Despite the complicated reputation it may have garnered across sales and marketing departments worldwide, at their core CRM systems have a simple purpose — to allow any kind of business, especially smaller ones, to build rapport with customers and prospects so they can effectively grow.

In fact, 80% of small businesses already use them, and 78% have used a CRM solution for three years or more. If you’re looking to find a more user friendly, simple CRM, or maybe you just want to read about the latest products, keep reading.

In this blog, we’re covering the advantages of simple CRMs, the key features you should look for, and how they play out on monday.com.

Get started

What is a simple CRM?

In simplest terms, a CRM is software that helps track information and interactions between your company and your customers. 

A CRM app stores, organizes, and retrieves interactions between your team and customers or prospects, so anyone in your organization can then retrieve and review every touchpoint your business has had with existing customers or potential ones.

This ensures interactions with customers are always consistent and personalized which in turn increases the chances of conversion, and encourages customer trust and loyalty.

How do businesses benefit from a simple CRM?

At the heart of any successful business is its ability to maintain good relationships with its customers.

These goals are universal to all businesses, small and large alike.

A CRM helps you to meet these goals by:

  • Centralizing the information you need to provide an excellent customer experience with the place where you record customer notes
  • Streamlining their sales processes without paying extra for technical support and advanced features
  • Providing cloud-based service for easy data sharing and access — 87% of CRMs in use today are cloud-based

CRMs aren’t just for customer service, they’re useful for your sales and marketing teams too. According to TOPO (now Garner), the most effective sales sequence requires 12–16 contact points spread over 3–4 weeks.

More than one person will likely be involved in this process, even if you have a smaller team. So, having a central record detailing each contact point — that’s easily accessible to all — will smooth the process. Sales teams can then collaborate with marketing and share this customer information, allowing for more personalized customer contacts.

With all of these benefits, CRM solutions might seem too expensive and complex, but they don’t need to be. The simple CRMs in our list all offer free trials, too.

Get started

Customer picks for best simple CRM (December 2022)

Looking for the hottest simple CRM solutions out there? In this section, we’ll break down some of the biggest names, why users love them, and where they come up short:

monday sales CRM

monday sales CRM is a software designed to be simple to use but flexible enough to manage everything from sales pipelines and contact management to marketing activities and team tasks and projects.

Why users love it

monday sales CRM has the user-friendly interface users lover with all of the tools they need to get sales work done better than ever. From integrations, dashboards, customer profiles at a glance and time-saving automations to top-rated customer support, monday sales CRM has it all.

Why they don’t

Most people who don’t love it — haven’t tried it!

Get started

Pipedrive

Like monday.com, Pipedrive CRM uses a drag-and-drop interface for an intuitive and customizable experience. You can use it for lead and deal management, pipelines, calendars, and more.

Why users love it

Pipedrive users can enjoy a visual dashboard that makes it easy to monitor deal and team progress. For higher-tier plans, they can also use an in-app caller and workflow automation.

Why they don’t

Some drawbacks of Pipedrive relate to limits on lower-priced plans in terms of features. They also don’t offer a free plan.

HubSpot CRM

HubSpot is known for sleek products that work across marketing, sales, and customer service teams. Their CRM has also been vetted as a great option for just about every business seeking to improve customer relationship management.

Why users love it

HubSpot offers a very comprehensive free plan with a wide variety of features — they also offer different bundles for their paid plans that are very flexible. Users also love the range of tools for operations, content, customer service, sales, and marketing.

Why they don’t

Users wish they offered customer support on their free plan. They also said that despite the many pricing options, it can be too many options and confusing.

Freshsales

Freshsales is a simple CRM option (contact and account management, tasks, appointments and notes) with custom fields, a live chat widget, and a built-in dialer.

Why users love it

Freshsales has a clean interface and easy to read columns. With paid plans, you have the option to get dashboards, pipelines, and messaging integrations like SMS and Facebook.

Why they don’t

Automations are a crucial part of any CRM — with Freshsales you must upgrade to access automated workflows.

Less Annoying CRM

This CRM with the cheeky name offers a basic dashboard with everything you need in one place, like contacts, calendar, tasks and pipelines. They’ve made the software so simple that they don’t offer onboarding.

Why users love it

Less Annoying CRM offers free customer and tech support weekdays during business hours (central time zone) and it doesn’t charge you for that support.

Why they don’t

Because Less Annoying CRM is designed to be a super simple CRM, it’s possible that it won’t meet the needs of larger sales teams with complex workflows. It’s better for those looking for a basic offering.

