Acquiring and retaining customers for a creative agency requires a unique blend of engagement tactics that traditional CRMs just can't handle.
From concept development to creative feedback to asset curation and delivery revisions—there's a lot of hands-on interaction with the customer.
A good CRM made for creatives needs to consider that. To help you find the right one, I've researched 9 CRMs that are either purpose-made for creatives or that suit a creative's needs down to a T—with some nuances that I'll discuss in each section.
Best for: Small to medium-sized creative agencies seeking direct customer interaction without the complexities of traditional CRMs and project management tools.
ManyRequests is a comprehensive CRM platform specifically designed for creative agencies. It streamlines how you sell your creative services through customizable checkout forms, engagement features like graphic annotations, and an extensible client portal that integrates with external tools.
The platform enables efficient client request management, file sharing, and real-time communication, all in one place.
It also features powerful time tracking and reporting to increase your profitability.
It's particularly known for its "productized" approach to selling services, but it also supports more traditional per-hour billing and up-selling / cross-selling.
- Customizable & self-service client portal
- Organized checkout and invoicing
- Project-specific file storage
- Service catalog for easy navigation and purchase
- Contextual project activity linked to client records
- Powerful service builder with conditional forms
- Team, time & task management
- Design feedback with annotation tools
Pricing: 14-day free trial, then $99 / mo for the full platform (not just CRM).
Best for: Creative businesses looking for an intuitive CRM with a strong focus on customer engagement, sales automation, and a clean UI that is easy to pick up in a few days.
I haven’t personally used the software but it’s well regarded, with over 7000 reviews on G2. It integrates seamlessly with third-party applications, focusing on sales automation and CRM.
The reason why I've put it 2nd in the list is its full-feature CRM approach at cost-effective prices while maintaining a user-friendly, quick-start approach that's appropriate for small creative firms.
Basically, it's not as complex and expensive as something like HubSpot or Salesforce but it doesn't sacrifice much from those same worlds: it has service, sales, marketing, and automation included.
If you're looking for a complete CRM solution, Freshworks will suit you well.
- Seamless integration with sales and marketing tools
- AI-based lead scoring
- Advanced analytics and reporting
- Customizable sales pipelines
- Mobile app for on-the-go access
Pricing: Free plan available, paid plans starting from $15 per month per user.
Best for: Small creative teams that want to bring their full organizational structure in one system (e.g. chat communications, automations, calendar, sales / marketing, and reporting).
“Work fewer hours.”
That’s one of Keep’s promises, right on its home page. It’s a pitch that works for everyone, but particularly for creative agencies whose entire business model revolves around timely deliveries.
Keap offers a simple, all-in-one CRM platform with sales and marketing automation features, designed to grow your creative business without requiring extensive expertise in CRM systems.
They claim it’s the CRM for small business.
Keap's core capabilities focus on automating repetitive tasks, lead scoring, e-commerce payments, and the usual integrations. The platform simplifies automating tasks with premade templates and allows for complex automation based on “if-then scenarios.” Its lead-scoring feature, available with the Max plan, evaluates prospects' interest levels, which is a powerful way to manage the sales pipeline.
If you’re using Keap though, you do it mainly for its usability.
It’s very simple to pick up and doesn’t require large training investments.
That also means you’ll have to pay more upfront, with baseline pricing being one of the highest in this list. Each plan includes a dedicated account manager to help set things up properly.
In fact, the pricing structure is Keap’s main drawback, with contact-based tiers being a major challenge for creative firms that want tight control over fixed expenses.
- Streamlined client onboarding processes
- Email marketing with customizable templates
- Sales pipeline and lead tracking
- Integration with popular e-commerce platforms
- Appointment scheduling functionality
Pricing: Starting at $199 per month, the most expensive by far in this list.
Best for: All types of creative agencies, with a strong emphasis on covering the entire service lifecycle. Productive is particularly relevant to high-ticket agencies that need sophisticated functionality.
Productive is way more than just a CRM for creatives.
It’s an entire creative agency management suite.
That may or may not be your thing, but Productive offers an excellent CRM that hooks right into your creative projects, making it one of the more complete creative CRMs in the industry.
Particularly, Productive’s functionality leans heavily towards resource management, linking particular deals back to their profitability. I like this because selling creative services isn’t just about closing deals.
It’s about making sure those deals are profitable.
Small agencies simply can’t afford to run services at a loss.
Perfectly-suited for medium-size agencies, Productive might not be the best choice if you’re only looking for a standalone CRM. It’s an ecosystem that requires investment in all its parts.
- Comprehensive resource planning
- Complete budgeting tools
- Integrated sales CRM
- Standard project management features with client access
- Time and budget tracking
Pricing: 14-day free trial, starts at $11 per month per user.
Best for: Freelancers and small creative businesses focusing on client management and workflow automation, particularly if you have to draft a lot of customer contracts.
Honeybook is interesting because it focuses very heavily on professional services, particularly from a customer’s perspective. Submitting forms, signing contracts, making payments, etc.
It’s mentioned as a “clientflow” management tool, which is a fancy word for automating processes internal to your agency and customer-facing ones. It’s a compelling offer for a reasonable price.
Similar to Productive, Honeybook doesn’t just offer a CRM, but rather a full creative agency management workflow. They have similar pricing and almost identical features, although Productive focuses more on project and resource management whereas Honeybook focuses more on workflow automation.
Overall, I like Honeybook’s offer for its simplicity and robustness.
It’s a perfect fit for a small creative agency.
