Both Pipedrive and Freshsales are fantastic options to help you scale your sales, but which one comes out on top?
The right CRM can help scale your SMB to new heights, while the wrong one can ultimately tank your business.
I’m AJ, here to offer my advice. I’ve used (just about) every CRM tool on the market while scaling my business (to a multiple seven-figure exit).
My mission is to help you grow your business and achieve financial freedom (in a fraction of the time it took me).
So, let’s break down this CRM showdown to see which platform takes the cake.
Spoiler alert—this was a close one!
My team and I took an in-depth look at Freshsales and Pipedrive (over six months).
Here’s what we evaluated:
Pricing & Free VersionTop FeaturesCustomer ServiceIntegrationsEase of UseBest Mobile AppKnowledge and Learning CenterLimitationsWhich One We Think is Best for Small Businesses
How We Objectively Test Each Platform:
AJ’s got a knack for kick-starting businesses, putting them on autopilot, and setting them up for acquisition. Over the past decade, he’s been right in the thick of things with hundreds of small businesses, helping them with just about everything under the business sun. If you need advice on software suites and choices? AJ’s your guy.
We roll up our sleeves and dive into the top CRM features we think are pretty crucial for small businesses. Stuff like reports and analytics, options to customize your pipelines, and the ability to link up with other apps and services. We know what makes small businesses tick, so we know what features they need to get the job done.
Money matters, folks! When it comes to picking a CRM system, price is usually the deal-breaker. We give a big thumbs up if a provider charges $30 or less per user each month for their starter plan. Extra brownie points for throwing in a freebie plan or trial, options to scale up or down as needed, and the freedom to pay monthly or yearly. We’re looking for flexability for small businesses.
We all know support is mega important when you’re choosing a CRM platform. This is especially true for those smaller businesses or sales teams who can’t afford to have tech wizards on their payroll. We put our detective hats on to see if these companies offer round-the-clock support, and we looked at the different ways you can get help. We’re talking live chat (like, real-time convo), email tickets, a good old-fashioned phone call, and self-service tools (for the DIY-ers out there).
When you’re in the business of picking a CRM, integrations are like the secret sauce that takes your burger from ‘meh’ to ‘mind-blowing’. Imagine, all your favorite apps and tools, working together in perfect harmony, making your workflow smoother than a fresh tub of Nutella. When we review a CRM, we look at the integrations most SMB owners are looking for.
When you’re reviewing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, it’s essential to pay close attention to its ease of use. After all, a CRM is as beneficial as its usability. A simple, intuitive interface saves you and your team a great deal of time and headache. When we’re reviewing each CRM, this is a crucial aspect that we look for.
The importance of Mobile CRM cannot be overstated in today’s digital age. It’s essential for fostering strong customer relationships and managing business activities. Mobile access to CRM makes it possible for sales teams to update and access customer information in real time, improving efficiency and ensuring up-to-date data. Mobile CRM can have a massive impact on SMBs, so thoroughly testing it is essential for each one of our reviews.
Here’s the overview of our Pipedrive/Freshsales battle royal.
Pipedrive offers a free plan in addition to three paid plans:
Essential: $21.90/MonthAdvanced: $37.90/MonthProfessional: $59.90/MonthPower: $74.90/MonthEnterprise: $119.00/Month
Check out our complete Pipedrive pricing guide.
In terms of pricing, Freshsales offers 3 plans in addition to a free plan.
Here are the plans they offer:
Free Plan – Free ForeverGrowth – $18/MonthPro – $47/MonthEnterprise – $83/Month
AJ’s Take: Freshsales wins this round with a fantastic free plan in addition to affordable, scalable pricing plans. Pipedrive also charges extra for additional features, making it potentially very costly.
Features can make or break a CRM.
So, let’s see how Pipedrive and Freshsales compare in this regard.
Let’s look at some of the features that make Pipedrive stand out.
When it comes to scaling your sales process, it’s crucial to have a well-organized pipeline.
Pipedrive’s pipeline management capabilities allow you to accomplish the following (with ease):
Drag and drop deals between stagesSwitch between multiple views with just a clickCustomize your pipeline stages to fit your unique sales process Schedule activities directly from the pipeline
To test this feature, my team and I added some affiliate marketing deals at Small Business Bonfire.
Here’s how a “new deal” card looks (to give you a better idea).
Within each card, we could easily view and edit the following info:
Associated contactOrganizationTitle ValueStageProbabilityExpected close date Contact infoCustom fields
This allowed us to keep everything organized and on track, making it easy to prioritize and focus our efforts.
