6 Best Collaborative CRM Software for Sales Teams

Take a look at our deep dive into the best collaborative CRM software for sales teams, including the top options for specific use cases.

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:

  • Zoho CRM: Best overall collaborative CRM for pricing and features (free starting price)
  • Salesforce Essentials: Best for internal and external collaboration (14-day free trial)
  • Freshsales: Best CRM to see team members' deal statuses at a glance (free starting price)
  • Pipedrive: Best CRM for shared sales pipeline filters and notifications (14-day free trial)
  • HubSpot CRM: Best free collaborative CRM with premium upgrades (free starting price)
  • Insightly CRM: Best collaborative CRM for sharing project updates (free starting price)

How We Evaluated the Best Collaborative CRM Software

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.

Evaluation Criteria

We gave the most consideration to collaborative features, followed by ease of use so the entire team can utilize them. We then looked at core CRM software features and also gave each option an expert score according to our experience with the platform. Pricing as well as customizability for specific teams rounded out our evaluation.

Collaborative Features:
30%
Ease of Use:
20%
Core Features:
15%
Expert Score:
15%
Pricing:
10%
Customization:
10%

Note: All per-user prices are based on an annual subscription unless otherwise noted.

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.

Zoho CRM: Best Overall Collaborative CRM

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)

Overall Rating star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Collaborative Features star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Ease of Use star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full Core Features star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full Expert Score star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Pricing star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Customization star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full

Pros:

  • Lots of customizations
  • Robust free version
  • Multichannel marketing tools

Cons:

  • UI isn't intuitive
  • Customer support often slow
  • Users can experience glitches

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.

Zoho CRM Pricing

  • Free Plan: Support for 3 users
  • Standard: $14 per user, per month
  • Professional: $23 per user, per month
  • Enterprise: $40 per user, per month
  • Ultimate: $52 per user, per month
  • Free Trial: 15 to 30 days for all paid plans

Zoho CRM Key Features

  • Native Calendar: Add events to your calendar and share them with the team.
  • Chat and Feeds: Send messages to one person, a group of people, or the company.
  • Notes and Tags: Add info to a deal and tag a sales rep to keep them in the loop.
  • Document Library: Add key documents that your team can access or edit in real time.

Zoho CRM collaborative crm

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Salesforce Essentials: Best for Internal & External Collaboration

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)

Overall Rating star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Collaborative Features star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Ease of Use star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full Core Features star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Expert Score star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full Pricing star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Customization star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full

Pros:

  • Chatter fully available
  • Robust sales features
  • Create multiple pipelines

Cons:

  • Can be a glitchy platform
  • Few app integrations
  • UI takes getting used to

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.

Salesforce Essentials Pricing

  • Essentials: $25 per user, per month (up to 10 users)
  • Free Trial: 14 days

Salesforce Essentials Key Features

  • Chatter: Collaborate internally and externally via Salesforce's social network platform.
  • Salesforce Files: Work together on key documents, videos, and presentations for deals.
  • Topics and Recommendations: Follow topics that apply to you to stay up to date.
  • Email Integrations: Integrate with Outlook or Gmail to send emails from within Essentials.

Salesforce Essentials collaborative crm

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Freshsales: Best to See Team Deals at a Glance

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)

Overall Rating star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Collaborative Features star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full Ease of Use star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Core Features star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Expert Score star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full Pricing star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Customization star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full

Pros:

  • Multiple pipeline views
  • Paid tiers include AI
  • Unlimited users in free tier

Cons:

  • Less useful for marketing
  • Few app integrations
  • No free reporting

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.

Freshsales Pricing

  • Free Version: Support for unlimited users
  • Growth: $15 per user, per month
  • Pro: $39 per user, per month
  • Enterprise: $69 per user, per month
  • Free Trial: 21 days
  • Integration with Freshworks' free marketing and service platform tiers

Freshsales Key Features

  • Visual Pipeline: See all active or stagnant deals in the view type of your choice.
  • Activity Timeline: View chronological interactions between leads and your company.
  • Summary and Details Sections: Find lead info regarding touchpoints and more.
  • Highlight Cards: Highlight sales activities or sequences for team insights.

