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Best CRM for MSPs in 2022?

automation business Jul 22, 2022

What is the Best CRM System in 2022?

5 years ago I was using Hubspot, spending about £700 per month on their Professional plan, and then 2 years ago I discovered Active Campaign, which had loads of the same features as Hubspot for just $49 per month.

Fast forward to today, and a shocking announcement from Hubspot who has now added some of those key features down to their most affordable plans.

I’m left wondering if I should be looking at Hubspot again instead of, Active Campaign

So today, we’re going to dig into the weeds, and try to figure out, what is the best CRM System for 2022? Hubspot, or Active Campaign?

If you're new here then Hi my name is Pete, and I help IT Business Owners to be more productive and grow their business - and I say that as someone who’s actually been there and grown their own IT Business.

First, a quick explanation as to why you should be using a separate CRM, and it’s because these dedicated CRM Tools have a tonne more features, and so provide a load more benefits than the pretty restricted CRM systems that come as part of or included basically free of charge with your main business apps.

For us - We stored any leads in our CRM, as well as newsletter subscribers and our key IT contacts for each customer.

So rather than clog your main tools up with potentially hundreds or thousands of contacts and companies, keep that in your CRM. Then once they convert into a client, or at the point of you sending them a quote - that’s when they move over to your other system.

So with the recent changes to Hubspot, let’s re-compare them to Active Campaign on a features level to see which one is the better choice.


Feature for Feature - both of them have ways to one-up another.

Hubspot includes Live Chat and basic bots, whereas Active Campaign charges an extra $19 per user per month for this feature.

Hubspot also includes Ad Management features to bring your PPC campaigns into your CRM.

You get some basic landing pages that you don’t get in the Active Campaigns Lite plan but do on their Plus plan.

But things get really interesting when I start looking at 2 things.

Pricing, and Automations.

Pricing first - and with Hubspot Starter it’s $18 per month for 1000 contacts or $158 per month for up to 10,000 contacts.

If you want any additional features above what I’m covering in this post, you’ll have to jump up to their insanely priced $800 per month tier for 2,000 contacts, or $1,249 for 12,000 contacts. Which is just crazy expensive.

Over in the Active Campaign world, 1000 contacts on their Lite plan is $29 per month, $49 for their Plus, or $149 for Professional.

Pretty similar to Hubspot.

But to get to 10,000 contacts then it goes to $139 for Lite, $229 for Plus, and $339 for Professional. So whilst Hubspot does look like it’s the cheapest, as you start needing more features and adding more contacts, Active Campaign is still the clear winner for most small to medium businesses, because as you’re about to find out - things aren’t all as they seem in the Starter Hubspot plan. 

Next is Marketing Automation. If you’re any business using a CRM, you’ll want to automate a tonne of things. If contact does this, then do that. If they download a form, then send them an email, add them to your mailing list, send them an email campaign, and tag them as a prospect. That kinda stuff.

I have automation set up for when new clients sign up with me, and it fires off a tonne of steps to add them to my various systems, send a VAT invoice, and even automatically orders a free gift that gets sent out to them, totally automatically.

With Hubspot, you only get 10 Automations in their Starter Plan. Once you outgrow those 10, you have to upgrade to that insanely priced Professional $800 per month plan. For most businesses, this is a hard pass when there are alternatives like Active Campaign which are much more affordable.

Looking at my own Active Campaign account, I’m already at 10 Automations - so if I did move to Hubspot like I was thinking of doing, I’m already at the limits of their Starter plan.

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Now in terms of pricing and plans with Active Campaign, you have the 3 options, Lite, Plus, or Professional - I would personally go with their middle tier, the Plus plan for most businesses.

You do get some cool features like Website Personalisation, Marketing Attribution, and Split automation in their higher tier but for most people, it won’t be necessary.

With Plus, you can have up to 25 users instead of just 1 from Lite, so that’s great if you want to give CRM access to any of your team.

You’ve got Landing Pages, Automations, Conditional Content, SMS integration, Deal boards, and workflows, and some integrations with the likes of Facebook, WordPress, and stripe.

But don’t get me wrong - I’m not here to say that Hubspot is a crap CRM, because far from it. Hubspot is actually a pretty great CRM for the right business. Personally, I feel these are geared towards much larger businesses or those managing and running campaigns on behalf of others.

Hubspot is more than just a CRM - if you take a look at their website, marketing is just a tiny part of their overall solution.

They have a ticketing system, a whole website hosting and management platform, and so many more features if you are looking to scale a business, integrate with ad campaigns, and track the whole process from the website through to even after-sales care.

So I don’t believe that Hubspot is a bad system, it’s actually one that I’d prefer to use over Active Campaign, personally - but for the features that you get and for the price, Active Campaign for me wins hands down.

This is great because now I don’t need to go and migrate everything across to Hubspot.

So if you haven’t already, sign up for Active Campaign using the link below, I’d recommend the Plus plan personally - and if you want to know more about how to set up your CRM system, from how to organise it, track your leads, set up forms, your email lists, and tagging, and all the automation behind it - then let me know in the comments.

See you in the next one.

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