No matter what your business entails, you’re almost guaranteed customers. The hope is that you have many of them, although loyal ones can be just as (if not more) profitable. As such, you need to make sure who they are, what they spend with you, and (in an ideal world) when they last engaged with you. Some of the best CRM plugins let you do this, and much more.
We’ll get onto what a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) is in detail, although it’s a database at its most basic. It can let you store contact information, record email conversations, and run reports on how ‘valuable’ your customers and clients are.
In this post, we’ll give you a choice of CRMs, and explain what makes them worthy of your attention. Before this, let’s give you a clearer idea of what a CRM is, and does.
What a Customer Relationship Manager Is
A clue as to what a CRM does is in the name. In short, it helps you manage the relationship between you and your customers or clients. You store the information in a database, and you’ll access it through an app (often, it’s online).
While a CRM focuses on the business relationship you have with your client, it can’t help you carry out conversations and negotiate prices. Instead, consider it a high-powered online ‘rolodex’, but with more functionality than you can achieve with a paper and pen.
How a CRM Can Help You Earn More Money From Your Business
We want to talk for a few minutes about your philosophy when using a CRM. Your first instinct might be to think about how a CRM will send money your way, and leverage those features. Though, if you define a CRM in a different way, you can achieve much more.
For example, if you change “Customer” to “Client”, this gives you a subtle shift in how you might use a CRM. Each of your customers is a person. If they’re happy with your services, the chances of them spending money with you are higher.
Given this, it’s a solid idea to look at the following features and functionality as important in your choice of CRM:
- Comprehensive reporting options, to help you figure out how clients engage with your company.
- In-depth contact management. This includes the fields you have available to record a client’s details, and also email integration in some cases. This lets you store conversations for your entire team.
- Speaking of integrations, you’ll want to be able to do this with a few platforms. For example, WordPress is almost a must, but think about your email marketing and accounting software too.
- A notification system, to help you reconnect with old clients in the future.
There’s more to consider, but in most cases, this will be specific to your own requirements. As such, a CRM won’t offer a direct way to ‘win’ money from clients and customers (at least over the long term). Though, it does let you cultivate better business relationships with clients. In turn, this may lead to more income or at the least some visibility.
5 of the Best Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Plugins For WordPress
It’s time to look at the best CRM plugins for WordPress, and we have five in this list. Each one as a dedicated fan base, and of course, each deserves a place on this list. Here are the solutions we’ll feature:
- HubSpot CRM. This is a leading solution. The WordPress plugin integrates with HubSpot’s own back end, rather than within WordPress itself.
- WP ERP. It’s a popular, free CRM plugin that offers lots of functionality for a WordPress-based CRM.
- GroundHogg. This tool does much more than just customer relationships, at a competitive price.
- FluentCRM. This is a WordPress-based CRM that provides lots of integrations with other WordPress tools and services.
- Jetpack CRM. It’s separate to the Jetpack plugin, and the former Zero BS CRM still packs a punch on features and price.
The list isn’t in any order, but regardless, we encourage you to read all of the entries. If you have your eye on a particular CRM, see how it compares to the rest. It could be that there are features in the others you didn’t realize you needed.
1. HubSpot CRM
Let’s kick things off with a bang. HubSpot is a mega-power, and it has reach in almost every area of sales and marketing. It’s logical that there’s also a robust CRM in its toolkit, and HubSpot CRM is a leading player in the game.
Because HubSpot has a large range of tools under its belt, it integrates with other aspects of the platform. It also provides more features than just a CRM. For example, the WordPress plugin provides email marketing and automation tools, live chat functionality, and forms. There are also lots of integrations with native and third-party tools.
Though, coming back to the CRM, here’s what’s on offer:
- You can create ‘pipelines’ for your sales funnels, and use it to best manage your customer relationships.
- There’s supreme contact management, as you’d expect.
- The CRM syncs with your site’s forms to help record interactions.
- Speaking of which, there’s also powerful reporting out of the box. This will let you see the best course of action to take with an individual client.
There’s nothing to dislike about HubSpot CRM, and it’s a vital part of almost countless businesses. Though the plugin and its functionality is free, the premium pricing could be a deal-breaker. For $45 you get to remove the HubSpot branding, and work with up to 1,000 clients. After that, the prices get astronomical, so this is a plugin for businesses that want to operate on a small scale.
2. WP ERP
Next up, WP ERP is a long-standing solution and one of the best CRM plugins available. The developers bill it as a “WordPress business manager”, with the functionality tailored to match.
For example, you can manage recruitment, your documentation, accounting, and even human resources through the plugin. Though, the CRM gets a lot of attention from users. Of course, it’s open-source, and runs from within your WordPress installation.
For some users, this isn’t something worth shouting about. For others, it’s nice way to keep vital metrics and information under one roof. the decision here is up to you. In any case, you can manage customer life-cycles, email clients direct from the app, and more. Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the key features:
- There’s a good activity logger, which lets you record the interactions you have with a client.
- You can assign tasks to a team, for better delegation.
