Open source CRM is customizable software that manages contacts and deals. It is often free to download but typically requires technical savvy to implement and utilize. We compared twenty 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. Freshsales is a low-cost, highly customizable, proprietary CRM alternative that provides many of the same benefits as an open source CRM, but does not require an IT degree to implement and is always up to date. You can try it for free for 30 days.
Top 6 Open Source CRMs for 2018
|SuiteCRM||(Overall Best) Businesses that need a robust, open-sourced desktop application comparable to Salesforce or MS Dynamics|
|Vtiger||Businesses that want a robust, browser-based open source CRM with cloud hosting|
|X2CRM||Business owners who want a desktop or web-based CRM with advanced workflow automation and website tracking|
|OroCRM||Ecommerce businesses that need a CRM to track things like abandoned carts|
|Odoo CRM||Businesses wanting to incorporate operational management tools like human resources and production planning in their CRM|
|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 that want customizable contact and lead management software without ongoing subscription costs or that want an on-premise solution offering more control over their data. However, they are complicated to implement and can still cost businesses in terms of 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 to see if a product required a licensing fee, offered paid hosting, or if there were any costs related to ongoing technical support
- Contact Management – We compared how easy it is to create, edit, and search for contacts as well as how each tool worked with email, phones calls, and other tasks
- Deal and Opportunity Management – We looked into how each tool tracked a deal’s pipeline stage, what data related to the deal was viewable, and how each tool helped prioritize follow-up activities
- 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 as well as their sales pipelines
- User Interface and User Experience – We compared the overall look and feel of each product’s user interface in terms of appearance, navigation, and data at a glance
- Deployment and Overall Ease of Implementation – We looked at what operating systems are supported, software prerequisites, and ease of installation
- Training and Documentation – We looked at each tool’s available training resources such as user guides, community forums, and training webinars
- Customer Satisfaction – We read through extensive product reviews and compared technical support offerings
“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
Based on this 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 setup without it can be confusing for people who are not technically savvy. While SuiteCRM is a feature-rich and powerful tool for businesses of any size, there may be a better, and cheaper, 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 on-going technical support, you should consider Freshsales. The tool is just as powerful and customizable as an open source CRM, but includes technical support at a fraction of the cost. They have a free version as well as a free trial for all of its paid tiers. Check them out today.
Best Overall Open Source CRM Software: SuiteCRM
SuiteCRM is a fully-featured, open source CRM with features including 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 Salesforce, but also have a strong technical understanding.
SuiteCRM is free to download. You can add annual support plans, costing between £1,500 (about $1,970) and £5,000 (about $6,570) depending on the number of service hours selected. These plans include access to technical support and priority response. Hosted solutions are also available at a rate of £15 (about $20) 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 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 features, as they compare to other open source CRM software, 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 and Analytics
SuiteCRM comes with a real-time dashboard, giving you insights into multiple areas of your business such as pipeline value, open invoices, or 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 and 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 terms of pound sterling rather than US dollar, which may not make it a fit for businesses that need technical support and don’t want to worry about currency conversions. If this 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. You can read more user reviews on our SuiteCRM Reviews page.
Where to Find SuiteCRM
SuiteCRM is a very robust tool and is one of the largest players in the open source CRM marketplace. Visit their website to download a copy of the latest version of their open source product or schedule a live demo today.
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 with a paid plan. Its features include sales, marketing, and service, while also including 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 additional features not available in the open source version.
Vtiger Tiered Features
|Pricing||Free||$10 per user per month||$20 per user per month||$30 per user per month|
|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.
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. 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. 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.
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 robust and offers much of the advanced functionality of SuiteCRM. However, the open source version is not as feature-rich. For example, Vtiger’s 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. You can find additional information about Vtiger as well as more reviews on our Vtiger Review page.
Where to Find Vtiger
Vtiger is a powerful and user-friendly open source CRM for businesses that want the flexibility and benefits of an open source product, but also want the technical support of a hosted solution. You can download the free community version, or take advantage of their free 15-day trial of its cloud version, by visiting their website today.
Best Open Source CRM Software for Workflow Automation: X2CRM
X2CRM is open source CRM software for marketing, sales, and customer service featuring easy to use workflow engine and process management tools capable of handling complicated automation processes as well as website insights. It is offered as an on-premise desktop application, a browser-based cloud solution for mobile access, 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, help with customization costs $120 per hour, and configuration 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. This plan requires a minimum of three users.
- Enterprise Dedicated Private Server – Your data is hosted on a dedicated server and costs $48 per user per month for 500,000 records. This plan requires a minimum of 10 users.
- Enterprise On-Premise Standard Support – Your data, up to 100,000 records, is hosted on servers you maintain in-house but comes with technical support for $308 per user per year. X2CRM requires a 10-user minimum for this service.
- Enterprise On-Premise Premium Support – Your data, up to 100,000 records, is hosted on servers you maintain in-house but comes with technical support for $308 per user per year. X2CRM requires a 10-user minimum for this service.
