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Free CRM Software: What's really free?

One of the nicest words a small business owner with limited time, money and resources wants to hear is free.

It also helps when free equates to something as important as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software and does not mean free for a limited time period or other conditions covered in fine print.

Small Business CRM Learning Topics:

CRM Software: Money vs. Time

Technically, nothing in this world is really free. To some degree, there is typically some time requirement involved. As anyone in business knows. time is money. From this perspective, how do you productively evaluate a free small business offer? Here are 5 tips for evaluating free offers from a cost-benefit perspective.

  1. What is free? | The first thing to ask yourself is what is it that is being offered for free? Is it a complete small business solution or a partial one that will ultimately require a follow on investment? Is it free for a trial period only or long term? If technical support is needed, is it free or an additional charge?

    In terms of CRM Software, Insightly offers a small business plan that can be used for free, long term and includes free support.

  2. Do I need it? | Just because it's free doesn't necessarily mean your small business needs it. For a need to exist, there must be a basis for improving outcomes.

    In the case of CRM, this means that you have a reason to believe that your small business might benefit from improving the way that it currently manages business relationships. To learn more about how CRM Software might productively address this, read Can CRM Software Increase Sales?

  3. Why do I need it? | Once you know what is free and conclude that it has something of value to offer your small business, the next thing to do is to quantify why you need it.

    To assess the value of a free CRM Software offer, compare how you are managing relationships now against the features and benefits offered by using an online CRM and project management software application. How might your operation save time and money, as well as impact increased sales volumes adopting this new approach?

  4. What's involved in getting it? | Here is where you want to be pretty thorough with your assessment. After confirming both want and need, what is the scope of work involved in getting up and running?

    With Insightly CRM Software, read Small Business CRM: What's in it for me? to learn how, as a small business, you can be up and running on the same day.

  5. How will I know if it's worth it? | You want it, need it and confirmed that features equate to benefits for you and your operation. The last step is, once adopted, how will you measure ROI?

    To measure ROI when adopting a CRM Software application, you want to benchmark the number of prospects, customers and sales you are managing now against future growth. For example, one month after adopting CRM software, is your small business increasing the number of prospects and customers managed, and is this contributing to increased sales? Are you also experiencing improved productivity and efficiency?

  6. When are fees relevant? | At some point, the increased prospects, customers and sales realized as a result of using free CRM Software correlate directly to increased revenues. At this point, scaling up to fee-based CRM Software plans that offer increased capacity become relevant. Justifying the new expense becomes a simple matter of comparing applicable CRM Software fees against increased revenue and ROI. It should be obvious at this point, that the additional investment is more than covered by the additional expense.

In summary, when adopting new software - free or otherwise - the goal is to improve your small business operation in some way. In the case of CRM software, there should be measurable improvements in business relationship management and outcomes.

Did you know?

Insightly "...that in a recent survey of small businesses, Insightly CRM Software ranked high for improving customer communications, providing a comprehensive business overview and improving customer service? CRM features were also recognized for improving sales and relationship tracking and management."

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Other CRM Learning Topics:
Sales #101 | CRM & Project Management | CRM Features & Benefits | Free CRM | CRM Training

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Note: This information has been compiled by the Knowledge Institute for Small Business Development (KISBD) for educational purposes only in order to convey a general overview of the options and related services available to small businesses in the subject areas introduced. Content is provided on an "as is" basis and is not intended to be an exhaustive representation, nor does it provide advice or create a customer relationship between KISBD and its sponsors,, its affiliates and any other organization named herein, and any reader.

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