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The best CRMs for engineering and manufacturing.

Jack Harris
Written by: Jack Harris
Length: 4 min read
Date: 30 Apr 2024

CRM means Customer Relationship Management. It refers to software designed to make it easier to manage your business relationships, while tracking the interactions and activity of your prospects, leads, and customers.

A good CRM can provide a full history of each touchpoint a contact has with your company — be it logged emails and calls from the sales and marketing team, or when a contact visits your website.

The idea is to make managing relationships easier, meaning you and your team can focus on having conversations, instead of wasting time trying to find call notes or a lost email thread.

There are many CRM tools on the market today, and it can be incredibly difficult to understand which one is best for your engineering and manufacturing business. 

We believe HubSpot provides the most comprehensive offering, not just for the manufacturing and engineering sector, but in general. That’s why we partnered with them. If you’re looking for a comprehensive breakdown of why HubSpot is a great fit for Engineering and Manufacturing, take a look at this article.

We also know HubSpot isn’t for everyone, so to help you out, I’ve taken a look at a load of CRMs to find the best alternatives. I considered the day-to-day use of the CRM for sales teams, how easy the software is to integrate, and the overall cost to the user. So without further ado, here are my top 3 HubSpot alternative CRMs for Engineering and Manufacturing.



Salesforce is widely considered to be the pioneer of the web-based Software as a Service (SaaS) pricing model after they launched their first CRM back in 1999. Since then, their platform has long been seen as the go-to CRM for all types of businesses, and for good reason, it is a vast software service and is an absolute powerhouse when deployed correctly.

What’s more, it’s customisable and extendable, with connections to most of the third-party apps you’re likely to use through the Salesforce appexchange, which means it can deliver on the promise of a “360-degree customer view”, to help your business stay competitive.

Unlike some other options, there is a fairly steep learning curve to using Salesforce effectively for new users. Like most CRMs on the market, the various features have also been split up into separate subscriptions — including Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and Service Cloud — which come with their own cost. With no free tier, and prices starting from £20/user/month for the “Essentials”, getting the right bundle of features will likely become very costly, very quickly.


  • Connects with a huge range of other apps
  • Vast feature list
  • Well established and not going anywhere


  • Steep learning curve
  • Unappealing user experience
  • Cost can spiral

Zoho CRM

With a free tier for up to three users and a “Standard” plan that starts at just £12/user/month, Zoho CRM is the most affordable HubSpot alternative. But don’t be fooled by the price tag, as Zoho packs a punch when it comes to features.

What’s more, the “Canvas” feature in Zoho all-but revolutionises the traditional CRM by making it easy to customise for your needs. Essentially, Canvas is a drag and drop editor that allows you to design your own record detail pages. This means the CRM can be as intuitive for your team as you can make it, as you have absolute control over what information is seen on the record.

You can also attach to Zoho’s other products in Zoho One, including SalesIQ, Analytics, and social-focused tools. That being said, third-party app integrations are limited. Anything not supported through the Zoho Connect integration would require an additional account with a third-party automation tool called Zapier. This could be a potential blocker if you’re looking for a tool that can connect to scheduling or project management software that isn’t supported.


  • More affordable than some other platforms
  • Highly customisable
  • Extensive features


  • Limited integrations
  • Usability dependent on being set up effectively


Sugar CRM

Sugar CRM is on the more expensive side when it comes to HubSpot alternatives. The marketing line is that they help you “see your customers in high-definition”, which I’m interpreting to mean records hold a lot of actionable information about contacts. And they’re not lying!

Like all the alternatives we’ve featured, the Sugar CRM platform is vast. You have a wealth of tools and features at your disposal, including email composers, call logging, meeting logging, and quote creation.

The biggest drawback of Sugar is the user experience. It isn’t particularly user friendly, and it is more reminiscent of old school CRMs that required manual input. That being said, this might appeal to users familiar with offline CRM tools.


  • Surfaces lots of actionable data 
  • Extensive features
  • Integrates with other applications


  • Expensive
  • Not user-friendly


In Summary:

There are a lot of alternatives to HubSpot out there, but Salesforce, Zoho CRM, and Sugar CRM stand out as being the most useful for the manufacturing and engineering industry. 

Every CRM has pros and cons, and it’s important you consider the right CRM for your business and your team. Your CRM can have a huge impact on how well your teams operate, so choosing the right solution is crucial. With that in mind, no matter which software you choose, I highly recommend speaking to a solutions partner who can advise you effectively, get you set up, and who can guide you and your team.


Want to learn more?

Why not connect with me on LinkedIn, where I post about HubSpot, email marketing, automation, and all things inbound, and share valuable tips in our weekly email called The Engine Room.


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