The best CRM software supports sales and marketing teams in managing customer relationships efficiently, and closing more deals. Features such as managing deal status via drag and drop, automatically logging customer calls and emails, and streamlining basic tasks can make sales activities more productive, which is particularly powerful for small- and medium-sized businesses.
For example, a CRM tool can enable you to import a contact list, create sales opportunities, assign calls and emails to sales reps, generate new leads from website forms, and acquire a broad view of CRM activities via reports and dashboards.
Here, we've focused on the best free CRM software providers: their key features, what makes them competitive, and what kind of teams they’re suited to. Read on to find out what solution best fits your needs.
What's the best free CRM software?
The five best free CRM products listed in this guide offer an attractive set of features that most non-enterprise businesses on a budget can work with effectively. Freshworks CRM features basic contact and deal management functionality, but remains competitive with in-built calling, webform lead generation, and allowing unlimited users.
Zoho CRM features workflow automation, and can work with Zoho Campaigns to send up to 12,000 bulk emails a month. Hubspot CRM is another top pick, with contact storage of up to 1 million records, custom data fields, Kanban deal management, website marketing, and up to 2,000 bulk emails a month.
Insightly has advanced project management tools, including post-deal tracking, as well as customized reporting and bulk email marketing. Finally, Agile CRM includes customizable data fields, one workflow automation, and bulk email marketing.
|CRM software||Number of users||Contact limit||Mobile app||Support|
|Freshworks CRM||Unlimited||Unlimited||Android, iOS||24/5 phone, email, and chat|
|Zoho CRM||3||5,000||Android, iOS||Community forum, email ticketing|
|HubSpot CRM||Unlimited||1 million||Android, iOS||Community forum only|
|Insightly||2||2,500||Android, iOS||Community forum only|
|Agile CRM||10||1,000||Android, iOS||Email 24/5, phone Mon-Fri, live webinars|
The best free CRM software you can buy today
Freshworks CRM packs a competitive feature set in its free plan, the highlights being in-built calls, unlimited users, and a generous support package. The core CRM functionality includes contact management, call and email logging, deal status, and customer-facing chat functionality.
The ability to add unlimited users is a rare feature; but with no workflow automation, a growing team would perform increasing manual work. For example, you can set tasks and reminders linked to a deal, but can’t trigger them to happen when the deal status changes.
Managing contacts and deals is intuitive, as the software prompts you to import new data and update deals. Although advanced features like custom fields aren’t available, small teams can still benefit from the in-built phone, plus the call and email logging function. Lead generation is limited, but Freshworks can pull leads from webforms: this is valuable if you have substantial website traffic.
Zoho CRM is a great choice due to its integration with the Zoho suite—which includes Zoho Campaigns for email marketing—and its workflow rules, which automate tasks. It also covers the basics well: you can import and manage contacts, update deals and tasks, log calls and emails, and even customize what pages look like.
Although Zoho CRM doesn’t offer bulk emailing on the free plan, you can use Zoho Campaigns to send up to 12,000 bulk emails a month, for free, to 2,000 contacts. Similar to Hubspot, Zoho’s CRM includes website visitor tracking and web-to-lead forms, which can generate leads for businesses with high website traffic.
Possibly the most competitive of Zoho CRM’s many features is the ability to set workflow rules, which frees up time for staff to nurture relationships. For example, emails can be triggered when a deal stage changes, and tasks can be assigned to specific sales reps when new leads are added.
Certain features remain limited on the free Zoho CRM: reports are not customizable, dashboards are unavailable, and most integrations—including with Google Workspace and Slack—are reserved for paid plans only.
Read our full Zoho CRM review.
HubSpot CRM is the most feature-rich free CRM on our list. Combining elements from the HubSpot Sales, Marketing, and Service Hubs, it covers contact and deal management, sales tracking and reporting, website marketing, in-built emails and calls, tasks, customization, and much more.
A big highlight for HubSpot is its competitive set of marketing features, including ad retargeting, bulk email generation, contact list segmentation, and landing page creation. These features integrate seamlessly with contact lists, so sales leads have a complete view of prospect communications and actions.
The free plan has limits, though: you can only send up to 2,000 bulk emails a month to up to 1,000 marketing contacts, and in-app calls are limited to 15 minutes a month.
Navigating the depth of HubSpot’s contact and deal management tools may involve a learning curve, but advanced tools, such as the ability to update deals via Kanban board and ad up to 10 custom fields for contacts and deals, can be valuable to closing complex pipelines.
Furthermore, HubSpot has an extensive report library, including sales performance, revenue forecasting, and campaign analytics. Custom reports, though, are exclusive to premium plans. However, the reporting dashboard is a customizable tool that visualizes your metrics of choice in real-time.
Read our full HubSpot CRM review.
