Open source customer relationship management (CRM) software is customizable software that manages contacts and deals. It is often free to download but typically requires technical ability to implement and use. We compared 20 programs for basic functionality, installation difficulty, technical support, and overall ease of use to arrive at the best six for small business.
While an open source CRM is often low cost and customizable, they can be overly-complicated. Insightly is an easy-to-use, customizable CRM that provides many of the same benefits as an open source CRM, but does not require an IT degree or coding knowledge. Insightly is always up to date and has important processes automated so you can focus less on keeping your CRM current and more on closing more sales. Click here to start for free.
Top 6 Open Source CRMs for 2019
|Open Source CRM||Best For|
|SuiteCRM||(Best Overall) Businesses needing a robust, open-sourced application comparable to Salesforce or MS Dynamics|
|Vtiger||Companies that want a powerful, browser-based open source CRM with cloud hosting|
|X2CRM||Businesses wanting a desktop or web-based CRM with advanced workflow automation and website tracking|
|OroCRM||Enterprise ecommerce businesses needing to manage and track multiple locations and territories|
|Odoo||Businesses wanting to incorporate operational management tools like human resources and production planning|
|Zurmo||Teams wanting to utilize social gaming as a sales motivation component within their CRM|
How We Evaluated Open Source CRMs
Open source CRMs are used by businesses wanting both customizable contact and lead management software and an on-premise solution for 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: We reviewed free and paid plans, considering licensing fees, hosting costs, and paid ongoing technical support options.
- Contact management: A CRM’s contacts should be searchable, easy to create, and include functions for email, phone calls, and other tasks.
- Deal and opportunity management: Each tool’s pipeline deal tracking, viewable deal data, and follow-up activities should be intuitive but also customizable,
- Workflow automation: We reviewed each tool’s methodology regarding the sales process, follow-up tasks, and other reminders.
- Reporting tools: We examined what data is available to help sales managers better monitor their teams and their sales pipelines.
- User interface and experience: Ease of use is important for adoption, so we compared the overall look and feel of each product’s user interface in terms of appearance, navigation, and data at a glance.
- Ease of implementation: We looked at which operating systems are supported, software prerequisites, and ease of installation.
- Training and documentation: The CRM should be supported with training resources such as user guides, community forums, and training webinars.
- Customer satisfaction: We read user reviews to determine overall customer happiness with each vendor.
Based on these criteria, we determined that SuiteCRM is the overall best open source CRM for sales teams due to its robust features and availability of hosting and technical support. However, technical support comes at a significant cost, and set up without it can be confusing for people who are not technical. While SuiteCRM is a feature-rich and powerful tool for businesses of any size, there may be a better, less expensive solution for your specific needs.
If you don’t want the hassle of maintaining a server for your CRM in-house or want the security of ongoing technical support, you should consider Insightly. The tool is just as powerful and customizable as an open source CRM, but includes technical support at a fraction of the cost.
Best Overall Open Source CRM Software: SuiteCRM
SuiteCRM is a fully-featured, open source CRM that includes lead and opportunity management, email campaigns, and workflow automation. It is free to download and there are no limits to the number of users, making SuiteCRM a great solution for sales teams that want a customizable product as powerful as an industry-leading but proprietary CRM like Salesforce, but also have a strong technical understanding.
SuiteCRM is free to download. Technical support plans with priority response are available: 15 hours for $1,990 (£1,500), 30 hours for $3,980 (£3,000), and 50 hours for $6,635 (£5,000). Hosted solutions are also available at a rate of $20 (£15) per user, per month.
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 Salesforce and MS Dynamics, with a similar look and feel, and the tool can be either hosted in the cloud or implemented as an on-premise solution.
SuiteCRM’s primary features are as follows:
Contact, Activity & Opportunity Management
SuiteCRM offers a robust number of tools to help you manage your contacts and track your deals, including lead and opportunity management, calendars, document attachments, integrated email and email logging, quote management, product lists, project management, and invoicing. In addition, SuiteCRM lets you set roles and security groups.
SuiteCRM includes a workflow module that allows you to create triggers that determine if an automated action needs to occur. While this module is good, X2CRM offers an even more powerful workflow builder.
Reporting & Analytics
SuiteCRM comes with a real-time dashboard, giving you insights into multiple areas of your business such as pipeline value, open invoices, and project success. It also gives you the ability to create your own custom reports, which include pie charts and graphs as well as tabulated data that can be loaded into your dashboard.
