ActiveCampaign vs Salesforce
Trying to choose between ActiveCampaign vs Salesforce as your email marketing software? Here's when to choose each tool – and the pros and cons to know about.
- 3.6 TrustPilot
- 4.6 Capterra
- 4.6 G2
Average 4.3 / 5
An automation platform that combines email marketing, marketing automation, CRM, and machine learning for cross-channel management, segmentation, and personalization. It can also be used to automate sales and support processes.
Starts from $9 a month for 500 contacts (billed yearly)
- Automation features for marketing
- Integrated CRM tools
- Integrations with various popular services
- Landing page constructor
- Intuitive email builder
Availability: 9 am - 11 pm CDT (GMT-5) Communication in the chat or via email
- 1.4 TrustPilot
- 4.4 Capterra
- 4.3 G2
Average 3.4 / 5
Salesforce is a powerful marketing ecosystem that includes CRM, a system for marketing personalization, sales automation, analytics, and more — and all that is AI-powered.
Dynamic, depending on the number of users, add-on products, and more
- Email marketing automation
- A/B testing
Salesforce Help, phone, online chat, separate support systems for additional products
General info about company
ActiveCampaign was founded in 2003 by Jason VandeBoom. Hubs in Chicago, Sidney, and Dublin.
Salesforce, Inc. is a cloud-based software company that was founded in 1999 and is currently headquartered in San Francisco, California. It provides customer relationship management software and applications focused on sales, customer service, marketing automation, e-commerce, analytics, and application development.
No coding or design skills are required as there are plenty of automation recipes available. The system itself is comparatively complex, though, and needs some getting accustomed to.
Most users claim that it takes at least a month to learn working in Salesforce, so it’s not beginner-friendly.
Businesses that plan to scale their email marketing up to include CRM, e-commerce integrations, and diverse automation schemes.
Large or scaling businesses and sales teams
No free plan. Has a free 14 days trial with up to 100 email sends to 100 contacts. The features available within the trial match the Professional tier of features.
The trial is limited to 1 user and doesn’t include:
- Predictive Sending
- Predictive Content
- Sending auto-responder campaigns
- Custom fields in forms
- Using “Email Results” in subscription forms
- SMS credits or sending
- Adding a domain to a landing page
No free plan, 30-day free trial that includes:
- Preloaded data for learning
- Pre-configured processes, reports, and dashboards
- Online training and live onboarding webinars
Marketing + CRM
For 500 contacts, billed yearly/monthly:
- Lite $9 / $15
- Plus $49 / $70
- Professional $149 / $187
- Enterprise — individual pricing
Other pricing features:
- 2-year price lock
- Billing pause for 12 months with the account and campaigns intact.
- Only charges for the contacts the client actively markets to, no matter how many lists they’re on.
- A 20% discount for nonprofits.
- Free 14 days trial.
Salesforce has a very complex pricing system that includes several products. Since we’re only talking about email marketing, here are the pricing plans for the email, mobile, and web marketing package.
Basic: $410/month with unlimited users, billed annually, includes:
- Subscriber profiles
- Drag-and-drop segmentation
- Email and mobile-optimized templates
- Content management and workflows
- A/B testing
- Personalisation tools
- Preference center
- Integration with Salesforce Sales Cloud and Service Cloud
- Reports and dashboards
Pro: $1282/month with unlimited users, billed annually, includes:
- Personalisation Builder
- Automation Studio
- Triggered Communications
- Automated workflow and campaigns
- Web and mobile analytics
Corporate: $3844/month with unlimited users, billed annually, includes:
- Journey Builder
- Mobile SMS and MobilePush
- Multi-channel predictive content
- Advanced reporting
Entreprise: pricing depends on contact and message volume, unlimited users, includes:
- Real-time big data segmentation
- Distributed sending
- Shared content, subscribers, and data
- Locked templates
- Custom roles and permissions
- Business Units
Working hours: 9 am – 11 pm CDT (GMT-5)
Either live chat or email requests
Aside from online support, ActiveCampaign offers:
- Free online training
- Community and forum
- FAQ website section
- Study Hall — in-person learning classes
All customers regardless of a pricing plan can create a case in Salesforce Help using their Salesforce or Trailblazer accounts. Phone support in English is available 24/7 but support in other languages has limited availability for some regions:
- French Support (Canada) — Monday–Friday, 3:00 AM–11:30 AM EST
- Spanish and Portuguese Support for Latin American countries — Monday–Friday, 8AM–8PM EST
- French, German, Italian, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese Support for European countries — Monday–Friday, 8AM–4:30PM GMT
- Mandarin and Korean Support for Asian countries — Monday–Friday, 10AM 7PM AEST
In addition to that, Salesforce also provides an extensive knowledge base, a YouTube channel with longform video tutorials, and communities for admins and developers.
