The CRM Shopping Checklist: 8 Key Qualities To Seek in a Publishing CRM

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Publishing is an industry with a lot of moving parts. 

You have issues to create, articles to write, and, above all, deadlines to meet. 

Not to mention, you have to keep readers engaged with your content.

On top of this, if you’re looking to make a profit, you likely have to manage print and ad sales. 

One of the easiest ways to streamline these everyday tasks is by implementing a customer relationship management (CRM) software.

If you’re in the publishing industry and looking to optimize your processes and boost profitability, read on. Here are the key qualities to seek when looking for the best publishing CRM.

1. It’s designed specifically for the publishing industry. 

Though flexible platforms can be used across every industry, you may prefer to use one that was created with publishers in mind.

A publishing CRM that’s designed to support your industry has additional, valuable features and customer support that you don’t get with a more generic system. 

Most generic software helps you boost sales, but you’ll see a better return on investment if the software you choose is built for an ad-based revenue model. 

For example, The Magazine Manager is an all-in-one CRM made specifically for magazine publishers while The Newspaper Manager is designed for newspaper publishers. 

Because they’re made for the publishing industry, these software have exclusive features, such as ad invoicing, flat-planning, and virtual newsstands.

Certainly, a generic solution can integrate with third-party publishing apps, but the amount you will spend on systems integration and customization will derail your No. 1 objective: increasing profitability.

2. It’s affordable.

This is the biggest factor to consider when making any company decision, and CRMs are no different. 

Of course, you want to ensure that the chosen CRM meets all your company needs. 

However, if a software claims that it solves every potential publishing challenge, you may be disappointed to find a bunch of lukewarm capabilities. 

No need to push your budget to its limits by opting for the most expensive and robust CRM out there. There are plenty of alternatives to the HubSpots of the world.

By focusing on functions with the greatest impact on profitability, you can improve processes without breaking the bank, then bridge any gaps later on.

Choose a CRM that’s within your budget, and remember: You can always upgrade to a more complex system as your business, and budget, grow.
If you’re looking to compare the cost of publishing CRMs, check out software review websites like Capterra. Here, you’re able to cross-check features, support plans, cost, and reviews from actual users.

3. The CRM supports existing business processes.

CRM software for publishers will likely connect offers to contracts, contracts to ad orders, and ad orders to invoices.

This helps avoid duplicate data entries, costly mistakes, and wasted labor. 

Additionally, you’ll be able to automate recurring charges to subscribers, advertisers, and more.

A robust publishing CRM may even include a magazine flat-planning component, where teams can collaborate and editors can quality-check content until printing time.

Magazine companies that implement a CRM also report increased productivity. In fact, the average business sees up to a 29% increase in sales.

A magazine publishing CRM software should be able to support, and optimize, all of your current business functions.

4. The software integrates with your other tools.

On a similar note, you want a CRM for publishers to seamlessly integrate with your existing tools and software.

Third-party integrations make it easy to import existing data from other email or landing page platforms into your CRM. 

This is crucial, as it allows you to manage data from all channels in one convenient place, while streamlining data transfers. 

You can also maintain existing magazine invoice templates, as they can be tedious to recreate.

For example, The Magazine Manager integrates with apps for email marketing, accounting and finance, digital signatures, layout and flat planning, and project management. Check out details here.

5. The publishing software accelerates new business processes.

Have you considered amplifying your products to include digital editions of your publication? 

Maybe you’ve thought about using email marketing to stay connected with your readers.

Or, making your operations more granular by analyzing key metrics and analytics.

These are all processes that you can easily implement with a CRM software.

If your publishing team includes a marketing director, which it should, a CRM can automate email communications.

This includes newsletters, exclusive content, and welcome emails to thank users for subscribing.

CRMs may include content management systems (CMS), as well as email automation and landing page builders to further facilitate digital marketing functions. 

For example, The Magazine Manager integrates with Mirabel’s Marketing Manager, a marketing automation software.

This can be especially useful for companies that are just getting started with marketing.

Publisher qualities
An example of a biweekly newsletter sent out by The Washington Post.

6. The CRM facilitates team collaboration.

A good CRM for magazine publishers also makes collaboration across different teams much easier.

Managers are able to keep track of their team’s progress across all departments.

Features like sales forecasting allow management teams to make decisions based on potential incoming revenue. 

Because sales can be assigned through the CRM, it’s easy to track the amount of revenue generated by each representative, giving insight into sales productivity.

As we mentioned, a CRM software for publishers likely includes a magazine flat-planning component. This allows design and copy teams to collaborate more easily with editors and printers.

Many CRMs offer third-party integrations with communication channels, such as Slack, Zoom, Google Meet, and more. 

7. The software includes a support plan and guidance from qualified professionals.

To maximize your return on tech investments, you’ll want to budget for support from professionals who truly understand publishing challenges.

Experienced software consultants are able to guide you through your new software and make sure that onboarding your team goes smoothly. 

Additionally, these support specialists are experts in the software. 

Being so, they’ll be able to make sure that you’re using it to its fullest potential. They can introduce customizable options that will better streamline operations or suggest a report or two that could be beneficial to understanding your business better.

Because they’re also well-versed in your specific industry, they can make recommendations based on your specific business needs. Do you need to integrate a certain third-party app? Should you commit to the add-ons? 

8. A CRM software for publishers makes it easy for clients to pay their invoices.

Ideally, the publishing CRM you choose will have extra tools in place that make it easy for ad clients to pay their invoices.

A magazine publishing CRM software with bill-paying capabilities can benefit your business tremendously. Users are able to generate invoices and send them directly to your advertisers, paid subscribers, and freelancers when it’s time for their recurring payments.

It will also allow you to monitor cash flow and calculate your incoming revenue. This way, you can budget and make big business decisions based on accurate estimations. 

It’s also a huge bonus if your CRM contains a subscription module that will handle recurring revenue charges to your subscribers. For example, The Magazine Manager integrates with ChargeBrite, a brand-new digital platform tailored to any business with a recurring revenue model.

This means that clients can choose to have their payments deducted directly from a bank account on file. 

A robust accounts receivable feature can save your company time and the inconvenience of missed payments.


All-in-all, an effective magazine publishing CRM software can reduce tedious processes to a few simple clicks. 

It can save you time, money, and allow you to focus your efforts to the more pressing task at hand — crafting quality content!

If you’re ready to take your publishing business to the next level, consider getting a free demo of The Magazine Manager. Click below to learn more!


Josmary Gonzalez and Kelly Jacobson contributed to this blog.


The Magazine Manager is a web-based CRM solution designed to help digital and print publishers manage sales, production, and marketing in a centralized platform.

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