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Guide to Best Free CRM Software Solutions to Consider in 2019

HubSpot: No. 1 CRM Solution

USER SATISFACTION 99%
OUR SCORE 9.8

Is this year going to be bigger for your business, with more sales for your company? If only you had a powerful and affordable tool to help you make your customers happier. Well, you’re in luck, because there are some great free CRM software tools out there. In this article, we’ll show you the 12 best ones that can bring significant improvements to your business without putting a dent in your budget.

What is the best free CRM software?

In our guide, we’ll analyze all popular CRM tools that are available for free. All of them will do a great job at helping you get more sales. But to assist you further, we put them to rigid use-case testing and evaluated their feature set, ease of use, scalability, integration, vendor reliability and pricing. The best app should score high on all features, otherwise, it is only good at a few specific areas. After averaging the metrics, HubSpot CRM proved to excel in all fronts and got the highest score. It is also a consistent recipient of our Best CRM Award in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

In fact, we invite you to verify our findings, just sign up for HubSpot CRM for free here and compare your experience with the features we’ll discuss in detail below.

Feature set: HubSpot is the most robust free CRM software out there

HubSpot CRM has all the core benefits of CRM, help desk, plus some bonus advanced features for campaigns that you normally have to pay for in other apps. In short, it allows you to roll out a successful Customer Experience Management strategy for free. And it lets you add up to a million contacts and invite unlimited users!

HubSpot CRM core features let you:

  • Manage contacts with insights
  • Associate contacts with deals and tasks
  • Create a visual sales pipeline to track deals

HubSpot CRM also covers your customer support with:

  • Ticketing
  • Conversational bots
  • Canned snippets
  • Live chat
  • Gmail and Outlook integration
  • Conversations inbox
  • Team email
  • Email tracking

Ease of use: HubSpot lets you set up your CRM process in minutes

Let’s go back to the core features, and point out how easy it is to set up HubSpot CRM. The process can be done in minutes.

We tried to import 5,000 contacts and the process went smoothly by following these two quick steps:

  1. Bulk import your CSV data (Excel file) to HubSpot CRM
  2. Set contact properties to help you sort contacts by type, level of engagement and activity, which allows you to identify leads vs. opportunity vs. customers vs. partners. 

We also tried to associate contacts with deals and it couldn’t have been any easier with three simple steps:

  1. Create a deal
  2. Enter the details such as deal stage, close date and deal owner.
  3. Click on a drop-down menu and search for the company or person right inside the deal record to associate deal with contact.

Now the fun part, we wanted to see a visual pipeline of the deals with their associated contacts. The steps are still pretty straightforward:

  1. Click “Deal Pipelines and Stages” in a left sidebar menu
  2. Click Edit then customize the sales stages or add a stage unique to your workflow
  3. Set up win probability of each deal stage using a drop-down menu in the Deal settings.
  4. Save

Your deal pipeline should look something like this, how neat:

All in all, it took us under 30 minutes to organize 5,000 contacts, associate some of them with about 50 deals and set up the pipeline. Once you’ve set up HubSpot CRM, you’ll find in this video how simple it is to manage contacts, deals, emails and tasks in one place:

Scalability: Hubspot CRM isn’t just a small business freebie

It’s the first thing you’ll notice. The free CRM is designed for small business in the context of the busy entrepreneur without an ounce of coding skills, working on a shoestring budget and with only a handful of sales reps at her disposal. But the fact that this free CRM gives you unlimited users and up to one million contacts convinced us that it can scale to a mid-sized operation. That’s one big plus point.

So we focused on enterprise and asked ourselves: Would we outgrow the tool if we happened to grow into an enterprise? The answer is both a no and yes. Let us explain.

HubSpot CRM alone for enterprise won’t cut it. The catch is, managing enterprise customer relationship requires more than CRM features. You need the whole architecture of marketing, sales and service systems to work in synergy. You need to deal with a variety of segmented and sub-segmented campaigns. You need deep analytics and machine learning to digest big data. You have to generate hundreds of attribution reports, maybe. You need granular user permissions spread across multiple territories.

So, the better question for scalability is: Can HubSpot CRM integrate with more advanced systems to manage CRM at an enterprise level? Yes, this free CRM natively integrates with HubSpot Marketing and Service, both paid subscriptions, for enterprise capabilities. Think of the free CRM as the foundation of your future enterprise marketing-CRM-service tech infrastructure. It is not something you discard, but build on with advanced features, as your company grows really big. Technically, the CRM app remains free at the core of your enterprise system. This, for us, is a major difference with other free CRM software, where you switch to a paid version or simply do away with the app as you scale to enterprise functions.

Integration: HubSpot is one of the most integrated marketing-sales-service tech stacks

All of our best free CRM apps here have great integration with a slew of business and productivity tools, such as mailers, document management, file storages, IMs and help desk apps. Set them up with Zapier and you extend their capabilities by a long mile.

Instead of horizontal integration, we tried to look into another kind of integration that lets you manage today’s hyper-connected customers who engage you daily across multiple touchpoints such as websites, live chats, social media, emails, online communities, phones and events. This is where integrated marketing, CRM/sales and service systems can win the game for you.

We mentioned CEM earlier and how HubSpot CRM snuggles into the picture, which helps you roll out an effective plan. CEM can be the deal breaker where your product is more similar than different with your competitors. As a top-down strategy, CEM oversees engagement in all your customer touchpoints, spanning the entirety of the customer journey from stranger to prospect to lead to opportunity to customer to loyal customer. You need CEM if you want to stay competitive.

But CRM, even a paid version, cannot meet the elements of CEM strategy alone. It needs to integrate campaign metrics, audience feedback, customer posts, support tickets, satisfaction ratings, brand mentions, event outcomes, website analytics, PPC metrics… the list goes on.

