The 9 Best CRMs for Marketing and Creative Agencies in 2021

By Rob Binns | Senior Writer | Updated: 11 January 2021

Find the best CRM software for your marketing, creative, or advertising agency below, with our top 9 suppliers. Read reviews, and compare tailored quotes from leading companies


Best forSuitable forPrice from (per user, per month)Free trial?Free version?
SendinblueSMS and email marketingGrowing marketing agencies$25X
CopperG Suite integrationGooglephiles$2514 daysX
monday.comTeam and project managementSmall creative agencies$7.8014 daysX
Freshworks CRM24/5 phone and live chat supportCRM newbies$1921 days
BenchmarkONEValue for larger teamsTeams of 10+$2514 daysX
Citrix PodioLow-cost pricing plansAgencies on a shoestring budget$7.20X
Funnel CRMSimplicity of designAesthetically-conscious marketers$1014 daysX
CompanyHubAutomationTime-poor advertising executives$1514 daysX
HubSpotScalabilityLarger marketing agencies$5030 days

Running an agency is a lot of work. Whether it’s managing your in-house staff, coordinating your freelancers, or just keeping your clients happy, there’s always something to think about. And when there are more things to do than hours to do them in, how do you stay on top of it all?

With a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system for your agency, that’s how. CRM software puts all of your team on the same page, enabling better communication, collaboration, and efficiency. You can track projects, deals, and leads, and view all your client and staff information from one single hub.

Whether you want to increase customer loyalty and retention, or expand your client base, we’ve found the top agency CRM software to help you do it all – and more.

Read on for our top industry-specific picks for the best agency CRM software in the US, or skip straight to our FAQ section.

Alternatively, dive straight into our free quote-finding form. Simply provide us with a few details about your business (it takes less than a minute), and we’ll match you with top agency CRM suppliers. They’ll then be in touch with CRM quotes and advice tailored to your agency’s specific needs and requirements.


Sendinblue

Best CRM for SMS and email marketing

Suitable for growing marketing agencies

Sendinblue does to direct marketing what microwaves did to cooking TV dinners – it just makes it easier. We’ll level with you – as a single platform for orchestrating your email, SMS, and Facebook ad campaigns, Sendinblue is difficult to top. It also comes with smart segmentation features for grouping your lists, plus all the tools you’d expect for crafting and customizing clever communications… that convert!

Sendinblue pricing

Sendinblue provides a basic version that’s completely free, and supports unlimited contacts. However, this plan restricts you to just 300 email sends a day, so it offers nowhere near the kind of scale you’ll need as a growing creative or marketing agency.

That’s why we’d recommend upgrading to at least Sendinblue’s ‘Lite’ plan ($25 per user, per month, 10,000 sends included). It strips away the free plan’s stringent daily send restrictions, and introduces email support. Better still, you can add features for A/B testing, and easily increase the amount of email sends you’re allowed.

FreeLitePremiumEnterprise
$0$25 per user, per month$65 per user, per monthOn request

Sendinblue’s ‘Premium’ CRM tier nets your agency multi-user access and telephone support – and you’ll be able to send up to one million emails per month, too. You’ll certainly want to be on this plan if Facebook ads and retargeting are part of your agency’s strategy, though at $65 per user, per month, it is a little pricey.

The ‘Enterprise’ plan will get you 20+ landing pages and superlative customer support, but is really only for larger digital marketing agencies, or those that require a more technical (and highly customizable!) CRM solution. You’ll need to head to Sendinblue’s website to request an accurate quote for this plan.

Testimonial
Testimonial user photo
Steve Small Business Owner
01-11-2021

“We've tested and used several mailing platforms and Sendinblue, for us, is the best. Data management is simple but powerful, and campaign management is equally easy – though it can also can be as advanced as you need it to be. SMS delivery is a great function, and is again easy to manage. Reporting is a breeze.”

Pros:

  • Highly rated online, with its customer service getting plenty of plaudits
  • Generous free plan
  • Boasts above-average automation capacities

X Cons:

  • Landing pages are only included with the ‘Premium’ plan and above
  • Lacks functionality for sales and service teams
  • Cheap to begin with, but various add-ons for email sends and extra features means that costs can balloon quickly

Copper

Best CRM for G Suite compatibility

Suitable for agencies that already rely on Google applications

With over 900 digital marketing and creative agency clients – including big names like Amigo, Stink Studios, and IDEO – Copper is a popular CRM solution. Purpose-built to integrate seamlessly with Google’s G Suite, Copper’s completely cloud-based CRM helps unify the different applications, files, and processes your agency uses every day.

