My friend and colleague recently updated his really funny and informative post, “The 10 Best Free and Open Source CRM Software Solutions.” While it’s a great overview, I wanted to dive deeper into the three systems on his list I think are overall best for SMBs.
Each product on this list has something special about it that makes it especially perfect for SMBs, whether it’s great support, an especially intuitive UI, or lots of great features. Each is cloud-based, so you don’t have to worry about spending tons of time and money customizing the software, keeping it up to date, and hosting it.
Here they are, in no particular order:
1. CapsuleCRM: Reviewers rave
What you get for free: Two users, 10 MB of storage, and 250 contacts
What it costs to upgrade: $12/user/month
What you get with the upgrade: 2 GB of storage, 50,000 contacts, and integration with such applications as MailChimp and FreshBooks.
CapsuleCRM is a great tool for a small or young company. It’s got a short learning curve and an intuitive UI. It’s also got integrations with other commonly used platforms, including Xero, MailChimp, and FreshBooks.
It offers a Gmail integration, which is nice, but CapsuleCRM doesn’t offer email marketing or marketing automation. Nor does it provide referral tracking or preset workflows, in contrast to HubSpot and Really Simple Systems, which both offer all of the above.
2. HubSpot CRM: Features galore
Why I picked it: It has tons of features, including email marketing capabilities, real-time email open, click, and email tracking notifications, and email templates. And it offers full support. It’s also fifth on our top 20 most popular CRM list.
What you get for free: Unlimited users and accounts, tracking of five documents per account, and 15 minutes per user per month of calling. You also get five email templates per account, unlimited email scheduling, and real-time email open notifications—if you combine HubSpot Sales with Google Apps. Up to 200 email tracking notifications per month.
What it costs to upgrade: $50/user/month
What you get with the upgrade: Tracking of 1,000 documents per user per month and 2,000 minutes of VoIP (up from 15 minutes of calls). In addition, the real-time email open, click, and email tracking notifications become unlimited. You also get 1,000 email templates per user per month and 1,000 automated follow-up emails. With the paid plan, HubSpot will also tell you which companies are visiting your website, and prospects can easily access your calendar to book time with you.
HubSpot’s CRM is a data gathering machine. Literally. HubSpot CRM scrapes the web and email engagement to get you more information on your prospects with less manual input.
And unlike Capsule and Really Simple Systems, HubSpot offers lead scoring.
A few reviewers complain about the reporting, saying the dashboard is hard to understand and the reports aren’t very useful.
3. Really Simple Systems CRM: Support and training superstar
Why I picked it: Like HubSpot, Really Simple Systems offers email marketing capabilities and full support. But unlike HubSpot, reviewers rave about the support, saying it’s what sets Really Simple Systems apart.
What you get for free: Two users, unlimited contacts, 100 accounts, and 100 MB of storage.
What it costs to upgrade: Upgrades start at $14/user/month. Really Simple Systems has three different paid plans for growing businesses.
What you get with the upgrade:
You can set permission levels to control who has access to what data. The settings become more customizable and the reporting more robust. They also offer an optional Marketing Module and Service Desk Module.
The biggest pro is the free, full customer support, along with webinars, tutorials, and step-by-step guides on all their features.
Unlike HubSpot CRM and CapsuleCRM, Really Simple Systems offers customer support functionality, workflows, and territory management. And unlike the others, you don’t need a third-party email provider such as Gmail for email marketing functionality.
Some people find the interface a little dated and confusing.
CapsuleCRM, Hubspot CRM, and Really Simple Systems CRM are all great options for free customer relationship management software. Each has something unique to offer users, depending where your priorities lie.
- If you want something that is incredibly easy to use, and support and email aren’t a big deal for you, CapsuleCRM is a great choice.
- If email marketing and marketing automation are your bag, HubSpot CRM is the one for you.
- If you really love great customer service and hands-on training, Really Simple Systems is your best bet.
And if you want to compare more options, check out our CRM directory, where we have more than 500 options to compare, with the ability to narrow down by feature.
Looking for Customer Service software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Customer Service software solutions.