Among the free CRMs, HubSpot CRM is the one purpose-built for CEM. It natively integrates with HubSpot Marketing, HubSpot Sales and HubSpot Service, allowing you to cover all your customer channels. The technical integration is smooth, all apps are built on one architecture so there’s no cross-system glitch. They share the same contacts, dashboards, pipeline, customer data and reports, so you have all these information in one place. That’s a major step trying to achieve a singular view of a customer.

What is great about having the HubSpot growth stack is, your marketing, sales and support teams will start to work as one team. You close the gaps between the marketer and sales rep and empower your support agent to be a proactive member. Marketing, as your brand enabler, can take a cue from sales experience and support queries, allowing you to project a cohesive brand in front of your customers.

HubSpot CRM natively integrates with advanced tools like conversion rate optimization that helps you test lead flows.

Vendor reliability: HubSpot offers great customer support

We already mentioned earlier that the vendor replies to queries from free CRM users via live chat or email. Basic questions about the app are usually handled by a bot, which leads you to a knowledge base. But we also got email replies consistently from human reps, something you’ll appreciate if your problem is unique. You can find this out now when you download the free CRM here. Right off the bat, HubSpot can put your needs in context since it knows at what stage in their pipeline you’re in (free CRM user on day one).

We did find the other vendors especially Freshsales and Zoho quite responsive for a freeloader (that’s us). But the deal breaker here is HubSpot’s active community and the HubSpot Academy. Free CRM users can access community.hubspot.com and ask questions. It’s a vibrant place to engage other HubSpot users and professionals (52,000 and counting), any of whom can share best practices and shed light on your problem. Hands down this is the most active community we found for free CRM.

The vendor itself has tons of content in the HubSpot Academy. This is unsurprising for the company that promulgated inbound marketing, the use of value content for lead generation and one that is practiced by most vendors now.

Great Pricing Model: HubSpot is free in the truest sense

Here’s why we gave HubSpot CRM the nod in pricing. It is not a pared-down freemium that sets you up for a paid plan. It’s not an open source that needs fine tuning with developer’s skills. It is not even a free trial. Your access to it has no expiry.

HubSpot CRM set the standards high for free CRM that the rest appears to fall short. Freshsales free app, while has a similar free-forever catch, is designed for a small team. The free version of Zoho CRM is a freemium and limited only to 3 users, tops, so is Insightly which only allows 2 users. SugarCRM is an open source that requires time and skills for coding to work it out, lest you pay for a plug-and-play plan.

How can HubSpot CRM give such powerful tool for free?

While the CRM is robust on its own, it works best as part of the marketing-sales-service tech stack. The free app takes care of the CRM part in a full suite of productivity tools that enables you to roll out an effective CEM strategy.

The goal of the vendor is to help you see the merits of a broader CEM strategy, the better you manage today’s hyper-connected customers. While the free CRM can help you gain more sales, a HubSpot growth stack can gain you market traction and even dominance.

Once your business achieves a growth milestone, transitioning from small business to mid-sized company and to enterprise, the vendor encourages you to leverage its tech stack. That means subscribing to the paid plans of HubSpot Marketing, HubSpot Sales and HubSpot Service. These solutions offer more advanced features to help you manage an expanding customer base vertically and horizontally.
Also, the vendor is transparent about using the free CRM with its paid apps. HubSpot Marketing is priced on a per-1000 contacts tier. If you’re using it with the free CRM, the contacts you add end up in both apps, affecting your Marketing subscription.

1. HubSpot CRM

Choose it because of: It’s the most robust free CRM.

HubSpot CRM is easily the most complete free CRM app, rivaling even other vendors’ paid plans. As we’ve shown above, it scores high on all six key elements of a powerful CRM: feature set, ease of use, scalability, integration, vendor reliability and pricing. Not only do you get to use robust core CRM features like contact management, deal and task management and a visual pipeline, but you get advanced tools for help desk, sales automation and marketing campaigns. You can quickly set up a visual pipeline and associate your contacts with deals and tasks, all in minutes. It’s an efficient way to spot bottlenecks and inconsistencies in your sales process and greatly improve your conversion rate in a short span of time starting here when you sign up for free HubSpot CRM here.

This award is given to the best product in our CRM Software category. It highlights its superior quality and underlines the fact that it's a leader on the market.
USER SATISFACTION 99%
OUR SCORE 9.8
HubSpot CRM won our Best CRM Software Award for 2018

The main difference of this CRM app with the other free apps on our list is, it is designed to be a solid foundation of a growth tech stack that unifies your marketing, sales and support processes. Unlike the rest of the free apps on our list, the HubSpot CRM is not intended to be upgraded to a paid plan nor discarded once your customer base expands. It grows with you up to an enterprise level as part of the integrated HubSpot Marketing-Sales-Service infrastructure. The free CRM consolidates all relevant customer data and processes under one roof, enabling you a single view of customers. This way, you get to implement a strong Customer Experience Management strategy with personalized messages and offers at every stage of the customer journey, as a small business today and enterprise tomorrow.

Who is HubSpot CRM designed for?

HubSpot CRM is suitable for small businesses wanting to get a CRM strategy started despite limited resources. It is free, so even, and especially, companies in the red can leverage it to turn around stagnant or slumping sales. The free CRM also suits a growing business. It scales to enterprise functions as part of the HubSpot growth tech stack, where you bundle the free app with the paid plans of HubSpot Marketing, Sales and Service software.

What features are available for free?

The entire CRM app is free forever, which gives you the following core features:

  • Contact management
  • Deal management
  • Visual pipeline
  • Basic reporting
  • Dashboard

It also provides you with extra tools for customer service:

  • Ticketing
  • Conversational bots
  • Canned snippets
  • Live chat
  • Gmail and Outlook integration
  • Conversations inbox
  • Team email
  • Email tracking

And bonus features for marketing campaigns:

  • Pop-ups and native forms with external form tracking
  • Email templates
  • Auto schedule email campaigns
  • Up to 200 email tracking alerts
  • One reporting dashboard

What features you will have to pay extra for?

