The 5 best alternatives

At £7 per seat, is a popular and affordable sales CRM – but it may not be right for everyone. Here are five options that rival the platform’s pros, and improve on its cons.

Our Research

Our team of writers and researchers review CRM software by rating each product against the key features businesses care about: ease of use; value for money; the ability to scale, plus the depth of functionality and advanced options.
Written and reviewed by:
Helena Young is reader supported – we may earn a commission from our recommendations, at no extra cost to you and without impacting our editorial impartiality.

We think there’s plenty to sing about As a project management tool, it’s considered one of the best around. And, as a sales CRM, it performs exceptionally well for organisation and customisation – which is why we ranked it as one of our best small business CRM systems overall.

But there are some users who struggle to have their needs met by The brand is thin on marketing tools, and our testers also scored it just 1.5 out of 5 for integrations.

Luckily, the CRM market is very crowded. If you are not a fan of, or just want to try something new, there are plenty of other providers out there.

Our results found that the leading alternatives in 2024 are:

Below, we’ll outline the pros and cons of the top five alternatives for small businesses.

monday alternatives: comparison table

If you’re after a rival project management software tool to monday, there are a number to consider.

We’ve gathered top competitors to monday in the table below, capturing key features and costs to help you decice:

Swipe right to see more
0 out of 0
Price per month (billed annually):
Price per month (billed annually):

£12 per user

Price per month (billed annually):

Free plan, or £7 per user

Price per month (billed annually):
Price per month (billed annually):

Free Plan, or from £18 (flat rate)

Price per month (billed annually):

£14 per user

Free trial?

Free trial?

Free trial?

Free trial?

Free trial?

Free trial?

  • Huge range of CRM board templates
  • Message board for dashboard collaboration
  • Widgets available for bespoke metrics
  • Unlimited contacts and dashboards
  • 21 features available on free plan
  • Automated reports included on free plan
  • User permissions available for larger teams
  • Freddy AI tool gives you insights ready-made
  • Communication, ecommerce, and accounting integrations
  • Big library of preset templates
  • Unlimited CRM tasks
  • Unlimited users
  • Unlimited dashboards
  • Real-time chat
  • Send 2,000 emails per month
  • 5 active contact lists for outreach
  • Thorough 12-step onboarding process
  • Chatbots, campaigns, and webforms
  • Unlimited contacts permitted
  • Communication, ecommerce, and accounting integrations
  • Allows unlimited custom fields

5GB per user


200MB per organisation


2GB per user


1ooMB per user


5 documents per user



ClickUp: best alternative for customisation

ClickUp CRM

  • ClickUp’s free plan offers unlimited users.’s is limited to two
  • ClickUp features are more suitable for team work than features

You can’t learn the name without also hearing about ClickUp. The two platforms are very closely linked as high-performing, versatile systems.

Our research found that the biggest area where ClickUp and monday differ is in customisable workflows (how you view and manage your sales or clients).

ClickUp’s dashboard options make for a huge library of choice, unmatched by Different CRM functions – like sales, ticket desks, or email marketing – can be arranged into:

  • List view: colour codes based on the urgency of each task.
  • Task management board view: organises tasks by their completion status.
  • Box view: assigns tasks to each team member.

As a result, we think ClickUp is the best alternative for companies with established CRM processes or long-term clients, such as solicitors or insurance firms. It’s more flexible than, and therefore able to adapt to your needs (rather than the other way around).

Still, for a majority of its users, the most appealing aspect of ClickUp is its free plan that caters for an unlimited number of users.

Budget-conscious small businesses will find the platform works really well as a CRM software trial. You’ll never have to pay a penny for as long as you need it.

Zoho CRM: best alternative for customer service

Zoho CRM screenshot

4.5 out of 5
  • Usability
  • Customisation
  • Functionality
  • Pricing
  • Help and Support
  • Zoho CRM scores 5 out of 5 for customer service, while monday gets just 1 out of 5
  • does not permit social media integrations, unlike Zoho

According to data from Salesforce, 89% of consumers say they are more likely to make another purchase if they have a positive customer experience. That makes resolving issues or dealing with complaints an important way to ensure brand loyalty.

For this purpose, Zoho is a much better CRM alternative to

Zoho CRM has a dedicated section called ‘Cases’ where a list of all recorded customer service queries is held. You can even create segmented lists. For example, if you only want to tackle customer service cases for businesses over 50 people, you can do so by adding a quick filter., in comparison, has no established ticketing system. It also offers no case management tools.

