CRM vs CMS: Differences Explained

Last Updated:Monday, February 5, 2024

When managing and optimizing business operations, two essential systems come into play: CRM vs CMS. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management) and CMS is short for Content Management System.


But what is the difference between CRM and CMS? For starters, they have different purposes and functionalities; you can learn the specifics below. This article will discuss the key differences between these well-known systems, so let’s dive right in.


What is the Difference Between CRM and CMS?

The main difference between CMS and CRM is their purpose. CMS stands for Content Management System, whereas CRM is short for Customer Relationship Management. CRM systems can help manage and nurture customer relationships. On the other hand, CMS systems focus on creating, organizing, and publishing digital content.

Overall, CMS and CRM stands for helping businesses of any size and kind flourish in various fields.

The primary goal of CMS is managing and organizing content like web pages, articles, images, and multimedia elements. It offers many tools and features for content creation, editing, publishing, and customization.

Generally, CMS allows users to update and maintain their website or online platform, ensuring a seamless user experience.

On the other hand, the best customer relationship management solutions can help businesses of all sizes manage and nurture customer relationships. They collect, organize, and analyze customer data, interactions, and activities.

Additionally, CRM systems enable businesses to track leads, manage sales processes, automate marketing campaigns, and provide personalized customer support.

A CRM system aims to enhance customer satisfaction, improve sales performance, and foster long-term customer loyalty.

In a nutshell, there’s some overlap in functionality. However, the fundamental distinction lies in their core objectives.

A CMS empowers organizations to manage content, while a CRM system facilitates the management of customer relationships and related business processes.

Lastly, sometimes, the term “CMS” is used interchangeably for “customer management system” and “contact management system.”

However, in the broader context of digital technology, CMS is usually used for Content Management Systems.

This can confuse looking for information about CMS, as both meanings may be present in search results. Therefore, you should clarify the intended context and definition when seeking specific information related to CMS or CRM.


CRM vs CMS Comparison

What is CRM and CMS? Stick around and find out! This section will compare CRM and CMS in great detail.

We will explore their features, use cases, and how they contribute to business success. So, let’s uncover the differences between CRM and CMS and determine which system fits your organization best.


CMS (Customer Management System)

A customer management system CMS is software designed to help businesses manage and organize customer data, interactions, and relationships effectively.

It offers a centralized platform for tracking customer information, communication history, sales activities, and marketing campaigns. CMS has various features and benefits that boost customer satisfaction and business growth.

Take a closer look:

Ideal for:

Customer management systems (CMS) can help many industries for different purposes, such as the following:

  • Lead and Contact Management: CMS systems enable businesses to capture, store, and manage leads and contacts effectively. They provide tools for tracking interactions, managing customer profiles, and streamlining communication.

  • Sales and Opportunity Management: CMS systems help sales teams track sales opportunities, manage pipelines, and monitor the progress of deals. They provide a structured approach to sales processes, ensuring efficient management and increased conversion rates.

  • Marketing Campaigns: CMS systems facilitate targeted marketing campaigns by allowing businesses to segment their customer base, personalize messaging, and track campaign performance. This helps in delivering relevant website content and improving marketing ROI.


The pricing of customer management systems (CMS) varies based on factors such as the provider, features included, and the scale of implementation.

Some CMS systems offer pricing plans based on the number of users or contacts, while others may have tiered pricing based on feature sets or usage limits.


Customer management systems (CMS) typically offer a range of features, including:

  • Contact and Lead Management: Ability to capture, store, and organize customer contact information and lead details.

  • Interaction Tracking: Recording and tracking customer interactions, such as emails, phone calls, and meetings, to maintain a comprehensive communication history.

  • Sales Pipeline Management: Visualizing and managing the sales pipeline, tracking deals, and forecasting revenue.

  • Marketing Automation: Tools for automating marketing campaigns, including email marketing, lead nurturing, and segmentation.

  • Reporting and Analytics: Generating reports and analytics to gain insights into customer behavior, sales performance, and campaign effectiveness.


Implementing a customer management system (CMS) offers several benefits, including:

  • Improved Customer Relationships: CMS systems provide a holistic view of customer interactions, enabling personalized communication and enhanced customer experiences.

