Comparing the 7 best CRMs for email selling and communication

CRM software is the most important relationship-building tool that a sales professional has.

CRMs help sales teams keep track of conversations, reach out to prospects at the right time, and automate manual tasks so that sales reps can focus more of their time on high-value activities. But one underrated benefit of CRM is its ability to make email outreach easier and more effective.

Considering that 80% of buyers prefer to be contacted by email, your email strategy needs to be sharp from a messaging perspective as well as time-effective. (You can’t spend 15 minutes crafting each email when there are dozens of new prospects you have to touch on a given day.) The good news is that many of today’s CRMs offer email tools and automations that speed up the outreach process without sacrificing personalization or quality.

In this article, we’ll compare seven leading CRM solutions that include email communication features, to help you understand which solution might be right for you and your team. But first…

Why You Need a CRM With Email Features

So why should your company consider investing in a CRM with email functionality? There are many reasons, the most important being improved sales effectiveness, increased productivity, and transparency across your sales team.

Effectiveness

For many sales professionals, email is the secret weapon in their selling arsenal. When you combine email with the customer insights stored within a company’s CRM, you’ll be able to craft much more personalized and, ultimately, more effective messages. Comparing the success rates of your templates and automated email sequences helps you fine-tune your messages to boost your success rate.

Productivity

Imagine the time you’d save if your CRM were to offer native email functionality or a two-way sync with your email program. Rather than bouncing back and forth between programs, you could do all your work out of one system. Plus, saved email templates save you a lot of time on re-typing.

Transparency

When your CRM offers email capabilities, your entire team will have a complete and accurate view of the customers you’re attempting to serve.

Email conversations can be stored in a CRM’s customer timelines, which means that any member of your sales, marketing, or support teams can get full context on your company’s relationship with a prospect or buyer, simply by looking them up in your CRM.

Without a CRM database, email communications are hidden away in personal email inboxes, unable to be leveraged by anyone else on the team.

Best CRMs for Email Communication

So the question is, which CRMs have the best email capabilities? More importantly, which of these platforms is right for your company? The following seven CRMs have made email an integral part of their feature sets. Read through the descriptions of each to determine the right fit for your organization.

1. Nutshell

Nutshell is a deceptively powerful CRM and sales automation platform that’s “simple enough for any team, sophisticated enough for any business.” This mantra applies to the software’s email capabilities as well.

The service is equipped with a strong set of email automation features including email sequencing, shareable templates, easy contact filtering for targeted bulk emails, and a very clever MailChimp integration for perfectly timed email marketing—everything you need to take the grunt work out of email.

Nutshell’s personal email sequence tool allows sales professionals to create and schedule email drip campaigns at scale. But the service is also smart enough to stop automated sequences once a reply has been received. And because Nutshell tracks reply rates of your sequences, you’ll be able to easily tell which emails work best and which need to be rewritten.

Every salesperson knows that retyping the same emails over and over again is incredibly tedious. Nutshell’s time-saving email templates remove the monotony from the workday and allow users to fire off messages in seconds, not minutes.

Plus, Nutshell’s two-way sync with Gmail and Office 365 help you stay organized and productive in or out of your CRM. (Even if you use a different email provider, you can still send outgoing work emails from Nutshell.) If you’re looking for a powerful yet completely intuitive CRM solution with strong email functionality, you can’t do much better than Nutshell.

Nurture your leads without lifting a finger.

With Nutshell’s one-click MailChimp integration, leads can be automatically subscribed to email campaigns depending on where they are in your sales process. It’s that easy. Really.


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2. Insightly

Insightly is a popular name in the world of CRM and the platform really focuses on helping its users build strong, lasting relationships with customers. One of the ways they do this is by offering email automation features.

Inside the platform, users are able to create and send emails with just a few clicks and view real-time analytics for all campaigns. Insightly also offers a handy email template feature to save salespeople valuable time.

From one-off messages to bulk sends, this CRM offers a fair amount of native email options, and integrates with Outlook, Gmail, MailChimp, and Zapier for more functionality.

3. Agile CRM

With Agile CRM, users are able to easily create, send, and track email campaigns in addition to the traditional customer relationship management features the platform offers. Users simply have to choose the look they’re going for from a selection of visually pleasing templates and then begin to craft their messages.

