You walk into the closest fast food joint and you’ll be greeted with value meals galore. Cheap, quick, and dubiously nutritious delights are offered for measly pocket change, while higher priced items can take longer to cook but bring more bang for your buck.
In the online software world, a similar setup exists where free software tends to be smaller and less powerful. Often, if you want to get a quality app or experience, you have to pay for it.
That said, a value meal can hit the spot when you’re hungry, don’t have a lot to spend, and need a quick fix. Is it the same with software? Is there any merit in looking for free online CRM software?
The short and best answer is: it depends.
Finding Worth in Free CRM Software
CRM is like vegetables in that it is often something you don’t even want to look at. However, they differ when you actually consider that CRM software isn’t always inherently good for you.
Yep, you read that right. Some CRM software can actually do you a lot of harm. Yeah, even free software can cost you more than you bargain for.
It’s logical: Every investment comes with risk. Even if you’re only investing the time to learn a new software, that time might be wasted if the software isn’t right; free or not.
How To Assure You’re Making a Good Investment
From the outside, it’s sometimes hard to tell if a software will be right without giving it a shot. However, there is one aspect that will help determine that software’s true value:
No two CRM systems are alike. Some range from the feature-heavy, to the plugin-flooded, to the bare-minimum. You probably think that finding which one of these is best for you probably determines if that free software is worth it or not. This is not the way to go.
Just looking for the impressive-looking feature list might actually turn against you. You see, the thing about CRM is that it is almost always a complicated adventure that comes with a very small, expensive map. Often CRM vendors provide week-long courses of training that are required viewing before even setting foot on the digital soil.
This is the antithesis of a great experience and you want to avoid it at all costs. Why complicate something that should be there to make your life easier?
The best free web-based CRM software should be dead simple. You should be able to take one good look at it and instantly know if your sales team will be able to take it and run with it. If you can’t, don’t even think about it.
Unfortunately, many free online CRM software out there are thrown together without so much as a minute spent on making it easy to use. Don’t even get started on something if you can’t see yourself using it daily from now on.
We’ve gone over some of these points and will go over more of them in the future, but know that if you look for simplicity first, you’ll be able to spot the value (or lack thereof) in free online CRM software.