How to choose a simple CRM

Many things in life come with complexities we never use ― do you use all the features on your car navigation system, washing machine, or TV remote? Chances are you don’t. Those extra features are great for the enthusiast, but as the Pareto principle suggests, you’ll get 80% of the results from 20% of the features.

It’s the same with CRM software. Features like customer forecasting sound nice, but just aren’t suitable for every business. It’s better to keep it simple and look for a lightweight CRM with only the features you need.

But what are those features? A survey by CRM Trends Report found:

bar graph representing the top requested CRM software features such as contact managment, tracking interactions, and scheduling/ reminders

(Image Source)

Let’s take a closer look at some of these features to see how they can help you deliver a better customer experience.

Get started

What are the 4 essential features of a simple CRM?

Here we will detail four essential features of a simple CRM:

  • Contact management
  • Interaction tracking
  • Scheduling and reminders
  • Pipeline/funnel monitoring

Let’s get started.

1. Contact management

Your business needs a way to manage all customer and prospect details ― email addresses, cell numbers, postal addresses, and so on.

A CRM organizes all of this information into one tidy database, letting you easily share information with your team. You can group multiple contacts from one single business and retrieve and update all the details with just a few clicks. Since most CRM solutions today are cloud-hosted, you can use your management tool wherever you go. You’ll no longer need to carry that notebook containing “important numbers” which would be disastrous to lose.

The monday.com Work Operating Software (Work OS) allows anyone to build a fully-customizable, simple CRM. Here’s what contact management looks like on our software:

showing the stages of a deal from qualified, to proposal, to negotiation in a monday boardDepiction of customer contact data in monday.comDepiction of customer contact data in monday.com

Getting started is a breeze too, you can import existing sales management information directly from Excel.

2. Interaction tracking

Sales is a numbers game, it takes multiple touchpoints with a prospect to close a deal. If you record all interactions, team members can see what’s been done.

And — once you’ve converted a prospect to a customer — your customer care and operations teams take over, see the calls and emails and understand what the customer wants. They’re quickly up to speed with requirements and can look after the customer and fulfill the order, follow up, and eventually pitch further orders and upsells.

On monday.com, it’s simple to record every contact interaction and share it with all of your teams:

Users interacting through comments on a monday.com board.

What if you don’t want to share all the data with everyone? On monday.com, you can use private boards to restrict sensitive information.

Get started

3. Scheduling and reminders

A CRM is a one-stop solution for scheduling, reminders, and reviewing prior interaction details. If you build your CRM using monday.com, you can use automation to schedule calls and set reminders.

Not only that, but you can also alert other people. If a client calls and it’s logged on the CRM board, it can automatically alert the account manager. Here’s a peak inside our automations center:

Screenshot showing examples of automation types in monday.com, which can be used to set reminders

 4. Pipeline/funnel Monitoring

Of course, a CRM isn’t just for storing customer/prospect data and scheduling calls. You’ll also want it to handle other team processes too, such as sales funnel management and order processing.

Understanding how leads progress through your sales pipeline and when orders will drop lets you plan resources and organize your team.

With monday.com, we have ready-made templates for managing sales. Here’s one for the sales process:

a monday.com board labeled "Sales Process| showing different leads, their last contacted date, stage in the sales funnel, forecast value, deal size, phone number, and rating.

Similarly, you can use monday.com to track and process customer orders. And because monday.com’s boards are flexible, you can set them up so that they work for your business.

Here’s how you can manage back-end order processing:

Screenshot showing an example of customer order processing in monday.com

The best thing is that you can link all your information together, so you only need to enter data once — or automatically insert it — and connect everything up using mirror columns.

Frequently asked questions

Which CRM is easiest to use?

The easiest-to-use CRMs are characterized by having an intuitive interface, setup wizards, and a variety of features.

What are the 5 types of CRM?

Here are five types of CRM systems:

  • Lead management
  • Sales management
  • Contact management
  • Marketing CRM
  • Helpdesk and customer support

Does Microsoft have a free CRM?

Microsoft now offers Dynamics 365 for sales teams seeking CRM and ERP features.

A simple CRM can drive real business value

A CRM is an essential tool to help you close sales and deliver an excellent customer experience — no matter the size of your company.

And while many CRM software solutions are available, they’re often too expensive and come with additional features small businesses don’t really need.

Create your simple and effective CRM on monday.com. Since monday.com is a flexible, fully customizable Work OS, you can set it up to fit the way you run your business. As we’ve seen, monday.com covers the most popular features of a CRM ― without introducing unnecessary complexity or breaking the bank.

Create your simple CRM on our CRM Template with our 14-day free trial.