5 Best Free CRM Software
Free CRM software promises a lot, but which ones actually deliver? Free CRM software is gaining ground among smaller and mid-sized organizations for potential to maximize leads and improve customer loyalty, but not all free CRM software solutions are perfect (or free). Here are some of the pros and cons of leading free CRM software options.
Free CRM Software Leader Zoho.com: Basics, Plus Inventory
Zoho.com can give you free online CRM software, for a limited number of users – only three. Still, if you’re a smaller organization, it can be a great place to start. Integrate your promotional and marketing campaigns across both sales and marketing divisions, and use pipeline features to know what should happen next with a lead. Zoho CRM also offers built-in email features, and you can sync your Outlook contacts. An interesting feature of this free CRM software package is the ability to tap into an inventory management function, which updates and manages inventory in alignment with sales orders – a step your sales team can take immediately after closing that deal.
A disadvantage of Zoho.com lies in your need to purchase a monthly or annual plan once you’ve grown enough to need more than three users. Additionally, this free CRM software solution may be limited in extensions and in third-party support, and seems more in line with smaller organizations.
FreeCRM.com, despite its deceptively simple name, can also provide strong CRM functionality at no charge. Since it’s Web-based, it’s easy to open and view your leads and contacts from any remote location. The software guides you to next steps with your customers, their history and predictions for their future actions. It’s free up to 100 accounts, and users enjoy the ability to attach faxes, orders and customer quotes to existing accounts to keep them organized. You can also connect accounts together to show how they’re connected.
One drawback, in addition to the free-user capacity of two users, is that you’re limited on attachment size to 100 Mb. Additional issues with this free CRM software option include immaturity in their functions, part of the reality that many free CRMs are continuing to evolve to better meet your needs.
Another version of free CRM software is SaaSLight.com, a free online CRM software tool that takes a slightly different approach. Training for SaaSLight is made simple with video tutorials. SaaSLight offers a self-service format, where customers can log in to a Web site and request product info or help for your team. You create a SaaSLight CRM Web site for your organization, and then your customers can send in their requests. You can access tools for sales and support without added fees.
Disadvantages to SaaSLight include limits to customer service and limited input from other users, since the free CRM software option is still gathering popularity.
Many organizations are accessing free CRM software through CiviCRM, which is geared toward the non-profit sector. Distinct modules for accepting donations on your site, generating email marketing campaigns and monitoring membership initiatives are capturing more attention for CiviCRM from the realm of free CRM software options.
However, a drawback to CiviCRM is that you may need IT skill and expertise to install and get the software going on your servers so that it meets your goals. It doesn’t by nature allow for linking in with your SQL databases for lead capture, but a developer could help bridge it with your current databases.
Entering as a competitor in the open source free CRM software market is vTiger, which works well for small and mid-sized organizations. It has features for basics, like sales force automation, marketing, numerous databases and security – with the added feature of inventory management. You may also enjoy the calendar tools and ability to smoothly integrate email. You have a great deal of freedom to change the way the user interface looks, such as adding your own fields, and drag and drop simplifies the modules tab for speedy and efficient use. vTiger also offers a customer self-service portal, but has been reported by some to be intricate for installing and complex for users to learn.
A Note About the “Free” Part of Free CRM Software
Keep in mind an issue with many free CRM software providers is the total costs you may see over a five-year duration involve more than the licensing costs. While many CRM software vendors offer free service, you may quickly outgrow this and need to expand to more diverse functionality for a diverse customer base and need to add additional users.