Open source customer relationship management (CRM) software is a customizable application that manages contacts and deals. It is often free to download but typically requires advanced technical ability to implement and use. We compared a variety of solutions for functionality, installation difficulty, technical support, and overall ease of use to arrive at the best six for small business.
Top 6 Open Source CRMs for 2020
|Open Source CRM||Best For|
(Best Overall) Businesses needing a robust, open-sourced application comparable to Salesforce or MS Dynamics
Companies that want a powerful, browser-based open source CRM with cloud hosting
Businesses wanting a desktop or web-based CRM with advanced workflow automation and website tracking
Enterprise ecommerce businesses needing to manage and track multiple locations and territories
Businesses wanting to incorporate operational management tools like human resources and production planning
Nonprofits needing a solution to manage member relationships, run events, and track contributions
Last updated on 04/02/2020
How We Evaluated Open Source CRMs
Open source CRM software is used by businesses wanting contact and lead management functionality that can be highly customized to their unique sales process and hosted on-premise to give them more control over their data. However, they can be complicated to implement, sometimes requiring in-house IT support. Therefore, it is important to consider an open source CRM’s technical requirements and functionality, as well as proprietary options.
The criteria we used to evaluate the best open source CRM include:
- License and support costs
- Comparable CRM features likes contact, deal, and opportunity management
- Workflow automation and reporting tools
- User interface and ease of implementation
- Training and documentation
- Customer satisfaction
Based on this criteria, SuiteCRM is the best overall open source CRM for small businesses due to its robust features and availability of hosting and technical support. SuiteCRM is free to download, supports an unlimited number of users, and is completely customizable, which adds to its value for sales teams of any size.
SuiteCRM: Best Overall Open Source CRM Software
What it costs: SuiteCRM is free to download. However, technical support plans with priority response cost between $1,856 (£1,500) for 15 hours and $6,188 (£5,000) for 50 hours. Hosted solutions are also available at a rate of $19 (£20) per user, per month.
What it does: SuiteCRM is a fully featured, open source CRM that includes lead and opportunity management, email campaigns, and workflow automation with no limits to the number of users.
Fully-featured CRM comparable to leading proprietary products like Salesforce
Requires a high degree of technical knowledge to install and implement
Gives you the ability to create custom graphical reports
Does not support iOS systems
Lets you set roles and security groups
Must be installed on a web server to support mobile usage
SuiteCRM includes lead and opportunity management, mass marketing email campaigns, workflow automation, unrestrained access to the API, and service ticket and case management. These features are comparable to proprietary CRM systems like Salesforce and MS Dynamics and can be either hosted in the cloud or implemented as an on-premise solution. It also comes with a real-time dashboard, giving you insights into multiple areas of your business.
Vtiger: Best Open Source CRM for Cloud Hosting
What it costs: Vtiger’s open source CRM edition is free to download with no limits on the number of users. Hosted versions range in price from $10 per user, per month to $30 per user, per month.
What it does: Vtiger can be deployed either as a downloadable on-premise solution that includes sales, marketing, and service or as a hosted, cloud-based product with even more functionality. It also includes less common functions such as quotes, billing, project management, and third-party integrations.
All versions of Vtiger include project management, Gantt charts, and progress charts, integrate with Google Apps, Outlook, DocuSign, QuickBooks, and Mailchimp, and work with most browsers as well as iOS and Android. However, those who sign up for its hosting plan also get product price books, out-of-the-box reports, profile scoring, visual pipeline management, and email tracking. There’s also marketing automation with list segmentation, mass email campaigns, and email tracking, among other features.
X2CRM: Best Open Source CRM for Workflow Automation
What it costs: X2CRM is free to download, but also available as a paid enterprise-level cloud version costing between $35 and $50 per user, per month or as an on-premise version for $380 and $405 per user, per year. One-time training costs $100 per hour, customization help costs $120 per hour, and development service costs $160 per hour.
What it does: X2CRM is open source CRM software for marketing, sales, and customer service featuring an easy-to-use workflow engine and process management tools for complicated automation as well as website insights.
X2CRM runs off a MySQL database, and works on Windows, iOS, and Linux operating systems and Apache and Nginx servers. It provides some of the most advanced process automation tools and can be set to trigger events based on your proximity to contacts. You can also manage products and quotations from within the CRM system and generate real-time alerts, such as when a high-priority contact is on your website. Administrators can also generate forms, add and edit drop-down menus, and customize fields with very little technical skill.
OroCRM: Best Open Source CRM for Ecommerce Companies
What it costs: OroCRM’s Community edition is free to download, but it also offers paid-hosted enterprise levels. Enterprise costs $35,000 per year or about $117 per user, per month.
What it does: OroCRM supports order creation, abandoned cart management, and analytics dashboards along with contact and opportunity management. It also integrates with several ecommerce-focused applications.
OroCRM’s Community edition is its free open source product that you can download onto Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems. It includes a visual pipeline management tool as well as ecommerce integrations, like the Magento Abandoned Cart extension to create specific alerts or Zendesk to enhance your customer service. The Community edition, however, does not include Outlook integration or sales and territory management.
Odoo: Best Open Source CRM for Business Operations
What it costs: Odoo is free to download and also offers a dedicated cloud-hosted version based on users and storage. Apps added to the basic software cost between $12 and $96 per month extra. Odoo offers configuration, data importing, on-site consulting, and customization support with pricing from $1,800 per year.
What it does: Odoo is an on-premise or hosted open source CRM solution that you tailor to your specific needs with optional add-ons like sales, human resources, inventory management, production planning, accounting and more.
Odoo’s Community edition is free and is compatible with Windows and Linux operating systems. It offers visual Kanban lead management and automatic follow-ups. It also includes optional tools you can add on to help businesses manage additional operations such as human resources, inventory management, light manufacturing, ecommerce tools, a website builder, and point-of-sale functionality.
CiviCRM: Best Open Source CRM for Nonprofits
What it costs: CiviCRM is completely free to download and use. However, the website does offer an option to donate funds of any value towards its upkeep on a one-time basis or make recurring payments between $20 and $100 per month as a supporting member.
What it does: CiviCRM is a free, open source CRM for nonprofits with commonly found CRM features along with tools to run events, track contributions, and manage memberships.
CiviCRM includes features found in most types of CRM on the market, such as email marketing, business app integrations, and reporting tools. However, it also features a donation tracker and tools for running events, case management tools to track sequential or one-off interactions with members and donors, and advocacy campaigns features that allow organizations to create outreach material and then track engagement to identify future opportunities.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do open source & proprietary software differ?
With open source software, the source code used to change the software is freely available online and shareable. The source code can then be modified by programmers. Proprietary software is developed by a person or company (e.g., CRM vendor) that exclusively controls and maintains it. For this reason, open source is much more flexible and customizable.
What is an on-premise CRM solution?
Also referred to as on-site, on-premise means a company hosts CRM software on their own server versus in the cloud (online, where the vendor hosts the software). This solution provides complete control over the company’s data and is more customizable than cloud CRMs.
Open source CRMs are a great choice for businesses that want a low-cost or free solution that’s completely customizable. It’s also a good solution for companies that prefer to host a CRM on their own server for optimal control over the data it contains. Open source CRMs can require a bit more technical setup in the beginning, but once it’s up and running, it works the same as its costlier proprietary counterparts.