The bonus support, sales and marketing tools are basic features of the paid plans in HubSpot Marketing and HubSpot Sales. If you want to use their more advanced versions, such as marketing and sales automation, ad management, landing pages, email sequences, multiple pipelines, knowledge base, you need to subscribe to their paid plans. The CRM, however, stays free, underlying a consolidated base for all your customer-related sales, marketing and support records. Also note that if you are using the free CRM with a paid HubSpot plan, the contacts you add in the CRM may affect pricing in the paid plan, which may charge at per 1,000 contacts.

2. Freshsales

Freshsales dashboard example

Choose it because of: Help desk integration

Freshsales is a lineup product from the popular Freshdesk family, and it was designed to meet end-to-end all contact management needs of different businesses. The presence of a well-balanced and free-to-use package makes Freshsales particularly attractive to small and developing businesses, just as the jazzy, up-to-date interface the software is best known for. You can easily sign up for Freshsales for free here.

An award given to products our B2B experts find especially valuable for companies
USER SATISFACTION 95%
OUR SCORE 9.7
Freshsales won our Expert's Choice Award for 2018

If you’re running an established business with a considerable lead base in place, you won’t be dependent on its paid plan’s lead capturing capacity, and that’s enough of a reason to use it and maintain the relationships you’ve already built.

What is particularly likable about Freshsales is simplicity, both when it comes to jumping on the bandwagon and humbling down complex contact management processes. For free, Freshsales will capture, distribute, score, and verify leads, and do so via various communication channels, just as Insightly does. In fact, the freemium logic of both systems is pretty similar, with the difference that this system won’t limit users, storage, or support in its free plan. The other good news is that free Freshsales users get to integrate the system with their Freshdesk account.

Who is Freshsales designed for?

Startups, small, and mid-market merchandise firms focused on both attracting and preserving leads. Freshsales will also be a smart choice for companies with power-up help desks in place, in particular current Freshdesk users. Large companies can consider it as well, as long as they’re not looking for an all in one help desk-CRM-support delivery product.

What features are available for free?

Freshsales’s free package is called Sprout, and it compiles all necessary features for easy and successful contact management. It lacks the sales management capacity, funnel views,  and smart notifications available in the paid plans, but with additional software in place, it will easily cover the needs of any retail business. If you’re looking exclusively to manage a lead base, look no further.

This is what you get for free:

  • Unlimited number of users
  • Unlimited contact base & records
  • Unlimited storage
  • Lead capture & automated lead importing (phone, email, social media)
  • Full management kit for leads, contacts, and accounts
  • Basic lead scoring
  • Advanced reporting
  • Seamless Freshdesk integration

What features you will have to pay extra for?

Similarly to Insightly, Freshsales offers several paid plans for users to consider, but they all target a tightly specified group of needs and may have the final say on the type of users that are going to acquire them. The number of users, contacts, records, and amount of storage are not limited in any of these plans.

Here are the paid features you get access to with paid plans:

  • Deal funnel view
  • Real-time email tracking
  • Templates & notifications
  • Google Calendar integration
  • Custom reports
  • Auto profile enrichment
  • Lead assignment rules
  • Territories
  • In-app event tracking
  • Website events tracking
  • Segment integration
  • Advanced lead scoring

3. Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM dashboard example

Choose it because of: Sales force automation

Zoho CRM is another smart system you can position in charge of your relationship management activity, and do so without worrying that your free selection might be too basic. Keep in mind that Zoho CRM is not just a simple contact management app, for that purpose they vendor developed a whole different product called Zoho ContactManager. Zoho CRM, meanwhile, is a fully equipped package for lead & sales management available for free for teams up to 10 users. You can easily sign up for Zoho CRM for free here.

Zoho CRM’s plans differ in terms of communication channel availability, sales automation equipment, number of records, and custom modules, but one thing the company is particularly proud of is delivering unlimited support to users regardless of the plan they’ve chosen. The free plan is offered as a unified, customer-centric kit fully equipped for email marketing, visitor tracking, customer surveys, social media marketing, project management, and a really professional analytics board. The mobile apps developed by the company are also available in the free edition.

Who is Zoho CRM designed for?

Small and medium business in the retail and service industry, looking for a complete sales force automation, email marketing & lead management system with reliable analytics. Sole proprietors are also invited to use it.

What features are available for free?

Zoho CRM’s Free Edition is currently among the most popular off-charge CRM tools, and the reasons are more than obvious. The unpaid package collates the best of the four paid plans and wraps it nicely in a 10-people working kit with unlimited support and access to Zoho products integrations.

These are the features you can get in the free edition

  • Support for up to 10 users
  • Sales force automation
  • Feeds for team collaboration
  • Social media features (Twitter, Facebook, and Google+)
  • Marketing automation (10 Email Templates, Email Opt Out)
  • Document Library (Folder Sharing, Attach Docs, File Versioning, Reviews)
  • Standard Reports
  • Web forms
  • 1 GB Storage
  • Product customization
  • Workflow management

What features you will have to pay extra for?

There are four paid Zoho CRM packages to consider, with prices varying between $12 and $60/month. The main difference between the packages is the presence of email management and sales force automation capacity, while the analytic features offered by each are gradually improving from one package to the other. All plans are billed monthly or annually and come with a handy 14-days trial where you can test their features.

Here’s what paid features you can get:

  • Sales forecasting
  • Team collaboration between groups
  • Mass emailing
  • Custom analytics
  • 100000 Data Storage Records, 5000 calls a day
  • 10 Custom Fields & 2 Unique Fields per module
  • Slack integration
  • Synchronization with Google Contacts & Google Calendars
  • Full Inventory Management Kit
  • Unlimited Storage
  • Case Escalation Rules

4. Insightly

Insightly dashboard example

Choose it because of: End-to-end CRM service

If you’re looking for a granular-sharing, automated-tracking, and edge-cutting CRM tool available for free, look no further than Insightly. With a current user base of over 500,000 members, Insightly counts as one the widest-used small biz-friendly tools currently available on the market, in large part because of the neatly equipped free package.

