6 Best Operational CRM Software for 2024

Find the best operational CRM software for your business. Learn about the features, pricing, and use cases of the top six CRM solutions for 2024.

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Operational CRMs are software programs that streamline day-to-day business operations across sales, marketing, customer service, and back office teams by automating administrative, non-revenue-generating tasks. The top options include automation for sales and marketing processes, lead nurturing features, project management, and team collaboration. To help you decide, we reviewed a range of options and determined the best ones and their use cases.

The top six operational CRM solutions include:

  • Freshsales: Best overall option for features and pricing (free starting price)
  • Zoho CRM: Best CRM software for invoicing and billing (free starting price)
  • Pipedrive: Best operational CRM with a la carte upgrades (14-day free trial)
  • Bitrix24: Best operational CRM for project management (free starting price)
  • Salesforce: Best operational CRM for advanced reporting (30-day free trial)
  • HubSpot CRM: Best free CRM software with upgrades (free starting price)

Per our evaluation, we found Freshsales to be the best operational CRM for its mix of pricing and features. All options on our list provide a solid blend of core CRM functionality with features specific to operational software. Continue reading for a deeper analysis of each option, including their primary use cases, pricing plans, and key features, or jump down to see our scoring logic.

Note: All per-user prices are with a one-year commitment unless otherwise noted.

Freshsales: Best Overall Operational CRM

Allows you to set up workflows that eliminate repetitive tasks through reasonably priced plans.

Price Range: Free to $69 per user, per month (21-day free trial)

Overall Rating star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Core Features star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Cost star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Advanced Features star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Customization star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Ease of Use star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Customer Support star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full

Pros:

  • Free version includes 3 users
  • Built-in phone, email & chat
  • AI assistant in all paid tiers

Cons:

  • No custom fields in Growth
  • Not many app integrations
  • Limited marketing features

Freshsales is an easy-to-navigate, powerful CRM with a free version and upgrades. Its workflow automation feature offered in paid tiers allows you to create rules that trigger activities such as updating contact records, sending emails, qualifying leads, and assigning tasks. Build more dynamic workflows with Freddy AI’s latest development on generative capabilities that help you personalize content for drip campaigns, provide faster replies to customer queries, and more.

Freshsales is a great option for sales-focused teams and is our top rated CRM in general, but its marketing features are lacking. If you're looking for an operational CRM that will provide workflow automations to your marketing team as well, check out Zoho CRM.

Freshsales Pricing

  • Free Version: Supports up to 3 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
  • Access to Freshworks Marketplace

Freshsales Key Features

  • Freddy AI: Predict revenue, score leads, and recommend tasks with its AI assistant.
  • Built-in Telephony: Buy local and toll-free numbers and make calls within the CRM.
  • Mobile App: Access deals, log calls, and manage tasks from your desktop or phone.
  • Visual Pipeline: View and track your deals from a kanban, timeline, or funnel pipeline.

Freshsales workflow automation

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Zoho CRM: Best for Invoicing & Billing

Helps you manage and automate financial tasks, as well as standardize related documents.

Price Range: Free to $52 per user, per month (15- to 30-day free trial)

Overall Rating star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Core Features star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Cost star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Advanced Features star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Customization star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Ease of Use star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full Customer Support star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full

Pros:

  • Strong social media integrations
  • Highly customizable platform
  • Solid lead & deal management

Cons:

  • Customer support can be slow
  • Too robust for some businesses
  • Some integrations can be buggy

Zoho CRM is a sales and marketing CRM that allows you to create invoices and automate your billing process. Set up triggers to generate an invoice when a deal closes, issue them to the right vendor, and send quotes to new customers or track inventory. You can also follow current customers' histories, invoices, and renewal dates to keep up with subscriptions. Sync with QuickBooks for more robust workflows, or set up schedules to follow up on late payments.

While Zoho CRM offers powerful invoicing and billing features, some people struggle with its user interface. For a more intuitive CRM with tools for invoicing and billing, try Freshsales, which is tied in the ease of use category and offers a configure, price, quote (CPQ) add-on.

Zoho CRM Pricing

  • Free Version: Supports up to 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
  • Access to Zoho One Marketplace Apps

Zoho CRM Key Features

  • Online Marketing: Leverage tools for drip campaigns and social media management.
  • Lead Routing: Our top pick for automated multichannel lead distribution software.
  • Social Media Management: Post and receive notifications directly within the platform.
  • AI Assistant: Enrich data, analyze sales processes, and recommend tasks via Zia AI.

Zoho CRM dashboard

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Pipedrive: Best for a La Carte Upgrades

Provides an easy-to-use, visual platform and the ability to add on advanced operational tools.

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

Overall Rating star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full Core Features star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Cost star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full Advanced Features star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Customization star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Ease of Use star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Customer Support star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full

Pros:

  • Customizable pipelines
  • Simple & visual interface
  • Robust contact syncing

Cons:

  • Reporting lacks filter options
  • Missing certain customizations
  • Segmentation can be difficult

Pipedrive is an intuitive sales CRM with a visual pipeline and tools to seamlessly progress leads through it. While each tier includes robust features, what makes Pipedrive unique is its option to pay for add-ons to streamline your operations. These advanced add-ons include LeadBooster for lead generation, Web Visitors for site visitor tracking, Campaigns for email marketing, Smart Docs for document management and esignatures, and Projects for managing post-sales tasks.

