If you’re on this site, you already understand the importance of customer relationship management. Now it’s time to pick the best cloud based CRM for your business, whether startup or enterprise. This article walks you through the cloud, and shows you the top CRMs out there for cloud based solutions.
What is cloud based CRM?
Cloud based CRM is a customer relationship management system that depends more on an internet connection than on downloading software on-premise, that is, it is a cloud computing set up. Cloud based customer relationship management is much more popular than on-site SaaS these days. It’s easier to set up and learn how to use, and requires very little-to-no servicing. When going through cloud based CRM examples, be sure that the vendor does regular fixes and updates.
What can web based CRM software be used for?
CRM solutions that are hosted in the cloud can be used for all the major customer relationship management purposes.
They keep track of customer information and log all customer interactions. They let you communicate with contacts across multiple channels. You can often use CRMs to set up marketing automations and plan email marketing campaigns. It streamlines the leads gained from marketing and hands them over to sales. At this point it helps reps manage their sales pipelines and close more deals. Many cloud based CRMs have customer support and helpdesk software too. Finally, CRMs in the cloud offer analytics based on many metrics, and from there produce great reports.
CRM in the cloud vs other tools
So why choose cloud based solutions over on-premise tools? The major reasons are simplicity of set up, ease of use, lower costs, and less updating and servicing. What’s more, cloud based CRMs are accessible from any device, and are therefore ideal for teams who collaborate even remotely.
Benefits of cloud CRM software
There are many clear benefits to the best CRM systems that are fully hosted in the cloud. They are cheaper, easier to use, and great for collaboration. They can also be very customizable to your needs, and are great for scalability for businesses who have growth in their sights.
Cloud CRM applications aren’t heavy systems you need to install and run on your own expensive on-premise CRM servers. This means you don’t have to employ IT specialists full-time, or pay to keep the system up-to-date and free of bugs. Those costs are built into the cloud subscription fees.
Easy & trouble-free installation
When you get a cloud CRM software, signing up is as fast as any typical online registration process. The CRM can help you migrate your customer information into their database in a few simple steps. Often there are fun tutorials or even personalized training sessions to get your team up to speed in no time.
Ease of use & collaboration
Online CRM dashboards are designed to be visual, intuitive and customizable to your team’s needs and preferences. The added bonus of doing it all on the cloud is that any workforce, no matter how remote or dispersed over offices or locations, all have access to the same info, updated in real-time whenever anyone makes a change.
Some CRMs are all-encompassing, while others are industry-specific or carve out departmental niches for marketing, sales or customer service. The cloud advantage lets you pick the right platform, but change it up as your company pivots. Plus, cloud SaaS easily integrates with other third-party apps.
A heavy-duty on-premise CRM system needs to be designed to cater to a specific company's needs and scope. However, cloud-based CRMs are light and nimbly scalable with little time or effort. You can start on a small package and constantly add modules, users, or data capacity in lockstep as your business needs change.
CRM cloud solutions comparison chart (top 10 highest rated systems)
Here’s a quick sneak peek at the best web based CRM solutions. Where we can we list prices and whether there is a free version.
Pricing starts at
Best cloud CRM overall
$9.99 /user /month
Best cloud based CRM software for Google users
$25 /user /month
Top cloud based CRM system for customer support
$80 /user /month
Great hosted CRM solution for integrations
$11.99 /user /month
Great web based CRM solution for sales teams
$29 /user /month
Top cloud CRM for marketing automation
$45 /user /month
Great web based CRM solution for sales teams
Less Annoying CRM
Best cloud based CRM for ease of use
$15 /user /month
Good cloud CRM software for mobile devices
$14 /user /month
Top free hosted CRM solution
$8 /user /month
What is the best cloud based CRM software? Here’s our top 10 list:
The benefits of cloud based customer relationship management software should now be obvious. So the next phase is checking out the top CRMs applications that are web based. These 10 CRM platforms are described in terms of pros, cons and pricing. We also state which apps are best for which purposes.
1. Agile CRM (Best cloud CRM overall)
Agile goes the standard-but-proven route of dividing up its CRM platform into the big three of marketing, sales, and service. It’s a pretty decent platform for both large and small businesses.
Hosted on the Google cloud, the platform prioritizes top speeds and good data encryption. There is a huge collection of seamless integrations including social plugins for LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, as well as support, email, telephony, SMS and billing apps. Agile CRM gives you an unlimited amount of deals, tasks, and documents even with the free version.
There can be difficulties with the functionality of the mobile app. Throughout its development history, a good number of bugs have been reported and there are often time-consuming updates.