Unlike HubSpot and Zurmo, Insightly is a freemium system where fully-featured packages are delivered at a moderate fee. Nevertheless, they offer one of the most decent free plans in the CRM industry, designed for single proprietors and teams up to 2 users, and covering a basic portion of all functionality the vendor is famous for. Similarly to their five subscription packages, the free plan is focused on group management and collaboration, and thus entails features such as onboarding sessions, online community, and social CRM. Migration to a paid plan, if you need one, is also made easy, as packages start at only $12 per month.

Who is Ingishtly designed for? 

The ideal Insightly user profile is small and developing companies at the dawn of their CRM service, and those looking for a tool that will grow in parallel with their contact management needs. As it offers 5 paid plans to consider as well, we can also recommend it to larger teams and enterprises.

What features are available for free?

At first sight, all Insightly plans look the same and cover the exact same functionality, excluding premium support and smart notifications available to users of a particular plan. A serious drawback for potential users is that the free plan does not give users the right to use a dedicated mobile app. Yet, with 2 participants on the picture, this may hardly be a concern.

The functionality values and number of users, however, are limited depending on the amount you decide to invest. Our experts found Insightly’s free plan to be a great off-budget CRM option because it blends a decent dose of everything, and helps small businesses get on their feet without breaking the bank.

This is what you will get for free:

  • The possibility to involve 2 users
  • Up to 200 MB storage
  • Up to 2,500 records
  • 5 Email templates
  • Mass emails (10 per day)
  • 10 Custom fields (2 per record)
  • 500 Rows of File import
  • 10 Advanced reports
  • Online community support

What features you will have to pay extra for?

Alongside the free plan, Insightly offers four paid packages to meet the needs of different users. There is a free trial available for each package, and several supported payment methods (monthly or annually).

Put into perspective, Insightly plans are developed on a gradually increasing scheme, with each plan being available to more users, and offering larger storage or more records per user. Basically, this means the company did well filling the functionality gaps from plan to plan, and allowing customers to switch options in line with their business’s development. Yet, potential buyers should know that support is different for each plan and that advanced features are only available to premium users.

Here are the available paid features:

  • MailChimp integrations
  • Onboarding sessions
  • Calendar & contact sync
  • Scheduled reports & smart alerts
  • Custom branding
  • Role-based permissions
  • Lead assignment rules
  • Workflow automation

5. Really Simple Systems

Really Simple Systems dashboard example

Choose it because of: Outstanding customer support

The lovable thing about this system (leaving the cool name aside) is its free-to-affordable pricing. Really Simple Systems is indeed a really simple system designed for small businesses, with great support that you’d probably never expect to get for free. Really Simple Systems operates in the cloud, and packs just the right widgets that small offices may need to send emails, train staff as well as find, check and analyze critical data. You can get Really Simple Systems for free here.

When we were checking out the functionality of Really Simple Systems we encountered a more than pleasant two-way email sync that captures contact data, and then records it customizable account timelines. The truly impressive part, however, is automated synchronization, as it guarantees that no vital information will slip through the cracks. Most of the system’s cool features (including sales automation and connections with accounting software) are available for free, as long as you want to put only 2 users in charge, and import as many as 100 company accounts. Two-way email syncing, regrettably, is available only in the three paid plans.

Who is Really Simple Systems designed for?

The system was developed predominantly for small and developing retail/service businesses in Europe, where most of customers’ interaction takes place via email. All companies looking for a simple and secure CRM should also give it a look.

What features are available for free?

Really Simple Systems offers one of the most complete free packages we’ve found down the road to off-charge solutions. The lite package will serve well to teams of up to 2 users, and cover all of their contact management, sales automation, and custom analytic needs. What is really good to know is that free users get the same email and chat support premium ones do and that accounting integrations and open API are also included.

These are the features you get for free:

  • Support for up to 2 users
  • Include 100 company accounts
  • 100 MB of free document/conversation storage
  • Email & online chat support
  • Sales automation
  • Contact management
  • Custom reports
  • Custom settings
  • Security – roles & permissions
  • API integration
  • Possibility to purchase marketing & service desk modules

What features you will have to pay extra for?

Really Simple Systems offers three paid plans depending on the exact stage of development your business finds itself at. There is the Starter for beginners looking to include two-way email sync and optional marketing modules; the Professional plan for developing companies that would also add a service module; and the Enterprise plan for experienced market participants looking for advanced security settings and instant phone support. Take note that the contact management suite looks absolutely the same in all four packages.

Here are the paid features you can get:

  • Support for more users, company accounts, contacts, and storage
  • Phone support
  • Two-way MailSync
  • Optional marketing modules
  • Optional service desk module
  • Advanced user/role permission levels
  • Advanced reporting
  • Advanced custom settings

6. SugarCRM

SugarCRM dashboard example

Choose it because of: Experience in the industry

There is no way you’ve done a proper CRM research and didn’t come across SugarCRM. The system is right in the core of this industry, as the first digitized relationship management system to be created, and one of the very few tradition-driven CRMs that are still in function. During the years, the company did an incredible effort to modernize service and has consequently transformed this product into a powerful analytics & sales automation machine.

How does SugarCRM look like today? Unlike most systems that have about similar industry experience, SugarCRM aims to be small-biz friendly, and thus offers a free-of-charge community edition that entails all essential lead management functions. The open-source version is even flexible and developer-friendly, helping on-growth businesses build their dream CRM app at no cost. The tool, however, will require the user to have at least basic PHP knowledge and a dedicated web server to install it, and won’t work on mobile operating systems. Good news is that once the system is there, you can expand its functionality as much as you wish.

