Best Free CRM Software For Your Business

Whether you’re a solopreneur or a small business, the likelihood is you have to manage a number of clients and all that relates to them (invoices, emails, orders, contracts, etc.). This can get messy quickly, especially if you have to share this information with other members of your team.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the old pen and post-it combo, but there comes a time when one needs a little more organization in one’s life! And that is exactly what a good customer relationship management software (CRM) can offer you.

It might not sound very exciting, but you’ll be surprised just how dynamic these tools can be, with colorful drag and drop pipelines and notifications of ‘hot’ leads. In fact, the days of boring gray databases are buried in the past (together with Nokia phones, Windows Vista and dial-up modems). And what’s more, you can now get access to this extremely profitable software for free!

What is CRM Software, And Why do I Need it?

CRM software stands for customer relationship management, and it refers to the approach of managing potential and existing customers. It enables businesses to better organize and access customer data, digitally and in one place.

Nowadays, you can find a host of easy-to-use CRM tools that even complete beginners can get a lot out of. However, it wasn’t always like this. Due to the complexity of the systems and the very high prices, CRM software was generally only accessible to enterprises with enormous budgets. With many tools now operating in the cloud, this has helped to bring prices down and has led software developers to build much more user-friendly CRM tools.

CRM software has continued to evolve since then, as standardized CRM solutions were replaced with industry-specific ones, making them customizable enough to meet the needs of every business.

So what are the benefits of using a CRM tool?

  • It will help you organize various processes within your organization (not only your sales process!)
  • Access to real-time data
  • You can monitor how your sales agents are performing
  • Get a holistic view of your business
  • Advanced reporting and insights
  • Automate routine tasks
  • Store files and documents such as contracts and invoices
  • Email open and click tracking
  • 2-way synchronization with your email client and calendars (e.g. Gmail or Outlook)
  • Mobile app
  • And much more!

Sounds pretty good, right? Let me introduce you to the best free CRM tools, tried and tested by us.

Best Free CRM Software: Top 10

HubSpot – Best all-rounder

EngageBay – 15 users for free

Bitrix24 – Excellent functionality

Flowlu – Another great all-in-one service

Freshworks – Very easy-to-use

Zoho CRM – 40 applications in-suite

Sendinblue – Marketing automation included

Agile CRM – Multiple interesting features

Streak – For Gmail

Apptivo – Very limited free plan

Best Free CRM Software Reviewed in Detail

HubSpot Free CRM

hubspot crm

HubSpot is one of the most widely used CRM tools. In fact, it owns a whopping 29% of the marketing automation industry market share, and with good reason. HubSpot is a very easy-to-use tool, whose free plan comes with a breadth of features and a generous amount of contacts – 1M to be precise!

What does HubSpot’s free plan include?:

Apart from an inexhaustible number of contacts, you’ll have access to a bit of everything from its Marketing, Sales and Service Hubs, making it an excellent choice for small businesses with no budget. Features include web forms, email marketing, ticketing, live chat, tracking and landing pages.

Another great thing about this free CRM tool is that it allows for unlimited users. Many free tools limit you to just one or two, so this is definitely a point in HubSpot’s favor.

Hubspot crm contact
Hubspot deals pipeline
Hubspot sales dashboard

What it’s lacking:

Note that the email tracking is limited to 200 emails. The CRM lacks the ability to add multiple email addresses to a single contact record or merge various subdomains of the same company. Also, the reporting features on the free plan could be a little more detailed.

Finally, it’s important to note that scaling your business with HubSpot can get pricey pretty quickly, as the cheapest paid plan comes in at $50/month. What’s more, your user and contact limit actually goes right down when you upgrade, so this is something to be aware of.

Who’s it for?

Those who have a lot of contacts and need multiple user accounts and a breadth of features.

Try HubSpot for free

EngageBay

engagebay profile

We particularly like this tool for its range of sales and marketing features and excellent user experience. Functionality is top-notch, whilst still being an easy-to-use tool for beginners.

What does EngageBay’s free plan include?:

EngageBay offers tons of features on its free plan. These include 1,000 branded emails, segmentation, predictive lead scoring, webs forms and popups, autoresponders, live chat and landing pages. The free plan also comes with 15 users!

What it’s lacking:

You’ll only have 500 MB of storage, which might not be enough for some. You’re also limited to just 2 email sequences, and there’s no workflow automation included.

Who’s it for?:

Sales and marketing teams who need a bit of everything.

Try out EngageBay for free

Bitrix24

bitrix24 crm

Bitrix24, which has been around since 2012, is another popular free CRM tool. In fact, it states on its website that 9,000,000+ organizations have chosen to use Bitrix24! So it must be worth checking out, right?

What does Bitrix24’s free plan include?:

The free plan includes unlimited deals, contacts, companies and users. You can also send up to 1,000 emails to CRM contacts per month, and you’ll have 5 GB of storage.

