- Lots of automation features
- Efficient, in-depth reporting
- Contact management
ActiveCampaign started out as a marketing automation software for B2B, and has since grown considerably, particularly in the CRM area.
While more traditional sales CRMs like Pipedrive & Salesforce can optimize your pure sales performance, an alternative like ActiveCampaign can be interesting for working further upstream in the funnel and optimizing your lead generation.
My opinion of Active Campaign in a nutshell
|Active Campaign is first and foremost a highly successful marketing automation tool, but their approach to sales CRM, centered around two objects (opportunity & contact), is frighteningly simple and effective.
|Ease of use
|The tool is designed to enable advanced & regular users to move very quickly. And it’s quite a success in that respect. The first impression is messy and a little confusing.
|Easy to install
|The CRM module itself on ActiveCampaign remains fairly lightweight, even if it is highly effective for a relatively simple B2B sales organization. You’ll need to be inventive to make the most of contact attributes & tags (which can quickly become a dangerous “catch-all”).
|ActiveCampaign enjoys excellent customer satisfaction ratings on most evaluation platforms. Support is reputed to be responsive and efficient. Please note, however, that it is only available in English.
|This is really the tool’s great strength. The automation module will enable you to add intelligence to all your marketing and sales processes, and optimize communication between the two in an extremely simple way. The tool serves the process, not the other way around.
|Value for money
|Overall, the tool is extremely relevant for light commercial organizations, which offer very high value-added services to a limited number of customers. The feature set is quite different from that of a similarly-priced commercial CRM like Pipedrive, but the essentials are there, and software like ActiveCampaign can take you to the next level of performance on the front end of your conversion funnel.
Contact management on ActiveCampaign
If you’ve ever used Salesforce, you probably know how confusing it can be. Why are there different sections for opportunities, leads, contacts and accounts – and what’s the difference between them anyway?
For large companies that receive many inquiries, it can be important to make these distinctions. But if you’re an SME, you probably just need a quick and easy way to view and manage all your active opportunities.
This is where ActiveCampaign’s straightforward approach really stands out. The concept of leads and accounts doesn’t really exist in the tool. Everyone is a contact, and everything related to a deal/opportunity – be it the deal itself or the contact(s) associated with it – is managed from a single location.
And all this is recorded in the deal file, which you can easily access from your own pipeline.
Source: ActiveCampaign Help Center
You can perform different actions on each deal:
- Add tasks
- Taking notes
- Send e-mails
Every time you perform one of these actions, it is recorded in the deal in question, so you can keep track of what has been done and what remains to be done.
By de-cluttering the tool and eliminating any potential source of confusion, ActiveCampaign helps you focus on what’s really important: getting sales and marketing to work together to drive deals forward.
Managing opportunities on ActiveCampaign
Ease of use
CRMs are often too complicated. They can be riddled with unnecessary features, and sometimes even require extensive training to master. Refreshingly, this is not the case with ActiveCampaign CRM.
Anyone familiar with Trello will quickly become familiar with ActiveCampaign CRM’s card-based “Kanban view” of the pipeline, where deals can be easily moved from one stage to the next with a simple drag & drop.
Deals are easy to create and associate with pipelines and stages, with your standard fields for description, value, stage, contact details and assigned deal owner.
The steps are fully customizable, so you can create as many as you like to match your existing sales process. If you have several sales processes (for example, for each product or service you sell), you can also create a pipeline for each of them.
The lead scoring module
ActiveCampaign offers an excellent lead scoring module that can be configured by rules or automations and allows you to assign scores to contacts based on their demographic characteristics or the actions they take :
- Visit a page
- Opening an e-mail
- Clicks on an e-mail
As you can see below, the home menu brings up the contacts with the highest scores.
Source : Wild Audience
Contact scores are useful at an earlier stage in the sales process to help you track down individual contacts that are more likely to turn into opportunities.
But what about later in the process, once you’ve got a case underway? To achieve this, ActiveCampaign offers a deal rating system.
