Learn About the Best CRMs with Text Messaging and How to Utilize SMS CRM Integrations
58% of consumers say text messages are their preferred way to communicate with businesses and organizations.
So using a CRM with SMS and email and call tracking makes a lot of sense.
But you’ve got a lot of CRM solutions and SMS integrations available. This is why I hear questions like:
- “What’s the best CRM with text messaging?”
- And “What’s the difference between a CRM with text messaging versus a text messaging CRM integration?”
I answer both of these questions and more in this article, including:
- What CRM text messaging is
- What CRM SMS integrations are
- CRMs with SMS vs. SMS CRM integrations
- What features you should look for in a CRM with text messaging
- A list of the best CRM text solutions and integrations
- Frequently asked text CRM questions
By the end, you’ll know what CRM software and texting features will work best for connecting with your contacts, customers, or clients.
Read on for more.
CRMs with Text Messaging vs. CRMs with Text Messaging Integrations
The main differences between CRMs with text messaging and CRMs with business text messaging integrations are:
- The way they handle and support text messaging capabilities
- The way they provision and host text-enabled phone numbers
Most CRMs with text messaging often give you a phone number. But some allow you to port or host your existing phone number into their software.
They also come with built-in opt-out and compliance features. Both help you manage things like TCPA compliance and register with carriers for high-volume 10DLC text messaging.
Finally, CRMs that incorporate text messaging directly allow you to send and receive text messages within the CRM platform. They create a seamless experience when it comes to storing customer data, creating automated workflows, and tracking analytics in one place.
On the other hand, SMS CRM integrations plug into a CRM using a third-party texting service and an API connection.
Zapier is an example of an SMS integration. Zapier offers several ways to integrate SMS with practically any CRM or software. Other third-party business text messaging platforms like MessageDesk use an API to integrate directly with software like QuickBooks Online.
In both cases, each third-party integration pathway enables you to use separate text messaging platforms or providers.
A business texting service allows you to send and receive text messages, while your CRM tracks and manages customer data. The two are linked and share information, but each software has distinct capabilities and limitations.
Keep in mind, third-party integrations often require additional setup and configuration and come with added costs.
However, integrations like MessageDesk come with superior texting features like:
- More phone number options (including text-enabling your existing landline)
- Better shared team inboxes for managing and routing conversations
- High-volume messaging for SMS marketing blasts
- More automation and workflow options
- Superior analytics and tracking capabilities
Top 6 CRM Text Messaging Features
I’ve covered what CRMs with text messaging are and how they’re different from CRM SMS integrations.
Below is a list of SMS features. Look for and evaluate these as you search for a CRM or business text messaging integration.
Every feature helps you enhance customer engagement, improve responsiveness, and optimize your overall customer relationship management efforts.
1. Shared team SMS inbox
The most important aspect of business text messaging comes down to how you manage, route, and assign conversations. The best way to do this is with a shared team SMS inbox.
An SMS inbox is what allows you and your team to engage in two-way text message conversations. This is the functional place where you and your team members view and respond to inbound and outbound messages.
A shared inbox also makes assigning specific conversations to the right team members easier. Text messaging platforms like MessageDesk even let you comment and assign replies to teammates.
2. Scheduled broadcasts and bulk SMS texting
Text message broadcasts are one-to-many text message blasts. This isn’t the same as a group text. In this case, each text starts its own text thread and all replies are private.
Broadcasts are a must-have if you’re looking to send bulk texts and want a unified CRM SMS marketing solution. This is the feature that makes it possible to schedule and automate things like:
- Marketing blasts
- Discounts and promotional offers
- Remarketing messages
However, keep in mind that CRM SMS integrations can achieve the same outcomes. In certain situations, they’re a better way to run text message marketing campaigns.
This is because dedicated business text messaging services have special telecom-carrier relationships. These relationships make it possible to achieve almost 100% delivery and open rates on bulk text message sends.
Many CRMs that support text messaging don’t have this capability. They’re only cleared for low-volume, one-on-one text messaging with individual contacts.
3. Automated text messaging
A CRM with SMS capability should come with automation features for incorporating text messaging into your workflows.
One of the most common automation workflows I see is organizations sending automated text messages to remind about an appointment.
Other common workflows and automation include:
- Texting leads for sales follow-ups
- Out-of-office text messages and emails
- Automatic replies based on keyword autoresponders
- Scheduled texts for invoice and payment reminders
- Google review asks after a customer pays for a product or service
In all of the above cases, you’ll need tools with robust SMS automation capabilities.
