10 Best CRMs for Business Consultants (Reviews & Pricing) in 2023

10 Best CRMs for Business Consultants (Reviews & Pricing) in 2023

The consulting industry is based on relationships. More to the point, it’s based on building and maintaining those relationships effectively.

Which means you absolutely cannot let clients down. Not only is that a super-lame move, it will quickly come back to haunt you in the form of lost revenue, poor reviews and plummeting Net Promoter Scores. Why risk it?

You don’t have to.

A customer relationship management system (CRM) helps streamline a wide range of tasks for your consulting firm. From lead generation to customer support, a CRM for consulting keeps all your customer information in one place, complete with sales strategies, supporting documents, and scripts.

Today we’ll be talking about CRM software for consultants, including how they work, the benefits, and the top tools with all the features you need. We’ll also provide a list of the top 10 CRMs for consulting programs, so you can compare your options and choose the right platform for you.

What is a Consulting CRM?

Before we discuss the best CRM for consultants and whether you need one, it’s first important to understand just what a CRM does for you.

A customer resource management system, or CRM, consolidates multiple business processes into one software program, including customer contact information, outreach, lead generation, and (in many cases) sales and marketing automation.

This enables seamless project management for large, medium and small businesses alike, bringing teams together from office to field. In doing so, it can help consultants manage, track and maintain relationships with new leads and new customers alike, then keep those customers happy in the long run.

Conversely, without an effective management of lead data and client relationships, any marketing efforts will be of little to no value. If you generate new leads only to lose them, what’s the point?

So, let’s take it as given that a CRM is a good idea, for consultants and everyone else. Now let’s take a look at some additional important benefits.

Top Benefits of a CRM for a Consulting Business

The consulting industry is a $132 billion market, with nearly half of that business occurring in the United States. There is, suffice it to say, enough to go around – as long as you have the right tools. Whether you’re an independent consultant or a large firm, you need a CRM that will get the job done.

What else can you expect from a good CRM? Among other benefits, you can:

  • Easily build your sales pipeline: By tracking all contact information, outreach efforts, templates and deals in the right CRM, you can easily increase your pipeline management prowess and profits overall.
  • Pump up sales forecasting: Consulting services rely heavily on sales forecasting, both for yourself and for your clients. Learning how to do it well—and using the tools that enable it—is critical.
  • Receive follow-up notifications: When you hear back from a prospect, or when it’s time to reach out to them again, your CRM can send you a reminder or even automate the follow up process.
  • Track all client communication: Again, you need to know what’s happening on a real-time basis, so that you can communicate appropriately with the people who matter. A quick overview of past contact and future outreach will make it easier for providers like you to serve prospects and clients well.
  • Store customer data and contact management: Whether we’re talking integrations with Microsoft, importing contacts from Excel or interfacing with other apps, your CRM stores customer data all in one place.
  • Enjoy efficient lead management: Lead cultivation can’t be an all-day, every-day activity. You need time for everything else as well, which is where efficient lead management comes in. Put lead generation and qualification on autopilot, nurture prospects with email automation, and plan your outreach with helpful scripts and sequences.
  • Customize reporting dashboards: What works for your consulting agency won’t necessarily work for someone else’s, so there’s no such thing as an out-of-the-box solution when it comes to reporting. Look for a CRM with customizable reports so you can track the data that matters to you.
  • Refine your sales process: Tired of wasting time on long sales processes? Your CRM streamlines the process so you can close more deals, faster.

That said, each of the above benefits relies on having a worthy CRM. Which one is right for your consulting business?

10 Best CRM Solutions for Consultants

Enough chit chat. Which are the best CRM solutions for consultants?

That is to say, which ones prioritize sales strategies for consulting firms without forgetting other types of business needs, such as user experience, metrics tracking, social media marketing campaigns and new business generation?

Which will generate handy task management to-do lists, allow you to manage finances and retainers, and put email marketing and e-commerce sales activities on autopilot?

Which will fry your eggs for you in the morning? (Seriously, do you know a CRM that will do that? We’ve been looking for so long.)

The following list of 10 best CRM solutions for consultants can get you most of the way there, even if breakfast foods are still in-egg-cessible at the moment.

1. Close CRM

Pricing: Plans start at $25 per user, per month

Trial: 14 day free trial

Close CRM dashboard for consultants

We saved the best for first. Why is Close the best, you ask? Easy: our comprehensive suite of sales activities tools, which all exist in the same environment. Say goodbye to the constant shuffling between tools and systems just to get through the workday. Now you can track your customer journey and customer experience in one place, from marketing to sales to service.

Features include:

  • Lead, contact, and opportunity storage
  • Data import and export
  • Sales pipeline view
  • Calendar sync
  • Meeting reminders
  • Task management
  • Email sequences and scheduling
  • Call recording
  • Power dialer

Close has been around longer than many of the CRMs currently on the market, and has had time to build and optimize features that consultants need. It is also one of the most comprehensive, offering customer resource management tools from the earliest lead generation phase through to the post-purchase stage.

