Today, your customers have higher expectations than they have ever had in the past. If you want to put your business in a position to be successful, you need to maintain strong relationships with your customers and clients. With so many people on your team, and with so many potential customers you want to pursue, how are you going to keep those relationships straight? That is where customer relationship management software, or CRM software, can be beneficial.
A CRM program provides you with a wide variety of tools you can use to keep your interactions straight, maintain continuous communication with your current and potential customers, and give your employees the tools they need to be successful.
While CRM software can be expensive, there are opportunities for you to save money. For example, there are even free programs available that can provide you with numerous tools that can help you save time and improve your ability to close deals with customers.
How can you choose the right CRM program to meet your needs and what are some of the top free options available?
How To Choose the Right CRM Program for Your Business
If you want to select the right CRM software for your company, there are a few factors you should consider. They include:
Contact Management Tools
You need to make sure the program provides you with plenty of tools you can use to manage your contacts. For example, you need to have the ability to segment your contact list for various purposes. You might want to divide your contacts between current customers and warm leads, using their contact information for various marketing campaigns. Make sure the CRM program has plenty of tools for contact management.
Sales Process Features
You should also make sure the program provides you with plenty of tools that allow you to improve your sales process. For example, you may want to create a visual sales pipeline that can demarcate how your marketing campaign changes over time. Then, you might want to customize that sales pipeline to meet your specific needs.
A strong CRM program is probably going to provide you with plenty of tools you can use to maintain strong relationships with your customers and clients; however, if it has a lot of features, how long is it going to take you to learn how to use them? You need to think about how easy the program is to use, and you need to think about the technical capabilities of the people who will be using your CRM program.
Integrations With Third-Party Apps
You should try to find a CRM program that will integrate with your third-party apps. You probably have a lot of apps that you use on a regular basis, but your CRM is going to be like a data server. It will contain a lot of important information, and you need to be able to share that information with other apps that are critical to your business. Make sure your CRM program integrates well with the apps you use.
Reporting Tools and Analytics
The vast majority of CRM programs are going to have a dashboard that will centralize a lot of your information for you. You need to pay close attention to those dashboards. How quickly can they generate reports? Can you customize those reports to meet your needs? Will they share analytics with you regarding how you can improve your sales and marketing processes? Make sure you are comfortable viewing the information on the dashboard.
As long as you keep these important tips in mind, you should be able to find the right CRM program to meet your needs. What are some of the top options available?
10 Free CRM Programs To Consider
A few of the top CRM programs you may want to consider for your company include:
You are probably familiar with some of Zoho’s programs already, and the company now has a CRM program available called Zoho CRM. If you feel like your business is going to grow and expand in the near future, this could be the best tool for you.
Not all of the features are free, but the free plan already provides you with a variety of features that you can use to keep track of your contacts. Of course, many of the features work well with other Zoho apps, which provide you with free plans. You don’t get access to every integration on the free plan, but you do get access to a lot of them.
With Zoho CRM, you can create 5,000 records for free. This includes information related to marketing campaigns, deals you might run, and contacts in your list. Everything you create in the program will count against this limit, but it is already very generous. For example, if you want to remove records you no longer need, they will be subtracted from that limit.
The program is also very intuitive. There is a large menu at the top where you can clearly navigate to various parts of the app, and you are provided with an overview of each important client, putting all of the information in one place. When it is time for you to expand your business, you can upgrade to a paid plan and take advantage of everything this program has to offer.
If you need a CRM program with a short learning curve, you should consider Capsule. This program has an exceptional interface that is easy for everyone to navigate. While it might not have as many features as some of the more robust CRM programs on this list, it does have one of the shortest learning curves.
This is ideal if you are looking for a CRM program that can also provide you with project management tools. With just a few clicks, you can completely change the way the information is laid out. You might want your information to look like a calendar, or you might want it to look more like a list.
On the dashboard, you can see everything that you need to do during the day, and the visual tracking makes it easier for you to watch projects unfold. You can also connect Capsule to a number of apps, making it easier for you to manage your project workflows.
On the free plan, you only get access to 250 contacts, but the first premium plan gives you access to more than 50,000. The free plan gives you an opportunity to try out the features before you decide whether you want to pay for the whole thing.
If you need a flexible, versatile CRM program that contains a wide variety of features that can be helpful, take a closer look at EngageBay. This program comes with numerous customer service, marketing, and sales features at an affordable price. You can access a lot of the features for free, but you may need to upgrade to a paid version if you want your sales team to take advantage of everything.
Some of the features you may want to take advantage of include a comprehensive marketing suite, templates for landing pages, options to score your leads, and even email templates that can expedite your marketing campaign.
You can also access customer service tools that allow your customers to create individual support tickets. Then, you can direct those tickets to the members of your team who are best suited to handle them. You can even track important metrics that can see how your customer service team is doing and how quickly they resolve issues raised by your clients.
For a long time, HubSpot has been one of the leaders in digital marketing, and there is a HubSpot CRM available. If you need a free CRM that will integrate with a variety of programs, HubSpot might be the best option.
