Best Free CRM Software for Small Business
It’s tough to manage all of your customer relationships manually, especially if you’re a growing business. But customer relationship management (CRM) software can be expensive, especially if it’s priced per-user. That’s where the best free CRM software comes in: You can get many of the benefits of CRM software without the high price tag.
We’ll review the best free CRM software for small business, going over a number of options so you can find the right fit for your organization. From this list, you should be able to find a good match for your CRM needs to help take your small business marketing strategy to the next level.
Here, we’ll go through the best free CRM software options for small businesses. Many of these are great options if you’re just building a business or if you’re on a tight marketing budget.
First up is Freshsales, part of the Freshworks suite, which tops our list since it’s the most comprehensive among free CRM software. It offers integration with GSuite and Microsoft Office to help with email management and calendar synching, and you’ll also get contact management. In general, it provides businesses with several tools to manage their leads and get them further down the sales funnel. There’s also free email, chat, and phone support, even at the free level.
Many Freshsales users find the interface very easy to use, especially among other free CRMs, and you’ll have access to several customizable options. It also enables teams to collaborate easily with task delegation, timed reminders, and more. It’s important to note that there is a limit of 10,000 leads, accounts, and deal records. If you think you’ll exceed this, you’ll either have to upgrade or delete records to free up space.
Freshsales’ free plan allows for unlimited users and contacts. They also provide a 21-day free trial for all of their paid tiers if you’re interested in exploring the features beyond the free version as well.
2. Agile CRM
Next on our list, Agile CRM is a strong free CRM software due to its solid suite of features to help sales, marketing, and customer service teams manage customers. You can add custom data fields and take advantage of lead scoring, email integration, contact analysis, and more. We like Agile CRM as an all-in-one platform, which can be beneficial for those who want to centralize their customer relationship management data.
Although setup for Agile CRM is very simple and the interface is easy to use, among the free CRM options, you’re limited with the number of contacts you can manage, and you won’t be able to use a ton of integrations at the free level.
Agile CRM is free up to 10 users, and you’ll be able to manage 50,000 contacts and companies.
HubSpot is extremely well-known, and for good reason—they offer a dynamic platform with lots of useful tools for small and growing businesses. Their free CRM software is relatively simple, but you still get what you need to manage customer relationships effectively: tracking leads, managing your sales process, adding details to records, live chat, and more. It’s quick to learn, too.
The platform integrates with GSuite and Office 360, which bring over your contacts and sync your data. You’ll be able to use contact records to track interactions like calls and meetings, email records, and deals you’ve done. You can use third-party integrations such as Slack and Zapier, too. However, the free version of HubSpot CRM doesn’t enable you to automate emails or route leads. These are paid add-ons. HubSpot also has its own add-ons to buy to help you make your CRM more robust.
The free tier of HubSpot allows an unlimited number of users and up to a million contacts.
Flowlu is a slightly different type of free CRM software, since it enables businesses to manage both CRM-related projects as well as accounting, such as project expenses and revenue. (The upgraded version even helps with time tracking and cash flow management.) It also includes the other features that you’d expect from free CRM software, including contact management, lead management, and customer communication.
Additionally, if your team is interested in Agile Scrum, you’ll be able to take advantage of it due to the way Flowlu is set up. That said, not everyone is a fan of the user experience on Flowlu, and some users say that there is a bit of a learning curve with the software.
Flowlu’s free version allows just two users and 20 clients and companies.
5. Really Simple Systems
“Simple” is the name of the game with Really Simple Systems. However, there’s still a robust suite of features despite the moniker. It’s a strong platform for marketing and sales automation, document management, as well as lead management. As you dig in, you’ll find other useful features, too. For instance, there’s the ability to customize data fields as well as connect other applications, two benefits for small businesses owners trying to streamline operations.
Really Simple Systems also does a nice job of reporting, including both historical and forecast reports. However, it’s not the most intuitive system to use, and you may need to play around with it before you get the hang of generating those reports.
Really Simple Systems’ free tier allows access for two users, 100 company records, and an unlimited number of contacts.
One of the top reasons that users choose Apptivo is due to its excellent handling of invoicing and ordering—purchase orders, work orders, etc. Another benefit is its data-import feature, which makes contact management a breeze. You’ll have access to additional project management tools and easily be able to manage customer tickets and other help-desk features. You won’t, however, be able to access any marketing tools or take advantage of third-party integrations.
From the outside, Apptivo may seem like a basic free CRM solution, but it’s a favorite of many users, especially for smaller sales teams. Their customer service is extremely well rated, too, and you’ll have access to 24/7 live chat, as well as email support five days a week.
