Top 10 Marketing CRMs for Ad Agencies: A Comparison Guide

 By: Nikki Johnson
Marketing and ad agencies maintain a huge list of contacts of both existing and prospective customers, which they continually reach out to and engage. From phone calls to emails to social media to face-to-face meetings, an agency’s full spectrum of interactions with business contacts results in an immense amount of information to organize and make sense of.

How do agencies monitor and manage all of the data from the numerous relationships they nurture? Hint: CRM.

Smart agencies use a type of system called Customer Relationship Management, or CRM, to manage all of this information so that it’s easy to retrieve and use when needed. The more sophisticated CRM tools incorporate marketing automation, while the more basic ones do less of this, if any. At the end of the day, the overall objective of any CRM is the same: Close more sales!

Free vs. Paid CRMs

CRMs can be classified into two basic categories: Free and paid. CRMs with a price tag can streamline your marketing and sales process and thereby prove their weight in gold. However, if you’re not willing, ready, or capable to shell out dollars yet, some CRMs may be availed without any upfront cost, though you’ll have to put up with a certain set of limitations.

Comparison of the Best CRMs for Ad Agencies

Ad agencies can choose from a myriad of options when it comes to CRM software. This can be overwhelming, so we’ve come up with a list of the top 10 CRMs for ad agencies today.

Here are the 10 CRMs we discuss in this post:

Free CRMs
- Insightly
- Streak
- Zoho CRM
- Bitrix24
- HubSpot CRM

Paid CRMs
- Base
- Pipeliner
- SugarCRM
- Salesforce

A comparison of these CRMs can be found in the tables that follow. (Disclaimer: All data was accurate as of November 2016 and could change at any time.)

Best Paid CRMs for Ad Agencies

Premium CRMs can cost anywhere between less than $10 to more than $150. Each CRM system boasts its own features to attract ideal customers.

Here are the five best paid CRMs that merit your consideration:

Base features a clean design and an intuitive user interface. It also released the first full-native CRM Android app.’s philosophy centers on closing more sales and less data entry. To achieve this goal, it presents salespeople with an efficient workflow, easily integrates with a good number of apps, and takes care of calls, emails, and tasks.

Pipeliner is the CRM for people who need a graphic to understand data and customer relationships. Pipeliner touts itself as the CRM for visually-oriented salespeople.

SugarCRM offers users an intuitive UX, customizability, and a focus on the customer journey. It can be deployed on-site, in the cloud, or in-demand.

Salesforce provides users with a streamlined sales pipeline and a robust third-party app integration while helping sales, marketing, and support teams collaborate.

Top Free CRMs for Ad Agencies

Free CRMs, also known as freemiums, are usually scaled-down or very basic versions of paid CRMs. Freemium CRMs are a great way for marketing and ad agencies to test drive premium CRMs before committing.

The free CRMs that come out on top are:

Insightly is a cloud-based tool with powerful collaboration features and easy integration with Office 365, MailChimp, G Suite, and others.

Streak is basically a plug-in that turns Gmail into a CRM. Its spreadsheet-style approach works best for one-man teams interested in managing business from their inbox.

Zoho CRM allows users to communicate to business contacts through phone, email, live chat, and social media. It also integrates gamification principles in a bid to enhance productivity.

Bitrix24 wants to be a one-stop CRM for managing activities, following contacts, and tracking leads. It makes communication and collaboration easier through more than 35 tools.

HubSpot CRM has a clean, visual dashboard to help you manage and keep track of your pipeline, with interactions presented in a timeline approach.
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