Every business needs customers to survive. However, finding new leads and then nurturing and developing them takes a lot of work. Fortunately, the process doesn’t have to be too difficult. By using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform, you can more efficiently establish and maintain client relationships.
In this article, we’ll look at the benefits of using an open-source CRM platform. We’ll also discuss two of the best options to consider for your business. Let’s get started!
What an Open-Source CRM Platform Is (And Why You Should Consider Using One)
A CRM is software that enables you to store client data and interact with your customers. You might use it to nurture leads, maintain ongoing partnerships, and analyze key information.
There are various advantages to using a CRM. For example, it can create streamlined and automated processes that save your business both time and money.
Furthermore, research shows that for every dollar you spend on a CRM, your Return On Investment (ROI) is $8.71. Therefore, using this kind of software can be an excellent way to increase customer engagement with minimal spending.
An open-source CRM uses freely available software. You can use, change, and distribute the software in any way without infringing on its license. This characteristic distinguishes it from a proprietary program, which does not share its source code with external parties.
There are a few advantages to using an open-source CRM. Since the source code is accessible, developers can quickly identify vulnerabilities and mistakes. If you have the necessary coding knowledge, you can also test to make sure the software is sound.
Additionally, there are no vendor restrictions. You can integrate almost any other software with your CRM without worrying about compatibility issues.
Finally, you can make any adjustments to an open-source CRM. Therefore, you can create custom processes that fit your business’ specific needs. When you work with proprietary programs, you often have to contend with unnecessary or inefficient settings.
How to Choose the Best Open-Source CRM Platform for Your Business
There are a few factors to consider when choosing an open-source CRM for your company. Here are the key questions you’ll need to ask:
- How much does it cost? Open source doesn’t always mean free. However, with a healthy ROI, even a modest monthly fee can quickly repay itself.
- Does it have all the features you need? For example, you might need to find out if the CRM can hold enough profiles for your customer database. You may also want to consider whether you can automate all the customer contact processes you need to run your business.
- Is it secure enough? Almost nothing is worse for a company than a data breach. Therefore, you should consider inspecting the source code and reading developer forums to identify vulnerabilities.
- Can you easily bring other colleagues onto the platform? If you have a customer management team, you’ll need to make sure they can all access the CRM simultaneously.
- Can you easily export your client data? You might decide to switch platforms later on. If so, you’ll want the data in a format you can easily import into a new platform.
Once you’ve identified the essential components of your ideal CRM, you can choose the correct software for your business.
Two of the Best Open-Source CRM Platforms
Let’s now look at two of the best open-source CRMs you might consider using for your business.
If you’re looking for a free solution, you might want to check out Dolibarr. You can install this software on physical computers or host it on the Dolibarr servers. Therefore, the system is highly portable and suitable for large teams with multiple locations or remote workers.
Dolibarr enables you to use only the features you need, making it a highly-customizable option that doesn’t burden you with useless functions. Additionally, you can install external add-ons that further extend the platform’s functionality. As the program is open-source, you can also make your own tweaks to Dolibarr’s code if you have the expertise.
In addition, this software uses custom fields. As such, you can add anything that is missing from the interface.
For example, you can create quotes and proposals from drop-down menus to develop a unique offer for each client. Then you can send them by email within the platform, using pre-formatted templates. As customers respond, you can change the status of each proposal, so you know at all times what’s happening with each client.
Furthermore, Dolibarr enables you to manage many administrative aspects of your business, such as expense reports and recruitment. Therefore, the software can streamline multiple tasks and help your company run more efficiently.
Pricing: Dolibarr is free of charge. You can also try out an online demo before committing to the software.
If you’re looking for an affordable and communication-based CRM, you may want to take a look at Chatwoot. You can pay to host this software on cloud servers, or use your own hosting for free. As such, Chatwoot can suit businesses with all kinds of budgets.
Many companies have multiple forms of communication, such as email, social media messaging, and more. Having all of these disjointed inboxes can be unproductive and slow your team down.
However, with Chatwoot, you can combine all of your communication channels into a unified inbox. You can then reply from the same place, and get a quick overview of everything you need for your business to function.
As well as talking publicly to your customers, you can also send private messages to your team members. Furthermore, you can choose from canned responses to minimize time spent on communication.
Moreover, Chatwoot includes an integrated live chat feature. You can automate certain parts of necessary conversations, and connect with leads more quickly in real-time.
Finally, you can use the Chatwoot API to create your own communication channels. You can integrate it with any third-party solution and use webhooks in response to messages.
Pricing: Chatwoot has a free plan, with paid cloud-hosted plans starting at $19 per month.
Using an open-source Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform can help you streamline tasks such as nurturing leads and maintaining partnerships. By using open-source software such as Dolibarr or Chatwoot, you can also customize the default features to fit your needs.
Do you have any questions about using a customer relationship management platform? If so, let us know in the comments below!
Image source: Unsplash.