Once we had all of our deals put into our pipeline dashboard (shown below), we could quickly move them around between stages.
We especially liked the ability to easily schedule activities with each deal by simply clicking on the pipeline itself.
Here’s how it looked to schedule a follow-up meeting with a client.
Each activity card lets you view your calendar (to avoid double booking) and add specific details to each meeting.
Our take: Pipedrive’s pipeline management feature is smooth, organized, and easy to use.
In fact, we think that Pipedrive offers some of the very best pipeline management in the game.
As your business grows, your projects can easily become overwhelming.
Pipedrive’s project management feature (for an extra $8/month) makes it easy to keep your team on the same page while tackling all your projects.
Pipedrive’s project management allows you to accomplish the following:
Create and manage projectsCreate project templatesAssign tasks and due datesSet prioritiesMonitor progress
We tested this feature by adding and managing several projects we’re working on at Small Business Bonfire.
We were able to easily add new projects and edit the following information:
Project nameProject descriptionTitleStart and end datesProject statusOwnerAssociated deals & contacts
Here’s how it looked during our testing (to give you some context).
We especially liked Pipedrive’s project template creation, which allowed us to build templates for frequently recurring projects (saving us time and effort).
Check out a sneak peek into our template customization process.
The bottom line: Pipedrive’s project management capabilities make it easy to stay on top of your projects as you scale your SMB.
Workflow automation is key in handling repetitive tasks so you can focus your energy and time on other important aspects of your business.
With Pipedrive, it’s incredibly easy and hassle-free.
Let’s delve into some of the aspects that make Pipedrive’s workflow automation a true standout:
Custom workflows: Pipedrive allows you to create custom workflows tailored to the unique needs of your business. This means you can automate tasks based on specific triggers or actions, ensuring efficiency and consistency in how your team handles various sales processes.Notifications: With Pipedrive, you can set up automated notifications to keep your team in the loop. Notifications pop up for various events, such as when a deal moves to a new stage, an important task is due, or when customer interaction requires immediate attention. This ensures that nothing falls through the cracks (and your sales team is constantly updated).Progress bars: Pipedrive features visual progress bars that allow you to monitor the status of your workflows. They offer at-a-glance insights into how your processes are faring, the milestones you’ve achieved, and what’s left to be done.
Our two cents: Pipedrive’s workflow automation feature is comprehensive and designed to streamline your sales process, driving productivity and effectiveness in your business.
Pipedrive offers the ability to create, schedule, and send powerful email campaigns for an additional $16/month.
We tested this feature (over six months) by creating and sending tons of email campaigns.
Let’s walk you through our experience creating a campaign to showcase our newsletter.
To start, we selected from one of Pipedrive’s gorgeous templates (shown below).
These templates are perfect for beginners who want to create advanced emails (with no coding knowledge necessary).
Once we had our template, we were taken to the fantastic drag-and-drop editor (shown below).
This editor offered a fantastic interface to easily create every stage in our campaign.
Within each email, we could easily add the following elements:
TextImages VideosButtonsCustom codeSocial media links
From there, we could schedule and automatically send off emails for each stage of our campaign.
Plus, we could track how each email was doing with Pipedrive’s powerful analytics.
With the CRM software, we were able to view the following:
Open ratesClick-through ratesUnsubscribesBounces
The nitty gritty: Pipedrive’s campaign feature is incredibly intuitive, making it easy for even novices to create professional-looking emails that drive results.
Having your client data in one secure location is essential to running a successful SMB.
If you’re stuck using sticky notes and spreadsheets to manage your customer data, chances are you’re running into problems with consistency and accuracy.
That’s where Pipedrive steps in to make your life easier.
Pipedrive’s contact management capabilities make it simple to store and access all of your client info in one place.
We tested this feature by adding some B2B affiliate marketing contacts to the platform.
Here’s how it looked to add a “new contact” card.
Within each card, we were able to customize the following:
NameOrganizationLabelContact infoCustom fields
At a glance, it looks like Pipedrive’s contact management is a bit lacking in terms of information.
However, Pipedrive allows you to add custom fields to each card with just a click.
This means that your CRM data can be as complicated (or as simple) as your business requires.
The breakdown: If you’re looking for an affordable, customizable, and powerful way to manage your contacts, look no further than Pipedrive.
If you’re struggling to manage all of your activities, Pipedrive’s activity tracker is the solution for you.
With this feature, you can easily see all your scheduled and completed tasks in one place.
Plus, Pipedrive provides the ability to easily schedule the following:
To test this feature, we set up some activities related to our affiliate marketing clients at Small Business Bonfire.