In terms of usability, this CRM software does feel a little more overwhelming than others with so many items in the menu. It’s totally subjective, but I found the pipeline background image quite distracting, and I couldn’t work out how to change it.

britix24

What it’s lacking:

Unfortunately, the free plan only comes with 1 pipeline, which could be an issue for businesses with various processes they want to track. Email marketing is also not included, though you could use one of these free services for that.

Who’s it for?

Not only does it cater to international teams, with support in 12 languages, it’s also suitable for small and large organizations due to the functionality it offers. You might need to spend a bit of time getting to know the software, but it will reward you.

Flowlu

flowlu
Flowlu claims to help over 25,000 companies in more than 120 countries – it’s not at HubSpot and Britrix24’s level, but it’s not bad.

What does Flowlu’s free plan include?:

Flowlu’s free plan comes with 2 users, unlimited contacts and projects, 1 GB of storage, CRM automation and invoicing and online payments. You can also 2-way sync with your Google calendar and add 5 products and services.

There’s quite an extensive onboarding list to help get you started. It’s pretty helpful having everything laid out like this, especially for those who are new to CRM software.

In fact, the functionality Flowlu offers is first-rate, allowing you to manage everything from contacts and deals to projects and online payments.

What it’s lacking:

In-built email marketing is not available, and you can’t even integrate with another service. You also won’t be able to add any custom fields, which could be an issue for many businesses.

Who’s it for?

Small to large businesses looking for a powerful CRM software who won’t be needing email marketing.

Try Flowlu for free

Freshworks

freshworks crm

Freshworks CRM is part of a multi-product suite, which includes ticketing, chatbot and caller software. It was launched in 2011 in India under the name of Freshsales, and Freshworks CRM came on the market 5 years later. But how does the software perform and what’s included?

What does Freshwork’s free plan include?:

Freshwork’s free plan comes with unlimited users and phone, email, and chat support. It also allows you to create marketing journeys, install chatbots on your website and make calls from within the CRM.

Another thing to note is that you can restrict CRM access based on the hierarchy of your employees, if you need.

It also has a 21-day free trial available to test out its more advanced features.

Freshsales deals pipeline
Freshsales dashboard customization
Freshsales lead profile

What it’s lacking:

You can only have 100 ‘active’ contacts at any given time. These are counted as contacts that have been part of marketing activities (email campaign, email series, transactional email) in the last 30 days.

It’s important to note that all paid plans are billed annually, which could be off-putting for those thinking ahead to the moment they need to scale up.

Who’s it for?:

Those looking for a clean, easy-to-use interface with plenty of functionality.

Try Freshworks for free

Zoho CRM

zoho crm software

Having been around since 1996, Zoho Corporation is well-known in the sales and marketing world. In early 2020, it reached more than 50 million customers worldwide, offering over 40 applications as part of its suite.

With services ranging from email hosting to website creation to surveys and forms, this CRM software is one to be aware of, especially since it offers a free plan.

What does Zoho’s free plan include?:

First and foremost, Zoho allows for up to 3 users for free. It includes leads, deals, accounts, tasks, events, call log, and notes. You can set up workflow rules, and you’ll have 10 email templates to use for marketing automation.

In terms of email marketing, the free plan comes with a limit of 1,200 emails and 2,000 subscribers. Sign up forms, A/B testing and newsletter templates are all included.

The software is fairly easy-to-use, as it doesn’t feel too overwhelming or intimidating. If you’re not sure about anything, you’ll surely be able to find the information you need in Zoho’s extensive knowledge base.

zoho insights
zoho crm reports
zoho crm dashboard

What it’s lacking:

Though the interface is fairly easy to navigate, it isn’t particularly modern compared to other CRM tools. What’s more, if you’re using its other services like Zoho Forms or Campaigns, it can sometimes be a bit confusing, as this means changing dashboards.

You’ll only have access to standard reports, and you’re not able to synchronize with Google Calendar.

Sales forecasting and email insights are also reserved for paid plans (which start at $18/user/month).

Who’s it for?:

Those wanting to take advantage of their workflow rules for automation and A/B testing.

Try Zoho CRM for free!

Sendinblue

sendinblue crm

Sendinblue is an email marketing service equipped with CRM features. What’s great about Sendinblue is that all plans come with unlimited contacts (even the free plan), which means it’s a great option for those managing a lot of contacts.

What does Sendinblue’s free plan include?:

Sendinblue’s free plan comes with unlimited contacts and 300 emails/day. You can easily segment your contacts, and marketing automation is also available. You’ll get phone and email support for the first 60 days, and you can even install live chat on your site.

sendinblue deal pipeline
Sendinblue free autoresponder
Sendinblue vs Mailchimp - crm

What it’s lacking:

Reports are very limited on the free plan, and landing pages aren’t included.

Moving contacts over to your CRM contacts from email marketing contacts is a bit laborious. And the system can be a bit slow.

Who’s it for?:

Sendinblue is for those looking for a robust all-in-one marketing service that doesn’t set a cap on contacts.

Try Sendinblue for free

Agile CRM

agile crm profile

It has a good name and a generous free plan, but is it really all that agile when put to the test? Let’s find out!

