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Interested in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software that's free forever? You have options.

This is not a typo. Free means no cost. Forever means no time limit.

Hope you have a seat because there is more shocking news. These zero-a-month platforms are packed with great features.

I've selected the top five free CRM software products out there. They are all a little different. Chances are, one of these options will work much better for you than the others.

There is no cost, but your time is valuable. Let's go through the important considerations involved in choosing the right free CRM software on the first try.

The top 5 options for free CRM software

  1. HubSpot CRM – Best Free Marketing CRM
  2. Really Simple Systems – Best Free Sales CRM
  3. Agile CRM – Best Free Customer Service CRM
  4. Flowlu – Best for SME Financing
  5. Apptivo – Best for basic business management

How to choose the best free CRM software for you

Trying to manage customer relationships with traditional spreadsheets and databases is, to put it well, a pain. Frankly, this is an obstacle to growth.

You can only go a long time without a special tool that centralizes and organizes all your contacts.

And CRMs do a lot more. They are connected to virtually all other customer-related services and provide a home for contact information and data. When someone makes a purchase, clicks a link or opens an email, everything is recorded and reported in a CRM.

They can get pretty powerful in terms of marketing automation and customer experience. Of course, when we talk about free CRM software, they don't reveal the full range of features.

Here's what you'll want to keep in mind as you look through your options.

The limits of the free

Offering software for free is not a form of charity. It's a calculated bet. They hope companies using the free service will grow to the point that they will need a paid plan.

So there are certainly limitations. However, if your team or scope stays small, free CRM software can be a decent solution for a short while.

With each review, I've highlighted the limits that are likely to have the greatest impact. These can be:

  • Maximum number of users
  • Maximum number of contacts
  • Maximum number of company records

It is important to predict when and how these limits will affect your ability to use the product.

Contact management and tracking

With the free CRM software, you want to know your contact limit, but also the tools that each product provides for contact management and tracking.

This is really the core responsibility of CRM software that helps you manage every customer relationship.

All of the products on my list will help you move from spreadsheets to a much more intuitive user interface. At a glance, you'll see a complete record of the relationship.

Some will come with sales-focused tracking features like funnels and lead scoring, while others will have help desk and ticketing features that are good for customer service.

Think about the person or team who will be using the free CRM. Are the contact management and tracking features appropriate for their tasks?

Local fit

How does the free CRM software fit into your current business processes?

It takes some thought to build a tool that can only be accessed by multiple users. Most freemium solutions, however, are limited to 2-3 users.

Do you have the right collaboration software so that CRM users can effectively share the resource?

This question fits right into my thoughts on integrations, so to speak.

Every provider brags about their product's out-of-the-box features. The truth is usually more complicated as they work perfectly … but only if you are using Microsoft Outlook, for example. Or maybe there is a plugin for Shopify, but not for WooCommerce.

I could go on, but I won't. My point is that CRMs deliver more value when integrated with the tools you are already using.

Earn reward points for products with official integrations. The less time it takes to sync, the better.

Long-term outlook

The time invested in a CRM is not free, even if the platform “costs” nothing. Ideally, companies will find a product that they really enjoy using and that will help them grow.

At some point the capacity and functionality of a free CRM will reach its limits. Updating a plan only takes a few minutes, while migrating from one CRM to another can be a problem.

As you grow out of your free CRM software, is the next tier still on budget? And does it come with more features that will really make an impact?

The different types of free CRM software

In reviewing the best CRM software, I've broken the category down into operational, analytical, and collaborative products.

The breakdown of the best free CRM software is slightly different.

They all provide insight into the operational, analytical, and collaborative aspects of paid CRMs. In general, however, free plans focus on one of three areas:

  • sales
  • marketing
  • Customer service

Many of the products on this list will work for all three at the premium levels, but reduce their free offerings to one of these categories.

Free sales CRM software

These platforms focus contact management on nurturing leads and converting prospects. They provide tools that employees can use to keep track of all of the relationships they are building.

Free CRM sales software often includes:

  • Scheduling
  • funnel
  • Pipelines
  • Reports

Some of the better free products also include:

  • Live chat
  • Invoicing
  • VoIP calls
  • Limited sales automation

Free Marketing CRM Software

These products give teams access to features that enable them to run successful campaigns that generate and qualify leads. They can expand their reach and at the same time customize the content they provide.

Free marketing CRM software often includes:

  • to shape
  • Homepage
  • Email templates
  • Email tracking

Some of the better free products also offer:

  • Tracking website activity
  • Conversation bots
  • List segmentation
  • Limited marketing automation

Free CRM software for customer service

In this category, platforms are heavily geared towards helping agents manage existing relationships. They offer a bird's eye view of the entire process, from contact to resolution.

