Guide to CRMs with Text Messaging & CRM SMS Integrations
Guide to CRMs with Text Messaging & CRM SMS Integrations

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:

  1. What CRM text messaging is
  2. What CRM SMS integrations are
  3. CRMs with SMS vs. SMS CRM integrations
  4. What features you should look for in a CRM with text messaging
  5. A list of the best CRM text solutions and integrations
  6. 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.

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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:

  1. The way they handle and support text messaging capabilities
  2. 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.

Zapier integrations

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
CRMs with Text Messaging SMS CRM Integrations
SMS messaging
MMS messaging
Two-way communication Varies
Sends from your phone number Varies
High-volume messaging Varies
Max message length Varies Over 1600 characters in length
SMS trigger options Limited Extensive
SMS automation Limited Extensive
Price Included Varies
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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.

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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.

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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:

In all of the above cases, you’ll need tools with robust SMS automation capabilities.

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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.

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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.

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6. Integrations

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.

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Best CRMs With Text Messaging and CRM SMS Integrations

  1. MessageDesk
  2. Hubspot CRM
  3. Close CRM
  4. Pipedrive CRM
  5. Zoho CRM
  6. Salesmate CRM
  7. Agile CRM
  8. Keap CRM
  9. Sage CRM
  10. Microsoft Dynamics CRM

1. MessageDesk

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MessageDesk is best for:

Teams that need a shared SMS inbox, broadcasts, automation, and personalization capabilities.

MessageDesk overview:

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:

After a free trial, MessageDesk pricing starts at $14 per month for one user. Custom and enterprise pricing is also available.

MessageDesk features:

  • 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

MessageDesk pros:

  • Affordable pricing with a free trial
  • Accessible anywhere, anytime, on any device
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Zapier integration
  • Top-notch customer service

MessageDesk cons:

  • Have to integrate it with third-party tools like Zapier to connect it to your CRM

What customers say:

John D.

Wholesale Logistics

"The interface is seamless and easy to use. Setting up broadcasts is intuitive and can be tailored to meet many different needs. The contact cards have space for lots of information and are easy to update as necessary."

Joe G.

Head of Marketing

"Great messaging solution that is much more powerful and versatile than anything we have used in the past. Loads of features more than we will ever use. Also easy to use with the whole of our team."

2. HubSpot CRM

Hubspot

HubSpot is best for:

Any business or organization looking for a free and scalable CRM solution with advanced sales enablement functionalities.

HubSpot overview:

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.

HubSpot features:

  • Contact, deal, and task management
  • Gmail and Outlook integration
  • Automated campaign workflows
  • Meeting scheduling
  • Custom reporting
  • Easy-to-install live chat

HubSpot pros:

  • A comprehensive free version
  • Excellent scalability
  • Numerous free tools
  • Excellent customer support

HubSpot cons:

  • Free plan includes limited reporting and analytics
  • No built-in texting capabilities

What customers say:

Sabra A.

SDR

"I love having one place to customize the contact or company properties on the left-hand side -- what is most important to me can be set and then consistently viewed. Customizing my tasks by queue has been the most helpful, in addition to customizing my notifications to alert me promptly for what I need to pay attention to. It's a great tool for any and every sales development rep."

Emily M.

Director of Customer Success

"The inflexibility of the product. You can't clone deals (yes, they have a tool you can buy but this is normal functionality in a CRM). There is no training or easy way to teach yourself the system. The support is almost non-existent. Also, you can build separate pipelines but you can't customize what you see on deal cards. That's the whole point of different pipelines!"

3. Close CRM

Close CRM

Close is best for:

Medium to large enterprises looking for low-cost, high-impact CRM text messaging capabilities.

Close overview:

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.

Close features:

  • 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

Close pros:

  • 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

Close cons:

  • Limited reach (only US, UK, Canada, and Australia)
  • Advanced features restricted to top-tier plans

What customers say:

Tim M.

Field Underwriter

"I would find that I would meet with prospects and when I couldn't close on the first or second meeting, I would move on to the next prospect. Close has given those types of prospects new life by reminding me about not only the prospect but what the potential and eventual client and I spoke about, giving me an edge that I did not have before. I can categorize each step in the sales process which helps me organize and optimize my business and my ability to earn more."

Josh M.

Revenue Operations Manager

"I wish there was some way to automate record updating without using Zapier. It would be nice to auto-update lead status when an opportunity moves to a new stage or vice versa. I also wish you could edit email sequences in line."

4. Pipedrive CRM

Pipedrive CRM

Pipedrive is best for:

Small and mid-sized enterprises looking to build and optimize their sales pipeline.

Pipedrive overview:

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.

Pipedrive features:

  • Sales automation
  • Email marketing automation
  • Advanced reporting and analytics
  • Revenue forecasting
  • Collaboration tools
  • 250+ integrations

Pipedrive pros:

  • Sales-oriented features
  • Easy-to-use mobile app
  • Deal-focused workflow
  • Broad-based integrations

Pipedrive cons:

  • Lack of built-in texting capability
  • Slow customer support

What customers say:

Iness B.

Marketing Manager

"The platform is not buggy - it loads really fast, no matter how many contacts and campaigns you've created there. It's pretty intuitive and allows several team members to work on the same campaign and database simultaneously. Allows to import data from various sources."

