Quest for a CRM (Part 1)

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)I am on a quest for a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool.

I have reached over 5000 contacts and because I don’t followup and keep in touch, I am losing possible business because of it.

I have some specific requirements for the CRM.  It is probably a little out of the ordinary because I need it for multiple purposes.  

  • I have a business that I am trying to grow with a new area of growth opportunity.
  • I also have past customers and employees that I would like to keep tabs on.
  • I have my personal network that I want to send out a newsletter once or twice a year and keep them updated on my activities.
  • My retirement plan is to write more books, do some public speaking, and continue my podcast.  I am getting ready to launch two more books in the next couple of months.
  • I would like to know their social media profiles so I can follow them there
  • I don’t like to pester people so I need to be sure I only contact them once in a while.  I need to system to keep track of when I contact them last and what they say.

In preparation, I moved our company email to GSuite so that I could integrate my email with any of them.  None of them integrate with POP3 email without workarounds.  It just isn’t a nice integration at all.  What that enabled me to do was to log into Gmail and other GApps with my linda@dynagrace.com account.  I didn’t have to utilize my personal Gmail account and could fully charge forward.  It also meant my email was synchronized on all my Outlook clients as well.  I am not a fan of the labels in Gmail vs the folders in Outlook but I am getting used to it and setting up all my rules as filters.

I was leaning toward Insightly because of the economic cost.  But after a discussion yesterday with one of my fellow students in the Goldman Sachs 10000 Small Business class we discovered this:

https://support.insight.ly/hc/en-us/community/posts/206644017-Track-email-opens-sent-through-Gmail-Outlook

It DOES NOT track if the email was opened or not.  I could not deal with that.

Another student mentioned SuiteCRM.

You should install SuiteCRM either on your host or a host on the cloud.  It is open source.  Being a Microsoft software engineer for most of my career I am not a fan of the many authors of open source and the rolling versions of the software.

The student said “have your IT guy install it.”  Well…I am the IT guy and I don’t wanna.  I want something to be up and running and have someone else do the system administration of it.  I want to be a client.  That being said my self talk rolls in with “Linda…stop being a baby.  It is free.

Well.  No, it isn’t free.

  • RT GSync: Google Apps Integration Plans = $9.99 a month
  • Sugar Chimp (Email Chimp Integration)  = $49.99 a month

Okay. I say.  Stop there.  It is no longer an option.  Too expensive and labor intensive.

I would have to rage quit in about 2 hours of trying to install the thing.

So now I am debating between two:  Contactually and Bitrix24.

I go to the Contactually website.  It was my popular choice from the beginning but probably more expensive.  $39 – $59 for the version I want.

I look at their case studies.  Tate Parker could be my twin.

https://www.contactually.com/case-studies/business-development/tate-parker-coface-north-america/

That combined with what I really want.  Bulk, friendly follow-up email templates:

http://blog.contactually.com/2015/07/email-performance-tracking-on-scalemai…

I have a free 14-day trial so I will let you know how it goes.  For now…I am sold and will just sell more books to pay for the difference.

Stay tuned for my evaluation…

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