The free CRM software for customer service often includes:

  • Ticketing
  • Labels
  • Reports
  • Email templates

Some of the better free products also have:

  • VoIP calls
  • Live chat
  • Canned snippets
  • Basic workflow automation

Now that we've gone through the different types of free CRM software, I'm going to review the top five, starting with the one that breaks the mold by doing it all.

# 1 – HubSpot – Best Free Marketing CRM

Important plan limits:

  • Unlimited users
  • 1 million contacts and company records

HubSpot CRM has to be the most generous free CRM software. Unlimited users and a million contacts. What?

In addition to free CRM software, HubSpot has forever free versions of its sales, marketing, and customer service tools.

These are all relatively deep platforms that offer live chat, ad management, ticketing, and more, as well as access to a top-notch user interface for managing contacts.

I call it the first choice for marketing as HubSpot really outshines the field here, but it's solid all round.

The reporting dashboards in Hubspot are really well developed. Many free CRMs don't even give you dashboards. Instead, you get stuck and peeled off reports on bits and pieces of your overall outreach strategy.

HubSpot ties in with all of your marketing efforts – email, forms, landing pages, ads, chat, Facebook Messenger – and provides clear information on which channels and strategies are driving performance.

HubSpot integrates with G Suite, Gmail, and many versions of Outlook. There's also a drag-and-drop editor for creating great email campaigns.

You can automate follow-up emails when someone fills out a form or responds to a popup and build your list with ease.

Is that it? No. There are so many other marketing tools out there including:

  • Tracking website activity
  • Conversation bots
  • Manage pipelines
  • Task and activity manager
  • Scheduling
  • List segmentation
  • Email tracking
  • VoIP straight from CRM

Note that this list of features does not include anything that comes with the free sales, marketing, or customer service toolkits. There is also an extensive app marketplace with ready-to-use solutions for general business use.

HubSpot isn't crazy, they just practice what they preach. As inbound marketing pioneers, they really believe in helping people discover their business by providing great content.

In this case, they provide a free CRM that works company-wide. HubSpot keeps growing, so they're doing something right.

The last good news? When businesses move to a paid HubSpot plan, they only have to pay for users who use the features of the paid plan. Any user who just has to use HubSpot CRM stays free forever.

# 2 – Really Simple Systems – Best Free Sales CRM

Important plan limits:

  • 2 users
  • Unlimited contacts
  • 100 company records

Really Simple Systems offers a robust free sales CRM with unlimited contacts. As you might expect from its name, this isn't a difficult platform to master.

I like it for sale because of the breadth of features. You can track opportunities in a pipeline, a funnel, or both. Add lots of detail by tracking changes to opportunities and forecasting sales based on likelihood.

Really Simple Systems' free CRM allows you to make a few adjustments. Create your own fields that capture important criteria and create the tables you want. This data can then be viewed in custom reports and dashboards.

Pull in all the information from Really Simple CRM and quickly see which leads and opportunities require the most attention.

Sales reps can call their smartphone contacts directly through the CRM platform, which is optimized for all devices.

Really Simple Systems allows you to keep track of the metrics you need and has a really generous amount of CRM features that are very helpful for sales teams. Some of the highlights are:

  • Pipeline management
  • Sales funnel
  • Customer schedules
  • Opportunity history
  • Listing & sales forecasts
  • API access
  • Integration with Google Contacts and Outlook

The two seat limit is really the only light aspect of the Really Simple Systems free plan. The only Sales CRM features not included are geolocation, email integration, and sales group permission levels.

Really Simple Systems is a great free CRM option for freelancers, consultants, and SMBs who don't have a large number of sales reps. Since there is no contact limit, one or two people can achieve a lot.

# 3 – Agile CRM – Best Free Customer Service CRM

Important plan limits:

  • 10 users
  • 1,000 contacts and company documents

Agile CRM is one of the few free forever options that can accommodate an entire team.

It will definitely work for sales and marketing as it comes with the main CRM tools in those areas, but the depth of the customer service features really differs.

There is a full help desk ticket system. Customer support can assign labels to organize and prioritize tickets. You can also divide customers into different groups as needed. This means that tickets are automatically routed to the most suitable agent.

I like the performance reporting features that let everyone stay up to date and manage queues together. You can quickly view tickets based on a range of status indicators such as receipt date, priority, service level agreement, and more.

The predefined answers are another time-saving function. Teams can create pre-formatted answers to frequently asked questions.

This enables agents to provide accurate information in less time, reducing the backlog and stress during peak hours.

The only customer service feature that does not come with the free version of Agile CRM is the knowledge base, which you can use to create and share customer service documentation.

I'm focusing on the customer service aspect of Agile CRM, but I don't want to mention the really great sales and marketing features like:

  • Unlimited offers
  • Lead scoring
  • Scheduling
  • Email tracking
  • Email campaigns
  • Tracking website activity
  • Landing Page Builder

Note that in terms of automation, the free version is limited to a single campaign workflow with five nodes and one trigger.

