The 5 Best CRM and Project Management Tools for Small Biz Compared


As a small business owner, have you ever wondered how to streamline work processes, reduce manual tasks, and provide a seamless customer journey— all while maintaining a comprehensive overview of all your marketing, sales, and customer support efforts? The answer is simple and lies within combining the power of CRM and project management!

The Importance of CRM and Project Management for Small Businesses

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Project Management complement one another like a finely cooked steak and a full-bodied red wine. When combined, they not only help to improve internal efficiency but also enhance customer satisfaction by delivering personalized customer experiences. For small businesses, it’s the magic strategy to compete on the same playing field as their larger counterparts.

According to recent studies, a whopping 91% of businesses with more than eleven employees are now leveraging CRM, while small businesses count on stopping balls from dropping and keeping the customer satisfaction rate high. Concurrently, project management practices help keep teams aligned, tasks organized, and projects completed on time and within budget. This powerful duo is a must-have for small businesses striving to stay competitive.

Understanding the Search Intent and Purpose of the Article

This article will guide you through the best CRM and Project Management tools available in the market catering to small businesses. Understanding that the abundance of options can be overwhelming, we have consolidated the 5 best tools that are not just top performers, but also cater specifically to small business needs.

These CRMs are not only robust in functionality but are also user-friendly, scalable, and customizable to fit the unique needs of your business. Whether you’re looking for an all-rounder, a budget-friendly choice, or software that excels in collaboration, you’ll find the detail in this article.

Top 5 CRM and Project Management Tools
Monday Sales CRM
Zoho CRM

In this technology-driven era, the perfect CRM and Project Management tool can be the major difference between a business that thrives and one that simply survives.

Simply put, the right CRM and Project Management tool is the jetpack your small business needs to soar above competitors. Stay tuned as we dive into exploring the top 5 tools in the upcoming sections.

Understanding CRM and Project Management

Before we delve into our roundup of the best CRM and project management tools for small businesses, let’s take a moment to understand what these two critical business elements are and how they work together.

What is CRM?

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a strategy that businesses use to manage interactions with existing and potential customers. It’s a customer-centric approach that focuses on nurturing relationships, increasing customer satisfaction, and driving sales.

A CRM system, like Anthem CRM, is an indispensable tool that helps businesses manage these customer interactions. It aids your sales team’s outreach efforts, improves customer query resolution, and facilitates seamless team collaboration. CRM also plays a vital role in the marketing stage by identifying customers through targeted campaigns.

What is Project Management?

Project management, on the other hand, is all about delivering a project on time and within budget. It involves planning, executing, and monitoring the entire project lifecycle, from the initiation stage to the final closing.

A project management software is key in this process. It ensures that results are delivered on schedule, keeps both customers and employees satisfied, and improves team communication and collaboration. It is also a crucial tool for effective resource management.

How CRM and Project Management Work Together

While CRM and project management have their unique functions, they share some common goals. Both focus on delivering high-quality projects, services, or products on time to keep customers happy and increase revenue.

CRM and project management complement each other by providing a unified view of customer interactions and project status. This combined view helps businesses better understand their customers’ needs, manage resources effectively, and deliver projects on time and within budget.

In short, the fusion of CRM and project management can significantly boost your business’s efficiency and effectiveness. At Anthem CRM, we believe in the power of technology to transform business operations and strive to provide the best CRM solutions that cater to the unique needs of small businesses.

Now, let’s move onto our roundup of the top 5 best CRM and project management tools for small businesses.

The Role of CRM in Project Management

Benefits of Using CRM for Project Management

As a small business owner, you’re constantly looking for ways to streamline your operations and increase efficiency. Integrating CRM and project management into your workflow can offer numerous benefits. Here are some of the key advantages:

1. Centralized Information Management: With a CRM system in place, all your customer data, project details, and communication records are stored in a single, easily accessible location. This eliminates the need to sift through multiple spreadsheets or applications to find the information you need.

2. Enhanced Communication: CRM systems facilitate better communication among team members. With all project-related information available in one place, team members can easily understand tasks and projects related to cultivating the customer relationship.

3. Improved Customer Satisfaction: CRM systems allow you to better understand your customers’ needs and deliver projects on time and within budget. This not only results in satisfied customers but also leads to increased customer retention and loyalty.

4. Increased Efficiency and Productivity: Integrating CRM and project management results in improved efficiency and productivity. It helps you manage resources effectively and deliver high-quality services or products on time.

5. Better Decision Making: With a bird’s eye view of all your operations, from customer interactions to project workflows, you can make more informed decisions that align with your business goals.

Can You Use CRM for Project Management?

Absolutely. Not only can you use a CRM system for project management, but doing so can actually enhance your ability to manage projects effectively. As Anthem CRM’s expert Ryan McEachron points out, “A project management system built on a CRM platform allows teams to easily understand tasks and projects that relate to cultivating the customer relationship.”

This combined view helps businesses to better understand their customers’ needs, manage resources effectively, and deliver projects on time and within budget. So, integrating CRM and project management is not just possible, but highly advantageous for small businesses.