Here’s how an “activity” card looked from our perspective.
We were easily able to get an overview of each meeting, including the following:
GuestsDate & timeLocationDescriptionAssociated contacts & deals
While it might not seem like the most important feature for a CRM, the activity tracker is a great way to stay organized and on top of all your important tasks.
The need to know: Pipedrive’s activity tracking feature is simple, efficient, and perfect for any SMB looking to streamline their tasks.
For an extra $39/month, Pipedrive makes managing leads a breeze with its LeadBooster feature.
When you upgrade to LeadBooster, you immediately gain access to the following tools:
Live chat: Interact with prospects in real time and turn them into leads.Web forms: Create customized forms to capture lead information directly on your website.Chatbots: Create chatbots to engage with visitors and gather their contact info.Prospector: Find valuable leads with Pipedrive’s advanced search and lead generation.
We put this feature through its paces by taking advantage of all of Pipedrive’s lead management capabilities (over six months).
We found that we were able to accomplish the following with the CRM platform:
Easily capture leads through our website with customized forms and chatbots. Nurture leads with personalized follow-ups using Pipedrive’s email templates and automation feature.Keep track of lead interactions and histories to anticipate needs and close deals faster.
Our final verdict: Pipedrive’s LeadBooster is a fantastic way to empower your sales reps to take their sales management game to the next level!
Let’s examine some of our favorite features Freshsales has to offer.
Pipeline management is a great litmus test for whether CRM software is worth your investment.
Fortunately, Freshsales passed with flying colors.
We could easily customize our pipeline stages and deals dashboard to our needs.
From there, we added some of our affiliate marketing deals at Small Business Bonfire.
Here’s a look at one of the deal cards we created (in less than a minute).
We were able to get an overview of each deal, in addition to adding custom fields at the drop of a hat.
Once our deals were put in, we could drag and drop them between stages in our pipeline.
Here’s how it looked (during our sixth-month testing window).
We loved the sleek and simple user interface that allowed us to get a bird’s eye view of our sales process (at all times).
We also really liked that Freshsales provided a nice little congratulatory message for each sales rep who closed a deal (screenshot below).
This little detail gave credit where credit was due and helped foster friendly competition between sales reps.
The nuts and bolts: If you’re looking for a no-nonsense pipeline management platform, Freshsales is a fantastic choice.
If you’re serious about scaling your business, I’ve got three words for you—automate, automate, automate.
Whether service, sales, or marketing automation, Freshsales offers many automation options to help your business run more efficiently.
Here’s what we discovered while testing out Freshsales’ automation capabilities (over six months):
Helpful templates: Freshsales offers pre-built templates and workflows to get your automation up and running quickly.Customization: You can also create your own custom rules for automation based on your specific needs.Real-time notifications: Get notified immediately from your CRM when a rule is triggered (so you’re always in the loop).
We utilized Freshsales’ automation features to help streamline our lead nurturing process (among many other processes) and free up our sales team to focus on closing deals.
Here’s an example of some workflow automation templates that are perfect for beginners (and experts alike) to get started with.
Outside of these templates, there is a bit of a learning curve to Freshsales’ automation creation; however, we think it’s worth the extra effort.
Here are some of the tedious tasks we were able to automate using Freshsales:
Sending follow-up emails to clientsNotifying users when a deal was createdNotifying users when an activity was scheduledAutomatically assigning sales reps to new leads (based on lead scoring)
The bottom line: Despite the slightly higher learning curve, Freshsales offers a robust and efficient automation system for any business looking to save time and resources.
Being able to narrow down your prospects based on their level of interest is a game-changer for any sales team.
With Freshsales’ predicting contact scoring system, you can quickly and easily assess where each lead stands in the buying process.
Essentially, how this feature works is that you can customize the specific criteria for scoring your leads.
Here’s how the customization process looked (to give you a better idea).
From there, each new lead is given a score from 0-100 based on how well they align with your chosen criteria.
Here are some ways this feature helped us out:
Identifying high-quality leads: We could pinpoint which leads had the highest likelihood of converting into customers.Saving time and resources: By focusing on only the most promising leads, our sales team could prioritize their efforts and close deals faster.Providing valuable insights: Freshsales’ lead scoring provided useful data and trends that helped inform our overall sales strategy.
Our takeaway: Freshsales’ lead scoring is a powerful tool for businesses looking to optimize their sales process and increase conversions.
While it may not seem like the most exciting feature, trust us, it’s a game-changer for cutting through the noise and optimizing your time.
