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What is the best free or cheap CRM?

What is the best free or cheap CRM?

There are many reasons why you might want to set up a customer relationship management (CRM), but it can be hard to find a good one that suits both your needs and budget. Here we look at some of the best free or inexpensive options out there so you don’t have to pay more than you should if you're not sure about which platform would suit you best. We also take a closer look at each option below.

Whether you're looking for a CRM solution on a trial basis or a full-featured paid service, here's how much it costs. You'll find prices vary depending on whether you choose a hosted app, desktop app, mobile app, or cloud based tool -- as well as whether you want to upgrade from an older version. Also note that pricing may change at any time.

When it comes to choosing a CRM, what features do you really need? If simplicity is key, then Zoho is worth checking out. The basic package starts at $10 per month while its premium offering goes for $20. It includes everything you'd expect in a modern CRM including sales forecasting, lead tracking and collaboration tools. For those who aren’t too fussed about fancy features though, this could prove quite useful.

Zoho was built by ex-Googlers, so it does come complete with plenty of handy integrations – such as Google Analytics, Gmail and AdWords. Plus, you get access to all of their other apps like Docs, Sheets, Slides and Calendar. There's no doubt that Zoho offers great value for money, especially considering they offer a 14 day free trial period.

The biggest downside is that it uses a proprietary format called SpreadsheetML, which means data imported via Zapier isn’t compatible unless you already own a copy of it. But if you're just after something simple for now, then this could work perfectly fine. If you need a bit more functionality, check out our guide to the best CRMs available right now.

It's probably fair to say that Salesforce is the market leader when it comes to enterprise solutions - but even the company itself admits that it doesn't always make sense for smaller businesses. That said, a lot of the standard features found in competitors' packages will still apply. And unlike some of the other options listed here, you can try it completely risk-free thanks to a 30-day free trial.

As far as pricing goes, it depends on what kind of plan you go for. Basic plans start at $25/month while the highest tier starts at $400/month. However, if you sign up for two years, you only have to pay $100 instead. This is particularly attractive if you want to give it a whirl without committing yourself fully. Alternatively, you can test drive it for seven days free of charge.

For anyone new to CRM technology, it might seem daunting trying to figure out where to begin. To help you decide, here's a quick breakdown of the various types of CRM systems on the market today. Or better yet, read our article on getting started with CRM  to learn more about what makes them tick!

HubSpot is designed specifically for B2B marketers, rather than consumer brands. As such, it focuses less on individual client records and more on managing contacts across multiple accounts. In addition, it allows users to segment leads into different lists or campaigns. While HubSpot doesn't have an official free plan, it does provide a generous 14-day free trial.

Other features include email automation, social media integration, content creation tools, analytics dashboards and reporting capabilities. Overall, HubSpot provides excellent support for teams. Its advanced search feature is very intuitive and you can easily identify relevant information using filters. A big plus point is that HubSpot integrates directly with popular third party services such as MailChimp, Marketo, Pardot, Infusionsoft, Constant Contact and others.

One drawback is that the interface isn't necessarily beginner-friendly. Although it's possible to customize the layout and add custom fields, it can sometimes feel overwhelming and confusing. On the flip side, HubSpot is certainly packed with enough features to keep professionals busy for months.  To see how HubSpot stacks up against other CRMs, head over to our comparison chart.

A lot can happen between signing up to a CRM and actually starting to use it properly. So it pays to spend some time familiarising yourself with how things operate. Fortunately, the process is fairly straightforward with most providers letting you explore through guided tutorials. Once you've done that, you can dive straight into setting up reports and automating processes.

You can usually create forms and tasks within minutes using templates provided by the provider, although some require additional coding skills. So if you're planning on creating hundreds of emails or using lots of complex formulae, you may struggle initially. But once you understand how to use the basics, you'll soon pick up speed.

Insightly takes the cake when it comes to ease of use. Not only does it boast a slick design that looks professional, but it also lets you build automated workflow processes almost effortlessly. Plus, you can integrate with dozens of third parties like Slack, Trello, QuickBooks Online and more.

The main downside is that Insightly relies heavily on plugins for many of its functions. So if you want to add extra functionalities outside of its core offerings, you'll either need to install them manually or use a plugin manager.

On the other hand, it's important to remember that CRM software isn't a silver bullet. Many people think that simply having a database of contact details and past interactions automatically solves every problem -- but nothing can replace human judgement and experience.

Overall, Insightly stands out because it brings together several elements of the ideal CRM system into one neat package. Whether you're looking for a basic CRM or prefer a powerful suite, Insightly is definitely worth exploring further. Head over to our overview of the best CRMs  for more details on this comprehensive product.

