If you are a part of a sales or marketing agency, specialized CRM for agencies is the perfect tool to make your client journeys smooth. That’s why we’ve curated a list of the best client relationship platforms below!
As a data analyst and CRM expert, I‘ve evaluated many CRM systems and understand the pain points agencies face in managing client relationships. In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll share my insights on choosing the right CRM along with an in-depth analysis of the top 9 agency CRM tools.
Why Agencies Need Specialized CRMs
The regular CRM (client relationship management) tools available in the market are not enough to cater to the needs of agencies that deal with various clients. Hence, these agencies should choose a CRM application that has dedicated features useful for their requirements.
Unlike a single business managing its own customers, agencies handle multiple clients with different needs and preferences. Generic CRMs don‘t provide the specialized tools agencies require such as:
- Managing multiple brands and accounting separation
- Collaborating with clients on campaigns and projects
- Building customized pipelines and workflows for each client
- Providing transparent reporting and analytics to clients
- Integrating with the myriad of marketing tools clients use
- Ensuring data security compliance across all clients
This makes it essential for agencies to invest in a CRM tailored to their workflow. The right agency CRM improves productivity, collaboration, and most importantly – client relationships.
Key Benefits of Using a Specialized Agency CRM
As a CRM expert, I always recommend agencies adopt specialized CRMs over generic tools. Here are some key reasons why:
Single source of truth: An agency CRM provides a centralized database for managing all client information and interactions in one place. This eliminates silos and provides transparency across teams, clients, and projects.
Enhanced collaboration: Smooth collaboration ensures tasks don‘t fall through the cracks. Agency CRMs facilitate communication across teams and with clients. Features like file sharing, threaded conversations, and project management help agencies collaborate better.
Process automation: Structured workflows, lead scoring, email sequencing, and other automation features save agencies time. Tasks like follow-ups and status updates can be automated based on triggers and events.
Better analytics: Agency CRMs provide customized reporting and analytics not just for internal teams but also white-labeled client reports. This provides data-driven insights to optimize campaigns and strategies.
Improved security: Handling multiple clients means complying with strict data security norms. Agency CRMs have higher security standards and controls compared to generic tools.
Higher retention: By delivering an excellent customer experience and managing relationships better, agencies can improve client retention and average contract lengths.
Scalability: As agencies grow their clientele, the right CRM easily scales to accommodate more brands, users, and data.
How to Choose the Best CRM for Your Agency
With the sheer number of CRM tools out there, it can get overwhelming to pick the right one for your agency. Based on my expertise in evaluating CRMs, here are key factors agencies must consider during their selection process:
Features needed: Compile a list of must-have features like sales and marketing automation, analytics, native integrations etc. based on your agency‘s services and needs. This helps you identify the right tool.
Ease of use: The CRM must be intuitive and easy to use for both employees and clients. Complex tools with steep learning curves can reduce user adoption.
Data segmentation: Ability to create separate pipelines and assign access rights based on client segmentation is vital for agencies.
Client collaboration: Channels for real-time communication, file sharing and direct client access through portals is essential.
Integrations: Your CRM should seamlessly integrate with marketing tools used across clients like email, analytics, ads, and social media.
Customization: To match diverse client requirements, the CRM should provide flexibility in creating custom fields, workflows, views, and branding.
Scalability: As you expand your clientele, opt for a CRM that can easily scale with your growth without heavy lifting.
Security: Data security and compliance should be top-notch with encryption, access controls and protocols like SOC 2.
Mobile access: CRMs with mobile apps allow your team to stay productive on the go and enable faster client communication.
Budget: Consider both cost and ROI. Cheaper tools can end up being more expensive long term if they don‘t meet all your needs.
Top 9 CRMs for Marketing & Advertising Agencies
Based on the above criteria and my own analysis of agency CRM tools, these are my top recommendations:
1. Zoho CRM
Zoho is an extremely powerful and scalable CRM platform for growing agencies managing a high volume of clients.
