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CRM Email Marketing: What Is It and Which Are the Best Tools?

a screenshot of Ann New's demo pipeline for new customers

CRM (customer relationship management) software and email marketing are two digital marketing tools you should be aware of. Combining these for CRM email marketing allows businesses to monitor and interact with leads, forming better customer relationships and generating conversions. 

That said, you’re probably wondering why there’s even a CRM vs. email marketing debate to begin with. What’s the benefit of your CRM integrating with email marketing platforms, and what should you consider when setting up that integration?

We’ll answer these questions and more in this post. Read on to learn more.

CRM vs. email marketing: What’s the difference?

The answer to that question is pretty simple, but first, we’ve got to understand the two and how each can benefit your business.

What’s a CRM?

CRM is software that helps businesses organize and manage their relationships with current and potential customers. With a CRM, you can store and organize customer information, track your incoming and current leads, set up automated emails, and even measure the results of your sales and marketing strategies.

The benefits of a CRM

With data analytics, a CRM can help you learn more about your audience. This is extremely important for developing successful marketing campaigns that resonate with your audience. 

A CRM like Nutshell can organize your customer information in one place so you can polish your customer profile and identify key trends and information about your target audience.

Additionally, a CRM helps businesses manage their lead pipeline and improve their customer service. Nutshell’s CRM software tracks and saves all communication between your sales team and clients. That way, you’re always in the know about what’s going on. 

With access to everything about your customers, you can ensure you’re offering quality customer service every time. 

Your CRM software can also use this information to identify high-priority leads so you don’t miss out on potential customers and can keep up with your lead flow.


Which CRM has the features you need?

Our interactive worksheet compares the benefits offered by Nutshell, your existing contact management solution, and any other CRMs you’re currently evaluating.


a piece of paper with the words Nutshell - 16 B2B cold email templates that sales experts swear by on it

What is email marketing?

Email marketing is straightforward: it’s a marketing strategy where you send promotional messages to your audience through emails in mass quantities.

With email marketing, you can send your customers everything from regular newsletters to those “We miss you!” emails to entice previous customers to interact with your brand again.

The benefits of email marketing

Email marketing is an excellent strategy for promoting your business, nurturing and converting leads, and, most importantly, generating sales.

No matter what stage of the buyer’s journey your subscribers are in, you can use email marketing to send targeted campaigns to potential customers and turn them into buyers.

Email marketing allows you to engage with potential leads who might be on the cusp of becoming customers. With the right personalized email campaign, you can give them that last push they need to hit that “Purchase” button.

Re-engage with customers who may have viewed your website and left without completing their purchase, or use email marketing to follow up with past customers to gather valuable feedback you can use to improve your brand.

The difference between CRM and email marketing

When choosing between a CRM or email marketing software, it’s crucial you know the difference between the two. That way, you can make the best (and most beneficial) choice for your business.

CRM is about managing the relationships between you and your many customers. Email marketing software helps you build a subscriber list and reach out to those customers via email campaigns.

CRM and email marketing: A powerful pairing

Much like search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, CRM and email marketing can work together to improve your lead generation efforts.

In a nutshell (pun intended), when you have email marketing working together with a CRM, you’re completing your sales funnel.

With the customer data you collect, you can compile an email list and launch and manage your email marketing campaigns straight from your CRM.

CRMs let you gather and analyze data, meaning you can uncover insights into how to improve your email marketing campaigns. After all, data-driven marketing is the best kind of marketing.

With the right CRM, you don’t have to worry about integrating two separate CRM and email marketing tools. Instead of bouncing between two different platforms, you can gather and analyze email subscribers and launch email campaigns all on one platform.

Nutshell’s CRM and email marketing software allows you to target your audiences with personalized campaigns fueled by your hard-earned CRM data.


Write less email, get more replies.

Are you falling off your prospects’ radars? With Nutshell’s personal email sequences, we’ll remember the follow-up for you.


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Why do you need a CRM with email features?

So, why should your company consider investing in a CRM with email functionality? What are the benefits of CRM email marketing tools versus purchasing separate email marketing software or hiring professional email marketing services?

There are many reasons, but these are the most significant benefits you can look forward to.

Enhanced targeting

Having your CRM integrated with email tools can benefit you by helping you better segment your email lists.

