Which CRM is best?

The answer to this question is that there is no one answer to this question.

That’s not a cop out but the truth, it depends on your needs and your budget. So in reality in order to answer this question you have to rephrase it to which CRM is best for me?

You might think you know but you’re almost certainly really vague about it. Trust me, we know we deal with a lot of people looking for a CRM and every single time we start from basic principles and drill down on what are the basic non-negotiables and go from there. It’s an exercise you have to do otherwise you’re going to waste a lot of time.

We’ll go through some of the questions you want to ask yourself, and also we’ll look at it from the other side. Who we at RealtimeCRM are best suited for including a look at our user base and what they’re using RealtimeCRM to do – maybe it’s just what you’re looking for too.

Whatever you decide don’t just go for a name, make sure that name works for you.

How complicated is your company?

This is the first question you’re going to have to answer and it will allow you to cut down on the number of options available to you. You want to avoid picking a system where you cannot replicate your organisation’s structure because it will cause pain down the road.

In the case of RealtimeCRM we’re for small companies and startups, typically in the 2-20 person range with a relatively flat structure. We do have one man bands and larger companies too but our average user fits that profile.

What are you trying to do and how much customisation do you want?

The first place to start here is how much tinkering do you want to do or are you a techphobe and don’t want to spend ages drowning in different options?

There are certain CRM’s like Salesforce that offer awesome customizability but they’re super complicated and far beyond most small businesses. If you don’t want to sink a ton of time into this and want a straight forward system you should go for something simpler.

Let’s take a look at who uses RealtimeCRM and what they’re using us for in this word cloud we created from our Capterra reviews:

As you can see they’re primarily people who want less complication and to be able to hit the ground running. They like the simple user interface, the great support from the people who actually built the system and the ability to track their sales and easily find information.

Most of our users are not looking to spend a ton of time customizing the system to the nth degree. We allow for some customizability where it makes sense to create your own custom sales pipeline and to create as many custom fields as you want, plus a great activity timeline but we’re not going to have a product configurator or do anything super deep that’s complicated to use because that’s not what our users want, they want simplicity and to set things up in a speedy manner.

So you have to really think about what you want to do and how you want to do it. If it’s as simple as you just want to be able to maintain a client history and track the status of your deals then go for something simpler but if you have a very specific and parochial task you want done perhaps SaaS isn’t even what you need but to pay for custom development for a solution specific to you, if it’s going to be painful to adapt your processes to an existing off the shelf solution look for the bespoke alternative – it can’t hurt to look.

Once you have a core set of things you definitely want then you’ll need to figure out your wants that’ll tip the balance, for example do you want deep reporting functionality in the CRM system itself or are you OK with exporting out and running those reports in Excel? Do you want integration with your email automation platform? These will help you then make the choice between similar products.

Your budget

Going for the cheapest option isn’t the way to go because if its unsuitable – it’ll cost you in the long run to fix the mess up from finding something that does actually work to losing time moving that data back out and sorting into a format ready for transition to the new system that actually does what you need it to do.

Plus oftentimes if they’re the cheapest around then maybe there are certain features which you need but are either limited or not available at that low price, make sure you’re getting value for your money and that might mean paying more for more.

With RealtimeCRM you get full access to the system with no tiered service for $30 per user per month and that includes access to integrations like Xero and MailChimp as well. So that means our free trial is exactly what you’d be paying for, there’s no upselling so you get a real feel for whether we’re right for you.


When you’re getting started with a new system you want to be able to have demos, and ask questions from people in the know without sinking a ton of money into it especially in the early days when you’re still getting to know the ropes. If you’re budget constrained on that front make sure you know that ahead of time when seeking out CRM systems, and also check out what people are saying about their support in reviews too. If they’re slow to respond or exorbitantly costly then they’re probably best avoided.

In the early days of RealtimeCRM we got a big customer from a large and well known CRM provider who reeled them in and then the cost of support which was not made clear at first and the poor quality of it really sunk their desire to carry on with them, and so they moved onto RealtimeCRM. Be wary of hidden costs and don’t be afraid to ask about them.

Getting your data out

This gets a lot of people – your data is yours and it should not be held hostage to keep you using a system. Always make sure that you can easily get your data out in a format that makes sense. If a CRM you’re looking at can’t do that then it is not for anyone. This is really important as you never know what the future might hold so you want the ability to move if neccessary with as little pain as possible. Never compromise on your organisation’s flexibility.

With RealtimeCRM, you can get all your data out at the click of a button in an easy to access and use CSV format. Afterall, it’s not our data it’s yours!

Final thoughts

So there you have it, these are some of the questions you need to ask yourself. It might take a day or two to come up with the answers but it’ll make life easier down the road.

With RealtimeCRM we offer a 30 day free trial where you get full access to the system and you don’t need to put in your card details or anything like that, you can leave if we’re not for you whenever you like and that’s after your free trial too, so if you’re interested: