CRM vs CMS: The Definitive Guide

Updated Sep 12, 2022.
CRM vs CMS

Deciding on the appropriate software type to meet your business needs can be challenging if you do not have the relevant information.

CRM and CMS are two popular software tools performing different functions that businesses and organizations of varying sizes use to optimize and grow their businesses.

The big question for many businesses is whether to choose between a CRM or CMS system or integrate both for maximum benefits.

This article will show the differences between CRM and CMS, how to use them to improve your business and enhance productivity, and the best CRM and CMS software. 

Let's get started. 

What is Customer Relationship Management (CRM)?

CRM stands for customer relationship management. It involves specific activities established by an organization to successfully track existing and potential customer interactions to devise effective means to improve customer experience.

Customer relationship management software is primarily a large database that stores and keeps track of contact information. On the other hand, modern CRM systems can perform more sophisticated functions than just storing customer data.

CRM - Marketing Sales Orders Support

CRM can be described as a single source of truth for business data designed to build long-term relationships with customers, improve customer interactions with sales, and generate more profit for the organization. 

A CRM system helps businesses improve their sales cycle. CRM plays a vital role in sales and is considered a core sales acceleration technology. Your sales and marketing teams can improve productivity and close more deals by leveraging CRM solutions. 

The best CRM solutions help you create an effective CRM strategy for your business. Your marketing team uses CRM software solutions to generate information and leads from social media, the company's website, email, and other relevant channels.

CRM Software Revenue Forecast

CRM can use the generated data to create a detailed record of contacts and deals for forecasting and creating reports after properly analyzing the acquired data.

An effective CRM solution offers contact, project management, and marketing and sales force automation features, enabling the sales team to function at their work.

The best CRM software examples include Monday.com CRM, Pipedrive, Keap, Freshsales, and HubSpot CRM.

What is a Content Management System?

CMS stands for Content Management System. With CMS software, you can effectively manage your organization's website content through a user-friendly and clear interface without requiring deep technical knowledge.

With a content management system, you can effectively manage the process of creating, editing, and publishing relevant content on your website.

CMS manages the backend of your website, and the aspect of the software responsible is called Content Delivery Application (CDA). 

The CMS software handles certain interactive elements of websites where relevant actions must be validated and submitted, including complex structures like JavaScript, HTML, and CSS.  

Without a CMS, you will have to interact with your web server directly, which implies that every time you make specific changes to your website, you will have to upload an HTML file to your server personally. 

Apart from managing the backend of your website, CMS can successfully manage the front end of your website by ensuring that you can upload, display and manage content as you desire. The other aspect of CMS is called the Content Management Application (CMA).

The best CMS software includes WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magneto, and HubSpot CMS.

CMS Platforms by Total CMS Market Share
Source: Zippia

CRM vs CMS: What is the Difference?

CRM and CMS software may sound similar but are significantly different based on their functionality and feature. They are useful software tools for online business, but they have different modes of operations and produce relatively different results for organizations.

CRM software solutions track your organization's leads and customers through detailed recording and reporting of their interactions with your website or other relevant platforms.

On the other hand, content management systems are useful for building and managing organizations' websites.

Should I Choose a CRM or CMS?

Your choice largely depends on your goal and how the software tool can provide the best possible solutions. 

Key Functions

CRM helps to manage contacts, report, forecasting sales, and follow up on leads. On the other hand, CMS is designed to help physical and online businesses manage content-created websites and set up an online store when needed.

The best time to obtain CRM software is when you want to acquire more customers and grow your customer base. You need an effective customer tracking system to keep your existing customer and successfully convert your potential customers to loyal customers.

CMS can serve as a central hub for your online business if you want to establish a strong online presence, display your content or product, or start a blog. 

Ideal Users

CRM is perfect for businesses searching for more sales opportunities and seeking to improve customer and lead management. 

Sales teams can benefit from the use of CRM massively. Sales representatives or sales managers can successfully close sales deals, and those involved in sales planning can acquire actionable insights into how best to improve the company’s strategy. 

The marketing team can design an effective marketing and content strategy with CRM and run campaigns with email automation marketing.

CMS is useful for small business owners, freelancers, digital marketers, website designers, marketing content creators, search engine optimization, and editors.

When dealing with website content management, CMS is perfect for the task. You can manage your eCommerce business, articles, and blog posts with CMS. 

This tool can help teams effectively collaborate and coordinate all sales, support, service, and marketing activities. Consider your business needs when deciding between CRM and CMS.

CRM vs CMS Pricing 

CRM Pricing 

CRM pricing plan is usually placed in three categories: 

  • Basic Plan: Costs $25 per user/month, paid annually.
  • Average Plan: Costs $45 per user/month, paid annually.
  • Advanced Plan: Costs $79 per user/month, paid annually.

CMS Pricing 

For CMS pricing, open source platforms are free; on the other hand, many add-ons are paid. 

CMS pricing plan is usually placed in three categories: 

  • Basic Plan: $25 per website/month, paid annually.
  • Average Plan: $45 per website/month, paid annually.
  • Advanced Plan: $79 per website/month, paid annually.

CRM vs CMS Key Features 

Key CRM Features

A CRM platform can help an organization find and acquire potential customers with an effective lead management system and sales pipeline management and store valuable customer data with a contact management system.

  • Integration: CRM tools integrate with your popular third-party applications and other available CRM integrations. Usually, your CRM integrates with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). A vendor can provide the enterprise software tools in one business suite.
  • Customer Management: Managing contacts and other customer data stored in the CRM database is easy with a CRM solution.
  • Lead Management: CRM helps you properly evaluate and monitor or follow up on leads to convert them into customers. 
  • Interaction Tracking: Document every relevant interaction you have had with your customers, such as purchase history, support requests, and phone calls, is vital. CRM tracks how your customers interact with your business. 
  • Email management: You can integrate your email directly into your CRM. Additionally, you can conduct email marketing campaigns from your CRM effectively. 
  • Pipeline Management: CRM makes it easy to manage the sales processes at every significant stage and assign specific tasks or monitor with team members.
  • Reporting and Analytics: You get performance feedback data about successful and non-successful deals, enabling you to make significant sales predictions. 

Key CMS Features

CMS simplifies your website setup with easy-to-use templates and a content editor. Without a fundamental knowledge of code, CMS allows you to post content, schedule consent, and update your website.

  • Security: You can monitor both admin logins and site activities. Regarding web hosting, since all the available contents belong to you, you can easily migrate hosts without encountering much stress. 
  • Custom Domain Name: You can easily create a domain name that aligns with your organization's name. If you need help finding a name for your domain, use the best domain name generators to find a short, unique, and catchy domain name.
  • Web Hosting: CMS allows you to store your website or all its relevant data. Another option is integrating with popular web hosting platforms such as Bluehost, WP Engine, HostGator, 10Web, and GreenGeeks. 
  • Site Editor: You can change your website's layout using a drag-and-drop editor or code. 
  • Content Library: CMS allows you to take advantage of the store content for publication. These contents include images and videos which you can use on your website. 
  • Online Store: Your customers can shop online via your website if you set up a detailed catalog of products with a payment portal. 

Best CRM Providers

Various CRM providers are available, ranging from open source to proprietary and simple to sprawling. 

1. Monday.com CRM

Best Overall CRM Software

Monday.com - The CRM software that's simple to set up and easy to use

Monday.com CRM allows users to effectively manage every vital aspect of the sales and customer relations workflow. 

With this software tool, organizations can customize and create anything they require to improve their business’s operation by mixing vital building blocks such as apps and external software. 

Best Features

  • Contact Management: Effectively managing the customer journey is vital to sales. Monday.com CRM lets you store important data such as calls, meetings, chat history, emails, support tickets, and customer interactions.
  • Sales Analytics and Data: Monday.com CRM constantly functions in the background to analyze valuable data such as charts, business data, and dashboards. You can apply custom filters to your dashboard and generate custom reports. 
  • Data Organization: This CRM software is highly-customizable. You can organize custom data in such a way that you can easily relate to and understand it at a glance.
  • Lead Management: Monday.com CRM offers a useful sales pipeline template, which enables you to monitor the salesperson’s activities effectively and automate follow-ups and updates.
  • Lead Scoring: You can monitor the progress of every deal and the team’s efficiency. With the lead scoring feature, you can give the proper account priority. 
  • Task Management: Monday.com CRM gives you total control over task notifications. Calendar sharing and time tracking are vital features of task management functionality that Monday.com CRM offers.

Pros

  • 24/7 customer support
  • Encourages team collaboration
  • Offers a variety of view types and columns such as Kanban board and Gantt charts
  • Drag-and-Drop user interface
  • Free plan and 14-day free trial on premium plans

Cons

  • Basic plan subscribers can not access features like automation and integration functionality.

