Headline: Is free cloud-based CRM software a good solution for businesses?

What is CRM system

Cloud-based CRM system is a business software aimed at organizing and increasing sales. Cloud CRM tool helps businesses to get maximum profit of each customer by providing more effective management of a client database, better control of sales process and compiling statistics. CRM system makes business processes as transparent as possible.

Cloud-based CRM are great either for a small business or medium. Here are the reasons why:

    1. Easy storage and update of customer database. No contact or data will be lost, every detail regarding the communication, clients’ orders and even the time spent on each deal is safely stored on a remote cloud server.
    2. Monitoring of sales department efficiency. CRM software helps to understand how many hours the employees spend on tasks, what steps of work processes lead to failure or success of a deal.
    3. Document flow management (orders, goods, invoices, reports). All necessary documents are stored in the program, and it is possible to categorize them by folders or add comments.
    4. Effective networking. Cloud-based CRM software will help you to unite different departments and employees on the same platform, allowing to exchange data and discuss tasks online.
    5. Obtaining key figures on the most and least profitable products. The collected data will help to understand which services or goods are the most popular, how much time it takes to get in touch with customers and close a deal.
    6. Getting things done. The availability of maximum information about each customer  and stage of sale process will let entrepreneurs get affairs completed even in case of an unanticipated quit of an employee.

Benefits of cloud-based CRM

Easy access. Client database, list of goods, emails are accessible from any place, from any device. Available mobile versions for iOS, Android and Windows platforms help to change any data, receive notifications and emails immediately.

Saving on costs. You need to have a separate server in case you decide to buy a box version of CRM. Cloud-based systems do not require having additional expensive equipment. Stable internet connection and any portable device are enough to access the system at any time. The system is updated automatically, providing ready solutions to user while using a local box version requires supplementary expenses on the system maintenance. Besides, if you are choosing between several systems, there is usually a free cloud-based CRM trial version available.

Safety and data protection. Cloud-based CRM provides a high level of security and information safety. The encrypted data is stored on remote servers. Due to restricted and carefully regulated access, the risk of information leakage or losing valuable data and contacts is minimized.

White list: top cloud-based CRM systems

It is impossible to review all existing CRM systems, so we chose top 5 of them based on their flexibility, range of functions and effectiveness.

NetSuite. According to reviews, it’s a powerful software, which requires a lot of time and resources for its installation. It offers a variety of opportunities, such as a huge database for sales records, easy processing of orders, excellent reporting feature, simple customization, smart search function. Moreover, the package includes different accounting rules for different countries. Even though, it was indicated to be difficult to set up and navigate, the software may take up to several months of staff’s training to get used to it. Some clients will find the limitation in data extracting and graphing as a serious drawback.

https://system.netsuite.com/pages/customerlogin.jsp

Contactually. Another CRM system created to make small businesses’ workflow easier. The software simplifies the import of contact database – it extracts and updates contact information from social networks automatically. The software saves a lot of time: it sorts out contacts by frequency, reminds user when and whom to call, offers email templates.  At the same time, this application is difficult to customize. It’s email marketing automation system is also very basic and rigid. It is great for small organizations, but doesn’t have enough functions to satisfy the needs of a larger company.

https://www.contactually.com/

Freshsales. This CRM system with a promising name is created for high velocity sale processes. Users are attracted by easy setup, simple email tracking tools, user-friendly scheduling and profile management functions. The software is customizable, and it offers integration with Freshdesk. The drawback is the lack of cross-analysis. Web-to-lead form is also not available for all editions and there is no dashboard with leads and sales data, which can seriously influence business activity.

https://www.freshworks.com/freshsales-crm/
Really Simple Systems. The software, designed for small and medium businesses, justifies its name. It’s easy to use and navigate, the implementation procedure is easy. Other features: it can expand together with an enterprise, consolidate billing, marketing, communication data on a single platform, and the maintenance of the software is straightforward. The disadvantages are a cumbersome marketing module, rigid search system allowing searching only by inserting an exact name.

https://www.reallysimplesystems.com/

Bpm’online. Users find it easy to work with due to the software’s high flexibility and intuitive interface. Its strong analytical tools allow to provide a full picture of sales by tracking customer performance, monitoring the efficiency of emails and recording time spent on each type of activity. BPM is a universal tool: it integrates with social media, allows to track team tasks, manage projects, use marketing tools and process orders. It’s a comprehensive business software.

https://www.bpmonline.com/crm/cloud-crm

Buy nice or buy twice: why good cloud-based CRM systems cannot be free?

A free CRM software can offer an extremely limited set of tools. Free software or trial version of the cloud-based CRM system processes limited amounts of data and messages, provides small storage space, can be accessed by a small number of users. Free software does not offer mobile version. When you install paid versions of CRM system, professionals tackle every single step of its implementation, and with a free CRM software, you will have to organize the whole work by yourself. Paid versions offer quick and responsive technical support, while using free software means searching for solutions with no outside help. Even if you have successfully installed and integrated a free CRM application, your business will grow and need extended functions. It will make you acquire the paid version or look for a new software, and in this case importing all of your previous data can become really difficult and high-priced. Free CRM systems cannot provide a required level of data security.

CRM cloud-based system is not only an e-assistant, but an important business investment automating a wide range of processes and increasing work efficiency. Whether it is free or paid, the choice of a proper CRM software requires careful consideration.

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