Creating a customer is no more a sole business purpose. Fire or ice, brands need to even work on the relational intelligence in order to lead with a sense. Basically, it is the connection that can make a brand more durable and assure a competitive edge. Customer relationship management (CRM) is an act, a process and also a capacity to win customers and lead the market.
In this article, we will first help you understand what a CRM is, and then take you through the 7 top Free and Open Source CRM software solutions.
What is Customer relationship management?
Leaders are those who run parallel with their customers’ preference. So, do not undermine your relationship with your customers. Instead, shift customers into a more positive bond with the brand, and with the company. The tip here is to pick up your customers’ signals by developing relational radar.
When it comes to maintaining a better relationship with your customers, you need to work on several factors and functions that can help you manage and analyze every touch point of your potential and existing customers throughout the lifecycle. Tracking granular data of your existing and prospective customers can help you maintain a personalized relationship with your customers always. The goal is to eventually improve customer service relationships and enhance customer experience. With this comes customer retention, new sales and business growth. To get this business attitude, your aim should be to be liberal with customers.
Can the process of CRM be automated?
Yes, Customer relationship management (CRM) software enables a business to perform limitless business intelligence in an organized process without being stymied by friction resulting in a better relationship with customers. The math behind having a better relationship with your customers is workable with a CRM software.
Although CRM is not new, the rapid evolution of mobile and social media interactions are creating a force on many businesses to refresh their customer engagement strategies by managing the data well. Several industry-specific CRM solutions are available today. Chatbots, machine learning, artificial intelligence, internet of things and virtual reality are the key trends that contribute toward a better CRM solution today.
Yes, managing customer relationship is critical these days for many obvious reasons. Some of the top customer relationship management software solution available today can help you resolve this mystery.
Managing the often complex sales processes that drive deals to business is a huge task.
Let us see the six crucial steps in the sales process:
- Preparing or qualifying the leads
- Presenting - Extend value by understanding their wants and desires
- Handling objections & Closing
- Post-sales support
Studies indicate that many companies are slow in prospecting, identifying and processing their leads.
The entire process is like playing baseball, where, in order to hit the ball, you don’t have to swing so hard. But, at the same time, if you miss it, you are in trouble. It is all about the timing.
“Missing a lead is worse than losing a lead”
In short, the process demands a bit of alertness.
Simply, start using customer relationship management (CRM) software solution.
In order to track, manage and engage intelligently with every sales opportunity very close with precision, the team should equip with a tool that can get their task run smoothly without any friction.
Have a look at the below image;
With CRM, the sales process gets shrunk to only 3 stages due to the automation of several processes.
What are the factors of a good CRM software solution?
A good CRM software moves beyond customer service to customer experience that can perform and automate various functions involving; sales force, marketing, location-based services, contact centre, workflow, lead management, analytics, and also use the power of machine learning and artificial intelligence to capture every touch points, analyze and create all possible patterns to retain them. Such software can enhance customer value, business value and experience value.
What are the types of CRM?
#On-premise CRM ( Self Hosted, License based )
This type of CRM is usually adopted by huge businesses that deal with complex data and a huge level of customer associations. Interested business purchases license to hold the software on the company’s own servers. It generally involves a huge cost and a prolonged installation process. On-premise CRM works under a restrictive licensing agreement.
#Cloud-based CRM ( Cloud Hosted, Subscription based )
Otherwise called as SaaS (software as a service) or on-demand CRM. This system allows an organization to use the CRM without having to license, install or manage. The service is completely hosted by a third party. Users will have minimal operational control.
#Open source CRM ( Self Hosted, Free License )
As with CRM software, we have been seeing many major players and their software model. Although they prove to be technically excellent with best-in-class features, including machine learning capabilities, artificial intelligence etc, many of such top performing software comes with a huge cost tag and licensing agreement. For a cost-conscious organization or for an organization that looks to customize the software as it desires for any purpose, this could be beyond their scope. The only solution is to have the Open source CRM software solution.
