ActiveCampaign CRM Review 2024: the best sales automation?

ActiveCampaign is well know as one of the best email marketing & automation platforms. Founded in 2003, it has more than 150,000 customers in 170 countries. Agencies and marketers like to work with it and this goes from Small Businesses to Enterprise.

But many people don’t know it also has sales automation and CRM. It does, and it is called ActiveCampaign Sales. Now you are wondering, how good is ActiveCampaign CRM? I was wondering that as well. So, time to roll up my sleeves and start this review….

In this ActiveCampaign CRM review I looked at the Sales CRM in detail: Features, support, cost, pros and cons.

Here is the summary of what we found. If you have heard good things about ActiveCampaign’s marketing automation, you’ll like its sales automation tools, too.

ActiveCampaign CRM software summary

ActiveCampaign Sales is a great tool for growing sales teams. Here are the main things you need to know.

  • Getting started is easy. Even with the advanced tools, ActiveCampaign has your back. The interface is great and there’s lots of on-page support. 
  • Starting at $23/user/month ActiveCampaign Sales is affordable. There’s no free plan. But you do get a 30-day free trial.
  • Email Marketing and automation is its real strength. And the CRM compliments that. It is pretty easy to learning and there are lost of pre-made automation examples.
  • ActiveCampaign helps you align marketing and sales. Score your best leads to focus on in your sales pipelines. And if a deal falls through, try again with a nurture campaign.
  • Along with lots of onsite support, you can get help via live chat and email.

Try ActiveCampaign Sales for free

ActiveCampaign CRM: What I like the most

Can a platform that’s most famous for email marketing make the grade as a sales CRM? In ActiveCampaign’s case, you bet it can. These are my favourite bits.

  • Sales automation recipes: Never built an automated sales workflow before? ActiveCampaign has 900+ pre-made templates to get you started.
  • User-friendly automation editor: The automation recipes are a great way to get started. But you can customize them however you like with ActiveCampaign’s automation editor. The interface is super easy and the range of options is incredible.
  • Site tracking: Sales CRM is all about knowing your customer’s moves so you can respond the right way. Online event tracking collects data on what your leads get up to on your sites. It’s easy to set up and it makes your automated messages more relevant to customers.
  • Lead scoring: Who wants to waste time chasing leads who aren’t going to convert? Lead scoring lets you tag contacts and deals based on the sales routes you know work. It’s an easy way to sort out the hottest prospects quickly.
  • Integrations: ActiveCampaign is built to work with pretty much any other software platform. There are over 900 direct integrations.

Get started with ActiveCampaign Sales for free

ActiveCampaign CRM Review: Contact Management and Sales Automation

ActiveCampaign says its CRM is designed to help sales teams work from the same page. Sales pipelines, deals, contact management and reporting are all about increasing visibility. Sharing intelligence.

ActiveCampaign Sales is also big on automation. Making sure every opportunity is taken, as efficiently as possible. 

ActiveCampaign packages its sales and marketing campaigns as separate products. But there’s a lot of crossover. When you first sign up and get a free trial, you get access to all tools in one place. Here’s what the Welcome page looks like:

ActiveCampaign sales get started

There are no silos here between sales and marketing. And that carries on in sales engagement and mixed automations.

Let’s dive deeper into what ActiveCampaign Sales can do.

Create Deals and Sales Pipelines

ActiveCampaign calls sales pipelines the ‘building blocks’ of its sales CRM.  They visualize your entire sales process. A deal is a sales opportunity. Pipelines let you track how every opportunity progresses.

Never made a sales pipeline before? No problem. I was impressed by how easy it is in ActiveCampaign. Give your pipeline a name and ActiveCampaign does the rest. You get a default three-stage pipeline like this:

ActiveCampaign sales pipeline

Stages represent steps to move deals towards conversion. They are usually associated with tasks. You can customise your pipelines using the Add a Stage button. 