  • Streamlined Sales Processes: CMS systems streamline sales workflows, making it easier to manage leads, track deals, and close sales effectively.

  • Enhanced Marketing Efforts: CMS systems enable targeted marketing campaigns, resulting in better lead generation, increased conversions, and improved ROI.

  • Data Centralization and Accessibility: CMS systems centralize customer data, making it easily accessible for all team members and fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing.

  • Scalability and Growth: As businesses grow, CMS systems can adapt to handle larger volumes of customer data and accommodate expanding sales and marketing needs.


CMS (Content Management System)

content management systems

A Content Management System (CMS) is a software platform that facilitates digital content creation, management, and organization.

It provides a centralized system for content resource management, allowing businesses to efficiently create, edit, publish, and customize various types of content, such as web pages, articles, images, and multimedia elements.

Ideal for:

Content management systems (CMS) can help numerous industries to meet various purposes. Some common use cases include:

  • Website Management: CMS systems empower businesses to easily create and maintain websites, manage page structure, and update content in real time.

  • Blogging and Publishing: CMS platforms offer specialized features for bloggers and publishers to manage and publish articles, organize content categories, and engage with their audience on social media.

  • E-commerce: CMS systems with e-commerce capabilities enable businesses to create and manage online stores, handle product catalogs, process transactions, and track inventory.


The pricing of content management systems (CMS) varies based on factors such as the CMS provider, the scale of implementation, and additional features required.

Some CMS systems offer free or open-source options, while others may have subscription-based pricing plans or one-time license fees.


Content management systems (CMS) typically offer a range of features, including:

  • Content Creation and Editing: Intuitive interfaces and editors for creating and editing content, often with WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) capabilities.

  • Content Publishing and Versioning: Tools for publishing content to websites or other platforms, managing multiple versions of content, and scheduling content releases.

  • Media Management: Facilities to organize and manage various media assets, such as images, videos, and documents, including resizing, cropping, and optimizing features.

  • User Management and Permissions: User roles and permissions management to manage access to specific content and functionalities within the CMS.

  • SEO and Metadata Management: Features to optimize content for search engines, including metadata management, URL structure control, and SEO-friendly options.


Implementing a content management system (CMS) offers several benefits, including:

  • Easy Content Updates: CMS systems enable non-technical users to update and modify content without relying on web developers, resulting in faster content updates and increased agility.

  • Consistent Branding and Design: CMS platforms provide templates and themes that ensure consistent branding and design across the website or platform.

  • Workflow Collaboration: CMS systems facilitate collaboration among content creators, editors, and stakeholders, allowing for efficient content creation and approval processes.

  • Scalability and Customization: CMS platforms offer flexibility to scale as your content grows and provide customization options to adapt to unique business needs.

  • Content Governance and Control: CMS systems enable content governance by enforcing workflows, permissions, and approval processes, ensuring content quality and compliance.


CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

customer relationship management systems

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management.

Our CRM definition is that CRM solutions usually include various strategies, practices, and technologies designed to manage and nurture customer relationships.

They encompass various processes, tools, and systems that help businesses effectively interact with customers, track interactions, analyze data, increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, etc.

Ideal for:

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems find applications across different industries and departments. Some common use cases of CRM include:

  • Sales Management: CRM systems assist in lead tracking, opportunity management, and sales forecasting, empowering sales teams to manage their pipeline and close deals.

  • Marketing Campaigns: CRM systems enable targeted marketing campaigns by segmenting customers based on their preferences and behaviors, improving campaign effectiveness and customer engagement.

  • Customer Support and Service: CRM systems centralize customer data, allowing support teams to provide personalized assistance, track customer issues, and ensure timely resolution.


The pricing of CRM systems varies depending on factors such as the CRM provider, the scale of implementation, and the specific features and functionalities required.

CRM systems typically offer pricing plans based on the number of users, features, and data storage limits.


CRM systems offer a range of features to support customer relationship management, including:

  • Contact Management: Capturing and storing customer contact details, communication history, and preferences in a centralized database.

  • Sales and Opportunity Management: Tracking leads, managing sales pipelines, forecasting revenue, and automating sales processes.

  • Marketing Automation: Automating marketing campaigns, lead nurturing, email marketing, and tracking campaign performance.