Are Open Source CRM Software Models Free?
Open-source CRM models may not be completely free. Buyers will require signing a license which indicates terms to use the software and modify it. Just an open source model does not guarantee free software. Users can be charged for software services and other support systems.
So, a Free CRM can be;
- Open Source
Free and Open Source CRM Software
Free and Open Source CRM software offer unlimited, totally functional customer relationship management and users can customize them as per their requirements. With the free and open source software, you have the advantage of avoiding a huge amount of licensing costs of the proprietary software. Another major advantage is that it is totally secured. Also, users can tailor the software to their needs (as the name clearly suggests, anyone can modify, enhance or add value to the software to make it more workable and efficient). Above all, free and open source CRM software can be technically excellent and very cost effective and many of them are free for unlimited users.
This can be:
What is a Freemium CRM?
Freemium CRM offers the basic version for free for a limited period and for limited users. As the name suggests, a part of the model’s services are free. There is a limitation to storage, contacts and other extra features. Typically, it is a combination of both free and premium models and they are mostly cloud-hosted. The idea is to let the users test out the CRM for free for a limited time and if they wish to continue, they need to pay. In most cases, this becomes a natural next step.
What are the Key features to look for in a CRM solution?
- Customer service
- Field services
- Digital commerce
- AI-driven functions
- Email integration
- Social media integration
- Real-time data collection
- Real-time analysis (consolidate and mine and analyze)
- Robust Dashboard
- Ease of use
So, by now, you are familiar with CRM, lets us see the tools.
Here are the 7 top Free and Open Source CRM software available in the market that will help you to determine the right CRM software for your organization.
- Agile CRM
- Zoho CRM
Have a look at this comparison chart before we take you through each system:
SuiteCRM (Free & both cloud and Self-hosted)
Developed by SalesAgility, SuiteCRM is the most popular free and open source CRM software. SuiteCRM is free to download for an unlimited number of users. The solution works both on-premise or in the cloud and provides complete access to the code and database. With nearly 4,500,000 users, SuiteCRM is currently available in 69 languages.
Sales: Right from lead management, until having complete control over your accounts and contacts, SuiteCRM provides a 360-degree view. All activities are well organized and the software allows you to get the most out of your sales funnel.
Marketing: SuiteCRM for marketing allows you to generate campaigns, manage emails and automate every marketing task easily. It gets easier to create new leads and nurture them in real-time. Generating leads directly from social media platforms is much easier with SuiteCRM.
Workflow automation: SuiteCRM comes with powerful workflow automation enabling maximum efficiency of your business functions and processes.
This free and open source CRM makes it easy for you to manage all your communication with your prospects, customers, social media followers, co-workers and partners.
Easy and quick analytics helps you to detect areas of improvement.
The self-service portal allows you to manage customer issues easily.
Suite CRM is easily customizable to suit your needs. It integrates with a list of other software easily. The software is robust, fully featured and scalable. With a number of utility add-ons, the CRM speeds-up several processes smoothly. You can even send and receive WhatsApp messages directly in SuiteCRM.
If you looking for quick login, the software allows you to with OneClick.
SuiteCRM is safe to use and offers complete value for a much-lowered cost.
Have you ever tried SuiteCRM? If yes, share your experience with us.
Hubspot (Free & Self-hosted)
Hubspot CRM is 100% free forever. Investment in Hubspot CRM for your sales and marketing automation process holds remarkable potential for your business productivity improvements. Users can easily streamline their business process and reduce the inertia involved in each stage leading to a better customer relationship.
“GoodFirms particularly recommend HubSpot CRM for startups, small businesses and B2B companies who are keen to integrate their sales and marketing processes”
Sales: Whether you are a team of one or thousand, Hubspot allows you to work with 1,000,000 contacts at a time. The software allows you to have a real-time view of your entire sales funnel on a visually clean dashboard. Users can automatically track customer interactions and log every granular data that will contribute towards your sales growth. Also, users can chat with prospective customers in real-time with a number of sales productivity tools that are free to use with Hubspot CRM.