Who is SugarCRM designed for?

With several plans in place, SugarCRM can respond to the needs of individuals, startups, developing, and large enterprises, but will require development expertise and PHP knowledge to install it. The way we like to put it, SugarCRM is a great system for old-school professional service deliverers, and definitely a smart choice for creative teams looking to build a system of their own.

What features are available for free?

SugarCRM’s Free Community Edition is, in fact, an open-source platform for developers, built in the same way as its licensed software, but using publicly available components. It is flexible and easy to use and helps create just the desired CRM application with expandable functionality. Basically, it is you who makes it, right from the comfort of your server, and for free. Most of the traditional relationship management features are at stake, and the price you pay for it is the effort you invest.

This is what you will get for free:

  • Custom development with enterprise potential (self-hosted version)
  • Lead forms & contact info tracking
  • Lead capturing & scoring
  • Customer profiles
  • Email marketing features
  • Scheduled communication & reporting
  • Tracking of all social interactions
  • Real-time pipeline
  • Management of emails, calendars, and files
  • End-to-end project planning
  • Bug tracking
  • Modifiable database
  • Open API

What features you will have to pay extra for?

Thanks to the long and rich experience in the industry, SugarCRM is one of the most versatile management options that can meet the needs of literally any business. Three very-well tailored and reasonably priced plans are in place to compare and choose, mostly depending on whether the user is looking for sales automation, revenue & opportunity management, or all-inclusive options, and how much storage he expects. All plans are billed monthly or annually and offer a 30-days free trial.

Here are the key features available in paid plans:

  • Sales automation and forecasting
  • Marketing lead management
  • Support automation
  • Call center automation
  • Reporting & dashboards
  • SugarCRM mobile
  • Product level quotes
  • Advanced workflow
  • Role-based views
  • SQL-Based reporting access
  • Increased storage

7. Zurmo CRM

Zurmo CRM dashboard example

Choose it because of: Gamification

Zurmo CRM is another do-it-all CRM system that you can get for free, this time with a handy suite of gamification features designed to improve customer interaction and to produce incentives for better agent performance. This system is, in fact, a free open source CRM and contact management-exclusive tool, but you may be interested to know that the company also offers several preconfigured, fully-gamified versions under the name of CRM.me (prices start at $35/user/month).

In a fashion similar to HubSpot, Zurmo combines customer relationship with marketing services, sales, and project management, but at the same time preserves notable simplicity that is often considered to be its strongest asset. Users can adopt it in no time and will need no training other than scrolling for a few minutes to see what is on the table. Another way to describe Zurmo’s interface is modern and fresh because it looks nothing like the rusty info engines and messy client spreadsheets your staff may be used to. Gamification features further support the idea of Zurmo being the perfect beginner-level CRM.

Who is Zurmo CRM designed for?

Zurmo CRM pinpoints mostly modern retailers and service providers, per-project teams, and small companies still wrapping up methods to interact with customers. The ideal usage level is beginner, but small offices with limited clientele often find its capacity fair and solid to preserve. We also recommend it to multinational companies, due to the variety of advanced internationalization features.

What features are available for free?

The free open-source version of this system gives users the capacity to build their own custom CRM application, and customize all processes until those meet the exact specifications of their brand. These are the features provided in the free package:

  • Unlimited contacts with detailed and personalized accounts (360 views)
  • Custom dashboards, fields, layouts, and labels with dependent dropdowns
  • Global info search, language packs, currency conversion, and multiple timezone support
  • Lead management
  • Activity management (meetings, tasks, and notes)
  • Deal tracking (sales force automation, opportunity management, sales pipeline Tracking)
  • Custom reporting
  • Workflow automation with email alerts
  • Gamification
  • Marketing automation (email campaign creation; autoresponders; campaign management)
  • Product management (creation of catalogs, quantity management)
  • Advanced security
  • Community support and training documentation
  • Native Integrations with Gmail, Outlook, Zapier and more + Restful API

What features you will have to pay extra for?

Since Zurmo is an open source platform, this means you get a fully functional CRM tool. The free version is already heavily featured customize and build your own CRM system to match your needs. At the same time, it offers premium features such as:

  • Access to professional services
  • Automated backups
  • Continuous Integration (CI) tools
  • FTP backups to client server
  • Premium support
  • CRM usage assessment

8. Bitrix24

Bitrix24 dashboard example

Choose it because of: Collaboration

Bitrix24 is another ring-a-bell name in the CRM software industry, and a very compact one having in mind that all functionality is available for free. Of course, Bitrix24 has premium and paid-for packages, but the only bridge to cross between those and the free unit is the different number of users. The coolest part of the process is that unlike other unpaid CRMs, Bitrix’s free plan involves as many users as you want (used to be 12).

Why Bitrix24? What we’re discussing here is a fully-featured CRM solution that collates all contacts on a single dashboard, manages them from there, and sends automated emails. For a small team looking to improve customer relationships, we’d agree this is more than enough. To make matters even shinier, Bitrix24 is equipped for comprehensive project management, in-time and secured document collaboration, internal social networking, and even video chat, which is why it is often referred to as a collaboration tool. Last, but not least, Bitrix 24 can be run on any platform, device, or operating system, and embedded easily on any website, app, or social media profile.

Who is Bitrix24 designed for?

Bitrix24 is a highly recommended system for small and medium teams, where the priority is to use collaboration in service of better customer support. It is definitely a great choice for on-budget buyers because its free plan is open to use by as many team members as you deem necessary. Ideal for sales businesses.

What features are available for free?

As the company likes to put it, their free plan is a great hit-off alternative, but we are more fond of the idea that Bitrix24’s unpaid version works well also for established teams that know what they want. All basic contact management, enterprise social networking/collaboration, and project management functionality is already embedded in this plan, and what makes the difference is the number of users, available storage, and sales automation. Read on, and you will see that the difference between the free plan and the pay-per-use plan is almost unnoticeable.