Its thoroughness is matched only by its affordability, with a reasonable monthly price following a 14-day free trial. You’d be surprised how much calling, emailing, SMS, call training and customer service value you can get all in one place, for one low price.

PROS

Powerful, full featured tool with a fantastic support team ready to help you make the most of the platform. We also offer call recording and a power dialer, which is crucial for consultants who spend a lot of time on the phone.

CONS

Close is the only CRM you’ll ever need, but that does mean it is a more comprehensive system than others. As such, plan for a little extra time spent on that learning curve as opposed to, say, a basic marketing CRM that doesn’t include as many sales or service tools.

2. Hubspot CRM

Pricing: $45 per user, per month

Trial: 30 day free trial

Hubspot crm consultants

Hubspot is a popular marketing tool for consultants, combining marketing, sales and service tools in one environment.

Their patented hub-and-spoke content marketing approach is one of Hubspot’s biggest selling points, and one of the innovations that put them on the map. Although you can now find this functionality replicated in a variety of other CRMs, Hubspot still does it best.

If content marketing is your game, Hubspot may be a good fit. Features include:

  • Reporting dashboard
  • Company insights
  • Deal tracking
  • Pipeline management
  • Email tracking
  • Meeting scheduler
  • Customization options

They do offer a free version of their CRM, which can be nice for those on a tight budget. However, it might not offer all the features you need and switching can be a pain, so make sure Hubspot is a good fit before going all in!

PROS

Hubspot isn’t just a CRM–they also offer marketing automation, sales tools and a whole lot more. If you’re looking to cover a lot of ground, it can be convenient to have it all in one place.

CONS

Hubspot is not known for being intuitive. That’s not just because it’s comprehensive, but also because according to some users, it just ain’t that friendly. User-friendly, that is.

3. Pipedrive

Pricing: Plans start at $14.90 per user, per month paid annually

Trial: 14-day free trial

pipedrive crm dashboard

Billing itself as the CRM designed by salespeople for salespeople, Pipedrive has a strong marketing focus. Features include:

  • Contact storage
  • Sales pipelines
  • Email templates
  • Customizable reports
  • Custom fields
  • Task management
  • Email and calendar sync

While it's a useful tool, the marketing focus means it may mean you lack some of the functionality you need in consulting, which is very heavy on templates and documentation, in addition to those sales techniques.

PROS

Pipedrive has a very clear and easy-to-use dashboard. They also offer 24/7 support and more than 300 integrations.

CONS

Because it’s a bit more basic than the above two CRM choices, Pipedrive might be a good option for those who are intimidated by a comprehensive suite of tools. If that’s not you, though, you’ll likely just be frustrated by limited functionality.

4. Salesforce Customer 360

Pricing: Starts around $25 per user, per month but can vary based on features

Trial: 14-day free trial

Salesforce crm dashboard for consultants

Another old-school CMS, Salesforce has gathered its share of fans over more than a decade. It’s a popular tool that combines all the data from different teams (think sales, marketing, success, and support!) all in one place.

It is also extremely customizable, which allows you to build exactly what you need. Features include:

  • Account and contact management
  • Lead enrichment
  • Lead management
  • Hundreds of integrations
  • Customized reporting
  • Process automation

PROS

Salesforce has a good track record of helping people achieve their sales goals. Moreover, their CRM does include many of the tools you’d want in the consulting industry, from marketing to service.

CONS

Some users complain that Salesforce is sluggish and its updates pretty weak. While the platform is very customizable, that can be overwhelming for some users. (It's worth noting that some companies hire Salesforce developers to set up and maintain their software–it can be that complicated.)

Their pricing is also somewhat opaque. The below figure is for its small business plan, but it has more than a dozen options from which to choose. Don’t be surprised if you discover that your payment isn’t what you thought it would be.

5. Zoho CRM

Pricing: Paid plans start at $14 per user/month

Trial: 15-day free trial

Zoho offers a great deal of customization and flexibility for users, whether you’re in the consulting space or otherwise. Through KPIs, predictive intelligence, segmentation and an omnichannel approach, Zoho gives you a comprehensive look at your contacts and outreach. It’s a pretty good all-in-one environment for anyone who needs a CRM.

Features of note include:

  • Contact management
  • Sales pipelines
  • Task management
  • Sales forecasting
  • Email insights
  • Lead scoring

PROS

Overall, Zoho is pretty comprehensive and offers a lot of features for managing leads.

CONS

Zoho requires oodles of customization and setup. Don’t get this CRM if you’re not up for the challenge.

6. Capsule

Pricing: $18 per user, per month

Trial: 14-day free trial

capsule crm for consultants dashboard

Capsule is a streamlined CRM that contains many good features without a lot of fluff. It positions itself as a simple CRM that helps you get more done without a bunch of features you don’t need.

