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Customer relationships made easy: the 6 best CRM platforms to streamline your business

May 23, 2023

Aryel CRM top picks: a comprehensive guide to choose the Customer Relationship Management software that works for you

Welcome back, dear marketer, to Aryel’s blog – your safe harbor amidst the tempest of marketing woes.

Today, we’re going to delve into the heart of an issue that, let’s be honest, has probably kept you up at night more than once. Yes, we’re talking about finding the perfect Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform to fit your specific needs.

We know how stressful your routine can be, juggling a thousand tasks, always racing against the clock, and your customers – they’re as diverse as the stars in the Milky Way. Each one unique, each one expecting tailored experiences, as if they were the only customer in your universe. And while you’d love to be the marketing genius who knows all their preferences, needs, and wishes at the drop of a hat, alas, you are a mere mortal. We’ve been there, done that, and we know the weight you carry on your shoulders.

You may have heard it whispered in marketing circles, the promise of a silver bullet, a magic tool that could streamline your business and put you on the fast lane to customer satisfaction – a powerful CRM platform. But here’s the rub: there are so many out there, each claiming to be the perfect fit for all your marketing needs – we can picture you, wandering in the dark, crying and hitting your little toe here and there.

Fear not, we’re here to be your guiding light. We understand that not all businesses are created equal, and neither are CRM platforms. What works for one company might be completely wrong for another. So, how do you choose? How do you navigate this labyrinth of options to find the CRM that fits your business, like a contemporary Cinderella’s slipper?

Today, we’re peeling back the curtain to reveal our 6 top picks for CRM software platforms. Get ready to revolutionize the way you interact with your customers, personalize your marketing efforts, and yes, finally get some sleep at night.


Salesfoce’s pros and cons, in short:


  • Comprehensive feature set including sales, service, and marketing applications
  • Highly customizable to fit specific business needs.
  • Robust third-party ecosystem for added functionalities.


  • Can be complex and entail a steep learning curve for new users.
  • Higher cost compared to other CRMs.
  • Implementation can be difficult and time-consuming.

First, let’s step into Salesforce CRM, a comprehensive solution designed to meet all the possible needs on the spectrum of customer relationship management. Salesforce stands out as a fully integrated, feature-rich platform that serves as a one-stop solution for businesses of all sizes.

Its strengths are rooted in its extensive capabilities.
First and foremost, it offers an impressive array of features that cover different aspects of a business, from sales and marketing to customer service and analytics. This depth of functionalities make Salesforce a highly versatile tool that can adapt to a wide range of business models.

Moreover, Salesforce shines in its integration capabilities, enabling businesses to interconnect external tools and softwares, making them work together and optimizing daily operations.
The platform boasts a robust ecosystem of third-party native integrations, which means you can plug in your favorite tools and work them seamlessly with your CRM.

Salesforce stands out for its customizability. Recognizing that every business has unique needs and workflows, it allows for a high degree of customization. Users can tailor the platform to their specific needs, making it a flexible tool that can grow and evolve with the business.

However, Salesforce does come with some challenges.
With all its grandeur, it can also be a complex maze for the uninitiated: its myriad of features might overwhelm new users, making them feel lost. Patience, dear marketer, and perhaps a robust training program, can be your best allies in this case.

The cost of Salesforce is another factor to consider.
The wealth of advanced features come at a higher price point compared to some other CRM solutions. Salesforce is the Rolls Royce of the CRM world, and it comes with a price tag that matches its capabilities: businesses need to weigh these benefits against the investment required to implement and maintain it.

The onboarding and setup process for Salesforce can also be complex. Ensuring a smooth implementation can be quite time-consuming, requires careful planning and potentially the assistance of Salesforce experts.

In conclusion, Salesforce is like that extravagant buffet you once visited. It offers a smorgasbord of features covering sales, service, and marketing applications. Can be a marketer’s dreamland where you’ll always find something that tickles your fancy – or giving you a bad case of choice overload paralysis. You can also have a surprise when the bill arrives…


Hubspot’s pros and cons, if you’re in a hurry:


  • User-friendly interface with intuitive design.
  • Wide range of marketing automation tools.
  • Free to start, with paid upgrades available.


