As a business owner, you pride yourself on building the life you’ve always wanted. You had the courage to do what most people would don’t: to quit your job and run your own business. You got out of the 9 to 5 and you took control of your life.
However, as your business is slowly growing, things are not as magical and empowering as they used to be. You’re stuck again in a 9 to 5 schedule (this time at your home office) and you can’t make ends meet. At some point, you realise that all you did was change locations. But that longed-for freedom you were looking for is nowhere to be found.
Then you start wondering: is this really what I wanted? How come nobody told me this was going to be so hard? You begin to blame the people who told you that you could be an entrepreneur and run your business working fewer hours and earning more money.
If you’ve ever felt like this, you are not alone. This is a feeling that most business owners go through at some point in their lives. But trust us, there is a better way.
If what you want is to stop doing tedious repetitive tasks that don’t make you money, then what you need is CRM automation software.
CRM automation is the difference between spending endless hours chasing your leads and seeing a deal closed while you’re having lunch with your friends at your favourite restaurant.
In this article, we’re going to show you 4 of the most popular CRM automation software: Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign, Keap Pro, and Infusionsoft. You’ll learn what they are, how they are different and which one is best for your business.
But, before we go straight into this comparison, you’ll see some of the numerous benefits of implementing a CRM automation system for your business.
What are the benefits of a CRM?
Having a CRM will change your whole lead tracking game. You’ll save time and energy on a number of things. Here are some of the many benefits of CRMs.
Organise like a ninja
With a CRM, never again will you wonder, where did I save this person’s contact information? A CRM stores all of your customers’, leads’ and team’s information in a single place, allowing you to easily find any kind of data you need.
Stay in touch all the time
A CRM allows you to create automated emails and reminders so that you can easily follow up with your customers. Forget about spreadsheets and post-it notes! Your CRM will automatically remind you (and your customers) of every upcoming event, appointment or meeting.
Automate (tedious) daily tasks
Once and for all, you’ll have the free time you deserve. With a decent CRM, you can automate daily tasks such as sending emails to your customers, capturing new leads and assigning tasks to your team.
Make your customers feel special (and sell more!)
By having all your customers’ information stored in one place, you can create a personalised experience that will leave them so impressed that they won’t hesitate to do business with you.
Mailchimp vs. ActiveCampaign vs. Keap Pro vs. InfusionSoft
What is Mailchimp?
Mailchimp is an entry-level CRM that provides a platform for automation and email marketing services. It’s one of the most popular automation systems for small businesses because it offers a free version. So, many business owners choose it at the beginning when they are not ready to start investing.
MailChimp is very intuitive, especially if you’re just starting with email marketing. It has a lot of email templates and a drag-and-drop builder to design your email broadcasts. It also provides a landing page builder and some A/B testing to see what works with your subscribers.
It has a free-starting plan and a pay-as-you-go plan which charges you depending on how many emails you send out.
How much does MailChimp cost?
Mailchimp offers a limited free version and some other plans starting from USD $9.99 per month up to USD $299 for their premium plan.
Mailchimp Pros and Cons
- Easy to use
- Good list management tools
- Great for email marketing beginners
- Free-starting plan
- No phone app
- Audience segmenting is pretty basic
- Limited design options
- Very basic automation
- Emails tend to go directly into promotions or spam
What is ActiveCampaign?
ActiveCampaign has created a great all-rounder software platform for small and medium-sized businesses.
ActiveCampaign features email marketing, automation for marketing and sales, and CRM.
Aside from automation, you can also send a variety of email types, from simple marketing emails to dynamic content with A/B testing. And you can also send SMS.
Given that it doesn’t offer a free-starting plan, you have to be ready to invest in this automation platform. The good side is that you get to send unlimited emails to your contacts with even their cheapest plans.
ActiveCampaign offers great CRM features. In your contacts, you can see a lot of information about every single person, such as location, a number of tags they’ve been assigned, activities and any on-site or event tracking. This is a great advantage for sales teams who wish to get in touch with warm leads only with a click of a button.
How much does ActiveCampaign cost?
ActiveCampaign starting plan is USD $9 per month up and you can choose better plans for up to USD $229.
ActiveCampaign Pros and Cons
- Powerful marketing automation
- Many email options
- Good deliverability rates
- Support and one-to-one training on Pro plans and higher
- A little overwhelming for beginners at first
- Editor issues can be confusing
- No landing page builder
- Price can be an issue for small businesses
- No payment gateway or e-commerce capabilities
What is Keap (Pro)?
Keap,(formerly Infusionsoft)based in Arizona has been running since 2001.
What they offer is CRM software solutions, marketing and sales automation especially for small businesses.
The best part of Keap Pro is that it has different software according to how big or small your business is, so you don’t really have to worry about migrating all your data to a new company (and spend time learning their system) once your business grows.
Keap offers three versions of software:
- Keap Grow
- Keap Pro
You can read our thorough comparison of these 3 options here.
We’ll go into detail about Keap Pro here, but just to mention it, Keap grow is aimed at very small businesses or single entrepreneurs who are barely starting with marketing automation. That’s why we recommend Keap’s first upgrade, Keap Pro, to help with a small growing business.
In fact, between Keap Grow and Mail Chimp we’d recommend Mail Chimp everytime.
As one of the most popular CRMs in the market, Keap Pro will help you organise your customers’ data as well as your team’s information and tasks assignment (which MailChimp, for example, lacks.)
Besides, with Keap Pro, you’ll get to create campaigns, communicate with hundreds of people at the same time (by email, social media or SMS), follow-up every pipeline deal or opportunity, among other critical features such as being able to take payments directly in the contact record with Stripe and Paypal integrations.
If what you are looking for is to increase your income spending less time in front of your computer, replace boring and tedious tasks, be more productive in your business, then Keap Por is definitely a great starting choice. You can check out a Keap Pro free demo here.
How much does Keap Pro cost?
You can get Keap Pro through as a discounted rate. For most up to date pricing, it is best to speak to our automation specialist. You can book a call here.
Keap Pro- Pros and Cons
- Best campaign builder
- All-in-one solution
- Easy to learn
- Great segmentation
- Support team
- They’re currently beta testing the Android app
- No order form automation (you need to interact with prospects and send them an invoice or take payments over the phone)
- It might be too basic if you have a team of more than 3 salespeople
What is InfusionSoft?
Infusionsoft is the highest level of Keap’s range of CRM products. Actually, Infusionsoft was the original software specially built for marketers.
Some years later, Keap came along and was created by Infusionsoft as a less sophisticated version for a much bigger audience. This way, you didn’t need to be a marketing expert to use Keap.
As you can imagine, Infusionsoft is the most advanced technology we are going to mention in this article. It includes the key features of Keap Pro plus e-commerce automation, advanced reporting, automated sales pipeline and lead scoring.
We have an article covering in-depth the differences of Infusionsoft and ActiveCampaign here.
If you are a rather bigger business and you have a better knowledge of marketing strategies and e-commerce, then Infusionsoft is the right tool for you. However, it’s not recommended for small businesses since you’ll spend a while learning how it works.
How much does Infusionsoft cost?
It is best to speak to our automation specialist to price the best level of Infusionsoft for you based on your level of business, your sales process and the size of your email list. As Certified Partners we have access to discounted pricing and unique bundles. You can book your free call here to see which CRM is the best fit for you.
InfusionSoft Pros and Cons
- Great integration
- Best for e-commerce (online shopping)
- Learning curve – this is like jumping in a top-level racecar after walking everywhere
So,if you are a small or medium-sized business wanting to grow and scale, investing in a CRM will be the best decision you ever make.