You don’t want to send the same emails to every single one of your prospective customers—after all, not all customers are alike. Segmenting your email list helps you reflect this fact in your marketing.

You can use your CRM to split your audience into groups based on their interests, customer status, and other characteristics. With many CRMs, you can even identify potential customers who’ve interacted with your website or other marketing content.

Then, you can use your email marketing software to build an email marketing campaign that targets those groups of contacts and (hopefully) turns them into paying customers.

Effective communication

For many sales professionals, email is the secret weapon in their selling arsenal. A CRM like Nutshell helps you better understand your audience.

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 can help you fine-tune your messages and boost your success rate.

Increased productivity

Imagine the time you’d save if your CRM offered 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. 

Voila! Top-notch CRMs, like Nutshell, allow you to do just that. Plus, the email templates you’ll have at your disposal will save you a lot of time on re-typing.

Transparent collaboration

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

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 inboxes and cannot be leveraged by anyone else on the team.

Automated email campaigns

Your CRM can do more than help you build your email campaigns—it can also automate those campaigns, sending out emails in response to specific user behaviors or on a predetermined schedule. For example, if someone joins your email list, your CRM might automatically send out a welcome email.

Even if you’re using an external tool for most of your email marketing, your CRM can still be helpful when it comes to automation. That’s because it has direct access to tons of customer data that can inform which groups receive which emails at which times.

Tracked email engagement data

Another huge benefit of a CRM with email marketing integration is that it helps you to track engagement with your email campaigns and connect that data to specific subscribers, customers, and companies.

As your email platform runs your campaigns, it will generate data on metrics such as open rate, click-through rate (CTR), and conversion rate. When your CRM and email marketing are integrated, this email engagement data is connected directly to the customer data in your CRM. 

This enables you to explore all the customer data for individuals and groups of users who received your campaigns. You’ll also see email engagement on individuals’ profiles in your CRM so that you can easily reference it later.

Improved customer lifecycle management

CRM email marketing software can help teams with so much more than following up with sales leads, sending out bulk emails, or creating personalized sequences. It allows you to automate and scale targeted messaging for better customer lifecycle management.

Craft highly personalized email drip campaigns that speak to your prospects and leads in a way that aligns with where they are in the buyer journey. For instance, you can use these campaigns to ensure leads get the right message at the right time to move them further along your pipeline.

When done right, lifecycle email marketing can be an effective way to nurture and retain customers. When your messaging matches your customer’s wants and needs, you increase your chances of delivering positive customer experiences and solidifying meaningful relationships.

Combining the power of CRM with robust email marketing tools can also boost revenue from existing customers with upsell and cross-sell opportunities.

The best CRM email marketing platforms

So the question is, which CRMs have the best email capabilities? More importantly, which of these platforms is right for your company? 

The following eight CRMs have made email integral to their feature sets. Here’s a quick summary of each:

CRMs for email marketingKey features
NutshellStrong email automation features, email sequencing, shareable templates, easy contact filtering for targeted bulk emails, personal email sequence tool, two-way sync with Gmail and Office 365, MailChimp, Zapier, and a native email marketing suite
InsightlyReal-time analytics for all campaigns with email template feature and integration with Outlook, Gmail, MailChimp, and Zapier
Agile CRMEasy creation, sending, and tracking of email campaigns with a selection of visually pleasing templates, personalization features, robust reporting dashboard, email A/B testing, drag and drop email builder, social sharing, and autoresponders
Zoho CRMEmail template feature with reporting features, integration with Zoho Campaigns, and analytics for each salesperson
Microsoft Dynamics 365Personalized emails based on recipient data from the CRM, plus the launch of multiple simultaneous email campaigns, journey builder, and automated launch
ActiveCampaignMarketing automation platform with CRM functionality, extensive template library, personalization and list segmentation capabilities, A/B testing, and integrations with 250 other apps
CopperIntegration with G Suite and Gmail, one-off message sending, templates for streamlined sending, and limited automation capability with MailChimp
HubSpotAccess to automated sequences, a template editor, detailed analytics, lead scoring, website analytics, blog management, contact organization, email sending, and email tracking for opens, click-throughs, and downloads

Read through the descriptions of each to determine the right fit for your organization.

