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CRM vs. CMS: How to Choose and When You Might Need Both

two puzzle pieces with the words CRM and CMS on them

You’ve probably come across the terms CRM and CMS as you grow your business’s footprint. These two tools serve different purposes, but both can help your team stay organized and make running your company easier.

So, what’s the difference between a CMS versus a CRM, and which one do you need?

If you’re asking these questions, you’re in luck. In this post, we’ll examine the definitions of CRM and CMS, their differences, the needs they address, and why integrating them is essential.

What is a CRM?

A customer relationship management (CRM) platform is a smart hub for your customer data. It does more than just store customer information. It enables you to better understand your customers, automate outreach, and generate reports to streamline your sales processes.

The key features of a CRM include simplified contact management, task automation for your sales processes, and analysis features to give you insight into your sales performance.

With a CRM, you can create targeted and organized messages to reach and convert more prospects. The result? You create better relationships, gain new customers, and keep them happy and loyal to your brand.

A CRM like Nutshell helps your sales and marketing teams turn leads into closed deals and keep your existing customers satisfied.

The three types of CRM

CRMs can be grouped into three main categories: operational, analytical, and collaborative.

  • Operational: These CRMs focus on streamlining the day-to-day sales and marketing operations of a business.
  • Analytical: These CRMs focus on gaining customer insights by analyzing their preferences and behaviors.
  • Collaborative: These CRMs focus on facilitating communication between team members so that they can better work together on key sales tasks.

Most modern CRMs have features that encompass all three types, so there’s no longer a pressure to decide on just one.

Recommended reading: What Does a CRM Do?


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What is a CMS?

A content management system (CMS) is used to create, edit, and publish content on your website with a user-friendly interface that requires no coding skills. A CMS is one of the first tools you need to set up your website.

A CMS’s key features include content publishing and management, website site security, and extension (or integration) capabilities.

Think of it as the central hub of your website’s content—from codes and page templates to text and images that site visitors see. A CMS makes it easy for you to update your website with new products, blog posts, or landing pages for your latest campaigns.

Some CMS examples include: 

  • WordPress
  • Joomla
  • Drupal 
  • Shopify 

What’s the difference between a CRM and CMS?

Both CRM and CMS software can help grow your business, but they serve different purposes.

A CRM stores customer information and helps nurture customer relationships, while a CMS enables you to update your website and create pages. Together, they provide a pleasant journey for your prospects and customers.

With a CMS, you can craft user-friendly landing pages for your customers to browse. Did a customer inquire about one of your products? Let your CRM provide more information and exclusive offers to a customer to nurture your relationships.

The table below summarizes the key differences between a CRM and a CMS:

What It Stands For
Customer Relationship Management

Content Management System

Primary Use

Manage sales leads and contacts to improve customer relationships and drive business revenue

Publish and manage content online securely, often for marketing purposes
Key Features
  • Content publishing tools
  • Content management tools
  • Website maintenance and security
  • Capability to add extensions
  • Analytics
  • Improved relationships with prospects and customers
  • Streamlined sales process
  • Increased number of qualified leads
  • Improved workflow, thanks to automation
  • Better collaboration among team members
  • Save and analyze customer information
  • Generate reports
  • Integration with other software or tools
  • Easier implementation of SEO strategies
  • User-friendly interface
  • Create landing pages that follow the templates of other pages
  • Analytics that can report the popular content among site visitors
  • Plug-ins and widgets can be added for more functionalities

Use Case

Automatically advancing sales leads to the next stage in the pipeline if they’ve met specified criteria, and updating their lead confidence score.

Users publish and update content on a business blog or e-commerce store.

  • WordPress
  • Shopify
  • Joomla

Do I need a CRM or a CMS?

Though the differences between a CRM and CMS are clear, you’re probably still asking yourself, “Which one does my business need?”

There are a few instances where a CMS will suit your needs just fine, such as if you need to:

  • Update your website regularly
  • Manage content you’ve already published on your site 
  • Analyze where on your website visitors spend most of their time
  • Have a central place for content like blog posts, webinars, videos, and more

On the other hand, a CRM is your best option if you need to:

  • Interact with your customers often and nurture leads
  • Automate sales processes like advancing leads through your pipeline, sending personal email sequences, and more
  • Generate sales and marketing reports
  • Collaborate with your team on potential sales

When having both is best

Of course, you may have realized by now that CRM and CMS platforms aren’t mutually exclusive. You can absolutely use both to advance your business goals and get the results you’re looking for. 

What if you want to have website visitors fill out a form with information you can then use to nourish the relationship? A CMS will help you create the perfect website, while a CRM with web form collection enables you to create new leads with each form submission.  

How about if you’re thinking about scaling your business? Consider using a CRM and CMS to help you reach more prospects and nurture them to become happy and loyal customers.

Why you should integrate your CRM and CMS

Using a CMS and CRM separately can be great, but integrating the two tools can provide even greater value. Integrating your CRM and CMS will provide these benefits to your business:

  • Funneling all website activities into your CRM for analysis, reporting, and insights
  • Embedding CRM-built forms on your website to capture lead and customer information
  • Segmenting your users with a CRM so that you can provide personalized website experiences

Choose a CRM that integrates seamlessly with your CMS

Explore Nutshell’s integrations with top CMS platforms and beyond.


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Looking for a user-friendly CRM to integrate with your CMS? Try Nutshell

A CRM and a CMS address different needs. When used and integrated correctly, a CRM and CMS tandem can take your business to new heights.

Consider using Nutshell as your CRM. It’s an affordable and flexible growth platform that you can tweak according to your business’s needs. In addition, you can integrate it with WordPress, Shopify, and other popular CMS platforms.

Try Nutshell for free for 14 days!

Try Nutshell free for 14 days!



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