Connecting to your customers has never been easier with Freshsales’ built-in telephony feature called Freshcaller.
We could make and receive calls directly from the CRM platform (and mobile device), keeping all our communication in one place.
To get started with this feature, we simply had to purchase a phone number (at an affordable rate) and add it to our Freshsales account.
From there, we were able to take advantage of the following telephony features through Freshsales:
Mobile and desktop apps for remote callingVoicemail transcription for missed calls (so you never miss an important message)Call recording to review and analyze customer interactions
We especially loved the mobile version of Freshcaller, which let our sales team connect with clients from the palm of their hands (which was awesome).
Here’s how it looked from mobile.
What’s great about having this on the go is that our sales team could easily close deals while on the move (without having to be tied down to a desk all day).
The breakdown: Freshsales’ telephony feature is a must-have for any business looking for seamless customer engagement.
It’s simple, convenient, and provides valuable call data to help improve your sales tactics.
Effective contact management can make or break a growing business.
If you lose track of your contacts, you lose business (and, therefore, money).
That’s why we were thrilled to see how organized and user-friendly Freshsales’ contact management system was.
We could easily store, manage, and segment our growing contacts list.
We also loved how easy it was to import contacts from other sources.
For example, we were able to import from the following (shown below):
Excel or CSV formGoogle & Outlook contactsPopular CRM platforms
With just a few clicks, we could import all of our B2B affiliate contacts from Small Business Bonfire.
To really put the CRM software to the test, we added our contacts manually as well.
Here’s a contact card (to give you some reference).
Each card was highly customizable and offered a ton of information at just a glance.
For example, Freshsales provides an entire dashboard (pictured below) where you can create entire folders of custom fields.
We’ve tested a lot of CRMs over the years and can easily say Freshsales offers some of the most customizable contact management on the market.
It’s perfect for niche SMBs that need more specific segmentation options for their contacts.
Overall, we found the contact management system to be highly efficient and user-friendly, making it a top contender for any SMB looking for an organized and comprehensive CRM solution.
Freshsales impressed us with its comprehensive reporting and analytics capabilities.
It offers a variety of dashboards, each one designed to give you insights into a different aspect of your business.
Here are some dashboards we found particularly useful:
Sales: This dashboard gives you a bird’s eye view of your entire sales pipeline. It’s super easy to track deals, spot trends, and identify bottlenecks.Activities: Perfect for keeping track of what your team is up to, the Activities Dashboard helps monitor tasks, events, appointments, and their statuses.Calls: With the calls dashboard, you can gain insights into call activities, analyze call recordings, and track the productivity of your sales team.Chat: This dashboard gives a clear picture of your team’s chat activity, helping you assess how effectively customer queries are handled.
For example, here’s a look at our sales forecasting dashboard (during our six months of testing).
But that’s not all—one of the key features that sets Freshsales apart is the ability to create custom reports.
You can tailor reports to your specific needs, deciding what data to include and how to present it.
This flexibility is a huge advantage when gleaning meaningful insights and making data-driven decisions.
Our only complaint with this feature was that our dashboards didn’t update in real time (like other platforms we’ve tested).
Instead, it sometimes took over an hour for our sales data to reflect accurately.
The need to know: Freshsales provides a great variety of pre-made reports that are easy to use and highly informative.
If you want to make more data-driven decisions, Freshsales’ reporting and analytics features are a great place to start.
AJ’s Take: This round was close, but ultimately, Pipedrive is the more powerful platform in terms of features with its intuitive campaign creation, LeadBooster tools, and fantastic pipeline management capabilities.
Great customer service is like having a safety net for your team when they have issues with your CRM.
So, let’s see how Pipedrive and Freshsales stack up against each other in terms of the following:
Availability & responsive supportKnowledge baseTraining
Pipedrive offers fantastic customer service.
Let’s look at it in terms of the following:
Availability & responsive support: Pipedrive offers 24/7 email, live chat, and phone support. They were consistently available when we needed them. Knowledge base: Pipedrive provides all the resources you need to get started, including tutorials, webinars, blogs, and an extensive help center.Training: Pipedrive offers fantastic onboarding training for all new customers (and they also have a wealth of resources available with Pipedrive Academy).
Freshsales offers great service (that ultimately leaves a little to be desired).
Let’s break it down in terms of the following:
Availability & responsive support: Freshsales offers phone and email support. The longest we had to wait for a response was three hours (which wasn’t great). Knowledge base: Freshsales offers plenty of resources for self-training, including articles, videos, and webinars. Training: Freshsales offers onboarding for all new customers.