  • Advanced features are only available in higher-tier plans.
  • Limited customization options compared to other CRMs.
  • Reporting features can be basic unless you upgrade.

HubSpot is the shining beacon of hope for marketers navigating through the tumultuous sea of customer relationship management. That’s because it has built its reputation on simplifying customer relationship management.

HubSpot serves as a friendly and approachable guide, making the task of managing customer relationships less daunting and more efficient. As with any CRM, the platform has its fair share of pros and cons.

One of the most interesting aspects of HubSpot CRM is its user-friendly interface, that reduces the learning curve and makes navigation a breeze. This user-friendly design is a real boon for businesses looking to implement a CRM quickly and efficiently.
Even the most technologically challenged marketer can swiftly become a CRM wizard, organizing contacts, deals, and tasks like they were born to do it.

HubSpot, like Salesforce and other CRMs, comes with an abundance of marketing automation tools and native integrations: from email marketing to landing pages and everything in between, the platform gives you the power to broaden the area of effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

Furthermore, HubSpot CRM starts as a free platform, allowing you to dip your toes into the Customer Relationship Management world without emptying your pockets. When you’re ready to level up your marketing game, paid upgrades open to you new possibilities and features. This offering provides a wide range of essential CRM features at no cost, making it an attractive option for small businesses or those just starting with CRM.

Just like other platforms, HubSpot does present a few challenges.
The first one is the limited customization: while HubSpot excels in simplicity, it may not offer the level of customization that some businesses require. If your business has complex or unique CRM needs, you might find HubSpot’s options somewhat restrictive.

Secondly, if you’re a data-driven marketer who craves detailed insights into your campaigns, HubSpot’s basic reporting features might leave you feeling a bit underwhelmed. The platform’s more advanced analytics are only accessible through (you guessed it) an upgrade to one of their paid plans.

Another potential hurdle is the price jump between the free plan and the paid plans. While HubSpot’s free plan is generous, moving to a paid plan for additional features can represent a significant increase in cost. It’s important to consider whether these additional features are worth the investment for your business.

So, there we have it, the glitter and the grime of Hubspot. The question is, will it be the perfect match for your business? Like any other CRM platform on the market, it can’t be for everyone. Only time (and perhaps your budget) will tell.

Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM pros and cons, to sum things up:


  • Affordable with tiered pricing suitable for small to large businesses.
  • Offers a comprehensive suite of applications.
  • Good integration capabilities with other tools.


  • Limited features for lower plans.
  • Customer support could be improved.
  • Lackluster user-friendliness.

Zoho CRM is a platform that prides itself on its versatility and robustness, offering an excellent trade-off between affordability and functionality. So, let’s unravel the charm and the challenges of this value-packed CRM contender.

Zoho offers an extensive suite of features that cover various aspects of Customer Relationship Management. From lead management to analytics, it provides a comprehensive toolset that can help businesses manage their customer relationships effectively and with ease.

In addition, Zoho CRM stands out for its scalability. The platform is designed to grow with your business, providing different plans that can cater to your evolving needs. Whether you’re a small business or a large enterprise, it can adapt to your size and scale.

Zoho also offers robust automation features. These tools can help businesses automate routine tasks, saving time and ensuring consistency of daily efforts. Its robust integration capabilities also ensure that you can harmoniously work with your existing tools.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the less glamorous side of Zoho CRM.
To start, the experience of low-tier users can feel a bit like being invited to a feast but only being allowed to pick from the appetizer menu. The free plan, for instance, caps the number of users at three and keeps AI tools under lock and key, reserved only for those on the higher-priced plans. Integration with certain apps may also be limited for those on lower plans.

Customization brings with it its own set of restrictions on the free plan. Although the platform allows you to curate your data view based on your preference, the free plan limits you to only five list views per module. To truly be able to customize interfaces you’ll need to purchase a higher plan.

