ActiveCampaign Forum

ActiveCampaign Deals: The CRM you can't use for Sales and Outreach

From an AC email:

“Unfortunately, you are unable to use ActiveCampaign to send any unsolicited or ‘cold’ emails. You first need to get that opt-in confirmation before you can start sending to your contacts. Once the contact has opted-in, you are free to send to them from ActiveCampaign.”

I’ve built an automation to email contacts as soon as I add them to AC (but not adding them to a list). A low volume of contacts, that is.

This means that you can’t add someone to AC and fire off an email from it, which is core to Sales and outreach. And a perfectly fine thing to do using alternative platforms such as Pipedrive.

The approach I am taking is this:

  • Add a contact to AC but NOT to any list
  • Engage with them on a 1 to 1 basis, with a little help from automations (which are super useful to push contacts down a pipeline and set tasks)
  • Invite the contact to opt in to regular email comms (eg. newsletter) further down the line, inviting them to opt in via form, for example

I’ve read about a couple of other users doing the same here.

Not only this, the Chrome extension allows you to add to quickly add new contacts to AC:

When this happens you have the option to add a contact to a list and a Deal too.

I suppose the assumption by AC is that when someone does this the account owner will have already been given approval by the contact to opt them in?

I was asked to view this article:

But this covers contacts in lists specifically. I would argue that contacts that are not in a list should not have to opt in.

The problem here is that AC have built and are selling a sales tool (Deals) but applying mass email marketing rules to it.

Keen to hear thoughts from the rest of the community and have AC come in and clarify things.



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Hi Lawrence!

Since our platform’s basis is email automation and marketing, any correspondence that comes out of ActiveCampaign falls under our Terms of Service and Acceptable Use Policy. To protect your business from spam complaints and deliverability issues, as well as our entire server range, and all of our users, we ensure that any contact that comes into ActiveCampaign must be opted-in.

Other clients who are doing the same sort of cold calling or emailing will generally do that correspondence outside of ActiveCampaign, and once the contacts have opted in, or are qualified as a warm sales lead, they are moved into ActiveCampaign. This also helps with your contact limit, as you will not be moving in contacts who do not want your services.

Please let us know if you have any questions!


Thanks Meghan - I understand this.

But you’re selling a platform that also features Sales / B2B functionality where outreach is a key practice.

For the record, the type of communications I am talking about comply with the legal requirements of where I am located, Australian, as well as the USA (CAN-SPAM Act). I am not try to sell pharma products to a big list of random users. Instead, targetting relevant businesses with relevant information. For example:

  • Reaching media owners to ask them what advertising and sponsorship opportunities they offer (this one landed me in trouble here)
  • Reaching out to subject matter experts to see if they are interested in contributing content
  • Reaching our to software developers asking them if they are interested in selling a product to us
  • Reaching to agencies asking them if they are interested in partnering with us
  • Reaching our to organisations running platform x asking them if they are interested in our associated product Y

The last one being the more sales-orientated activity, but absolutely relevant.

AC can help me automate a lot of the above and save me a ton of time. It’s awesome for this!

“To protect your business from spam complaints and deliverability issues, as well as our entire server range, and all of our users, we ensure that any contact that comes into ActiveCampaign must be opted-in.”

This is not entirely true. Here is what someone from your Compliance & Delivery team have said:

“…we will never permit any type of cold emailing beyond the contact details page.”

So you ARE allowing cold emailing, but not via campaigns or automations.

I certainly agree that campaigns and automations should not be used for mass cold emailing, absolutely.

But I am sending batches of 1 to 100 a day, and perhaps this is a solution?

To only allow X number of cold emails a day?

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While I agree with you @Lawrence_HM that AC’s CRM implementation is not the best around (considering I’ve started and participated in CRM features being lack-lustre), I don’t think cold email is the right use of it.

I’m not even sure if it would be easy, to be honest, and you would need to jump through a few hoops to get it right. Here’s what we do currently:

The actual email outreach is done out of AC using a tool called (there’s many others). When these contacts fulfil a few signals that quantify as a result for us, we use multiple zaps to add that contact to AC where an automation takes over.

For example, one such workflow is where someone replies to our cold email and we deem it to need further automation - all we do is add a label to it.

The zaps take over, and do the necessary stuff. First it ensures the contact will no longer get more outreach sequences. Then it will do other things like add the contact to a CRM (which at this time isn’t ActiveCampaign’s), put them in the appropriate stage/timeline, add the contact to AC, add a couple tags and put them in an automation.

On the other hand, if the CRM aspect of AC was a fully baked product - I think I could expect that. But I believe the most basic CRM needs are yet to be fulfilled, so we’re probably light years away from having cold email features.

Thanks for sharing your process :slight_smile:

I’ll have a look at, as well as another one called Woodpecker that someone has recommended.

In an ideal world I would be able to take care of this, using automations, with AC. I don’t need a sophisticated tool for my outreach and I’m not too keen on having to learn a new tool.

Given the volume of emails I send is very limited I’ll stick to AC, making sure I respect their terms.

For the automation that got me in trouble, I’ve changed the workflow like this:

  • Remove the step where an email is sent out to the cold contact
  • Added one where a note is added, featuring the copy of the email I just removed
  • Added a notification for the contact that has entered the automation so that I can view the profile, grab the email copy and then send the email from the profile (which is OK to do).

So, doing exactly the same thing that the automation was achieving but… manually.


@mguse & @Lawrence_HM I know this is an old post, but I’d love an update on this as I’m running into it as well!