What does Agile’s free plan include?:

Agile is free for 10 users, 1,000 contacts, and comes with a number of features, such as a landing page builder, email campaigns (5,000 emails with Agile branding), email tracking, lead scoring and appointment scheduling – so not bad at all.

agile crm contact
agile crm pipeline

What it’s lacking:

Neither marketing automation nor 2-way email integration is included on the free plan.

In terms of usability, the system feels a bit buggy and slow at times. Also, the text is all quite small, which could be an issue for some people. So, in answer to the question I posed in the introduction, I’d say no, Agile is not as agile as it should be.

Who’s it for?:

It’s difficult to recommend Agile over the other free CRMs on this list, as there’s nothing that makes it really stand out. That said, the fact that its paid plans are very affordable, could position it as a good option for those who are growing fast.

Try Agile CRM for free

Streak

streak crm

You’ll either love this option or you’ll hate it. But at least Streak has pinpointed its target user. It’s different because, instead of providing users with a fully fledged dashboard, it integrates seamlessly with your Gmail, meaning you won’t need to leave your inbox to manage your contacts, deals or other pipelines.

What does Streak’s free plan include?:

The free plan comes with 500 contacts and rows of data, 50 emails/day, email tracking and private pipelines.

The tagging definitely adds some color to your inbox, which again, you might love or hate, and the CRM features can be visualized and used on mobile.

streak crm pipeline
streak crm pipeline stages
streak crm contact

What it’s lacking:

Personally, I found myself missing a dashboard where I could get a holistic view of my activity. Organizing your pipeline is a little cumbersome without the use of drag and drop technology. You’re also missing reports on the free plan.

Who’s it for?:

Those looking for a simple solution without all the bells and whistles to merge with their Gmail.

Try Streak for free

Apptivo

apptivo

Apptivo launched in 2009, and now helps over 200,000 businesses in 194 countries. But could it be the solution you’re looking for?

What does Apptivo’s free plan include?:

Unfortunately, not a lot. Unlike the other tools on this list, which offer pretty generous free plans, Apptivo just gives you the bare minimum – probably because it wants to push you to sign up to its $10/user/month plan (Lite).

apptivo contacts

What it’s lacking:

The free plan comes with just 1 user and only allows you to set up a single pipeline. No email marketing or automation features are included, and you won’t be able to integrate it with any other apps. What’s more, you only get 500 MB of storage.

Who’s it for?:

When compared against all the other free CRM tools on this list, I’m afraid Apptivo’s free plan just doesn’t cut it. With very affordable paid plans, it might be a software you consider once you’ve exhausted the limits set by other free services. If you’d still like to try it out for yourself, you can do so here.

Best Free CRM Use Cases

Some CRMs are better than others in certain scenarios. For example, if you have your own hair salon, you probably won’t require the same features as someone who works as a freelance photographer.

I’d recommend making a list of all the features and functionality you know you’ll need and checking it against the free CRM plans listed above.

You also might find these particular use cases helpful:

Best Free CRM for Small Business

Overall, I think most small businesses would be happy with the top 3 services listed (HubSpot, EngageBay and Britrix24) due to their excellent functionality and generous allowances. You should be able to benefit from the free plan of any of these providers for a good amount of time before you outgrow the package.

As a small business with multiple sales and marketing agents, you might be more tempted by HubSpot or Britrix24 and the offering of unlimited users.

Best Free CRM for Startups

Startups will love the fact that many CRM tools come with extra features such as landing pages, automations, project management tools and payment processing.

The most feature-rich tools are probably HubSpot and EngageBay, though it will depend on the exact features you need.

Best Free CRM for Gmail

If you’re looking for something simple, and would rather work out of your Gmail inbox, then Streak is for you. You won’t have to worry about creating an account, instead, all the information (including your pipelines) will be right there in your inbox.

Conclusion: What is the Best Free CRM?

So there you have it, a pretty detailed look at the best free CRMs on the market.

As you’ve seen, some are more generous with what they include in their free plans, and it might be worth testing out a couple of CRMs before you make your ultimate decision. Here are the links for each of the tools once again:

  1. HubSpot free CRM plan
  2. EngageBay free CRM plan
  3. Bitrix24 free CRM plan
  4. Flowlu free CRM plan
  5. Freshworks free CRM plan
  6. Zoho CRM free CRM plan
  7. Sendinblue free CRM plan
  8. Agile CRM free CRM plan
  9. Streak free CRM plan
  10. Apptivo free CRM plan

One last piece of advice I’d give you is to look at how much the lower-tier paid plan is for the software you go for, so you know you won’t get any nasty surprises when the time comes to scale up. You can find out more about what these tools have to offer on their paid plans in this article on the best CRM software for small businesses.

I hope you’ve found this article helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to drop them in the comments section below.

 

Updates: 

20 Jul 2021 – Added EngageBay

Der Beitrag Best Free CRM Software For Your Business erschien zuerst auf EmailToolTester.com.

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