CRM vs CMS: Exploring the Differences & How They Work Together

Businesses — big and small — are constantly working to connect, engage, and build relationships with their audiences. To be effective, efforts have to span across various channels, mediums, and technologies. It’s a lot to manage!

Amidst this flurry of activity, two tools have become indispensable: customer relationship management (CRM) software and a content management system (CMS).

These might sound complex, but their essence is simple — they’re platforms designed to streamline specific aspects of your business operations. 

The differences between the two, and how they can complement one another, often cause confusion. So we’re here to walk you through the world of CRMs and CMSs, exploring their definitions, benefits, and potential to drive your business forward. 

What is a CRM? (customer relationship management system)

A CRM is your key to customer-centric business operations. It’s a powerful tool designed to manage and analyze interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle. The ultimate goal is to improve customer service relationships, aid in retention, and drive sales growth. With a CRM, you’re not just managing customers, you’re understanding them. 

What are the benefits of a CRM?

1. Centralized data. With a CRM, all your customer data — interactions, transactions, and preferences — are housed under one roof. No more rifling through spreadsheets or databases. Your customer data is organized, accessible, and ready to deliver insights. 

2. Better customer service. CRM provides in-depth customer data, allowing you to personalize interactions and solve problems efficiently. All of your sales representatives can have access to information about each customer, allowing them to understand previous conversations instead of asking the same questions over and over.

3. A streamlined sales process. With a clear view of the customer journey, you can identify opportunities and bottlenecks, thus refining your sales strategy and boosting conversions.

4. Enhanced marketing efforts. CRM data can guide your marketing strategy, ensuring that your campaigns are tailored to customer behaviors, needs, and preferences. 

Typical features of a CRM

A CRM can pack a punch with a host of features designed to enhance your customer relationships, and Jetpack CRM is an excellent example. Features include:

1. Contact management. A tool like Jetpack CRM allows you to capture, track, and manage customer data effectively. Everything from contact details to interaction history is neatly organized.

2. Sales funnel visualization. A CRM provides a clear view of your sales funnel, highlighting opportunities and revealing choke points. 

3. Task management. Assign tasks, set reminders, and follow up on pending work with a CRM. It’s about taking the right action, at the right time.

4. Analytics and reporting. A CRM turns raw data into actionable insights with detailed analytics and reporting. 

What is a CMS? (content management system)

A CMS, on the other hand, is your digital publishing powerhouse. It’s a software application or set of related programs that allows you to create and manage online content. With a CMS, you can control and structure the content on your website without diving into the technical depths of web development.

What are the benefits of a CMS?

1. Easy content management. A CMS gives you the freedom to create, manage, and modify content on your website without any technical knowledge.

2. A collaborative work environment. Multiple users can contribute and collaborate on the same content, ensuring smooth workflows and efficient content production.

3. Improved search engine optimization. With built-in SEO tools, a CMS can help optimize your content for search engines, thus improving your visibility.

4. Unlimited customization options. A CMS like WordPress provides you with numerous themes and plugins to customize your website’s look and feel, ensuring that it resonates with your brand.

Typical features of a CMS

A CMS comes equipped with a variety of features to streamline your content management efforts. WordPress, as the leading CMS, showcases these capabilities brilliantly, including:

1. Content creation and management. WordPress allows you to easily create, edit, and organize your content with its powerful block editor.

2. User management. With WordPress, you can manage user access, roles, and permissions, ensuring a safe and efficient work environment.

3. Compatibility with additional tools. WordPress has an extensive range of plugins that enable you to add features and functionality to your website, customizing it according to your needs.

4. A template system. A CMS like WordPress typically offers themes that can change the way your site looks without altering its underlying software. 

The differences between a CRM and CMS

In the simplest terms, a CRM manages your customers, while a CMS manages your content. 

A CRM focuses on managing customer data, interactions, and relationships, driving customer satisfaction and sales growth. On the other hand, a CMS is all about creating, managing, and modifying digital content. It’s your tool for publishing and structuring the content on your website.

In essence, a CRM works behind the scenes, shaping the way you interact with your customers, while a CMS is on the front lines, shaping the way your customers interact with you.

Use cases of a CRM vs CMS

Understanding the different use cases for a CRM and CMS can help you appreciate their individual strengths and collective potential.

1. A CRM for sales and marketing

A CRM can be your sales and marketing team’s best friend. It provides a wealth of customer data that can be used to personalize sales interactions, tailor marketing campaigns, identify sales opportunities, and evaluate marketing performance. 

