There was a time when businesses have had to use telemarketing which entails actually calling up leads and customers one by one, mailed-in marketing, and the like to drive sales and win over more clients. Now, businesses, regardless of size, can use CRM software to take care of such things and so much more that will help drive sales and growth.
All it takes is a well-plotted marketing plan along with hard-working teams from all departments and an exceptional CRM are some of the essential things that a business needs to thrive and succeed. Here, we take a look at the 8 best free CRM software on the market in 2021.
What is CRM?
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management and was primarily designed to drive sales, marketing and service. It is also created to collect data from interactions with customers and store them in one place. These data are then used to help businesses to improve customer satisfaction, service, experience, and retention. In recent years, though, CRM functionalities have grown by leaps and bounds.
Nowadays, CRM software also helps companies manage and improve relationships between teams and team members, and other collaborators such as partners, suppliers, clients. Who needs a CRM? Basically, everyone who's working. But, how do you find the CRM that fits your needs?
What to look for in a CRM
Because of the wealth of available CRM software in the market, buying one can be quite an ordeal. It would be helpful to sit down with your team to brainstorm so you can come up with a list of features and functionalities to look for. Here are some of the top ones:
● Accessible through mobile
● Allows teams to communicate
● Easy, quick, and simple to set up
● Syncing contacts (goodbye, manual entries!)
● Custom reports
● Sales process capabilities
● Team use (everyone on the team has to be “sold” on the software)
Lastly, and probably the most important of all, CRM software does not have to cost a thing. The best of the best can be enjoyed at no extra cost. Why pay full price for a tool that you can use for free? If you can avail of all the features without needing to buy anything, that's the most ideal for your business, especially a small or a start-up one.
That being said, here are the 8 best free CRM software on the market in 2021:
One of the biggest suppliers in the CRM market to date, HubSpot offers free CRM software for an unlimited number of users with a great number of basic features. With HubSpot, you can manage the sales process, assign and track leads, manage workflows to help improve project management and record customer interactions. All of these can be stored and accessed in one place. You can also enjoy the benefits of email marketing and integrations with MS Office and G Suite.
All of this sounds very exciting but it’s also worthwhile to note that HubSpot has limited allowances for customization so their CRM might be challenging for small businesses to modify and execute.
With more than a million users worldwide, Salesforce may be considered one of the most popular CRMs on this list. It’s a cloud-based CRM that allows users to create visual workflows, enable contact management, and manage sales performance better, among many more. It’s one of the best free CRM for Mac whilst also being compatible with Linux, Android, and Windows. Salesforce also offers mass emailing options as well as integration capabilities with a host of third-party apps.
It’s important to note that Salesforce is not available for on-premise implementation. They also do not have live chat support so if something conks out on your team in the middle of the day, you would need a great deal of patience in waiting for support.
Probably the most appropriate for small businesses and startups, Zoho has a simple interface making it user-friendly also with its customizable features and social media capabilities. You can also build your own workflows from scratch but very easily. You can also manage leads as well as the company’s operations and integrate with other apps, more importantly, social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Zoho is also considered to be one of the best free CRM for Mac.
Zoho may be free but the free version is available only for up to 3 users. The free CRM software also does not have mass emailing features which can be a little limiting if you want to widen and broaden your business’ reach and get more leads.
Widely known as one of the best free CRM software for automation, Salesflare takes care of gathering and arranging data automatically. You can create a visual sales plan for your team quickly and easily with the drag-and-drop option. Salesflare also has email and website tracking, automated reminders, and a toolbox full of dashboards. You can also create email templates and send them off through Gmail and set up workflows for the whole team.
Although Salesflare’s interface may be easy to learn and understand, they do not offer on-premise setups so it may be a little tricky, if not unreliable, at times especially when someone in your team has an unstable connection.
Packed with project management, contact view, reporting, support/service, and timeline features, Agile CRM is right at home in our list of the best free nonprofit CRM software. With Agile CRM, users can create tickets for customers to help boost customer satisfaction and the level of service. Agile CRM can also be integrated with Twilio and RingCentral to improve the telephony features.
Your company can ace contact and project management, appointment setting, and email marketing quite well. However, Agile CRM’s free CRM software is only available for up to 10 users. They also do not have on-premise arrangements and only offer 24/5 support as opposed to 24/7.
If the thrust of your business is creating, building, and enriching customer relationships more than anything else, Insightly is the best free CRM software to try. Apart from lead routing, which keeps track of leads and interactions, Insightly is also available to integrate with a great number of other apps so you can build a robust reporting or customer relationship system. It’s compatible with mobile devices, offers customer support via phone, tickets, and email, and is user-friendly.
Insightly, however, only supports one language, which is English. They also do not have 24/7 support for users who may be working odd hours and they do not have on-premise deployment.
2. Less Annoying
Otherwise known as LACRM, Less Annoying may be classified as one of the best free CRM software for small businesses. Less Annoying helps with task management, acquiring leads, and selling successfully as well as contacts and follow-up management. All of this, you can enjoy for free but even their paid subscriptions are known for being some of the most affordable.
Less Annoying may not be living up to its name when it comes to integrations because it only allows minimal integrations which some businesses may find limiting.
Whether you need a pipeline, lead or customer management, Bitrix24 is the best free CRM software in the market today, full stop. You can have an unlimited number of customers and leads in your database with Bitrix24’s CRM but you can also enjoy demand generation which is essential if you really want to market at the heart of the public’s needs. With Bitrix24, you’re also able to create and view comprehensive reports, dashboards, and automate processes as well for better project management. The forms, although created through the drag-and-drop method, look very professional. Bitrix24 CRM is also available to integrate with over 300 apps.
Take your marketing approach a step further by plugging your Bitrix24 CRM with your business's social media accounts like Facebook, Viber and Telegram, among many more. You can also integrate your Bitrix24 CRM with your company email so you can accomplish email marketing very easily. Complete your communication powerhouse with telephony and SMS and make sure you don’t miss a step with appointments, calendars and bookings inside the very CRM.
The market is awash with free CRM software and choosing may be the bigger chunk of the challenge. Don’t go it alone. Make sure you involve the various departments and teams in your company when making your buying decision. Everyone has to give their buy-in so you can be sure that whatever free CRM software you choose, will be highly utilized so your business can thrive.