2. Pipedrive

Best for Handling Workflow Automation

Pipedrive gets your sales organized

Pipedrive is a sales-focused CRM software tool that over 100,000 companies in 179 countries use, such as BAKERpedia and Picked Group Ltd.

Best Features

  • Contact Management Tools: Pipedrive has one of the best contact management tools available. The Smart Contact Data feature helps you identify web data through LinkedIn and Google+.
  • LeadBooster: LeadBooster is an essential feature that enables users to generate fresh and relevant leads. This feature has a site scraping tool that can easily locate potential customers in a database.
  • Automated Workflow: Pipedrive has more than 30 workflow templates designed to help sales teams increase productivity. These workflow templates help to set up meetings and move deals through your sales funnel and pipeline.

Pros

  • Flexible dashboard for reporting
  • Intuitive interface and deal-driven workflow
  • Excellent onboarding system
  • Powerful email tracking tool
  • Availability of follow-up reminder

Cons 

  • Limited email marketing and project management tools
  • Limited customization

3. Keap (Formerly Known as Infusionsoft)

Best for Sales and Marketing Automation

Keap - Absolutely everything an entrepreneur needs to win

Keap is a sales and marketing automation software that uses CRM functionalities to improve business sales and revenue and manage leads effectively. 

Best Features

  • Data Organization: With Keap, you can effectively organize customers’ information in one specific site or locale to ensure personalized marketing and boost workflow.
  • Advanced Automation Tools: Keap is mostly targeted at small businesses. With its advanced automation tools, you can successfully run ad campaigns with advanced marketing automation.
  • User-Friendly Interface: This CRM software has a user-friendly interface that encourages beginners and experts to take advantage of its benefits. Your sales force can spend more time engaging with customers due to the proper arrangement and ease of use associated with Keap.
  • Comprehensive Dashboard: After successfully running ad campaigns and acquiring data from the campaigns, tracking and workflow is made comprehensive and intelligible through in-depth analytics, visualized statistics, and real-time monitoring. 

Pros 

  • Unlimited email customization templates
  • Third-party integration
  • Advanced action-based segmentation
  • Excellent customer support 

Cons

  • A high learning curve for non-tech users

4. Freshsales

Best for Sales Process Automation

Freshsales - Accelerate your revenue with context-driven sales

Freshsales is one of the best sales force automation tools for sales teams. This platform provides users with every relevant tool required to generate high-quality leads, partake in contextual discussions, and establish long-lasting customer relationships. 

Best Features

  • Lead Management: Users can effectively nurture leads from being prospective customers into paying and loyal customers. 
  • Deal Management: With the drag-and-drop feature, sales teams can monitor all deals by level or stage.
  • Integrated CRM Email: Switching between mailboxes is unnecessary because Freshsales enables users to connect their emails with the software. 

Pros

  • Easy to set up
  • Excellent customer service
  • Advanced AI insight
  • You can track user engagement with websites

Cons

  • Limited accessibility based on subscription
  • Limited third-party integrations

5. HubSpot CRM

Best Free CRM Software 

HubSpot - Powerful, not overpowering

HubSpot CRM is a free automation CRM software used by sales leaders, salespeople, marketers, customer service teams, operations managers, and business owners.

Best Features

  • Lead Management Tools: The sales process is largely handed by the platform with lead management tools and cross-channel tracking of customer interactions. 
  • Workflow Management: HubSpot CRM efficiently manages workflow and helps to improve your project management. 
  • Integration: This automation CRM software is programmed to work effectively with platforms like Microsoft Office and G Suite.
  • File Sharing: You can share vital information across applications like Google Sheets and Slack via Zapier integration.

Pros 

  • Robust free features
  • Over 290 external software integration
  • Excellent customer support
  • Extensive knowledge library

Cons 

  • Expensive premium plans
  • Limited reporting

6. Salesforce

All-in-one CRM Platform for All Industries

Salesforce CRM is a flexible CRM tool relevant to business irrespective of their size in automating operations and accelerating sales. 

Based on market share, Salesforce is by far the largest CRM. This CRM tool is customizable with well-developed tools for analytics, team collaboration, and managing your sales and business processes.

Best Features

  • Task Management Systems: Salesforce CRM allows your company’s sales team and managers to create complex task management systems. 
  • Task Automation: This CRM platform automates difficult tasks and decision-making processes out of the workday. 
  • Lead Management: With Salesforce CRM, the sales team can identify and locate leads among contacts, rate the identified leads, and assign these leads to the right team members who will work on them.

