As your organization grows, keeping track of customer relationships and lead interactions can be a hassle. Pen and paper, Excel sheets, and remembering all your prospects by name won’t suffice when your business begins to thrive. A CRM software is crucial in this process as it streamlines communication for better efficiency.
Thus, investing in quality customer relationship management CRM tools is key for your sales team. However, making the right selection will ultimately depend on the kind of choice you make: open source or proprietary
This is in addition to other factors, such as user-friendliness, and contact management. upkeep, price, and complexity. Which is the best open source CRM development platform for small businesses? The answer depends on your needs and preferences.
This will all be discussed below.
What is an Open Source CRM?
An open-source CRM, or any application for that matter, is simply a product that has its source code visible to public view. This allows developers or just about anyone to modify customer interactions within the best CRM software. Furthermore, they can distribute and redistribute different versions of this application to suit virtually any purpose.
The major benefit of open source software is that a community of savvy developers can work together to create perfect solutions for any business, including CRM systems. A famous example of this type of collaboration in action is WordPress, the highly popular content management system (CMS).
WordPress has a faithful community of developers who facilitate source code modifications to ultimately create highly-specific plugins for any collaborator, including those needed in the functioning of a CRM system. To do this, developers will use Github or other platforms to add and change features that are relevant to their specific CRM system needs as well as fix bugs.
Companies can even reach out and hire developers to build a suitable platform for their needs. Many open source platforms run specifically for Linux and provide the same benefits as proprietary solutions, which include:
- Contact management
- Marketing automation
- Customer support
- Pipeline management
The reason why open source CRMs, otherwise known as customer relationship management software, are popular is because they can be adjusted to fit the needs of any business. Unlike proprietary solutions where you get what you pay for, these types of customer relationship management software can be modified just for your unique requirements if you’re willing to compile the necessary resources.
Open Source vs. Proprietary CRMs
To put it simply, a proprietary CRM is a product that’s completely finished and ready for use as soon as you download it or purchase the subscription. This CRM solution can be used all on its own without having to hire in-house or freelance developers. It’s not just any tool but fully functional CRM platform which makes customer relationship management effortless.
This out-of-the-box solution is best for companies with very few stylistic preferences, particularly those who prioritize customer satisfaction. Also known as a full-stack option, proprietary CRMs cover all basic needs a standard business will have in order to ensure optimum levels of customer satisfaction.
On the other hand, open source CRMs expect you to modify them as you go to calibrate the platforms strictly according to your needs and workflow including customer data handling and lead management. It’s also important to note that open source CRMs are well-developed with streamlined features for effective customer data tracking and efficient lead management which are easy to use.
Many small- to medium-sized businesses opt for open source CRMs when managing customer relations, while others will settle for proprietary solutions. In reality, there isn’t a strong difference between the two solutions in terms of their potential effectiveness with regard to managing customer relations.
Both products offer project management, marketing, sales processes, and other helpful features such as sales forecasting that can help you scale your business by achieving more conversions. The difference ultimately comes down to what kind of platform you need and how much you’re willing to invest.
To help you make that decision, here is a cost-benefit analysis of both options.
Open Source CRMs:
These solutions are best suited for businesses with unique needs, time, and resources needed for constant development.
- A thriving community can help provide support and new features for your specific goals.
- Open source CRMs offer more dynamic integrations without any vendor restrictions.
- These CRMs provide maximum scalability and flexibility for any kind of business.
- Open source CRMs are also more affordable than proprietary solutions.
- Some may find altering the source code too time-consuming and take away from primary business duties.
- A lot of budgeting and planning will be necessary to spearhead integrations and other features some businesses don’t have.
- Many communities fizzle out and can leave active members without a sense of direction.
- Some open source projects are simply less secure.
These solutions are best suited for businesses with ordinary needs who want to get started immediately.
- You can save a lot of time and money by choosing this out-of-the-box solution.
- Depending on the provider, you can receive regular new features to your platform without having to do the work yourself.
- Once you download or pay for the subscription, you can use the platform yourself. There isn’t a massive learning curve for new users.
- There is no room for growth when business picks up.
- If you operate in a specific niche, it may not be the best option for you.
- You essentially get what you pay for and nothing more.
- Proprietary solutions are usually more expensive and require longer user commitment.
Best Open Source CRM Solutions in 2021
For many businesses, choosing an open source CRM provides all the flexibility they need to scale their business and manage their sales process. If you’ve decided to side with an open source CRM for your sales process, there are still a host of factors to consider before making a final product choice.
Below are some of the best open source CRM solutions on the market today.