4. Templates, tags, media, and links
Pre-saved text message templates with tags, media, and links help you save time and keep your messaging consistent. Some CRMs with text messaging let you save customizable templates with images and links in your text messages.
Also, check if your CRM software or SMS integration lets you use tags to auto-insert contact info into text messages.
Tags can help you include the recipient’s first name, date of birth, and much more. They’re essential for personalizing your text messages. This can lead to delight and more engagement from customers, contacts, and clients.
5. Custom fields and contact lists
Every CRM solution lets you import data, manage contacts, and create custom fields.
CRMs with text messaging and CRM SMS integrations can take this a step further - especially with custom fields.
Custom fields in SMS integrations like MessageDesk are what allow you to hyper-personalize your messages. They also make it possible to segment and group your contacts into relevant lists.
For instance, you could use your CRM or SMS integration custom fields to save a client’s next appointment date. Then, you can use a personalization tag to include relevant dates in your text message.
It goes without saying, but the CRM you use should offer various integrations - SMS or otherwise.
This will depend on your organization. But integrations with accounting software like QuickBooks, email platforms like Mailchimp, or communication tools like Slack, can be important.
The best CRM for texting is one that connects and shares data with your most important and useful software tools.
Best CRMs With Text Messaging and CRM SMS Integrations
- Hubspot CRM
- Close CRM
- Pipedrive CRM
- Zoho CRM
- Salesmate CRM
- Agile CRM
- Keap CRM
- Sage CRM
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM
MessageDesk is best for:
Teams that need a shared SMS inbox, broadcasts, automation, and personalization capabilities.
MessageDesk isn’t a CRM - it’s a third-party business text messaging service that offers SMS integrations. Regardless of the CRM platform you use, you can use Zapier to connect to MessageDesk for text messaging capabilities.
MessageDesk works great for texting from a 10-digit local SMS phone number or a toll-free 800 number. You can also host or port your existing phone number or text-enable a landline.
With MessageDesk you get two-way texting and automated texting. This makes it well suited for:
- Customer support and service
- Logistics, dispatch and routing
- Staffing, recruiters, and HR professionals
- Home services and tradespeople
- Professional services like legal, accounting, and insurance
After a free trial, MessageDesk pricing starts at $14 per month for one user. Custom and enterprise pricing is also available.
- Shared SMS inbox
- Large-scale text message blasts
- SMS templates with personalization tags, media, and links
- Scheduled and automated SMS campaigns
- Built-in opt-in and opt-out tools
- Keyword-based autoresponders
- Affordable pricing with a free trial
- Accessible anywhere, anytime, on any device
- Easy-to-use interface
- Zapier integration
- Top-notch customer service
- Have to integrate it with third-party tools like Zapier to connect it to your CRM
What customers say:
2. HubSpot CRM
HubSpot is best for:
Any business or organization looking for a free and scalable CRM solution with advanced sales enablement functionalities.
HubSpot offers a host of solutions to empower marketing, sales, and customer service teams. The HubSpot CRM stands out because of its feature-rich free version and flexible pricing plans.
HubSpot doesn’t offer native texting capabilities. But you can set up HubSpot CRM SMS integrations with a wide array of texting platforms, including MessageDesk.
HubSpot CRM plans start at $45 per month.
- Contact, deal, and task management
- Gmail and Outlook integration
- Automated campaign workflows
- Meeting scheduling
- Custom reporting
- Easy-to-install live chat
- A comprehensive free version
- Excellent scalability
- Numerous free tools
- Excellent customer support
- Free plan includes limited reporting and analytics
- No built-in texting capabilities
What customers say:
3. Close CRM
Close is best for:
Medium to large enterprises looking for low-cost, high-impact CRM text messaging capabilities.
Close is a well-known CRM that recently introduced one-click SMS functionality as part of their SMS CRM system. You can use your existing Close number to send texts to any SMS-enabled number. This includes recipients in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.
Close subscription plans start at $25 per user per month.
- One-click SMS
- Easy-to-use SMS inbox
- API for bulk text automation
- Instant insight into SMS campaigns
- 1000 free outgoing SMS credits per month
- Text with your existing number
- All-in-one solution to sending messages and tracking SMS activity
- Simple pricing (starting at $0.01 per outgoing SMS within the US and Canada)
- 14-day free trial
- Limited reach (only US, UK, Canada, and Australia)
- Advanced features restricted to top-tier plans
What customers say:
4. Pipedrive CRM
Pipedrive is best for:
Small and mid-sized enterprises looking to build and optimize their sales pipeline.