- Highly customizable fields, views and rules
- Built-in marketing automation
- Real-time collaborative reporting
- Time tracking and project management
- Deep integrations with 1000+ apps
- Omnichannel communications
- Robust security and access controls
Pricing starts at $12 per user/month for the Standard plan. For small teams, Zoho CRM offers an exceptional value.
2. HubSpot CRM
HubSpot delivers excellent front-office sales and marketing automation tailored to the needs of creative and marketing agencies.
- Contact management with activity timeline
- Customizable pipelines for each client
- Project task management with templates
- Email and SMS campaign builder
- Landing page creation and forms
- Seamlessly integrated HubSpot marketing tools
- Free version available for small teams
Paid plans start at $50/month for the Starter tier.
3. Insightly CRM
Insightly is designed for relationship-driven agencies with its excellent client management and collaboration capabilities.
- Client portals for self-service access
- Shared custom dashboards
- Native integrations with Google Workspace, Office 365
- Two-way email sync and capture
- Flexible opportunity stages
- Custom field creation and lead scoring
- GDPR and CCPA compliant
Plans begin at $29/user/month for the Plus package.
ClientHub is a niche CRM focused on the needs of marketing, PR and creative agencies.
- Separate client databases
- Client access portals
- Visual workflow automation
- Time and expense tracking
- Custom reporting and notifications
- Email integration and tracking
- iPhone and Android apps
- Dynamic sales pipeline management
Starter pricing is $99/month for 2 users.
5. Oracle Fusion Marketing
Oracle Fusion Marketing provides enterprise-grade capabilities for large, high-growth agencies.
- AI-powered behavioral targeting
- Multi-channel campaign management
- Real-time sales and lead analytics
- Predictive lead scoring
- Customized sales planning
- Client management and renewals tracking
- Tight integration with Oracle‘s extensive cloud applications
Contact Oracle for pricing details.
Apptivo is an affordable yet powerful option optimal for small and mid-sized agencies.
- Separate portals for clients
- Automated sales workflows
- Custom reporting and analytics
- Integrated email and SMS
- Time tracking
- Robust access controls and permissions
- Native mobile apps
- Over 100 third-party integrations
Plans start at $8/user/month paid annually.
Nutshell focuses on boosting sales team productivity and client interactions for professional services agencies.
- Contact relationship tools
- AI-guided sales automation
- Integrated Gmail, Outlook and Office apps
- Client collaboration portals
- Customizable views and sales processes
- Mobile access across devices
- Sales analytics and projections
Starter plans are $19/user/month.
Nimble combines simple contact management with powerful social media engagement capabilities for social-savvy agencies.
- Unified inbox across email and messaging
- Contact record enrichment from social networks
- Sentiment and relationship analysis
- Social publishing and scheduling
- Smart contact and company profiles
- Sales signals based on social insights
- Mobile apps and offline access
Pricing starts at $19/user/month for the Pro plan.
9. Agile CRM
Agile CRM is fast, flexible and affordable with all core sales, marketing and collaboration features required by SMB agencies.
- Kanban-style project and task management
- Customizable sales workflows
- Contact management with reminders
- Marketing automation with drag-and-drop builder
- Email, forms, landing pages and surveys
- Mobile apps across devices
- Zapier integration
- AI-powered sales analytics
Starter plans are $8.99/user/month billed annually.
As a CRM expert and data analyst, I recommend agencies invest sufficient time in identifying the right CRM solution. Don‘t just go by recommendations – evaluate products hands-on to ensure they fulfill your specific requirements.
With a feature-packed, agency-centric CRM powering your customer relationships, you are destined for sustainable growth and profitability. Equip yourself with the right technology to delight clients and achieve continued success.
Feel free to reach out if you need any help or advice in choosing your agency CRM – I‘d be glad to offer strategic insights based on my decade of experience in this space. Here‘s to building stronger client relationships!