Feb 28, 2018Industry insights,
Four of the best free CRMs?
Customer Relationship Management systems are one of the most vital tools for any business. They allow businesses to effectively manage all the business relationship data and information, and can be used to manage the life cycle of your prospects, logging conversations, scheduling call backs and meetings right through to that prospect becoming a new client.
Depending on the size of your business you might opt for a CRM that can integrate with many different line of business software packages, but if you are just starting out with a CRM and want to know how much use you will get from it, there are a fairly decent range of free CRM’s, that should be able to fulfil most low-level business requirements.
With free, light or freemium CRMs it is worth keeping in mind that they will only be free up to a certain point. They are generally capped at an upper limit that could be on the amount of free users, contacts or storage, and once you reach that limit the only option is to change the CRM or pay for a subscription. Other CRMs can be open source and offer the user a fully functional, customisable and unlimited CRM, although the company would need to install and configure the system. In some cases they come preconfigured and installed with support, although this comes with an additional cost.
Here are some of the best free CRMs that are available.
This free CRM offers a really user friendly solution. It’s a cloud based platform and free for up to two users, 2,500 records and up to 200 megabytes of storage. It automatically links your contacts’ social media profiles within the contact record, and there are also functions that allow you to track the value of a potential opportunity. In addition, Insightly can integrate with many email platforms such as Outlook and Google.
You might think 2,500 records is a lot, but they define this as any contact or note, which, let me tell you, can fill up quite quickly. Once you reach this first record limit the costs of Insightly start to creep in with the Plus option and a $29 per user per month subscription. In fact the only level that offers unlimited record limit is with the very top Enterprise option and that will set you back a whopping $99 per user per month.
This could be a great option for a business that’s just starting out or maybe just needs a light-touch CRM’s. For any business that is going to actively prospecting and building up sales leads, because of the pricing structure and the upper limit on records, I’d suggest there are other free CRM options that would suit an active user better.
Zoho is one of the larger players in this market. Their free cloud based edition CRM is among one of the best that’s available with many of their standout features such as social integration, opportunities and accounting all as standard on the free version. It offers up to 10 users and 1GB of free storage and 25,000 records. Once this limit has been reached the pricing structure ranges from a respectable €12 per user per month to €40 per user per month.
Zoho could be a great option for a small business or sole-trader. The free version offers a great user friendly CRM option and doesn’t hike up the pricing once your reach any upper limits for records, users or storage.
Bitrix24 is a relatively smart looking cloud based and self-hosted CRM with loads of really great features such as a daily planner and two way synchronisation with outlook, good iSO and Android as standard in the free version. It also has videoconferencing, instant messaging and group chat built in. This could be a fantastic feature for businesses that utilise remote working options. Features such as email marketing and invoicing are also standard on the free version.
The pricing structure is slightly different, as the free version is free for up to 12 users and up to 5GB of data, but within this there is no upper limit on records. These are unlimited. In addition, once the monthly subscriptions do kick in they start at $39 per month, right up to $199 per month. But unlike some of their competitors, they offer this as a per month cost as opposed to per user per month. This means that Bitrix24 could be an all-round great solution for both smaller and larger size businesses, and if you do end up using a paid for subscription it provides a predictable monthly fee. For other businesses that are considering self-hosted CRMs, for a fixed fee you can have all of the available features hosted within your business.
As free CRMs go, it doesn’t get much better that 100% free with no time or upper limits. Yes, that’s right 100% free. Hubspot have created this CRM as a free tool for businesses, and as they are a marketing automation specialist, the CRM has been built to eventually encourage their users to take additional marketing automation packages, that would carry an additional cost.
The free CRM offers many features such as Gmail and Outlook integration, a lead analytics dashboard and even offers integration with third parties such as Eventbrite, Survey Monkey and GoToWebinar. It offers a very clean and smart way to view your sales pipeline and tracks customer interactions automatically via email or social media.
Although there are no upfront or ongoing costs with Hubspot’s CRM, it would be well worth your time to review some of the standout features within the Hubspot Marketing Hub and Hubspot Sales Hub to determine whether some of these features would be needed now or in the future.
These are just a select few of some of the available free CRMs that a business could utilise. The best option for your business might not be the right option for another, depending on size of the business and future growth predictions. Getting data from a CRM system can be inherently difficult, and so to avoid any unforeseen additional cost, it will pay to do your due-diligence first and research each of them using free trials before committing to one over another.