Read our independent editorial review of the best contact management software for salespeople, including the best use cases for each option.
Collaborative CRMs are software that help multiple departments at your company easily organize and share lead and customer data through specialized communication and collaboration features. The top collaborative CRMs offer tools for communication and document management as well as centralized data, activity tracking, and cross-platform compatibility. To help you choose the best CRM for you, we've evaluated quality options and their use cases:
The top six collaborative CRM solutions include:
Our overall winner for the best collaborative CRM was Zoho CRM, which took first place in the Collaborative Features category and also tied for first in the Expert Score and Pricing categories. However, all options on our list are quality CRMs; for details on each, including their pricing structure and key features, continue reading the full article below, including our scoring logic.
Note: All per-user prices are based on an annual subscription unless otherwise noted.
Provides essential team communication and collaboration tools for an affordable monthly price.
Price Range: Free to $52 per user, per month (15- to 30-day free trial)
Zoho CRM is a sales and marketing platform that offers users nearly all of its collaborative tools in its lowest paid tier. Share or request information from a coworker through one-on-one chat, assign multiple sales reps to a specialized group to work together on a deal, or broadcast questions, ideas, files, or announcements via your company-wide feed. When you add notes to deals or contact records, you can also tag a relevant coworker to send them a notification.
Zoho CRM is an affordable, solid option for company collaboration and knowledge sharing, but its user interface could improve. For a cleaner, more intuitive platform offering similar features, learn about HubSpot CRM.
Gives full access to Chatter, Salesforce's social network tool, to collaborate with your company, vendors, and clients.
Price Range: $25 per user, per month (14-day free trial)
Salesforce Essentials is the most cost-effective tier within the Salesforce Sales Cloud platform, offering powerful but affordable features. With Essentials, you can access Chatter, Salesforce's real-time enterprise social network tool for collaboration with your team, other departments, and even vendors and customers. Keeping all communication and updates in one place will help you stay organized and work more efficiently both within and outside of your company.
Although Essentials is the first Sales Cloud tier, it costs money to use after the initial trial. If you're looking for a robust free CRM for sales and collaboration, consider using Freshsales.
Shows collaborative updates at a glance to reduce back-and-forth communication and save team members time.
Price Range: Free to $69 per user, per month (21-day free trial)
Freshsales is a sales-heavy CRM that helps you collaborate with your team by seeing their deals at a glance. Review multiple pipelines in timeline, funnel, classic, or compact view to see the current status of all reps' deals, or dig deeper via an activity timeline of recent interactions with leads. The summary and details sections and highlight cards give additional actionable insights — all of this allows for efficient team collaboration with less communication needed.
Freshsales is a solid tool to collaborate with your sales team and has earned our rating as the best overall CRM, but it's often not as great of a choice for those needing robust sales and marketing tools and collaboration. If this sounds like you, check out Zoho CRM instead.
Pipedrive is an easy-to-use sales CRM offering advanced filters and notifications that turn their kanban-style pipeline into a strong collaboration tool. You can filter your team's pipeline by sales rep, deal status or stage, activity, and more — and even save filter settings for the whole team — then click a deal to see the latest or planned activity and help the deal owner if needed. Multiple reps working on a deal can also set up email notifications for new activity or direct mentions.
While Pipedrive is a great tool to collaborate with your sales team on your shared pipeline, the only way to use the platform is to pay a monthly fee. If you'd prefer a free sales tool that still offers solid pipeline and collaboration features, check out Freshsales.
Includes key collaboration features in its free tier with additional functionality offered in upgrades.
Price Range: Free to $1,200 per month (Sales Hub)
HubSpot CRM is a sales, marketing, and service CRM offering robust team collaboration features. In the free tier, you'll receive crucial tools like team email, shared inbox, Slack integration, and reporting dashboards that your entire team can access. Upgrade to Sales Hub for advanced collaboration functionality like the ability to assign teams to a deal and to create sales automations to notify your organization when a deal enters a new pipeline stage.
HubSpot's free tools make it the best free CRM, but when you upgrade for more functionality, you might end up paying for users that you don't need. To start with a free plan and upgrade at a per-user cost, take a look at Freshsales for sales only or Zoho CRM for sales and marketing.
Helps share post-sale deal statuses and assign permissions to ensure the right people see the right project updates.
Price Range: Free to $99 per user, per month (14-day free trial)
Insightly is a CRM with strong project management capabilities. With its real-time projects dashboard, sales reps can create visual reports and share them with each other so all team members are up to date on their status. If only some people should see and discuss project updates, you can also make certain projects only visible to them. With the help of its mobile app, you can even share deal and project updates on tasks, deliverables, and milestones anywhere.
Insightly is a good choice for sales teams needing a way to collaborate on deals and post-sale projects, but its interface is not as easy as its competitors'. If you mainly need sales tools and you want an easy-to-use CRM, consider Freshsales as an alternative.
The key features below are included in the top collaborative CRMs:
By making customer data and deal statuses readily available for all employees to view and keep updated, your company can come off as highly organized to your leads and clients and communicate with them effectively.
When you log calls, emails, and other interactions with leads and current customers, it's easier for your coworkers to take over and understand what their experience has been so far, then seamlessly continue their interaction or journey.
Tools such as one-on-one chat, direct mentions or tags, or a company-wide network provide ways for your team to quickly message each other and streamline all communication.
Tools to help you create and file key documents can help your team edit and share proposals, contracts, invoices, and anything else that multiple employees in the company would benefit from accessing.
Because many sales reps are often on the road, having a CRM that can be accessed from desktop, mobile, or tablet is crucial so everyone can collaborate in real time.
In our evaluation, we used six key criteria consisting of more specific subcriteria to review some of the biggest and most popular collaborative CRM software. After assigning a score out of five for each criteria, we added up the total scores to determine an overall winner. The CRMs that scored the highest made our list, then we used our research to assign a primary use case to each according to what it does best.
Whether you’re empowering internal sales and marketing teams or building partnerships with vendors and stakeholders, the best collaborative CRMs give you tools to communicate and share key info. There are plenty of worthy CRMs available that offer conventional solutions for the typical business model or customized approaches for industry-specific companies. For more on how collaborative CRMs stack up against other types, check out our guide on the four types of CRMs.