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One of the best ways to improve your business’ ROI, retain customers, and improve conversions overall is by using a customer relationship management (CRM) solution.

A CRM can handle a number of tasks for you. From communicating with prospective clients, getting them on board, sending proposals, to collecting historical data, and analyzing the client life cycle. This can all help build better relationships with your clients and help your business grow.

That said, there are a lot of expensive CRM solutions out there. This makes integrating one difficult for fledgling companies that are highly budget-conscious. With that in mind, we have created a list of the best free and open source CRM software on the market.

In this guide, we are going to compare the best free and open source CRM, their features, and help you make the best choice for your business:

Best free and open source CRM software

Best free and open source CRM software

What to look for when choosing your best free and open source CRM

Finding the best free and open CRM solution for your business depends on the functionality and flexibility that you are expecting. Every free option is limited to a degree, so it is up to you to consider the features that might be relevant for your business, excluding those that aren’t, and select a tool accordingly.

That said, you don’t have to use all your smarts to figure this out. Here’s a list of top factors to help you select the right fit for you:

Ease of usage
Customer relationship management is as important as time management. A good free CRM should be able to offer a minimal learning curve, especially when your team is using a CRM software for the first time. This means the users should be able to grasp the interface quickly and get started in no time.
Features and flexibility
The next big thing to consider are the features you are looking for. For instance, some new companies have 1-2 users to handle customer relations, but others might have more people working on different aspects of customer relationship building. Thus, for the latter cases, you might want to find a free CRM that offers an unlimited number of users. Similarly, check for other features like third-party integrations, sales tracking, web hooks, number of leads or contacts allowed, and so on.
Reports and analytics
Generally, look for CRM tools that offer the most in-depth analysis and sales insights for your business. Feedback and reports are important for building solid, long-term relationships with your clients and close more deals.
Customizability
Since we are talking about open source CRM software, we cannot possibly skip out on the customizability aspect. Some free CRMs offer a completely customized experience for your business. Most of the time, you’ll have to pay for additional customizability, but some options offer it for free.
Easy to grasp pricing
The last factor to consider for your free and open source CRM is the upgrade charges. If, at any point, you need to switch from free to paid version, whether it be to remove a limit or add new features, you will be charged a fixed amount. You need to take this into consideration, since it is something that can happen in the future.

Eight of the best free and open source CRM tools in 2020

⚠️ Not all tools on this list are both free and open source at the same time. We’ve done our best to highlight the differences and make sure that everyone understands the limitations of each CRM.

So what’s the difference between free and open source, aren’t they the same?

Not legal advice, don’t treat it as such; but:

  • A CRM being free usually only means that you can use it for free – without payment.
  • A CRM being open source means that you can not only download and use it for free, but you also get access to the source code, and can modify / compile that source code by yourself.

Read more about different types of open source licenses here.

Now that we know the fine differences between free and open source CRM software, let’s dive into the list.

Here are the best free and open source CRM tools that we’ll be covering:

1. Bitrix24

Best free and open source CRM: bitrix24

Best free and open source CRM: bitrix24

  • Open source: (via partner network)
  • Upgrade price: $19 per month for two users
  • CRM emails: 1,000 per month
  • Number of users: 12
  • Unlimited leads and contacts:
  • Analytics and reports:
  • Top features: Kanban boards, Gantt charts, workload planning

Bitrix24 is a great choice if you’re looking for a free and open source CRM. Though the open source part of the offering has to be handled by a Bitrix24 partner.

The big reason why I recommend Bitrix24 is the number of features it offers without charging top dollar for them. For instance, you will get unlimited feature records, sales tracking, email marketing, and more – all for free.

The fact that over 7,000,000 companies use Bitrix24 says much about the popularity of this tool. The only downside of this cloud-based CRM software is the learning curve (even with the paid version), especially when you compare it to platforms like Freshsales.

Putting that aside, it is one of the best free CRM software for improving your collaboration and communication, as well as helping you manage your clients with ease. I think it’s a good choice for small businesses looking for a collaboration software that doesn’t put a dent in their marketing budgets and that offers almost all of the advanced features.

