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Zoho CRM alternatives: 6 CRMs for sales and growth

Zoho CRM alternatives: 6 crms for sales and growth

Are you fed up with the data storage limitations, lack of pipeline management features, and costly support of Zoho CRM? Looking for an alternative? 

You’re not alone. Thousands of businesses have tried Zoho CRM and found its costs and lack of capabilities frustrating, leading them to search for other options. Fortunately, you have several other CRM options that can help your business drive revenue. 

In this article, we’ll explain why Zoho CRM isn’t the best CRM and compare it to other CRMs in terms of pricing and features.

What’s with all the blocks?

What is Zoho CRM?

Zoho CRM is a multinational technology company that provides web-based business solutions ranging from slide decks to recruitment to inventory management.

Zoho CRM is relied on by over 150,000 businesses across 180 countries. It offers basic contact management functionality, including automation, like converting website visitors into leads automatically.

Its pipeline management features offer users a choice between a standard list view and an easily-readable chart view. Zoho CRM users also enjoy the ability to create multiple sales pipelines, customize reports, and integrate with third-party software through native integrations and Zapier where the integrations fall short.

Starter: $14/mo

Full package: $52/mo

Notable features:

  • Integration with other Zoho apps
  • In-CRM emailing (limited #/users)
  • Dashboards and reporting
  • Integrates with Microsoft and Outlook
  • Workflow management

Why look for Zoho CRM alternatives?

But Zoho CRM also has its limitations—and they can be incredibly frustrating. For instance, companies are only allowed 1 GB of data for the entire organization, and additional data costs extra. The pipeline doesn’t feature a drag-and-drop board, meaning quick pipeline management is much harder.

Additionally, personalized onboarding costs organizations a starting price of $600, which actually dissuades small-to-medium businesses from enrolling. Zoho CRM also gets low marks for its high learning curve, buggy platform, and limited customization.

The resounding user complaint is that Zoho’s support is not very good. Due to this, users report purchasing the software and still not being up and running after weeks. Furthermore, getting full use out of the software and customizing it makes Zoho CRM “quickly devolve into a hot mess,” even after enrolling employees in Zoho’s expensive training.

See also: Nutshell vs. Zoho, a head-to-head comparison

The 6 best Zoho CRM alternatives

With its poor customer support, confusing pricing, and arbitrary limitations, Zoho CRM may not be the solution your team needs to track customers and manage sales.

When you need a replacement for Zoho, you have several options. Here are the top 6 best alternatives to Zoho CRM:

Zoho alternativeStarting price per user/monthTop featuresBest for:
Nutshell$16Ease of use, sales automation, email marketing, contact timelines, team guidanceCompanies that want essential CRM features, advanced capabilities, unlimited data storage, and world-class customer support on every plan
Salesforce CRM$25Lead management, workflow builders, integrationsBusinesses with the budget for high onboarding and implementation packages
HubSpot$15Lead management, email tracking, sales automationTeams that need CRM, operations, support, e-commerce, and marketing in one platform and have a significant budget
Copper CRM$23Complete Google integration, task automation, pipeline managementBusinesses that only operate on Google Suite and a handful of other apps
Insightly$29Sales automation, pipeline customization, workflow automationTeams that value easy customization and a streamlined user interface
Monday CRM$12Lead tracking, activity management, dashboard customizationCompanies without the need for more advanced CRM features

1. Nutshell

Nutshell is an all-in-one sales and marketing platform that helps sales teams close more deals faster. Powerful enough to support any element of your business and simple enough to implement without a paid admin or IT department, Nutshell is favored among small to medium-sized companies who know better than to overpay for software they’ll never use.

In contrast to Zoho CRM, Nutshell’s live support, onboarding, personalized webinars, administrator demos, etc., are always free, because Nutshell wants customers to get the maximum value out of their CRM.

Furthermore, Nutshell’s features often outshine the competitors’ in terms of both usability and comprehensiveness, according to customer reviews. Nutshell is praised for its usability, customer and lead management features, and world-class customer support. In addition, all customers get unlimited data storage—that includes files, records, emails, and everything else you need to grow relationships and close deals.

On top of essential CRM features like sales automation, pipeline management, email automation, artificial intelligence, and advanced reporting, Nutshell also offers a fully-fledged email marketing suite that integrates directly with CRM data, meaning no copying and pasting email addresses back and forth. In Nutshell, email marketing recipients’ activity is displayed directly on their timeline, making communication between sales and marketing teams completely built-in.

Nutshell Foundation: $16/user/month (billed annually), $19/user/month (billed monthly)

Full package (Enterprise): $67/user/month (billed annually), $79/user/month (billed monthly)

Notable features:

  • Automated sales pipelines
  • Interactive map view and drag-and-drop lead board
  • Comprehensive contact filtering and sorting
  • Automated personal email sequences
  • Native email marketing suite (additional cost based on your number of contacts)
  • Embeddable web forms
  • Integrations with Gmail, Office 365, Outlook, QuickBooks Online, and Slack (among many others)
  • Free onboarding and live support
  • Transfer your Zoho data automatically into Nutshell in just a few clicks, no setup required
  • Get a full Nutshell vs Zoho comparison

Want to kick the tires a bit?

