Every successful business values its people- its employees and customers. And CRM software helps you achieve exactly that. How? A good CRM enables your employees to manage the day-to-day client interactions better. This ensures a better client experience, and when that happens, you earn life-long clients. And you know, that is what makes a sturdy business. So, here are the 12 best free CRM software for small businesses.
But before we learn about the 12 best free CRM software for small businesses, here is what you mean by CRM.
What Is A CRM Software?
CRM software is an acronym for Customer Relationship Management software.
A CRM stays with you for the whole lifecycle of your customers. Yes, from the very time you entered their contact as a lead to their become your brand advocates, CRM is with you.
It manages your contacts, helps you run email campaigns, schedules and notifies appointments, prompts for follow-up, shows sales insights and forecasts, and much more!
By now, you realize how much a CRM can aid in keeping your customers happy. But many people wait to scale before they start using a CRM. Though#1: that should not be the scenario. If you ask us, it is never too early to start using one. And after all, there are tens of free CRM that can work magic for your business.
How Can A CRM Software Benefit Your Business?
Below are the top 5 ways CRM software can help your business:
#1: Better Data Organization
Store all your contacts, leads, and customers in the CRM. It maintains entire profiles of these people. So, whenever you need to contact them or see where they stand in the customer lifecycle, ask your CRM!
#2: Better Communication
A CRM helps you communicate better. Customers want that sales reps arrive on time on appointments and follow up during the sales process.
And a CRM helps achieve that. It sends notifications about upcoming appointments and follow-ups.
Also, it provides email templates and the ability to analyze email campaigns.
#3: Share Information Selectively
Your sales reps need sales data to function optimally. But you need not share everything with everybody. With the help of CRM, you can transfer data selectively
#4: Do Not Miss Out On Leads
The new technology allows you to push customer data from the website to the CRM.
Say the customer fills out a form or even a newsletter subscription, this data is pushed to CRM. And CRM also allocates this data to a sales rep. Now, the salesperson will be able to contact and follow up with this visitor and increase sales.
#5: Be Aware Of Your Numbers
CRMs also do sales analysis and forecasting. With the help of which you can see your business’s sales performance.
Also, your sales team can see individual stats of their targets.
So, a CRM can add value to your business in these and many more ways!
What To Look For In A CRM?
There are many free and affordable CRMs for SMBs. But there are only one or two that exactly match your needs. So, below are a handful of questions you must ask yourself before finalizing your perfect CRM.
Is the software user-friendly?
This can be a top priority. As if it is hard to navigate, would your employees really be using it? And if not, then what is the use?
Does the software stores information in the cloud?
If it does, then your employees can use any device from anywhere and still access the information. This can give a significant boost to your productivity.
Can it do sales funnel management?
You should be able to know precisely at which stage of the customer lifecycle each client is.
Does it integrate with other tools?
One CRM cannot do everything. Another integrated tool can increase the productivity several times.
How is the customer support?
You might not have an IT department. Thus, a CRM with good support is always a good idea.
Does the USP of the CRM match your business needs?
Every CRM has its unique selling proposition. And you should know which one is suitable for your business needs.
So, now that we have got the hang of CRMs let’s see which ones are ideal for your business!
12 Best Free CRM Software For Small Businesses
Some of you would not be able to recall this name from memory. And the reason is that they were previously named Freshsales and now have gone through significant changes to become Freshworks.
Also read: What is Business Insurance? Is it necessary?
But the good news is, they still offer a free plan which offers unlimited contacts storage and unlimited users.
The USP of Freshworks is that it allows its users in-app calling. This CRM is great if you have an outbound sales team that makes calls all day round.
Apart from calling, the basic version also includes Kanban pipeline, tasks management, activity timelines, and data transfer from other CRMs.
Furthermore, they have got mobile apps as well and also give a chat widget for your website.
They genuinely care, don’t they?
But, then nothing is perfect. And so is Freshworks. They do not have any integrations in their free plan, not even emails.
Lastly, Freshworks has put a responsive 24/7 support over chat, phone, and email.
