Coaching is all about developing and maintaining productive relationships with your clients, something that’s important to keep up between sessions. While most CRMs will include basic information such as a client’s contact information and basic interaction history, coaches who want to make the biggest and longest-lasting impact on their clients’ lives need a tool that provides more detailed information on engagement.
For that reason, we at Teamhood have put together this article outlining the best CRM for coaching business free. While most of these offer limited functionality or time-bound trials for free, we will outline what level of service is available for free in each case.
What is a CRM?
A CRM, or customer relationship management system, is a centralized database that stores all your client information. From there, you can track the name, address, age, and pain points of your clients, keep tabs on your relationship, schedule calls or communications, and track how hot or cold they are in terms of how much they have bought from you, or how close they are to buying from you.
CRMs come in many different forms, with different kinds of features and functions. The important thing is to work out what you need, based on the benefits you’re likely to experience and what you need it to do for you.
Benefits of using a CRM
A CRM is a useful tool for coaches because it allows you to track the progress of your coaching clients, based on the goals established at the start of coaching.
The CRM can track progress over time through reminders such as automated email notifications or SMS messages. Keeping in touch with clients between coaching sessions is essential for maintaining strong relationships with them. Because a CRM stores all of a client’s information in one location, you don’t lose track of them as you might if you kept their information scattered across emails, spreadsheets, or offline paper notes.
A CRM is also useful as a marketing or sales tool, to keep track of prospects in your sales pipeline. With prospects, you track where they are in the pipeline, how ready they are to purchase coaching from you, and how they have responded to your previous messages.
CRM #1: Teamhood
Teamhood is not a traditional CRM per se, but a task management solution that can be used to track the progress of your clients and the next steps. Here, you will be able to visualize the process steps using a visual Kanban board and then track the progress of each client using Kanban cards. This way, you can overview the progress with one glance and evaluate what next steps need to be taken.
Since Teamhood is a task/project management solution, you can easily involve other team members or third-party contributors, plan tasks and share information easily. This option for best CRM for coaching business free will not be for everyone but is certainly worth checking out if you are looking for something more out of your tool.
Strengths: Visualizes the client’s progress and has various task management features.
Weaknesses: Not a true CRM.
Free for unlimited users, some more advanced features are only available in the paid plans.
CRM #2: 10to8
While not technically CRM software either, 10to8 is more like a calendar or appointment scheduling software with added reporting capabilities that help you run your coaching business. It can tell you how many people visited your booking page, how many new customers you’ve acquired, and any upcoming appointments. In that sense, it is most useful as a sales engagement tool.
Unlike tools such as Calendly and Google Calendar, 10to8 sends automated text or email reminders to customers to avoid no-shows. It also integrates with payment processing providers, making it easy and convenient to process payments online. It also integrates with other calendar software to help prevent double booking.
Strengths: Easy to use and easy to get started for free.
Weaknesses: Not a true CRM.
Although a pro subscription is needed to take advantage of most of the functionality, you can get started for free.
CRM #3: ActiveCampaign CRM
ActiveCampaign CRM is just part of ActiveCampaign’s extensive suite of online sales and marketing tools. The CRM brings all of your contacts into a central platform so you can find everything you need without having to dig through old emails and business cards.
Strengths: Huge amount of functionality on offer. Can build entire sales and marketing campaigns.
Weaknesses: To use the CRM, you’ll eventually need to pay for the full suite of products. Although this is great value, it is likely to be too complex for the needs of most coaching businesses.
ActiveCampaign is available for a 14-day free trial, after which prices start at $9. That is great value for the huge amount of functionality available, including extensive email marketing and automation tools.
CRM #4: Bitrix 24
Bitrix24 offers a CRM solution for small businesses and coaches. It is designed more for larger coaching businesses that need employee management tools such as time tracking and project assignment capabilities. It also offers video call storage within the platform, helping to optimize efficiency.
Strengths: Offers a free version so coaches can trial it at limited risk. Best for coaches with a sizable team that needs an all-in-one solution with more advanced capabilities.
Weaknesses: Not so useful for smaller coaching businesses, who may find the functionality overwhelming. The user interface is also quite cluttered compared to some others.
Paid options start at $30 per month for up to five users.