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’s features, as they compare to other open source CRM tools, are as follows:
Contact, Activity, & Opportunity Management
X2CRM includes common CRM features like account and contact management. It also has more advanced features such as giving the user the ability to also 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 with regards to 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 by drag-and-drop elements such as “action” and “trigger,” and X2CRM does the rest for them. X2CRM 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 and Analytics
X2CRM includes a highly customizable dashboard that packs a ton of information into a single screen. In fact, it can be argued that X2CRM 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 and 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
X2CRM does not include a contracts module or project management tools, as found in SuiteCRM. Its user interface is also not as streamlined as SuiteCRM or Vtiger, so it comes up short in terms of modern aesthetic. It does, however, include themes, giving users the ability to tweak its appearance to better serve their needs.
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 who aren’t as technically skilled may want to consider Freshsales as an alternative.
Where to Find X2CRM
X2CRM offers advanced automation, website tracking, and graphical widgets that you can use to help accelerate your sales and marketing efforts. X2CRM offers a free trial of its hosted services. You can also experience X2CRM by taking advantage of its free live demo available on its website.
Best Open Source CRM Software for Ecommerce Companies: OroCRM
OroCRM is designed for organizations with only a few hundred customers. It includes contact management, opportunity management, and data analytics, as well as integrations with a variety of third-party applications focused on ecommerce. Therefore, it is a good choice for businesses that need a CRM to manage their contact and ecommerce platforms.
OroCRM is free to download, but also offers paid hosted enterprise-level versions. OroCRM’s enterprise edition is $21,240 for 10 users over a three-year period, or $59 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 that you can download onto Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems. OroCRM includes a visual pipeline management tool as well as ecommerce integrations, like the Magneto 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 $21,240 for 10 users over a three-year period, or $59 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 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 and therefore may not be the best for businesses that need to access their CRM system when 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. You can read more reviews on our OroCRM Review Page.
Where to Find OroCRM
Both editions of OroCRM provide a lot of benefits to businesses that want a CRM to help them better manage their ecommerce platforms. You can learn more about OroCRM or schedule a personalized demo by visiting their website.
Best Open Source CRM Software for HR and Manufacturing: Odoo CRM
Odoo is an on-premise or hosted open source CRM solution that is free to download and includes modules designed to help manage sales as well as operations. These operational features include human resources, inventory management, production planning, and point-of-sale tools. It is best then for retail, manufacturing, or businesses that want a single product to manage all aspects of their business operations.
Odoo is free to download, but also offers a paid cloud-hosted version starting at $20 per month. Modules 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 $2,700 and $18,750 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 $2,700 for new customers and $3,600 for returning customers
- Standard – Includes 50 hours of support for all modules, help with data import assistance and development, and costs $5,250 for new customers and $7,000 for returning customers
- Custom – Includes 100 hours of support for all modules, data import assistance, development, and customizations, and costs $9,375 for new customers and $12,500 for returning customers
- Pro – Includes 200 hours of support for all modules, data import assistance, development, advanced customizations, and costs $18,750 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 suitable for Windows or 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. These more advanced features may be underutilized by small business and therefore cost a business more in terms of IT maintenance than they benefit. For this reason, Odoo is best for businesses in either retail or manufacturing industries.
The Enterprise Edition starts at a cost of $20 per users 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 or modules they intend to use with a la carte pricing. For example, the CRM app costs an additional $24 per month, while the 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 then is 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, and the Enterprise’s module costs and service fees can add up quickly. If you want a CRM with a visual pipeline tool, scheduling, and includes 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. You can read more user reviews on our Odoo Review page.
Where to Find Odoo
Odoo is a full-featured, open source CRM and ERP solution that gives you the ability to manage your entire business within a single software program. You can download the Community edition for free or sign up for a personalized demo, or take advantage of their 15-day free trial by visiting Odoo’s website today.
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. Zurmo differs from other products by presenting users with virtual badges, trophies, and social connection 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 less expensive than SuiteCRM.
Zurmo includes contact management, a 360-view of the customer, lead, task, and opportunity management, similar to SuiteCRM, but 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”:
Contact, Activity, and 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. Zurmo 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 auto-responders 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 and 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.
Technical Requirements and Overall Ease of Use
Zurmo is an on-premise solution running on Windows and Linux operating systems and is built on Yii/JQuery. While there is a community forum and extensive documentation regarding how to use and configure the tool, it is one of the more complicated installations compared to OroCRM. Therefore, Zurmo is best for teams with significant in-house technical support or technical background.
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.
What Users Think About Zurmo
Users of Zurmo give the tool high marks in terms of value for the money, but they give Zurmo an average rating for ease of use and functionality. They have said the tool is best for a small to medium-sized B2B selling model with a long sales cycle. You can read more about Zurmo on our Zurmo Review page.
Where to Find Zurmo
Zurmo was designed as a tool to help manage deals as well as to train and develop salespeople by providing them with positive reinforcement. The product itself relies on a community of developers who are always looking for ways to improve the sales process. You can download the community version of Zurmo for free or schedule a live demo by visiting their website.
Best Free Hosted Proprietary Software Alternatives
|Groups of any size that want a contact management tool but don’t need analytics|
|Teams of three or less that want to integrate their CRM with LinkedIn|
|Teams of two or less that want a CRM that can manage projects as well as contacts|
SuiteCRM is the overall best open source CRM software for sales teams, with robust features including account management, product and project management, as well as email marketing, invoicing and workflow automation. With more than four million users around the world and supported by a community of more than 100,000 members, 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.