Freshsales collaborative crm

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Pipedrive: Best for Shared Pipeline Tools

Offers filters and notifications that help you stay updated on relevant activity within your team's shared pipeline.

Price Range: $14.90 to $99 per user, per month (14-day free trial)

Overall Rating star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full Collaborative Features star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Ease of Use star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Core Features star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Expert Score star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full Pricing star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Customization star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full

Pros:

  • Affordable paid tiers
  • Deal-based workflows
  • Add-ons improve functionality

Cons:

  • No free tier offered
  • Reporting lacks filters
  • Prone to glitches

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.

Pipedrive Pricing

  • Essential: $14.90 per user, per month
  • Advanced: $24.90 per user, per month
  • Professional: $49.90 per user, per month
  • Enterprise: $99 per user, per month (minimum 10 users)
  • Free Trial: 14 days for all plans
  • Pay for sales and marketing add-ons like LeadBooster or Campaigns

Pipedrive Key Features

  • Unlimited Pipelines: Customize the kanban-style drag-and-drop pipelines you need.
  • Mentions and Comments: Tag a sales rep to ask or tell them about new deal activity.
  • Email and Calendar Sync: Link with Gmail, Outlook, or iCloud, including group emails.
  • A La Carte Upgrades: Choose from four key add-ons for additional targeted functionality.

Pipedrive collaborative crm

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HubSpot CRM: Best Free Collaborative CRM

Includes key collaboration features in its free tier with additional functionality offered in upgrades.

Price Range: Free to $1,200 per month (Sales Hub)

Overall Rating star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full Collaborative Features star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Ease of Use star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Core Features star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Expert Score star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full Pricing star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full Customization star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full

Pros:

  • Highly useful free tier
  • Auto-logs sales activities
  • Detailed reporting dashboards

Cons:

  • Not very customizable
  • Upgrades get expensive
  • No free team assignment

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.

HubSpot CRM Pricing

  • Free Plan: Support for unlimited users
  • Sales Hub Starter: $45 per month for 2 users
  • Sales Hub Professional: $450 per month for 5 paid users
  • Sales Hub Enterprise: $1,200 per month for 10 paid users
  • Additional users can be purchased for extra
  • Integration with HubSpot's free marketing, service, and operation platform tiers

HubSpot CRM Key Features

  • Team Email: Link team email addresses to a shared inbox for teamwork and transparency.
  • Shared Inbox: Set up a team-wide universal inbox for both email and chat.
  • Sales Automation: In Starter, auto-create tasks and notifications when deals progress.
  • Teams: In Professional, organize sales reps into teams to collaborate on deals.

HubSpot CRM collaborative crm

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Insightly CRM: Best for Sharing Project Updates

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)

Overall Rating star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full Collaborative Features star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full Ease of Use star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full Core Features star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full Expert Score star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full Pricing star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full Customization star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full

Pros:

  • Easily share data with teammates
  • Highly customizable reports
  • Fast customer support

Cons:

  • Limited email functionality
  • UI is difficult to navigate
  • Steep learning curve

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.

Insightly CRM Pricing

  • Free Plan: Support for 2 users
  • Plus: $29 per user, per month
  • Professional: $49 per user, per month
  • Enterprise: $99 per user, per month
  • Free Trial: 14 days for all paid plans

Insightly CRM Key Features

  • Projects Dashboard: Share project updates amongst your team in real time.
  • Lead Routing: Auto-analyze incoming leads and direct them to the right sales rep.
  • Customer Linking: View documents, notes, and more directly within a customer profile. 
  • Digital Notes: Record notes on your phone and review them on your desktop later.

Insightly CRM collaborative crm

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Top 5 Collaborative CRM Features

The key features below are included in the top collaborative CRMs:

Centralized Data

Activity Tracking

Communication Tools

Document Management

Cross-Platform Compatibility

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.

Bottom Line: Best Collaborative CRM Software

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.

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