Did You Know?

Copper’s CRM software claims to save digital marketing agencies 13 hours per week on manual data entry, and increase reporting accuracy by 50%.

Copper pricing

While Copper does offer a more budget-friendly pricing tier (‘Basic’, at $25 per user, per month), we’d recommend that ambitious advertising or creative agencies steer clear – that plan supports a maximum of just three users.

Your best bet is Copper’s in-demand ‘Professional’ plan. At $59 per user, per month, it’s affordable – and you’ll unlock unlimited bulk email sends, workflow automation, and activity reporting to boot. Your agency will also need this particular plan to benefit from Copper’s integrations with several key tools, including Slack, Zapier, MailChimp, DocuSign, and QuickBooks.

BasicProfessionalBusiness
$25 per user, per month$59 per user, per month$119 per user, per month

The ‘Business’ plan ($119 per user, per month) adds a leaderboard and goal tracking, and allows you to build your own embedded integrations.

Pros:

  • The ‘Basic’ plan is budget-friendly
  • Easy to use
  • Integrations galore

X Cons:

  • Several online reviews take issue with Copper’s customer support
  • It’s tough to share views and reports with individuals that don’t also have a Copper account
  • Cheap to begin with, but various add-ons for email sends and extra features means that costs can balloon quickly
Millennials working at a digital marketing agency

monday.com

Best CRM for managing creative projects and teams

Suitable for small creative agencies

From Picasso to Pollock, creativity has always gone hand in hand with color. Similarly, monday.com – a project management tool that allows you to coordinate your team’s delivery against tasks and deadlines – boasts a colorful display to inspire your creative agency.

With a color-coded interface completely powered by customizable, drag-and-drop pipelines, monday.com is as fun to use as it is friendly to – just don’t go expecting everything you would from a fully-fledged CRM system.

Did You Know?

monday.com doesn’t just count a range of advertising and digital marketing agencies among its glittering client base – it’s also powering the projects of big hitters such as Uber, Universal, and Adobe.

monday.com pricing

Though monday.com’s slick, stylish interface boasts undeniable appeal, there’s no hiding the fact that it’s more limited than many of the other CRMs for marketing agencies here. Happily, though, that’s reflected in a pricing range that should be palatable to even the smallest of businesses:

BasicStandardProEnterprise
$7.80 per user, per month$9.80 per user, per month$15.80 per user, per monthBespoke rate

Our advice? Forgo the ‘Basic’ plan ($7.80 per user, per month), and opt straight for the ‘Standard’ package ($9.80 per user, per month).

Why? Well for one, the ‘Standard' plan comes with intuitive timeline and calendar views, and Gantt charts for data visualization – plus monday.com’s famed ‘Kanban-style’ workflow display. Your project dashboards will also look better, work better, and integrate with a wider range of the productivity tools your business already relies on.

A 14-day free trial is available across monday.com’s first three plans.

Pros:

  • 24/7 customer support available, plus daily live webinars and a comprehensive knowledge base
  • Color-coded boards are refreshingly easy on the eye

X Cons:

  • It doesn’t offer the same depth of features as an out-and-out CRM system does

Freshworks CRM

Best CRM for round-the-clock customer support

Suitable for creative agencies that are new to CRM

Freshworks CRM (formerly Freshsales) is a digital marketer’s dream. Think about it – a single platform to collect, manage, and monitor your leads, then re-engage them through stunning email templates? It’s a no-brainer. Freshworks CRM also boasts excellent social media integration, which lets you employ social listening to grow your business. Monitor the web for mentions of your brand, and be the first to respond to customer complaints or queries. It’s a fresh approach to CRM, and one that could well boost the success of your digital marketing agency’s day-to-day efforts.

Freshworks CRM also boasts the finest customer support of all the creative agency CRM systems we looked at. It comes with 24/5 phone and live chat service, plus all the email and social media support you’d demand from any self-respecting CRM.

There’s also an impressively extensive knowledge base available online, where you can watch tutorials, read articles, and participate in tutorials to make sure you're getting the most out of Freshworks CRM's system.

Freshworks CRM pricing

Freshworks CRM offers affordable packages for both your agency’s sales and marketing departments, respectively.

GrowthProEnterprise
Sales Cloud$29 per user, per month$59 per user, per month$99 per user, per month
Marketing Cloud$19 per month$59 per month$99 per month
Customer For Life Cloud$29 per user, per month$69 per user, per month$125 per user, per month

Sales Cloud (from $29 per user, per month) comes with all the contact, deal, and account management features you’d expect – although you’ll need to be on the ‘Enterprise’ plan for its prime forecasting features.

