One of the key aspects of businesses today is your relationship with your customers and how satisfied they are. No matter what the size of the business, a good CRM System goes a long way in improving customer relationships and streamlining the sales process. The business benefits of a well integrated CRM system is no longer a matter of debate, no matter what the size of your company.
However most of the top CRM vendors like Salesforce, Oracle, Microsoft and SAP are too costly for small and medium businesses. But that doesn’t mean SMBs don’t have any option in this regard. In fact there are many free and open source CRM Systems available to get you started. Most of them also have a paid version (cloud based) with enhanced features. So once you have tested the free version and started benefiting from it you can think of investing further in a full feature paid version.
Given below is a brief overview of 5 of the best free and open source CRM systems.
For a long time, SugarCRM was the most popular open source CRM software and had an active community behind it. But in Feb 2014, after 10 years of its existence, SugarCRM Inc. (the company behind SugarCRM project) decided to stop further development and support for the community edition (free version) and release version 7 and onwards only for the professional (i.e. paid) editions leading to quite a downfall of SugarCRM followers in the open source world. You can still download the SugarCRM CE for free but it has limited functionalities, compared to the professional editions. But even the community edition is one of the best free CRMs available today.
SuiteCRM is a fully community driven open source and free CRM systems with features comparable (and sometimes better) the SugarCRM community edition. It was forked off from the Community Edition of SugarCRM. With a wide range of robust features and flexibility, SuiteCRM helps generate invoices, quotes, maintain order reports, notes, documents, leads and contacts. The system uses Open Source add-ons to make a better use of CRM integration. SuiteCRM won the Bossie Award in 2015 for the world’s best Open Source CRM. SugarCRM had won the award in the previous 8 years. So if you want an open source CRM that is better that SugarCRM Professional and comparable to Salesforce and is also free, SuiteCRM is for you.
ZohoCRM is one of the best and fast growing cloud based CRM systems. It is part of a suite of office applications developed by Zoho CRM. It is not open source but has a free version that has leads, accounts, contacts, feeds and lot more features. However, the free version has a limitation of only 10 users. So if you are a small or medium sized business and you have a sales and support team of less than 10 people whom you need to give access to a CRM system, Zoho CRM is probably your best best as it’s cloud based and you don’t need to host or maintain the CRM.
Vtiger is another popular open source CRM based on PHP and MySQL. Vtiger was originally launched as a fork of the SugarCRM Version 1 but has followed its own development path since then. Using add-ons, VTiger can be extended and made more feature rich. Businesses can include inventory tracking, project management capabilities, billing processes – all of these can be found in its CRM system. You can easily download Vtiger and set it on your own servers, or use the hosted version. This CRM system offers enterprise quality improvement utilities like vTiger outlook, thunderbird and Office Plugins. It helps augment communication and work-flow management within any company.
Zurmo is a gamified and social open source CRM built to offer users incentives for active participation in the CRM and to make users better employees. ZurmoCRM system helps set the goals/aims and then imparts badges or coins as per the goal completion. The system allows employees to challenge each other to set their missions. It rewards people with deal tracking, reporting, contact management and mobile capabilities. Zurmo is a unique option if you want your employees to adopt the CRM faster.