Are Free CRM Tools Worth Your Time?

Free. In your world of keeping up with customer-driven trends across multiple platforms, free can be quite appealing – especially when it comes to managing your customer contacts through free CRM tools. However, you should compare the benefits and drawbacks of free CRM tools to paid CRM tools to determine your best results potential, and to determine if your existing free CRM solution is still able to handle your customer relationship management needs.

Why Try Free CRM Tools?

Many developers have begun offering free CRM tools online, with some straightforward benefits. Free CRM tools may be right for you if you’re a start-up organization that is still growing your list of customer contacts. Using free CRM tools may also be a good choice for you if you are not sure whether you’ll be upgrading your CRM solution in the near future or retaining your current system for customer management. Free CRM tools allow you to try before you buy, with typical formats appearing as open source or cloud-based trial versions.

Free CRM Tools Have their Limitations

One of several free CRM tools to check out is Zoho CRM. It’s a cloud-based solution, which eliminates your need to pay for any network or software upgrades. You can use Zoho at no cost for a limited number of users, and it’s also created to work well with existing cloud-based software you may have. However, like many free CRM tools, it limits you on the number of contacts you can import and add, and it gives you a limit to the amount of data you can upload in files.

Is Free Still For Me? Outgrowing Free CRM Tools

Your organization may be outgrowing free CRM tools if your customers have diversified into several segments and you need to track more details to maximize your CRM efforts. You may find yourself duplicating customer entry data, instead of a seamless “one shot” view of your customer activity. You may also want to run specific queries or specialized customer searches to more effectively move a lead into a sale, and paid CRM can offer these options. In the area of customer retention, paid CRM vendors may offer more choices, such as detailed use of your social media platforms, which can hike up your retention rates. Your business may also have grown enough that you’re purchasing more marketing-related services, and paid CRM tools may help you understand more clearly which marketing strategies or campaigns produce the best results.

Start Free, then Buy, with Some Free CRM Tools

In some cases, you can go for a 30-day free trial and then embark on a paid CRM solution that you can expand and customize in phases. For example, Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows you to track and analyze performance goals across your different business teams and divisions. If you still have team members who use Excel to track customer data, you can easily bring in Excel spreadsheets or send them out from this paid CRM solution. Key alerts your team needs to manage and customer contacts can be sent out automatically, including to smartphones and mobile devices. Drag and drop features make this process even easier, and you can establish customized rules for sending the right customer relationship management task to the exact right team member.

Free CRM Tools or Paid CRM solutions

Overall, free CRM tools are cute solutions that can be beneficial for you as your company grows and you first start learning to use CRM, but as your organization grows you’ll find that you need a more robust solution. Sooner or later, you’ll require more in-depth reporting and analysis tools, as well as detailed dashboards that can report on your social media initiatives, daily tasks, and sales pipeline. Although free CRM tools are not a perfect solution, they do serve their purpose for very small organizations and as a precursor to larger CRM solutions.

About the Author

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.