Your potential customers are only potential customers for a fleeting period of time. They'll visit your site, perhaps try out your app, check out your menu or look through the services you offer. But if they get bored, can't decide what they need, or just don't see how your offering solves their problem, they'll leave and never return.
There are plenty of businesses that rely on close personal relationships, where that have a hand-picked set of leads that their sales team works to turn into deals. They need to track what's said, note personal details about the contact, and make sure they know when they need to follow up. That's where the dozens of great traditional CRM apps come in, as we looked at in chapter 2. They're tools that can help your business track all of the info about your customers, your conversations with them, and convert them from leads into deals.
But some businesses need a bit more. When everyone who stops on your site or downloads your app is a potential customer, you just might find a marketing automation CRM is what the doctor ordered. Here are some of the very best, and how they'll work for your company.
There are ways to automate activities in almost every CRM, especially if you tie in your other apps with Zapier. You can have new contacts automatically added to your CRM when they've filled out a form, and then automatically emailed a personal follow up note two weeks later—or just about anything else you can think of that'd be helpful for your business.
But marketing automation apps with CRMs go much further. They tie directly into your site or app, adding all of your users into the CRM as soon as they sign up. They'll then monitor your site stats, showing how people discover you, which parts of your site they've seen, and then point out the people you focus on in your marketing efforts. They'll even automatically email your users to make sure they don't forget about your product.
It's the smarts of an analytics app, tied to a rich customer database that'll help you personalize your marketing while at the same time automating tediousness activities away. They're best aimed at web- and app-centric companies, and when they're tied in with all of the other apps your team uses, they're a powerful tool to help market your products. They're not for every business, but if you need a better way to identify potential customers and automate the sales process, they might be for you.
A marketing automation app will take a bit more time to set up than the traditional CRM. You'll likely need to copy a bit of code from the tool after you've created your account, and embed it into your site or app. Once you've done that, though, the apps here will do the rest of the work for you, identifying your visitors and clients and automating most of the CRM heavy lifting you'd have to do in other apps.
Just as in our roundup of standard CRM apps, there are a few criteria we use to select the apps here. Every app in this list:
You'll find a description of each app and what it does best, along with a screenshot, average price per user for the standard plan, and a link to our review page where we've listed detailed features, pricing plans, and more.
Sound good? Then let's find a great marketing automation CRM for your team.
Click on a link to jump directly to the info about that app, or scroll through the entire list to learn about them all.
Ever wanted a way to talk to the people visiting your site or using your app, the way you could call up to a specific office using your building's intercom? There there's a new digital intercom for you, aptly named Intercom. It'll find out who's using your site or app (it's the only tool among this bunch that works with mobile, too), let you filter through them easily, send them emails or in-app messages, and see who's slipping away. You'll even have a team inbox where you can handle support, marketing or anything else.
Automating your customer discovery can be scary, and a big commitment. If that's how you're feeling, Intercom might be the perfect choice since it lets you try it out for free and still gathers your real customer data. Then, if that gets you itching for more, it's just an upgrade away. Plus, since you can take care of support in the same app, you'll have your CRM, marketing, and support all under one roof, giving you the communication tools you need to actually make a difference with your users.
Price: Free event tracking and customer profiles; around $20 per 1k customers for full features
For a deeper look at features and pricing, see our Intercom review.
When you start your day at work, you likely open a half-dozen apps and websites and spend quite a bit of time just figuring out what needs done and finding the info to do it. Not anymore with Infusionsoft. It's watching your site, tracking info about your potential customers and what they've seen, and at the same time is keeping up with what you need to do. Then, in a nifty "My Day" view, it'll show you everything you need to be doing—including your tasks, communications with contacts, and calendar appointments—along with info about the customers related to your tasks right in the same overview.
There's also the marketing broadcast tools you'd expect to email all of your contacts, but there's also ways to send voice messages, faxes, or even print out paper letters with your contacts' personalized info to send out by mail. And if you're not already selling products directly from your site, you can use Infusionsoft's eCommerce tools to build your own store and track the purchases and pages viewed right in your CRM. It's everything you'd need to identify your customers' needs, customize marketing to them, actually sell your real products, and make sure you're staying on top of everything you need to do at the same time.
Price: Around $75/team member per month
For a deeper look at features and pricing, see our Infusionsoft review.