Stages can be anything you like. If you offer product demos, you can throw that in there. Or send out a brochure or other sales materials. Whatever works in your business. You can add as many stages as you want. And click and drag stages to rearrange the order. 

editing stages in an ActiveCampaign Sales pipeline

I found a small but important detail in the stage editing options. You can choose the order in which deals are displayed in each stage. You might find it best to prioritise by deal value. Or win probability. Or focus on the oldest deals first.

deal sorting options in an ActiveCampaign sales pipeline

So what about deals? Like pipelines, deals are easy to create. Just a case of filling in details on a form. The default information you can add is shown below. But these fields are fully customizable. Whatever information you need to share across your team, you can include.

add a new deal in ActiveCampaign sales

Automate Sales Workflows

Pipelines and deals are the core of a good sales CRM. ActiveCampaign makes creating and managing both very easy. But these are still basic CRM tools. Lots of platforms of have them.

What brings ActveCampaign alive is automation. Most things you can do with pipelines and deals, you can automate. This includes:

  • Creating and updating deals
  • Moving deals through pipeline stages
  • Creating and assigning tasks
  • Updating contact details
  • Scoring and nurturing leads

This is a big tick for ActiveCampaign’s Sales CRM. Automation saves time and improves accuracy. It’s easy for someone in your sales team to forget to update a deal or for a hot prospect to slip through the net. Not so much with automation.

Even better, ActiveCampaign gives you lots of help when creating sophisticated sales automations. Many marketing automation platforms provide pre-built workflows to save time. ActiveCampaign is one of them. It calls them ‘recipes’. But it has sales automation recipes alongside its marketing automation templates.

ActiveCampaign sales automation recipes

There are over 900 automation recipes available in the ActiveCampaign Marketplace. Here are some examples:

Creating a new deal

ActiveCampaign sales automation recipe for creating a deal from a form

Deals can be created automatically in different ways. This recipe is for creating a deal from a purchase enquiry form. You can also create deals from appointment bookings. Or when certain tags are added to contact details.

Notice the conditional or if/then step. This is in case a customer with an open deal fills in the form. If this happens, the deal owner rep is sent an email to follow it up. Other recipes update contact and deal information from details provided in a form.

Moving deals through pipeline stages

ActiveCampaign sales automation recipe for moving a deal through pipeline stages

This is a simple automation template for moving a deal from one pipeline stage to another. In this case, an email is sent to a lead. If they reply, it triggers the deal to be moved to the ‘Arrange a demo’ stage. And a task is created to action that.

Task management

ActiveCampaigns sales automation recipe for creating a task for a new deal

Creating and assigning tasks is a big part of sales CRM. ActiveCampaign goes big on this by automating many aspects of task management. The above recipe creates a follow-up task when a new deal is created. The yes/no options are if you do or do not have a phone number for a lead contact.

Some other task recipes include:

  • Creating tasks when a deal’s win probability rating becomes positive or negative. (More on win probability in the reporting section.)
  • Assigning a task when a new owner takes over a deal.
  • Repeating a task until a deal moves stages.

Sales Engagement

There are more automation options available on higher pricing tiers. These include what ActiveCampaign calls ‘sales engagement’ workflows. Sales engagement automations do 2 cool things. They link sales and marketing. So you get aligned automation of processes across the nurturing to conversion. The other is that you can automate one-to-one emails. 

In marketing automation especially, most automated emails are set up for multiple recipients. One-to-one email automation lets you send emails with personalization to a single lead. Not having to draft every message manually saves a lot of time. And it means you can be sure of sending each email at the right time, every time.

ActiveCampaign sales engagement workflow

The workflow above is a classic sales engagement sequence. It’s based on sending a one-to-one trial offer. If the recipient clicks or replies, job done. You’re a step closer to converting. If they don’t respond, they are targeted with a nurture campaign. Instead of giving up on a lead, they get cycled back to the marketing phase of the funnel. And it all starts again.

These examples barely scratch the surface of the sales automations options available. There are dozens of other recipes. Some are industry-specific or are set up in different languages. Languages supported are English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German and Italian. 

A lot of recipes are platform specific. Say you have your ecommerce platform connected to your CRM. ActiveCampaign offers automation recipes for Shopify, WooCommerce and more. I’ll talk more about the platforms you can connect to your ActiveCampaign Sales CRM later.

Workflow editor

All automation recipes are fully customizable. You can also build your own from scratch. ActiveCampaign’s workflow editor is excellent. It offers a huge range of advanced automation options but is still easy to use. The interface is really well-designed.

ActiveCampaign sales automation editor

There are 2 ways to add Actions to your workflow. You can either drag and drop them from the menu on the right. Or click the + icon to bring up the list of options. 