Pros

  • Extensive communication functionality
  • Supports multiple languages
  • Robust third-party integration 
  • User-friendly interface

Cons 

  • Poor automation functionality 

Best CMS Providers

Among various CMS in the market, just a few vendors dominate the market. Some CMS platforms are free and open-source, while others are paid and proprietary. 

Other distinguishing factors between these CMS platforms are that some are designed for flexibility, with a wide range of practical applications, and others are designed for certain website types such as blogs and eCommerce websites.

1. WordPress

Best Overall CMS Software

Wordpress.com - Welcome to the world's most popular website builder

WordPress is a free and popular open-source CMS. A whopping 43% of websites are built on the WordPress platform. 

Best Features 

  • User-Friendly Interface: WordPress has a user-friendly interface that allows you to conveniently build custom themes for your website.
  • Professional Templates: You can purchase and install a professional template on WordPress to build your website. WordPress makes adding and properly editing content easy.
  • Flexible: Flexibility is a vital feature of WordPress, with plug-ins for search engine optimization, Statistics, Security Encryption, Cloud Backup, and lots more. 
  • Integration: WordPress integrates with popular software tools. G-Suite integration allows you to share vital information with Google Analytics and Gmail seamlessly.

Pros

  • User-friendly CMS
  • Easily customizable
  • Extensive plugins
  • Social media integration
  • Great for SEO 

Cons 

  • Constant installation of updates
  • Slow speed

2. Squarespace

Best for Non-Technical User

Squarespace - Everything to sell Anything

Squarespace is a major player among CMS platforms. A popular feature of Squarespace is its drag-and-drop editor and easy-to-use templates. 

Best Features

  • Website Builder: Users interested in building an online store, website, or professional template can take advantage of the various benefits Squarespace offers.
  • Key Performance Indicators: Squarespace provides effective templates, point of sales services, and analytics tools to help users track key performance indicators.  
  • Blogging: This CMS software assists bloggers in categorizing, sharing, and scheduling posts.
  • Design: Squarespace offers useful design features for improving your brand identity, including easy access to Google fonts, free Typekit fonts, and a custom layout editor. 

Pros

  • Numerous available templates
  • The backend design is user-friendly.
  • G-Suite integration
  • SSL security
  • Optimized for mobile devices
  • Fantastic customer support

Cons 

  • Absence of phone support
  • Absence of advanced marketing tools

3. Wix

Best for Visually Impressive Layout

Wix - Create a website without limits

Wix is a website builder that provides individuals and businesses with all the tools to build their ideal websites.

Best Features

  • Wix Logo Maker: All you have to do is to answer a few questions, which the AI will use to narrow down your business's unique needs and use this information to create the perfect logo that will capture your business at one glance.
  • Text Animation: You can animate texts and other relevant elements to help give your website an attractive outlook and improve visitors' experience. 
  • WixMobile App: Users can do a lot with the mobile app, such as importing fonts, creating blog post schedules, and editing and publishing their articles on the go.
  • Artificial Design Intelligence: Wix’s AI design tool creates custom designs that capture the user's ideal website to ease the workload and promote efficiency.

Pros

  • Users can sell paid subscriptions to their blog posts 
  • Easy to set up custom API interactions through JavaScript with Wix Code
  • Notifications on upgraded design templates
  • Massive template collection

Cons

  • The free plan comes with Wix’s ads displayed on your website
  • Not the best CMS for SEO

4. Weebly

Best for Building eCommerce Websites

Weebly - Get started with our powerful free website builder

Weebly is one of the best eCommerce website builders that give you access to relevant tools you can take advantage of to build your eCommerce website and grow your business. 

Best Features

  • Drage and Drop Editor: Weebly is a user-friendly business-oriented CMS with an effective drag-and-drop editor. 
  • User-Friendly: This website builder is easy to use, making it desirable and a perfect option for first-time website owners.
  • Design Templates: Weebly offers users 40+ layout types and a variety of design templates. Users enjoy access to attractive customizable webpage designs that will help your business's online presence grow.  
  • Integrated Analytics: Integrated analytics makes it easy for users to access website data. Weebly mobile app enables users to update their website and interact seamlessly with customers on the go.

Pros

  • Good mix of templates
  • Great for eCommerce
  • Built-in SEO tool
  • Solid sites speed

Cons 

  • Limited plugins 
  • Limited customization options. 

