8 Best Operational CRM Software for Salespeople

Check our evaluation of the best operational CRM software for sales, marketing, and service, with use cases for the top options.

Operational CRMs are focused on streamlining day-to-day business operations across sales, marketing, and customer service. They do this in a variety of ways, including automation; collaboration; lead nurturing; and general communications with staff, external partners, and customers alike. To help you choose the right one for you, we reviewed a range of CRM options to determine which ones rate the best for total business operations management.

The top eight operational CRM solutions include:

  • Agile CRM (Overall Winner): Best for native telephony services (free starting price)
  • Zoho CRM: Best for social media integrations (free starting price)
  • Pipedrive: Best for third-party app integration ($12.50 starting price)
  • SuiteCRM: Top open-source operational CRM (free starting price)
  • Salesforce Essentials: Best for advanced operational features ($25 starting price)
  • Less Annoying CRM: Best for no-frills business operations ($15 starting price)
  • Insightly: Best for operations on the go (free starting price)
  • Accelo: Best for complete business cloud management ($39 starting price)

What Is an Operational CRM?

Operational CRM software helps manage daily sales, marketing, service, and back-office activities through automation and operations-specific features. Most operational CRMs are focused on the sales and marketing processes, but some like QuickBooks CRMs even help with invoicing and basic accounting. To see how this CRM type stacks up against the rest, check out our ultimate guide on the four main types of CRMs.

How We Evaluated the Best Operational CRM Software

Our evaluation began specifically with operational CRM capabilities, including sales, marketing, and general customer service. Ease of use came next, as it’s important to have software that is easy to navigate. Standard CRM features followed that, as many of these are universal, and expert score, pricing, and customization wrapped up our evaluation.

Evaluation Criteria

We evaluated the biggest and most popular operational CRM solutions based on six primary criteria, scoring all options on each criterion, determining a winner in each category as well as the overall best operational CRM option.

Operational 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.

Overall, Agile CRM and Zoho CRM comprise the best of our top options. These options provide the perfect blend of standard functionality with features that are specific to operational CRMs. For an even deeper analysis, read our case-by-case evaluations below.

Agile CRM: Best for Native Telephony Services

Agile CRM excels at native telephony services, with plenty of additional features available via third-party app integrations.

Price Range: Free to $47.99 per user, per month

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

Pros:

  • Online telephony service
  • Integrates with third-party tools
  • Easy to use & novice-friendly

Cons:

  • Automation isn’t perfect
  • Marketing functionality is complicated
  • Some tutorials are outdated

Agile CRM is a sales solution that offers all the core features you’d expect, along with marketing and service functionality for end-to-end service. The software takes advantage of next-gen technology to provide you with all of the standard telephony services in a single, easy-to-use hub. Whether you want to make or receive calls, record notes, or send automated messages, Agile CRM is the solution for you.

Agile CRM Cost

  • Free version available for 10 users
  • Starter: $8.99 per user, per month
  • Regular: $29.99 per user, per month
  • Enterprise: $47.99 per user, per month

Agile CRM Notable Features

  • Inbound and Outbound Calling: Make or receive calls without leaving the Agile CRM platform via two-way telephony.
  • Call Recording and Archival: Record and play back previous calls, monitor call logs, and receive email reports based on your team’s calling activities.
  • Voicemail: Automatically deliver incoming messages to your voicemail account. This is great when you’re on vacation or just out for lunch.
  • Call Scripts: Access Agile CRM’s archive of CRM-oriented call scripts that are designed with your specific audience in mind.
  • Post-Call Automation: Available with Agile’s Enterprise service, this feature lets you automate tasks like general data capture and follow-up communications.

Agile CRM dashboard

Visit Agile CRM

Zoho CRM: Best for Social Media Integrations

Zoho CRM features affordable pricing tiers — including a free option — and plenty of social media integrations.

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

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

Pros:

  • Third-party apps add functionality
  • Highly customizable platform
  • Solid lead and deal management

Cons:

  • Customer support can be slow
  • Overwhelming amount of options
  • Some integrations are buggy

Zoho CRM is an operational CRM that focuses on social media marketing and integration. It’s not the only option to include social media functionality, but it achieves it better than anyone else. It’s compatible with all of the most popular social media sites and also provides a myriad of options for customer segmentation, lead nurturing, forecast deals, and sales management, making it great for those managing sales and marketing channels on social media.

Zoho CRM Cost

  • Free version available 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
  • 15-day free trial available

Zoho CRM Notable Features

  • Third-Party Integrations: Connect Zoho CRM with Facebook, LinkedIn, Mailchimp, DocuSign, Google Drive, and more.
  • Monitor Social Media: Keep track of social media sites and receive notifications whenever your brand is mentioned.
  • Automatically Add Leads: Instantly and automatically add leads from your social media channels back into your CRM database.
  • Manage Multiple Profiles: Build your brand across multiple social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter, and manage them all from Zoho CRM.
  • Lead and Deal Prediction: Leverage AI-driven predictions to calculate the success of every new lead or deal that comes through your pipeline.