Manuel T.

Performance Marketing Manager

"Pipedrive lacks the ability to customize automation and create custom reports. It seems very limited in those capabilities and you're pretty much stuck with what you get."

5. Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM

Zoho is best for:

Growing enterprises looking for seamless two-way SMS functionality within the US and Canada.

Zoho overview:

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.

Zoho features:

  • 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

Zoho pros:

  • Improved customer and client experience with voice calls and SMS integration
  • Available with all Zoho plans (including the free Solo plan)
  • Affordable SMS rates

Zoho cons:

  • Two-way texting is available only in the US and Canada
  • Doesn’t support broadcast texts

What customers say:

David B.

Marketing

"I like the integrations with the entire Zoho ecosystem and the marketplace is huge. Zoho CRM offers powerful features with automation, blueprints, and great reporting. Zoho can also customize a lot of things via custom functions. Their technical support is great."

Nabab S.

Enterprise HR Sales

"They need to strengthen their telephony integration because we occasionally run into problems dialing leads and receiving missed call alerts. Due to delays when a chat request is received, they might also make the chat platform more robust."

6. Salesmate CRM

Salesmate CRM

Salesmate is best for:

Businesses or organizations looking for CRM SMS software for personalizing customer and client experiences across different touchpoints.

Salesmate overview:

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.

Salesmate features:

  • Reusable SMS templates
  • Personalization tags
  • Text scheduling and automation
  • Bulk text messaging
  • Campaign performance reports
  • Mobile CRM

Salesmate pros:

  • 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

Salesmate cons:

  • Mobile app doesn’t support voice calling
  • Limited third-party integrations
  • Limited customer support

What customers say:

Leatrice T.

Executive Administrator

"Since we don't use Salesmate for "sales" but for work order organization and customer communication, it is one of the most adaptable software we've found. From logging calls, emails (even future emails), sending text messages (even future text messages), and taking calls. We also appreciate that the cost of texting and calling is extremely competitive - Salesmate really meets the mark!"

Richard L.

APAC Sales Manager

"Their level of support was incredibly limited. Whenever we raised a trouble ticket it was not really addressed."

7. Agile CRM

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
  • Autoresponders
  • Easy to use
  • Powerful automation

Agile CRM cons:

  • Slow tech support
  • Lack of SMS tracking ability

What customers say:

Nastassia B.

Sales Manager

"Agile CRM is very good; it has a solid foundation that makes it easy to understand the tools and creates numerous options for fluidity and control of CRM automation benefits. For organizing a performance to help prospects, it is efficient and very helpful. We have been more agile with our marketing due to the ease of its operation."

Ashley S.

WordPress Developer

"There are lots of opportunities for this software to be a lot better than it is. There are simple issues, like when you export a list, the FIRSTNAME and LASTNAME fields are combined and can't be separated. Not many integrations but you can do a lot with custom API."

8. Keap CRM

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 overview:

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.

Keap features:

  • Contact segmentation and personalization
  • Broadcast SMS campaigns
  • Automated text messaging
  • Built-in compliance
  • Customizable in-app opt-in
  • Pre-saved templates

Keap pros:

  • Combines the power of email and SMS marketing
  • In-app reporting can come in handy
  • Excellent automation
  • Easy integrations

Keap cons:

  • Automation and bulk texting features are only available in the US
  • Free plan offers limited text marketing capabilities

What customers say:

Tonya Y.

Business Owner

"Keap is wonderful because it consolidated so many different applications for me. Now I have them all in one place with only one learning curve. It actually also came out cheaper for me than all my other software combined."

Jennifer G.

Media and Communications

"The two biggest drawbacks of Keap were the lack of customization available in the drag-and-drop builder, plus the use of shared IPs. It was easy to get punished for other users' mistakes."

9. Sage CRM

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:

Jenny B.

General Manager

"I like this service because it leads to increased negotiations with potential clients since it allows each client to have a score according to their defined performance and this improves client communication and obtains better working relationship, which is excellent to carry out. It also has a very attractive, well-structured interface with well-treated information on the use of the service, what it is for and how it can help improve customer management and business processes."

Tim P.

Health and Life Sciences Solution Design Consultant

"In terms of a CRM Sage leaves something to be desired - there is a very large gap between the capabilities of the cloud vs on-premises versions. For the cloud version, you miss out on interactive dashboards, import/export functions, and a variety of user administrative tasks, as well as many advanced workflow design capabilities, custom scripting. My start-up company of a couple of years ago chose SugarCRM after trialing Sage CRM, and moved recently to MS Dynamics CRM."

10. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales CRM

Microsoft Dynamics

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:

Ashutosh NG.

Senior Manager

"The platform integrates well with other MS tools, and we can create various use cases for the same. Customization is easy to do to meet your organization's needs. Their consulting arm helps with the implementation phase, which helps bring in best practices from across the industry."

Alexis S.

Admin

"It is not user-friendly and takes a lot of steps to complete an entry. Also, duplicate records are hard to avoid and hard to get rid of. Marketing campaigns can be a problem since data entry can often be confusing to complete."

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.

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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 M 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.

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