The number of Actions is huge. Here’s what you can do by category:

  • Sending Options: Automatically send emails, SMS and web push notifications. Emails can be marketing campaign emails, transactional emails or one-to-one.
  • Conditions and delays: Add if/then conditions, delays and splits. You can end sequences or start new ones. And jump to different parts of a sequence.
  • Contacts: Automatically update contact data and add or remove tags. You can also subscribe and unsubscribe contacts from lists, add notes and adjust lead scores.
  • CRM: All actions related to creating and editing deals, setting up tasks, and adjusting deal scores.
  • Salesforce / CX Apps: Specific actions for popular third-party integrations.

There’s an equally big selection of triggers to start a sequence off:

ActiveCampaign sales automation trigger options

Many triggers are linked to site tracking. You can connect your website and other online assets to your ActiveCampaign account. ActiveCampaign will track site visits, clicks, navigation paths and other data. You can then use this to trigger automations based on behaviour.

Try ActiveCampaign Sales Automation here

Manage Contacts

Tracking deals and automating the sales process is one side of the sales CRM coin. The other is contact management. CRM is all about managing customer relationships, after all.

I’ve talked about how big ActiveCampaign is on visibility for deals and tasks. It’s the same story for contact data. The platform is set up to make sure information about your customers is always available. Right across your teams, as and when required.

I like how the continuity between marketing and sales pans out in contact management. ActiveCampaign started out as an email marketing platform. It still organises contact management the way email marketing software typically does. So you build lists from sign-up forms. Find out more about email marketing, marketing automation and lead generation features in our full ActiveCampaign review.

You can segment lists to target activity at specific people. This includes automated segmentation. You can add tags and customise data fields to add whatever information you need.

ActiveCampaign sales crm contact data

On top of that, ActiveCampaign Sales adds a layer of CRM tools. Every contact listing contains a record of all interactions you’ve had with that person. This includes site tracking data. In short, you can look at customer journeys at an individual level. And respond accordingly.

Every contact listing also shows all outstanding tasks for that person. And you can add notes or send emails direct from the listing. This is another little way ActiveCampaign makes life easier.

Speaking of which, you can also automate most contact management actions. Many of the automation workflows zero in on contact-related tasks. So things like adding tags or changing contact fields when they move through a sales pipeline. Or allocating tasks for a personal follow-up. 

Lead Scoring in ActiveCampaign CRM

ActiveCampaign’s lead scoring options are second to none. You get a huge amount of flexibility and control over how scoring works. Any action a lead takes, you can give it a score. Positive or negative. Sales data will tell you which steps in a customer journey make conversions more likely. Or which combinations. 

So you might know that leads who visit a product page and then submit a query form are likely to buy. You would give these actions a high score. Then when they happen, you know you have a hot prospect to act on.

setting up lead scoring rules in ActiveCampaign sales crm

Setting up lead scoring is like building a segment. First, you create a scoring rule or a condition. The list of conditions available is huge. They cover actions like submitting forms or responding to an email. But also onsite activities picked up by tracking, or deal status and value. 

Conditions can also be linked to contact data. So you can tweak scores based on where the contact is, tags they have, and a lot more. You can also group conditions together to create very precise scoring rules.

When you’ve set your rules, you set your points. This can be points added or points removed. Any contact who meets the rules going forward gets tagged with these points. You can also set up scoring for deals. It’s the same principle. You get to see which deals are most likely to convert as they progress.

ActiveCampaign sales crm lead scoring automation

As with everything in ActiveCampaign Sales, most of this can be automated. The above is a very simple example of an automated lead-scoring workflow. But the principle is clear. Any action you can use to trigger a workflow, you can add or take away points as an outcome.

On the flip side, lead scoring is used as a trigger for automations. Or as a condition within workflows. The example below puts a ‘highly engaged’ tag on anyone with a certain lead score. And then uses that tag to seek feedback from those customers.

using a lead score as a trigger in an ActiveCampaign sales automation

Try ActiveCampaign CRM for free here

Reporting

ActiveCampaign Sales is stacked with analytics. Again, it’s all about sharing information freely across teams. Every section has its own Reports section. Each one breaks down and analyses performance data in dozens of different ways.

