As an agency, there comes a point when a customer relationship management (CRM) tool becomes an essential part of your business.
A CRM is how you manage all clients in one place, keep communication across all channels transparent and track deals from new to closed. As your agency scales, trying to do all of this in an Excel sheet becomes impossible.
Choosing the best CRM for your agency isn't always quick and simple, but it's considerably easier if you know what you're looking for. For most agencies, these are the most important things to look for in a CRM:
- Collaborative features
- Great user experience and design
- Integrations with other agency tools, like your time tracking app and invoicing software
With these boxes ticked, a CRM differentiates itself from being simply great for small businesses to being great for agencies.
Whether your agency specializes in digital marketing, design, SEO or something else entirely, here are 9 of the best CRMs for you...
The best CRMs for digital agencies
1. HubSpot CRM
Choose for: A free CRM that's super fast to set up.
The core CRM is free to use
HubSpot CRM's main selling point is that it's free. You can also have access to extra features via HubSpot’s sales, marketing and service hubs - however, these hubs are paid, so if you need to integrate them make sure to plan your budget accordingly.
HubSpot is one of the best CRMs for agencies to log emails and phone conversations, view the full timeline of a lead's journey to becoming a client, and boost sales leads with connected inbound marketing. It has a fantastic integrations marketplace too.
Thousands of larger agencies use HubSpot because it's what they support their clients in. Agency partners can choose packages starting at $400/month before onboarding costs.
Choose for: One of the simplest CRMs on the market.
Capsule is a reliable choice if you need strong integrations with accounting tools like Xero, FreeAgent and QuickBooks. It's also one of the best CRMs for agencies to get started with and is loved by digital agencies to build relationships with clients, stay on top of new and pending deals and manage projects all the way from ideation to billing.
Choose for: A sales-focused CRM that promises more sales with less legwork.
From $15/user/month, billed annually
Pipedrive shares that their users see a 28% average increase in close rates after their first year. It's really easy to set up custom pipelines and stages, automate workflows, and track revenue and team performance with customizable dashboards.
It only takes a minute to sync Pipedrive with your Google or Microsoft contact lists and calendars, and there are 150+ more integrations in their apps marketplace. Some of the most popular syncs are with Xero, Trello and Slack, and you can also create two-way contact syncs with PieSync.
Choose for: A beautifully-designed CRM that fits seamlessly with GSuite.
From $19/user/month, billed annually for up to three users
If your agency's already big on Google Mail, Drive and Calendar, Copper is your agency's next best friend. From prospecting to closing deals and retaining your best clients, Copper is one of the most transparent CRMs to keep everyone on the same page.
Copper has fantastic UX and seamlessly captures and connects all project files, tasks and calendar invites so nothing falls through the cracks.
Choose for: A CRM that combines marketing, sales and project management functionality on a single platform.
Free for two users to access the core CRM, or $29 for Insightly Plus per user/month, billed annually without Marketing
You can get started with Insightly's core CRM for free as a team of just 2 users, with 2,500 emails, 10GB file storage and a 100,000 records limit included in the deal.
As the next step up, Insightly Plus ($29/user/month) includes project management with task templates as an added perk for agency teams. Insightly stands out from the competition with a greater focus on automation, data and productivity than many other CRMs.
Choose for: Integrated project management for one workflow from sale to project feedback.
Free task management, apps and workspaces for up to five users, then $9/user/month for the Basic plan
Podio is another CRM for agencies to unify account and project management, like Insightly. It has several features designed with agencies specifically in mind and is perfect for agencies to collaborate on projects, manage accounts and centralize communication in one place.
Podio works seamlessly with your favorite apps, including Google Drive, Excel and major accounting tools like Freshbooks.
Choose for: A CRM with built-in invoices, quotes, payments, appointments and unlimited emails.
From $49/month for 500 contacts and one user, plus $29 for each additional user
Keap, previously Infusionsoft, is one of the best all-rounder CRMs for digital agencies. On top of its brilliant core CRM functionality, Keap offers invoicing, quotes, payments, appointments and automated workflows.
It can save you from needing an additional invoicing and payment tool, which can make up for it being more expensive than some other CRMs.
Choose for: A CRM-plus-more tool combining sales, marketing and automation.
Customizable costs for agencies or from $199/month billed annually for five users on the Team plan
With their Agency Partners program, you can be sure that Hatchbuck has businesses like yours at the front of their mind. With this CRM it's easy to build campaigns, boost retainers and duplicate processes across client accounts to speed up work. Chat with one of their Agency Experts to find the right package for your business.
Choose for: A high-rated CRM that works great alone and in combination with other Freshworks products.
From $12 user/month, billed annually
The Freshworks product family is known for being affordable and extremely user-friendly, and Freshsales is no exception.
Their CRM tool includes built-in phone and two-way email sync, AI-based lead scoring, intelligent workflow automation and customizable visual reports and dashboards. And, of course, it integrates perfectly with other Freshworks tools plus hundreds of other apps.
No matter the CRM you choose, make sure it's seamlessly connected to your agency's app stack. With PieSync you can easily sync your CRM to your other tools and keep your client data flowing two-ways in real time.