Freshworks CRM’s Marketing Cloud (from $19 per month) is well-suited to (you guessed it!) marketing agencies, specifically. Powered by AI-driven lead gen and answer bots – not to mention some of the finest behavioral segmentation technology out there – we’re surprised it isn’t more expensive!

The ‘Customer For Life Cloud’ package (from $29 per user, per month) bundles together Freshworks CRM’s sales and marketing features with live chat and VoIP telephone. We reckon it’s worth every cent.

Pros:

  • 24/5 phone and live chat support
  • Affordable prices and intelligent, feature-rich CRM packages
  • Premium plans come with Freshworks CRM’s AI-driven analytics and automation bot, ‘Freddy’

X Cons:

  • The range of different pricing packages and tiers makes it difficult to know which one is right for your agency
  • Freshworks CRM’s package for customer service teams, ‘Freshdesk’, isn't included

You're almost halfway through our list of the top 9 CRM systems for advertising agencies in the US. Time to start comparing quotes?

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BenchmarkONE (formerly Hatchbuck)

Best value for larger creative teams

Suitable for agency teams of 10+

Not to be confused with a hatchback – the popular type of car – this CRM software nevertheless shares some of its former almost-namesake’s features. Quick, compact, and sure to increase your team’s mobility, Hatchbuck (currently undergoing an intensive rebrand to BenchmarkONE) is a CRM that’s tailor-made for modern agencies.

Testimonial
Testimonial user photo
Donald Director
01-11-2021

“I've been using Hatchbuck since the middle of last year, and it’s literally been a game changer for me. Hatchbuck has enabled me to automate a lot of my recruiting, which has saved me a great deal of time, and made for a much more efficient and effective operation.

“I'm now able to communicate relevant content to my stakeholders on a regular basis, while eliminating certain prospects from falling through the cracks. I also know precisely how many prospects I have in my sales funnel, and exactly what stage they are at in the process. Night and day from my previous CRM!”

BenchmarkONE pricing

BenchmarkONE is one of those rare finds when it comes to CRM – pricing that gets cheaper with the more features you add.

LiteCoreProEnterprise
$35 per user, per month$35.50 per user, per month$25 per user, per month$179 per month for unlimited users*

* The prices here are based on a contact limit of 500. Should you require more, BenchmarkONE's costs rise incrementally per 500 contacts you add.

With that in mind, we reckon BenchmarkONE’s ‘Pro’ plan ($25 per month, for five users) offers the best value. 

It does everything the ‘Lite’ and ‘Core’ plans do – namely, contact, deal, and lead management, plus landing pages and marketing automation – but adds even more juicy features.

We’re talking dynamic content, and additional user-level security – not to mention premium customer support. You’ll just need to have at least five of your agency’s team members using the system to be eligible for the ‘Pro’ plan. If that’s not the case, opt for ‘Lite’ ($35 per month) for one user, or ‘Core’ ($71 per month) for two.

Feature-wise, BenchmarkONE’s ‘Enterprise’ plan doesn’t add a huge amount of extra value. Its real hook is that it supports an unlimited number of users, for a flat price of just $179 per month. If your creative agency employs a team of ten or more (who’ll all need access to the software) there aren't many better deals out there!

Pros:

  • Um… it gets cheaper with the more features you add! Cheaper!
  • ‘Nuff said

X Cons:

  • BenchmarkONE's reporting features leave a lot to be desired...
  • ...as do its email templates!
Millennials working at an advertising agency

Citrix Podio

Best for low-cost pricing plans

Suitable for agencies on a shoestring budget

Sporting a polished, professional display that also somehow manages to be no frills, Citrix Podio’s CRM interface is reminiscent of Microsoft’s best work. Offering tools for social collaboration and task and project management – plus automated workflows – Citrix Podio will help your marketing agency spend less time on the admin, and focus more energy (and money!) on the stuff that matters.

Citrix Podio interface on desktop and smartphone

See what we mean about that interface?


And we haven’t even got to the best bit yet – that Citrix Podio is one of the most affordable CRM systems going. So how much will it cost you?

Citrix Podio pricing

As well as a free plan for up to five team members, Citrix Podio offers your agency the flexibility of three paid tiers.

FreeBasicPlusPremium
$0$7.20 per user, per month$11.20 per user, per month$19.20 per user, per month

The ‘Basic’ plan ($7.20 per user, per month) is basically the free plan, just with unlimited items and external users. You’ll also get some sweet user management features that aren’t included with the free plan.