Although Pipedrive's affordable tiers and optional add-ons allow you to pay for what you need, it doesn't offer a free tier. If this is important to you, think about going with Freshsales for a free sales alternative, or HubSpot CRM for robust free marketing and sales features.

Pipedrive Pricing

  • Essential: $14.90 per user, per month
  • Advanced: $27.90 per user, per month
  • Professional: $49.90 per user, per month
  • Power: $64.90 per user, per month
  • Enterprise: $99.00 per user, per month
  • Free Trial: 14 days
  • Pay for sales and marketing add-ons: LeadBooster, Web Visitors, Campaigns, Smart Docs, and Projects

Pipedrive Key Features

  • Advanced Add-Ons: Purchase a la carte features to extend your CRM’s functionality.
  • Visual Pipeline: Clearly see your leads via the drag-and-drop, kanban-style pipeline.
  • Industry-Specific Uses: Sync or add what you need to perform best in your industry.
  • Sales Assistant: Get info on past performance or suggestions to improve for the future.

operational crm pipedrive

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Bitrix24: Best for Project Management

Helps you organize projects with task templates, workgroups, and extranet features.

Price Range: Free to $399 per month (15- to 30-day free trial)

Overall Rating star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full Core Features star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Cost star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Advanced Features star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full Customization star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full Ease of Use star-fullstar-full star-fullstar-full Customer Support star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full

Pros:

  • Unlimited tasks & subtasks
  • Free project management
  • Affordable pricing plans

Cons:

  • Steep learning curve
  • No automation in free tier
  • Missing built-in AI assistant

Bitrix24 is an online workspace that allows teams to create unlimited tasks and collaborate with external stakeholders. Manage your deadlines with its task templates and analyze time spent on each team member with an employee workload manager. View the status of your projects via Gantt charts and checklists, as well as kanban boards with customizable milestones. Users can also add freelancers, partners, and clients to extranet groups for easier collaboration.

Although Bitrix24 is excellent for project management, its user interface can be complicated and difficult to learn. For a more intuitive CRM platform with project management tools, look into Freshsales, which offers this feature and is tied in the ease of use category.

Bitrix24 Pricing

  • Free Version: Supports unlimited users
  • Basic: $49 per user, per month for 5 users
  • Standard: $99 per user, per month for 50 users
  • Professional: $199 per user, per month for 100 users
  • Ultimate: $399 per user, per month for 250 users
  • Free Trial: 15 to 30 days
  • Access to Bitrix24.Market

Bitrix24 Key Features

  • Time Tracking: Allow teams to clock in or out and monitor time spent on each task.
  • Online Workspace: Access, share, and edit documents in real-time with your team.
  • Custom Deal Stages: Design and automate project milestones based on your needs.
  • Knowledge Base: Create rules, instructions, FAQs, and relevant project information.

operational crm bitrix24

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Salesforce: Best for Advanced Reporting

Offers customizable, detailed reports and dashboards for day-to-day operations.

Price Range: $25 to $500 per user, per month (30-day trial)

Overall Rating star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full Core Features star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Cost star-full star-fullstar-fullstar-full Advanced Features star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Customization star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Ease of Use star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full Customer Support star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full

Pros:

  • Automates sales & marketing
  • Advanced records & analytics
  • Great reporting & customization

Cons:

  • Users report bugs & glitches
  • Missing some marketing tools
  • UI can be confusing for newbies

Salesforce is a highly customizable CRM that lets you track detailed CRM metrics via its advanced reporting. Create daily reports from scratch or via templates, and customize them to reflect the most important data in your operations. Transform these real-time reports into visual, clear, and interactive graphs or charts and add them to specific dashboards for your team to access. Users can also leverage Einstein GPT’s generative AI feature for powerful insights.

While Salesforce offers advanced reporting features, you need to upgrade to higher tiers for premium sales tools. In this case, consider Freshsales instead, which offers a substantial amount of affordable sales features.

Salesforce Sales Cloud Pricing

  • Starter: $25 per user, per month
  • Professional: $80 per user, per month
  • Enterprise: $165 per user, per month
  • Unlimited: $330 per user, per month
  • Unlimited+: $500 per user, per month
  • Free Trial: 30 days
  • Access to Salesforce AppExchange

Salesforce Sales Cloud Key Features

  • Lead Assignment & Routing: Auto-direct new leads to the appropriate rep or team.
  • Separate Pipelines: Create a pipeline for leads and another when they're opportunities.
  • Integrations: Sync with Outlook or Google Workspace for more operational functionality.
  • Lightning App Builder: Design your own apps from custom components and features.

operational crm salesforce

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HubSpot CRM: Best Free CRM With Upgrades

Provides free sales, marketing, service, and operations tools, plus the ability to upgrade.

