CRM/Marketing - Am I dreaming or is there an ultimate tool that can do all we want it to do?

by alien_sock. Posted on Sep 10, 2020    13    35

Hi y'all

Need some help before my head explode ;) Bear with me, as I try to explain all of this.

We are a small, 3-man, coffee roasting company. We have a popular website, where people order coffee and we have both small and large companies (hotels, coffee shops, etc) as clients who order by phone or e-mail. We also have people contacting us via facebook/instagram and other channels.

As we are growing, we see that we need better control of our clients and better tools to run our webshop, so a while ago I stated looking for a good solution where we could follow up our clients, both the ones that shop in our webshop and all of our other clients who order coffee by phone. Not to mention a system my sales person can use to add leads and follow up on these. So basically we need some sort of CRM system for that. We also do a lot of e-mail marketing and use the stats from the sales we do online to send out various e-mails based on previous purchases, etc. Today we use Drip for this. We also have a chat on our website and would love to have a chat robot. Not to mention that it would be create to have a meeting planner, where people could book a meeting with one of use via an online tool. On top of this, we would like to use our own domain as a sending domain and all of this has to support localization, so that it either supports Norwegian or all "client facing contact" is in Norwegian.

Now, just googling CRM give me hundreds and hundreds of options and I have been trying our several tools lately. Hubspot looks like a good fit, but to activate all the tools we need, the cost is WAY more than we can afford (thousands of dollars per month). Zoho one has a lot of these tools, but my sales guy is VERY non-tech, so he has a hard time finding his way around all the different tools that Zoho offers.

So, after reviewing at least 20 different products the last couple of weeks, I am realizing that there is probably not one single tool that will satisfy what we want. Looks like I have to find 2-3 tools to satisfy everything we need;

Integration into Wordpress/Woocommerce
CRM (Easy to use interface)
E-mail marketing tool with good automations/campaign tools and that allows us to use own domain as sending domain. Added bonus if we can use SES from Amazon (Currently using Drip)
Chat on website (Chatbots, if possible)
Unified inbox (E-mail, chat, facebook, instagram, twitter)
Able to localize all points of contact with clients (Chat, etc)
Add leads from Facebook leads (and other sources, if possible)
Create and post ads to facebook, google ads, instagram (Does not have to integrate in any of the above)

These are the ones I've had a look at: HubSpot, ActiveCampaig, Klavyio, Pipedrive, SugarCRM, Salesflare, Salesforce, Keap, SuiteCRM, Zoho,, Agile, GoSquared, Nimble (And probably a few more that I have forgotten

So please share some real world experience of what you are using, either a single tool or the best combination of tools that you have found, because I really need some help to land a decision here ;)




iancolton 1

Wow, you really tried a lot! I absolutely understand you, it's imprtant t I think I can recommend eWay-CRM system for you. I has all you mentioned above. Take a look on their website and see for yourself. They have a free version but I think you'd need a premium one (but of course you can try it for free to see if it suits you). Also it has many integrations and that's why it offers complex solution for you

aMarciaTurner 1

Take a look at Zapier which integrates 100s of solutions together. It's cloud based.

Haven't used it, but like you found myself needing one more solution to solve yet another problem and wondered about 'jack of all trade tool' or someway to integrate everything.

  alien_sock 1

Thank you for your input. As I have menitoned above, we already use Zapier. Preferably, we would like to use as few solutions as possible, but Zapier is a good tool to "fill the blanks" for some services :)

aMarciaTurner 1

Must've missed where you mentioned Zapier. I see Zoho as something you tried.

  alien_sock 1

No worries ;) Mentioned it to u/duwaynebaird who mentioned Zapier as a way to get apps to work together

aMarciaTurner 1

OIC. Was responding to your original post.

MiamiHeatAllDay 1

Sounds like you have a great business going, congrats to your startup team. Have you considered moving off of Wordpress to Shopify?

I know it may seem like you are throwing away your Wordpress site but this would make your life a lot easier to do all these cool marketing strategies you mention. Shopify is simpler for a small team that doesn’t have the time to spend on making it work on Wordpress, updates and crashes, site going down, ssl expiring, viruses, server issues, yadda yadda

A trap I’ve seen some teams get into is making something overly technical because they know how to do it, instead of paying for an alternative.