Zoho CRM dashboard

Visit Zoho CRM

Pipedrive: Best for Third-Party App Integration

Pipedrive provides the fundamental framework for an operational CRM with support for hundreds of third-party apps.

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

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

Pros:

  • Hundreds of third-party apps
  • Create your own app integrations
  • Customized solution for your needs

Cons:

  • Reporting lacks filter options
  • Certain customizations lacking
  • Platform is slow at times

Pipedrive uses a visual, kanban-style pipeline with integrations for 200+ apps. Some of the most popular apps are PandaDoc for document automation and management, LeadFeeder for analytics directly from Google, Kixie for one-click dialing and telephony support, Xero for accounting and invoicing, and more. If you want to fill the gaps in day-to-day automation or you’re launching your business and want everything in one place, Pipedrive is a great fit.

Pipedrive Cost

  • Essential: $12.50 per user, per month
  • Advanced: $24.90 per user, per month
  • Professional: $49.90 per user, per month
  • Enterprise: $99 per user, per month (at least 10 users required)
  • 14-day free trial available

Pipedrive Notable Features

  • Zapier Integrations: Pipedrive uses Zapier to connect with all of your favorite services, including Gmail, Slack, Facebook, Xero, Zoom, and more.
  • LeadBooster: Use Pipedrive’s LeadBooster add-on service to benefit from AI-driven chatbots and a live chat platform for your business.
  • Web Visitors: See detailed information on your website visitors, including insight into potential leads, via Pipedrive’s Web Visitors add-on service.
  • Telephony Support: Add third-party telephony support, including one-click dialing and call recording, with Kixie.
  • API Access: Can’t find the exact app you need? Build your own with Pipedrive’s API and their dedicated Developer’s Corner.

Pipedrive CRM dashboard example

Visit Pipedrive

SuiteCRM: Top Open-Source Operational CRM

For an open-source approach to day-to-day operations and sales, SuiteCRM is a solution that checks all the boxes.

Price Range: Free to £475 per month (30-day free trial)

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

Pros:

  • Free to host on your own server
  • Develop your own integrations
  • Easily import data from other CRMs

Cons:

  • Navigation can be unintuitive
  • Platform is slow at times
  • Email integration is lacking

Because SuiteCRM is open-source software, anybody is free to edit the internal coding and contribute to future improvements. Not only does this give your developers the opportunity to inject their own features and preferences directly into the software, but it lets them customize these features to meet your specific operational needs. Its primary features revolve around sales automation, customized marketing, activity management, and customer service.

SuiteCRM Cost

  • Free version available
  • Starter: £95.00 per month (1-10 users)
  • Business: £332.50 per month (5-50 users)
  • Premium: £475.00 per month (10-150 users)
  • 30-day free trial available

SuiteCRM Notable Features

  • Open Source Software: SuiteCRM is one of the few open-source CRMs in the world, and the only one that made this list.
  • Configuration Studio: Customize the feel and functionality of your CRM without any coding knowledge, thanks to SuiteCRM’s Configuration Studio.
  • API Development: Create your own integrations with SuiteCRM; a comprehensive technical manual is available online.
  • Online Community: Receive technical support, share your own expertise, or just chat with users in their comprehensive online community.

suite crm dashboard example

Visit SuiteCRM

Less Annoying CRM: Best for No-Frills Business Ops

If your business model follows a standard approach, or if you operate in a mainstream market, this CRM is a great fit.

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

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

Pros:

  • No long-term commitments
  • Plenty of online advice & support
  • Responsive customer service

Cons:

  • No tracking for goals or activities
  • Lacking social media integration
  • Missing numerous advanced features

Less Annoying CRM takes a no-frills approach to small business operations. Their platform cuts out all of the extras — including complicated pricing tiers — in lieu of focusing strictly on data capture and management, analytics, lead nurturing, calendar management, customization, and team collaboration. It’s ideal for those who need to get started as quickly and as easily as possible or those who only want to worry about paying a flat subscription fee.

Less Annoying CRM Cost

  • $15 per user, per month
  • 30-day free trial available for unlimited users

Less Annoying CRM Notable Features

  • Built for Small Businesses: Eliminate all the extra features and unnecessary options in favor of features that will actually help your business grow.
  • Centralized Leads and Contacts: Store all of your leads and contacts in a centralized database for easy access by your entire team.
  • Collaboration: Collaborate in many ways, including team-based activities on mobile and desktop platforms. All users are given individual logins with unique passwords.
  • One-Click Export: Less Annoying CRM makes it easy to export your data for use in third-party software or offline archival and recordkeeping.
  • Simplified Pricing: Less Annoying CRM’s pricing structure is simple, straightforward, and affordable for many small businesses.

less annoying crm dashboard example

Visit Less Annoying CRM

Salesforce Essentials: Best for Advanced Operational Features

Salesforce Essentials complements their traditional CRM offerings with advanced features for next-gen operations.

