Free Open Source CRM Software For Small Business

Last Updated on November 15, 2021 by Knight Joseph

When it comes to free open source CRM software, there are plenty of options. But finding the best open source CRM software to help grow your business can be overwhelming.

Free Open Source CRM software is a very popular way to get a complete solution for a lot of features in a single package. Most of the software is very nice looking and they look great when it comes to reach out to your customers because of the visual tools. The question is, what are the best open source crm?

HubSpot CRM

HubSpot is the free software stalwart for CRM and marketing software. The free HubSpot option is a combination of HubSpot’s CRM, marketing, sales, and services tools.

It’s as well suited for sales teams in need of CRM, as it is suited for marketers to automate communications. Key features include contact management, deal tracking, form builder, email and ad management, live chat with site visitors, ticketing support for customer service, and more.HubSpot CRM's Dashboard

Build workflows that automate communications based on lead behavior. (via the Blueprint)

If you use multiple apps within your company and want a CRM to integrate with them, there’s no better choice than HubSpot CRM. The mammoth App Marketplace has over 900 integrations available to various levels of HubSpot plans (e.g., Marketing Hub) with CRM free users able to choose from over 800 apps in categories such as eCommerce, analytics, events, finance, project management, and customer success. Not only that, but many of these third-party apps provide free editions, which allows greater accessibility for small businesses with limited resources. And the new, included Operations Hub provides additional data sync features for a select group of apps.    

The CRM is forever free and includes unlimited users and room for up to one million contacts. Included are deal tracking, landing pages, live chat/chatbot, basic email marketing, and a ticketing feature for tracking service requests. All of these are designed to provide a taste of their meatier Sales, Marketing, and Service Hubs, which provide advanced features at tiered pricing.    

For many, the CRM will be all that’s needed to track deals and manage relationships, especially if you’re integrating with other business apps in your stack. For example, a good first step is to connect your Outlook 365 or Gmail account, so you can email directly from a contact record, track conversations, and use the sales templates to quickly respond. 

HubSpot makes managing relationships easy with a contact record showing all sales, ticketing, and website activity with a timeline of pages viewed if the tracking code is installed. It will also show activity from your integrations. For instance, if you use Mailchimp for email campaigns, the contact record will show sends, opens, clicks, and bounces. Similarly, an Eventbrite integration will show an event registration in the contact’s timeline. 

Connecting apps was straightforward for the handful I connected, but if you get stuck, each app’s integration page has a setup guide and resources to help. Also note that not all of the integration features will be available to free CRM users because they require features from the advanced paid plans.

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HubSpot’s Operations Hub was released in April 2021 as a way to provide easier and cleaner data syncing between the CRM and third-party apps. Currently, there are over 50 apps available for this new syncing feature. As a test, I connected my Zoho free account from the list of “data sync built by HubSpot” apps in the Marketplace. With a few clicks, both apps were connected. Then I chose how my contacts were to sync using the rule option (there are dozens of filters) for only the contacts where I was the owner. The contact fields that are matched between the two apps defaulted to 16—to get custom field options, you need to upgrade to a paid plan. Finally, I clicked the review button for a summary of the sync and then clicked save and sync to start the process. Within about 20 seconds, all my contacts were shared bi-directionally between the two apps. So my HubSpot contacts synced with Zoho and vice versa. Any contacts I added or changes I made in either app immediately appeared in the other. Check out HubSpot’s Ultimate Guide to Operations Hub for more details. 

SuiteCRM

Benefits:

SuiteCRM handles sales, service, and marketing, with custom module, layout, and relationship development tools that will please your IT department too (if you have one). This CRM has also got a real-time dashboard, meaning as data streams in, new figures offer broader insights into things like pipeline metrics, open project statuses, and cash flow.  

Endless modular customizability and add-ons mean you can use it for applications, simple or complex. It also works on every operating system under the sun: Windows, OS/X, Ubuntu, Android, iOS—you name it.

With a low learning curve and easy set-up, it’s definitely one of the most approachable open source systems on the scene. It’s also one of the most popular.

Drawbacks:

Helpdesk support can be slow, as it is community-based. There’s also a moderate learning curve, and the free open source version’s integrations and features aren’t as developed as in paid versions. SuiteCRM doesn’t integrate with ERP software, so if you’re looking for holistic business process integration, it may not be the right choice.

Pricing for SuiteCRM: OnDemand:

  • Pure SuiteCRM is free. 
  • Starter plan (recommended for 1-10 users) is $123 (billed as £95) per month, billed annually.
  • Business plan (recommended for 5-50 users) is $430 (billed as £332.50) per month, billed annually.
  • Premium plan (recommended for 10-150 users) is $614 (billed as £475) per month, billed annually.

A 30-day free trial is available for all SuiteCRM: OnDemand hosted solution plans.

Odoo

Benefits:

Odoo is all about ‘extensible architecture,’ with a modular design that lets you mix and match different features. The open source Community Edition of Odoo CRM plugs into the 10,000+ apps in the vendor’s orbit, which are configured to integrate with one another seamlessly.