CRM #5: Honeybook
Honeybook is a cloud-based client management software that offers a CRM designed to automate client sales and administrative tasks. You can also schedule meetings, invoice clients, manage documents, and message clients directly inside the platform.
Strengths: Great for individual coaches. It’s easy to set up, has a large community, fast support, simple workflows, and a clean interface that’s easy to navigate.
Weaknesses: While Honeybook is good for sales and invoicing, it doesn’t offer habit tracking, notes, or video storage – so not very good for relationship building. It also lacks the ability to integrate with common third-party services such as Venmo, PayPal, Stripe, Dropbox, and Salesforce.
The starter plan costs $9 per month.
CRM #6: Hubspot CRM
A great first-timer CRM, Hubspot offers a range of useful features, allowing coaches to track emails, notifications, and company insights, plus an easy-to-use dashboard. It is also free to use for those on a budget, although the free version will feature Hubspot branding.
Strengths: A potential good option for small and growing businesses, since almost all functionality is available for free. Also good value at $540 for the year and up to 1,000 contacts.
Weaknesses: Could be overwhelming with the sheer number of features available, so it might take some time to get used to.
Pricing starts at $540 per year for up to 1,000 contacts.
CRM #7: My Coach Office
My Coach Office offers a fairly good mix of back-end functionality, marketing support, and coaching effectiveness, while not excelling in any single one of these as much as some of the other CRM options on this list. A good all-rounder, though coaches may need to think carefully about the functionality they need most in their business before choosing this tool, as one of the more specialized options may be more suitable.
Strengths: Good all-around choice for those needing to grow the business with new clients, increase the efficacy of coaching programs with existing clients, and save time on admin.
Weaknesses: May be less useful for growing businesses or for those that need to focus more on optimizing existing client relationships or new client acquisition.
The only free option available is the 14-day free trial. After that, paid options start at $19 per month for up to 10 clients, making it a pretty cost-effective option.
CRM #8: Satori
Satori is a CRM software built specifically for coaches. You can use it to automate onboarding processes, schedule meetings, process payments, send questionnaires, design packages, sign contracts, and securely maintain client accounts on one easy platform.
Strengths: Automated features and easy integrations make this a real time saver. Also available as a free version, which is great for coaches just starting out who may be on more of a budget.
Weaknesses: Doesn’t integrate with Zoom. Occasionally buggy. The free version is mainly for coaches starting out offering pro bono coaching.
Prices start at $33 per month and supports 10 active offers, 20 active agreements, 60 monthly sessions, and 2500 contacts.
CRM #9: The Coaches Console
A business-in-a-box website builder and back-end automation platform that’s great for building a new coaching business from scratch, as it integrates invoicing, payment, client tracking, and email.
Strengths: Great for first-time coaches that want a simple platform to attract new leads and sign new clients.
Weaknesses: Lacks the ability to host course content, meaning you have to integrate this with another tool if you want that functionality. Only accepts payment through credit cards and Paypal.
This is an expensive option and only offers a 30-day free trial, with no free option beyond that. Best for coaches who already have a decent cash flow and are looking to take the next step, rather than those who are starting completely from scratch with no pre-existing income.
CRM #10: Upcoach
Upcoach is really designed to help coaches improve the experience of their coaching program, rather than a sales or marketing aid. A great way to help improve course completion rates and NPS scores, Upcoach allows coaches to host their course material, accountability tracking, meeting scheduling, and CRM.
Strengths: Great for relationship building and improving the impact of coaching programs.
Weaknesses: Potentially less effective for marketing and business building, except by helping foster positive word of mouth.
Upcoach also has no free options, though prices do start at a reasonable $29 per user per month for up to 30 clients, making it a decent deal for smaller coaching businesses.
What to do next
Now you’ve seen a selection of the best CRM for coaching business free options out there. Are you looking to focus on improving the efficacy of your coaching? Or would you prefer a CRM that helps improve the impact of your marketing?
To get a sense of how Teamhood can help, sign up for an obligation-free free trial. You don’t even need to enter any credit card or other payment details to get started – you can just get going and start using the features that are best for you: Start your free trial
If you are looking for a tool that provides more task management features, check out this comparison of the best options:
Passionate content marketer looking to bring better solutions to the project management space.
2020 - Present Marketing specialist at Teamhood.
2014 - 2020 Marketing manager for Eylean.