- Marketing automation
- Landing page builder
- Built-in CRM for small-medium-sized businesses
- Many service integrations
- Drag-and-drop email designer
- Free migration from other services
- SMS marketing
- Site messages
- Live chat and automated chatbot workflows
- Email marketing automation
- AI-powered list segmentation
- A/B testing
- No-code email template builder
- Analytics in customizable dashboards
- Google Analytics integration
- Integration with third-party data sources for relevant embedded ads
No-code dynamic content available
Email template recommendations and guides
- Abandoned Cart
- Conference Event
- Customer Service
- Reviews Feedback
- Pre-made templates are empty but offer different layout options.
- Salesforce includes three types of templates: Classic (basically plain text with little customization options), Lightning Experience (allow for images, links, rich text, etc.), and built-in Email Template Builder (your regular marketing email editor).
Facebook, Google Analytics, WooCommerce, WordPress, Shopify, Unbounce, ClickFunnels, Salesforce, Zapier, and more
4000+ integrations and apps like other CRM systems, other ESPs (for example, Mailchimp), Slack, Tableau, Zoom, and more. Some of these integrations are free, others are paid for separately or only available for certain pricing plans.
- Email extensions for Chrome and Outlook
- Mobile app for Android and iOS (possible to review email reports, track customer activity, and manage CRM data).
- No installable solution
- Web app
- Desktop app
- Mobile apps for iOS and Android
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800+ automation recipes for email and other marketing channels.
Offers the whole customer experience automation:
- Links different integrated services (like Shopify or Facebook) into cohesive scenarios.
- Collects broad data on each customer, so it’s possible to customize segments based on almost any parameter.
- Helps to choose the best content, send time, and delivery channel for each individual customer.
- Has AI advice on improving the marketing strategy.
Salesforce offers Automation Studio for automating email journeys which allows users to create complex email sequences with many conditions.
- Hundreds of automation options even for sophisticated purposes
- CRM features
- Mobile app
- A dedicated email deliverability specialist checks the client’s email for compliance before sending
- Automation of 1:1 communications to customers on the website or social media
- Great support on onboarding from the vendor
- Sophisticated customer journeys
- Dynamic content in emails
- Integrations with CRMs
- High price and no free plan
- Customer support is often unavailable or slow
- Complicated automations system
- Steep learning curve
- Reports aren’t great (not enough information, no real-time results, visually unappealing, etc.)
- Steep learning curve
- Very convoluted pricing system that caused most of the negative reviews on TrustPilot
- Hard to implement and maintain, requires a Salesforce administrator to help
- Very expensive and includes arising additional costs
Reviews from experts
“ActiveCampaign is a solid choice for your email marketing needs. There are few flaws (though they matter), and if you want a service you can integrate into almost any tool chain, ActiveCampaign’s feature-packed plans have few equals.
While its decent feature set could potentially be let down by the rather high prices on more expensive plans, ActiveCampaign still provides good value for your money”.
“So do we recommend ActiveCampaign?
As this ActiveCampaign review highlights, it’s really tough to fault ActiveCampaign, not only do they offer almost everything you need within an email marketing platform, but they do it very well.
The reporting offers you insight into almost all facets, such as page visits, geo-tracking, openers, ecommerce and more. One area that is slightly lacking is the email builder, not offering an experience as slick as other services out there, with a few niggling features that could be done better (like the revision history)”.
Salesforce scores a perfect 5/5 in our data reporting research category. It offers a lot of data visualization tools on all of its plans, which are important tools for any kind of business, and whether you’re looking for a sales or customer service CRM. These tools include custom reports, a chart builder, and revenue data views, and allow you to better understand data, explain trends, and generate valuable insights. When you can analyze data faster, you can create feasible business goals and targets.
When it comes to email marketing, you build your stack according to your size and maturity. You will consider Salesforce Marketing Cloud (either Engagement or Account Engagement) once you have data in your CRM and want to use it. In this case, Salesforce Marketing Cloud competitors would be Adobe, Oracle or Braze.
But Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a great solution if you consider the platform. You can easily use your CRM data, you have powerful Artificial Intelligence features with Einstein and one of the most powerful Customer journey orchestrators with Journey Builder.
As for me, Salesforce meets the needs of both SMB and enterprise companies, but be careful with budgets: of course when customization needs are rising, you have to pay for that. But exactly the CRM gives you that opportunity.
*This information is current as of 09/28/2023. While we regularly update our articles, it`s possible that this article may not contain some of the latest information.