Even on the free plan, you get access to more than 800 native integrations. Therefore, you should be able to easily connect HubSpot to all other apps that you use. You can pull information into HubSpot from those apps, and you can push the information from HubSpot back out to those apps.
You get access to an unlimited number of users and an unlimited number of contacts for free. Furthermore, there are numerous contact and account management tools. The contact page is easy to navigate, and you can track information related to deals, support tickets, and information from third-party apps.
You can also create a visual sales pipeline that makes it easier for you to watch leads move down the sales funnel. You only get access to one sales pipeline on the free plan, but you can create customized dashboards that will pump out reports related to analytics for you. These analytics could include information related to marketing campaigns, traffic on your website, and even detailed contact analysis related to your CRM program.
Even though Bitrix24 is more of a general business app instead of a CRM app, it still comes with plenty of features that can help you manage your contacts and keep in touch with your leads. It comes with numerous free features that allow it to serve well as a customer relationship management program.
The free plan allows you to generate an unlimited number of free contacts and users, making it easier for you to keep track of specific customers and clients. Because the program has so many features, the learning curve can be significant; however, you don’t need to start using all of the features right away. You simply need to get your team used to the program before you start tapping into the amazing features that come with this tool.
When you create contacts for your business, you can move around the fields to place them where you want them, allowing you to put the most important information at the top. Then, you can even use this program to create a visual sales pipeline, placing certain tasks along the way to remind you of how you should be interacting with your customers and clients.
The free plan even provides you with access to detailed analytics so you can see how your team is performing. When this is combined with the collaboration tools, you can see why Bitrix24 can serve well as a CRM program.
Do you spend a lot of time using Gmail to communicate with your customers and staff members? Streak could be the best option for you. You do not need to install a separate app, and you don’t have to surrender the interface to which you have become accustomed.
This is a tool that will integrate well with Gmail, providing you with new buttons and features that can help you turn this email provider into a powerful CRM program.
Streak is actually a browser extension. Give Streak permission to access your Gmail account, and watch it enable a variety of powerful features. It will walk you through the configuration process, and turn Gmail into a comprehensive CRM program.
You can see sales pipelines that have stages at the top, you can create a spreadsheet where you can keep track of all of your contacts, and you can include relevant details as you move them down the sales pipeline.
Using the emails in your inbox, you can assign them to various pipelines that you create. This will make it easier for you to keep track of your clients as you gradually move them from the top of the sales funnel to the bottom.
Small businesses may want to take a look at this creatively-named CRM program, called Less Annoying CRM. This program provides you with a 30-day free trial, allowing you to try out all the features before you decide if you want to buy it.
This is a comprehensive CRM that can handle task management, sales pipelines, contact management, and follow-up interactions. This program makes it easy for you to keep track of your leads as they progress through your sales pipeline while also staying on top of your daily tasks through your calendar.
Even though this program does not have a lot of integrations, you can use it to distribute notifications using SMS and email messaging, making it easy for you to keep everyone in the loop.
If you enjoy using Microsoft Outlook, then you may want to use eWay-CRM. This is another tool that has been designed specifically for an email provider. This tool comes with a variety of features that allow you to keep track of your deals, projects, and notes.
This CRM is an add-on for Microsoft Outlook. Once you install it, there will be a few new menus available through Microsoft Outlook that provide you with customizable features you can use to keep track of your customers and clients. For example, you can create new contacts, your contact list will sit on Microsoft Outlook, and you can interact with them similar to the way you use Microsoft Excel.
You can rearrange and sort your contacts as you see fit, making it easier for you to keep track of your interactions with them and move them down your sales funnel.
If you need a comprehensive CRM program for both your sales and marketing teams, you may want to consider BenchmarkONE. This CRM program provides you with a variety of email marketing automation tools that allow you to quickly qualify your prospects and divide them into different categories.
Then, there are plenty of sales automation features that can help you gradually move your customers down the sales pipeline and increase your conversion rate. This CRM program also provides you with automatic data analytics and reporting, allowing you to quickly and easily see what is working and what is not.
While this free CRM solution does not provide you with access to any customer support tools, there is a free plan available that could work well for small businesses.
Apptivo is a great option for those looking for cloud-based free CRM software. This program focuses on customizability, and they provide you with a free plan that accommodates up to three users. The free plan comes with many of the features available in the paid plan in addition to 500 MB of storage.
This CRM system makes it easy for you to manage your contacts without having to conduct tedious manual data entry. The program encompasses a variety of apps that can handle contact management, customer service issues, and track interactions you have with your leads.
The free version of this CRM platform does not provide you with any marketing tools, but it does help you manage your contacts easily through the cloud. Then, if you decide you want the marketing tools, you can upgrade to a paid plan.
Find the Best Free CRM Software To Meet Your Needs
Even though the best CRM programs require you to pay for them, there are plenty of free CRM systems that could be right for small businesses and agencies. Consider some of the free CRM tools on this list, and see if they work well for your needs!