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Compare the 5 best CRMs for consultants

As a consultant, you need the right tools to help you manage your business, grow, and scale with less work on your plate. With a consulting CRM, you can do it all and work more efficiently.

Consultant speaking with a client

You’ll face numerous challenges as an independent or freelance consultant. Everything from chasing down overdue invoices to properly screening and responding to new client requests can add hours upon hours to your weekly schedule. Every moment spent tackling business management is time not engaged in client work. 

Customer relationship management tools (CRMs) are an effective solution to most of the common business management problems you’ll face as a freelance consultant. But which consulting CRM is the right one to choose? Which one will benefit you the most? Dive into the different options out there to take your consulting business to the next level. 

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What is a consulting CRM?

“CRM” stands for customer relationship management. As a freelance consultant, it’s the very essence of what you do. Every time you interact with a client, perform a service, or research and deliver a report for actionable recommendations, you’re managing that client relationship. 

Still, client relationship management is more than just providing an excellent service. It’s also in how effectively you record and follow-up on all parts of that relationship in ways that ensure a steady and positive flow of communication between you and your clients. 

Strong and effective communication is one of the best strategies in any consultant’s bag of tricks that help win over clients and land more referrals. It’s also one of the hardest parts of the job, especially once you start growing your businesses and increasing your client list.

A fragmented or scattered approach to communication makes it nearly impossible to give clients the attention they deserve. Dropping the ball on this end could lead to strained business relationships or missed opportunities, something no consultant wants. 

Business consulting expert David A. Fields puts it this way: “…consulting isn’t about you; it’s about them—the clients.” 

He also puts it another way: “The secret of delivering value to a client is in valuing the client.”

When your personal business management starts to look like a mess, it slows everything else down. If clients don’t hear from you when they need to and in the manner that best fits their needs, they’ll take their business elsewhere. A frightening prospect, to be sure. That’s the nature of competition in the consulting market.

What features to look for in the best CRM for consultants

Every consultant business could use more support managing clients and keeping up with related data, but the exact areas of need will change from business to business. Finding the best CRM for your company means aligning software features with your company’s specific needs.

Here is a list of the top features consultants are using when adding a CRM to their business operations:

  • Integrations
  • Project Management 
  • Automation
  • Reporting and Analytics
  • Pipeline Management

Your company should have specific use cases for each feature so your team can immediately understand the tool’s value and begin taking action.

Which consulting CRM is right for your small business?

Selecting the right CRM platform is pivotal for consultants, and in a landscape filled with options, we’ve explored the top contenders for consultants looking to elevate their client relationships.

1. Pipedrive


Through Pipedrive’s intuitive automation features, consultants can set up workflows to automate sending follow-up emails, updating contact information, or assigning tasks to team members. 

Manual errors will be reduced, and you’ll have more time for growth-focused activities than completing simple tasks. The platform focuses on key features for sales and marketing operations.

Lead management

With features like the leads inbox, web forms, chatbox, live chat, prospector, and web visitor tracking, Pipedrive empowers consultants to handle leads with several helpful tools. 

You’ll get a complete pipeline management dashboard that lets you see at a glance which stage your potential customers are in and any follow-up actions that need to be taken.

Client communication

Pipedrive has communication tools for almost every touchpoint in the client journey. Live chat answers any questions potential leads have about your service. You can also set up chatbots to help answer common questions. 

One of Pipedrive’s main features is its email marketing features. You can set up highly targeted email campaigns for your segmented audience and integrate your CRM features to track all the data. 

Additional features

Unlike other tools that concentrate solely on CRM, Pipedrive has sales automation, insights, and reports to help you grow your consulting business. You’ll even get an AI-powered sales mentor who pulls key insights from your data to offer personalized tips and recommendations.


Pipedrive makes it easy to integrate over 400 different tools and software with a single click. The platform makes it easy to search for the tools you already use to see if it integrates with Pipedrive.


Pipedrive has five different pricing plans:

  • Essential: $14
  • Advanced: $29
  • Professional: $49
  • Power: $64
  • Enterprise: $99

2. HubSpot

    HubSpot is renowned for its inbound marketing prowess and robust CRM capabilities. Consultants can benefit from its vast array of marketing tools and lead management, but it might feel a bit overwhelming for those who are running an independent business or freelancing and are primarily looking for a streamlined client experience.


    HubSpot offers powerful automation features that improves lead rotation, task creation, and follow-up processes for consultants. You can easily scale email campaigns and create workflows that automatically rotate leads.

    Lead management

    HubSpot’s consolidated lead dashboard provides consultants with a centralized hub to create, manage, and track leads. Prioritize your tasks and leads to optimize your schedule and create more free time. 

    Client communication

    Hubspot allows you to track all the sales calls your team makes to learn from patterns and trends. You’ll also get a suite of email tools that help build and manage campaigns. 

    Additional features

    What makes Hubspot unique is their multiple software offerings. The platform combines several tools for marketing, sales, operations, content, service, and commerce hubs. 


