Looking for the best CRM choice for an early-stage tech company selling through product-led growth to medium and big companies. Don't know if Salesforce or HubSpot are too rigid for PGL and expensive. I also had an experience of companies outgrowing Pipedrive pretty fast
While Salesforce may be at the top end of pricing for a CRM, the functionality, customization, and ecosystem are top tier, if you are looking for cost efficiency and all-in-one solution I would lean toward HubSpot CRM (so long as you are already using them for you marketing automation platform).
If you already have a separate MAT in place and Salesforce is just out of budget then I think about any system that integrates with your marketing platform or has a decently built out data export so that when you do eventually migrate to Salesforce mapping the data over wont b be so cumbersome.
Pipedrive is a good beginner CRM, but you will probably outgrow within a year or two. One other to look into would be SalesLoft. With SalesLoft, you get email, cadences, phone calls, and meeting/call recordings, in addition to a lightweight deal management product. The good aspect here is that when you do eventually move to Salesforce, migrating data will be relatively easy and you will already have a sales enablement tool built.
Salesforce is definitely best in class for enterprise sized clients, but for small or growing companies, I would definitely check out Zoho CRM. It's extremely extensible and is a good balance of out of the box functionality and customization where as Salesforce does very little out of the box. It is a mature platform with a ton of integrations and API options that you will not outgrow any time soon.
The best part of the Zoho is the price. The highest tier license is still a third of the cost of Salesforce and if you get it as part of the Zoho One bundle, the value is unmatched.
The platform isn't perfect, but where it really lacks at the moment is enterprise deployment and migration functionality which startups don't really need until they are about 100+ employees. if you are early stage, then this likely is not a concern. You could always upgrade later, but you may not need to.