There are many companies that prefer to use proprietary Customer Relationship Management (CRM) products because of their high level of customization and the quality of the customized support that the vendor can offer. However, there is another option you should consider and that’s open source CRM solutions. Open Source CRMs have become increasingly competitive and are being used by thousands of companies worldwide.
One of the reasons that Open Source CRMs rise in popularity is that more and more companies come to conclusion that re-inventing the wheel is costly that can and should be avoided.
A quick web search for open source CRM (or any other business software) will show you that there are tons of options so this post is just an effort to list some of them that will help find a couple of good candidates for your business and help you get started. Therefore, the following list includes some of the best open source CRM solutions and it’s based on online popularity and not features.
The versatility and ease of customization makes SugarCRM one of the most reliable open source CRM applications available today. It includes features like accounts creation and import, contacts, a personal and easy to customize homepage, campaigns, email marketing, project management, activity management, shared calendars and opportunities, among others.
What makes SugarCRM appealing is that it is easy to learn and use, which minimizes the need for training (along with the costs that come with it). In addition, it is easy to install and provides users with the option to extend its core functionality by installing plugins. It is also very affordable (being an open source!) as there is no need for licensing. On the other hand, though there is a fee involved for customization and support (if you choose too). Bear in mind, that SugarCRM requires a webserver to run which means that you can either install it locally or on the cloud.
Other features that SugarCR offers that are worth mentioning include advanced reporting, client service tracking, sales tracking, sales force automation, and invoice creation.
Vtiger is the ideal CRM solution for organizations that enjoy bundles or in other words, a software that can do more than one thing. Vtiger allows companies to manage their customer support, manage their inventory, formulate, develop and execute basic (and maybe advanced) marketing strategies, track sales, and a variety of other business functions that are essential for every company. Some of the main advantages that Vtiger has is the fact that is easy to use and install along with the fact that it has a very strong and above all helpful community.
As noted above, choosing a software that does not take a couple of scientists to run can save you money but above all, can allow your employees to focus on tasks that can generate sales and therefore cash. With Vtiger, users can organize and manage their schedules and calendars, share their schedules with other users, and even receive email notifications and a log of activities.
The software allows companies to automate lead management and conversion, and even customize product catalogs, vendor lists, purchase orders and price lists, which is a something that not any CRM software offer.
CiviCRM is another popular web-based CRM that allows organizations of all sizes to record and manage vital information about their clients and business partners. CiviCRM allows users to engage with their audience, track interactions, and even accept payments by using the payment processor that comes with the software. Unlike other CRMs whose functions focus on managing commerce, CiviCRM emphasizes on community engagement, communicating with customers and managing memberships.
These features make CiviCRM the preferred CRM solution for event planning and management organizations. Another advantage is that users can customize the many functions of the software as per their needs. For instance, you can use the CiviCRM system to organize events and control their execution, or use it for advocacy during a fundraising or charity event.
Different CRMs have different target groups and focus on different parts of the market. Cream CRM is not an exception and its niche in media organizations. This does not, however, mean that other businesses and organizations cannot use it.
Cream CRM has many advantages but I think we should also note that there are some disadvantages. It seems that there are a few reviews on various websites and some very good reviews on sourceforge, a popular website for open-source software. However, CreamCRM does not have an active community and does not have (at least I couldn’t find it) documentation in English or a demo version.
Zurmo is a relatively new CRM that focus on social media, gamification and interaction with the client to keep him/her happy and engaged. Zurmo CRM system offers a high degree of flexibility and it’s being used by companies that operate in very diverse industries.
Zurmo is web-based, which means that it can be setup on a web server or on the cloud. Apart from that, Zurmo offers all the features that other Client Relationship Magement software offer and which can help your company track leads, automate communication, promote products based on demographics, track interaction, understand opportunities and in the end help you turn your leads into customers and sales.