While building a website for your online business, you quickly learn that it involves much more than a flashy front page.
You need workflows in place to post and edit your websites, track the content of your performance, and keep track of your customer base. And wouldn’t life be so much easier if all of these workflows could function in harmony with each other?
The solution requires just two important technologies in website development: a CMS and a CRM. Whether you’re familiar with one, both, or neither of these terms, they lie at the core of many successful online brands, and potentially yours.
It’s never too early or too late to add a CMS and a CRM to your software ecosystem. So, in this article, I’ll explain the difference between these two tools. Then we’ll explore how to integrate them across different platforms.
CRM vs. CMS
CRM and CMS are software tools for online businesses. Customer relationship management software (CRM) keeps track of all your leads and customers by recording and reporting their interactions with your website. A content management system (CMS) is used for building and managing a website.
Put another way, a CMS helps you create an experience for visitors, while a CRM helps you to track visitor experience. Now, let’s see how they work together.
The title of this article might read “CRM vs CMS,” but there’s no competition here — these tools should work closely in conjunction with each other. Since your customers interact with your website, your customer tracking system needs to interact with your website management system.
A good CMS-CRM integration will funnel all activity on your website straight into your CRM for instant analysis, reporting, and actionable insights. You’ll also be able to see how your site is performing alongside your other online channels, which better informs your marketing and content strategy.
If you’re in the market for a CMS, consider the available CRM integrations for each one on your list. Just about every well-known CMS will work with one or more CRMs, but the integration processes differ in cost, functionality, and options available. Be mindful of which CMS-CRM setup works best overall for your business.
Alternatively, if you’ve already settled on a CMS but unhappy with your CRM options available to you, don’t be afraid to switch to a CMS with a more effective CRM integration. The effort spent to switch your CMS will be more than made up for by customers earned through a better CRM.
In the next section, I’ll explain how to add a CRM to a handful of CMSs. But before we continue, see our CRM guide and CMS guide if you want to learn more about either individual tool.
How to Integrate Your CMS with a CRM
Let’s now review some of the best CMSs available, and learn how to pair them with an effective CRM.
CMS Hub is built on top of HubSpot CRM, giving you access to tools for lead capture, contact management, and analytics in the same place as your content management system. Every interaction on your CMS Hub website is stored in the CRM for easy reporting. New leads from your website are also automatically saved in your CRM as contacts, which you can organize into lists and easily track from first interaction to purchase.
CMS Hub and HubSpot CRM keep things simple, yet powerful. With these tools fully integrated on a single platform, you’ll spend less time trying to sync up software tools and more time optimizing your customer experience, nurturing leads, and growing your online business
Adding a CRM to your WordPress website is as simple as installing a CRM plugin. Add-ons like the HubSpot WordPress plugin seamlessly sync WordPress with a CRM, no coding required.
The HubSpot WordPress plugin connects your website with HubSpot CRM, which works to capture your visitor information, organize it into self-updating contact lists, and review your sales metrics with reports. HubSpot CRM easily integrates with other apps like WooCommerce, Stripe, and Gmail.
Wix has made a name for itself in the CMS space with its ease-of-use, which extends to its CRM as well. To add CRM capabilities to your Wix site, use Wix’s customer management and marketing suite, Ascend.
The Ascend CRM blends into Wix’s CMS interface, so you can quickly add its suite of user-friendly business tools to your workflow. These tools include essential CRM functionality, marketing integrations with Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel, and custom templates for automated email, social media posts, and video.
Customer relationship management is an essential component of any ecommerce business, including those using Shopify. Shopify easily integrates with third-party CRM software available from its marketplace. Browse for CRM integrations in the Shopify app store, or pick from one of your recommendations:
HubSpot CRM: HubSpot CRM is one of the top Shopify-compatible CRMs, and hands-down the best free CRM available. It offers features to create deep connections with leads and customers, including personalized CTAs and email nurturing, content engagement tracking, and extensive integrations with other popular marketing and sales tools.
AgileCRM: If you’re running a small ecommerce business, AgileCRM is a great option to start and grow with. Its all-in-one functionality handles operations for contact management, sales, marketing, and customer support, all for a competitive price compared to other CRM apps.
Metrilo: Metrilo’s CRM app for Shopify emphasizes its in-depth segmentation of customers with advanced activity tracking, detailed customer profiles, and its highly customizable filtering tool. Its range of pricing plans are aimed to fit your business’ needs, regardless of size.
As the second most popular open-source CMS on the market, Joomla allows room for broad customization with extensions, including some reputable CRM integration options. Some popular Joomla CRM extensions include:
JoomCRM: As the leading Joomla CRM extension, JoomCRM offers CRM features for contact and deal management, team management, lead capture, and more. It’s a great place to start.
vBizz: For a broader business solution with CRM included, try the Joomla vBizz extension. It offers powerful and flexible business management features, including customer relationship solutions for project planning, activity tracking, communicating with leads, and analytics.
CiviCRM: CiviCRM is designed specifically for nonprofit websites. This extension empowers users to build strong relationships with funders and partners. Its specialized tools to facilitate donation collection, event management, and site membership.
To add a CRM with Drupal, you can choose from a few well-reviewed CRM modules. Drupal is more hands-on than other CMSs, so expect a more involved process to link a CRM to your site. We recommend trying out these modules for Drupal:
HubSpot: The Drupal HubSpot module uses HubSpot’s API to sync your Drupal site with HubSpot’s tools, including HubSpot CRM. Users can fill out forms on your Drupal site with their information, which is then stored in HubSpot’s system.
AgileCRM: Agile’s powerful CRM module can integrate with your Drupal site without much heavy lifting, letting you quickly add landing pages and forms to your pages, automate emails, and track visitor engagement.
RedHen: This open-source CRM accommodates the core CRM needs for nonprofit organizations: contact management, engagement tracking, event registration, and member profiles. RedHen is built for Drupal — it allows for lightweight customization and backend access for those more comfortable with code.
CMS and CRM: The Ultimate Duo
There’s a lot to consider while growing a business online. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the many different software products marketed under the guise of “essential” or “must-have.”
But, implementing a healthy CMS-CRM relationship at the heart of your strategy will ultimately save you time, money, and lost leads. The sooner you do this, the sooner you’ll understand your audience and leverage your insights to earn their trust.
Originally published Jul 27, 2020 7:00:00 AM, updated July 27 2020