Furthermore, while Zoho CRM has generally earned applause for its user-friendliness, there are a few dissenting voices in the crowd. Some users have expressed dissatisfaction with Zoho’s customer support, and others have found setting up CRM integrations with third-party apps difficult.

So there you have it, the highs and lows of Zoho CRM. Is it the perfect blend of affordability and functionality for your business, or are its quirks a deal-breaker for you? The answer, dear reader, lies in your hands. So, weigh your options carefully and remember – the best CRM is the one that fits your unique needs like a glove.

Microsoft Dynamics 365

Microsoft Dynamics 365 pros and cons, in a nutshell:


  • Deep integration with other Microsoft products.
  • Scalable and customizable to fit growing businesses.
  • Strong AI capabilities and features.


  • Can be expensive, especially for small businesses.
  • The system can be complex and require a learning curve.
  • The implementation can be difficult, possibly requiring a Dynamics’ expert.

Looming large in the CRM landscape, our next stop is Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM. Its reputation is built on its robust integration with the broader Microsoft universe, connecting and consolidating your tools to streamline your operations.

One of the distinguishing features of Microsoft Dynamics 365 is its AI capabilities. Leveraging Microsoft’s AI technology, Dynamics 365 can provide actionable insights, predict customer behavior, and automate routine tasks.

If your business already operates in the Microsoft universe, Dynamics 365 is like a familiar neighbor. If your business relies heavily on Office 365, Outlook, or other Microsoft tools, Dynamics 365 can weave itself seamlessly into your existing workflows, enhancing productivity and efficiency.

Dynamics 365 also offers extensive customization options, treating every enterprise as a unique entity, enabling you to tailor the system to your business requirements. Whether you’re a small business or a large corporation, Dynamics 365 can also scale its features to meet your needs.

At this point, you should have noticed a pattern that with great power comes great complexity. Dynamics 365, with its extensive features, can sometimes feel like a labyrinth of options. The complexity of the system can be overwhelming for some users. With its extensive features and deep integrations, Dynamics 365 requires a significant learning curve.

While Dynamics 365 offers a host of benefits, it comes with a hefty price tag. It’s like dining at a high-end restaurant; the experience is fantastic, but you’ll certainly feel it in your wallet. Again, it’s important to weigh the benefits against the cost and ensure that the investment aligns with your budget and expected ROI.

Setting up Dynamics 365 can be a bit like assembling a complex piece of furniture. It requires time and expertise, so be ready to roll up your sleeves or consider hiring a professional to help with the implementation.

Dynamics 365 it’s a powerful, feature-rich CRM that’s perfect for businesses ready to embrace the future, but it’s not for the faint of heart. As always, consider your specific needs and resources when choosing your CRM platform.


Pipedrive’s pros and cons, shortly:


  • Intuitive visual sales pipeline.
  • Solid integration capabilities.
  • High degree of customization.


  • Might be too sales-focused for businesses with diverse needs.
  • Reporting features could be more comprehensive.
  • Upgrading for additional features can be a significant cost jump.

Next in line is Pipedrive CRM, a lean, mean, sales-converting machine, designed specifically to turbocharge your sales process. Pipedrive stands tall as a nimble, sales-focused platform that caters to businesses of all sizes that want to put the pedal to the metal on their sales performance.
Let’s start with its robust features.

Firstly, it offers a visually intuitive sales pipeline that puts the focus on actionable items and helps you navigate the sales process without getting lost. This clear visibility of the sales journey makes Pipedrive an agile tool that lets you shift gears swiftly and accelerate your deals towards the finish line.

Moreover, Pipedrive doesn’t shy away from integration challenges. It synchronizes smoothly with a myriad of external tools and software, allowing you to boost your CRM with your favorite apps and keep your sales engine running seamlessly.

Pipedrive also impresses with its customizability. Recognizing that every business has unique routes to success, it allows for a high degree of personalization. Users can shape the platform to their specific needs, making it a flexible tool that can grow and evolve with the business.

But, Pipedrive does present a few speed bumps along the way.
While Pipedrive shines in its sales-centric approach, it can feel a bit lacking if you’re looking for a comprehensive, all-in-one CRM solution. Primarily a sales tool, Pipedrive might not cover all the functionalities that businesses with diverse needs might require. It’s like having a race car that’s great on the track, but less practical for a family road trip.

