There are two types of “free” CRM offered online these days: free but limited (like pay-to-win games!) and open source. Free but limited means what you think it means, in that the software is free but there are limitations set as far as the amount of features, storage, and so on that you can actually make use of. Open source is different in the respect that it is unlimited and fully functional for anyone interested. Another interesting aspect of open source CRM software is that it’s generally pretty flexible and can be tailored to fit practically anyone’s needs. If you’re unsure where to start when choosing a CRM, you might want to check out this guide about how to choose the right CRM.
So, what are the top platforms you should consider in regard to free online CRM software? Let’s take a look at three.
The marketing specialists at Hubspot are one of many similar companies that are dabbling with CRMs. Even though it is hyped as being 100% free, it’s not quite, as there are some features that users will still have to pay for. What truly separates Hubspot CRM from the competition is in regard to data gathering. This platform makes it easy to find and pull data on individuals in order to figure out ways to increase engagement. What is also unique about this particular CRM is that it is very lightweight, making it perfect for small or midsize businesses that are inexperienced with using CRMs.
Bitrix24 is a free but limited CRM platform that offers up to 5 GB of storage and up to 12 users, all the way up to an unlimited plan for $200 per month. What is special about this particular CRM is that it has a decent combination of ease-of-use and numerous features to choose from. Among the features included are sales automation, invoicing, project management, and built-in email marketing along with many others. This CRM would be especially useful for small businesses looking to trial a lot of features before buying a CRM platform to figure out which would be the most useful to include.
Finally we have Insightly, which claims to be the #1 online CRM for small businesses. Similar to Bitrix24 it is also a free but limited platform offering a free version for two users, 200 MB of storage, advanced reporting and 10 emails per day. Insightly is known for its email marketing system more than anything else; this allows any small business to quickly and efficiently send out personalized emails that will help to set them apart from the competition. While this CRM is generally geared toward small businesses, midsize businesses may find it of use if they upgrade beyond the free version.
Are “free versions” really worth it?
With all that being said regarding the top three free CRM platforms on the internet today, are they really worth considering? The last thing any business should want is a CRM that limits their abilities as they continue to expand, and that is why free but limited CRM platforms aren’t your best option unless you’re testing out features to see which ones you prefer to have. It wouldn’t really be worth it to use a free system that limits your ability to succeed as a business, when one that costs just a little bit per month can add in value many times over what you pay for them. That’s not to mention the fact that you’d have to spend valuable time retraining your team on the new paid platform after getting used to the free version.
The same can be said in regard to open source CRM platforms as well. While they may have unlimited versions, there are two problems to consider. The first is that they take a lot of time to set up, and if someone is not entirely familiar with the CRM it can be extremely frustrating trying to figure out how to get it work and access all of the features. The second is that many of the open source CRM platforms do not offer much in the way of assistance; you are basically left to figure it out on your own. Who wants to have to deal with that?
It would make much more sense to just pay for a high quality CRM platform that delivers all of the features that you need along with a great support service that can answer any questions that you may have. Businesses are right to look after their bottom line, but CRMs aren’t about saving money, they’re about delivering their own value many times over. They allow you to have everything in one place that can be easily accessed. For instance, if you need to look at scheduling, invoicing, or send out a few personalized emails to prospective clients you can do them all in just a few mouse clicks.
So, give a free CRM platform a go if you’d like. First and foremost, going for a free option will help you decide whether a CRM is what you need. If it is, you can use the opportunity to check out how improved data collection/access, automation and data analysis could help you, and have a think about whether you can get everything you want from a free platform. But really, if you want results, your first buying criteria shouldn’t be about “how much is it going to cost?”, but in fact “how much time and money is going to save us?”. If you’re really looking for a CRM that offers an intuitive user-interface and great useful tools that will get you more business, sign up to Ripple CRM today.