Technical Requirements & Overall Ease of Use
SuiteCRM requires a high degree of technical knowledge to install and implement. The on-premise version of SuiteCRM can be installed on either Linux or Windows with PHP servers, and must also be installed on a web server in order to take advantage of SuiteCRM’s mobile features. If you do not have a web server, but still want a customizable CRM with mobile access, you may want to consider low-cost proprietary software like Freshsales.
What SuiteCRM Is Missing
SuiteCRM can be used on either Linux or Windows and is therefore not a fit for teams using Apple iOS systems. SuiteCRM’s hosting and service plans are also priced in pound sterling rather than U.S. dollars, which may not make it a fit for businesses that need technical support and don’t want to worry about currency conversions. Therefore, if domestic support is important to you, check out Freshsales.
What Users Think About SuiteCRM
Users of SuiteCRM say that the tool is very robust and used favorable terms when comparing it to Salesforce. They like the user interface and the flexibility of an open source platform but did say that installation can be difficult for people who do not have a technical background.
Best Open Source CRM Software for Cloud Hosting: Vtiger
Vtiger is a browser-based, open source CRM that can be deployed either as a downloadable, on-premise solution or hosted in the cloud starting at $10 per user, per month. It includes sales, marketing, and service, as well as less common functions such as quotes, billing, project management, and third-party integrations. While there is an on-premise solution, Vtiger is really best for small businesses looking for hosted, open-source CRM software.
Vtiger’s open source CRM edition is free to download with no limits on the number of users. Like SuiteCRM, there are also hosted versions, which range in price from $10 per user, per month to $30 per user, per month. These cloud-based editions include many additional features not available in the open source version.
Vtiger Tiered Features
|Contacts, Organization, Deal, and Opportunity Management|
|Products and Price Books|
|Multiple Sales Pipelines|
|Automated Case Management|
Vtiger 7 Open Source
Vtiger 7’s Open Source version is free to download, though users still have the IT cost of setup and maintaining the product on their own servers. The Open Source has the same features as the subscription Starter plan, but opportunities are displayed in a tabular list rather than in a Kanban-style visual pipeline. It also includes project management, Gantt charts, and progress charts, and integrates with Google Apps, Outlook, DocuSign, QuickBooks, and Mailchimp.
It is, however, missing a products catalog, a knowledge base, and invoice creation—all features found in SuiteCRM. Therefore, the Open Source, on-premise solution is best for teams that do not require a visual pipeline management tool, invoicing, or sales forecasting. It is also best for teams that do not wish to pay a monthly subscription for a cloud-hosted solution.
Vtiger’s Starter plan costs $10 per user, per month. It includes contacts, organization, and lead management as well as 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.
The Starter plan does not include digital document signing, shopping carts, integration with QuickBooks, sales orders, or payment tracking, which are features found in the Professional plan. As a result, the Starter plan is best for sales teams looking for a hosted CRM solution and teams with a separate accounting tool. It is also best for sales teams that do not need an ecommerce solution.
The Professional Plan costs $20 per user, per month and includes shopping carts, sales orders, and payment tracking. It also includes multiple pipelines, round-robin lead assignment from web forms, sales pipeline forecasts, sales insights, more custom reports, and assignment rules. It also adds autoresponder, and SMS and text campaigns to marketing and social integration with Twitter, allowing interactions with leads and contacts.
The Professional plan, however, does not include case management functionality. The Professional plan, therefore, is best for sales teams with more than one sales process in need of a hosted solution. It is also best for teams that do not require a CRM with customer service, help desk, or support ticket functionality.
Vtiger’s All-In-One plan costs $30 per user, per month and combines Vtiger’s sales CRM Professional Plan with their help desk software. This combination adds automated case routing, customer portal, satisfaction surveys, and real-time insights to the functionality of the Professional plan. The Twitter integration adds lead and case capture to round out the social media component.
This combination makes the All-In-One plan best for businesses that want to consolidate sales and service management into a single CRM tool. Vtiger’s help desk software is only available for teams that sign up for a cloud-hosted solution.
