5 Popular Free and Open Source CRMs

By: on December 14, 2020

Deciding which customer relationship management (CRM) system is right for your business takes time and can be complicated, especially if it’s the first time your business is choosing software to manage customers.

And if your business cares about customer satisfaction or customer support, you’ll need some sort of CRM tool. You may not be sure how much you need to spend or how to choose the one that fits your business’s needs best.

Breathe.

We’re here to save you time by going over some of the most popular free and open source CRM solutions and when you should consider paid systems (find out how we chose the featured products here).

Free CRM software

Free CRM software companies earn revenue primarily by enticing businesses to purchase premium expansions which unlock better features or support structures.

As such, the following free systems, while coming without any restrictions, should be considered “freemium” systems, in that they come with a limited set of features and offer more with more expensive plans.

HubSpot CRM

  4.5/5
2100+ Reviews

Sales pipeline dashboard within Hubspot CRM

HubSpot is a cloud-based CRM solution that helps companies of all sizes track and nurture customer leads and analyze business metrics in order to improve and grow your customer relationship system. It’s the most popular free CRM based on our methodology and works with Solaris, most web browsers (OS agnostic), Windows 8, Windows 10.

HubSpot is suitable for any B2B or B2C business in a variety of segments, including accounting, construction, retail, real estate, and more.

HubSpot’s base customer relationship management software has all the core functionality your business might need and is 100% free with unlimited users and up to 1,000,000 contacts.

It also has some free versions of its marketing and sales software like customer interaction tracking, if you find you need some extra features.

When you need to upgrade from the free version, HubSpot has a variety of different plans for your business’s unique needs starting at $50 per month per user.

Hubspot CRM software is even one of Software Advice’s FrontRunners, a list that uses reviews from real software users to highlight the top-rated CRM software products in North America.

Some features include:

✔ Contact management ✔ Email tracking and notifications
✔ Contact website activity ✔ Meeting scheduling
✔ Gmail and Outlook integration ✔ Company insights
✔ Ticketing ✔ Lead management
✔ Marketing automation


Really Simple Systems CRM

  4.4/5
240+ Reviews

Sales funnel drill down view within Really Simple Systems CRM

Really Simple Systems CRM is a cloud-based CRM system designed for small and midsize organizations that deal with customers in a business-to-business capacity.

Really Simple Systems CRM is suitable for a variety of segments: accounting, construction, professional services, manufacturing, and more.

Really Simple Systems CRM includes report writers for listing and forecasting reports and is HIPAA and GDPR-compliant.

The software was the second most popular free CRM solution according to our methodology and is compatible with most web browsers. 

Its free version comes with a variety of features for up to two users. If you require more features, it has several paid versions, starting at $14 per user per month that unlock more features and users.

Like HubSpot, Really Simple Systems CRM is a FrontRunner.

Some features include:

✔ Unlimited contacts ✔ Lead management
✔ 100MB document storage ✔ API integration
✔ Contact management ✔ Sales automation
✔ Marketing automation

Zoho CRM Software

  4.24/5

4,500+ reviews


Zoho CRM home dashboard
 

Zoho CRM is a cloud-based business management platform that caters to businesses of all sizes. It offers sales and marketing automation tools with help desk, analytics, and customer support functions.

The free version is fully featured and comes with a wide range of useful tools meant for small businesses looking for their first CRM including tracking leads, deal tracking, contact management, tasks and event tracking, multichannel marketing, and integration options. It supports up to three users before needing to be upgraded to the paid version of Zoho which includes more robust features.

Zoho CRM helps users respond to customers across channels in real time. Zia, Zoho CRM’s AI-powered sales assistant, can predict an appropriate time to contact customers. It scans emails for urgency and can display relevant statistics or documents when performing searches within the system. Users can integrate with G Suite, WordPress, MailChimp, Evernote, Unbounce, and other third-party systems. Zoho CRM’s software development kits provide tools to build custom functions to add to the CRM platform.

Zoho CRM’s support is extended via phone, email, documentation, and other online measures.

In addition to these robust features, Zoho CRM is a Software Advice Frontrunner.