Pipedrive is a sales-focused CRM platform that offers a user-friendly interface and deal-driven workflow. The solution addresses the needs of SMBs and helps sales teams focus on strategic tasks.
Pipedrive isn’t a text based CRM, so it doesn’t come with built-in SMS functionality. But you can set up a Zapier Pipedrive SMS integration to connect with business texting services like MessageDesk.
Pricing starts at $9.99 per user per month.
- Sales automation
- Email marketing automation
- Advanced reporting and analytics
- Revenue forecasting
- Collaboration tools
- 250+ integrations
- Sales-oriented features
- Easy-to-use mobile app
- Deal-focused workflow
- Broad-based integrations
- Lack of built-in texting capability
- Slow customer support
What customers say:
5. Zoho CRM
Zoho is best for:
Growing enterprises looking for seamless two-way SMS functionality within the US and Canada.
Zoho is a leading cloud-based, end-to-end, customizable CRM that offers various features like a developer platform and omnichannel communication to enhance customer and client experiences. Zoho CRM SMS integrations are fairly recent additions that help businesses and organizations track, receive and send SMS.
You can rent a local number or use your existing SMS-enabled number to get started. From there you can send one-way SMS to contacts, clients, and customers all over the globe. But you can only do two-way texting in the US and Canada.
You can use the free version or opt for paid plans starting at $23 per month. Additional fees apply for each SMS type and SMS integration with Zoho CRM.
- One-on-one conversational text messaging
- User-friendly shared inbox
- Easy delivery tracking
- Integration with voice calls (lets you text key details to customers, clients, and contacts while you’re on a call with them)
- Local number rental
- Robust Zoho marketplace
- Improved customer and client experience with voice calls and SMS integration
- Available with all Zoho plans (including the free Solo plan)
- Affordable SMS rates
- Two-way texting is available only in the US and Canada
- Doesn’t support broadcast texts
What customers say:
6. Salesmate CRM
Salesmate is best for:
Businesses or organizations looking for CRM SMS software for personalizing customer and client experiences across different touchpoints.
Salesmate offers a built-in text messaging solution that lets you easily send one-on-one and broadcast messages. You can directly send texts from its web or mobile app. This eliminates the need to switch between CRM and text messaging platforms.
Salesmate’s SMS CRM solution is available across more than 80 countries and ensures GDPR compliance. Also, you can port your existing number to start texting from Salesmate.
Paid plans start at $12 per user per month.
- Reusable SMS templates
- Personalization tags
- Text scheduling and automation
- Bulk text messaging
- Campaign performance reports
- Mobile CRM
- Easy to set up and use
- Enterprise-grade security
- GDPR-compliant and ISO certified
- Hassle-free number porting
- Value for money
- Available across different devices
- Mobile app doesn’t support voice calling
- Limited third-party integrations
- Limited customer support
What customers say:
7. Agile CRM
Agile CRM is best for:
SMBs that need a one-stop CRM platform with SMS automation, personalization, and broadcast messaging capabilities.
Agile CRM overview:
Agile CRM offers a broad spectrum of features, from team chat and lead scoring to contact management and mobile CRM. The built-in text messaging functionality comes in handy for all departments—sales, marketing, and customer service.
Want to send keyword-based automated texts? Or targeted campaigns to specific contacts? AgileCRM’s SMS solution does it all.
A free account is available for up to 10 users. Paid plans start at $8.99 per month.
Agile CRM features:
- Keyword-based text messaging
- Contact list segmentation
- Tag-based personalization
- Scheduling and automation
- Broadcast texting
Agile CRM pros:
- One-stop CRM with texting
- Easy to use
- Powerful automation
Agile CRM cons:
- Slow tech support
- Lack of SMS tracking ability
What customers say:
8. Keap CRM
Keap is best for:
Small businesses or organizations that want a CRM with text and email for automated campaigns based on activity and purchase history.
Keap’s CRM with text messaging offers all the standard features you need to build and execute mobile marketing campaigns. From automated text messaging and bulk texting to list segmentation and personalization—you get it all.
Also, Keap’s CRM SMS solution comes with built-in compliance and in-app reporting. This sets it apart from the rest of the CRMs that offer SMS services. Pricing starts at $129 per month, and you can also opt for a 14-day free trial.