What Vtiger Is Missing
Vtiger’s cloud version is very powerful, offering much of the advanced functionality of SuiteCRM. However, the Open Source version is not as feature-rich as Odoo, which has dozens of add-on apps for a wide range of business uses. For example, the Open Source edition lacks email marketing, phone call recording, visual pipeline, advanced reporting, and charts. If you’re looking for something more visual, check out Pipedrive.
What Users Think About Vtiger
Users of Vtiger report the tool is simple to implement and like its marketplace of integrations with other products, as well as the fact that it offers functional apps that work with iOS and Android. Few bugs with the software have been reported, though users say it does not work as well on Thunderbird browsers as it does on other browsers.
Best Open Source CRM Software for Workflow Automation: X2CRM
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. It is offered a free on-premise desktop application, a browser-based cloud solution for mobile access starting at $35 per month, or a hybrid of the two. X2CRM is best for groups that want a CRM that can create complex automated sales processes.
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.
The cost of X2CRM’s paid enterprise plans are broken out as follows:
- Enterprise Virtual Private Server: Your data is hosted on a shared server, though your data is segmented from others and costs $35 per user, per month for 50,000 records with a three-user minimum.
- Enterprise Dedicated Private Server: Your data is hosted on a dedicated server and costs $50 per user, per month for 500,000 records with a 10-user minimum.
- Enterprise On-Premise Support: Your data is hosted on servers you maintain in-house but comes with technical support for $380 per user, per year with a 10-user minimum.
X2CRM includes a RESTful-API, which you can build into your website and which works with web servers, giving you mobile access whether you choose to go with the on-premise open source solution or take advantage of the paid enterprise support plans. The tool provides some of the most advanced process automation tools, gives you the ability to track website visitors, and can be set to track your location and trigger events based on your proximity to contacts.
X2CRM include the following main features:
Contact, Activity & Opportunity Management
X2CRM includes common CRM features like account and contact management. One of its advanced features gives the user the ability to manage their products and quotations within the CRM system, like those found in SuiteCRM. The tool has a RESTful-API that can be built into your website, giving you additional insights including how contacts are behaving on your website and what pages are being visited.
X2CRM provides users with an object-based workflow builder. Users can automate their processes with drag-and-drop elements such as “action” and “trigger,” and the software does the rest for them. It allows you to automate any activity in your sales process, making its automation more robust than Vtiger’s. You can also set up real-time alerts, such as when a high-priority contact is on your website.
Reporting & Analytics
X2CRM includes a highly customizable dashboard that packs a ton of information onto a single screen. In fact, it can be argued that it gives users the option of providing too much information on a single screen. While SuiteCRM treats contacts and opportunities as separate modules, X2CRM allows you to see visual representations of where each contact fits in your sales process, all at a glance.
Technical Requirements & Overall Ease of Use
X2CRM offers an in-app development tool that gives administrators the ability to generate forms, add and edit drop-down menus, and customize fields with very little technical skill. Administrators can also give menus as well as layouts a different look and feel depending on the role of a particular user. X2CRM runs off a MySQL database and works on Windows, iOS, and Linux operating systems and Apache and Nginx servers.
What X2CRM Is Missing
What Users Think About X2CRM
Users of X2CRM report that the tool is fast and extremely easy to use. The software includes an import tool, but users report the template is very finicky, prone to bugs, and best used only with care. Therefore, those who want to use intelligent workflows with a customizable CRM but who aren’t as technically skilled may want to consider Freshsales as an alternative.
Best Open Source CRM Software for Enterprise Ecommerce Companies: OroCRM
OroCRM’s free and paid plan ($35,000 per year for 25 users) offer built-in ecommerce integration functions, including order creation, abandoned cart, and analytics dashboards. Both include contact and opportunity management, and integrations with ecommerce-focused applications. The Enterprise edition’s ability to manage and track different business territories makes it a great choice for large ecommerce companies managing multiple locations.
OroCRM’s Community edition is free to download but also offers paid-hosted enterprise levels. Enterprise costs $35,000 per year or about $117 per user, per month. This makes the Enterprise plan significantly more expensive than SuiteCRM, but does include native integration with several ecommerce platforms.
OroCRM Tiered Features
(on-premise open source)
|Account and Contact Management|
|Leads and Opportunities Management|
|Contact Import and Export|
|Reports and Performance Management|
|Email Campaign Management|
|Website Behavior Tracking|
|REST and SOAP API|
|Sales Territory Management|
|Email and Phone Customer Support|
OroCRM’s Community edition is its free open source product 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.
