Choosing a CRM? 12 things to know first

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Are you happy with your customer relationship management (CRM)  or email marketing system?

One of the things we do is support clients with their CRMs and have become experts in ConvertKit, Keap (both Infusionsoft Max and Keap), Connect365, Constant Contact and, my personal favorite, HubSpot.

And while we’re experts in the above, we’re also very comfortable with several others.

Knowing so many systems means we can easily help a client decide which best suits their needs, now and in the future. 

For example, while I personally love HubSpot, we don’t use it. The cost for the features we use would run at over $800/month. It doesn’t make financial sense for our business. That said, we manage all things HubSpot for three different clients. 

If you were to ask which CRM you should use, my immediate recommendation would be to check out ConvertKit as it can do a lot of what the more expensive programs can do for $49 and, in some cases, can do it faster/easier. It also has a pretty robust free version.

For example, when you want to resend an email to those who didn’t open in Keap, you need to create a new email/broadcast and then create a new list of those who didn’t open the first sending. 

And here’s the kicker… that list is “static”. So if you schedule the resend email on Thursday at 10am and “Jane” opens the original email at 9am, she’ll still receive the “hey, did you miss this” email at 10am. 

Now let’s look at ConvertKit… want to resend to non-opens? Go into your original email broadcast, click that you want it to go to non-opens, tell it when to send and POOF, done. 

It automatically updates behind-the-scenes so the resend will only go to those who haven’t opened as of the time the resend is mailed. All for a whole lot less of a monthly investment than Keap.

Use Kajabi to run your membership program or offer self-study/on-demand courses (we do!), Keap doesn’t directly integrate with it; ConvertKit does. That said, you can also send emails and create autoresponders/automations directly from Kajabi.

12 things to know when choosing your CRM:

  • While all of the systems have an “unsubscribe link”, Connect365 allows you to make it optional on emails (we always recommend you use it). The reason, I believe, is because Connect365 sends each email individually rather than as a broadcast so it appears you sent it personally rather than through a system.
  • Will you be resending to non-opens? How easy is it to do? All of the above systems can do, although ConvertKit is by far the easiest/fastest.
  • Do you need to create campaigns (a.k.a. workflows, automation, email funnels, autoresponders)? All of the above systems do that.
  • Need the system to create opt-in forms to add to your website, etc? All but Connect365 do that.
  • Do you need to segment your audience into different categories? While all of the above can do, we find Kajabi, Keap, ConvertKit and Constant Contact to be the easiest with tags while HubSpot uses lists.
  • Does your CRM need to integrate with other platforms (Kajabi, LeadPages, WooCommerce, WordPress, etc.)? Check out what it integrates with before committing to ensure it meets your needs.
  • Do you want your CRM to accept payments? HubSpot, Keap and ConvertKit all do. For others that may not, it’s as easy as linking to your Kajabi, shopping cart, Stripe, Shopify or PayPal. And all accept recurring/subscription payments.
  • Do you want your email marketing/CRM to integrate with your social media? Constant Contact and HubSpot are the best we’ve seen in doing the posting for you (and “yes”, you still create it!).
  • Want to write notes or have your emails sync with your CRM so you can log in and see everything in one place for each contact? Keap and HubSpot do a great job of this.
  • Do you want automated dashboard reporting? HubSpot hands down is the most comprehensive.
  • If you decide to leave, can you export your full list with segmentation so you can easily upload it to another platform? That said, does the platform allow you to easily upload contact info? (All of the above do!)
  • Does the system “punish” you for low engagement? For example, Keap will prevent you from sending any emails (you still pay) until you clean up the account depending on what’s happening with engagement/opt-outs, etc. ConvertKit and HubSpot will stop emailing anyone who hasn’t engaged in X amount of time/email sends. Constant Contact puts people on a potential suspension list.

There are plenty of other systems than the ones mentioned above — and there are pros and cons to every system. 

Key here is finding the one that best suits your needs today, and in the future based on your business goals.