2. Zoho CRM

zoho

zoho

  • Open source:
  • Upgrade price: n/a
  • CRM emails: 4,500
  • Number of users: 3
  • Unlimited leads and contacts:
  • Analytics and reports:
  • Top features: scoring rules, workflows, email notifications, web forms, custom dashboard

Zoho started as a cloud-based CRM. However, over time, they have also added diversification to the picture. Nowadays, they offer an all-in-one suite to help you manage everything from invoicing to customer management.

Although it’s not an open source CRM, it can be easily integrated with other platforms via third party apps. For instance, you can use Zapier to connect to eCommerce platforms like Shopify, which is otherwise not possible.

If you want to use it for a small business, I’d suggest that you go with the Standard plan featuring custom reports and analytics in addition to lead scoring, webhooks, etc. It’s a good choice for startups or new businesses.

3. Insightly

insightly

insightly

  • Open source:
  • Upgrade price: $29 per user/month, billed annually
  • CRM emails: 25,000
  • Number of users: 2
  • Unlimited leads and contacts:
  • Analytics and reports:
  • Top features: sales tracking, forever free plan, user friendly UI

Insightly is a smart, simplified addition to our list of the best free and open source CRM. This tool focuses on improving your workflow and organization, and getting you better leads. It is marketed as a budget-friendly option for closing more deals, and that’s exactly what this CRM is about.

The free version offers fast onboarding and a free lifetime plan. Additionally, the integrated tracking system is great, which is ideal for newbies. It helps to track everything from sales prospects to delivered projects via the same dashboard.

That said, compared to some of its competition, Insightly provides slightly less features in the paid versions. Other than that, it’s a good CRM for carefully tracking customer relationships, monitoring a sales pipeline, and getting more insights on your sales process overall.

Even the main dashboard alone will provide you with highly detailed stats on your sales and pipeline. With Insightly’s free version, you will get access to around 25,000 records, including contacts, leads, organizations, reports, projects, and more.

Overall, I’d say it’s a great choice for businesses that aren’t looking for a lot of features and functionality options, but simply want to get started with a CRM fast.

4. Freshsales

freshsales

freshsales

  • Open source:
  • Upgrade price: $12 per user per month (billed yearly)
  • CRM emails:
  • Number of users: unlimited ♾️
  • Unlimited leads and contacts:
  • Analytics and reports:
  • Top features: unlimited users, unlimited support, lead scoring insights

Many of the best free and open source CRM software out there aim to be all-in-one suites – handling everything from getting a new lead to then nurturing it throughout its life cycle.

However, Freshsales have their focus narrowed down to sales. You can use it to engage with customers, close more deals, and attract new sales.

Freshsales offers a free forever plan for startups with limited budgets. With this plan, you will get unlimited users, contacts, and premium support, including email, chat, and phone support. Feature-wise there is a lot there for startups and new businesses, especially since they aren’t charging anything at all.

On the flip side, Freshsales free is missing out on some advanced features like email tracking, behavior analytics, and reports. All that’s available is a basic overview via the sales dashboard.

There is a minimal learning curve, so companies that are new to CRM software can get started quickly. To sum it up, I’d say Freshsales is a good CRM to start with. It focuses solely on scalability and sales to help you grow your business faster. The free plan is best for startups, but you might want to skip on this one if you are running a small to mid-sized business.

5. SuiteCRM

Best free and open source CRM: suitecrm

Best free and open source CRM: suitecrm

  • Open source:
  • Upgrade price: £95 per month (billed annually)
  • CRM emails: not disclosed
  • Number of users: 10
  • Unlimited leads and contacts:
  • Analytics and reports:
  • Top features: enterprise-ready platform, fully customizable

SuiteCRM is another solution that makes the list of our best free and open source CRM tools. This software gives you actionable insights to make more educated business decisions and create marketing strategies.

SuiteCRM is a feature-rich tool that can be customized to your needs – it’s open source. The interface is very much beginner-friendly and easy to use. The fact that it is open source and includes REST API makes it easy for SuiteCRM to seamlessly integrate with your other business systems.

Unlike other tools, you will need to download SuiteCRM and then connect it by registering on their website. Use this CRM software to gather important data about your customers and build solid relationships to enhance and nurture your business.

This CRM is your choice if the no.1 requirement in your book is using software that’s open source.