  • Reporting and Analytics: Generating reports and analytics on customer interactions, sales performance, and campaign effectiveness.

  • Collaboration and Workflow Management: Facilitating collaboration among team members, assigning tasks, and streamlining communication and workflows.


Implementing a CRM system offers several benefits for businesses, including:

  • Improved Customer Relationships: CRM systems enable businesses to provide personalized experiences, anticipate customer needs, and build long-term relationships.

  • Enhanced Sales Efficiency: CRM systems streamline sales processes, improve lead management, and provide insights that enhance sales performance.

  • Targeted Marketing and Campaign Effectiveness: CRM systems enable targeted marketing efforts by segmenting customers, resulting in improved campaign effectiveness and higher ROI.

  • Centralized Customer Data: CRM systems provide a single source of truth for customer information, making it easily accessible and enabling consistent and personalized interactions across the organization.

  • Data-Driven Insights: CRM systems offer analytics and reporting capabilities that provide valuable insights into customer behavior, helping businesses make data-driven decisions and identify growth opportunities.


CMS and CRM Solutions

In this section, we will explore popular CMS and CRM platforms that can help various industries, so take a look and make a well-informed choice.

Customer Management Systems

If you’re looking for a contact management system, consider Drupal, Joomla, or Shopify. They offer various features and functionalities to help businesses manage their customer-related processes.


Drupal content management system

Drupal is a special kind of software open for everyone to use without cost. It’s widely liked, and many people use it as their content management system, ranking it third in popularity.

This system is flexible and can be adjusted according to different needs. It’s used in various industries, like selling things online, caring for people’s health, and working with advanced technology. A famous example is the Tesla website, which was created using Drupal.

It’s a strong platform that can do many things. It can connect with other programs, has well-designed instructions, and a group of loyal users who support each other.

However, because it’s feature-rich, learning how to use it effectively may take some time.


Joomla CMS

Joomla is a content management system that costs nothing and allows anyone to use and modify it.

It’s quite popular, utilized by approximately 9% of all business websites.

This system is built to adapt as your organization expands. As you grow, you can easily incorporate new functions and accommodate more users. Additionally, you can adjust access permissions according to your needs.

You can find various extensions available for Joomla that vendors have verified. These extensions enhance the system’s capabilities and provide additional features.

Moreover, various customizable templates can be tailored to your language, layout, and color scheme preferences.


Shopify CMS

Shopify is a content management system (CMS) designed explicitly for online businesses. It simplifies setting up a marketplace or online store and lets you receive customer payments easily.

With Shopify, you can swiftly establish your brand and personalize your store using over 70 professionally crafted themes.

One of the key features is the automatic handling of taxes based on customer location, ensuring compliance.

Additionally, Shopify offers flexible shipping rates, accommodating different shipping needs. It also handles web hosting and provides SSL certificates for secure transactions.

What’s more, Shopify integrates seamlessly with WordPress. This integration offers the advantage of reducing expenses and expanding the possibilities for customizing your website according to your specific requirements.


Content Management Systems

Let’s explore some of the most popular Content Management Systems (CMS) that can help you create and manage their online presence, such as WordPress, Squarespace, and Weebly.


wordpress cms

WordPress is extremely well-liked. It’s both free and open-source. Remarkably, around 36% of all websites utilize WordPress. Aside from being cost-effective, many individuals and businesses prefer WordPress over other CMS because it’s user-friendly.

The platform boasts a straightforward interface that swiftly empowers you to create personalized themes for your website.

Additionally, you have the option to purchase professional templates. Once a template is installed, adding and editing content becomes effortless.

WordPress is also a highly flexible, all-in-one solution. It offers a wide array of plug-ins to boost various aspects of your website, such as SEO optimization, security encryption, flexible dashboards, statistical analysis, cloud backup, and more.

Furthermore, it seamlessly integrates with G Suite, facilitating easy information sharing with Google Analytics, Gmail, and other related services. And, it’s important to mention that there are many WordPress CRM plugins that make this CMS work perfectly with a range of CRMs.

Read our comprehensive WordPress review for more details.


Squarespace CMS

Squarespace is recognized as one of the leading content management system (CMS) platforms available today. It features a user-friendly drag-and-drop editor and visually appealing templates.