In the next section, we’ll delve into the specific features to look for in a CRM software for project management and reveal the top 5 best CRM and project management tools for small businesses.

Types of CRM Systems

Before you dive into exploring the best CRM and project management for small businesses, it’s crucial to understand the different types of CRM systems available. Each type caters to different business needs and objectives, so knowing the differences can help you make an informed decision.

Operational CRM

An Operational CRM is designed to streamline your business operations and enhance the efficiency of your customer-facing teams. This type of CRM focuses on automating sales, marketing, and service operations, with the primary goal of generating leads, converting them into contacts, capturing all necessary details, and providing service throughout the customer lifecycle.

Operational CRMs, such as Zoho CRM and Salesforce, leverage automation features that guide the customer’s journey from their first interaction on your website through the sales pipeline. This type of system is ideal for businesses looking to automate and streamline their customer relations process.

Analytical CRM

Analytical CRM systems focus on analyzing customer data to drive business decisions. These systems employ techniques like data mining, correlation, and pattern recognition to analyze customer data, providing deep insights into customer behavior and preferences.

If your small business is looking to leverage customer data for strategic insights, an analytical CRM system could be an excellent choice. The insights derived from this system can help you craft smarter marketing campaigns, enhance customer service, and make strategic business decisions.

Collaborative CRM

Collaborative CRM systems are designed to foster seamless communication and collaboration between various departments within your business. These systems centralize customer information, allowing sales, marketing, and technical support teams to share real-time customer information.

This type of CRM is especially beneficial for businesses where the marketing, sales, and customer support teams need to share real-time customer information. Collaborative CRMs help in providing a smooth and consistent customer experience across different touchpoints, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

The type of CRM system you choose should align with your specific business needs and goals. Whether it’s enhancing collaboration, streamlining operations, or gaining analytical insights, implementing a CRM solution can significantly enhance your productivity and efficiency. In the next section, we’ll explore some of the top affordable CRM and project management options for small businesses.

Must-Have Features of CRM Software for Project Management

When searching for the best CRM and project management for small business, there are several key features to keep in mind. These features ensure that your CRM system not only manages your customer relationships effectively but also assists in the successful execution of your projects.

Centralized Data

An efficient CRM system should provide a centralized database that offers teams easy access to comprehensive, up-to-date, and consistent customer information. This feature is vital for maintaining data consistency and accuracy across different teams in your business. It also allows for quicker decision-making based on real-time data.

Ease of Use

A good CRM tool should be user-friendly, with an intuitive design and navigation. It should contain point-and-click tools and drag-and-drop builders, reducing the time spent learning how to use the software and allowing teams to focus more on customers.

Built-in Collaboration

CRM software should facilitate speedy communication and collaboration between teams. This expedites project execution and ensures that everyone is on the same page, reducing the chances of miscommunication or misunderstandings that can delay projects.

Process Integration

In order to streamline your business operations, your CRM tool should be capable of seamless process integration. This facilitates a smooth transition from pre-sales to post-sales activities, ensuring that no vital information is lost or overlooked during the handover process.

Visual Tracking

Visual tracking is a crucial feature that allows teams to track leads, deals, projects, tasks, and communications effectively. With visual tracking, you can have a clear overview of your business operations at a glance, making it easier to identify bottlenecks and address them promptly.


CRM software should be customizable to adapt to your specific business needs. This includes tailoring fields, workflows, and reports, ensuring that the software fits your business processes and not the other way around.

Dashboards and Reports

An effective CRM tool will provide on-demand metrics and project information through comprehensive dashboards and reports. This allows you to keep track of your marketing, sales, and customer service performances and make data-driven decisions.

Project Templates

Your CRM software should allow teams to quickly set up projects and workflows with the help of project templates. This eliminates the need for extensive project management training, saving time and resources.

Automation and Integration

Finally, your CRM software should offer automation and integration capabilities. Smart alerts and notifications remind users of important activities for their leads and customers, while direct integrations help extend and scale the CRM software.

At Anthem CRM, we understand the importance of these features, and we have incorporated them into our CRM solution to ensure we deliver the best CRM and project management for small businesses. We believe that these essential features will not only streamline your business operations but also boost your team’s efficiency and productivity.

The 5 Best CRM and Project Management Tools for Small Businesses

In this section, we will delve into the specific CRM systems that have been noted as top choices among small businesses. We’ve carefully considered the user experience, sales features, reporting and analytics, integration capabilities, and value for money that these platforms offer.

Salesforce: The All-Rounder

Salesforce is often hailed as a comprehensive solution for CRM and project management, making it a fantastic all-rounder choice for small businesses. Salesforce CRM excels in contact and account management, but it really shines in its intuitive sales pipeline management. This feature allows businesses to track and manage leads throughout the sales process, providing insights into conversion rates and areas for improvement. However, it’s important to note that using Salesforce’s automation features may require some training, and some users find the bulk/batch actions could use improvement.