AJ’s Take: Pipedrive easily takes the cake here for its availability of 24/7 support and extensive knowledge base.
Integrations are essential for any business looking to streamline their processes and increase efficiency.
Both Pipedrive and Freshsales offer various integrations with popular tools and platforms, but which one comes out on top?
Let’s take a look!
Pipedrive offers many native integrations for SMBs to take advantage of.
Some of our favorites include:
Pipedrive features a great marketplace where you can easily search for the necessary integrations.
Plus, the CRM platform offers a great pairing with Zapier for thousands of additional applications.
Freshsales offers a fantastic marketplace of integrations for SMBs to take advantage of.
Some great integrations include:
Freshsales also offers a great Zapier integration that allows for many third-party apps.
AJ’s Take: This round is a tie! Both platforms offer fantastic native integrations with third-party integrations through Zapier.
A CRM must be user-friendly and easy to navigate, especially for small businesses with limited resources.
So, let’s see how Pipedrive performs against Freshsales regarding customer service.
Pipedrive is incredibly easy to use and navigate, with a simple and intuitive interface.
Pipedrive provides great email campaign templates, fantastic support, and streamlined pipeline management.
Freshsales offers a great user interface but has a bit of a learning curve to it.
While this may not be an issue for larger businesses with dedicated IT teams, it could prove to be a challenge for smaller businesses.
AJ’s Take: Pipedrive takes this one by a small margin due to its user-friendly interface and ease of navigation. Freshsales offers a great interface, but its learning curve knocks it down a few notches.
Having your CRM data available on the go is always a plus, especially when managing a remote team or attending conferences and events.
So, let’s see how both mobile apps stack up.
Pipedrive offers a fantastic mobile app on iOS and Android.
Some of our favorite features of the app include the following:
Activity managementDeal trackingContact managementCalendar syncNotifications
Essentially, Pipedrive provides the full CRM experience in the palm of your hand.
Freshsales offers a great mobile app available on iOS and Android.
Some of our favorite features include the following:
Lead managementTelephony (Freshcaller)Pipeline managementKPI dashboard
Freshsales excels when it comes to its telephony capabilities through Freshcaller.
We could stay connected to our clients and team members at all times (while on the go).
AJ’s Take: There’s no clear winner between the two regarding their mobile app. Both offer a great user experience and essential features for managing your CRM on the go.
A great knowledge center can make all the difference when it comes to onboarding and training for a new CRM.
Let’s see how Pipedrive and Freshsales match up in this area.
Pipedrive offers an extensive knowledge center with plenty of resources for users to get started.
Some of our favorite features include:
Pipedrive also has a fantastic onboarding process for all new customers, making it easy to get started and learn the ins and outs of the platform.
Freshsales offers a great knowledge base for self-training, including articles, videos, and webinars.
They also offer personalized onboarding for all new customers, making it easier to start with the CRM.
AJ’s Take: Both platforms offer a wealth of resources and great onboarding processes for new users, making this round a tie.
Even the best platforms have their limitations.
Let’s take a look at some of the potential drawbacks you should be aware of when considering Pipedrive and Freshsales for your business.
Pipedrive is a fantastic CRM solution, but it’s not perfect.
Here are a few of Pipedrive’s limitations:
No free plan: While Pipedrive does offer a free trial, there is no permanent free plan available. This can be a barrier to entry for startups or SMBs on a tight budget. Limited customer journey view: Despite Pipedrive’s fantastic pipeline management, the CRM platform lacks a comprehensive view of each customer’s journey.
Let’s look at a few areas where Freshsales could improve.
These include the following:
Limited free plan: Freshsales’ free plan lacks some advanced features that make the CRM the powerhouse it is. If you’re looking for predictive contact scoring or advanced email marketing, you’ll need to upgrade. There’s a bit of a learning curve: Freshsales can be a bit confusing at first, requiring users to become familiar with it to make the most of it.
AJ’s Take: Both platforms have downsides, but ultimately, there’s no clear winner for this round. Neither Pipedrive nor Freshsales has any real reason to not use them.
And the winner is…Pipedrive!
Pipedrive is easy to use, affordable, and offers powerful features to help scale your SMB.
However, if you’re looking for a way to energize sales teams, connect with your clients (even on the go), and learn from your data—Freshsales is a fantastic runner-up.
Both platforms offer free trials (to check out all their advanced features), so try them today!
The post Pipedrive Vs. Freshsales: Official Winner for SMBs appeared first on Small Business Bonfire.
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