- Contact segmentation and personalization
- Broadcast SMS campaigns
- Automated text messaging
- Built-in compliance
- Customizable in-app opt-in
- Pre-saved templates
- Combines the power of email and SMS marketing
- In-app reporting can come in handy
- Excellent automation
- Easy integrations
- Automation and bulk texting features are only available in the US
- Free plan offers limited text marketing capabilities
What customers say:
9. Sage CRM
Sage CRM is best for:
SMBs that are already using Sage’s flagship accounting solutions like Sage 50 and Sage 200.
Sage CRM overview:
Sage CRM is a customizable and scalable CRM platform. It offers helpful features for marketing, sales, and service teams that drive better customer and client experiences. The cloud-based software is easy to configure, learn, and manage.
Also, you can obtain an on-premise software license to install Sage CRM on an on-premise server. But, for text messaging, you’ll need a third-party solution like Zapier. This can help you integrate Sage CRM with a text messaging platform.
Sage CRM features:
- Contact, account, and task management
- Desktop integration
- Opportunity management
- Sales forecasting
- Mailchimp integration
- Marketing automation
- Reporting and analytics
Sage CRM pros:
- Multi-functional CRM platform
- Both cloud-based and on-premise options available
- Easy integration with other Sage products
- Well-designed interface
Sage CRM cons:
- Lacks built-in text messaging features
- Slow customer support
What customers say:
10. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales CRM
Microsoft Dynamics is best for:
Businesses and organizations looking to enhance their sales pipelines with AI-powered insights and up-to-date analytics.
Microsoft Dynamics overview:
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales is a powerful CRM platform developed by Microsoft. It comes with unique features, such as AI-based actionable recommendations and funnel fluctuation predictions.
The platform’s design helps skyrocket sales productivity and marketing effectiveness as it comes with advanced AI. You can opt for the cloud-based, on-premise, or hybrid version based on your requirements.
Pricing starts at $190 per user per month.
Microsoft Dynamics features:
- Multi-channel relationship management
- Real-time analytics
- AI-based sales insights
- Personalized promotional and transactional text messaging
- Dedicated SMS editor
Microsoft Dynamics pros:
- Unique features that aren’t available on other CRMs
- Centralized customer information
- Adaptable to legacy systems
- Multiple deployment options
- Excellent customizability
- Integrations with other Microsoft tools
Microsoft Dynamics cons:
- Steep learning curve
- Currently only available with toll-free numbers and for US customers
- Higher pricing
- Not ideal for small businesses and organizations
What customers say:
Frequently Asked CRM SMS Questions
Below is a list of frequently asked questions related to CRMs with text messaging and CRM SMS integrations.
Which SMS service providers are commonly integrated with CRMs?
Bandwidth, Twilio SMS, and Vonage (Nexmo) frequently provide the text messaging infrastructure that’s built into CRMs.
Other business texting services, like MessageDesk, often integrate via API or Zapier for SMS functionality in conjunction with CRMs.
Is there a free CRM with SMS?
No, there isn’t a truly free CRM with SMS capabilities and features. Many CRMs do offer free versions or free trials of their software.
But in every case, there is a fee structure involved with CRM-integrated SMS solutions.
This is partly because phone numbers and text messages are a commodity controlled by telecom carriers. Their fees get passed down the chain to CRMs and SMS integrations.
Are there any additional costs associated with CRM text messaging capabilities?
Yes, CRMs with text messaging and SMS CRM integrations often have additional fees.
Sometimes this comes in the form of carrier registration fees, phone number hosting and porting fees, and individual message fees. SMS and MMS messages have different fee structures.
Do CRM SMS integrations require technical expertise or coding knowledge to set up?
CRM SMS integrations may require varying levels of technical expertise. Native integrations offered by CRM platforms are generally user-friendly.
Third-party integrations may require some technical knowledge.
For more advanced integrations, API documentation and support resources are available for developers.
Can I use CRM text messaging for international or multi-language communication?
Yes, CRM text messaging can be used for international or multi-language communication. Before you choose a CRM or integration, make sure it supports international coverage.
You’ll also want to make sure it complies with country-specific regulations, and offers Unicode support.
Finally, consider personalizing your SMS based on CRM data and language preferences and consider translation services when needed.
Final thoughts and next steps
CRMs with text messaging and CRM SMS integrations can enhance your processes, workflows, and communication experiences.
Need to implement advanced workflows and send higher volumes of messages?
Looking for more advanced text messaging routing and assignment features for teams?
You’ll want to consider an SMS integration like MessageDesk.
Start sending texts with a free MessageDesk account today. Check out our paid plans - pricing starts at just $14 per month. You’re also free to meet with a messaging expert for a demo.