Jetpack CRM interface

For instance, with Jetpack CRM, you can manage and track leads, nurture customer relationships, and glean insights from customer data to shape your marketing strategies.

2. CMS for content and website management

A CMS, like WordPress, on the other hand, is a boon for content creators and website managers. It empowers you to create and publish content, manage the look and feel of your website, and collaborate efficiently with your team. 

the WordPress block editor in action

CRM and CMS as standalone software

Operating a CRM or CMS as a standalone system does come with benefits and drawbacks. 

On the one hand, a standalone CRM, like Jetpack CRM, can provide a focused environment for managing and analyzing customer data, thereby improving customer relationships and driving sales. However, the lack of integration with your CMS could result in a disconnect between your customer data and your content strategy, potentially hampering its effectiveness.

Similarly, a standalone CMS, like WordPress, gives you complete control over your digital content and website. Yet, without CRM integration, you’re missing out on valuable customer insights that could enhance your content’s relevance and impact.

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The need for integration: CMS and CRM together

The real magic happens when you bring a CMS and CRM together, each amplifying the other’s strengths. 

The right integration allows your CRM to access data from your CMS, providing a more comprehensive view of your customers. For example, it automatically pulls in information about the orders that an individual has placed, so that your customer service team can best answer their questions and so that you can segment shoppers to enhance your marketing strategy.

contact page in Jetpack CRM

But integration doesn’t mean just slapping the two systems together. It’s about creating a sum greater than its parts. That’s where Jetpack CRM comes into play, the best CRM for WordPress that seamlessly integrates its powerful tools with your WordPress site.

Jetpack CRM and WordPress: the perfect combination

Jetpack CRM and WordPress aren’t just compatible — they’re symbiotic. Together, they marry the content and customer management, streamlining and enhancing business operations.

Jetpack CRM was crafted specifically for WordPress. Its creators envisioned a CRM that would leverage the flexibility and power of WordPress and serve as a tool that’s easy to use, feature-packed, and capable of turning customer management into a breeze. 

How Jetpack CRM leverages power of WordPress

Jetpack CRM taps into the user management, content hierarchy, and plugin architecture of WordPress to streamline the customer journey. It packs a host of features that seamlessly blend with WordPress, including:

1. WordPress user sync. Jetpack CRM allows you to automatically sync WordPress users and CRM contacts, ensuring that your data is always up-to-date.

2. Invoices & transactions. With Jetpack CRM, you can manage invoices, quotes, and transactions right from your WordPress dashboard, providing a unified business management experience.

3. Email and SMS marketing. Connect your CMS to your existing email service provider like MailPoet or use the Mail Campaigns extension to send unique marketing messages to specific customer segments. And add the Twilio extension to send text message marketing to your contacts. 

4. Automated customer data sync. Sync all the data from your WooCommerce store. Gain more in-depth insights into customer information, preferences, and buying habits and market specifically to them.

5. Online commerce without the ecommerce site. Creating your own ecommerce site is a great way for B2B and service-based businesses to streamline operations. But if all you want to do is send an invoice and collect payment, Jetpack CRM lets you do that easily and quickly.

Pairing Jetpack CRM with WordPress isn’t just about integrating systems; it’s about creating a cohesive and effective customer-centric strategy. It’s about knowing your audience, delivering content they love, and forging relationships that endure.

How to integrate Jetpack CRM with your WordPress site: a step-by-step guide

Installing and setting up Jetpack CRM is simple. Just follow these steps:

1. In your WordPress dashboard, go to Plugins → Add New. Search for “Jetpack CRM” and click Install Now → Activate.

essential details field in Jetpack CRM

2. You’ll now see a setup wizard that will walk you through the process of getting started. It will ask you details about your site, like the type of business you run and the currency you accept. Answer all of these questions, then click Next.

importing contacts into Jetpack CRM

3. On the next page, you’ll see options for importing contacts from other tools you may be using, such as Stripe, WooCommerce, and Twilio. If you want to do so, click the Connect your CRM to other services button. Otherwise, proceed on.

optional features in Jetpack CRM

4. Now, you’ll see options for enabling extensions and additional functionality, such as quotes, invoices, and WooSync. Turn on these as needed.

5. Finally, you’ll have the option to subscribe to the Jetpack CRM newsletter. Click Finish and go to your CRM.

Now, take the time to get to know your dashboard and configure your settings. For more information and detailed walkthroughs about everything Jetpack CRM, check out the documentation.

Maximizing Jetpack CRM’s features

Just integrating the two systems isn’t enough — you need to make them work for you.

