All serious organizations today understand that the business environment has become highly competitive and that efficient usage of resources is vital to achieving success. As the workforce is one of the most important resources, making sure that your employees are focused on tasks where they are most valuable has become a priority.
This is why implementing performing customer relationship management is essential. Whether your employees deal with internal or external sales, they need to collect, store, and manage important customer data that can help them do their jobs more efficiently. Luckily, there are many specifically designed CRM software solutions that make this process easier.
Today we will talk about how to find the best free CRM software solution to suit your needs and grow your business. Bear in mind that free versions have limited features, but they are a good start and luckily, all of them can be upgraded to fulfill small business needs, provide robust solutions for larger organizations. So let’s get started.
Consider your business goals
The place to start is your business.
You need to analyze your business, its current state, customers, sellers, and processes before you can choose a good CRM software that can help you where it needs to.
Not all CRM solutions are the same and their different features designed to work better for a specific purpose.
You must understand how you will be using your CRM before you can pick the right solution. Sometimes it’s not about the quality of the software, but about getting the one with the features you need. Here are some of the most common goals that companies want to achieve with a CRM system:
- Improved lead tracking
- Lead generation
- Productivity enhancement
- Managing customer relationships
- Better organization of business processes
- Having the need for customized reporting
- Tracking their customers
- Tracking the competition
- Tracking performance
- Tracking orders
- Improving customer support
- Email marketing
Look at the features
Different CRM software solutions are designed to be better at certain areas, and this means that they all have different features through which they allow you to improve a certain aspect of your business.
The fact that there are so many features available in different products simply makes it difficult to understand which ones you need to achieve your business goals.
Some general rules to follow when looking for the right features include finding a highly customizable solution that can be picked up and used easily, can be accessed through a mobile device, has a lot of capacity for storing data, is cloud-based, can be integrated with other tools, and has good security measures that prevent unauthorized access and potential data loss.
Integration with other tools
On the other hand, a CRM needs to offer valuable integrations with the software that you currently use. By doing this you will be able to input other valuable data into your CRM and get a more holistic approach to your sales. This is how all the data that comes from different areas of your organization will be streamlined through CRM.
Bear in mind that there isn’t a universal CRM solution that can suit all types of businesses of all sizes. You can’t simply find the best CRM software that beats all the rest. A CRM solution has so much potential for being used in different business areas and this is why proper customization is the only way to get the most out of a certain tool. Some providers offer packages that are more suitable for different types of organizations, while others let you choose the features you want.
Ease of use
No matter what technological implementation we are talking about adding to your business, it is important that employees learn how to use it. If a certain CRM solution is so complicated that you and your employees will have to spend a lot of time and resources learning how to use it, then find something else.
Look for a simple and clean user interface that is intuitive and allows users to catch on very quickly.
Although most solutions that you can find out there will be labeled as “easy it uses” it is important that you try it out on your own, to see whether this is true before you give it to all of your employees.
By finding CRM software that is optimized for mobile devices, you will ensure that everyone is able to access it through their tablet or smartphone the same way they can through a computer. This is also something you need to demo first, as a lot of solutions out there are mobile-friendly but don’t offer the required experience when used with a mobile device.
A CRM software platform is a core element where all business operations and processes come together. This means that it will also have a lot of valuable data on it that you need to protect.
Make sure that the system has the right security measures in place, protecting it from any data loss or cyber-attacks.
Additionally, you should ask what happens in case there is a cyber-attack and what the provider’s procedure is.
One of the most important things is to find a cloud-based solution. This is how all your mobile users will always be able to access the CRM, no matter where they are. The only thing a user will need is an internet connection to access the platform.
Modern businesses require lots of flexibility and a quick response time, and this is why these kinds of solutions are becoming more and more popular. Additionally, all of your data will be stored on the cloud and good vendors will protect it very well, even when there is some sort of attack.
Top 3 best free CRM solutions to choose for your business
In the end, we want to give you suggestions of the three best CRM software solutions in our opinion. Bear in mind that these CRM solutions all have free versions, but you cannot expect to have everything available using a free version.
A CRM is an important platform that can give you valuable intelligence and direct your business in the right way and this is something that can’t be delivered by different systems. This is why you will have to pay if you want to use all the features and customization options.
Still, even the free versions of these CRM systems can give you solid support and help you grow your business. So let’s start.
There are several reasons why we put HubSpot CRM on the top of our list, however, the biggest one is the fact that this is the only full-blown system with all the features and functionalities that comes for free. Like we mentioned earlier, most providers give all of their features with premium versions, but with HubSpot CRM everything is instantly available.
It absolutely excels in all areas, it has great features, an amazing interface, great integrations with various systems and applications, and interacts with different sales channels including social media, email, phone calls, and even meetings. The only downside is that enterprises might find it a bit too simple for their needs.
It has everything you could possibly need for a small or middle-sized business, however, and this is why HubSpot is the best free CRM in our opinion.
Really simple systems CRM has a free version and paid versions that are very affordable. The name says it all, it’s a CRM designed to offer simplicity and ease of use. What is really amazing about this software is that you get amazing customer support even when using the free version.
The free version comes with amazing features including accounting software integration, sales automation, and automated synchronization that will ensure you don’t miss any important information. If you are fine with a maximum of 100 accounts and 2 people using the software, then this free version will work out perfectly for you.
This is a very intuitive CRM with a good user experience. It has a simple interface with a lot of options including service, marketing, and sales automation. It allows contact management, sales tracking, analytics, telephony, two-way emails, and many other actions.
Setting it up requires just a couple of minutes and there is barely any need for employee training. One of the amazing features of this CRM is that you can synchronize Gmail contacts through your LinkedIn. All the features are available in the free version as well, but for a limited amount of users.
This is an all-around platform and this is why many think that it’s the best free CRM out there. If you have no experience with using these kinds of tools and don’t understand CRM best practices, maybe this is the right solution to start with.
These are the most important things to consider when choosing a CRM in 2018. Make sure to learn how to use CRM software effectively and train your employees to make the most of it and grow your business through its capabilities.