By Chris Hawkins on May 8, 2019
Open source customer relationship management (CRM) software is customizable software that manages contacts and deals. It is often free to download but typically requires technical ability to implement and use. We compared 20 programs for basic functionality, installation difficulty, technical support, and overall ease of use to arrive at the best six for small business.
While an open source CRM is often low cost and customizable, they can be overly-complicated. Insightly is an easy-to-use, customizable CRM that provides many of the same benefits as an open source CRM, but does not require an IT degree or coding knowledge. Insightly is always up to date and has important processes automated so you can focus less on keeping your CRM current and more on closing more sales. Open source customer relationship management (CRM) software is customizable software that manages contacts and deals. It is often free to download but typically requires technical ability to implement and use. We compared 20 programs for basic functionality, installation difficulty, technical support, and overall ease of use to arrive at the best six for small business.
While an open source CRM is often low cost and customizable, they can be overly-complicated. Insightly is an easy-to-use, customizable CRM that provides many of the same benefits as an open source CRM, but does not require an IT degree or coding knowledge. Insightly is always up to date and has important processes automated so you can focus less on keeping your CRM current and more on closing more sales.
Top 6 Open Source CRMs for 2019
|Open Source CRM||Best For|
|SuiteCRM||(Best Overall) Businesses needing a robust, open-sourced application comparable to Salesforce or MS Dynamics|
|Vtiger||Companies that want a powerful, browser-based open source CRM with cloud hosting|
|X2CRM||Businesses wanting a desktop or web-based CRM with advanced workflow automation and website tracking|
|OroCRM||Enterprise ecommerce businesses needing to manage and track multiple locations and territories|
|Odoo||Businesses wanting to incorporate operational management tools like human resources and production planning|
|Zurmo||Teams wanting to utilize social gaming as a sales motivation component within their CRM|
How We Evaluated Open Source CRMs
Open source CRMs are used by businesses wanting both customizable contact and lead management software and an on-premise solution for more control over their data. However, they can be complicated to implement, sometimes requiring in-house IT support. Therefore, it is important to consider an open source CRM’s technical requirements and functionality, as well as proprietary options.
The criteria we used to evaluate the best open source CRM include:
- License and support costs: We reviewed free and paid plans, considering licensing fees, hosting costs, and paid ongoing technical support options.
- Contact management: A CRM’s contacts should be searchable, easy to create, and include functions for email, phone calls, and other tasks.
- Deal and opportunity management: Each tool’s pipeline deal tracking, viewable deal data, and follow-up activities should be intuitive but also customizable,
- Workflow automation: We reviewed each tool’s methodology regarding the sales process, follow-up tasks, and other reminders.
- Reporting tools: We examined what data is available to help sales managers better monitor their teams and their sales pipelines.
- User interface and experience: Ease of use is important for adoption, so we compared the overall look and feel of each product’s user interface in terms of appearance, navigation, and data at a glance.
- Ease of implementation: We looked at which operating systems are supported, software prerequisites, and ease of installation.
- Training and documentation: The CRM should be supported with training resources such as user guides, community forums, and training webinars.
- Customer satisfaction: We read user reviews to determine overall customer happiness with each vendor.
Based on these criteria, we determined that SuiteCRM is the overall best open source CRM for sales teams due to its robust features and availability of hosting and technical support. However, technical support comes at a significant cost, and set up without it can be confusing for people who are not technical. While SuiteCRM is a feature-rich and powerful tool for businesses of any size, there may be a better, less expensive solution for your specific needs.
If you don’t want the hassle of maintaining a server for your CRM in-house or want the security of ongoing technical support, you should consider Insightly. The tool is just as powerful and customizable as an open source CRM, but includes technical support at a fraction of the cost.
Best Open Source CRM Software for Cloud Hosting: Vtiger
Vtiger 7 Open Source
Vtiger 7’s Open Source version is free to download, though users still have the IT cost of setup and maintaining the product on their own servers. The Open Source has the same features as the subscription Starter plan, but opportunities are displayed in a tabular list rather than in a Kanban-style visual pipeline. It also includes project management, Gantt charts, and progress charts, and integrates with Google Apps, Outlook, DocuSign, QuickBooks, and Mailchimp.
It is, however, missing a products catalog, a knowledge base, and invoice creation—all features found in SuiteCRM. Therefore, the Open Source, on-premise solution is best for teams that do not require a visual pipeline management tool, invoicing, or sales forecasting. It is also best for teams that do not wish to pay a monthly subscription for a cloud-hosted solution.
What Vtiger Is Missing
Vtiger’s cloud version is very powerful, offering much of the advanced functionality of SuiteCRM. However, the Open Source version is not as feature-rich as Odoo, which has dozens of add-on apps for a wide range of business uses. For example, the Open Source edition lacks email marketing, phone call recording, visual pipeline, advanced reporting, and charts. If you’re looking for something more visual, check out Pipedrive.
What Users Think About Vtiger
Users of Vtiger report the tool is simple to implement and like its marketplace of integrations with other products, as well as the fact that it offers functional apps that work with iOS and Android. Few bugs with the software have been reported, though users say it does not work as well on Thunderbird browsers as it does on other browsers.
Where to Find Vtiger
Vtiger is a powerful and user-friendly open source CRM for businesses that want the flexibility and benefits of an open source product, but also want the technical support of a hosted solution. You can download the free community version, or take advantage of a free 15-day trial of its cloud version by applying on this site today.
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