The reporting features in Pipedrive also need some revving up. While it does provide sales-focused analytics, those desiring comprehensive insights across all business operations might find it lacking.

Lastly, upgrading to access advanced features can be quite costly. The basic plan is reasonably priced, but moving up the tiers for additional features can represent a significant jump in price. It’s important to ensure these extra features will really supercharge your sales before you decide to upgrade.

In conclusion, Pipedrive offers a range of features specifically designed to rev up your sales process. It’s a salesperson’s dream, always ready to race ahead, though it might give you a bit of a jolt when it’s time for an upgrade.


Mailchimp’s pros and cons, in brief:


  • Comprehensive feature set including marketing applications and customer relationship management.
  • Highly customizable to fit specific business needs.
  • Robust third-party ecosystem for added functionalities.


  • Can be complex and entail a steep learning curve for new users.
  • Higher cost compared to other CRMs.
  • Implementation can be difficult and time-consuming.

Lastly, dear marketers, we venture into the land of Mailchimp, the place where email marketing meets CRM. Mailchimp is best known for its email marketing prowess, but its CRM features add a delightful twist to this popular platform. So, without further ado, let’s discover the sweet and bitter aspects of Mailchimp CRM.

As we said, Mailchimp is renowned for its email marketing capabilities, providing a rich blend of templates, automation, and analytics that makes email campaigns a breeze.

Its user-friendly interface is like a well-organized menu: easy to navigate, making the process of managing and tracking your customer relationships as comfortable as sipping your favorite latte.

With Mailchimp, you can start savoring the experience without immediately reaching for your wallet. It offers a free plan that’s quite generous, making it a great place to start for small businesses or those new to the CRM world.

Mailchimp’s CRM capabilities, while useful, might not satisfy those with a hearty appetite for customer relationship management. It’s like looking for a full-course meal in a coffee shop; you might need to dine elsewhere for a more comprehensive experience.

While Mailchimp works well with some third-party tools, it might not play nice with all your favorite apps, making the integration process difficult for tools-intensive environments.

While Mailchimp’s free plan is quite generous, its paid plans can be a bit confusing, and as you grow, you might find the costs adding up pretty quickly.

So there you have it – the cozy allure and the slight limitations of Mailchimp CRM. It’s a great choice if email marketing is at the core of your business, and you’re looking for CRM features to complement that.


Choosing the right CRM is a significant decision that can shape your business’s future. Each CRM platform has its strengths and weaknesses, all tailored to different types of businesses with various needs. It’s like a puzzle; the key is finding the piece that fits just right.

Aryel's Customer Relationship Management software top picks

Bear in mind, this article should not be seen as the definitive guide to selecting the ultimate CRM for your business. It merely aims to give a broad overview: the truly ideal fit will always depend on the unique requirements and conditions of each individual business.

When you’re navigating the process of software selection, thorough research is your best friend. It’s also a smart move to consider exploring a demo or making use of a free trial before you commit to a CRM. This way, you get a feel for the system and how well it matches your business needs.

Before making a decision, it’s vital to have a clear understanding of your business and customer processes. Knowing exactly what you need in a CRM – from the functionalities and integrations to the level of support and scalability – can make all the difference in making the right choice. It’s about mapping your business’s journey and anticipating the needs along the way.

Choosing a CRM shouldn’t be a hasty decision. It’s about finding a partner that aligns with your business’s vision and can help take it to the next level. Remember, the best CRM for your business is the one that checks the most boxes on your list, fits within your budget, and can grow with you as your business expands. With careful consideration and a clear understanding of your needs, you’re on your way to finding the perfect CRM match for your business.

As always, we here at Aryel are your ever-ready travel companions in this journey. Whether you’re seeking more insights or simply need a sounding board for your ideas, don’t hesitate to get in touch. But before you go, why not check out our integrations page? It’s a treasure trove of tools designed to streamline your processes and supercharge your marketing strategy.