Like data, charts, and visualizations? Then you'll love Interakt. This app puts the numbers front and center, so you'll quickly be able to get a gauge on how many people are visiting your site, contacting your team, and converting into paid customers. You'll quickly see what's going good—and what's not—at a glance.
Then, in a nod to more traditional CRMs, Interakt gives you two separate sets of people: users and leads. Users are the people tracked using your app automatically, and there's the tools you need to filter them down by almost any data point, see who's slipping away from using your site, and who's the most promising new users. Then, leads are the people that need more hands-on attention: direct contacts you add or import, or people who get in touch via your contact form. It's a nice way to let you focus, say, on both your normal site users and larger clients at the same time.
There's also live chat, an extra that's a nice way to let people reach out to you when they're stuck. You can talk to people on your site directly from Interakt, leading them through your app or helping them see exactly which of your products is best for them. Combine that with in-app messages and email campaigns, and you have everything you need to lead your users through the sales process.
Price: Free for personal use; around $10/team member per month
For a deeper look at features and pricing, see our Interakt review.
Google Analytics can show you what pages are being looked at in real time, along with detailed info about the browsers used, exit pages clicked, and how long people are on your site. You can even use it to see—to a certain degree, at least—which keywords and content styles perform best. HubSpot gives you that same info, along with the tools you need to create great landing pages, blog posts, and more, plus CRM tools that'll help you identify your customers and continue your marketing efforts.
It's an all-in-one app that combines your content creation and social media sharing tools with the analytics data to help that content perform well. Then, it also has a detailed CRM that shows info about your site visitors, marketing automation tools to reach out to your visitors and turn them into customers, and the new Sidekick tool to give you a combined place to email and contact everyone.
Price: Around $800/month for unlimited team members and up to 1,000 customers; $50/month per additional 1k customers
For a deeper look at features and pricing, see our Hubspot review.
Your ideal sales lead will click on a Tweet of yours, visit your site and fill out a form indicating their interest, leaving you in the perfect place to follow up and close the sale. Simple. Except, the world isn't simple. Some people might rather call, others would email, and there's even people who might send a text message or hand you a business card. Instant Customer is ready for them all.
It'll capture your customer leads, no matter where they come from, and give you the marketing automation tools to follow up with each of them to close the sale. You can even follow up automatically with the medium they originally used to get in touch, automatically calling back with a recording, sending an SMS, or putting together a customized email depending on their info.
Price: Around $10/team member per month with 2 phone numbers and a point system for call, SMS, and other usage pricing
For a deeper look at features and pricing, see our Instant Customer review.
Location matters. Knowing if your potential customer is in India or Indiana—or if they first browsed your blog page or your pricing page—can be crucial in closing a sale. Jumplead gives you that knowledge by putting location front-and-center.
Right on the dashboard, you'll see the locations of your site visitors on a world map, along with the pages on your site that are being viewed. You can automatically categorize potential customers based on any criteria, and then can wait for them to reach out on a live chat or proactively start chatting with them when it seems they might be close to buying. Combine that with the standard CRM and marketing features, and you've got an extra set of tools that just might help you sale faster than you would if you're waiting on drip emails to bring back customers.
Price: Free for 1 user and up to 100 customers; around $16/team member per month for basic plans
For a deeper look at features and pricing, see our Jumplead review.
WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems today, and it's a rather easy way to build your site, blog, and even eCommerce store. On its own, WordPress is little more than a tool to build a blog, but its rich ecosystem of plugins and themes let it be almost anything you want. And with Inbound Now, it can be your marketing automation too, too.
Instead of being a separate app with just a code snippet you'll add to your site, Inbound Now lives inside your WordPress install, capturing leads and automating marketing right from the place you manage the rest of your site. It's got free tools to create landing pages, A/B test them, and identify your site visitors, then there's paid extensions that'll add social media and email integration, lead importing, and more.
Price: Free basic features; add extra features starting at $9.99 per plugin or $149.99/year for unlimited plugins and support
For a deeper look at features and pricing, see our Inbound Now review.
If you're running a brick-and-mortar business—say, a hotel, restaurant, or store, or even an in-person service company like a law firm or repair team—website visitors might not be your most important lead source. You'll likely have far more people calling your business to check about your opening hours, current prices, and more. CallTrackingMetrics is designed exactly for that.