Salesforce remains a solid choice among enterprise level companies. With a range of prebuilt modules covering accounting, billing, inventory and HR, it's perfect for medium to large organisations. Pricing ranges from $50/user/month for a single person to around $1,000/user/year for 50 workers.

Another major benefit is that Salesforce works seamlessly alongside other applications. Indeed, it supports 80+ APIs, making it easier than ever to connect with external sources. Other perks include native integration with Microsoft Office 365 and Outlook, along with a host of other productivity tools.

Unfortunately, Salesforce is often criticised for being difficult to navigate. Some customers complain that the UI leaves a lot to be desired, whilst others claim that it can be frustratingly slow. Even so, if you're looking for a robust CRM solution, Salesforce is worth considering.

Weighing up the pros and cons of each CRM platform above reveals that they're all pretty similar. They all allow you to track leads, manage customer relationships, automate repetitive tasks and streamline administrative duties. What sets apart some products from others is the variety of features included.

So let's take a deeper look at each CRM below to help narrow down your choices.

Which CRM is easiest to use?

Most CRM platforms have been developed with the aim of helping businesses grow. So they tend to focus on providing a wide array of features and giving users the power to configure whatever they need. As a result, they can often become unwieldy for beginners.

But some providers have taken steps towards simplifying their interfaces. For example, HubSpot aims to deliver "a simpler way to organize your digital life." Similarly, Salesforce strives to simplify "the complexity" of building and growing your business.

This approach seems to resonate with end users. According to research conducted by Gartner, 90% of respondents consider the ability to quickly master a new CRM useful. Another study showed that 69% of consumers rated usability highly compared to other factors such as price or brand reputation.

However, despite the fact that CRM software tends to excel in terms of ease of use, this shouldn't mean that you sacrifice security. Indeed, many experts recommend that organizations adopt hybrid approaches whereby you combine traditional IT infrastructure with newer online technologies.

What is the most user friendly CRM?

Some CRM vendors pride themselves on delivering a polished user experience and seamless navigation. One such example is HubSpot, which boasts a slick interface and helpful guides for first-time users.

And while it's true that you needn't invest thousands of dollars upfront to achieve this kind of polish, it's nevertheless nice to know that the effort hasn't gone to waste.

What is the easiest CRM to use for small business?

You've decided that it's time to take control of your customer relationship management  (CRM) software. You're probably looking at one of the following options below - but which will be the best choice?

There are plenty of different types of CRMs available on the market today, many of them costing hundreds if not thousands of dollars per user each year. But there are also some great alternatives out there that can help you save money while giving you all the features you'll ever need in an easy-to-use interface.

In this article we look at how to choose the best CRM for your needs by comparing popular choices like Zoho, HubSpot, Google Apps, Salesforce and more. We then discuss whether using a paid platform might actually cost you more than just shelling out for a simple CRM software license.

So let's get started!

What is the most commonly used CRM software right now?

The biggest names when it comes to CRM solutions include Zoho, HubSpot, Google Apps, SalesForce and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. These five brands have been around long enough that they've earned their place as industry leaders, so there's no doubt about who is going to win the "best CRM" award here.

But don't forget that other companies offer excellent products too. For example, SugarCRM offers a fully managed solution specifically designed for businesses, while Freshdesk provides a fantastic online support desk option without any upfront costs.

As well as offering lots of functionality, these tools usually come with a full suite of apps such as project tracking, sales automation and email campaigns. So whichever tool you decide upon, make sure you check out its complete package before you commit.

What is a good CRM for small business?

If you run a smaller company, chances are you don't have much cash to splash. Thankfully, there are some amazing open source CRMs that are perfect for anyone starting up or running a tiny operation. In fact, a lot of people use these services because they want something completely free.

For instance, there's the awesome OpenProject CRM, which allows users to manage everything from projects, contacts, calendars and invoices. It even includes a task manager and a document library, making it ideal for any kind of business.

When it comes to choosing the best CRM for small business though, it really depends on how big you think your future could become. If you're planning on growing fast, investing in a robust CRM is definitely worth considering. However, if you only plan on managing a few clients, you may find yourself able to handle things manually instead.

What is the best free CRM for a small business?

Nowadays, almost every single person owns a smartphone, so why wouldn’t you want to integrate mobile access into your CRM app? Most of the world runs on smartphones nowadays, so why would you limit your customers' ability to contact you whenever they feel like it?

That said, most services aren't totally free either, so you should always consider both sides of the equation. One way to go is to start off with a basic package that gives you access to certain key functions, and upgrade to a premium version later once you realise what you need. The other route is to pick a service where you pay nothing until you reach a specific point. Either way, you'll end up saving tons of cash.