5. Joomla

Best for SMBs, Governments, and Large Organizations 

Joomla - The Flexible Platform Empowering Website Creators

Joomla is free, open-source CMS software for publishing web content on websites. With Joomla, you can access all the tools required to build an efficient website or develop applications, extensions, or templates.

Best Features

  • Access Control: Joomla is a free and open-source CMS designed to scale with your company, allowing you to change access rights and add features and users as your organization grows.
  • Customizable: This open-source CMS software has a lot of vendor-verified extensions available, with various customizable templates that you can adjust in terms of colors, layouts, and languages to make it perfect for the user’s website. 

Pros 

  • Great for beginners
  • Content management capabilities
  • Great for SEO
  • Coaching and performance management
  • Great for eCommerce and online businesses  

Cons 

  • Compatibility issues with plugins
  • More server resources required compared to other CMS software

6. Shopify

Best for eCommerce Business

Shopify - If you can dream it, you can sell it with Shopify

Shopify is a CMS specifically developed for eCommerce businesses. Creating your online store is easy with Shopify. With various themes, you can customize your eCommerce website outlook to something that blends with your business concept.

Best Features

  • Marketplace Creation: With Shopify, you can easily create a marketplace or an online store where business transactions can occur with the customers being able to purchase goods and services and make payments.
  • Variety of Useful Themes: Over 60+ well-designed themes are available quickly to brand and develop your store.
  • Tax Handling Automation: Shopify automatically handles taxes based on the customer's location or proximity and provides reasonable and flexible shipping rates. 
  • Secure Socket Layer Certifications: Web hosting and Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certifications are part of the available features. Shopify integrates with WordPress, which is beneficial in lowering costs and encouraging website customization. 

Pros 

  • Built-in hosting speed & security
  • Access to many payment processors
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Shopify app store contains over 1,000+ apps

Cons 

  • Limitations regarding design customization
  • Difficult to migrate data to another platform

CRM vs CMS Benefits

CRM Benefits

  • Better Customer Service: CRM improves business-customer relationships. With all customer information stored in the CRM database, sales, marketing, and customer support teams can gain better knowledge of customers for personalized service delivery.
  • Improves Customer Retention: After acquiring and converting leads into paying customers, businesses need to retain them for the long haul. CRM helps businesses acquire leads and improve customer retention.
  • Increases Sales: CRM helps you automate and improve your sales process and lead customers through your sales funnel for increased productivity and sales.
  • Better Customer Segmentation: The best CRM tools allow you to segment your customer database into focused lists. Segmenting your customers help you better tailor your sales pitch, sales, and marketing strategy and offers more effective results. 

CMS Benefits

  • Easy to Use: CMS makes it easy for non-tech individuals to write and publish content on their website with a minimal learning curve. Writing and publishing content online is as easy as using word processing software.
  • Simplified Team Collaboration: Multiple users can collaborate to create content for your website with the right CMS software. You can set users' roles and permissions for your team. 
  • Faster Installation and Upgrades: CMS installs or upgrades updates faster on your website compared to when you are manually coding your website.
  • SEO-Friendly: One of the benefits of CMS is how easy it makes optimizing your site for Google and other search engines such as Yahoo and Bing.
  • Cost-Effective and Affordable: Maintaining a website can be expensive, especially when you factor in the cost of hiring a web developer or designer. CMS drastically reduces your website costs. You can make changes on the go from anywhere instead of waiting days for your web designer or developer to carry out the changes.

CRM CMS Integration

A good CMS-CRM integration will provide a customer tracking system that sends your customer data straight into your CRM system for detailed analysis and reporting. 

While CRM tracks your customer interactions, you need a website management system that CMS provides to publish and edit your website's content easily.

Before you choose CMS software, consider its CRM integrations. CMS-CRM integration processes differ due to several factors such as pricing and functionality.

Examine which CMS-CRM setup works best for your specific business needs. Even if you are using a CMS that lacks a robust CRM integration, you can switch to a CMS with a more effective CRM integration.

More Resources on CRM Software and CMS Systems

If you are still not certain whether CRM or CMS software is the perfect option for you to choose, here are more resources to help you make a choice.

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Anastasia Belyh

Editor at FounderJar

Anastasia has been a professional blogger and researcher since 2014. She loves to perform in-depth software reviews to help software buyers make informed decisions when choosing project management software, CRM tools, website builders, and everything around growing a startup business.

Anastasia worked in management consulting and tech startups, so she has lots of experience in helping professionals choosing the right business software.