That said, it’ll definitely be at least worth investing in Citrix Podio’s ‘Plus’ plan ($11.20 per user, per month). It adds more diverse user roles and read-only access – ideal for collaborating with freelancers and agencies outside your own. You’ll also score automated workflows, which streamline your workload and make hitting deadlines a cinch.

Finally, the ‘Premium’ plan ($19.20 per user, per month) offers serious value (if you need further proof, just check out how much most of the other ‘premium’ plans on this list are billing!). Feature-wise, this particular premium plan benefits from visual reporting tools and interactive sales dashboards, plus advanced workflow automation capabilities. Very nice!

Pros:

  • Good social media integration capacities
  • Strong reporting capabilities

X Cons:

  • Not as feature-rich as many of the other CRM systems for agencies on this list
  • Can be difficult to set up

Funnel CRM

Best for simplicity of design

Suitable for aesthetically-conscious marketing agencies

Built for creative agencies, and with simplicity in mind, Funnel is a refreshing spin on head-scratching traditional CRM software. Its vibrant interface visualizes everything your team is working on in a series of intuitive dashboards. Impress clients with beautifully formatted proposals, close deals with speed and aplomb, and do it all without spending too much – Funnel’s pricing plans are not only transparent, but highly affordable, too.

Funnel CRM pricing

Funnel CRM is priced slightly differently to many of the other CRM systems for marketing agencies here. Rather than paying per user, per month, you’ll pay just a flat monthly fee.

With Funnel’s ‘Standard’ plan, that’s just $10 per month. Your creative agency will benefit from Gmail integration and an unlimited number of contacts and deals, plus email templates – though you’re restricted to just a single user.

StandardPro
$10 per month ($114 per year)$39 per month ($444.60 per year)

For this reason, we’d recommend the ‘Pro’ plan. Priced at an affordable $39 per month, it costs just $2 per month to add each new team member to the system. That makes Funnel a seriously cheap CRM system – especially if you’ve got one eye on your agency’s pursestrings, and another eye on scaling up.

Pros:

  • Funnel’s simple interface is easy to get the hang of
  • It’s cheap!

X Cons:

  • Some reviews suggest Funnel’s interface can be a little buggy
  • It’s missing key integrations, such as Zapier

CompanyHub

Best for automation

Suitable for time-poor advertising agencies

While we’re not saying any of you out there are lazy (you’re successful business owners, after all!), we are willing to bet you’re not the biggest fans of the boring manual tasks that come with growing a business. Yes? Well, get a load of CompanyHub.

In just a few clicks, CompanyHub can automate:

  • Reminders to follow up with a client
  • Alerts to salespeople (when a hot lead has just landed, for instance!)
  • Notifications for managers
  • Data deduplication and cleansing
  • Information import/export and any other bulk changes, such as lead transfers

Oh, and you can forget about having to copy and paste the same message to multiple different recipients. CompanyHub’s email templates make it easy to personalize emails, then send them en masse – taking the hassle out of prospecting, and giving you a much-needed break from your screen!

CompanyHub pricing

CompanyHub offers three levels of pricing:

ProductivityAutomationAccelerate
$15 per user, per month$24 per user, per month$42 per user, per month

The cheapest, ‘Productivity’ ($15 per user, per month), is surprisingly feature-rich – email templates and scheduling are among the highlights, while its web-to-lead capture capabilities are some of the most capable we’ve seen.

As is always the case with CRM, though, your agency will want to be on a minimum of CompanyHub’s ‘Automation’ plan ($24 per user, per month). It introduces custom reporting and logic, with more advanced tools and technology for structuring your business’ contacts and deals.

At $42 per user, per month, CompanyHub’s high-end pricing plan, ‘Accelerate’, represents the pinnacle of customization. However, if dynamic webforms, territory management, and one-click quote proposals don’t appeal to you, you can probably skip this one.

Testimonial
Testimonial user photo
Anonymous CompanyHub Customer
01-11-2021

“I have tested all of the CRM systems available, and CompanyHub is the only one that is simple to use, while also providing the necessary levels of flexibility.

“With other CRMs we’ve had to adapt our way of working to suit the software. With CompanyHub, we can easily adapt the software to suit our way of working. The automation workflows are superb, and save us a great deal of admin during our sales processes.”