- There is robust Business-to-Business (B2B) functionality too. This means you can deal with both business entities and individuals within WP ERP.
You’ll also find reporting options, and a way to personalize your communications – vital for good customer management.
It could be that you never need to look at WP ERP’s premium options. Though, for under $10 per month per user, you get a bunch of premium extensions and priority support. Further extensions have prices from $2.49–9.99 per month, and this could see your cost rise if you don’t monitor it carefully.
GroundHogg is a ‘sleeper’ solution when it comes to CRMs. In other words, it’s not one of the first tools to mind, but it has a larger user base and stellar functionality.
We’d say GroundHogg has more in common with the best funnel builders rather than the best CRM plugins though. This is because the feature set focuses on marketing automation in general. For instance, you can create ‘flows’ to help give your customers and clients a path through your website. Of course, a CRM is a key part of the process.
Here are the key features:
- You can segment your contacts based on tags. This means it’s a flexible system you can tailor to your setup.
- There’s geolocation functionality, which means you can automate a user’s location.
- Each client can self-manage their compliance and preferences. This helps you comply with laws and directives such as the GDPR, and CANSPAM.
- The contact manager is scalable. As such, you can collect an almost unlimited amount of information.
It’s fair to say that the CRM alone would make GroundHogg a top contender. Though, with the other features in the box, it’s a all-around winner in a number of areas. That it sits within WordPress is the icing on the cake.
GroundHogg works on charging for features and functionality, rather than the number of contacts. As such, $20 per month nets you the least number of features. In our opinion, you have to purchase a $40 per month plan in order to get a real experience of GroundHogg. Still, this is competitive when you compare it to other CRMs.
Much like its competitors, FluentCRM offers more than contact management. In this case, it’s a self-hosted email marketing, newsletter, and CRM all-in-one.
It’s rich in features, and offers a well-balanced tool set for small businesses. For example, there’s a good opt-in builder, a marketing funnel tool, and a way to set up an email marketing platform. Though, it’s the CRM we’re focusing on here:
- You can collect almost unlimited contacts and store them within FluentCRM.
- You’re able to segment your contacts by tags and lists, and filter them.
- Depending on how you integrate the plugin with your site, you can analyze the data from WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, and more.
- If you’re coming to FluentCRM from another solution, you’re able to import your contact through CSV (and other methods).
We’d suggest that FluentCRM is more well-rounded than other self-hosted plugins. It also includes functionality that you’ll want, such as the newsletter tool. This makes it a great choice for your CRM, even without considering the premium options.
Of course, the core FluentCRM plugin is free. Though, there’s also a premium version based on how many domains you’d like to run the plugin on. A single site license is $129 per year, and gives you priority support and updates.
5. Jetpack CRM
Our final plugin on this list of best CRM plugins has been around for a while, but under a different name (Zero BS CRM). As Jetpack CRM, it’s a no-nonsense solution for self-hosting on your WordPress website.
It’s a consistent performer, even after its acquisition by Automattic. Unlike the other solutions on this list, Jetpack CRM deals with contact management. This means there are no features and functionality such as newsletter builders or accounting software. Even so, there are extensions that help you bolster Jetpack CRM’s offering. Here is how Jetpack CRM shapes up:
- Straightforward contact management, delivered in a WordPress-like way.
- As a “DIY CRM” it’s customizable to your needs, given your skills.
- There’s built-in metrics and analytics, with extensions available to boost the functionality further.
- You can send quotes and record transactions, and link them to contacts and businesses.
- You get an activity log built into the platform.
- The plugin can hide other aspects of your site, so the CRM-centric features can come to the fore.
We’d suggest that Jetpack CRM could be the only solution you need for basic contact management, especially if you have a toolkit in place already. It’s simple to set up, and lets you work in a familiar way.
The base Jetpack CRM plugin is free, and has almost everything a small business needs to manage contacts. Though, there are a few bundles available that integrate premium extensions too. the pricing is straightforward: $11 per month for access to four extensions, and $17 per month for the entire package. In short, it’s a steal, and is one of the best CRM plugins around.
We’re not sure that any company would argue that customers are at the center of any business strategy. As such, keeping them sweet should be a top goal for you and your team. The benefits of doing so mean increased visibility, more brand loyalty, and greater income at the end.
In this post, we’ve looked at five of the best CRM plugins for WordPress. Let’s recap them:
- HubSpot CRM. Here’s the leading solution in the field, according to many users. Even so, you’ll need a solid budget to work with the full feature set.
- WP ERP. This free CRM plugin lets you run a CRM from WordPress, without spending a cent for core functionality.
- GroundHogg. If you want a budget-conscious solution with a pile of marketing automation tools, GroundHogg will be for you.
- FluentCRM. If you’re after a wealth of integrations, this plugin could do the business. It’s also based within WordPress, so there’s no additional back end.
- Jetpack CRM. This Automattic product is a straightforward and customizable solution for a WordPress-based CRM.
Do you think a CRM is necessary for modern online business? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments section below!