1. Managing contacts

With Jetpack CRM, managing contacts is easy. You can add, edit, and categorize contacts, track customer interactions, and view all this information in a neat, user-friendly dashboard. The trick is to keep your contact data organized and updated, ensuring that you have accurate and actionable customer insights at your fingertips.

2. Tracking customer interactions

Jetpack CRM’s customer interaction tracking allows you to monitor activity on your WordPress site — pages visited, forms filled, downloads made, and more. You can then use this information to understand your customers better and tailor your sales and content strategy to match their needs and preferences.

3. Optimizing marketing efforts

Using the customer data gleaned from Jetpack CRM, you can refine your marketing campaigns, making them more personalized, targeted, and effective. Monitor campaign performance, identify what works, and tweak what doesn’t.

4. Customizing the CRM to fit your business needs

Every business is unique, and your CRM should adapt to meet your specific needs. Jetpack CRM allows you to customize your CRM experience with a range of extensions for email marketing, invoicing, webinars, and more. Choose the ones that suit your business needs and create a CRM that’s tailor-made for your business.

Tips for getting the most out of your CRM-CMS integration

1. Map your customer’s journey

A fundamental part of successfully integrating your CRM and CMS lies in understanding the path your customers take from discovery to conversion. Map out this journey, using your CRM to capture key touchpoints and interactions. 

This will help guide the content and messaging you develop through your CMS. Jetpack CRM, for instance, is excellent at recording customer data, while WordPress makes content publishing a breeze.

2. Harness the power of data

Every interaction a customer has with your website is a nugget of data that can be utilized. Your CRM system collects and organizes this data, allowing you to leverage it to tailor your content, marketing, and sales strategies. Make sure your CMS is designed to make full use of this information. For example, WordPress’s compatibility with Jetpack CRM ensures a seamless data flow, enhancing your data-driven marketing efforts.

3. Personalize the experience

Using the data you gather, deliver a personalized experience to each contact. While your CRM manages customer data, your CMS must be flexible and robust enough to deliver varied content. WordPress shines in this respect, with customization at its core, while a CRM like Jetpack CRM makes tailoring customer interactions effortless.

4. Maintain CRM data quality

Ensure the customer data stored in your CRM is regularly updated. This not only helps maintain the quality of your customer relationships, but it also guarantees that your CMS delivers relevant and engaging content.

5. Use your CRM for content strategy

Your CRM can provide invaluable insights for your content strategy. Use the data it provides to create content that resonates with your audience. As you feed these insights into your CMS, you’ll create more meaningful and impactful connections.

6. Implement automation where possible

Use automation features in your CRM to streamline tasks such as sending emails or updating customer data. This frees up your team’s time, allowing them to focus on other vital areas. Jetpack CRM, as an example, has a wealth of automation features that can save valuable time.

7. Utilize integrations

Make use of the integration features of your CRM and CMS to connect various aspects of your business. This helps streamline your processes and make your systems work in sync. With both WordPress and Jetpack CRM supporting a multitude of third-party integrations, the possibilities are endless.

8. Customize your CRM to suit your needs

Make the CRM truly yours by customizing it to align with your unique needs. Whether it’s adjusting terminologies or capturing additional information, a flexible CRM is an asset. Jetpack CRM, for instance, offers multiple customization options to fit your business model.

9. Train your team

Make sure your team is well-versed in how to use both the CRM and CMS. Understanding these systems and their integration can improve efficiency and make your strategies more effective.

10. Review and optimize regularly

Finally, keep a close eye on the performance of your CRM and CMS. Use the analytics and reporting capabilities of your CRM and the analytics of your CMS to continually review and optimize your strategies.

By applying these strategies, you can truly harness the synergistic potential these technologies have to offer. As we’ve seen, systems like Jetpack CRM and WordPress exemplify the potential of such an integration, each bringing their unique features to the table. Remember, CRM-CMS integration isn’t about using two systems in tandem — it’s about creating a seamless system that drives business growth.

Frequently asked questions about CRM and CMS

Want to know more about content management systems and customer relationship management software? Let’s dive into some frequently asked questions.

What is the primary difference between a CRM and a CMS?

While both a CRM and CMS are pivotal tools for any business, they serve different primary functions. A CRM, or customer relationship management system, is a tool designed to manage a company’s interactions with current and potential customers. It keeps track of customer information, purchase history, interactions, and more, all in one centralized location. 