Agile CRM has a free version for 10 users
Starter plan is $9.99 per user/month billed annually
Regular plan is $39.99 per user/month billed annually
Enterprise plan is $64.99 per user/month billed annually
Visit Agile CRM
2. Copper CRM (Best cloud based CRM software for Google users)
Copper’s main angle is that it is a CRM system designed and built to work in real-time harmony inside G Suite, working with Gmail, Google Calendar, Docs, Slides and more.
Copper has all the basic CRM tools like contact management, deal tracking, workflow automation, and reports. It does decent data enrichment for you by gathering customer data from social media profiles, company information and phone numbers to fill out contact details. It integrates with a solid stack of necessary tools like Slack, Quickbooks, Zendesk and MailChimp. This CRM puts a ton of emphasis on data protection, including independent third-party audits of their systems and data security training to all their staff.
Copper sometimes requires refreshing your Gmail inbox in order to get the Copper panel up to date. Setting it all up requires some time and patience. The workflow automation is not as robust as those of some other competing CRMs
Basic plan is $25 per user/month billed annually
Professional plan is $59 per user/month billed annually
Business plan is $119 per user/month billed annually
Visit Copper CRM
3. SugarCRM (Top cloud based CRM system for customer support)
SugarCRM is another CX management system that combines the three-armed forces of marketing, sales, and service, converting most small business needs.
The marketing wing of SugarCRM offers useful SEO and SEM suggestions when planning email marketing campaigns, landing pages and social media ads. It combines insights from various social and business data resources to keep your sales team ahead of top priority opportunities. This is helpful when planning project management and sales forecasting. The customer support console is key for maintaining customer experience. It helps keep track of SLAs and ticket progress and provides constantly up-to-date reports on how the support department is faring.
While they can boast ease of use, this does mean a shallow offering of features with little customization. The file management module is not so intuitive here. Customer service has been known to take a little while to respond from time to time. Creating reports seems to take up a lot of processing power, slowing down the software.
Sugar Market starts at $1,000 per month billed annually
Sugar Sell starts at $80 per user/month billed annually
Sugar Serve starts at $80 per user/month billed annually
Sugar Enterprise starts at $85 per user/month billed annually
Sugar Pro starts at $52 per user/month billed annually
4. EngageBay (Great hosted CRM solution for integrations)
EngageBay has a free CRM system for basic contact organization and sales pipeline management, as well as paid marketing and service modules, and all-in-one packages.
It logs every customer interaction like email with contacts directly into the CRM database, and also lets you write emails or make calls from within the system. You can publish your calendar online for customers to easily pick dates for meetings or phone calls, and also get useful follow-up reminders. The seamless integration with Zapier, Mailgun, SendGrid and more help streamline everything from business processes and transactional emails for invoicing and payment tracking. There is also free migration of all your contact data from your previous CRM software.
The dashboard is aesthetically old-school, and not as intuitive as one has come to expect from modern CRM interfaces. Some of the automation features like email notifications can be a bit on the wonky side. More advanced searching might sometimes feel slow.
Users have mentioned the email templates aren’t great or numerous but supposedly the vendor is working on improving the issue.
CRM and Sales Bay has a free version
Basic plan is $11.99 per user/month billed annually
Growth plan is $39.99 per user/month billed annually
Pro plan is $63.99 per user/month billed annually
5. Salesflare (Good cloud CRM system for task management)
Salesflare carves out its niche as a leading SaaS for small businesses specifically in the B2B world.
Data from your calendar, your phone, and other mobile apps get logged into their system automatically. It’s got solid document uploading, organizing, quick search and retrieval functionality. It scans your data and tasks intelligently and sends mobile notifications about top priority tasks in real-time updates. Team collaboration is made easier by giving teams great accessibility, letting them work directly in your Gmail or Microsoft Outlook email inbox.
While there is a mobile app, some of the features are a bit finicky compared to the web browser version. It could use more shortcuts and simple buttons to mark things as favorites or important.
Growth plan is $29 per user/month billed annually
Pro plan is $49 per user/month billed annually
Enterprise plan is $99 per user/month billed annually
6. HubSpot CRM (Top cloud CRM for marketing automation)
As a pioneer of inbound marketing, HubSpot puts an emphasis on the sales process. This means tools to generate leads, close more deals, and keep customers returning.
Contact records are enriched with data that HubSpot collects from its connections to over 20 million worldwide businesses. There’s a library builder where all team members can contribute useful sales material and monitor which works best for reuse. You get awesome template generators to create business plans, invoices, blog suggestions, email signatures, and marketing plans. The basic CRM is totally free for unlimited numbers of users and unlimited data.