This is the content of the free package:

  • Unlimited number of users
  • 5 GB of storage
  • Lead & contact management
  • Email marketing
  • Sales automation
  • Invoicing
  • Live chat
  • Full telephony suite (100 phone call recordings)
  • Unified communicators
  • Task & project management
  • Document management
  • Planning, reporting & time management
  • HR & employee management
  • REST API

What features you will have to pay extra for?

In addition to the extraordinarily well-equipped free package, Bitrix24 offers a Plus, Standard, and Professional Packages that are only slightly different from each other. Once again, the leading distinguishing criteria is storage. Users are, as expected, unlimited for all packages, and so is customer support. To make comparison easier, we focused primarily on features that these plans contain, and which are not available in the free plan:

Here are the available paid features:

  • Marketing automation for leads
  • CRM record conversions
  • Automatic dialers
  • Call source tracking
  • Collaboration for external users
  • Custom fields
  • Recurring invoices
  • Full marketing automation
  • Backup restoration
  • Use of own logo
  • Full workflow automation suite
  • Work reports
  • Time management
  • Employee record management
  • Use of own domain names

9. Streak

Streak dashboard example

Choose it because of: Free API access

Streak is recommended as the system that can transform your Gmail inbox into a fully-featured CRM, and attach just the right sales management and email tracking features you need to improve customer relationships. Using it, you can easily manage different support queues from your Gmail account, share files and exchange opinions with a single click, and use the data available in other Google apps you’re using. The same as other systems discussed on this list, Streak is uncomplicated and fairly easy to learn and offers a free plan that covers most of its basic functionality.

Despite having a relatively modest off-budget feature landscape, Streak is still widely used among small and mid-tier businesses. The reason is that the system is hosted in the cloud, and doesn’t require training or engineering consultations to update and maintain. Its flexible no-coding structure will allow the user to make all desired changes of his workflows and operations, including product development, mail merge, and thread splitting.

Who is Streak designed for?

Small, medium, and large Gmail using teams working in the sales and product development niche. Individual users are also invited to try it.

What features are available for free?

Streak’s free CRM package is fairly limited compared to professional-use of-shelf packaged provided by other vendors, but still combines all basic email empowerment tools, and is available to an unlimited number of users. Despite the notable gap between the unpaid and the paid plans, you can use it to track 200 emails per month and get unlimited boxes for private pipelines (50 for shared ones). Data recovery and phone support are not available in this plan.

Here are the main features you will get for free:

  • Basic CRM suite
  • Mail merge/Mass email
  • Tracking of 200 emails
  • Custom columns/fields
  • Magic columns/fields
  • Search/auto-complete
  • File attachments
  • Import/export capabilities
  • Mobile access for iOS (Android is coming soon)
  • Basic API access
  • Unlimited private pipelines (and boxes)
  • 50 Shared pipelines

Which features you will have to pay extra for?

Next to the Free Package, there are Corporate ($39/user/month) and Enterprise plans ($89/user/month) to consider. Both features cover all advanced CRM functionality, over 750 Zapier-empowered integrations, unlimited email tracking, and advanced reporting. The main difference between them is the availability of a dedicated customer success manager, premium support, and data recovery (available only in the Enterprise plan). The number of users is once again unlimited, with the difference that you need a minimum of ten participants to acquire the Enterprise plan.

Here are some of the features due to payment:

  • Unlimited email tracking
  • Unlimited shared pipelines
  • Webhooks API access
  • Zapier connectivity
  • Reporting & Formulas
  • Data validation, permissions, and incident recovery
  • Premium email/phone support
  • Dedicated customer success program

10. Capsule CRM

Capsule CRM dashboard example

Choose it because of: Social media leads

Capsule CRM leverages the power of quality customer relationships and transforms those into sales opportunities. It is a single hub that covers all contact management needs, where advanced CRM features are available both to paid and unpaid users, depending on the size of their team, and the storage capacity they’re looking to acquire. What the system is best known for is its unparalleled capacity to track interactions on social networks, and store (arrange) customer history in a way which will influence directly the quality of your communication.

Instead of working with the data you already have at stake, Capsule CRM will allow you to create whole new contact lists, import and categorize users based on your interaction with them, and use a variety of available integrations to pull off statistical summaries. Another trick Capsule is using to save time and enhance productivity is detailed searching, as you have access to quick and full-text search and a detailed profile for each customer with a single click. As expected, Capsule CRM won’t confuse you with unfamiliar patterns and hidden menus – you will understand it from the first moment you create your account.

Who is Capsule CRM designed for?

Sole proprietors, small and medium teams looking for a straightforward CRM for their sales operations. It is particularly recommended to retailers operating on social media, as it collects data and interacts with customers through as many profiles as they have.

What features are available for free?

Capsule’s Free Plan is developed for 2 users looking to manage as many as 250 contacts, but who’d still prefer a hub for all of their project cases and opportunities. The main difference between this plan and the single paid plan (Professional) is storage and availability of premium integrations, while technical support is equally available to all users.

The Free Package consists of:

  • 2 users
  • 10 MB of storage
  • 250 contacts
  • Unlimited opportunities
  • Unlimited cases
  • Standard integrations
  • Social media integrations
  • Dedicated technical support

Which features you will have to pay extra for?

Capsule CRM’s pricing scheme is really simple, as there is only one paid-for plan called Professional. Unlike the free plan, Professional allows for unlimited users and management of 50,000 contacts and costs only 8/user/month. The CRM feature kit is almost the same, excluding the fact that this plan does give access to premium integrations. What is even better is that there is no annual commitment required for new users, and they can downgrade to the free plan any time they want.