1. Nutshell

Nutshell campaigns features graphic

Nutshell is an all-in-one CRM and email marketing platform that’s “simple enough for any user, sophisticated enough for any business.” This mantra also applies to the software’s email capabilities.

The service has robust email automation features, including email sequencing, shareable templates, easy contact filtering for targeted bulk emails, and even a native email marketing suite—everything you need to take the grunt work out of email communication.

Nutshell’s personal email sequence tool allows sales professionals to perform one-on-one outreach at scale. These email sequences shut off automatically once your recipient replies. You can even set them up to trigger when a lead reaches a particular pipeline stage, which means you can nurture all your new prospects without lifting a finger. 

And because Nutshell tracks reply rates of your sequences, you’ll be able to easily tell which emails work best and which need a rewrite.

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 helps 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 cutting-edge email functionality, you can’t do much better than Nutshell.

Connect with subscribers right from your CRM

Catch your buyers’ attention at every stage of the funnel with Nutshell Campaigns—an email marketing solution that’s built right into your CRM.


an envelope with a letter in it that says to audience

2. Insightly

Insightly dashboard

Insightly is a popular name in the CRM world. The platform focuses on helping its users build strong, lasting customer relationships. One way they do this is by offering email automation features.

Inside the platform, users can 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

Agile CRM dashboard

With Agile CRM, users can easily create, send, and track email campaigns in addition to the platform’s traditional customer relationship management features.

Users simply select the look they want from a selection of visually pleasing templates and begin crafting 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. 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 that this service’s email capabilities are top-tier.

4. Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM dashboard

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 also happens to have email functionality.

Similar to the solutions already reviewed, Zoho CRM includes an email template feature that will free sales teams from tediously drafting the same messages repeatedly. 

The Zoho template creator also includes drag-and-drop capabilities, making adding text, images, tables, etc., to emails super simple.

Zoho CRM includes reporting features that inform users of when the system sent their messages 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.

We should note 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. Microsoft Dynamics 365

Microsoft Dynamics 365 screenshot

Microsoft Dynamics 365 will help you improve the impact and return from your email campaigns. The key value that Dynamics 365 brings to email marketing is the ability to automate the creation of personalized emails. Thus, you can set up rules to get dynamic content in your emails tailored to each recipient based on the data from their profile in your CRM.

In Dynamics 365, you can conveniently launch multiple simultaneous email campaigns targeted at different audience segments. In addition to emails, you can create social media interactions via push notifications and text messages.

Based on your vision of how to engage with customers at different stages of their decision-making, you map different scenarios in a journey builder and set up the timing for an automated launch.

Dynamics 365 ranks among Gartner’s Magic Quadrant’s best B2B marketing automation platforms. It garners high praise from companies with dynamic marketing activities that seek time-saving automation, one-to-one personalization, and omnichannel campaign delivery.

6. ActiveCampaign

Active Campaign dashboard

ActiveCampaign is a unique entry on this list for one simple reason: it started as a marketing automation platform and then 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 for those who prioritize marketing automation above all other features.

Because of this, ActiveCampaign looks and operates more like traditional email marketing software 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. It also includes A/B testing and integrations with Paypal, Shopify, Facebook, and 250 other apps.

In brief, ActiveCampaign is an excellent 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. Depending on the number of contacts a user has, you can obtain these marketing automation and CRM features for $49 a month or more.

7. Copper

Screenshot of Copper CRM in Gmail

Copper is another CRM on this list with a unique twist: Copper designed this CRM 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 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 use daily. Users simply fire up Gmail and can begin building better relationships with contacts immediately.

Related: Save time and stay organized with the Nutshell for Gmail Chrome extension!

Copper is pretty limited in terms of email capability. Users can send one-off messages via Gmail, build templates for streamlined sending, and automate specific responses. But for more detailed email automation capability, users must 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.

8. HubSpot

Email features in HubSpot CRM

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

Once users have selected a template and built an email sequence, they can automate it, freeing up more time for other tasks and ensuring that important leads never fall through the cracks. 

Users can then track emails for opens, click-throughs, and downloads. Based on historical data, users can also score leads and predict the likelihood of them becoming customers.

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, though the cost could be a deal-breaker for growing companies.

Related: What Does HubSpot Cost, and Why Is It So Expensive?