Marketing: Trimming the turn-around time of each of your marketing activity leads to huge time and cost saving. Hubspot’s CRM enables streamlining and optimization your marketing programs. Customized information about your recent conversation with a customer, social media activities, emails and other activities are easily listed right within the CRM dashboard. Filter and save for a custom view and easy access for the future.
Turbo-charge your marketing activities with Hubspot CRM
Workflow automation: Hubspot CRM automates almost all the time-consuming task that you do every day, every minute. Not only does this accelerates the process, but also sets a level of accuracy.
Analytics: Analysing and modeling customer behaviour can contribute to a better understanding of your customers. It helps in collaborating efficiently with the potential customers and offering them the contextual data in order to generate better sales. Hubspot CRM is designed to help you in carrying out a set of analytics about your customers.
The software enables automated Login, real-time metrics, and best integrations.
Have you ever tried Hubspot? If yes, share your experience with us.
Agile CRM (Free & both cloud and Self-hosted)
Trusted by 15000+ customers, Agile CRM is an all-in-one, affordable and next-generation customer relationship management software. The company has been periodically adding new features to make it friendlier and efficient. Agile CRM is one of the most popular free and open source software packed with features that are essential to push your business forward.
Sales: Agile CRM automatically tracks and updates contacts in real-time. With a 360-degree contact view, the CRM lets you work on high-value tasks and conversions. Right from appointment scheduling, till post call activities, the software stands as an essential tool to perform and automate all your day-to-day sales activities. Users can close more sales with a single page contact management facility and automate scheduling, manage tasks with drag-n-drop facility and collaborate easily with Agile CRM.
Marketing: Whether it is for acquiring new customers or to maintain existing customers, a functional CRM will come as a huge help hand. Agile CRM automates key functions of a marketing team and streamlines the process and increases efficiency. With effective analysis, it lets you run marketing campaigns that actually gets results.
Agile CRM is compliant with Google Tag Manager (GTM), so, tracking your marketing goals with GTM is simple with this software. Moreover, the Chatbot facility stands as a highlight of Agile CRM.
Agile CRM is GDPR compliant. The CRM lets you answer customer questions via live chat and has built-in email templates. Users can even generate automated emails and social campaigns right within the CRM. Other key features include; scheduling appointments with synced calendar and so on.
Facility of mobile CRM, multi-software integrations makes this free and open source software as a popular and powerful open and free CRM system to acquire, maintain and serve customers.
Have you ever tried Agile CRM? If yes, share your experience with us.
Zoho CRM (Free & both cloud and Self-hosted)
Zoho CRM is multi-channel CRM software that allows users to engage with prospects, automate sales and marketing functions and close more deals quickly and economically.
Sales: Zoho CRM will put you in complete control of your customers and sales leads on the go. It is very easy to track your contacts, share information and follow them up in a timely manner without any friction. With easy integration of your email system with Zoho CRM, it gets much simpler to identify and share trends that matter to your contacts, spot opportunities, and increase efficiency at less time spent. The software allows you to combine social media interactions with your sales process. All you have to do is just connect, engage and make the sale.
Marketing: Zoho CRM eliminates unnecessary interruptions by structuring your marketing activities and makes you be more productive.
Analytics: Analytics help you visually identify future opportunities and anomalies. Zoho CRM’s real-time intelligent predictive AI tool enables its users to gain insights about various trends including; customer interactions, their preferences, trends, activities, interested marketing campaigns, social media interactions, email response and much more about your customers. Also, Zoho CRM’s SalesSignals feature lets you understand and analyze other performances including; marketing campaign, field sales performance and much more to help you make informed predictions on future trends.