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Provides unlimited email tracking – including Gmail

X Cons:

  • CompanyHub’s cheapest plan lacks adequate reporting features
  • No social media integration

HubSpot

Best for scalability

Suitable for larger marketing agencies

With specific CRM products targeted at boosting your agency’s marketing, sales, and customer service efforts, HubSpot offers modular, highly scalable CRM software. Sure, it is one of the more expensive CRM options out there – and, once you factor in the various add-ons and extra contacts you’ll need to make the system worthwhile, it may be beyond the budgets of most smaller agencies. However, we reckon HubSpot’s dynamic marketing capabilities alone make this one worth the price of admission.

HubSpot pricing

HubSpot’s pricing plans are complex, so we’re not going to go into too much detail about them here (plus, we do that at length in our comprehensive guide to CRM costs in 2021). Still, this table is a useful indicator as to what your creative agency can expect to pay with HubSpot.

Marketing HubSales HubService HubGrowth SuiteAdditional 1,000 contactsTry it now
Starter (1 paid user, 1,000 contacts included)$50 per month$50 per month$50 per month$113 per month$20 per monthTry HubSpot Starter
Professional (5 paid users, 1,000 contacts included)$800 per month$400 per month$400 per month$1,200 per month$50 per monthTry HubSpot Professional
Enterprise (10 paid users, 10,000 contacts included)$3,200 per month$1,200 per month$1,200 per month$4,200 per month$10 per monthTry HubSpot Enterprise

As you can see, the fairly significant outlay that HubSpot’s more advanced tiers and packages require means it’s unlikely to be popular with your accountant. But, for the finest marketing CRM software in the US, and a system that comes with almost unrivalled pedigree, HubSpot is worth both your money and your time.

You can try HubSpot free for 30 days.

Pros:

  • Impressive free version available, along with a 30-day free trial
  • Offers discounts for startups

X Cons:

  • No 24/7 phone or live chat support
  • It’s expensive!

Next Steps

Whether your agency specializes in marketing, advertising, creative design, or all three, there’s a CRM system out there for you.

If you’re a small, bespoke agency, that system is probably monday.com, or Freshworks CRM. If you’re a growing team with big-league scalability on the brain, Sendinblue and CompanyHub are both great options. And, if you’re already a well-established agency, HubSpot and BenchmarkONE will certainly fit the bill.

At the end of the day, though, these are still just recommendations. For the quickest, easiest, and most direct way to get matched with the CRM supplier that’s the best fit for your agency, there’s just one option – our quote-finding questionnaire.

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All you need to do is spend 30 seconds providing us with a few details about your agency’s CRM requirements. That includes any specific features you’ll need your software to support, your team size, and what (if any) system you’re already using to manage your agency’s customer relationships.

Then, our algorithm will match you with one or more CRM suppliers that fit the bill. From there, these providers will be in touch with you directly, to offer tailored CRM quotes and advice. All quotes are of course no-obligation, and (providing you’re based in the US) it won’t cost you a dime to take part. Happy researching!


FAQs

Is any CRM software available for free?

Yes – several providers offer free CRM software. However, free CRM comes with several key limitations on data and contact storage, features, and the number of users that you’re allowed.

So, while it can be a good money-saver, free CRM software is unsuitable for agencies with large numbers of staff (or really, agencies with any ambition at all!).

While we don’t recommend free CRM for the vast majority of agencies, we can point you in the direction of our top CRM systems for small businesses. These systems are cost-effective, scalable, and come with excellent customer support. Plus, we’ve researched, rated, and ranked them for your convenience!

What do you mean by ‘cloud-based’ CRM?

Cloud-based CRM means that the software is accessible to anyone in your team, at any time – and from anywhere in the world (with an internet connection).

Rather than having to be downloaded and stored on computers, your data is kept ‘in the cloud’. It’s a more modern, more convenient, and more secure way of doing things. Most CRM software these days is cloud-based.

Up next: The Best Cloud-Based CRM Software in 2021

Can you recommend any good CRM software for other industries?

We sure can! For more industry-specific CRM solutions, check out our guides to the best of CRM systems for real estate, CRM for construction, healthcare CRMs, and (of course!) the best CRM software for sales. And, if we haven’t yet covered your line of work, drop us a line at info@expertmarket.com and we’ll see what we can do!

Rob Binns
Rob Binns Senior Writer

Rob writes mainly about the payments industry, but also brings to the table industry-specific knowledge of CRM software, business loans, fulfilment, and invoice finance. When not exasperating his editor with bad puns, he can be found relaxing in a sunny (socially-distanced) corner, with a beer and a battered copy of Dostoevsky.

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