Speaking of crafting a message, Agile’s personalization features make connecting with prospects a cinch. Contact attributes (details such as recipient name, location, industry, etc.) can automatically be pulled and included to give each email an individualized feel.

But all this template and personalization goodness wouldn’t be beneficial without some way to track results. Fortunately, Agile CRM includes a robust reporting dashboard to monitor things like email opens and click-throughs. And the lead scoring feature helps users accurately qualify leads based on the metrics in the reporting dashboard.

Additionally, Agile CRM offers email A/B testing, a handy drag and drop email builder, social sharing, and the ability to send autoresponders. We have to admit, the email capabilities that come with this service are top-notch.

4. Zoho CRM

Zoho is a complete software suite that offers everything from accounting software to helpdesk tools. One of the company’s many offerings is a CRM platform which happens to also have email functionality.

Similarly to the solutions already reviewed, Zoho CRM includes an email template feature which will free sales teams from tediously drafting the same messages over and over again. The Zoho template creator also includes drag and drop capabilities, making it super simple to add text, images, tables, etc. to emails.

Zoho CRM comes with reporting features as well that inform users of when their messages were sent and if they were opened and read. Sales managers using Zoho CRM will also be able to see analytics for each salesperson they oversee and determine areas of improvement.

It should be noted that while bulk email campaigns within Zoho CRM are possible, users will have to integrate the platform with another Zoho offering named Zoho Campaigns. The integration is seamless but it’s another step that potential users should be aware of.

5. ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign is a unique entry on this list for one simple reason: it started as a marketing automation platform, then later added true CRM functionality. This fact doesn’t mean the platform can’t competently manage your customer relationships, it just means that the tool is specifically designed for those who prioritize marketing automation above all other features.

Because of this, ActiveCampaign looks and operates more like a traditional email marketing service than the CRMs you’re probably used to. Once inside the platform, users can build email newsletters, craft full automated sequences, schedule messages, and view reports.

ActiveCampaign’s template library is extensive, as are the personalization and list segmentation capabilities. A/B testing is also included and integrations with Paypal, Shopify, Facebook, and 250 other apps can be easily set up.

In brief, ActiveCampaign is a great option for those seeking a marketing automation platform with CRM functionality rather than a CRM service with marketing automation features. It’s also one of the more expensive options on this list. Marketing automation and CRM features can be had for $49 a month or more depending on the number of contacts a user has.

6. Copper

Copper is another CRM on this list with a unique twist: It’s specifically made for G Suite users. If your company doesn’t use the Google platform, this solution definitely won’t work for you. But if you do, you might enjoy the convenience of having a CRM service that’s specifically built for Google.

Unsurprisingly, Gmail users will have an incredibly short learning curve with this CRM—the entire solution lives inside the email program they already use every day. Users simply fire up Gmail and can immediately begin building better relationships with contacts.

As far as email capability goes, though, Copper is pretty limited on its own. Users can send one-off messages via Gmail, build templates for streamlined sending, and automate certain responses. But for more detailed email automation capability, users will need to integrate their Copper accounts with MailChimp.

Due to the limited email automation capabilities, we can only recommend Copper to folks who are already using G Suite and MailChimp and are more interested in standard CRM features than advanced email functionality.

7. HubSpot

HubSpot is a very well-known software company offering CRM and sales enablement tools to support their widely used marketing automation platform. As far as email automation features go, the platform offers access to automated sequences, a template editor, and detailed analytics.

Once a user has selected a template and built an email sequence, it can be automated, freeing up more time for other tasks and ensuring that important leads never fall through the cracks. User emails can then be tracked for opens, click-throughs, and downloads. Uses can also score leads and predict the likelihood of them becoming customers, based on historical data.

All in all, HubSpot is great for companies who want a full package. If you’re looking for one solution to handle your website analytics, manage your blog, organize your contacts, and send emails, HubSpot is a solid choice.

Choosing the Right CRM for Your Company

It’s important that your company invest in the right CRM solution, considering that sales reps rely on CRM so heavily to make connections with their buyers. The seven solutions mentioned in this article are all good options for email communication and the one you choose really comes down to what you need out of your CRM software.

If Nutshell caught your eye, we encourage you to start a free trial. You’ll be able to explore our award-winning platform for 14 days and discover if it’s the right fit for your company. If it is, our monthly plans with email communication features start at just $19 per user per month, making Nutshell both a powerful and affordable option.

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