AI assistant: Zia is an intelligent conversational AI assistant that insanely notifies Zoho CRM users and comes handy to manage several business functions on the go. Ask anything like, “Get me the number of leads this month,” “What is the revenue till date this year,” and much more.
Integrations: Zoho CRM is integrated with a number of other software and tools thereby aligning you well with other productivity functions required to push your business forward.
Live Chat: Segment your visitors and chat with them in real-time easily with Zoho CRM.
Apart from the above-mentioned features, Zoho CRM is packed with other features too that help you to reach out to your customers and leads at the right moment and engage with them across every channel without any friction.
Have you ever tried Zoho CRM? If yes, share your experience with us.
Bitrix24 (Free & both cloud and Self-hosted)
Bitrix24 is a comprehensive free and open source customer relationship management software solution. The software comes as both on-premise and cloud formats. Differing significantly from the other CRM software, the free version of Bitrix24 software supports up to 12 users and 5 GB worth of online storage.
Sales: When it comes to sales, managing all your daily activities right from sorting your customers, targeting, creating quotes, generating leads, communicating with them, managing their interactions on the social media, etc, have to be done with utmost efficiency. With a feature-rich set of automotive facilities and intuitive interface, the Bitrix24 CRM enables its users with a 360-degree view to organize and track all interactions with the existing and potential customers, clients, partners and other contacts easily and efficiently.
Analytics: In order to keep a track of your conversions and impressions, you need your CRM to perform a set of analytics on a regular basis. Bitrix24 CRM provides superior analytics service and provides pretty much everything to predict future moves of your customers and their preferences.
Security: With two-factor authentication, Bitrix24 is a safe CRM offering utmost security to data.
Marketing: All the marketing tools and features of Bitrix24 offers the distinct type of facilities to easily automate every aspect of marketing.
The Integrated call centre is one of the unique features of Bitrix24. The chat widget makes it easier to automate several touch points of customers. Also, the software is available in the form of an app enabling complete mobility for its users.
In short, Bitrix24 is a reliable, free and open source CRM workable across industries and role and serves the need for mobility, productivity, collaboration, automation, management and measuring them effortlessly. 4,000,000+ members are already using this software. The self-hosted version of Bitrix24 comes with API, CMS and source code. Users can easily customize and integrate the software with other tools.
Have you ever tried Bitrix24? If yes, share your experience with us.
Freshsales (Free & cloud-based)
Freshsales is a fully featured free and open source CRM software. Freshsales CRM Sprout is a free forever startup plan. Performing both your sales and marketing activities with utmost transparency is the need of the hour. Freshsales CRM allows you to automate workflows simply, effectively and efficiently.
Sales: Freshsales offers total visibility of your sales pipeline by automatically capturing your visitors and leads, assigning them the right sales member. Reach out to your leads with the right offering and make informed call-to-action, all within one single interface. Gain 360-degree customer view, access their social profile, schedule appointments, track tasks and follow your leads in a more structured way with Freshsales CRM. The software allows you to view all your contact details including their phone conversation, email conversations, social media interactions etc, all in one single dashboard.
Marketing: Freshsales CRM allows you to know your visitors in real-time and launch your marketing campaigns using the behaviour-based segmentation without missing a beat in a more productive way. With a chronological timeline view of each activity, it gets easier to pick up the moment and act quickly with Freshsales CRM.
Analytics: With Freshsales, you can analyse your interactions with your leads and customers and forecast them with in-depth reports. Trendline report is one such analytical reports generated by Freshsales that gives users better visibility of the progress of their sales strategies.
Integration: Freshsales integrates with many of your favourite apps.
Freshsales mobile app allows you to perform all your sales and marketing activities from anywhere and at any time.
Have you ever tried Freshsales CRM? If yes, share your experience with us.
Capsule (Free & cloud-based)
Capsule CRM comes with a modern, fully functional and intuitive interface. This cloud-based CRM is ideal for small to medium-sized businesses and startups to manage customers, leads, vendors, partners and other contacts. Capsule CRM is an easy-to-use, free and open source CRM rated well among its users.