OroCRM’s Community edition also does not include technical support. The Community edition is, therefore, a great option for technically-savvy ecommerce businesses that want the high degree of security and control that comes with maintaining data with an on-premise solution.
The Enterprise plan costs $35,000 for 25 users or $117 per user, per month. This plan includes access to all the features of the free Community edition, but also provides teams with the ability to manage sales territories, multiple organizations, and handle multiple currencies. The Enterprise plan also comes with Outlook integration and technical support.
The Enterprise plan is best for organizations that want to manage and measure distinct business units or multiple organizations within a single CRM system. It is also a good plan for businesses that would like additional technical support or help integrating the tool with their Magneto, WooCommerce, or PrestaShop platforms
What OroCRM Is Missing
OroCRM’s user interface is designed with mobile responsive design. However, it does not offer a mobile app like SuiteCRM and X2CRM, and therefore may not be the best for businesses that need to access their CRM system in the field. If you’re a small business looking for a CRM featuring highly customizable sales processes and a visual pipeline, but are also considering a hosted solution, consider Pipedrive as a lower-cost alternative.
What Users Think About OroCRM
Users of OroCRM have reported that the tool is very complex and can be overwhelming to set up if you do not have a strong technical background. They did say the data filtering provided in the tool is very effective, and benefits quickly outweigh the costs of learning how to use the program.
Best Open Source CRM Software for Business Operations: Odoo
Odoo is an on-premise or hosted open source CRM solution that is free forever with unlimited users if using in the cloud. Paid add-on apps starting at $12 per month include sales, human resources, inventory management, production planning, accounting, and more. It is best then for retail, manufacturing, and businesses that want a single product to manage all aspects of their business operations.
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 $72 per month extra. Odoo offers configuration, data importing, on-site consulting, and customization support for $2,520 and $17,500 for 25 to 200 hours of support, respectively.
Odoo’s support bundles, also known as their success plans, are broken out as follows:
- Basic: Includes 25 hours of support for all modules except inventory, manufacturing, and accounting, and costs $2,250 for new customers and $3,600 for returning customers.
- Standard: Includes 50 hours of support for all modules, and help with data import assistance and development, and costs $4,900 for new customers and $7,000 for returning customers.
- Custom: Includes 100 hours of support for all modules, data import assistance, development, and customization, and costs $8,750 for new customers and $12,500 for returning customers.
- Pro: Includes 200 hours of support for all modules, data import assistance, development, and advanced customizations, and costs $17,500 for new customers and $25,000 for returning customers.
Odoo Tiered Features
(on-premise, open source)
(cloud or on-premise)
|Invoicing and Payments|
|Contact and Account Management|
|Opportunity and Deal Tracking|
|eCommerce Integration and Point of Sale Tools|
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 to help businesses manage additional operations such as human resources, inventory management, light manufacturing, ecommerce tools like those also found in OroCRM, a website builder, and point-of-sale tools, but does not include sales forecasting.
This makes Odoo the most feature-rich CRM out of all the products we compared, but its service plans also make it potentially the most expensive. To see what other CRM functionality is out, visit our top CRM features article. The more advanced features may be underused by small business and therefore cost a business more in IT maintenance than the benefit provided. For this reason, Odoo is best for businesses in either retail or manufacturing.
The Enterprise Edition starts at $20 per user, per month for self-service implementation either as a cloud-hosted solution or on-premise solution. The Enterprise edition also gives users the option to purchase only the apps they intend to use with a la carte pricing. For example, the CRM app costs an additional $24 per month, while the voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) integration costs $36.
The Enterprise Edition also provides users with mobile access, email integration, sales forecasting, notification of upgrades as they become available, and access to 24-hour basic functional and debugging support by email or live chat, Monday through Friday. The Enterprise plan is therefore best for teams that want to only pay for the modules they want to use, need mobile access, or want access to technical support.
What Odoo Is Missing
There is very little missing in Odoo’s Enterprise version. However, the Community edition does not include mobile access, like SuiteCRM does, or built-in appointment scheduling—these apps and service fees can add up quickly. Therefore, if you want a CRM with a visual pipeline tool, scheduling, and technical support, Pipedrive is a great lower cost, proprietary software alternative.
