A time for change

  •   Doug Logan

By Doug Logan

It's been a while since we have reviewed our CRM and with recent developments, it's time for a change.

Technology reviews at companies happen every so often and rarely happen frequently enough. At the pace technology changes, chances are the moment you start using a piece of software it's obsolete in less than a year (or maybe in as little as a few months). To anyone running a business (even one in the tech space like ours) this is not very comforting. 

The reason for change.

There are several reasons for changing our CRM (customer relationship management) software in our case. First off, our current CRM, Highrise, is a great solution. But 37signals just recently announced that they will no longer be adding new features to it (they haven't in quite some time) and will instead be focusing on their flagship product, Basecamp , which we also use and really love. Secondly, while we love a lot of the features of Highrise (they were one of the first to incorporate the email drop box which allowed you to easily add email conversations into the CRM), the sales pipeline view is cumbersome and requires multiple clicks to see exactly where a deal is at in the pipeline and what the next step is. This requires us to utilize... wait for it... a spreadsheet in order to keep everyone updated quickly in weekly sales meetings. 

The requirements.

Now that we know we need a change, it's time for us to consider the features we want in a new CRM. So we put our heads together and came up with a list of things we would like in our new system:

  1. We needed the same great features that our old CRM had (like the email drop boxes).
  2. It needs to integrate with MailChimp, our email marketing software.
  3. We needed a better way for our team to look at our pipeline without needing to click through to multiple pages. 

Since we know that we want a CRM that integrates well with MailChimp, we started our search there. Luckily for us, MailChimp maintains a nice directory of apps that integrate with their app and all we had to do was start clicking. 

The contenders. 

We reviewed a multitude of CRM's from the list above as well as some we found independently, and at one point even contemplated publishing our own list. 

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This CRM is loaded with features to make your life in sales a lot easier. A lot of the features that Contactually offers revolve around the idea of automating your follow up process with each of your contacts. Things like email follow ups, mass personalized emails and recommendations on when to reach out to a contact, are all great features and make Contactually a real contender. 

Pro's & Con's:
  • Ongoing reminders and suggestions for reaching contacts
  • Lots of automated tools
  • Easy, built in ways for communicating with contacts
  • The cost is a little high for big teams at $40 per user a month
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Pipedrive is a pretty straightforward CRM with one major feature; it provides a really nice view of your entire pipeline and even allows you to do things like move deals from stage to stage as well as add quick tasks to each deal. 

Pro's & Con's:
  • Very easy-to-use drag & drop pipeline view
  • Easily view, add & edit tasks
  • Very boring, dated iconography
  • The cost is low at only $9 per user a month

Other contenders.

I mentioned earlier that we reviewed a multitude of other CRM's and while some of them were really good runner-ups, I didn't feel that they fit our needs exactly, but that doesn't mean they might not fit your needs. Capsule touts itself as an easy to use CRM and also integrates with MailChimp, but it doesn't really offer anything special beyond any other CRM like say Salesforce. Insightly is a little different in that they push the fact that they have a real tight integration with Google Apps as well MailChimp, but they are also pretty much just like every other CRM out there. Both Capsule and Insightly are missing out one major thing we are looking for, an easy way to look at and manage our sales pipeline.

In conclusion.

At this point I am not sure which of the two options above we will choose. They both have unique features that make them valid considerations, but ultimately, we can only use just one. I can tell you that for me personally, I like the features Contactually has to offer but I have a feeling the rest of my team will prefer the easier and more functional pipeline view that Pipedrive offers. One thing is for sure, whatever CRM we end up choosing, I am going try and use a service like Zapier to hopefully migrate most of our data over which will save us a little bit of frustration.


Header image by Roca Chang