A CMS, or content management system, is a tool that allows you to create, manage, and modify content on a website without needing any specialized technical knowledge. It handles all the basic infrastructure, allowing you to focus on the front-end parts of the website — content, design, etc.

While we’re on the topic of comparing a CRM to a CMS, this comparison of ERP vs CRM systems may also be of interest.

Can a business run efficiently using only a CRM or a CMS?

While a business can indeed function with only a CRM or a CMS, integrating both can exponentially increase efficiency and productivity. Having both a CRM and a CMS ensures that not only is your website content managed effectively, but your customer relationships are also nurtured and improved over time. 

For instance, you could run a blog on WordPress (CMS) to attract visitors and generate leads. Once these leads are captured into Jetpack CRM, you can then nurture these relationships, turning prospects into loyal customers.

How does a CRM-CMS integrated system improve operational efficiency?

When you integrate your CRM and CMS, the synergy between the two creates a unified system that boosts operational efficiency. With a CRM like Jetpack CRM integrated with a CMS like WordPress, you can ensure that your content strategies are informed by your customer insights and vice versa. 

For instance, you can use the CRM data about your customers to personalize your CMS-driven content. Similarly, the behavior data of users interacting with your content can be captured by the CRM for further analysis and action. This circular data flow between CRM and CMS, when used correctly, can improve both the customer experience and business results.

How does Jetpack CRM differ from other CRM systems?

Jetpack CRM stands out from other CRM systems because of its deep integration with WordPress, ease of use, and incredible flexibility. It takes the power and scalability of WordPress and brings it to the CRM space. Furthermore, Jetpack CRM is also modular and customizable to fit your specific business needs. 

Plus, the ability to manage everything from the same dashboard where you manage your content on WordPress provides unparalleled convenience and efficiency.

What are some key features of Jetpack CRM that leverage the CMS capabilities of WordPress?

Jetpack CRM comes with several features that leverage the CMS capabilities of WordPress. For instance, it allows you to manage your contacts right from your WordPress dashboard, eliminating the need to switch between platforms. It also provides features for tracking customer interactions on your WordPress site, allowing you to capture valuable behavioral data.

Other key features include seamless integration with popular WordPress plugins, customization options to fit your business needs, and in-depth analytics and reporting capabilities to measure and improve your CRM strategies.

How can I integrate Jetpack CRM with my existing WordPress site?

Integrating Jetpack CRM with your existing WordPress site is a straightforward process. First, you need to install and activate the Jetpack CRM plugin from your WordPress dashboard. Once the plugin is activated, it automatically integrates with your WordPress site, adding a Jetpack CRM section to your dashboard. 

From this section, you can manage all your CRM-related tasks — managing contacts, tracking customer interactions, optimizing marketing efforts, customizing the CRM to your needs, and much more — right from your WordPress dashboard.

Can I customize Jetpack CRM to fit the specific needs of my business?

Absolutely! One of the significant advantages of Jetpack CRM is its flexibility and customization options. You can customize the CRM to fit your specific business needs, whether it’s renaming fields to match your business terminology, adding custom fields to capture additional information, or customizing the layout and display of information.

Jetpack CRM: the CRM for sites using WordPress

In the world of business, the right partnership can propel both organizations to the moon. When Jetpack CRM meets WordPress, it’s like witnessing a celestial alignment. The two don’t just coexist; they amplify each other. Together, they create a platform that’s more than just a CRM or a CMS — it’s a complete business solution. 

Jetpack CRM was born in the WordPress universe and embodies some of the key traits of WordPress: simplicity, power, and flexibility. It takes the robustness of WordPress, infuses it with CRM functionalities, and delivers a tool that businesses of all sizes can use to drive customer relationships and business growth.

No matter the size of your company, whether you’re a one-person show or a growing enterprise, Jetpack CRM has you covered. It’s scalable, customizable, and packed with features that make customer management seamless. From capturing leads to closing deals, Jetpack CRM turns every step into a streamlined process, right inside your WordPress dashboard.

If your business relies on WordPress as its CMS, Jetpack CRM is the ideal choice. The two form a combination that can power your journey to the top. But don’t just take our word for it. Take it for a spin. See how the magic of CRM-CMS synergy can transform your business operations, customer experience, and bottom line.

Get started with Jetpack CRM today:

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Simon Keating profile
Simon Keating

Simon has worked in marketing and product development for over 10 years, previously at HubSpot, Workday, and now Automattic (Jetpack). He has a varied education, with a degree in chemical engineering and a masters in computer science to his name. His passion is helping people and their businesses grow.

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