As we highlighted in our review, the platform is a very customisable software, so you can create these yourself using a workaround. Nonetheless, it’s still a significant drawback.

In terms of pricing, the two are on even ground. is cheaper than Zoho CRM (£7 per seat, per month compared to £15) – but this is balanced out by the latter’s feature-rich free plan.

If you’re a small business in a particularly complex sector – such as equipment rental or IT support – we recommend Zoho CRM as the best alternative. monday just isn’t set up to handle customer service enquiries.

Freshsales Suite: best alternative for usability

4.5 out of 5
  • Usability
  • Customisation
  • Functionality
  • Pricing
  • Help and Support
  • We found Freshsales has a much quicker setup time to
  • Unlike, Freshsales boasts a free plan with unlimited users

Freshsales Suite is a product from CRM software company Freshworks CRM. It combines both sales and marketing strategies and is billed as one easy-to-use platform for small businesses.

If you’ve already used, you’ll know that the platform is well reviewed for usability. Surprisingly, our testing revealed this is an area in which Freshsales does so much better.

The Freshsales interface is not only smartly laid out, it is also very intuitive to use. Each step within the user’s setup journey is signposted clearly thanks to Freshsales’ artificial intelligence tool, ‘Freddy’.

Freddy effectively guides users through the main points of the setup process, including data import, adding users, and connecting to email software.

For those wanting to get started quickly, there is also a big library of preset dashboards to choose from – whereas requires users to design their own.

Freddy also provides insight into your contact list without you needing to ask it to first. Any issues or opportunities will be flagged for you, so you’ll literally be creating sales opportunities in your sleep.

Freshsales is on par with, costing £7 per user, per month.

Due to its excellent usability, we recommend Freshsales as the best alternative for startups. Users can get up and running quickly, and also don’t need much tech knowledge or experience to use the platform.

HubSpot Free: best alternative for marketing tools

HubSpot Contact File

4.2 out of 5
  • Usability
  • Customisation
  • Functionality
  • Pricing
  • Help and Support
  • Unlike, HubSpot can integrate with accounting software
  • HubSpot Free boasts an email design editor, which lacks

The main difference between HubSpot and can be put simply: if the latter is focused on the management aspect of CRM software, then HubSpot Free prioritises the relationship with your customers.

This is immediately apparent from HubSpot’s feature list. Specialising in marketing and outreach, it offers users website visitor tracking, chatbots, and social media integration – something 31% of B2B professionals say allows them to build deeper relationships with their clients., in comparison, has none of these benefits.

Because of this, you’ll be able to build your brand far more easily with HubSpot. As we outlined in our full review of HubSpot, this makes it a great option for SMEs in more competitive markets, like ecommerce.

HubSpot doesn’t scrimp on functionality in other areas, however. We awarded it double the amount of marks received for customer service, and triple the amount for integrations. has around 200 integrations, but HubSpot has over 400.

Plus, we couldn’t leave without mentioning HubSpot’s price. As one of our top free CRM systems, its free-forever plan easily defeats (£7 per seat, per month) for affordability.

What do HubSpot users think of the platform?

Nick Silverstone is managing director at Wagada Digital, a digital marketing service. Silverstone told Startups: “[With HubSpot] our marketing is all in one place, allowing us to easily manage our campaigns and better track success. We automate processes to save time and make sure that the right internal stakeholders are informed.”

Pipedrive: best alternative for integrations

Pipedrive dashboard

4.3 out of 5
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Integrations
  • Pipedrive costs £14 per user, per month – more expensive than
  • Pipedrive is more powerful than, and has a much cleaner user interface

Because of its huge range of third-party applications, Pipedrive is the best alternative for integrations.

CRM software is a substantial investment for your business. But you’ll likely already own a lot of other business tools – so it makes sense to find a piece of kit that complements, rather than steals their focus.

Pipedrive can definitely fulfil this requirement. While it boasts a similar number of integrations to monday, the former’s are much more strategic. That’s because, unlike monday, Pipedrive integrates with communication tools (Slack, Microsoft Teams) accounting software (Xero, Quickbooks) and ecommerce builders (Shopify).

Another bonus is that Pipedrive is brilliant for data analytics. In particular, it has excellent reporting tools – a feature that users like and probably want to keep.