Like contact scoring, deal scoring also assigns scores to contacts based on their characteristics or actions, but this time it does so only for contacts linked to current deals.
Overall, the product offers a high degree of flexibility, sufficient to adapt to companies with both simple and more complex sales processes. The scoring module is very well done and will help your sales team identify the deals most likely to be closed and allocate resources accordingly.
ActiveCampaign’s strength: automation
How exactly? Let’s take this example: your company offers web design services, and you have a form on your site that visitors can use to request a quote.
You’ve set up an automatic response system to let the prospect know you’ll be in touch soon, but you also want anyone who fills in the form to enter your pipeline as a buyer, and more specifically, at the inquiry stage.
ActiveCampaign has no problem implementing this type of automation. In fact, it gives you several options for doing so. When you want to create a new scenario, the tool offers you a library of pre-designed scenarios for inspiration. These examples are very useful as they are classified by industry, and will help you find a base that you can adapt to your needs.
To continue with our example, we select a scoring scenario associated with the submission of a form. You can then customize the workflow to suit your business by using the configuration wizard on the right.
But it doesn’t stop there. Automation works both ways – from marketing to sales, and vice versa.
Let’s say I want to set up marketing automation for the moment a contact has reached the stage of sending a quote, a little further down the process.
The process assumes that the quote has already been sent by e-mail (via another ActiveCampaign automation). My automation should check if the contact has responded after 1 day. If not, the automation should send a follow-up email, asking if the contact needs more information.
Once again, ActiveCampaign makes it easy to set up this type of scenario.
ActiveCampaign’s marketing automation tools are among the most advanced on the SMB CRM market, and it’s a great advantage that they can be tightly integrated with your sales processes.
Reporting on ActiveCampaign
Active Campaign offers a wide range of reports, mainly related to its emailing solution, but here we’ll focus on sales performance reports. This report can be accessed from the “Reports” tab, then the “Offer Report” section.
The Sales Performance Report gives you an overview of your sales team’s performance. This information is displayed in high-level metrics and visual bar graphs. Using this report will give you a quick overview of the current health of your sales team, as well as providing you with historical information.
More concretely, this report will allow you to consult :
- Total value of transactions,
- Total number of transactions and average transaction value.
- Step-by-step transaction values via visual graphs
- The number of transactions for each salesperson in your team and see a table of each transaction in the selected pipeline with the transaction owner and transaction value.
- Information by transaction status (open, won or lost), by currency or by pipeline.
Source : Active Campaign
Active Campaign offers a wide range of reports linked to campaigns and automated scenarios, so make sure you don’t get lost in tracking your sales team’s performance.
ActiveCampaign customer reviews
With a rating of 4.6/5 on Capterra and G2, feedback from tool users is excellent. Users love Active Campaign for its functional depth, and in particular the automation solutions we described earlier. Indeed, just because you run a medium-sized company doesn’t mean you don’t want to strengthen your sales & marketing processes with advanced tools. Active Campaign customers therefore understand why the tool is more expensive than its competitors, simply because it puts more solutions at your disposal.
As you can see above, Active Campaign charges you according to the number of contacts you have in your database.
Based on 500 contacts, we have :
- Lite: $9 per month for up to 500 contacts, unlimited emails and up to 3 users. This plan does not include the CRM section described throughout this article.
- Plus: $49/month with CRM functionality, lead scoring module and up to 25 users.
- Professional: $129/month with even more advanced features, including predictive content thanks to machine learning, training sessions to learn how to use the tool, and up to 50 users.
- Enterprise: $225/month, for larger organizations, more in-depth support with a dedicated account manager and unlimited users.
ActiveCampaign offers a 14-day free trial, which doesn’t require a credit card, so you can get a feel for the solution.
A rather high-end positioning in the segment from CRMs resolutely focused on SMEs. A reasonable price, considering the many possibilities Active Campaign offers.