With Capsule, you’ll get access to:

  • Contact management
  • Reporting tools
  • Sales pipeline tracking
  • Task management
  • Email and calendar sync
  • Tons of integrations

PROS

Easy to use and offers most of the functionality you need to run your consulting practice efficiently, manage contacts, and perform regular outreach.

CONS

The flip side of streamlining is always that you might miss out on sales or marketing tactics you need because the system doesn’t allow much customization. Your level of need is a question only you can answer.

7. Salesflare

Pricing: $29 per user, per month

Trial: Free trial, no length listed on website

Salesflare crm for consultants

For those who are tired of constantly updating their CRM, Salesflare might provide a good solution. Its automated features make streamlining your workflow a good deal easier. Features include:

  • Automated contact information input, through email signatures, social media accounts, etc.
  • Automatic phone and meeting logging
  • Document storage
  • Email finders
  • Personalized email campaigns

PROS

One of Salesflare’s cooler aspects is that it allows you to automate your CRM data input. That means, wherever your data is coming from, you can structure the CRM to integrate it without much (or any) effort on the part of your team.

CONS

Salesflare is particularly suited to small and medium-sized businesses, so if you plan to grow beyond this, it’s not your best option. They also don’t offer a lot of sales-focused features.

8. Streak

Pricing: $0 per user, per month for up to 500 contacts. Paid plans (with more features) start at $15 per user/month.

Trial: Free 14-day trial of Pro version

streak crm for consultants dashboard

Streak is the go-to solution for those who use Gmail all the time. With a Chrome extension, Gmail integrations and a framework built on Google’s technologies, this is the perfect customer resource management tool for anyone who wants Gmail in their life for years to come.

Features vary by plan, but include:

  • Pipeline tracking
  • Email tracking
  • Contact management
  • Task reminders
  • Custom columns
  • Call logging
  • Search features

Paid plans include features like shared contacts and pipelines, larger mail merge limits, and link tracking.

PROS

Do you live in your Gmail inbox? This tool might be the right choice because it's built right into Gmail. Plus, they offer a free version so it's ideal for those on a budget.

CONS

Because it is so dedicated to helping businesses integrate with Gmail, it is quite limited compared to more comprehensive CRMs that are agnostic to your existing tools. If you’re not really into the Google ecosystem, you should choose a platform that offers integrations to everything. And while Streak does offer a Free plan, you should be prepared to pay for basic functionalities like reporting or integrations.

9. Insightly

Pricing: Paid plans start at $29 per user, per month

Trial: Free trial, no length listed

Insightly crm for consultants

Those who love a clean and modern dashboard will love Insightly. It makes capturing and managing leads easy, on both its web and mobile applications. Insightly offers a range of email services, from templates and automation to segmentation and scheduling. Its contact management is pretty comprehensive as well.

PROS

Insightly is designed for collaboration across teams, which means it integrates with a ton of tools. It's also pretty simple to use, which many users like.

CONS

Insightly users aren’t impressed by the customer support or by its functionality, which many say is quite limited. While it might be a good starter CRM for those looking to climb a shallower learning curve at the start, this might not prove a good long-term solution.

10. Less Annoying CRM

Pricing: $15 per user, per month for all users. (No tiered pricing!)

Trial: Free trial, length not listed

less annoying crm for consultants

The name says it all, doesn’t it? Less Annoying CRM aims to be just that: a less obnoxious option when compared to all of the above. Features include:

  • Contact management
  • Task management
  • Sales pipelines
  • Lead management
  • Customization
  • Mobile app

PROS

Less Annoying has a number of pros, including a transparent pricing structure with no tiers; a pretty solid list of CRM features; and a 5-star customer support team. Their entire goal is to be easier for the user, and they accomplish that pretty well.

CONS

If there’s one thing users complain about, it’s the fact that in trying to be less annoying, this CRM also becomes less comprehensive. They don’t offer the same robust tracking functionality for ROI and their email automation suffers in comparison to some of the systems above.

CRMs for Business Consultants: Final Thoughts

The benefits of using a CRM in a consulting business are almost too numerous to name: better organization, faster lead generation, greater follow-through, more deals signed, less work, higher revenues, more commissions, and happier clients.

If you haven’t yet made the jump to a CRM platform that gives you complete control over the entire customer life cycle, from that very first touchpoint to a signed contract to many happy years together, it’s time to start.

Close is here to deliver just that. Our industry-leading sales software is ideal for busy consultants who want a fully customizable one-and-done CRM solution. No more worrying about lost information, annoyed customers, or missed opportunities; you’ll have everything at your fingertips from now on.

Ready to give it a try? Check out a demo here to see what we mean, or enjoy a 14-day free trial to experience it for yourself.