6. HubSpot CRM

hubspot

hubspot

  • Open source:
  • Upgrade price: $50 per month for two users
  • CRM emails: not disclosed
  • Number of users: unlimited ♾️
  • Unlimited leads and contacts:
  • Analytics and reports:
  • Top features: unlimited team members, Gmail/Outlook integration, contact insights, canned snippets

HubSpot started its free CRM service in 2014, expanding their company in a whole new direction. This expansion means you can have your marketing and sales all under one roof.

In addition to inbound marketing campaigns, you can use HubSpot software for generating more sales by connecting better with your customers. The cornerstone of HubSpot is its unlimited teams feature that allows to add multiple users and build a better team.

When you sign up for the HubSpot CRM forever free plan, you can select how familiar you are with customer relationship management software. It will then give you a quick walk-through around the software so you can use it easily. After that, you get to import your existing data, filter contacts, and invite your team members.

HubSpot has an integrated dashboards collection for sales, marketing, service, and CMS to manage it all easily. To help you get more sales, there are six unique sales reports available on different factors focusing on your monthly performance. All of the contacts are kept in one centralized customizable database, making the software organized.

What’s great about HubSpot CRM is that it gives you some advanced features like email tracking, deal pipelines, messenger integrations, and email templates. These features don’t come standard in some of the other free CRMs.

7. Vtiger

Best free and open source CRM: vtiger

Best free and open source CRM: vtiger

  • Open source:
  • Upgrade price: $30 per user per month (billed annually)
  • CRM emails: n/a
  • Number of users: unlimited ♾️
  • Unlimited leads and contacts:
  • Analytics and reports:
  • Top features: Outlook integration, contacts and engagement score

Should you want a simple CRM that is both free and open source, look no further. Vtiger does not only claim to be the #1 open source CRM software, but it has the most active users as per the usage statistics.

It is a complete on-premise CRM for those who have recently started up with their business and want to build strong customer relationships without spending on commercial licenses.

With a vibrant community and easy to navigate documentation, you can quickly start working with this CRM software. Functionality-wise, this tool has pretty basic features for contact management and an ability to send AMP-enabled emails.

For adding more advanced features, you can switch to their cloud version. If you only want a specific functionality like customizable call popups, pipeline view, VTE currency converter, and more, you can use the extension marketplace by Vtiger. Free integrations are limited, but you will get outlook compatibility in the open source version.

8. CiviCRM

Best free and open source CRM: civicrm

Best free and open source CRM: civicrm

  • Open source:
  • Upgrade price: $0
  • CRM emails: unlimited ♾️
  • Number of users: unlimited ♾️
  • Unlimited leads and contacts:
  • Analytics and reports:
  • Top features: campaign analysis, mapping, fundraising management, donor management, multiple integrations

Last but not least on our list of the best free and open source CRM software is CiviCRM. It is designed for the nonprofit, civic sector and related organizations.

CiviCRM is a fully customizable, free, and developer-friendly software with built-in features like online fundraising, grant tracking, case management, and other useful features targeted towards association-based organizations. You can even collect donations by integrating PayPal, Stripe, and CiviSMTP.

Another cool feature that makes this free and open source CRM great, is the compatibility with top CMSs like WordPress or Drupal. If you’re already familiar with WordPress, using CiviCRM will be easier. For users who are completely new to this, the learning curve can be steeper.

Final words on the best free and open source CRM in 2020

There are a lot of free and open source CRM solutions on the market, but they come with limitations or even cut out some features in their free versions. Here are the platforms I’d recommend, along with why:

  • Fewest limitations – Should you want an option that offers the most features in the free version, you can’t go wrong with Bitrix24 or Insightly.
  • Most scalable – For new companies with big teams, HubSpot is the best choice as it provides an option for unlimited users. If you want something more focused on scalability, then choose Freshsales.
  • Fully open source and free – CiviCRM is perfect for WordPress users and non-profit organizations. Vtiger will do great as an overall open source CRM that’s standalone.
  • Alternatives – An all-in-one suite with a low upgrade price is Zoho CRM. Finally, for an enterprise-level, highly customizable solution, head over to SuiteCRM.

Want to add more features to your favorite CRM? Check out our other post on the best premium CRM software.

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