipeline Deals is leaps and bounds above.”


Hubspot is primarily known for its inbound marketing automation platform with prices that start at $200 per month. However, the company also provides a CRM for free to any business (as long as your company has a website). The primary benefit is having a CRM that includes all of the standard features and functionality you would expect – for free; but you now also have the ability to integrate advanced sales and marketing automation capabilities when you’re ready. HubSpot is also known for their quick setup process and new LeadIn tool.

“We have used HubSpot CRM for over a year,” said Mark Tuchscherer, President of Geeks Chicago. “One of the primary reasons for this rests in pricing concerns. When you get started, using only the free version, you find that it is packed with amazing out-of-the-box features. Many people in my industry never find the need to upgrade to the paid version. Last year, HubSpot also added a tool called Leadin that works directly with the CRM. This tool is used on the website to capture new leads. It can tell you not only how these leads found you, but what actions they took before filling anything out.”


Pricing starts out at $59 per month. Similar to HubSpot, Hatchbuck is a CRM tool integrated with marketing automation, which is the ability to automate marketing processes that help capture leads and close deals. These two types of tools are very important to the growth of a business. It might be a smart strategy to get an inexpensive tool that combines both. Hatchbuck is also known for their excellent customer service.

“Hatchbuck gives me my CRM, lead forms, lead nurturing, email marketing, website tracking and sales tools,” said Brian DeAntonio, President of CROSStrax, LLC. “It compliments WordPress wonderfully. It’s literally exactly what I needed. You’ll find what sets Hatchbuck apart is their partnership culture and the tremendous people who work there. They want you to be successful and are always available for even the most stupid of my questions.”


Pricing starts at $12 a month for their CRM app, and other apps are an additional cost. The benefits include the ability to use a number of different Zoho apps to run your business. It creates a more one-stop-shop approach to your business software. Apps include email marketing, finance, HR, IT, help desk and more.

“I switched to all Zoho products this year,” said Emily LaRusch, CEO & Founder of Back Office Betties. “Initially the big selling point for me was having a single sign-on for all of my products instead of having to log into six different things every day. But that changed when I found that I could easily figure out how to set up Zoho on my own. I had used Salesforce before and couldn’t easily figure it out. I run a small business and didn’t need all of the fancy features at that time and found using a spreadsheet was actually easier. As I outgrew the spreadsheet, I began to research other options and stumbled upon Zoho. I love the ease of use and that I can integrate other Zoho products. For example I can pull up a customer’s record and review their billing history, support desk tickets and email history all from the CRM.”


Pricing starts out at $25 for their most basic monthly account. Known as the most commonly used CRM, it has all the bells and whistles, which can be expensive when you add them all on. But, SaleForce is the Tesla of CRMs and is great if you have a full-blown, internal sales team.

“Salesforce is invaluable to me as a CRM tool,” said Benjamin Luftman, the managing partner of Luftman, Heck & Associates. “It allows me to communicate with my clients about important steps in their cases, as well as keeping track of my schedule so that I can stay on top of client meetings, hearings and other appointments. In addition to CRM, Salesforce essentially puts all of the details of a client’s case at my fingertips, allowing me to access documents, evidence and videos all through my smartphone. That means I’m always prepared to answer a client’s questions and provide them with updates about their case, as well as always being prepared when negotiating with prosecutors or representing my clients in court.”

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