One of the best examples of this is Zoho CRM. This particular product doesn't require you to sign up before getting started, meaning that you can try out the entire feature set without spending a penny. Once you hit a certain number of leads, however, you'll see ads pop up asking you to buy a subscription.

But why stop at simply letting your customers view your information? Why not show them exactly what they want to hear? That's right - you can create automated emails based on data pulled directly from your database, allowing you to respond to inquiries faster, easier and cheaper than ever before.

Another benefit of doing things this way is that you don't have to worry about anything breaking down because you're not paying for upgrades. And finally, since Zoho CRM is cloud-based, you can access your files wherever you happen to be, regardless of whether you're working remotely or travelling across country.

How do I find the best CRM for my business?

Finding the best CRM for your own unique situation isn't quite as straightforward as you'd expect. After all, everyone uses different terminology and has slightly varying requirements. To help you along the process, we put together a list of questions you should ask yourself before deciding which CRM is right for you.

First of all, you should figure out what type of business you operate. Do you sell physical goods or digital content? Are you selling professional services or consumer products? Then determine what size your organisation currently is. Is it just you handling everything, or does it involve multiple employees? Finally, think about whether you already have a solid IT infrastructure in place.

Once you've answered those questions, you can move onto thinking about what sort of functionalities you'll need. Will you need to track and monitor client activity? Or perhaps you'll prefer to focus on providing exceptional customer service? Perhaps you'll want to add in tasks like creating reports and sending bulk mails. Whatever you decide, remember that you shouldn't necessarily settle for whatever you think looks nice. Make sure you test drive several different programs to ensure you're satisfied with the results.

Finally, keep in mind that there's no real reason to restrict yourself to the aforementioned packages. There are plenty of great SaaS providers out there that provide similar services under a different name, often for less than half the price. Take advantage of these opportunities and you'll never miss out again.

Have you tried any of the above mentioned applications? Which ones did you enjoy using the most? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

1. Salesforce

Salesforce is an all-in-one platform for managing leads, sales, service and support in one place.

The platform boasts over 50 apps, including analytics and automation tools, as well as mobile applications such as Salesforce Mobile App Builder. It also offers integrations with popular third party services like Google Analytics, Facebook and Twitter. The platform supports multiple languages including English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Chinese and many more.

There are no limits on how much data can be stored on the cloud based platform, allowing users to manage large amounts of contacts without having to worry about capacity issues.

Free version available – Standard Edition includes basic functionality, up to 30,000 records per user, emailing, exporting reports etc. Pricing starts from $5/user /month after a trial period.

Integration with other systems – Integrates easily with Gmail, Outlook, QuickBooks, Zendesk and more using connectors.

Mobile app allows easy access via iPhone, Android and Windows Phone devices.

Cloud-based platform means there’s zero installation required, so businesses don’t have to spend any money upfront.

Multi-language capabilities allow companies to adapt their communications to local markets.

Pros: Easy to use interface, powerful features, wide range of integration options, good customer service when needed.

Cons: Limited number of customisations possible due to the nature of the platform, not ideal for those who want full flexibility.

If you're looking at CRM solutions to help manage customer relationships and sales processes within your company then there are plenty of options available. However, which one will work best for your needs? Let's take a look at some of the most popular ones that will fit into any size organisation.

There’s no shortage of CRMs out there - from Microsoft Dynamics 365 to Zoho – but how do you choose between them all when choosing which platform is right for you? It can be confusing trying to decide on the right solution in this market. So here we have rounded up ten different CRM products that offer great features without breaking the bank. These include everything from Google Apps to HubSpot and more besides! But first let us define exactly what a CRM is and why it matters so much...

What is the best affordable CRM?

A Customer Relationship Management  (CRM) tool is an essential part of any successful business strategy. Using a CRM means businesses can better understand their customers' wants and needs, as well as track interactions with them throughout the buying process. This helps you build stronger connections and improve retention rates by providing valuable insights about who your ideal clients really are. With the right tools, you can also ensure that every interaction with a client goes smoothly and efficiently.

But not everyone can afford to buy a full-blown CRM suite like, NetSuite, SAP Business One or Oracle E-Business Suite. Instead, many companies rely on simple apps such as Zoho CRM. If you don’t want to spend thousands per year on enterprise software, consider a cheaper alternative that still allows you to access all the functionality you need. You might even find that some services are offered entirely for free, too.

Let’s start with five excellent choices that cost nothing at all.

