8 Open Source CRM Alternatives to Salesforce

Maintaining relationships with customers is equally important to gaining them. It is one of the keys of how a business can survive or even grow. However, maintaining relationships with customers can be tougher than you thought. You need a comprehensive tool to do it. Thanks to CRM software you can do such job more easily.

Salesforce is by far the most popular CRM service used by many businesses. But, what if you want to build your own CRM system instead of relying on CRM service like Salesforce. Great choice!. There are plenty of open source CRM software that you can use.

Most CRM software (including Salesforce) run on web so be sure you have a web server and database server installed on your machine before installing a CRM software. Commonly, a CRM software works by compiling data from a range of different communication channels, including a company’s website, telephone, email, live chat, social media and lots more. That way, you can learn more about your target audiences and how to best cater to their needs.

So, here is the list of open source CRM software that you can use.

1. SuiteCRM

The first open source CRM you can use to build your own CRM system is SuiteCRM. This software is built with PHP. You can install SuiteCRM whether on MySQL, MariaDB or Microsoft SQL Server. It comes with a number of powerful features such as the ability to generate invoices and quotes, maintain leads and contracts, produce reports, and maintain notes and documents. Additionally, you can also take advantage of SuiteCRM as a two-way communication tool by setting it up to allow your users to log and track their own issues.

You can download and use SuiteCRM for free. The source code of this software even also available on GitHub. The software is released under the GNU Affero General Public License. The history of SuiteCRM is complex enough. Before SuiteCRM was built, there was a popular CRM software named SugarCRM. But, the company behind SugarCRM decided to stop releasing the new versions of open source edition of SugarCRM which led a group of developers to fork the code to create SuiteCRM.

2. Bitrix24

Bitrix24 is basically an online CRM service just like Salesforce. And, if you visit its website, you will also find a fact that Bitrix24 doesn’t specifically provide a CRM service. Instead, it also offers project management tool as well as task management.

Nevertheless, Bitrix24 also makes it possible if you want to build a CRM system for your company since it also offers self-hosted edition which you can download and install on your own server. Although the source code of Bitrix24 is available, but it is not a free software.Bitrix24 will form a contact base where interaction and the history of contacts are managed and stored. All phone calls, messages and meetings connected with a contact are easily logged and further interaction can be planned.

3. Vtiger

Same as Bitrix24, Vtiger also offers two versions of their software, cloud based service and self-hosted edition which you can install on your own server. The self-hosted edition of Vtiger is released as an open source software and you can download it for free. If you compare Vtiger with SuiteCRM you will probably find some similarities. It’s because Vtiger is built based on SugarCRM. In other words, Vtiger and SuiteCRM use the same core. But of course, there are some different features offered by Vitiger.

4. Zurmo

Before downloading and installing Zurmo on your server you can take advantage of its demo to figure out if this CRM software suit your need or not. You can login as either administrator or user. The way Zurmo helps you is basically not far different to other similar tools. It helps you record the contacts of your customers as well as manage meeting schedules and many other things to help you keep in touch with them. In addition to it, Zurmo also rewards people for using the system. The rewards can be badges or coins to purchase rewards. This idea can encourage users to explore Zurmo.

Zurmo itself is released under the GNU Affero General Public License. This open source CRM software is built with PHP and use MySQL as the database server.

5. EspoCRM

Another open source CRM that is built with PHP. EspoCRM is a lightweight CRM software that is ideal for small to medium sized businesses. This software comes with basic features and capabilities you can expect from a CRM software such as the ability to automate leads, opportunities, and contacts. You can also use this tool to both individual and mass mailings and other tasks like scheduling meetings, calls and lots more. If you need more functionalities there are also extensions you can install.

You can download and use EspoCRM for free. This software is released under the GNU General Public License Version 3. Before deciding to install EspoCRM on your machine you can also take advantage of offered demo to try it out. There are three level of users you can try; administrator, sales manager and support manager.

6. Oro CRM

Again. Oro CRM is also an open source CRM that is built with PHP. This CRM software offers two editions, community edition and enterprise edition. Even so, those two editions come with a very similar features. The only different is that enterprise edition comes with a back-end integrations. You can integrate the enterprise edition with several software such as Microsoft Outlook and Elasticsearch. The overall features of this CRM is not far different to other similar software. Oro CRM is great to be adopted by small and medium sized businesses.

Oro CRM is released as a free, open source software under the Open Software License version 3.0. The source code of Oro CRM is also available on GitHub. The software also offers a demo to let you try it out.

7. CiviCRM

There is a bit difference between CiviCRM and other tools above in terms of use. While all tools above tend to aimed at businesses, CiviCRM is aimed at non-profits. So, if you are running a non profit organisation and need a tool to maintain the relationships with donors (or something like that) then CiviCRM is a nice tool. Aside from helping you track contacts and donors, CiviCRM also helps keep tabs on contributions, do fundraising, and plan and monitor campaigns.

Other things that make CiviCRM different to other tools above is it can work with popular content management systems like Drupal, Joomla and WordPress. CiviCRM itself is released under the GNU AGPL 3. The source code if this tool is also available on GitHub. This open source CRM software also offers a demo.

8. Fat Free CRM

Last but not least. Another open source CRM software that you can use to build your own CRM system is Fat Free CRM. We have to admit that this is (probably) not the best option of open source CRM software. But, it’s more than enough to build a CRM system for small business. Unlike all tools above which are built with PHP, the developers of Fat Free CRM use Ruby on Rails to build this software. They released this software as a free, open source software under the MIT License. The source code of Fat Free CRM is available on GitHub.

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Written by Al Putra

An open source user, Manchester United fan and CC0-licensed stuffs lover