    Hubspot integrates with over 100 popular digital tools to help you seamlessly add the software to your daily operations. Live chat, events, advertising, social media, lead generation, and sales are just a few categories Hubspot offers for integrations.


    Hubspot offers different pricing plans depending on the tools you need. The following is for the sales pricing plans which include a CRM:

    • Sales Hub Professional: $90/mo/seat
    • Sales Hub Enterprise: $150/mo/seat

    3. Freshsales

      Freshsales offers excellent lead scoring and email tracking functionalities for consultants. However, it might fall short in terms of all-in-one client management and workflow automation, areas where HoneyBook truly shines.


      The automations by Freshsales are designed to improve workflows, sales sequences, territory management, auto-profile enrichment, and Intelliassign. Mundane and repetitive tasks are automated to free up your schedule for more important activities.

      Lead management

      The tools for lead management inside Freshsales let you create your own customized sales process. You can create multiple sales pipelines, assign weighted value across stages, generate invoices and quotes, and maintain your product catalog.

      Client communication

      Freshscales focuses on email, chat, phone, Facebook Messenger, SMS, and Zoom to help you communicate with clients. All interactions are recorded so you can log and track communications with clients throughout their time with your company.

      Additional features

      Freshsales has built-in governance features so you can manage who can access and modify your CRM. You’ll also get full analytics and reports to help you gather data and make better CRM decisions.


      Many of the major digital tools integrate with Freshsales like Google Calendar, Slack, MailChimp, and more. There’s also a Freshsales API in case you and your team want to build a tool for your audience with capabilities of Freshsales.


      • Growth: $9/user/mo
      • Pro: $39/user/mo
      • Enterprise: $59/user/mo

      4. EngageBay

        EngageBay is a cost-effective option that offers CRM, marketing automation, and customer support. However, when focusing on specialized features tailored for consultants, it may lack the finesse required to provide a seamless client journey.


        Thanks to EngageBay’s sales automation tool, your company can nurture leads and engage contacts immediately. The automation capabilities measures email opens and clicks, sends newsletters to your audience, and personalized engagement based on client behavior. 

        Lead management

        The history of every transaction with every client is all recorded and available for access inside EngageBay. You can easily organize and filter your clients to find information and data quickly. 

        Client communication

        The CRM inside EngageBay has phone call capabilities so you never have to leave the platform to talk with clients. You also get access to Call Broadcast, which auto-dials numbers from a selected list of contacts for your sales agents.

        Additional features

        The powerful data analytics inside EngageBay tracks client behaviro like pages read or time spent on your web pages. It also tracks email stats so you can optimize your process and campaigns.


        All the most popular marketing and sales tools integrate with EngageBay like Shopify, Zapier, Quickbooks, and more. 


        EngageBay has different pricing plans depending on the tools you need. The following prices are for the CRM and Sales bay.

        • Free: $0
        • Basic: $12.99/mo
        • Growth: $49.99/mo
        • Pro:  $79.99/mo

        5. HoneyBook

          HoneyBook stands out as the top choice for consultants, thanks to its holistic approach to client management. It combines CRM, project management, invoicing, contract management, and even the ability to accept online payments all in one user-friendly platform. Consultants love HoneyBook for its client-friendly interface, automated workflows, and the ability to create a professional and personalized client experience from start to finish, making it an ideal CRM for consultants seeking a client-centric solution.


          Using HoneyBook automations, you can respond immediately to inquiries with pre-built messages. You can also template out your invoice and quotes so that you can make quick changes and close deals faster.

          Lead management

          The features for lead management inside Honeybook are comprehensive. The entire invoicing and proposal process has tools specifically designed to streamline every step. 

          Client communication

          Your CRM area has a built-in dashboard for all client communication. Every text and word is logged and organized for you to access at any time. No more missed calls or messages, you can get back to every client. 

          Additional features

          Honeybook is one of the best platforms for moving leads from the first contact to booking with your service. You get an online scheduler included to help book appointments quickly and the templated contracts to help you close deals fast.  


          You can integrate your tech stack with HoneyBook to create a most efficient process. Popular tools like Google Calendar, Quickbooks, Zoom, and Calendly all integrate with Honeybook. 


          • Starter: $9.50/mo for first three months
          • Essentials: $19.50/mo for first three months
          • Premium: $39.50/mo for first three months

          Grow your consulting business with HoneyBook

          Your clients deserve the best you can give. Maintaining bandwidth in your schedule is the best way to ensure you have the time and energy to give your clients the best service possible. Offering service with a smile is always a boon, but it’s also important to step back and realize you can’t spend your entire day responding to inquiries or chasing payments. 

          The best solution to scaling and growing your freelance consultant business is to employ the best consulting CRM on the market. HoneyBook will reduce the pressure as you scale, giving you the space you need to focus more attention on more direct client engagement.

          Manage every part of your client relationships

          Capture leads, convert, and provide an excellent experience with HoneyBook. Go beyond a standard CRM. 

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