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If you’re in retail, restaurants, or other brick-and-mortar enterprises, you may be interested to know Odoo has a very useful point of sale app. Working with other Odoo apps, point of sale data can easily flow into your inventory management, email marketing, and sales operations.

Drawbacks:

The open source version of Odoo CRM has a significant learning curve, and you’ll have to pay special attention to setting it up and implementing it to prevent headaches later. The invoicing tool is a bit more complicated than necessary (you have to create a quote, followed by an order in order to generate an invoice), and reporting options are limited. Customer support is dependent on app community members.

Pricing:

  • Open source CRM is free. Paid add-ons available.

Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM is part of a vast ecosystem of business tools. It’s meant to be the single platform from which to operate all components of your business. It offers pricing tiers and capabilities that suit businesses of all sizes, from sole proprietors to enterprises.

Zoho CRM offers a streamlined, user-friendly interface for both browsers and mobile. Key features include lead management, sales pipeline management, and in-depth reporting and analytics.

Zoho has three pricing tiers to go along with its free option. The free option includes social media management, sales task management, event tracking, call logging, and up to 10 pre-built email templates.Zoho CRM's Workflow

Automate follow-ups to boost your deal wins. (via the Blueprint)

Paid options for Zoho start at $12/month per user for the standard option, which includes workflows, forms, and custom reporting dashboards in addition to everything in the free version.

The Professional option is $20/month per user and adds real-time customer tracking and other features to the standard plan. Zoho Enterprise is next at $35/month per user and comes with AI tools, advanced reporting customization, and prioritized lead tracking.

The final Zoho CRM tier is $45/month per user and includes advanced AI and predictive analytics and maximum feature counts. The solution packs a punch at a great price, assuming you don’t have too many users.

Bitrix24

Bitrix24 is a unique solution that stands out in the CRM space. It’s a fit for SMBs that need help communicating and operating efficiency across silos.

It offers everything you’d expect for some typical CRM features, including pipeline management, lead scoring, deal tracking, landing page and form creation, email marketing, and pre-built workflows to automate outreach.

Unusual features provided by Bitrix24 include task manager tools, project management, basic e-commerce capabilities, and more. The free option is capped at 5GB and 1,000 emails per month, as well as a few other restrictions.Bitrix24's Dashboard

Jump into Bitrix24’s many features through their robust dashboard. (via the Blueprint)

A large majority of Bitrix24’s features are included in its free option. If you get to a point where you need to graduate to a larger plan, prices start at $24/month for two users and 10GB. It climbs up to $69/month for six users and 50GB.

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There’s also a Business plan for $99/month for 50 users, 100GB, and an unlimited number of users per month for $199 and unlimited data.

Vtiger

Benefits:

Vtiger CRM Open Source covers the breadth of customer relationship management features you know and love. You can use it to run marketing campaigns and keep track of leads, customers, and opportunities, handling the sales cycle and daily workflows. Reporting and analytics features are included, and it has a Gmail extension, which is super handy for referencing CRM data and info while emailing.

As you scale up your usage, you can check out the market for add-ons for greater features. It’s the #1 most downloaded Open Source CRM on SourceForge (with 4.5 million+ downloads), so it has a big community of users and developers behind it.

Drawbacks:

Vtiger’s reporting features are somewhat lightweight in open source when compared to its paid version. Navigation between features sometimes feels a bit clunky, and the Google Sheets integration isn’t the best. Vtiger also has a moderate learning curve, so it will take time to train your team to implement the platform effectively.

Pricing:

  • Free, with paid add-ons available.

EspoCRM

Benefits:

EspoCRM offers full-featured sales automation for leads and tracking for opportunities, accounts, and contacts. It also keeps tabs on contacts by defining relationships and relating them to multiple accounts. EspoCRM’s social stream allows you to track activities and “follow”  specific records that are relevant to your work. 

Drawbacks:

Time spent implementing the open source solution on-premise and paying for developers, data hosting, etc. may negate some of the financial benefits of getting the software free. Also, there aren’t many integrations with other apps.

Pricing:

  • Self-hosted (on-premise) solution is free.
  • Cloud-hosted solution pricing in consultation with vendor.

A one-month free trial is available for the cloud-hosted solution. Credit card not required.

CiviCRM

Benefits:

CiviCRM is a completely free open source CRM targeted at non-profits, associations, and civic sector organizations. User-friendly and designed to be adapted towards a wide range of uses, CiviCRM provides full-fledged CRM features like contact management, accounting integration, case management, and email marketing.

Drawbacks:

You will likely need help installing and tailoring the solution for your organization’s needs. It’s not designed for sales, so you may find it doesn’t meet your business requirements or requires too much investment in time and money to customize. It should be noted, the UI is also somewhat out-of-date.

Pricing:

  • Free.

Conclusion

Before you can use any software or program, you’ll need to know what they are. One of the most important aspects of technology is to simply know your options. If you don’t, you’ll most likely use something subpar for your needs… which is bad if not fatal.

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