5 Best CRMs for Consultants & Consulting Firms in 2024

This post was co-authored by Anastasia Chechkova from OnePageCRM.

If you’re a consultant with a growing client database, you already know how important having a good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is. It is an essential tool to help you grow your business and nurture long-lasting client relationships.

Looking for the right CRM system is not an easy task, though. 

Consultants have to juggle many tasks, and trialing different CRM systems on top of everything else might become an overwhelming exercise. The sheer number of CRM systems available also doesn’t make your search for the right solution easy. 

That’s why we created this simple article that dives deeper into the top 5 CRM systems for consultants to help you ease into 2024.

Why consultants use CRM

Even solo consultants can benefit significantly from using a CRM system. While it’s often associated with larger businesses, CRM systems also help small businesses and independent consultants thrive.

Consultants rely on CRMs for two main reasons. 

Firstly, a proper CRM system helps organize and centralize client data, allowing consultants to access it quickly. This leads to more personalized client interactions and higher conversion rates.

Moreover, if consultants record client interactions diligently and keep their CRM data clean, they’ll be able to prioritize efforts which, in turn, will boost their productivity. For example, they won’t waste time searching through scattered emails, notes, or documents to refresh their memory—everything will be right in front of them.

The best CRM software for consultants 

In this blog post, we will explore the top 5 CRMs for consultants:

  1. ActiveCampaign
  2. OnePageCRM
  3. Pipedrive
  4. Zoho CRM
  5. HubSpot

Let’s dive into what you can expect from each system:

1. ActiveCampaign

G2 ranking: 4.5/5

Emails are a vital tool in running and growing a consulting business, and ActiveCampaign is well-known for its powerful email marketing features for businesses of all sizes. It enables you to build strong customer relationships, optimize your marketing strategies, and ultimately grow your business through targeted and automated campaigns.

Besides email marketing functionality, ActiveCampaign also offers different marketing automation tools to help consultants manage their leads more effectively.

Whether you have a regular newsletter or a series of lead nurturing emails, ActiveCampaign will help you bring your email marketing to the next level. 

Pro tip when trialing this consulting CRM: Make sure that you test different automation features. This is one of the most powerful functionalities of ActiveCampaign. By diving deeper into its features, you’ll be able to find the best way to use it in your business.

2. OnePageCRM

G2 ranking: 4.6/5

OnePageCRM is one of the simplest CRM systems in the world. It has straightforward functionality and an easy-to-use interface. This app is an unusual combination of a client database and a dynamic to-do list. Whether a client or lead, every contact in OnePageCRM can have a task assigned next to them. The system will remind you when the task is due. This eliminates the need for switching between a to-do list app and your CRM.

Besides, OnePageCRM also integrates with ActiveCampaign. By combining these two apps, you can have both tools at your disposal: powerful marketing automation software and a robust CRM system. Bingo!

Pro tip when trialing this consulting CRM: OnePageCRM has a free sales academy and a 21-day free trial, which gives you enough time to test the tool. While being a simple CRM, it has many useful features under its hood. By thoroughly exploring the app, you’ll get a better idea of how you can make the most out of this CRM, from building a pipeline to upselling.

3. Pipedrive

G2 ranking: 4.2/5

Pipedrive is a popular sales CRM for businesses that rely on visualizing their sales pipelines. While many CRMs offer this functionality, in Pipedrive, everything revolves around managing sales deals and pipelines. The visual sales pipeline provides a clear and intuitive overview of your sales process.

Consultants can benefit from a sales pipeline to systematically track and manage their leads and clients while prioritizing opportunities. If your focus lies in managing sales deals, you’ll find Pipedrive useful. It has a user-friendly interface and different reporting and analytics features.

Pro tip when trialing this consulting CRM: Pipedrive has a complex pricing system, and you might end up paying for different add-ons. Before subscribing to this CRM, make sure that you budget for the annual or monthly plan and all relevant add-ons.

4. Zoho CRM

G2 ranking: 4.0/5

ZohoCRM is a popular choice among businesses. Similarly to other CRM systems, it helps streamline processes and nurture client relationships. Zoho CRM offers a wide range of features that are especially handy for large organizations and global enterprises. 

Zoho CRM has a free plan for small teams with up to 3 users. Being an all-in-one platform, Zoho provides other services besides the Customer Relationship Management system. The company has different products inside its ecosystem, such as Zoho Projects and Zoho Analytics.

Pro tip when trialing this consulting CRM: Zoho CRM is a comprehensive tool built primarily for large organizations. It offers quite a lot in terms of customization and flexibility. When trialing this CRM, pay attention to whether this customization over-complicates your processes. Sometimes, comprehensive solutions can slow down the growth of an agile business, so they are not always the best choice for consultants.

5. HubSpot

G2 ranking: 4.4/5

HubSpot is one of the first CRM solutions that comes to mind when considering a CRM system. It’s an all-in-one platform with tools for marketing, sales, customer service, content management, and many other business areas. This variety, coupled with their free plan, often helps HubSpot make it to the top CRM lists across different categories.

Pro tip when trialing this consulting CRM: Find out if there are any features you need that are not included in the free plan. Some of these limitations are difficult to spot, so make sure to test all relevant features (and those that you expect to become relevant for your business soon) before committing. For example, one of the most well-known limitations of HubSpot’s free plan is that free users can create up to five email templates. It’s often not enough to cover all the possible emails that consulting firms and individual consultants need in their day-to-day work.

Choosing the best CRM for consultants

If you’re looking for ways to grow your consulting business, make sure that your chosen CRM doesn’t slow down your process. Search for simple solutions that integrate with popular business apps and don’t have an overwhelming number of features you probably won’t use. CRM integrations can expand your capabilities and free up your time while providing you with tools that work seamlessly with your central database.

By investing in a proper CRM tool, consultants can free up their time, optimize processes, and provide better client experience.