It is hard to be surprised at companies struggling to choose the best software. There are many free CRM solutions, and the differences in their limitations and incomplete licenses of free versions only increase the decision paralysis.
For this reason, we have prepared for you a list and description of the most popular ones. If you are wondering which CRM will be right for your company and whether it is worth supporting free software, you’ve come to the right place!
If you are just starting to use CRM systems, and the structure of your company is not too extensive, you can choose one of the free solutions available on the market. You will learn the basic functions that will teach you how to effectively manage your company.
You will learn, among others, how to manage a customer base, advertisements, and set up automatic export and import of data to marketing tools. A convenient interface and simplicity of implementation will also be convincing.
However, are all the functions offered in the free system really available for free? What business model did the creators of seemingly free solutions adopt in order to be able to save us in their own CRM over time? Where is the catch and what will you lose by choosing free software? Let’s take a closer look at this.
It is hard to be surprised at companies struggling to choose the best software.
SugarCRM developers offer paid version – it is possible to use the free trial version before purchasing, thanks to which you will become familiar with the full functionality of the system.
In the free and not supported package, called the Community Edition, we have a Polish language version, the ability to connect system panels and create a subpanel.
You’ll also find a search engine and functions for importing and exporting customer data. Due to its availability, it has become the basis for many modifications and even the creation of separate, competitive CRMs.
These are the most important features of the paid version, which is why many entrepreneurs decide on this CRM, despite the outdated technology. This biggest drawback of SugarCRM makes it difficult or even impossible to perform everyday functions in many browsers.
Open source CRM means many different authors and different way of problem solving
OpenCRX is an open source project. This means that its code and the application programming interface (API) is fully open and free. As a result, users are responsible for its development, preparing additional modules and adapting the software to the needs of their own companies.
This is both a disadvantage and an advantage of OpenCRM. In spite of well-constructed programming documentation and constantly expanded functionality, the multitude of CRM authors (each writing a bit differently) made its interface unsuitable for everyday use by an ordinary user.
In addition, the developers decided to develop CRM towards ERP software (used for advanced warehouse management), which means that it will be suitable for an ever smaller number of companies.
OpenCRM will also cause problems for all employees who don’t use English at a communicative level. Despite the possibility of translating into Polish, probably automatic, the operation of the system is not transparent and understandable.
Among other CRMs, it stands out due to the possibility of integration with many applications, including with the Microsoft Office package, as well as e-mail programs such as Mozilla Thunderbird or Outlook. This does not impress users of paid CRMs, because such integrations are now the norm.
However, when you launch VTiger, you may get the impression that you accidentally opened… SugarCRM. Yes! The extremely similar look and operation is not accidental.
Despite a slightly friendlier user interface, like SugarCRM, VTiger also struggles with incompatibility with many browsers.
Many users use this CRM because of their habits, but – like in the case of SugarCRM – they thus expose themselves to the dangers of using obsolete technology. In the era of laws on the protection of personal data, it is worth investing in updated and secured CRM compliant with the legal guidelines. As a result, you will sleep well, without worrying about potential penalties.
Fat Free CRM
Fat Free CRM is a simple but limited software. Despite the perfectly written code, it has very limited, even basic CRM functions.
For this reason, as well as the lack of advanced integration and the ability to adapt to the company’s needs, it is intended for smaller entities than businesses that already serve many clients.
Due to the lack of a Polish language version and IT support, this CRM does not enjoy much popularity in Poland. No wonder. Users expect support, and the software unfortunately does not give you the opportunity to contact the technical department.
This relatively new software was created on the basis of the free version of SugarCRM. The creators, embedding it in a ready solution, have built up functions which are not available in the CRMs mentioned above. The most important of them are, among others, registration of customer problem reports, integration with Google maps, automation wizard or the project management module.
Many of them are still in development and require refinement (even the reporting function or the aforementioned project management module). Although the developers announce the further development of SuiteCRM, currently these features operate in a much more limited scope than competitive, paid software.
Is it worth using free CRM?
As you can see, free software combining business process support is not a good solution.
Using free CRM solutions, treat them as an experiment and a field to test the openness of your employees to new implementations. We also recommend caution in the collection of personal data – free solutions do not provide support and protection, and often very imprecisely describe the legal standards on the basis of which the CRM software processes your company’s data.
Remember that buying CRM alone will not automatically provide your company with successful marketing campaigns, it will not strengthen its sales indicators and improve relations with customer. The platform must be implemented, employees trained, and it must be adapted to your needs so that they can actually support the team.
That is why it is worth choosing paid solutions that are constantly developed, improved and updated. Their creators provide not only access to technical and substantive support but also organize training and online courses, and partner companies such as Craftware create complementary implementations to adapt the CRM to your needs.
We hope that reading this article will resolve your doubts and help you make the right choice. If you are still not convinced, call us! We will be happy to explain the details and advise you in a specific situation.