Some features include:

✔ Customer relationship management ✔ Email marketing
✔ Internal chat integration ✔ Lead management
✔ Marketing automation integration ✔ Task management
✔ Territory management ✔ Contact management
✔ API integration

Open source CRM software

An open source CRM software solution is like a blueprint that lets you build your own fully customized system for your business’ needs. You can download the software source code and edit it to your exact specifications.

Unlike an open source or freemium CRM solution, you’re likely going to need a person or team familiar enough with the source code to configure the open source CRM solution, so, while open source systems are extremely customizable, they might not be the best fit for your business.

That said, if you have someone on your team who is capable, an open source CRM is a great option to consider.

Odoo Software

  4.24/5
310+ Reviews

Sales pipeline view within Odoo Software

Odoo CRM is designed to meet the needs of any company, regardless of size or budget. Along with its open source CRM, Odoo offers a variety of other business applications ranging from sales to manufacturing, all of which integrate with each other.

If you have a need for deep integration and also have the technical expertise required to implement integrations, Odoo is a great open source CRM option to consider because of just how interconnected each module is to the others.

Odoo is the most popular open source CRM according to our methodology. It is compatible with Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, macOS, Linux, HP-UX, AIX, Solaris, Unix, IBM OS/400, most web browsers (OS agnostic), Windows 2000, Windows 8, and Windows 10.

Its upgraded paid CRM application starts at $24 per user per month but comes with its complete suite of features.

Some features include:

✔ Forecasting ✔ Detailed reporting
✔ Contact management ✔ Email templates
✔ Interaction tracking ✔ Pipeline management
✔ Scheduling automation ✔ Lead management
✔ Pipeline management ✔ Live chat
✔ Contact management ✔ Integrations with every other Odoo app

SuiteCRM

  4.25/5
30+ Reviews

Contact information display within SuiteCRM

SuiteCRM is suitable for businesses of all sizes and can be installed locally or operated via the cloud. Like any open source CRM software, it’s incredibly customizable to fit the needs of your specific business whether you’re in sales, marketing, services, or IT.

This software was the second most popular open source CRM software according to our methodology. It works with Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, macOS, Linux, HP-UX, AIX, Solaris, Unix, IBM OS/400, most web browsers (OS agnostic), Windows 2000, Windows 8, and Windows 10.

As long as you have someone on your team to set it up, SuiteCRM’s features are all available from the get-go.

Some features include:

✔ Lead management, generation, and scoring ✔ Pipeline management
✔ Contact management ✔ Marketing automation
✔ Pricing strategy control ✔ Self-service portals
✔ Lead management ✔ Detailed reporting
✔ Sales automation ✔ Integrations

Why you must also consider paid systems

Before fully committing to a free or open source CRM, you should pause to consider if it’s actually the right choice for your business.

You might encounter these two main issues when using free or open source CRM: lack of functionality and/or usability problems.

If you’re a very small business without expecting to grow much, a free or open source CRM may work fine for you, but many businesses find the benefits of paid software are worth every penny, and you’d be closing the door on hundreds of great vendors if you disregarded paid solutions right off the bat.

Get all the functionality you need

With these freemium systems, you’re losing out on a lot of functionality that you might need to scale and grow your business.

Things like customization, storage and management, and support are lacking in the free plans from a lot of free or open source CRM systems. You may also run into a cap on the number of users able to use the free system.

Usability matters. A lot.

Free or open source CRM systems might not be the most usable either, with more functions and features unlocked behind a paywall.

On the other hand, the technical know-how required to set up and maintain open-source systems can be intimidating for the average business.

When it comes to usability, you generally get what you pay for or have to unlock the more usable versions of software at a higher tier.

To help ensure your software search is sufficiently thorough, download this list of top-rated paid software systems and their offerings:

3 Best CRM Systems Backed by User Reviews

Download this guide to see top CRM systems based on real user reviews.


How we chose featured products

Our approach was to include the most popular products that both:

  1. Offered a free, stand-alone version of the software (not a trial version of the software that requires you to purchase the product after a limited amount of time), and
  2. Met our CRM market definition: CRM software helps automate and manage the customer life cycle for sales and marketing departments. CRM software consolidates customer information into one repository so that users can better organize and manage relationships, automates common processes, and provides tools for monitoring performance and productivity.

We determined the most popular products to feature by choosing those highest ranked in Google search results during the week of November 30, 2020.

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