On the Deals page, you can view reports by deal, by deal owner and by pipeline. The main Deals Overview report lets you compare deals won and lost. You can view the average value of your successful deals. And how that changes over time. Or look at the same stats by deal owner to track sales team performance.

ActiveCampaign deals sales funnel report

There are separate sections for reporting by pipeline. The sales funnel view shown above gives you a graphic representation of the number of deals by stage. Sales Performance breaks down the financial stats by deal and by stage. 

At the bottom of the list, Deal Forecast compares forecast value for deals to actual outcomes.

There are 4 Automation reports pages:

  • All Automations: An overview of workflow details. So campaigns and deals, contacts, goals and more.
  • Automations Performance: Marketing automation stats. So open, click, bounce and unsubscribe rates for emails.
  • Goal Overview: Goals act as a tag to indicate a target has been hit. Goal Overview reports on these targets.
  • Sales Engagement: 1-to-1 email details and tags.

There are some more advanced reporting options available on higher tiers. One is Win Probability. This is an AI-powered tool that takes deal scoring up a level. Rather than using your own scoring rules, it analyses past deal performance. And rates the chances of new deals converting based on known data.

Try ActiveCampaign CRM for free

ActiveCampaign CRM Integrations

ActiveCampaign integrations

I’ve mentioned that ActiveCampaign Sales has dedicated automation workflows for third-party platforms. That tells you a lot about ActiveCampaign’s relationship with other software tools. It’s very, very positive.

You can plug more than 900 different services into your ActiveCampaign Sales CRM. Some popular examples include:

ActiveCampaign CRM Customer Support

ActiveCampaign Sales CRM is packed with tools for sales managers and teams. But if you’re new to sales CRM or ever get stuck, there’s also plenty of help on hand. 

There’s a live chat widget on every page. Initially, you’ll speak to a chatbot. This will try to solve your query by directing you to online resources. But if you can’t find what you need, you can chat with a real person. Or if you prefer, you can submit a support ticket via email.

ActiveCampaign has lots of self-help resources in its online knowledge base. This includes video tutorials and articles. 

What I really like are all the prompts and guides dotted around the platform. A lot of the time, you don’t have to go looking for help. ActiveCampaign understands what its users need to know. And flags it up right there on each page.

Get started with ActiveCampaign Sales for free

ActiveCampaign CRM Pricing and Plans

ActiveCampaign crm plans and subscriptions

ActiveCampaign Sales pricing starts at $23/month/user for the Plus plan. This gives you all the core CRM tools. So pipelines, deals and account management. Contact and task management. Sales automation, lead scoring and reporting.

The Professional tier costs $49 a month per user. At this price, you unlock sales engagement and 1-to-1 email automation. Plus win probability and sentiment analysis, Facebook Lead Ads and the option to A/B split test automations.

All new users do get a 30-day free trial. This gives you access to all features, including email marketing, sales CRM, and automation. For a full price breakdown, read our ActiveCampaign pricing guide.

See ActiveCampaign Sales pricing here

ActiveCampaign Pros and Cons

featured image: ActiveCampaign crm review 2023 the best sales automation

Best bits:

  • Fantastic automation tools, including 100s of recipes
  • Great on-page support to help learn all the features
  • User-friendly interface
  • Excellent data-sharing across teams
  • 900+ integrations
  • Great value for money

What would make it even better:

  • The all-access free trial is good. But a free plan with basic CRM tools would be an even better introduction.

Try ActiveCampaign for free here

ActiveCampaign CRM: Is it the CRM platform for you?

So there’s everything I learned about ActiveCampaign Sales CRM giving it a spin. For me, ActiveCampaign Sales is a great choice for growing sales teams. It’s easy enough for small teams and CRM newcomers to use. But its powerful automations will also help big sales managers increase efficiency. Close more deals. And grow fast. 

Ease of Use: 4.5 / 5
Value for Money: 5 / 5
Editor and templates: 4.5 / 5
Functionalities: 4.5 / 5
Sales Automation: 5 / 5
Customer service: 4 / 5

Total score: 4.5 / 5

Try ActiveCampaign for free here

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can ActiveCampaign be used as CRM?

Yes, ActiveCampaign has a powerful CRM. It lets you create records of customer relationships. You can build sales pipelines to track deals. And you can create and assign tasks across your team to win conversions.