Apptivo’s free tier enables three users access to the platform, but they’ll be able to input an unlimited number of contacts.
With Bitrix24, you’ll be able to access a strong suite of CRM tools, including pipeline, lead, and customer management; reporting; automation; and more. It’s a good choice for internal communication within teams as well as communicating with customers. Many users really like Bitrix24 for the free online store feature, which gives you unlimited transactions and pages. The templates are professional-looking, and all you need to do is connect the site to an ecommerce POS system.
Some users have conflicting views of how easy Bitrix24 is to learn and master. Additionally, those who are looking for the ability to really get into the weeds with field customization might be overwhelmed by the platform’s flexibility.
Bitrix24 offers 12 seats at the free tier, as well as unlimited contacts, companies, leads, and deals. You are limited to one pipeline and 1,000 emails from CRM per month.
The first thing to know about Insightly is that the free version only allows you to add two users. So, if you’re hoping to have a team work across your CRM, this won’t be the right pick for you. But, that in mind, Insightly provides a lot to those two users, especially with regard to project management. An interesting addition—you can add voice memos, too.
Insightly enables contact and lead management, social media integration, and enables you to customize some CRM fields and email templates. You can link different parts of the platform, such as contacts, projects, and opportunities to help with more seamless and efficient management of your customer relationships. Unlike many other competitive platforms, you won’t be able to integrate your email, however.
Insightly’s free plan is limited to just two users, and contact records are limited to 2,500.
What Is Free CRM Software for Small Business?
For background, customer relationship management software, also called “CRM” software, enables businesses to seamlessly manage their interactions with customers. It’s an important tool for getting your business organized not only with regard to your customer relationships, but it also helps divisions of your company work together across multiple departments, such as marketing, sales, customer service, and product management.
Free CRM software for small business allows you access to the digital processes you need to manage customer relationships, but without paying a fee. There usually are some restrictions on features or number of users that can access it due to its free nature.
How to Know It’s Time to Use CRM Software
If you’re looking for a modern way to handle your customer relationships and get your team operating more fluidly, it can be a good time to look into CRM software. This is especially true if you’re relying on spreadsheets or other scattered, manual processes.
Of course, CRM software generally comes at a price—especially the higher-end suites. This can be tough for small businesses on limited budgets. But free CRM software enables you access to some of the core features and tools of paid CRM software. If you’re a small company, free CRM software might offer you all you need to get your operations digital and organized.
What to Look for in the Best Free CRM Software
The best free CRM software won’t be the same for every business. There are some features that are more important to certain businesses than others, after all.
As you’re looking through the free CRM software for small business options, think about the essential processes that your company needs to get organized. For instance, do you need a tool for forecasting, or would you prefer to have invoice management? Would you rather have a way to communicate with multiple team members? These are all considerations.
Additionally, it might also be worth considering if you can envision the software growing with you, since many free CRM softwares offer paid upgrades that provide more features.
Free CRM Software: Pros and Cons
Having the option to use free CRM software is fantastic, especially for your bottom line. But, before you make the dive into one of the above platforms at the free level, consider both the pros and cons.
Free CRM software can be fantastic for companies on a budget. It’s generally better to have some kind of CRM in place than none, so even free CRM software with pared back features can still be a huge bonus for small businesses. Generally, you’ll find features that are very useful among them, and can help boost the organization and productivity of your sales, marketing, and customer service teams. Some even do a great job with invoice management.
With free CRM software, you might find yourself limited—especially if you’re a growing business. Many features, such as number of contacts, storage, templates, and customization aren’t always available. These are things that many businesses find important to seamlessly manage their customer relationships and get their processes perfectly organized. However, if you like the free CRM you’re working with but you’re finding yourself restrained, you can always look into upgrading to the next tier.
The Bottom Line
There are a lot of choices available for CRM software—and you might be surprised at how many of them are free. That’s great news for emerging companies and established organizations on a budget alike. Remember, since free CRM software costs you nothing, you don’t have anything to lose if you try it out and find it’s not quite a fit. With this in mind, try out as many platforms that interest you to find the best fit for your business’s needs.
Sally Lauckner is the editor-in-chief of the Fundera Ledger and the editorial director at Fundera.
Sally has over a decade of experience in print and online journalism. Previously she was the senior editor at SmartAsset—a Y Combinator-backed fintech startup that provides personal finance advice. There she edited articles and data reports on topics including taxes, mortgages, banking, credit cards, investing, insurance, and retirement planning. She has also held various editorial roles at AOL.com, Huffington Post, and Glamour magazine. Her work has also appeared in Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, and Cosmopolitan magazines.