Linux Means Business – Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems – Best Free Software

Best Open Source Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems

This section covers CRM solutions, software that lets firms manage business relationships and the data and information associated with them. It is essential for a business to share information efficiently and effectively, else the business may lose sales. CRM software is the only solution that can help business to communicate with prospects or customers correctly.

Our three recommendations are a good fit whatever the size and structure of the organisation.

Customer Relationship Management - Best Open Source Software

Gold medal awardOdoo (formerly OpenERP) is a suite of open-source business apps written in Python. The main Odoo Apps include an Open Source CRM, Website Builder, eCommerce, Warehouse Management, Project Management, Billing & Accounting, Point of Sale, Human Resources, Marketing, Manufacturing, Purchase Management, and more.
License: GNU Lesser General Public License, Version 3
Silver medal awardSuiteCRM bills itself as a fully featured open source CRM, as powerful as Salesforce and Dynamics. It's a fork of SugarCRM.

SuiteCRM is a two time winner of the BOSSIE Award for best open source CRM.
License: Affero General Public License
Bronze medal awardVtiger enables sales, support, and marketing teams to organize and collaborate to measurably improve customer experiences and business outcomes. Vtiger CRM also offers email, inventory, project management, and other tools, providing a comprehensive business management suite. It's available for Linux, Mac and Windows. Besides the self-hosted open source solutions, there are are also cloud editions with additional functionality available at reasonable cost.
License: Vtiger Public License 1.1, based on the Mozilla Public License

About CRM

For a profit-making business to be successful, the customer must rank as the most important part of the chain. After all, without customers the business would not even exist.

In simple terms, CRM represents the way an organisation keeps track with its existing and potential future customers. CRM software offers the means to support these processes. This type of software stores information about customers. But its functionality far extends that of say a traditional database. It also allows companies to measure and control contacts with customers, to provide the flexibility to get the right information to the right individual at the right time.

Companies create vast amounts of data. Every contact with a customer is data. This data may be stored physically on a notepad or laptop, or simply retained in an individual’s mind. However, there’s the possibility this information may be lost or forgotten, with the risk that a sales lead is not followed through. And staff move on, taking their knowledge and insights with them. CRM reduces the risk of data bleed. And it takes customer data and turns it into useful, actionable insight that can transform your business.

CRM goes way beyond customers, offering the ability to manage your relationships with a wide range of contacts, colleagues, service users, suppliers, as well as customers.

CRM typically provides functionality:

  • File and content sharing
  • Sales forecasting
  • Instant messaging between employees
  • Email integration
  • Dashboard-based analytics

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