- Client communication and collaboration tools
- Automated billing and invoicing
- Customizable templates for proposals and contracts
- Integrated scheduling and calendar management
- Robust project tracking and reporting
Pricing: Free trial available, plans start at $39 per month.
Best for: Sales-focused creatives looking for an intuitive and visually engaging CRM that gives them the tools to sell more and nothing else (i.e. it doesn't have any client portal).
I did personally use Pipedrive in the past, and I can vouch for its extremely powerful sales pipeline functionality. If you need a sales CRM and are a somewhat experienced salesperson, it’s a solid choice.
Unlike the previous entries in this list, Pipedrive doesn’t focus specifically on creative agencies; it just provides a powerful CRM experience that you can customize to your specific needs. That does mean taking some time to make it work for you.
But it also means having a more focused experience without too many features.
My experience is that Pipedrive has a bit of a higher learning curve than comparable tools, but it has a huge advantage compared to other CRMs—it doesn’t charge you based on contact tiers.
That means you will never experience unexpected charges, and you won’t have to micromanage your contact database just to avoid getting billed more.
This is crucial for small creative agencies.
You might have a website that pulls in a lot of leads monthly; you don’t want to delete them from your database for historical data.
But many standard CRMs like HubSpot force you to mark them as “non-marketing contacts” or outright delete them if you don’t want to pay more.
Same with Keap and Freshworks.
If you’re willing to get your hands dirty (most creatives do!), Pipedrive is one of the best CRMs on the market: it’s cost-effective, it’s well-integrated, and it’s as professional as it gets.
- User-friendly interface with a visual sales pipeline
- Customizable fields and stages
- Automated workflows to reduce repetitive tasks
- Detailed sales reporting and forecasting
- Integration capabilities with many apps
Pricing: 14-day free trial, plans starting from $15 per month per user.
Best for: Creatives focusing on broader audience engagement rather than individual, custom proposals. This could be artists selling prints / standard designs, photographers, videomakers, etc.
You’ll probably be acquainted with Mailchimp at this point.
It’s been around forever (going back to 2001!), and it’s become the de-facto email marketing tool in many countries, so much so that email marketing is basically synonymous with Mailchimp.
But Mailchimp doesn’t just do emails; it can act as a CRM too.
It’s important to note that while perfectly capable of it, Mailchimp wasn’t built specifically as a sales CRM, so some of the features seen in other CRMs—like sales pipelines—aren’t present here.
But its excellent audience features more than make up for it.
The way that Mailchimp handles audiences is just like a CRM, with contact records holding their information and interaction history.
It offers forms, surveys, landing pages, calendar bookings, and other functionality present in other CRMs, but its north start is clearly email automation.
If your creative business operates on a larger audience basis rather than individual 1:1 sales, Mailchimp is the perfect fit.
This could be for small artisans, influencers, or even marketing agencies.
- Advanced email marketing tools with customizable templates
- Audience segmentation for targeted campaigns
- Detailed audience analytics and insights
- Landing pages and integrated advertising support
- E-commerce integration for online stores
Pricing: Free plan available, paid plans start at $10 per month.
Best for: Larger creative agencies requiring a customizable CRM solution and agencies that visit customers in-person, allowing to send quotes directly from their mobile app.
SugarCRM is a good alternative to popular CRMs like HubSpot and Salesforce but it doesn't come cheap. I've added it at the bottom of the list because, although intuitive, it's more involved in its setup and use.
The CRM offers sales, marketing, and customer service options.
It has the usual automation features and a sales pipeline.
What makes it different from the competition is that it's particularly well-suited for large organizations that want control over every aspect of their CRM, even going as far as installing it on their own servers.
I reckon this might not be the case for most readers, but it's worth a mention.
If you're willing to invest in a robust solution for a large creative agency, SugarCRM is a good option, but there are other options in the market better-suited for small businesses.
- Highly customizable to fit specific business needs
- Personalized reporting and analytics
- Marketing automation capabilities
- Comprehensive customer service tools
- CRM access via mobile app
Pricing: Plans start at $52 per month per user only for the "Sell" functionality.
Best for: B2B creative agencies that are focused on large accounts (i.e. organizations with hundreds of employees) and need functionality specific to capturing their attention.
Salesflare is very similar to Pipedrive in terms of philosophy: a sales-focused CRM with the sales pipeline at its heart. But it has its own unique angle which makes it worth a look for your creative agency.
First, it’s particularly suited for account-based marketing (ABM). It’s a technique that aims to close large deals ($100k+) with large companies (50+ employees).
Salesflare allows for this particular workflow by giving you a lot of sales prospecting tools on top of the usual CRM functionality: LinkedIn sidebar, email finding credits, and website tracking.
It's useful if your creative agency targets large organizations for projects that require months to complete, like global ad campaigns or complex video production.
Pricing is comparable to Pipedrive, both offering the Pro tier at around $55-59 / mo, although Salesflare pricing is more streamlined with 3 options and less add-ons.
- Automation of data input from emails, social media, and other channels
- Customer engagement timeline with history and associations
- Full account data and interaction tracking
- Integration with Gmail and Outlook
- Built-in workflows and email marketing tools
Pricing: Free trial available, starts at $29 per month per user.
The Best CRM for Creatives?
It's the one that works for you and your team.
Look, I'm biased, I'd tell you to choose ManyRequests over other options in a heartbeat: I used it for my agency as a customer before writing on this blog and loved the direct client interaction it offers.
(Which other CRMs lack!)
But it also has a very specific workflow style which might not be suited for you. CRMs exist to keep your customers happy and your pockets full.
If the one you choose achieves both goals, you're good to go!
P.s.: ManyRequests is free for 14 days if you want to give it a try.