Price Range: Free to $1,500+ per month (Sales Hub)

Overall Rating star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full Core Features star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Cost star-fullstar-full star-fullstar-full Advanced Features star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full Customization star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Ease of Use star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full Customer Support star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full

Pros:

  • Robust free-for-life plan
  • Sales & marketing tools
  • Useful knowledge base

Cons:

  • Upgrades can get expensive
  • Limited reporting features
  • Additional cost for onboarding

HubSpot CRM is a free CRM that supports up to 2,500 users and offers a solid amount of features to cut down on administrative tasks. You can set up the platform to autofill contact records with form data and website activity, personalize a command center that hosts your tasks, meetings, and lead details in one place, and more. Upgrade for advanced versions of these basic operational features plus access to more features like sales automations.

HubSpot's paid tiers include a specific number of users, so small teams might find them too pricey. In this case, consider Freshsales (for sales) or Zoho CRM (for sales and marketing) instead, which also have robust free versions but charge a per-user fee for upgrades.

HubSpot CRM Pricing

  • Free Version: Supports up to 2,500 users
  • Sales Hub Starter: $18 per month for 2 users
  • Sales Hub Professional: $450 per month for 5 users
  • Sales Hub Enterprise: $1,500 per month for 10 users
  • Additional users can be purchased for extra
  • Integration with HubSpot's free marketing, service, and operation platform tiers
  • Access to HubSpot App Marketplace

HubSpot CRM Key Features

  • HubSpot Ecosystem: Connect to Marketing, Service, CMS, and Operations Hubs.
  • Free Sales & Marketing Features: Free version includes robust core CRM tools.
  • Knowledge Base: Access a wealth of online courses, tutorial videos, and guides.
  • Communication Tools: Leverage its live chat tool, built-in dialer, and email feature.

HubSpot CRM sales automation

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Top 4 Operational CRM Features

The best CRM options offer the following operations-specific features below:

Workflow Automation

Lead Nurturing

Automated Marketing Campaigns

Project Management

Save time on tedious, repetitive tasks by setting up trigger rules within the CRM. These rules tell the software to automatically perform an action when a specific thing happens (e.g., generate an invoice when a deal closes) or simply at a certain cadence (e.g., create a reminder to contact a lead one month before their subscription expires).

Perform lead nurturing tasks (e.g., conduct sales calls, give a live demo or presentation, draft a business proposal) and email or live chat with leads. Keeping in touch with leads in this way enables you to intentionally answer their questions, collect their information, and get them interested enough to buy.

Launch social media and/or email campaigns at specific times, then automatically score and route leads who engage with the campaign and show interest. You can also segment your audiences so only certain potential customers see the campaign.

During and after closing a deal, keep track of your promised project so you deliver your product or service on time. This feature is great for maintaining relationships with your new and existing customers alike.

How We Evaluated the Best Operational CRM Software

We reviewed the best operational CRMs based on six primary weighted criteria consisting of specific subcriteria. We assigned criteria scores out of five for each CRM software tool and then totaled the scores, determining a winner in each category as well as the overall best operational CRM option. Finally, we assigned a primary use case to each CRM that made our list.

Evaluation Criteria

We started by assessing the core features and pricing of each option, since the top CRM platforms offer robust operational tools and cost-effective plans. We then looked into the various advanced features available, followed by customization capabilities. Ease of use and customer support solutions wrapped up our review.

Core Features:
25%
Cost:
20%
Advanced Features:
15%
Customization:
15%
Ease of Use:
15%
Customer Support:
10%

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Is Operational CRM & How Does It Differ From Other Types of CRMs?

Operational CRMs are platforms that offer support for sales, marketing, and service processes through automation. This type of CRM primarily deals with daily operations and customer-facing activities such as nurturing leads across multiple channels, while also offering several general CRM features. However, unlike other types of CRM, it focuses on non-revenue-generating tasks, so teams have more time to interact with customers or close deals.

What Are the Key Features to Look for in an Operational CRM?

The top operational CRM options provide robust workflow automation, features for managing tasks and projects, tools for invoicing and billing, and several general CRM functions. Operational CRM platforms should also provide advanced features, including multiple pipelines, lead routing, and business optimization. Users should also be able to customize their CRM and integrate with third-party apps, as well as navigate through it with ease and ample support.

How Do I Determine Which Operational CRM Is the Right Fit for My Business?

Before choosing the right operational CRM for your business, list the features that your team will actually use, considering the extent of your operations, the complexity of your sales and marketing processes, and your desire to scale up. Also assess the resources available to you, such as budget, workforce, and your technical knowledge, so you can find a CRM that offers the tools you need, is affordable, and is easy to set up and implement.

Bottom Line: Best Operational CRM Software

Operational CRMs take it one step further than more general CRM options by focusing on tasks and activities that drive day-to-day operations. Business processes like sales, marketing, and customer support are all fundamental aspects of operations, but it’s important to find a solution that meets your specific needs. If you’d like to learn more about other main CRM platforms and how they compare with operational CRMs, see our article on the different types of CRM software.

This article was written by J.R. Johnivan and updated by Kezia Jungco.

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