It's far less of a CRM and a marketing automation app than most of the apps on here, but it fills an important niche for businesses with more calls than clicks. You can take your sales calls in the web app, track info about each of the callers, and CallTrackingMetrics will let you know which page or ad the user saw when they called. There's even SMS automation so you can send text messages to potential customers, following up even when there's not an app for them to keep using.
Price: $29/month with unlimited team members; Phone numbers start at $2.25/month, calls at 4.2¢/minute, and SMS at 1.75¢/message
For a deeper look at features and pricing, see our CallTrackingMetrics review.
Contact-focused CRMs are one of the best ways to maintain a personal touch with your customers and business contacts, since you'll have one place to keep track of everything about them. Hatchbuck gives you that same contact-focused interface combined with even more detail about each person related to your company. It has a bit more focus on the traditional ways you'd gather leads—especially via forms—than the other apps listed here, and instead of focusing on every possible visitor it's just focused on the important leads you import or that fill out your forms.
Then, though, it keeps an eye on them, seeing which of your personalized and automated emails they read, which links they've clicked, and what they've seen on your site. It'll help you extend your relationships personally with the most important people while still automating the most tedious of marketing tasks and giving you data you couldn't possible uncover otherwise.
Price: Starts at $99/month for 1 team member up to 2.5k customers or $299/month for unlimited team members and customers
For a deeper look at features and pricing, see our Hatchbuck review.
Want a marketing automation CRM that'll keep you on your toes? Then you'll love Agile CRM's real-time notifications based on your contacts' behavior. You can get notifications when they've opened your email, clicked a link, or are just browsing your site. Then, you can make sure they remember you, too, with in-app notifications and even automated SMS drip campaigns.
There's also the deep analytics you'd expect, a full-featured social networking suite to help you stay on top of your mentions and more, and VoIP integration that works with Twilio so you can make and receive calls right from your CRM. There's even eCommerce integration so you can remind people about items they've left in their cart and make sure you get the sale.
Price: From $14.99/team member per month
For a deeper look at features and pricing, see our Agile CRM review.
Perhaps best known as an email newsletter app, ActiveCampaign also includes a full-featured CRM with marketing automation. You can gather leads, with rich profiles on each one that include your conversations with them, their latest social network updates, and more. Then, you can convert them to leads, sort them on a kanban-style board as you take them through your sales process, and keep them updated about your company with beautiful email newsletters.
Or, you can automate your marketing with ActiveCampaign's flow chart-style marketing automation screen that lets you easily create detailed automation workflows. You can use data from your contacts profiles, their interactions with your site or emails, or anything else to steer your automations and reach back out to them with emails using your default templates or via SMS messages. You can even remind yourself to personally follow up on the most promising leads, or automatically turn off emails to people who seem to not be interested. Then, you can still reach out to all of your contacts with email newsletters, without needing a separate app for sending your update emails.
Price: From $49/month for Plus plan with CRM and marketing automation for up to 1,000 contacts
For a deeper look at features and pricing, see our ActiveCampaign review.
Want one app to handle every part of your marketing in one place? GreenRope has enough features to do just that. It's a marketing automation tool that can send drip emails or SMS messages, with automation workflows to send messages after contacts visit specific pages or reply to GreenRope's built-in surveys and courses that you can customize for your own marketing.
Then, to manage your marketing efforts, there's an event calendar and project management tool, along with the core CRM functions that let you rank leads and turn them into customers. It's one app that can handle all of your marketing efforts in one place.
Price: From $149/month Starter plan for unlimited users, emails, and 1k contacts (plus $399 account setup fee).
Check out Zapier's GreenRope integrations
It can be very difficult to decide which marketing automation app is right for your team, especially since one app will handle so much of your team's marketing workflow. Hopefully you've found a couple of apps that seem especially interesting after reading through this chapter—perhaps along with some of the traditional CRMs covered in chapter 2.
Feel free to experiment; you can try out the trial edition of each of the CRMs that seem most interesting, see which work well for your needs, and then stick with the best.
Or, just keep reading. In the next chapter, we'll hear from a number of teams about how they picked their CRM, what they like about it, and how they've integrated it into their workflows.
Photo of gears via Stefan W.
Updated January 13, 2015 with info on ActiveCampaign, and April 20, 2016 with info on GreenRope.
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