Pricing: Free for unlimited users.
You start a business with a vision to make it big. But as your business grows, its needs also change. And Zoho is the ideal CRM that evolves with your business.
Zoho’s packages start with a free version. So, let’s see what’s in it for you?
First of all, it has deal management, task management, and a limit of 5000 records. They define records as the contacts and accounts you have. Deals, campaigns, and several other modules are also seen as records.
You can always increase your record limit by upgrading the plan.
Its free version has two beneficial integrations: Campaign and SalesIQ.
Using Campaign, you can create contact lists and then use these in emails and social accounts. You can unlock more advanced features with higher versions.
And SalesIQ enables you to provide live chat functionality to your website visitors so that you can answer their questions as soon as they land on your site.
Furthermore, it embeds a code in your website which tracks who visited your website and keeps a record of it. This maximizes your leads, lead retention, and conversion.
Pricing: Free for three users
Only one word for Hubspot- a mammoth app.
Hubspot is for you if you need to use too many apps. And by too many, we mean over 600 apps for different version levels! And a free version also gives you access to around 150 apps in all possible categories.
What’s more, Hubspot is forever free, can support unlimited users, and provides almost one million records!! These records comprise deal tracking, live chat/chatbot, landing pages, essential email marketing, and tickets for customer support.
Hubspot truly lives up to the expectation of- Pay As You Use.
The massive amount of integrable apps make any marketing or sales task a cakewalk. It not only increases productivity but sales and improves customer relationships.
Hubspot takes customer support seriously, and they start by giving setup guides and resources for help with every app you want to integrate. But you would mostly not need it. Hubspot is very easy to learn.
Pricing: Free for unlimited users
EngageBay is a one-stop solution for all your business needs. Yes, it is one of the rare CRMs that gives so many functionalities in their free version.
The app allows 1000 contact records with a 360-degree view. This 360-degree view makes accessible activities, tasks, emails, deals, notes, chats, workflows, events, and many other touchpoints. This overall view of each contact gives your sales team a profound insight. They are prepared to deal with the client as it wants to be handled. Also, the client doesn’t need to repeat itself every time.
Another rare feature for a freemium is making customized pipelines for different sales processes and products. After all, other products have different marketing strategies.
The marketing suite has excellent features like forms, lead scoring, popups, landing pages, email templates, newsletters, and more.
The social suite allows you to add and monitor all your social platforms. Perse, see all your Twitter feed, mentions, and retweets on a single page.
The features are endless. But do not forget EngageBay also offers essential support management too.
Too many features, right? Because as we said, it is an all-in-one app.
Pricing: Free for five users
Bitrix24 is again one of the best free CRM software for small businesses. Choose it for unlimited users and contacts. Though Hubspot also provides nearly the same thing, but maybe if you do not aspire for something that complex, you can go for Bitrix24. Furthermore, its additional features complement its unlimited user and contact aspect.
Because you have unlimited users, you can let your entire team join you. But remember, the permission for viewing and making changes by other users is with paid versions.
Bitrix24 has an Activity Stream feature. It allows your team to chat internally, make company polls, assign tasks, and make team announcements.
Further, the Workgroups feature lets you make private or public spaces like a micro-team for a specific reason. Workgroups can be used to collaborate on work, share calendars, assign tasks, etc.
Team collaboration features combined with unlimited users capability enable your team to function more effectively.
Pricing: Free for unlimited users
Insightly is great for project management. But it is an even better match if you need to manage projects as well as relationships. Though, Insightly is free for only up to two users.
So, its offerings are lead routing, customer management, workflow automation, and sales pipeline tools.
But its main structure is built on the foundations of the ‘relationship linking’ concept. In simple words, this means that it links all the interactions between your company and its customers/leads. If a customer has more than one interaction, it will connect the data of each of them through easily viewable records.
Yes, records. Linking records makes it possible to achieve this relationship linking concept. These records show all the information and interactions of all your contacts in the business by capturing cross-channel data. It shows who knows who, and who has interacted with whom, and when this interaction happened.