Sales: With Capsule CRM, users can manage their complete sales pipeline including tracking deals, sharing quotes and following them up with easily organized emails, notes and documents, all in one place. It lets you create tasks and assign them with complete control of all deadlines and achievements. Its integration with multiple tools is yet another important aspect to multi-task the sales activities. With configurable filters, users can generate reports with real-time data.
Marketing: Capsule CRM’s marketing automation features are strong and this makes the software on par with some of the best paid CRM’s like Salesforce, Infusionsoft etc. Right from following your contacts on social media platforms, till managing your campaign deadlines, Capsule CRM helps you to be more productive with all your marketing activities.
Integrations: A really important aspect of Capsule CRM is its integration with G Suite. Other than this, this free and open source CRM integrates easily with Google Apps and a range of third-party tools, like MailChimp or Zendesk, accounting tool Xero, document signing tool like Right Signature etc. Its Gmail add-on allows users to store their email conversions easily right within Capsule CRM.
Combine Teams & Roles is yet another unique feature of Capsule CRM that lets users to segment team members and assign roles to have more control over data access.
A better calendar, improved navigation, drag and drop, week view of your tasks are some of the bright updates that make this CRM an ideal one.
Capsule CRM is available on mobile platforms and also on Smartphones.
Have you ever tried Capsule CRM? If yes, share your experience with us.
The CRM software solutions mentioned above are no doubt the best and have their unique features. But, if you are looking for a CRM that can fit you to the future needs, then Salesforce CRM is the one-stop solution. After all, the majority of the future customers are predicted to be the millennials and the Gen Zs. Convincing them to commit to a product is not going to be easy unless you have built-in systems to automate functions help you efficiently handle the process. Salesforce CRM can be the right choice as it is fully customer focussed.
(Image source: Salesforce)
CRM categories offered by Salesforce CRM;
- Sales Cloud
- Marketing Cloud
- Service Cloud
- Analytics Cloud
- Data Cloud
- Community Cloud
- App Cloud
Salesforce offers a complete range of features and functionalities.
(Image source: Salesforce)
- Fast and easily customizable dashboard
- Built-in Intelligence
- Automated workflows
- Auto-generated insights
- Calendar & Task
- Contact Management
- Customer support management
- Sales management
- Marketing management
- Collaboration Tools
- Automated Email generation
- File Management
Salesforce is sure to elevate your business to the next level. Over 2 million customers are already using Salesforce CRM. Interestingly, Salesforce comes with the free 30-day trial to all new prospective users.
Customer relationship feeds business growth.
The global customer relationship management market is likely to touch USD 81.9 billion by 2025. A huge level of demand for the CRM solution is currently coming from both big and small companies. The capacity to carry out businesses with ease can be the biggest advantage of the CRM software. The new genre of customer experience is highly challenging. Moreover, the ability to complete sales cycles quickly and cost-effectively and the ability to retain the customers for future are forcing companies to embrace the available CRM solution in the market.
Customer relationship management - CRM is one of the fastest growing software in the market. It can be said with certainty that good customer relationship management software solutions will continue to retain its hegemony today and with a better part in the future. The largest share will be taken over by the free and Open Source CRM software solutions.
Well, if you are yet to adopt a CRM, it is high time you get it. Almost 91% of the businesses today are using CRM. While evaluating the best CRM software solutions, it is ideal to go by your requirements and business goals. If you are already using a CRM solution, look for options to go mobile.
If you have already used any of the above-listed software, then do not hesitate to share your opinion with us.
Sophia Jayden is a senior writer and a content marketing specialist. She has 10+ years’ experience in content writing and marketing. Currently, she is a staff writer at GoodFirms, a pioneering B2B research, review and rating platform. For more information about her work, you can reach out and start a conversation with her at [email protected]
Really loving Bitrix24. Best free CRM ever.
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