IMO if your primary business is not building websites and it’s selling coffee, I’d recommend you go with whatever allows you to focus on making and selling more of the best coffee you can make and delivering the best experience.

Shopify + Active Campaign is a good choice. Maybe staying on Wordpress + Active Campaign is sufficient.

Funny enough, my agency is named digiCoffee and we build digital ad lead and sales systems for our clients who are local businesses.

Here to help.

  alien_sock 2

Thanks. As mentioned above, I'm originally an IT guy who fell in love with high quality coffee 12 year ago. Having worked with development and servers for many, many years, we compared many alternatives before deciding to go for Wordpress and Woocommece. For us, Wordpress and Woocommerce was the best choice when starting up and we still feel the same way today. This combo offers more flexibility and expandability than Shopify, especially when you have the technical skills to deploy everything you want it do do ;). This is also the reason some really great tools have not been considered; They do not offer a good integration with our shop.

MiamiHeatAllDay 1

I hear you, it’s nice to be able to build the ship you are sailing on and I obviously don’t know enough about your tech stack to know more than you’ve stated. I’m a developer so I feel you...

However if it’s a ship built in a way that the technical co-founder is the only one who can work on it, you may be getting in your own away.

That’s all I’m getting at, simple can be better since your business is not driven by technical innovation.

  alien_sock 1

Good points 🙂

checkstuffout2020 1

Active Campaign

  alien_sock 1

Thanks. Any particular reason you recommend them? Have you tried any other tools? And you use it for ecommerce?

checkstuffout2020 1

I use for marketing. The interface is better than most and the function is as well. It’s basically salesforce for less money. Best of luck. PS I am a mega coffee drinker. Best of luck.

  alien_sock 1

We love mega coffee drinkers :) I'm torn between Klavyio and Active Campaign at the moment. Digging deeper into them at the moment.

CdnMtgNomd 1

I think Active Campaign with their Deals module would do what you want. It'll handle all your email automation etc. I build marketing automation systems and can maybe help if you're interested.

  alien_sock 1

Thanks! A lot of people recommend Klaviyo over ActiveCampaign when you sell physical products like we do. Any experience with Klavyio?

CdnMtgNomd 1

Unfortunately no, wish I could be more helpful there!

dogchow01 1

I actually don't recommend hubspot. I think hubspot tries too hard to be "do it all" but ends up not excelling in any one area. I would recommend using different software providers but making sure the softwares integrate with each other. Some to look at:

  • Pipedrive as CRM
  • MailChimp or Sendinblue for marketing email. There are many good providers in this space with different features.
  • Frontapp as your unified inbox for email and Facebook and Twitter chat. It also has a chat head you can embed on your website.
  • Chatbot, whether AI or rules driven can be quite expensive. I am not familiar with this. I know Intercom can do it. But I've never tried myself
  • Buffer or Hootsuite for posting on social media

    I think that covers everything. You don't need Amazon SES, which is a transaction email provider. Did I miss anything? All the above softwares are affordable and suitable for small businesses.
  alien_sock 1

Thanks. Chatbot is not something we HAVE to have. Just something we've had some good experiences with on customer landings on our website. But excellent advice on a bundle. Considering ActiveCampaign or Klavyio for marketing, as these offer better solutions than Mailchip IMO. No experience with Frontapp, so have to check that you.

Schieldsy 1

Check out Leadoo

  alien_sock 1

Thanks. Looks like an interesting service, but is way out of our budget.

Filosifee 2

Whenever I see “bear with me” I think of that meme that’s using it deliberately to intimate that they’re being held hostage by a bear

  alien_sock 1


woodbrettm 2

Marketing sales tech stacks are really difficult to design tbh and costs can go up quickly. A few years back I took a course on marketing and my teacher was in charge of a salesforce implementation costing over a million dollars for a small business she was working for . . . For just a small business :/

Every tool and layer you add means more learning time and complexity. And if that complexity involves syncing customer data and other attributes, the time and costs can skyrocket for each additional system you add. Platforms like Zapier, Integromat, PieSync, and help a lot there but don't completely eliminate the maintenance overhead of syncing multiple systems. Out of the box integrations usually suck.