Best of all, ActiveCampaign Sales lets you automate pretty much everything. So you increase speed and efficiency. You can also tie sales activity in with email marketing. And right across the customer journey, there is in-depth data to help you evaluate performance. This includes lead scoring and win probability, which help you focus on your hottest prospects.

Try ActiveCampaign here for free

What is the function of ActiveCampaign CRM?

The function of ActiveCampaign’s CRM is to give your sales team better visibility of customer journeys. With better insights, teams can make better decisions on how they engage with prospects and customers. They can reach out in the right way at the right time. And ultimately drive conversions.

ActiveCampaign also lets you automate most sales and CRM processes. This helps drive speed, efficiency and better outcomes.

Get started with ActiveCampaign here for free

Is ActiveCampaign the same as Mailchimp?

No, ActiveCampaign isn’t the same as Mailchimp. Mailchimp is an email marketing platform. ActiveCampaign has email marketing, marketing automation and CRM. Its automation and sales CRM is something Mailchimp doesn’t match. 

Mailchimp does offer a lightweight marketing CRM. This focuses on contact management and data insights. ActiveCampaign Sales is a CRM tool designed to convert leads into customers. This includes visualising your entire sales process in pipelines. And then identifying your best prospects and creating tasks to convert them. All of this can be automated.

Try ActiveCampaign here for free

Is HubSpot better than ActiveCampaign?

It depends on what you are looking for. ActiveCampaign and HubSpot both offer marketing, automation and CRM services. In terms of sales CRM features, HubSpot just about wins out. It’s packed with advanced tools.

But, HubSpot is more expensive than ActiveCampaign. For larger businesses with bigger budgets, HubSpot’s Sales Hub is the preferred choice. But ActiveCampaign Sales is more affordable for smaller and growing teams. And you don’t sacrifice anything in quality.

Get started with ActiveCampaign here for free

ActiveCampaign CRM Alternatives

ActiveCampaign CRM vs. HubSpot CRM

The main difference between ActiveCampaign CRM and HubSpot CRM is that HubSpot offers a free plan. 

HubSpot CRM lets you build sales pipelines and track deals with in-depth analytics for no charge. The free plan also includes a meeting scheduler and live chat software. Plus an email template builder and AI email writer.

ActiveCampaign offers a 30-day free trial with full access to its sales CRM. The features are a lot more sophisticated than HubSpot’s free CRM. Particularly the automation and lead scoring tools. 

HubSpot also offers a paid-for sales CRM, the Sales Hub. It costs much more than ActiveCampaign Sales and is targeted at larger teams. Hubspot’s Professional and Enterprise plans start from $1700/month, not including the onboarding fee. One big difference is that Sales Hub comes with call tracking and call analytics tools. 

Learn about the costs in this full HubSpot pricing guide or find the best Hubspot alternatives here.

ActiveCampaign CRM vs. Pipedrive

The main difference between ActiveCampaign’s CRM and Pipedrive is the level of automation available. Both platforms let you automate tasks around building sales pipelines. Both feature user-friendly visual workflow builders.

But ActiveCampaign comes with 900+ premade automation recipes. These include templates geared towards specific tasks, outcomes and types of business. There are also templates specific to popular third-party integrations. And with sales engagement automation, you can link sales funnel and marketing automation to nurture leads.

Find more tools that combine CRM with email marketing here

ActiveCampaign CRM vs. Freshsales

The main differences between ActiveCampaign CRM and Freshsales are cost and target audience. 

ActiveCampaign CRM pricing starts at an affordable price for smaller businesses. But it charges extra for more advanced features, including powerful automation tools. It’s a platform designed to help sales teams scale quickly and automate their sales process.

Freshsales is a simpler deals CRM tool for small and midsize businesses. It focuses on core CRM software tools like pipelines, deal tracking and basic automation. It costs less to get started. And also has a free tier, unlike ActiveCampaign. 

Find the best ActiveCampaign alternatives here

About Paul Newham


Paul Newham is a content writer specialising in business blogging, report writing, software reviews, and online copywriting. He has 5+ years of email marketing, marketing automation and software review experience. He tested over 60 business software including email marketing tools, CRMs, outreach services, SMTP providers, email verification, and AI writing tools.
With a background in journalism and PR, he understands business content from both sides. And knows what makes for great, engaging copy, but also understands that for businesses, the written word is all about driving value.

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