This CMS caters to many users, including those looking to create online stores, websites, or professional portfolios.

Squarespace offers a collection of templates, analytics tools, and point-of-sale services to assist in achieving these goals. Furthermore, it simplifies the blogging experience by providing features for categorizing, sharing, and scheduling posts.

Squarespace also offers free Typekit fonts and convenient access to Google fonts. It also provides a custom layout editor, which is invaluable in adjusting and refining your brand identity.


Weebly CMS

Weebly is a content management system (CMS) that focuses on serving businesses. It has a user-friendly interface and drag-and-drop editor, making it a great choice for new website owners.

The CMS offers a variety of templates and over 40 layout types, enabling effortless and comprehensive website customization.

It also supports video backgrounds and comes equipped with advanced animation effects to enhance the visual appeal of your site.

Weebly incorporates integrated analytics, providing convenient access to valuable website data.

Moreover, the Weebly mobile app empowers you to update your website and interact with customers while on the move, ensuring flexibility and convenience.

Our latest Weebly review has more details about this popular CMS system.

Customer Relationship Management Systems

Here’s a quick overview of well-known Customer Relationship Management Systems, including HubSpot, Salesforce, and Less Annoying CRM.

These CRM platforms offer essential features to manage customer interactions and drive business growth.


Hubspot CRM

HubSpot is a prominent player in CRM and marketing automation. Their free CRM platform offers essential features, which is why it’s one of the best CRM out there.

The platform oversees the entire sales process, providing tools for lead management and tracking customer interactions across channels. It also includes features for streamlining workflows and enhancing project management.

HubSpot CRM is compatible with G Suite and Microsoft Office, accommodating marketing teams regardless of their preferred developer. Integration with Zapier allows seamless information sharing across apps like Slack and Google Sheets.

The Sales Hub add-on takes things to the next level for enhanced capabilities with AI assistance, comprehensive prospect insights, and advanced automation.

Additionally, you can choose any of the Marketing Hub and Service Hub packages.

Check our detailed HubSpot review for more information.


Pipedrive CRM

Pipedrive is the dominant player in the CRM market, holding the largest market share.

This vendor provides a highly customizable CRM solution with comprehensive tools for sales processes, analytics, and team collaboration. It’s a powerful system that enables sales managers and teams to construct intricate task management systems.

Pipedrive automates tedious tasks and decision-making processes, freeing up time in the workday.

Moreover, if you need additional features, there’s a wide range of integrations and add-ons for better functionality.

If you’re interested in using Pipedrive, read our comprehensive Pipedrive review before making a final decision.


Salesforce CRM

Salesforce is by far the largest CRM out thereby market share. 

The vendor offers a deep, customizable CRM. It has well-developed tools for sales processes, analytics, and team collaboration. This is a robust system, allowing sales managers and sales teams to build up very complex task management systems. 

Salesforce automates many tedious tasks and decision-making processes out of the workday. And if you need more features, there are an incredible number of integrations and add-ons available. Check out our Salesforce review for more details!


Which is Right for Me, CMS or CRM? Our Conclusion

Choosing between a CMS (Content Management System) and a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system depends on your specific needs and objectives.

CMS software is the way to go if your primary focus is managing and organizing content, optimizing your website, and creating a seamless user experience.

It empowers you to efficiently handle content creation, publication, and customization, ensuring your website remains up-to-date and engaging for your audience.

On the other hand, if you prioritize building strong customer relationships, enhancing sales processes, and maximizing customer satisfaction, a CRM system is your ideal solution.

It lets you centralize customer data, track interactions, manage leads, and streamline sales and marketing efforts, ultimately fostering better customer engagement and driving business growth.

Organizations often benefit from utilizing both CMS and CRM software, as they complement each other in delivering a comprehensive digital ecosystem.

Integrating the two systems can create a powerful synergy, allowing you to leverage the strengths of both CMS and CRM to achieve your business goals.

Ultimately, the decision between CMS and CRM depends on your business needs.

Assess your objectives, evaluate the main features and functionalities offered by each system, and consider seeking expert advice to determine the best fit for your needs.

Investing in the right system can greatly contribute to your business success and propel you in the competitive digital landscape.