What to consider when choosing a CRM email marketing tool

Finding a CRM solution with native email marketing software integration is the first prize. But if you already have a CRM system and want to connect a reliable email marketing tool to it, there are a few features you should look out for.

Integration capabilities

First and foremost, ensure that the email marketing app integrates seamlessly with your CRM platform. If the tool offers a free trial, sign up and run a CRM and email marketing software integration trial.

Should you run into any issues, reach out to the provider’s customer support team. This will give you a good idea of how easy it is to link the software with your CRM, and you’ll have a chance to put their customer support team to the test.

Once connected, make full use of that software trial by testing all the available features to determine how well it works with your CRM.

User-friendly interface

Crafting eye-catching, branded emails, newsletters, and broadcasts calls for a visual editor that’s easy to navigate and learn. So, when you test email marketing tool options within your CRM, make sure it’s a user-friendly application.

Ideally, you should seek out tools with professional-looking email templates to help you get started. You should also opt for visual editors built for hassle-free drag-and-drop editing to ensure you and your team get hit the ground running.

Automation features

The ability to set up email drip sequences is a must. You should have the option to add several messages to the sequence and time the email distribution as you see fit. But you’ll also want the ability to run automated targeted emails triggered by actions related to your pipeline. 

For instance, if one of your team members qualifies a prospect, they may move it to the next stage of your sales pipeline. Your email marketing tool should let you set up a personalized email template that automatically sends to the lead when that happens.

Analytics and reporting

One of the best ways to maximize your email campaign success is to monitor how your audience engages with your emails and optimize accordingly. This means you’ll need a way to track metrics like open and click-through rates.

Check to ensure that your chosen email marketing software provides comprehensive reporting and analytics features. This way, you can easily draw reports to see how your campaigns are doing and where there’s room for improvement. 

Run A/B tests to gauge your audience’s preferences and adjust your email content for the best results, making the most of the analytics and reporting functionality available. 

Limitations and scalability

Many email marketing tools offer a host of fantastic features but come with significant limitations on less expensive plans. When evaluating your options, take note of limits related to the number of marketing contacts you can have and the number of emails you can send per month.

Compare the pricing between your preferred options for the same number of marketing contacts and emails to get a better idea of which tools offer the best value for your money. This will also help you determine which pricing plans are a good fit for your current operation and whether you can scale easily when your business grows.

Level up CRM email marketing with Nutshell Campaigns

At Nutshell, we understand how tough it can be to choose between two tools that are undoubtedly helpful in generating and maintaining leads. That’s why we made the decision easy by creating the perfect CRM for email marketing.

How? We combined them.

With Nutshell Campaigns, you can combine email marketing with CRM data. Instead of bouncing between different platforms to gather email subscribers and generate an email campaign, your sales and marketing teams can do it all with one system.

Nutshell Campaigns connects CRM with email marketing so you can target custom audiences with beautifully designed email campaigns that resonate with your customers.

The CRM filtering tools allow you to create precise audiences for your email campaigns easily. Whether you’re looking to connect with subscribers in a specific geographic location or industry or want to target them based on how long they’ve been a customer, Nutshell’s got you covered.

After you launch your campaign, you can keep track of its success with Nutshell Campaigns’ reporting dashboard. You’ll see who’s opened your emails and interacted with them so you can reach out to them and turn those people into buyers.

Because Nutshell’s CRM platform powers Nutshell Campaigns, you no longer have to worry about contacts getting out of sync between your sales and marketing software, and you can build highly targeted audience lists based on any customer segment.

Integrate email marketing with Nutshell Campaigns

It’s vital that your company invests in the right CRM solution, considering that sales reps rely on CRM so heavily to make connections with their buyers. 

With Nutshell Campaigns, you can catch your buyers’ attention at every marketing funnel stage. Our email marketing software connects seamlessly with your CRM data so you can target your audiences with personalized email campaigns that convert your subscribers into paying customers.

Learn more about combining your Nutshell CRM with email marketing and what Nutshell Campaigns can do for you by starting a 14-day free trial. Or, contact us today to schedule a live demo or learn more about the benefits of Nutshell.

See Nutshell in action

Give our powerful, easy-to-use CRM a try for free for 14 days! Or join a live demo to see Nutshell at work!



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