Free CRM tools can be the best way to get familiar with the CRM concept. After all, they are free!!!
In fact, when you use a pen and paper to plan your customer activities, it already is a customer relationship management. But in today’s world, a pen and paper is not enough. You need a professional CRM tool. No matter whether you are good at IT or not, you are more effective with good CRM.
Using a free CRM software, you can take your time to learn to use it without the pressure of committing money to something that will turn out to be a mistake. Only when you start fully using it, you can find out which features suit you and your business most. Also, you can “shop around“ (i.e. for free) before settling on a specific vendor.
This is a very important benefit of free CRMs because CRM doesn’t just get popped into a workflow and does what it is supposed to. People need to understand CRM to see tangible and positive benefits for their business.
Consider your needs and workplace
Word-of-mouth is a good thing but watch out. Your needs might be specific as well as your workplace. Do you work at your office solely? Do your team members work in the field or from home? Then you have to keep in mind that you may need more than just an online tool. Working in the field means being without connection from time to time. You need software that can work offline and gets synchronized when online again. Certainly, a mobile CRM application is very useful too.
Second, you should consider the mail client you use because emails are still one of the most common types of communications. You don‘t want to use two different environments. If you work with Microsoft Outlook, you need to have CRM that is embedded in this mail agent. Otherwise, it might be difficult to cope with your old or archived emails.
Needs to grow with you
Except for the user interface, you need to consider the CRM features and functions. Bear in mind that your business will grow and its needs will evolve. Therefore, you should specify the basic functions you need at the moment as well as those that your business will need sooner or later. People usually start with contact and customer management. Sales and email tracking are often the must-have too. Later on, you will need reporting and marketing modules. Just take your time to think about it. Of course, the best option is to go for the system that offers all the modules. With your business growing, you can use them all at the end.
Be aware of limitations
Free CRMs usually exist as feature-limited, time-limited, or data volume-limited iterations of a paid version. Deciding on a particular CRM can therefore be hard. That is why vendors offer free versions to help take the guessing game out of the decision-making process. It is always a great opportunity for users to try CRM and see if it’s a good fit before fully committing.
Also, it pays back to check on licenses the CRM vendor offers. Usually, you can go for monthly/yearly subscriptions or lifetime ones. In both cases, there should be at least two versions – the basic and business ones. Often, the three versions, i.e. the basic, essential, and business/premium, are the best solution. You should be able to switch to a premium program once your business is really big.
Ultimately, understanding how customer relationship management works and how you can use its full potential will open up many new possibilities for your business. And be sure that good CRM will bring success to your business.
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