This pared-down version of the behemoth Salesforce platform offers a condensed set of features aimed exactly at what small businesses need from a CRM and support platform.



Salesforce Essentials, which starts at $25 per user per month, is squarely designed as a small business customer relationship management (CRM) solution. Where the standard Salesforce Lightning CRM is aimed at large enterprises with lots of customization needs, this version seeks to attract entrepreneurs and smaller businesses.

Even though you’ll find a subset of the large product’s features, Salesforce Essentials is still backed by Salesforce’s CRM experience, its excellent support engine, as well as its huge ecosystem of value-add partners, which is generally out of reach for small business customers. But while we found the overall Essentials experience to be very good, its higher price might be daunting for some and its ease of use can be spotty especially when dealing with workflow issues. Those issues keep it behind our Editors’ Choice winners in the overall CRM space, especially full-featured Zoho CRM. However, it does better than most in our small business CRM roundup, including Zoho’s small business CRM entry, Bigin by Zoho.


  • Familiar and intuitive user interface
  • Powerful capture of calendar and email for contact management
  • Helps businesses organize CRM tasks
  • Exceptional mobile apps
  • Access to the Salesforce technology stack


  • High starting price
  • Limited reports
  • Workflows might be confusing for new users
  • Too many unused fields that muddy up the screen and info can get lost in all the blank fields.