SuiteCRM is a valuable platform that provides a bunch of helpful marketing, sales, and service features. It helps streamline business processes through relationship development, layout design, custom modules to foster new customer relations and seamless integration with your IT team.
Users can also take advantage of the intuitive dashboard showcasing real-time customer data management. As new data is processed, the dashboard will instantaneously show important pipeline metrics, cash flow, and project statuses related to customer data management.
Developers will also love the fact that this CRM tool, SuiteCRM platform can be modified on any operating system, from Windows to Android and Ubuntu. The low learning curve, convenient adaptability, and easy setup make it one of the most popular options available for a crm tool.
Of course, there are a few glaring disadvantages to be aware of.
Users, including sales reps, may dread the slow helpdesk waiting times for support. This is to be expected when dealing with a community-driven platform. Another drawback noted among those in sales management roles is that the features and integrations aren’t as tightly-developed compared to proprietary solutions.
Lastly, it’s impossible to integrate SuiteCRM with any ERP software. Therefore, if you’re looking for a holistic solution, this may not be the best choice for you.
Odoo is a unique open source CRM that enables customer service representatives to mix and max different features. In addition, users can seamlessly integrate this platform with more than 10,000+ applications.
For retail, brick-and-mortar establishments, and restaurants, Odoo offers a dynamic point of sale app. This tool not only enhances sales and marketing but also improves customer interaction by allowing you to view real-time data from your point of sale operation that will reflect across your entire organization including email marketing campaigns as well as inventory management systems.
Odoo is completely free for existing customers, but should they need to enhance their supply chain management or any other operations with custom add-ons, a fee will be incurred.
Using Odoo will require enduring a long learning curve, particularly when it comes to managing the sale pipeline and data entry. Users will have to spend a great deal of time setting up the platform, including these aspects, in order to prevent any future headaches. Also, consistently using tools such as invoicing can present challenges within this system.
Specifically, in managing your business process, you’ll need to create a separate quote and an order in order to send invoices to customers. This can impact marketing campaigns as it affects the efficiency of communications with clients. On top of this, the reporting options are limited which could hinder tracking progress for marketing campaigns or other aspects of business operations. Customer support can also be slow since the community is full of developers instead of staff members who may have more direct knowledge about overall business processes and customer needs.
OroCRM has built a stellar reputation as one of the most versatile open source CRMs available for public use. Excelling in managing sales cycle, this platform was built using a popular PHP framework called Symfony2. Known for its efficiency among cloud based CRM systems, OroCRM continues to impress with its multifunctional capabilities and adaptability.
Symfony 2, mostly used in website development projects is highly preferred by experienced developers. They are likely to understand the source code and make modifications as required. This makes it possible to avoid breaking your budget while designing a platform that suits your needs perfectly – be it integrating a marketing automation tool or incorporating specific CRM features for better customer interaction and management.
MailChimp and Zendesk are two of the most popular third party integrations that OroCRM has to offer. This platform, known for enhancing customer journey through efficient CRM tools, is completely free to use. You can also reach out directly if you’re interested in their enterprise version with additional features and functionalities.
There are two main disadvantages to using OroCRM. For one, you will likely need to hire a developer to create customer support and help desk capabilities. Second, this platform is only available in English.
X2CRM is also a very popular CRM that automatically shares its source code through GitHub, Bitnami, and SourceForge for its open source version. Users are encouraged to modify the platform according to their own purpose.
You can download the platform directly to your webserver, but you also have the option of downloading the full stack version as well. The open source version closely models the features and modules from the commercial, proprietary solution.
Smaller businesses are best suited for this platform due to its exceptional funnel management, pipeline, and marketing campaigns. Users can also take advantage of the ability to create workflow visualizations and track emails from customers and leads.
X2CRM’s open source platform is not widely-used, so it can be difficult to receive quality support from developers. This is ultimately the consequence of dealing with a platform that already has a proprietary version.
Need a Custom CRM?
If you’re considering installing and developing a custom CRM for your business, then you’re obviously wanting to design a unique solution. This is where we come in. At Dev.co, we create custom CRM consulting services for any business. In addition, we are Silver Certified for custom development with Salesforce. So, if open source is not of interest, we can help with larger platforms as well.
Contact us today to speak to a member of our team about getting started.
- Creating Wireframes for Web Development: A Guide to Wireframe Mockups - December 19, 2023
- How to Prepare for Mobile App Development: Step-by-Step Guide - December 15, 2023
- The Top 20 Web Development Trends for 2024 & Beyond - December 7, 2023