A CRM, or customer relationship management, is a software that is used by companies to track their various contacts, including clients, sales prospects, and more. If you run a small business that is rapidly growing, or a midsize business with an ever-expanding list of contacts, then a CRM is likely a solution that you should be considering. However, the cost of a CRM may be prohibitive for your purposes. If that is the case, you should know that there are plenty of free CRM options available. However, like anything in life, some options are better than others, and there are certain things you will need when selecting a free CRM for your business needs. With that in mind, here is what you need to look for when choosing a free CRM.
One core difference between a free CRM solution and a paid CRM software is the amount of contacts you can store on it. A free CRM is going to inherently be limited in this regard, as you are not paying for a license for the software. That being said, a good free CRM should allow you to store contact for a solid amount of contacts that lends itself well to rapidly growing small or medium businesses. This will allow you to get a good feel for the CRM and see if you would be willing to spring for the paid option.
A good CRM cannot exist in a vacuum, and as such should allow you to integrate with various software you use for your business. This should include integrated project management tools, marketing automation software, and any other way that you communicate with clients, such as Gmail or Mailchimp. Email integration is of particular importance, as you need to be able to store email conversations so that they can be referenced in later correspondence. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that the free CRM you choose can automatically import the data that you need to have on each client from its integrations. Otherwise, you’ll find that you will need to manually fill in each field for each clients that you add to your CRM, which will ultimately make its use less efficient for your business.
A free CRM is a good way to test out the efficacy of a CRM on your business. If you find that a CRM is a great solution for you, and you find that it helps you follow up with prospective clients and stay in better communication with existing ones, then you may want to consider a paid version of the free CRM you are using. However, in order to take full advantage of a CRM, you must finalize your sales pipeline and know exactly what you are looking to do with the tool. Otherwise, you may find that you only use it as a glorified repository for data.
That being said, you won’t be able to know if a CRM is the right solution for you unless you try using a free one for your business. Doing so will allow you to test out the CRM in question and see if it can help you generate more sales and hire retention rates for your existing clients.