CRM technology

Free CRM: Real Good Idea or Scam?

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Type "free CRM" in Google and you will come across a long list of results all looking tantalizing: The 10 best free CRM software in 2019, 8 free CRM software to discover, 7 free CRM software for small businesses. My goal today is not to discourage you at all costs to take a free CRM but give you some food for thought before you embark on this path. Because indeed, the free side can hide some subtleties that you should know before.

Do not get mixed up between free CRM and.. free CRM.

The free CRM expression can hide several realities that should not be confused. There are open source CRMs, this is the first form of "free". The second is these regular SaaS CRM editors who have many ranges of products, and in parallel, they offer a free product from these ranges of products.

  • Free SaaS CRM

As we said just above, some CRM publishers do not hesitate to attract freelancers and TPE by offering entry-level CRM free. Be careful, this is often a less leader! Be aware that they can charge you this CRM as your organisation grows, increasing also the number of CRM users in the meantime. Another excuse is to make you pay the used of disk space! As it is a SaaS CRM solution, it is hosted on servers. And these servers cost money to the publisher, so it is common to charge this storage space according to the amount of data to host. Another point to take into consideration is the features. Often, entry-level free CRM is bridled. It would be a shame not to enjoy all the features of a CRM. You will realise it after a few months, even a few weeks of use in the worst case. 

And the fee you have to pay can increase very quickly. Just like online games, the CRM platform presents integrated purchases that would go almost unnoticed without a sharp eye.

  • Open source CRM

Once again, be careful... Open source, let’s remind the principle. The purpose is the delivery of the source code of a software, CRM here. The publisher delivers you all the code of the CRM, it is up to you to make it work by passing either by an integrator specialized on this technology or by yourself. Once adapted to your needs, it will host the CRM. Then, if you want to be supported in case of concern about the code, or complete shutdown of your activity, it is advisable to subscribe to maintenance service. 

Finally, you also have to read carefully the conditions of use. Of course, they give you the code but you have some commitments to respect. It's normal, you become a part of the community and you will also serve the community. A bug found in the code? It has to go back to the community. Do you want to modify the code and make an improvement? It has to go back to the community.

  • All inclusive CRM

Besides these free CRMs, you have the all-inclusive CRM. Of course, you have to pay at the start but it's “the entrance ticket to serenity”. Indeed, everything is included! With the price of the license, you are entitled to upgrades (or migrations or updates, regardless of the vocabulary used) and this, even on the specific developments made for your solution. You also have unlimited storage space, coaching sessions included, an API that allows you to interface your CRM solution with your other bricks of the IS, etc. 

I hope this article will help you better weigh the pros and cons of free CRM. Now you will not be able to say that you were not warned.

Learn more: 

CRM meaning. What is CRM? 
CRM applications in a company’s day-to-day business 
What are the different types of CRM?