Price Range: $25 per user, per month (14-day free trial)

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

Pros:

  • Automate sales and marketing
  • Advanced recordkeeping and analytics
  • Great reporting and customization

Cons:

  • Frequent bugs and glitches
  • Online tutorials can be lacking
  • User interface needs improvement

For some companies, it’s not enough to simply cover the basics. If your day-to-day operations require a more advanced approach, or if you need access to advanced features like comprehensive sales tracking, lead assignment and routing, email templates, social customer service, customer case management, or support for custom apps via their Lightning App Builder, Salesforce Essentials is right for you.

Salesforce Essentials Cost

  • $25 per user, per month
  • 14-day free trial available

Salesforce Essentials Notable Features

  • Sales Tracking: Split your sales process into multiple stages in order to track every activity to completion.
  • Lead Assignment and Routing: Automatically direct new leads to the sales rep that is perfect for their needs.
  • Social Customer Service: Let your customers connect with your support team via Facebook and other social media channels.
  • Third-Party Business Integrations: Expand your day-to-day operations even further by integrating with DocuSign, Dropbox, Nicereply, Zapier, and more.
  • Lightning App Builder: Their drag-and-drop app builder lets you design your own apps from custom components and features.

Visit Salesforce Essentials

Insightly: Best for Operations On the Go

With advanced mobile security and accessibility, Insightly is great for remote workplaces and business operations on the go.

Price Range: Free to $99 per user, per month

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

Pros:

  • Great for remote and BYOD teams
  • Turn business cards into contacts
  • Record and play back digital notes

Cons:

  • Integrations are tricky
  • Mobile software is limited
  • Automated reporting needs improvement

With remote work environments growing in popularity, Insightly has positioned itself ahead of the curve with business card scanning, digital note-taking, next-gen mobile security, integrated telephony support, and more. If you’re a frequent visitor of conferences and seminars, or if you always find yourself taking care of business on the go, Insightly is the solution you’re after.

Insightly Cost

  • Free version available for two users
  • Plus: $29 per user, per month
  • Professional: $49 per user, per month
  • Enterprise: $99 per user, per month

Insightly Notable Features

  • Support Remote Work Environments: Give your team additional freedom and mobility by using Insightly to connect with staff members and oversee operations remotely.
  • Voice Support: Insightly’s one-click dialer, call logging, and automatic call analysis are ideal for those who don’t have time to type.
  • Scan Business Cards: Scan business cards and capture contact information from virtually anywhere in the world.
  • Digital Note-Taking: Take notes quickly and from any location. Play them back for reminders throughout the day or archive them for later.
  • Online/Mobile Security: Insightly utilizes all of the latest mobile security features, including two-factor authentication (2FA), data encryption, and single sign-on (SSO).

Insightly Operational CRM

Visit Insightly

Accelo: Best for Business Cloud Management

Accelo is a great fit for those wanting to utilize cloud-based sales, marketing, and customer support for business operations.

Price Range: $39 to $79 per user, per month (14-day free trial)

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

Pros:

  • Move your business to the cloud
  • Automate key business functions
  • Maintain data in a single database

Cons:

  • Data export needs improvement
  • Difficult to modify tasks and events
  • Frequent email issues

While most CRM solutions do provide some amount of cloud functionality, Accelo lets you accelerate your day-to-day operations by moving your entire business into the cloud. There’s no need to manage multiple apps — which or may not integrate with one another — when you can run your entire business from the cloud via a single app from Accelo. It’s great for those who are already familiar with the cloud and those who are just getting started.

Accelo Cost

  • Projects: $39 per user, per month (minimum of 3 users)
  • Sales: $39 per user, per month (minimum of 3 users)
  • Retainers: $39 per user, per month (minimum of 3 users)
  • Service: $39 per user, per month (minimum of 3 users)
  • All-In-One ServOps: $79 per user, per month (minimum of 3 users)
  • 14-day free trial available for all plans

Accelo Notable Features

  • Cloud-Based Client Database: Enable team-based access from nearly any location and any device with a cloud-based client database.
  • Cloud-Based Data Capture: Automatically capture data from your online documents, including meetings, milestones, and tasks from your online interactions.
  • Secure Invoicing: Automate the entire invoicing process on the cloud. Accelo is compatible with Quickbooks Online and Xero.
  • Project Management: Oversee teams, track activity progress, and monitor resources with cloud-based project management and planning tools.

Accelo Operational CRM

Visit Accelo

Bottom Line: Best Operational CRM Software

Operational CRMs take it one step further than barebones CRM software 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. Whether that’s integrating with social media, transitioning your business to the cloud, or anything in between, there’s a package that’s right for you.

Selling Signals
Actionable advice for sales professionals
Address
355 Lexington Ave,
18th Floor,
New York, NY, 10017
COPYRIGHT SELLING SIGNALS, LLC – 2021