Asana: The Collaborative Powerhouse

Asana is not strictly a CRM, but it’s a robust work management platform with project management features that can be adapted for CRM. Asana stands out for its collaborative features, such as shared calendars, task assignments, and real-time updates. Furthermore, the tool’s document management and versioning capabilities are a huge plus. Asana can help improve collaboration and streamline pre-sales requests, automate onboarding of new customers, and monitor real-time status of accounts.

Wrike: The Visual Master

Wrike is another versatile tool that can be customized to track sales leads and manage projects seamlessly. Its key selling point is its visual project management features, which include Gantt charts and various reports. Wrike provides a single platform to keep all contacts, project timelines, and communication. However, some users have noted a high learning curve and that customization can take time.

Monday Sales CRM: The User-Friendly Choice is an easy-to-use platform that manages work visually. It’s known for its responsive customer support and task prioritization and management features. Monday Sales CRM has a flexible drag-and-drop interface, custom automations, and industry-specific templates, which make it a user-friendly choice for small businesses.

Zoho CRM: The Budget-Friendly Option

Zoho CRM is an excellent choice for startups and small businesses on a tight budget. It offers a user-friendly interface and robust features for lead data management. The software integrates with over 800 apps, including social media platforms, offering a holistic approach to customer relationship management.

Each of these tools brings unique strengths to the table, and the “best” choice will depend on your specific needs and goals. At Anthem CRM, we strive to incorporate the best of these features into our solutions, tailoring them to the unique needs of small businesses.

Choosing the Right CRM Software for Your Small Business

Finding the best CRM and project management for a small business may not be a straightforward task as there are several options available. To make this task less daunting, here is a step-by-step guide to help you make the right choice.

Identifying Your Priorities and Goals

The first step in choosing the best CRM for your small business is understanding why you need it. What are your business goals? Are you looking to improve customer service, increase revenue, or expand product lines? By conducting a gap analysis, you can identify areas of improvement in your business and then set clear goals. After that, consider how a CRM system can help you achieve those goals.

Understanding the Needs of Your Team

The CRM system you choose should meet the needs of your team members who will be using it. While sales and marketing departments are often the main users of a CRM system, all departments should have a say in the decision-making process. Find out what each team member needs from the CRM software and how they think it can help them perform their duties more efficiently.

Determining Important Features

There are numerous CRM features available, making it essential to identify what your small business requires. Create a ‘must-have’ features list to help narrow down your options. This list should be based on the information gathered from your team and your business goals. Regardless of your focus, ensure that robust data security and customer support are part of your must-have features.

Creating a Budget for CRM Software

Just like any other investment in your business, you need to set a budget for your CRM software. Consider the available pricing plans and evaluate how each plan affects your budget in the short and long term. Remember to factor in any hidden charges or extra fees and ensure you have a clear understanding of all costs involved.

Researching and Testing CRM Platforms

Conduct thorough research on the top CRM platforms in the market, comparing their features, pricing, and customer reviews. It’s also crucial to consider the quality of their customer support and their scalability as your business grows. Most CRM platforms offer a free trial which you can take advantage of to test their systems and determine if they meet your needs before making a final decision.

At Anthem CRM, we understand that choosing the right CRM and project management software is a crucial decision for your small business. That’s why we offer a free trial so you can get a firsthand experience of our software and determine if it aligns with your business needs and goals. The best CRM for your small business is one that fits your budget, meets your needs, and helps you achieve your business goals.


Recap of the Best CRM and Project Management Tools

We’ve given a detailed comparison of the five best CRM and project management tools for small businesses. Each of these tools offers unique features designed to cater to different business needs and budgets.

Saleforce offers a comprehensive solution that is scalable and flexible, making it ideal for growing businesses. Asana excels in collaborative features, helping teams work together more effectively. Wrike stands out with its visual project management capabilities, while Monday Sales CRM offers a user-friendly platform that’s easy for anyone to pick up. Lastly, Zoho CRM provides a budget-friendly option with plenty of customization possibilities.

Final Thoughts on Choosing the Right CRM Software for Your Small Business

Choosing the best CRM and project management for small business is not merely about purchasing a tool—it’s an investment in your business’s future. While the options are numerous, the right tool will streamline your operations, increase efficiency, and ultimately enhance your customer relationships.

When selecting a CRM, always consider your business’s unique needs and goals. Whether you require a tool for sales tracking, customer engagement, or comprehensive reporting, the right CRM should offer features that align with your objectives.

Also, ensure your CRM integrates seamlessly with your existing software tools to guarantee a smooth workflow. It should also provide excellent customer support and training resources, especially if you don’t have a dedicated IT team.

At Anthem CRM, we understand the importance of choosing the right CRM for your business. We’re here to help you navigate this process and ensure you find the best fit for your business needs.

For more information, check out our blog and other resources such as our guide on how to choose a CRM for small business. We also offer a free trial so you can get a firsthand experience of our software and determine if it aligns with your business needs and goals. The best CRM for your small business is one that fits your budget, meets your needs, and helps you achieve your business goals.