Notion is part of a category of apps often referred to as an "all-in-one", for which we aren't particularly fans of.
The main problem we have with this is it feels more like a cop-out when asked to define what you are—we do everything.
Notion is first and foremost a knowledge base app, or a more simply put, a more advanced note taking app.
Because of Notion's flexibility, you are technically able to use it for task management or project management but in terms of functionality, it doesn't compete with the likes of Motion, Sunsama, Akiflow, Asana, Monday, ClickUp, etc.
Those who tend to lean towards using Notion for any sort of task management or project management tend to be more technical and like "building tools". This means that the majority of time spent is building the task management tool, rather than...you know, just getting your work done 😄 Therefore, it takes the productivity out of productivity app for most teams.
We'd say you're better off with any other alternative listed other than Notion in this category.
Because Notion can technically be customized to "be anything", some use it as a CRM—although we don't recommend it for this category either. While Notion can be used for basic contact management, it lacks proper CRM features like email integration (one of the main features of a proper CRM). A CRM should ingest all your teams emails, so that anyone at the company can view communication history, making it useful for sales and customer support teams especially.
Further, trying to use Notion as a CRM will likely lead to poor adoption for the team, especially since it has little guardrails and the setup and configuration of how it use it falls on one person at the company (typically someone with little product experience).
All this being said, if you're tempted to use Notion as a CRM, check out folk instead. It offers a minimal learning curve and you can likely be up and running, using it within the day.
Airtable is a database (you can use it as a replacement to Google Sheets for example). Because of it's versatility, some folks get excited about the idea of what Airtable can do since it is almost endlessly customizable.
Because of Airtable's flexibility, you are technically able to use it for task management or project management but in terms of functionality, it doesn't compete with the likes of Motion, Sunsama, Akiflow, Asana, Monday, ClickUp, etc.
Airtable won't work well as a project management for complex projects, it will easily become confusing to navigate. While Airtable might work for very basic project management if you're a super small team (1-3), the time you spend setting it up and figuring out "how to best use it" is better spent on actually getting your work done. With that, using another alternative on this list that is more opinionated in terms of project management and has more features pre-built for managing projects, will be a much better choice long-term.
Airtable is not a traditional CRM software, it's first and foremost a database (you can use it as a replacement to Google Sheets for example). Just like some people use Google Sheets as a CRM, you can also "technically" use Airtable as a CRM—though it's not something we ever recommend.
The reason is because Airtable lacks the main features of a CRM, like ingesting all your teams emails in one place. Further, because there is unlimited flexibility with Airtable, you can get stuck spending dozens, if not hundreds of hours, configuring Airtable to function as a CRM. And more likely than not, the tool will lack proper adoption as there are little guardrails when using the tool for CRM purposes and everyone can kind of use it "how they want".
In general, while Airtable tries to position itself as a contender in the CRM space due to it's customization abilities, it's the main reason why we advise teams not to go down this path. It will likely lead to overwhelm and sunken time that could have gone into setting up a proper CRM that will scale with time.
If you're tempted to use Airtable as a CRM, we'd recommend folk instead as it will still give you a similar database like structure, all while providing CRM features at the core.
Google Sheets is a tempting choice for a barebones CRM, especially if you're using the software in other areas of the business. There is no learning curve, it's free to use and may be sufficient for very basic needs.
That said, it's first and foremost a spreadsheet tool, and will lack any proper CRM features such as pipeline management, automated workflows, email ingestion, proper data security, and privacy. It's very easy to corrupt data if you're using Google Sheets for contact management, and there are no automations to keep it updated with important information, like email correspondences.
We strongly recommend against using Google Sheets as a CRM. If you're merely tempted by the simplicity of Google Sheets, check out folk instead. With folk, you have a minimal learning curve and it will offer you the basic features of a CRM like contact management, email integration and give you the ability to set reminders against contacts.