As technology has moved along in the 21st century, there has been a voracious appetite for startups to fill in the gap in many areas and create value in our more service-oriented economy. However, while startups are currently proliferating the ecosystem, not many of them have a great way to organize their business contacts, as well as their sales and marketing efforts, in a cohesive manner. That is why many startups are turning to CRMs (customer relationship management) systems to create a better workflow for themselves and keep everything organized.

When it comes to CRMs, many startups may not have the budget to immediately opt for a paid solution. However, some of the best CRMs are free, making it an easier option to try before you buy. With that in mind, here is what you need to look for when trying out a free CRM solution for your startup.

Software Integrations

Every startup is likely to have a plethora of software integrations that already integrated into their workflow. As such, it is of paramount important to make sure that the CRM you are choosing for your startup is able to integrate with your existing software solutions. This can include everything from Slack and Trello, to Mailchimp and GSuite. Being able to seamlessly port over any information from these is a non-starter when looking at a CRM. If the CRM is not able to integrate with your chosen software, then you’ll be forced to manually enter any data from these software solutions, making it much more of a challenge to set up a CRM.

Proper Expectations and Workflows

Before jumping headlong into the first CRM you see on the market, you need to make sure that you actually know what a CRM is capable of and what you need out of it. For one, you’ll want to make sure that you have enough business contacts to actually justify using a CRM. Once you’ve made that determination, the next step is to make sure that your sales pipeline is up to snuff. A CRM will help you better customize your sales pipeline and track sales conversions, but of course, you need to make sure you have a proper sales team in place to make this happen.

If solely looking at free CRM plans, you need to be aware that there are limits. You’ll only be able to add a handful of users to the CRM account, and will only be able to add in a low amount of contacts. If you have a larger startup, or a huge variety of business contacts, then a paid CRM solution may be the way you need to go.

When it comes to choosing a CRM for your startup, keep in mind how often you’ll use the solution – and how integral it will be to your overall business. If it is just something you would like to try, then you should consider using a free CRM and then opting for a paid plan once you have maxed out the features of a free CRM.

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