But the beauty of Insightly lies in its simplicity. It shows all this data in a very easy-to-understand UX.
Pricing: Free for two users
#7: Agile CRM
Again one of the best free CRM software for small businesses, Agile CRM is another all-in-one CRM. It offers sales, marketing, and customer service features. But its USP is certainly its extensive marketing features. And also, it is rare to find such good marketing features in a freemium CRM.
First of all, it lets you create and manage marketing campaigns. Mainly, you can set if/then branching rules to move a contact in your workflow. The CRM automatically drops these contacts in the workflow whenever a trigger occurs. Say a website visitor filled an online form.
But since this is a free version, you get only one marketing campaign with only one trigger. However, you have the freedom to delete or change the campaign as per the needs.
Further, Agile can also help you catch leads by using a form and its in-built landing page builder. Other ways to capture leads can be to create premade or custom-made popups—these prompt users when a trigger occurs, like when they scroll a particular page, etc.
Agile can hold only up to 1000 records but unlimited deals. Each contact is a record and shows a lot of information about the user. Also, every contact has an Activities section that shows all the sales, marketing, and service-related data.
Lastly, there is a ticketing service option as well! See? As we said, it is an all-in-one CRM.
Pricing: Free for up to 10 users
Apptivo is best known for its customization capabilities. And why Apptivo? Because it extends many premium features in its free version.
Its contact management automates updating contacts in the CRM. It automatically imports contacts from emails and websites.
Furthermore, it offers lead and tasks management features. But what sets it apart from other CRMs is the other app in the Apptivo ecosystem- supply chain and tracking. It also houses apps for HR management.
And lastly, Apptivo has good customer support but only via email.
There are a few downsides to this CRM. It lacks workflow automation and deal management. And most importantly, it does not allow third-party apps. Another huge drawback is that it is the only CRM in the list that does not has mobile apps in the free version.
Pricing: Free for three users.
One of the best free CRM software for small businesses, Streak is a CRM with a twist. It works from your Gmail inbox!
But since its free version allows only one person. So, if you are a sole proprietor or, say a freelancer, and want to manage your work out of your Gmail, Streak is worth trying.
The Streak comes in the form of an extension. And when you download this, you see an orange icon in the top right corner. Click on it to bring down settings, integrations, and help, etc.
Streak can help you manage contacts, deals, and projects. How? Add contacts from emails to the leads and pipeline. Once done, all the emails from this contact will be color-labeled as a lead and deal. And other details like tasks, activity, etc., are found on a column on the right hand.
Streak also helps you make customized pipelines.
Pricing: Free for two users.
The last CMR on our list, SuiteCRM, is open-source software and has sales, service, support, and marketing modules.
The mention of open-source CRM indeed makes it feel that it will have a higher learning curve and more setup time. But to the contrary, it has a lower learning curve and set up time than other open-source software.
It flaunts a real-time dashboard that provides the freshest stats and info about project statuses, revenue, expense, and pipeline metrics.
The best part is that being an open-source CRM, it can connect with many apps on the web. And also can work on virtually any OS out there- Windows, Ubuntu, OS/X, Android, iOS, etc.
But there are drawbacks as well. SuiteCRM’s support is relatively weak as its community is the only source. Also, it does not offer any ERP software integration. So, if you want a one-stop solution, SuiteCRM might not suffice you.
Pricing: Pure SuitCRM is free.
A CRM is not a tool but a strategy. It helps you refine your workflow and every other process of your business. It ensures that you do not lose any leads and helps convert as many leads as you can.
Apart from just customer relationships, it ensures the smooth working of your teams. And complemented with so much analytical data, you make better strategies. Thus, a CRM is a crucial step towards growth.
And finally, it is never too early or too late to incorporate a CRM. All that matters is that you start at the earliest. Even a freelancer can also benefit a lot from a CRM.
We hope this info about the best free CRM software for small businesses was helpful. And if there are any suggestions or doubts, please leave a comment below. We reply ASAP.