Compare CRM Software for Your Digital Business
It pays to do your research and choose the right CRM and email marketing automation platform for your business up front.
Compare CRMs below to find the software that can grow with you for years to come.
Getting Clear on What Kind of
CRM You Really Need
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems come in a lot of different shapes and sizes.
Some are designed for large corporations, while others were built for small businesses and solopreneurs.
Today we'll compare CRM tools that can help you go from solopreneur and small business levels to truly scalable business heights.
Compare CRM Software
What matters most to CRM users in 2020?
If you’re looking to sign up for a new CRM or switch CRMs in 2020, then you need to pay attention to a few key priorities that are especially relevant right now.
One key feature is GDPR compliance, so you can keep your subscribers’ privacy and data concerns top of mind. You’ll also want an email marketing platform that has sophisticated tagging, automation, and campaigns that are flexible.
Finally, in 2020 your email system needs to be able to deliver your emails to the inbox. That’s becoming harder year over year, so systems that give you the ability to clean your list and automate your list hygiene are huge.
Let's talk about the investment
The cost of your CRM software is based on the number of contacts you have, no matter which company you go with.
There's also the time investment required to learn and train your team on how a new CRM works, and any switching time involved (although some CRM companies offer a free migration service).
In the past 9 years, I've spent over $50K on CRM software...
I’ve been using a popular all-in-one CRM for my business since 2011. The total amount I've spent during that time is over $50,000.
I'm ok with this investment, because it's the power of a CRM that's helped automate my business' growth and success.
You can bet that I've had motivation to use the tool to the fullest to help me grow my business, but it’s also made me aware of what other options are out there.
I’m Nathalie Lussier, the founder of AccessAlly.
AccessAlly is a course and membership plugin for WordPress that deeply integrates with some of the top CRM platforms for small businesses (check out all the LMS features here).
I’ve visited their offices, sponsored their events, and met with key employees in person.
I’ve seen the good and the bad. I’ve witnessed employees leave, bugs get released, and the seedy underbelly of the software world. (I’m no stranger to that world, having worked in Silicon Valley at a startup that was being sued by IBM!)
I'm also an affiliate, which means that if you sign up for any of these marketing automation tools, at no additional cost, I will earn a commission. This in no way sways my opinions on these platforms, I just want to pass on my experience.
Rule 1: Don't overbuy
If you’re just starting out, you may be more budget-conscious. It's natural and a smart way to ensure your business can make it past the startup stage.
Investing in the biggest and most powerful CRM money can buy might definitely be overkill.
But each of these marketing automation platforms have different pricing models as your business grows.
For example, one CRM might be affordable for your setup today ... but if you were to grow your email list and customer base, another platform might have the price advantage.
Although most email marketing systems are built to scale with you (at a cost, of course!), some have lower priced packages for smaller email lists. This can be a game-changer when your revenue hasn’t hit full throttle yet but you’re still ready to use the power of automation.
Once your email list numbers start growing, there are certain advantages to platforms that don't increase as steeply.
That's when it's important to remember that every business goes through roughly an 18-month business cycle.
Rule 2: Plan for growth in 18 months
Think of it as the 18-month rule: your business will either have doubled, changed directions, or you’ll have released a new offering.
Things change quickly in the business world, and in 18-months you’ll likely be in a different “price bracket”. So plan for your business growth, and sign up for the platform you can grow into.
I never want to recommend that you “overbuy” and waste your precious startup capital (that would be a bad idea!) but also consider the costs of moving.
If the only reason you choose a solution is because it’s affordable now, but in 18-months you realize you really needed that expanded feature set… the time and very real monetary investments required to move may wipe out any savings you got initially.
Additional CRM Costs
Beyond the basic "per contact price" you might expect to pay, you may end up needing to budget more based on your needs and how the email marketing platform charges for add-ons. Here are a few other things you should think about as you select and budget for your CRM.
Anticipate CRM Price Increases
In recent years, top CRM companies have become known for springing unexpected price increases on their customers.
Sometimes these price increases are handled well: the company might offer existing clients a few different options to lock in their pricing by choosing a yearly payment plan, or reducing some of their add-ons.
However, there's also been quite a few companies that have increased prices for their long term customers with very little time to adapt to the increased prices. In fact, some companies have increased prices by as much as 200%-400% percent in short periods of time.
So how can you anticipate or plan for these price increases?
One way is to ensure that you're consistently cleaning your contact lists, so that you don't end up paying more for un-engaged or non-marketable contacts.
It's also a good idea to expect the price of your CRM to increase over time and to budget for it ahead of time, which brings us to the topic of CRM budgets!
CRM Comparison Matrix for AccessAlly Integration
If you've outgrown other payment, course, and membership sites and you're considering AccessAlly then you'll see how each CRM stacks up in terms of functionality.
|Login||Auto Login & Custom Widget|
|Member Profile||Profile Control|
|Inline Profile Editing|
|Uploading a Profile Image|
|Searchable Member Directory||Teacher and Student Directories|
|Subscriptions, Order Forms & Billing||Order & Subscription List||(linked to CRM & local)||(linked to CRM & local)||(linked to CRM & local)||(Stored locally)||(Stored locally)||(Stored locally)|
|Billing Address Information|
|Credit card information|
|Trials, Discounts, Coupons|
|Member Permissions||Course Dashboard Icons|
|Page Permissions & Redirects|
|Built-in Affiliate Programs||Customizable Affiliate Center|
|Create Affiliate Links and Tiers|
|Custom Operations||Custom Field Value & Change Log|
|Add and Remove Tags in CRMs|
|Credit Systems for Gamification|
|Create Members on Opt-In|
Still not sure which option is right for you?
Take our CRM quiz to see which automation marketing platform we recommend.