These are the paid extras for Capsule CRM:

  • Unlimited number of users
  • 2 GB storage per user
  • Management of 50,000 contacts
  • Premium integrations including Xero, Wufoo, MailChimp, and FreshBooks

11. SuiteCRM

SuiteCRM dashboard example

Choose it because of: Flexible deployment

SuiteCRM‘s developers like to think of their product as the best open-source alternative to top-notch CRM tools, and there is a lot at stake to confirm such an opinion. The first thing users find impressive about SuiteCRM is its robustness, which despite being confusing at times, still helps accomplish nontraditional CRM activities one hardly expected to get from an unpaid system. With SuiteCRM, there are no paid plans, hidden maintenance costs,  or recurrent fees – everything is offered for free.

SuiteCRM delivers detailed actionable insights for each customer, helps increase sales and boost conversions, and takes excellent care of customers. It is also collaborative by nature, which means that you and your team companions can easily exchange opinions and access data. What is particularly likable about this system is its flexible deployment, as the company gets to chose whether to deploy it in its private cloud, a public cloud, a private server, or in Amazon. Whatever it decides, enterprise-grade support will still be available.

Who is SuiteCRM designed for?

As the vendor likes to put it, everyone. Our experts agree with SuiteCRM being applicable in any business environment, as it is simple enough to cater to small teams and robust enough to respond to large and experienced groups.

What features are available for free?

With SuiteCRM being an open-source, absolutely free-of-charge system, all features listed in their offer are available for free. All the user has to do is to choose a deployment method, and consequently download the system or subscribe for their service to maximize the potential of his contacts. Note that SuiteCRM is a very simple system to use, and thus eliminates all need for training and complex installations.

Here is what SuiteCRM offers to all users:

  • Customer self-service
  • Sales portal
  • Flexible workflow
  • Servicing
  • Marketing
  • ROI calculator
  • Finance management
  • Billing and invoicing
  • Flexible modeling of business processes
  • Template quotations
  • Pricing strategy control
  • Contract renewals servicing
  • Q&A support

Which features you will have to pay extra for?

On top of SuiteCRM’s open source platform that you can download for free to customize the application according to your needs, it also offers premium solutions that you can use to scale up to. The SuiteCRM:onDemand is a service gives you hosted CRM with no lock-in. The plan is built according to your needs by selecting the number of users, choosing your preferred level of support, and selecting the frequency of payment (it may be quarterly or annually).

Additionally, it has an enterprise-ready solution for a total care package that is SuiteCRM’s fully-supported and discretely built version.

These are the features you’ll get once you decide to invest and scale:

  • Extensive customer and technical support
  • Reduced code base
  • Tighter security
  • Indemnifications
  • Patent protections
  • Copyright warranty
  • Hosting

12. YetiForce CRM

YetiForce CRM dashboard example

YetiForce CRM is a completely free CRM that provides businesses with unmatched flexibility and customization due to its open-source design. Available to download for free anywhere in the world, this CRM is a great choice for businesses that are looking to tailor the platform to suit their specific requirements. YetiForce CRM uses a modular approach to provide you with the right set of tools to fuel your operations and being an open-source platform, you can enjoy community designed improvements and new features to further maximize the platform.

YetiForce CRM is user-friendly and comes with the essential functionalities for managing your customers. Among the 40 modules available at your disposal include a calendar for staying on top of all events and the respective assigned employees, emails for direct interaction with clients, leads with detailed profiles, sales, and more.

Choose it because of: Free to use with an open-source modular design.

Who is YetiCRM designed for?

In a nutshell, it can be used by any anyone that is looking to have great flexibility and scalability. Being a free to use open-source CRM, you no longer have to worry about increased spending as your business grows.

What features are available for free?

Everything in YetiForce CRM is free of charge. All 40 modules are available at your disposal to adjust the platform to meet your specific needs. You can also expect constant improvements to the platform delivered by its active community.

These are some of the available modules:

  • Accounts
  • Calendar
  • Competition
  • Contacts
  • Calculations
  • Partners
  • Mail
  • Opportunities
  • Quotes
  • Recurring Sales Orders
  • Sales Enquiries
  • Vendors

5 benefits you can get from a free CRM software

The great thing about CRM software is it allows you to see clearly the key sales stages towards your goal of more revenues. In short, CRM keeps your target realistic, achievable and measurable. Take a look at the diagram how CRM can help you reverse engineer your goal, backtracking the steps all the way to the first sales stage. And yes, the rows in green can be performed or aided by HubSpot CRM and some of our top free CRM apps you’ll find above. CRM, in short, trains you and your team on how to take care of customers so that they’ll want more business with you.

What benefits can you expect from a free CRM?

Aside from gaining clear visibility across your sales stages, you probably already know the benefits of CRM, mainly better sales performance and smarter decisions. But free CRM adds another layer of benefits that a paid subscription will find hard to match.

Are you faced with these issues that a free CRM can easily address?

  1. You want to use a popular CRM but you lack the budget. Skip the budget, you have the means. HubSpot CRM is one of the most popular CRM apps (52,000 companies use it) and you can download it here right now at no cost. You can also opt for the other top free CRM apps below, many of which are big brands in the niche.
  2. You want proof that CRM can boost your business before spending a dime. You can use free CRM to try different campaigns, sales strategies and content directions and find out which approaches give you the most return. That’s one less direct cost to your marketing experiments.
  3. You want to test the CRM for a really long time to make sure it is reliable. Even if you need a year to test all your agile workflows against the app’s design, this is feasible with free CRM. You should also test vendor support. For instance, one of our team members has been subscribed to the free HubSpot CRM for eight months now and he has no problem getting a response via live chat or email from customer service.
  4. You want to learn how CRM works first. Instead of just reading how CRM can grow your business, you can learn by practice and see solid results. Create scenarios for your team, download a free CRM and have everyone learn the ropes by actually using key CRM features. Moreover, many of the vendors on our list provide free training lessons and courses. An excellent example is the HubSpot Academy, which, not only teaches you on the app’s bells & whistles, but lead generation strategies, too, and for free. The learning center even issues certifications that are recognized by marketers and sales directors worldwide.
  5. You want to impress the bosses.  Imagine meeting or even overshooting your monthly target. That’s impressive.  Do that with a free tool, that’s even more impressive. You just showed the big bosses how to level up the definition of cost-efficiency.