You’ll be able to make deal reports, activity reports, revenue reports and, unlike, revenue forecasts. This makes it a good option for SMEs with strict budgets, such as marketing teams running client campaigns.

Best free alternative

You might be looking to find the best free CRM systems for small businesses, or maybe you’re just getting started and want to test out a freemium platform before purchasing.

We recommend HubSpot as the best free alternative to It’s a full-featured solution that is particularly popular with budget-conscious SMEs, and is also 100% free forever.

If you think it sounds too good to be true, we don’t blame you. But HubSpot Free isn’t a superficial offering. Our researchers found it’s really beginner-friendly, easy to set up, and boasts a lot of sophisticated features to rival even paid-for competitors.

This is particularly beneficial when compared to pricing. The platform’s convoluted pricing structure is based on ‘seats’, which cost £7 at the lowest tier. The number of seats equates to the size of your team, and increases in the following increments:

  • 3, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 100, 200+

This can be confusing to understand and end up costing more. Against HubSpot Free, there’s no competition.

Customers get an unlimited number of users for absolutely £0 charge. That means you’ll spend no money on a platform that provides a huge range of marketing, sales, and service tools for your business.

How we test CRM systems for UK small businesses

At Startups, it's important to us that the product recommendations we make to small UK businesses are useful, accurate, and based on thorough product testing.

We tested 13 CRM systems across seven main categories of investigation and 13 subcategories – all in all, we covered 84 areas of investigation. Next, we gave a ‘relevance weighting' to the final product category scores - this ensures the products' final ratings perfectly reflect the specific needs and requirements of Startups readers.

Our main testing categories for CRM systems are:

Features: the functionalities and capabilities provided by the CRM software, including contact management, lead and opportunity tracking, and task and activity management.

Help and Support: the assistance and resources available to users when they encounter issues or need guidance while using the CRM software.

Customisation: the ability to tailor the CRM software to suit the specific needs and processes of the organization, including customising fields, layouts, and workflows.

Scalability: the ability of the CRM software to accommodate the growth and changing needs of the organization, such as the capacity to handle a growing customer database.

Price: the cost associated with using the CRM software. It includes factors such as licensing fees and subscription plans.

Team Structure – Sales CRM: determining if a platform makes it easier to manage large sales teams, including team dashboards and team hierarchies.

Usability – Small Business CRM: assessing the simplicity of the interface, the ease of navigating through menus and options, and the overall user experience.

The Startups product testing process

The Startups product testing process diagram

Next steps for choosing a alternative

We think ClickUp is the best alternative to for small businesses. 

Customisation is’s best feature – but ClickUp gives it a run for its money and then some. Every one of its features can be tailored to your unique ways of working, which is really handy for those with established sales processes or working with long-term clients.

Plus, unlike, there’s a ‘free forever’ ClickUp free plan that’s suitable for any size business team.

Our recommendation is based on over five years of research, carried out by our team of experts and an independent analyst. But still, we know it won’t be right for absolutely everyone.

That’s why we’ve also designed a specialist online CRM comparison tool, to help you find the solution that best fits your unique business strategy. Just tell us a few general facts about your company and its goals, and we’ll match you with the most suitable provider. Alternative FAQs
  • Can you get for free? does have a free plan available for individual users. We recommend it as a great, budget-friendly option for microbusinesses.
  • What is similar to
    ClickUp is probably the most similar CRM platform to Their versatility and endless customisation capabilities mean they can be used to optimise every sales process in your business.
  • Is worth the price?
    We gave 3.5 out of 5 for pricing. Its cost structure can be complicated, but we think it offers good value for money with a competitively-priced £7 per seat. is reader-supported. If you make a purchase through the links on our site, we may earn a commission from the retailers of the products we have reviewed. This helps to provide free reviews for our readers. It has no additional cost to you, and never affects the editorial independence of our reviews.

Written by:
Helena Young
Helena is Lead Writer at Startups. As resident people and premises expert, she's an authority on topics such as business energy, office and coworking spaces, and project management software. With a background in PR and marketing, Helena also manages the Startups 100 Index and is passionate about giving early-stage startups a platform to boost their brands. From interviewing Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin to spotting data-led working from home trends, her insight has been featured by major trade publications including the ICAEW, and news outlets like the BBC, ITV News, Daily Express, and HuffPost UK.

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