The learning curve might be a bit steep, not only in terms of using the features, but the overall HubSpot language and terminology are unique. Spotting repeated data and de-duplicating contacts does not always work so well. The free version does have limits regarding things like bulk actions, notifications, templates, and document uploads.
HubSpot CRM is free
CRM Suite Starter starts at $45 per month billed annually
CRM Suite Professional starts at $1,600 per month billed annually
CRM Suite Enterprise starts at $4,000 per month billed annually
7. Less Annoying CRM (Best cloud based CRM for ease of use)
Less Annoying CRM, or LACRM, really makes an effort to help budding startups and other SMEs get all the benefits of a CRM platform with no high costs or added hassles.
While the basic interface is set up for maximal ease of use, there is also a great deal of customization options. LACRM makes the most out of being cloud-based, meaning: fast, easy and reliable access on any device anywhere, including mobile devices. It also comes with full auto backups and top data security. What’s more, LACRM is known for great reliability and always-available customer support. If customer satisfaction on a budget is your goal, LACRM is a great option.
Some of the collaborative functions are lacking. While they’ve put a lot of effort into making their mobile web version as great as possible, some users still prefer a dedicated app which they do not have. Once one gets used to the minimal features and their simplicity, some might crave added tools with more complex functions.
LACRM is $15 per user/month
Visit Less Annoying CRM
8. Zoho CRM (Good cloud CRM software for mobile devices)
Zoho CRM has a very modular platform that lets you start with the CRM basics and can later add on all sorts of other features.
This is a good platform for serious customer information organization. Zoho CRM has an AI tool called ‘Zia’ which has pre-programmed macros to automate repetitive tasks, and you can create your own custom macros. It sends you real-time notifications and follow-ups around the clock to any device whenever your contacts engage with you across any channel. Includes a range of data security systems as well as assignable roles so admins can decide who gets what kind of access. The mobile CRM app for iOS and Android is uncrowded and a breeze to use
Importing leads directly from email or from a web browser could be easier. Reporting bugs to the customer support department does not always get a speedy resolution. A lot of the better features like workflow and marketing automation and Zia are reserved for the more expensive plans.
Zoho CRM has a free version
Starter plan is $14 per user/month billed annually
Standard plan is $23 per user/month billed annually
Professional plan is $40 per user/month billed annually
Enterprise plan is $52 per user/month billed annually
Visit Zoho CRM
9. Apptivo (Top free hosted CRM solution)
Apptivo has a solid set of CRM solutions that fit into a much larger platform which includes applications for project management, accounting, and even some ERP tools.
With Apptivo, there is extensive lead sourcing which uses web forms, emails and other APIs. Your CRM data is amenable to highly advanced searching and various customizable viewing options. Every contact is considered an ‘opportunity’ for which you can quickly create orders, estimates, invoices and project plans. The contact management available on the mobile app runs very smoothly.
Some of the other features on the mobile version are somewhat buggy, like calendar features and email syncing. At times the program experiences latency issues particularly when switching between modules. The interface is very crowded but what’s more, it falls short of capturing more common youthful CRM aesthetics.
Apptivo CRM has a free version
Lit plan is $8 per user/month billed annually
Premium plan is $12 per user/month billed annually
Ultimate plan is $20 per user/month billed annually
For the price of the Enterprise plan, contact the vendor
Visit Apptivo CRM
10. Salesforce (Great web based CRM solution for sales teams)
Salesforce is a huge name in customer relationship management and sales force automation and marketing automation. They have dedicated products for sales, as well as marketing, service and other departments.
This is way more than a basic CRM application. Salesforce has dozens of packages based on specific needs, business size or industry solution. There is something for everybody here. As a CRM provider, you get all the basic tools at a relatively good price. While most people think of Salesforce as an enterprise-level on-premise CRM, the truth is this app has good scalability for even startups to begin using.
The cons are obvious. There are so many CRM tools and features, and a plethora of packages and deals, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Salesforce will also require a bit of time to learn all the ins and outs of the app, especially if your sales team is not used to CRM platforms.
Visit Salesforce’s website or contact the vendor to find out more about pricing for your specific needs
What is the best CRM cloud software for me? Our key takeaways
There is certainly no single best cloud based CRM out there for all and everyone’s needs. We gave top spot to Agile CRM but it was a close race. Salesforce is always a contender, as is Copper and Sugar. Less Annoying CRM is another web based CRM that’s a great choice for those who want something simple. If you're still not sure which is right for your business, check out whether there are free trials with your top CRM options.