Insightly is a CRM built for end-to-end project management—from prospect qualification through to winning deals and tracking projects. Its comprehensive feature set covers contact and opportunity management, sales pipeline and task assignment, project tracking, and bulk email marketing.
What makes this software exciting is its productivity focus. With its in-built calendar, task completion status, and customizable reports, Insightly offers both control and a bird's eye view of the deals that need nurturing. For example, you can assign tasks and create calendar events to keep sales leads on top of the workflow, whilst using report filters to track success rates.
Custom fields can be created for contacts, which is useful if your target industry has unique identifiers—such as specific product teams in a retail company. You can also restrict access to contacts or deals to certain team members, but with only two people on the free plan, this has limited benefit. From this perspective, the free Insightly plan is best suited to owners of a small business or start-up.
Read our full Insightly CRM review.
Agile CRM is a worthy contender that features customization, automation, and sales-marketing integration. Its CRM core is comprehensive: you can add contacts and deals, create custom fields, set tasks and calendar events, and track performance using a wide library of reports, including deal analysis and call outcomes.
Email clients are easily integrated, so you can send bulk emails and sync calendars, and you can add one extra plugin to support your sales activity—for example, Skype or Zendesk. The web-to-lead feature and web rules can help with lead generation, and their productivity can be analyzed in reports. Finally, Agile CRM has broad file storage functionality, from assigning uploaded documents to deals, to recording videos for email campaigns.
The biggest downside of this free version is the imposed limit of 1,000 contacts, one workflow automation, and one plugin: while this restriction may not hinder a small business or start-up, a business with a growing pipeline may consider upgrading to a paid plan.
How to choose the best CRM software for you
Key features of the best free CRM software vary between vendors, so you should prioritize those that match the size, sales pipeline, and workload of your business. Say, for example, you’ve got an existing database of 5,000 contacts: Zoho CRM and HubSpot CRM can accommodate this, whereas Agile CRM—with a contact limit of 1,000—cannot.
If you don’t want to add any manual work to your team, then solutions with workflow and email automation may be your go-to: for example, Zoho CRM includes automation of tasks and reminders, while HubSpot CRM has bulk emailing functionality.
Reporting is also a make-or-break feature, as it helps analyze sales productivity and inform which deals to focus on. If your team needs customizable performance analytics on a free plan, you should give HubSpot CRM or Insightly a try.
If you feel that free CRM plans aren’t enough for your needs, there are some affordable paid options you can check out in our CRM software buying guide.
CRM features and benefits explained
Contact / lead management
Storing and using prospect details to nurture relationships are at the core of a CRM system. Integrations with contact apps and social media accounts are a plus, maximizing lead information for sales teams.
When there’s a sales opportunity, the deal management feature helps increase productivity so your team can close the deal. This can include setting milestones, tasks, and deadlines.
Automation can get critical tasks done while saving time: for example, email templates can be scheduled to go out to prospects when they reach a certain stage in the sales funnel.
Sending bulk emails to contacts can advance relationships and save sales teams a lot of time. You can usually store and personalize email templates and customize recipient groups.
Call and email logs
Keeping track of customer communications in a centralized CRM platform removes the need to rely on human memory and ensures teams are equipped with the latest information on the relationship.
A good CRM system helps you gather new leads in a cost-efficient way. This can include inputting business card data via mobile app and scraping the internet for specific customer profiles.
If you’ve got a growing sales team, being able to assign leads to staff members is key to ensuring the best person is on the case, thus increasing the chances of closing deals.
Reporting and analytics
Customizing and exporting reports on your sales and marketing activities helps you learn from successful deals and focus your attention on high-likelihood prospects.
Drag-and-drop sales pipeline
For manual changes to your pipeline activities, drag-and-drop Kanban-style boards are a quick and easy way to update the status of different deals.
Integrating with other business software increases the information you have on contacts and can add new features, such as email campaign management.
How we test CRM software
When testing CRM software, we look at the features of the product and how it fares against the competition, as well as how user-friendly it is, what support options are available, and—for the best free CRM software—whether it delivers beyond the basic needs of a small or medium-sized business.
For free CRMs, features that score highly include contact and deal management, sales pipeline management, and basic reporting functionality, with bonus points for in-built calling and bulk emailing, customizable analytics dashboards, workflow automation, and third-party integrations.
In use, highly-ranked CRM software is straightforward to navigate, with clear feature categorization, drag-and-drop deal management, and an interface that gets tasks done quickly.
Further reading on CRM software
Looking to learn more about CRM software? Read our in-depth reviews of Salesforce, and Freshsales, and our features answering the questions what is CRM software, and what is a CRM in real estate. We also discussed five reasons why you need a small business CRM, and created buying guides ranking the best CRM for real estate and the best free CRM software.