Zoho CRM

Available via its website or through cloud apps for Windows, Mac OS X and Android devices, Zoho CRM is a powerful yet easy to use app that provides users with all they require to run their own online store. The service comes packed with useful functions including email templates, appointment scheduling, support ticketing, event management and product tracking. There aren’t any extra costs involved either, making this a truly affordable option if you just want something basic.

HubSpot CRM

Another good choice for non-enterprise organisations, HubSpot CRM offers all the same benefits as its paid-for counterpart while remaining completely free to download and use. Users get instant access to everything they need to create, share and collaborate on content, plus manage leads, accounts and contacts. In addition, the application includes advanced reporting capabilities that allow you to monitor activity across multiple channels, see where new opportunities lie and easily analyse data trends.


One of the simplest applications around, Insightly aims to provide users with a complete contact database and CRM solution in a single package. Offering unlimited storage capacity, unlimited number of users and all the necessary integrations, Insightly is perfect for smaller teams looking for a way to keep things organised.

Google Sheets

With the ability to import spreadsheets directly into your account, Google Sheets makes it easier than ever to track important details about your prospects and customers. Add notes, update contact information and attach files to entries, giving you total control over your records. Once set up, updates automatically sync back to each user’s spreadsheet, meaning changes made elsewhere are updated on both ends.


Offering quick access to task lists along with real-time notifications and comments, Trello takes collaboration and communication to another level. Featuring drag-and-drop boards designed specifically for projects, events and tasks, Trello lets users add checklists, assign duties and give feedback to others. Plus, because it integrates seamlessly with Gmail, Outlook, Slack and other third party apps, you can stay connected wherever you go.

What is the best CRM for the money?

Now that you know what a CRM is and how vital it is to running a modern business, it’s time to find the right app for your requirements. We’ve picked out six contenders based on price, ease of use, integration and reliability.

Salesforce Chatter

Featuring a host of preloaded functionalities, Salesforce Chatter combines social media monitoring and analytics with a robust CRM feature set. Whether you want to schedule meetings, record calls or send emails, the service does it all effortlessly. Other key features include customisable dashboards and reports, mobile compatibility, built-in security systems and integration with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Dropbox.

Microsoft Dynamics 365

As the name suggests, Microsoft Dynamics 365 encompasses several integrated modules including Customer Engagement, Service Desk, Financials, Field Service Management and Project Service Automation. Each module supports various stages of the customer journey, helping managers gain deeper insight into individual cases and streamline workflow. And thanks to its robust API, developers and partners alike can extend and enhance the core functionality using their preferred method.


A highly flexible CRM aimed squarely at small businesses, Insightly gives users complete control over their data. Built to integrate with almost every major web hosting provider, the service boasts numerous user permissions ranging from managing contacts to creating appointments. And with a range of pricing plans starting at $20/month, Insightly remains accessible to anyone on a tight budget.

HubSpot CRM

Packed with helpful features and intuitive design, HubSpot CRM ensures smooth operation for all levels of staff. Designed primarily for B2B marketers and salespeople, HubSpot CRM works alongside existing campaigns to optimise revenue streams and boost conversion rates. As well as offering detailed stats on traffic sources and conversions, the service also tracks lead nurturing progress and generates comprehensive reports showing performance indicators over time.


Designed especially for small businesses looking to launch an eCommerce site, Cloudability offers everything required to operate a fully functioning shop. From product listings to shipping methods, payment processing to return policies, the team behind the service has taken care of all the little details ensuring seamless shopping experience. All you need to worry about is designing an attractive storefront and getting people in the door.

How much should I budget for a CRM?

Choosing the right CRM isn’t always straightforward, particularly if you’re working on a shoestring budget. Fortunately, there are ways to cut down on spending without compromising on quality. First off, make sure that whatever CRM you end up picking fits your specific needs. Then, try to stick to tried and tested apps rather than going after the latest shiny object. Finally, remember to factor in ongoing maintenance fees whenever possible.

Once you've decided on which CRM suits your needs, think carefully about whether you actually need the whole thing. For example, some apps come bundled with additional features such as email automation, project management and accounting tools. Others may only cover certain aspects of your business. A few CRMs, such as HubSpot and Salesforce, focus solely on marketing and sales activities.

For those with less demanding budgets, the above mentioned apps remain reliable options. They'll certainly save you a lot of cash compared to alternatives like Microsoft Office 365, which requires annual subscriptions costing hundreds of dollars. Alternatively, you could opt for a simpler CRM such as Zoho, which focuses mainly on sales and marketing operations.

Finally, bear in mind that you can always upgrade later on. Some apps, such as HubSpot, offer a 30 day trial period during which you can test drive the service before committing to purchase. Just make sure you cancel your subscription prior to expiration date.



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