I'm more of a multiple system, best of breed setup type of person, however the advantage of platforms like HubSpot is that you have pretty much everything you need under one roof. The downside to systems like these is how bloated they are.

In your case it seems the main determining factor that can drastically affect the tech stack are the needs of your salesperson.

Is their work mostly inbound from calls and from the website? Are they doing outbound work, trying to do B2B work? How much information do they need at their fingertips?

And the biggest question you'll need to answer is are you willing to implement multiple systems that require customer data to be synced between them? If so, which one is the master of truth for customer data?

If possible, try and keep things as simple as you can at your size. If your needs are fairly simple, you could use a shared inbox platform like Front to handle inbound communications. And for marketing automation (aka B2C CRM), Autopilot is a good platform. The founders previously worked at ActiveCampaign and left as they wanted to build something easier to use.

For the sales pipeline, again if your needs aren't too much, Asana, Trello, or Pipefy as suggested in other comments may do the trick for now until you need a full blown CRM (like copper CRM, sugar CRM, pipedrive, Zendesk Sell, etc etc). Try and avoid having to add a second customer database here if possible.

Fom what I can see though with your description, the workflow requirements of your sales person will have the biggest impact on what your initial tech stack will look like. And also the kind of information they need at their fingertips at any given time.

If it helps, I always start with a flowchart diagram. On the diagram I put the systems I want to implement and then the connections between them represent the information and workflow requirements they need when connected together. The more you need to integrate the tougher it gets, so I typically take baby steps.

  alien_sock 1

Thanks. I'm an all out tech person, so I guess it would be a good thing to find a good and easy to use CRM for sales :) He's in charge of B2B-sales, so that means both calling and visiting potential new clients.

duwaynebaird 2

We have Pipedrive, which I really like. We don’t have as many moving parts as you do, it seems like Pipedrive can do at least some of your needs though. Ties in well with Asana, which I’m a power user, that’s a big plus for us. You may try using Zapier to use a couple apps that do exactly what you want that are tied together instead of one app that does everything you need 70% as well.

Maestromer 1

I second this as pipedrive is fairly scalable, but it must be set up right to actually work

  alien_sock 1

Thanks. Any helpful resources/tutorials you would recommend or some real world experience you would like to share?

Maestromer 1

Pipedrive has a ton of videos and courses that will help you manage it.

As for experience, I can't say too much due to NDAs, but I'm basically the guy who you call when your accounting and info systems need some work. My experience with pipedrive is using it as a central database that feeds other tools and systems. Basically, if something changes, pipedrive changes first. I imagine you have a number of organic systems in your company that don't always match up with each other, causing a bit of a mess and costing time. Pipedrive gives you a master source of data while allowing you to organize the flow of sales. It also integrates with a number of other apps that allow automation and more. By setting it up right, I mean it has to be trained and used by your company. It takes some discipline but it's worth it

  alien_sock 1


  alien_sock 1

Yeah. We use Zapier already on some other things, so know that some problems in regards to using multiple tools can be solved this way ;)

deepakjj 3


skigirl180 4

I am a HubSpot consultant and used to work on boarding people to the platform. I know the platform inside and out. I would be happy to talk with you, or anyone, about your specific business goals and I will let you know if HubSpot can do it, and I will help you set everything up! I like helping people get the most out of the tools, especially the free tools!

HubSpot does most of the things on your list, if not all. Some things can be accomplished with the free tools, some will be paid tools, some depend on your needs. Example a meeting tool and the chat bot. There are free and paid versions of both, it depends on what features you need. That is the part that trips people up. They don't know what features they need. That is where I can help.

I have also worked on on CRM systems too. Zoho is good too, personally I think it is a little clunky. I help a lot of real estate agents get setup on Contactually and Wise Agent. Pipedrive can be really useful for some businesses.

I don't work for HubSpot and don't make a commission. I am a full time project manager that uses HubSpot daily. I have a side business where I am a HubSpot consultant. I offer reddit my services for free. Happy to help if I can..

  alien_sock 2

Thanks. We've done a fair share of research of Hubspot, since so many people recommend it. The free tools can do a lot, but as soon as our list grows or we need some automations, the cost is way over our heads, so Hubspot is only on our list as a potentiel CRM-provider, as we can use the free CRM.