Key features you should look for in a free CRM

Using a free CRM doesn’t mean you should get whatever freebies are thrown at you. It is a strategic decision and you should look ahead how the free CRM will grow with you. These are the key features to consider with a free app and the ones we based our ranking on.

Feature set

A free app should have the core CRM features as the baseline. These include:

  1. Contact management. It should let you upload records in bulk and associate records with deals. You should be able to set properties, too, for segmentation.
  2. Deal/task management. This part should be integrated with contacts. It should show you at once the nature of the deal, task owner and contact.
  3. Visual pipeline. This feature enables you to track deals across your sales stages. It should feature a drag-and-drop tool to move the deals visually. The pipeline should also be configurable to your unique sales processes.
  4. Reporting. At its basic level, it should allow you to generate standard sales reports for sales cycle, profitability, win-loss rate, conversion rate, goal progress, and sales forecast.
  5. Alerts and automation. These features let you streamline your sales process and ensure no opportunity slips into cracks. Alerts can be sent to your email or the app’s inbox. Meanwhile, basic automation can be set to trigger email sequences or categorize a lead based on activity.

These core CRM features alone can do wonders in consolidating your customer data, streamlining your sales process and, ultimately, increasing your conversions. For example, if John, a contact in your records, subscribes to a free trial, that activity is captured by the CRM that’s integrated with your landing page. The activity is displayed in both the deal and contact dashboards. Your sales rep is alerted on this and she labels John as a prospect, updates the records, then creates a deal in the pipeline. From here, she can track the deal. She can send John email sequences with offers or targeted content to pique his interest for a paid plan. Let’s say John agrees to a phone call, she can easily move the deal to the next stage, labels him an opportunity, and so on, until John subscribes to a paid plan. The sales rep can close the deal as a win or loop it back to stage one for a more premium plan, triggering another cycle for revenues.

Using a free CRM with these core features, you won’t find yourself scouring for records, losing information, forgetting an appointment or wondering whatever happened to a prospect.

The free CRMS on our list above are vetted to provide the core features. Of course, some of them give you more like HubSpot CRM’s live chat, ticketing, Meetings, Team email and even bots or Freshservice’s lead scoring and mobile apps.

Ease of use

Free CRM is designed for sales reps who aren’t expected to know how to code. It is also targeted at busy small business owners who likely have no time to sit for hours just to find the features, let alone figure out how they work. Mind usability, the most intuitive apps lead to higher user adoption rate and ensure your team leverages the tools at an optimal level instead of treating the CRM a glorified contact list.

Again, the apps above have been proven to be easy to use and set up. But they vary slightly. You can use HubSpot CRM, one of the most intuitive apps here, to benchmark the others. You can download the free CRM here.

Scalability

This is also important to future-proof your CRM records. The thing about freebies is that you might end up migrating your records to another system—a big headache—because the app cannot grow with you. Or worse, you lose your contacts because a hidden clause disallows you to export the database. The good news again, the free CRM apps below won’t give you such nightmares. They scale to enterprise functions and let you export your records, where necessary.

There are two things to consider in scaling the app though. It should scale horizontally, meaning you can integrate complementary tools like productivity and business apps. It should also scale vertically, that is, you can bump up the features or build on the app with premium tools, greatly expanding capabilities.

Integration

This is closely related to scaling the free CRM so it grows with your needs. The free app should enable these essential integrations that cover your marketing, sales and support processes:

  • Email integration
  • Productivity tools like file storages, document management, calendar, collaboration apps
  • Tools for campaigns like mailers, website publisher, blog software
  • Support tools such as  help desk, live chat, call center, VoIP
  • Business systems like marketing automation, salesforce automation, ecommerce platform, business intelligence, conversion optimization software, accounting
  • Social media integration
  • Connectors like Zapier for more third-party apps

It also helps that a free CRM has an open API so you can tweak it with custom processes. Likewise, an app with native integration (vendor also has marketing, sales, help desk software) should earn plus points from you. Native integration allows you to build a growth stack, as in the case with HubSpot, Freshsales and Zoho CRM.

Vendor reliability

You should also check the vendor, especially how it treats its free app users. Does it reply to your queries? How long? Do you have different ways to contact support? Was it able to address your issue?

You can also check user reviews and see how the vendor is assessed by other users. Also take note how the vendor responds, if at all, to legitimate negative comments in review sites and social media. In general, the vendors on our list are reliable. You can try and contact each one and see how it goes.

Great pricing model

Pricing here means how the free app fits into the larger business model of the vendor. Even if these CRM apps are free you need to forecast a budget once you’re ready to bump up the features.

A freemium means you’re getting a limited feature set and most likely you need to subscribe to a paid plan soon to keep things moving. Then there are free apps that allow you to use the features but they are pared down for small teams.

What you want is a free app in its truest sense, complete with core features and with no time expiry. The only time you might need to set a budget is when you need to subscribe to marketing, sales and support solutions to maximize your CRM data. HubSpot CRM is one such app based on our findings, which we have discussed above in detail.

Conclusion

As you can see you have plenty of choices–12 to be precise–to boost your sales this year and achieve that growth traction you’ve been wishing in the past few years. If you’ve been looking at free CRM suspiciously a marketing ploy before, we hope this guide made you think otherwise, at least with the apps on our list here.

So, let’s get your growth started. We highly recommend that you download the free HubSpot CRM here. Do let us know how things work out for you with a free CRM and share your insights with our readers.

Category: B2B News

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