No problem. To see if Nutshell is the right choice for your sales team, start a 14-day free trial today!


an illustration of a person in a green shirt standing in front of a group of people in the shadows

2. Salesforce CRM

Salesforce is a comprehensive software solution platform centered around its lead management and CRM functionality. With Salesforce CRM and its associated cloud applications, you can create customer journey-related custom sales workflows, plugin application builders, and integrations with your existing systems, to name a few. Be warned that the basic setup fee starts around $5,000, but if you want the above-mentioned functionality, your setup will start at $50,000.

Salesforce charges more for its various support plans, and pricing is vague and confusing. According to users, this is because the software is extremely difficult to use and requires constant interaction with Salesforce representatives. 

Compared to Zoho CRM, Salesforce is far more expensive, and the full suite is suitable only for businesses with the highest budgets.

Starter: $25/user/mo

Full package: $500/user/mo

Notable features:

  • Workflow customization tools
  • Comprehensive analytics
  • Marketing leads management
  • Buyers’ journey mapping

Required reading: Salesforce contracts, explained: 7 things to know before signing

3. HubSpot

As one of the top Zoho CRM competitors, HubSpot is a CRM, marketing automation tool, and customer service hub all built into one. With HubSpot, you can create custom web pages, (not included with the CRM) forms, and emails, and tie them together into complicated, automated workflows. HubSpot works for sales and marketing teams who can afford it, but leaves the rest of its potential customers high and dry.

Don’t be fooled by the free version—it’s barely more functional than an Excel workbook. (A trait that one reviewer actually said about Zoho.)

If you want to use all of HubSpot’s features, it’s going to cost a small fortune, because HubSpot’s true functionality only occurs when two or more full suites are linked together. Furthermore, those who aren’t HTML pros will need HubSpot to design their marketing pages for them.

Starter: $15/user/month

Full package: $150/user/month (Sales Hub Enterprise)

Notable features:

  • Website landing page builder
  • Customer journey-based workflows
  • Sales and marketing email template builder
  • Sales and marketing management tools

Read the deep dive: Why is HubSpot so expensive?

4. Copper CRM

Copper CRM is an interesting approach to CRMs entirely. Copper CRM advertises itself as a “relational CRM” as opposed to a “transactional CRM,” and its focus is to exist solely in the Gsuite space to facilitate faster and more effective use of the Google app suite.

Copper is designed for Google users only, so it won’t play nicely with any of your non-Google software. Also, Copper CRM’s onboarding is expensive and is only included in their most expensive plan.

For companies looking for an alternative to Zoho CRM’s pricy onboarding, Copper CRM may not be the best solution.

Starter: $23/user/month

Full package: $99/user/month

Notable features:

  • CRM that relies on Google apps
  • Google Hangouts-based chatbot
  • Chrome extension, Gmail inbox, Gsuite app support

5. Insightly

Insightly is a CRM favored by companies with straightforward sales processes. Its simple user interface allows for the creation of custom sales pipelines and provides all the functionality needed to manage them. Insightly offers strong filtering that allows large lists to be sorted into manageable groups.

Insightly has extremely pricy onboarding and support plans, without which many of their customers wouldn’t be able to use the software. Users also report slow loading times and lackluster or unusable sales reports.

Another potential weakness of Insightly is its data storage limits. File storage on the lowest plan is 10 GB for an entire company, with the highest available storage only reaching 250 GB. Insightly also limits the number of records you can store in the platform and import at a time.

Starter: $29/user/month

Full package: $99/user/month

Notable features:

  • Integrates with Gsuite, Microsoft, Mailchimp
  • Custom dashboards
  • Sales pipeline builder
  • Opportunity reports

6. Monday CRM offers CRM, project management, developer, and customer service platforms. Monday CRM offers a novel way to view project management data as user interfaces that look like sales pipelines, contact lists, etc., but in most cases it’s only one click deep. However, Monday CRM is great for reporting and building custom dashboards—features that the existing project management suite supports inherently.

Since Monday CRM is a pretty new CRM platform, there are some essential CRM features lacking. And many users report a steep learning curve, especially when it comes to making the platform work for their company’s needs.

Starter: $12/user/month

Full package: Price not available

Notable features:

  • CRM sales dashboard
  • Multiple sales pipelines
  • Contact management

Check out the full Monday CRM review

The best Zoho CRM alternative 

After comparing several Zoho CRM competitors, perhaps you’ve found one that strikes the right balance of price, features, support, and usability. 

With its enhanced CRM features, affordable pricing, and top-rated support, Nutshell is the best Zoho CRM alternative out there. 

Want to see for yourself? Sign up for your 14-day free trial of Nutshell today!


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