What Users Think About Odoo
Odoo users report the tool makes their work easier and more efficient, but say it is overkill for businesses with only a small set of requirements. As Odoo grows and adds more features, users report it has only made the product more resource intensive, but love the fact that it supports integrations with Google Analytics right out of the box.
“My organization chose to use an open source CRM initially for the price point, as I needed a low-cost solution that matched the needs of my business perfectly. The drawback is that the paid options are pretty expensive for a small business. That said, I think their inbound marketing and tracking tools are excellent and well worth the money.”
– Mary Clare Bland, Founder, Bespoke Digital Solutions
Best Open Source CRM Software for Gamification & Sales Motivation: Zurmo
Zurmo is an open source CRM application that includes social gaming as a way of motivating salespeople to perform at their best while still managing their contact relationships. Plans start at $35 per user, per month. It differs from other products by presenting users with virtual badges, trophies, and social connections as a way to help keep them motivated to achieve. For this reason, Zurmo is best for managers who want to use fun as a motivational sales tool.
Zurmo offers a free download as well as a Commercial edition that includes additional features and technical support. While Zurmo does not publish their pricing online for the Commercial edition, it is estimated to cost between $35 and $40 per month for a team of five users, making it less expensive than SuiteCRM.
Zurmo includes contact management, a 360-view of the customer, lead, task, and opportunity management, similar to SuiteCRM, but which also includes social gamification, which is a feature unique to Zurmo. Users are given badges as they achieve certain tasks, like creating a new lead or issuing a quote, and have the opportunity to “level up.”
Zurmo includes the following main features:
Contact, Activity & Opportunity Management
Zurmo provides a 360-degree view of contact details and offers an activity roll-up feature that shows activities and related records. Deals and opportunities can be monitored and users can set custom fields and dependent drop-downs. It also gives businesses the ability to create product catalogs that can be associated with opportunities and accounts.
Zurmo includes web forms that can be embedded in your website to help you capture leads directly in your CRM and email marketing campaigns, and that can be sent directly from the tool. You can also schedule autoresponders or drip emails based on event triggers. Like X2CRM, Zurmo offers a drag-and-drop workflow wizard and real-time notifications, although its workflow wizard is not as robust.
Reporting & Analytics
Zurmo lets you report on virtually any set of records contained within the database and includes drag-and-drop filters. You can customize built-in reports, and charting includes 3D graphs as well as donut, pie, and bar charts. Reportable items include leads, opportunities, products, projects, tasks, email messages, and more.
Technical Requirements & Overall Ease of Use
Zurmo, an on-premise solution running on Windows and Linux operating systems, is built on Yii and jQuery. There is a community forum and extensive documentation regarding how to use and configure the tool. The out-of-the-box software is easy to set up and use right away. The user interface is clean and performing basic functions was intuitive.
What Zurmo Is Missing
Zurmo does not include project management or invoicing, making its functionality less robust than SuiteCRM, nor does it offer a cloud-based hosted solution. It also does not offer the same extensive integrations with third-party apps as Vtiger or OroCRM do. It is best then for teams that may not need a broad range of features, but are interested in social gaming as a motivational strategy for their sales team.
What Users Think About Zurmo
Users of Zurmo give the tool high marks in terms of value for the money, but just an average rating for ease of use and functionality. They have said the tool is best for a small to medium-sized business-to-business (B2B) selling model with a long sales cycle.
Best Free Hosted Proprietary Software Alternatives
|Freshsales||Groups of any size that want a contact management tool but don’t need analytics|
|Zoho CRM||Teams of three or less that want to integrate their CRM with LinkedIn|
|Insightly||Teams of two or less that want a CRM that can manage projects as well as contacts|
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. To see reviews on the best CRM, visit our best CRM software providers article.
What is an on-premise CRM solution?
Also referred to as on-site, on-premise means a company hosts the CRM software on their own server, versus a cloud (online) CRM where the vendor hosts the software. This solution provides complete control over the company’s data and is more customizable than cloud CRMs.
SuiteCRM is the overall best open source CRM software for sales teams; it has robust features including account management, product and project management, email marketing, invoicing, and workflow automation. SuiteCRM gives you powerful tools you can further customize to fit the needs of your unique business.
All those features and customization require ongoing IT support. If you outsource your IT or don’t want the hassle of maintaining a server for your CRM in-house, consider Freshsales. Freshsales offers great functionality, good customizations, and a risk-free 30-day trial so you can try it out before you buy.