I wish they let you do more because the Workflow Builder is such a breeze. Automation of basic processes in customer service saves a lot of time, which makes it really attractive to get more out of the paid plans.

Ultimately, a 10 user cap on the free plan makes setting up a help desk with Agile CRM a real option.

For what it's worth, I had a question about the Agile CRM free plan and hit up on their website chat. I received a polite response from a human in less than a minute and I was particularly confident I would recommend it as a customer service CRM solution.

# 4 – Flowlu – Best for SMB finance

Important plan limits:

  • 2 users
  • 20 contacts
  • Unlimited possibilities

Flowlu really offers great enterprise CRM solutions that allow large companies to keep track of sales.

The free CRM software helps SMBs do the same.

The free version of Flowlu has a surprising number of the platform's best features. Although the number of users is limited to 20 contacts, they can create an unlimited number of possibilities. This is the entire series of customer communications that lead to a potential business.

From there, opportunities can be closed by billing the customer, creating a project from the opportunity, or marking it as a loss.

The maximum of 20 contacts is an important limit, but Flowlu's free CRM can help a small finance team get a lot done. For each contact, users can create as many projects and invoices as they need. This is ideal for regular customers and suppliers.

This allows managers to quickly project expenses and compare them to the project budget and cost limits. Expenses can be assigned to bank accounts and / or organizations that are stored in your CRM. The free version is limited to one organization and two bank accounts.

If you're looking for a financial forward CRM that won't cost you anything, Flowlu is definitely the option to check out.

Some of the other relevant functions available are:

  • Payment tracking
  • Tracking costs
  • Customizable finance categories
  • Finance dashboard
  • Lead & Contact Management
  • File management

Note that you can access the team version of Flowlu, which has space for eight users and unlimited contacts for a total of $ 29 per month. That's less than $ 4 per user. This is an insanely competitive price on a CRM that could save you thousands.

Flowlu's free CRM software is great for creating the right financial footing and adding value as you grow into a premium product.

# 5 – Apptivo – Best for Basic Business Management

Important plan limits:

  • 3 users
  • Unlimited contacts

Apptivo makes really affordable CRM software and offers a free forever starter plan that can help with a lot of administrative tasks. It centralizes all of your customer information and allows you to create and manage all of your invoices, estimates and proposals.

This saves time and minimizes the simple billing errors that I don't want to solve.

The interface is clean and accessible. Apptivo contains the most important functions for contact and project management. You can import / export an unlimited amount of data.

With three users on the Starter Plan, companies can do a lot to consolidate and streamline basic business processes.

Work orders and field services are managed centrally, for example, in a clear dashboard. Users can send approvals to customers or managers with one click, edit the shipping calendar, and automatically notify employees that the plan has changed.

The sales features are a bit light compared to the other free CRM software on this list and none of their great Apptivo marketing features are included. That means you still get:

  • Invoicing
  • Estimates and suggestions
  • Procurement and orders
  • Field service and work orders
  • Counseling center
  • Product catalog

Of course, there are business management features that I would have liked that come with only paid plans, like contract management, automated workflows, a built-in eSignature tool, and all the useful direct integrations.

All of this comes with Premium, the next tier of Starter, which is only $ 10 per user per month. It also has almost all of the sales, marketing, and analytics tools, making it a much more comprehensive solution.

All in good time.

If you are looking for free CRM software to manage the formalities associated with customer relations, Apptivo will do the job.

Summary

Realistically, these companies offer a free CRM solution that covers the basics and shows their strengths.

From their point of view, the provider tries to win potential long-term customers. They give a taste of what they're really good at.

HubSpot CRM is the all-rounder and offers the most comprehensive tools for free. HubSpot CRM is unmatched in terms of its marketing skills.

If you are looking for a free CRM that is designed for sales, Really Simple Systems will equip employees with everything they need.

On the customer service side, Agile CRM offers the most robust solution. You get all the help desk, ticketing, and tracking functionality needed to support agents. Their sales and marketing tools are pretty extensive too, although HubSpot is the deepest free CRM out there.

With a CRM in mind for managing finance, Flowlu includes a unique set of features that teams can use to track costs and revenues. You can find these tools with other paid CRMs, but Flowlu makes them available for free.

In terms of a CRM to manage basic business processes, Apptivo is very handy. The free CRM software is a great way to organize and automate the day-to-day work of managing customer relationships.

Now I love a free trial as much as the next one, because who wouldn't want to try a product before making a commitment?

But can you really know if a CRM will work for you after 14 days?

A truly free CRM gives you the time you really need to get used to a product. When you're ready to invest in a bigger product, you know what you're looking for.

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