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One lesson that we have all learnt during the COVID19 lock down is that life is less stressful if our business systems are well integrated. Clunky, ineffective software relationships not only compromise our efficiency, but greatly increase the chance of users setting fire to their computers and moving to the country never to be heard from again.

A common issue among businesses of all sizes is the compatibility of software systems within a growing software footprint. In most cases we reach a point where we stop being strategic with software and start being reactive. We end up with a collection of bolt-ons and plugins that work for now, but provide little in the way of sustainability or agility as the business evolves.

One such compatibility issue we see a lot of is the relationship between CRMs and email marketing distribution utilities. If MailChimp is the answer, there is something wrong with the question. MailChimp is a fine product and in some cases is the ideal solution, but there are likely more appropriate solutions for your environment that involve a lot less double handling and administrative upkeep.

Below, we have listed the five most popular CRMs and their most suitable method for email marketing and newsletter distribution. Note that this list does not include every possible email integration for each CRM, only the most compatible and user-friendly options.

Keep in mind that the ability of a CRM to manage email marketing should be a minor consideration when choosing a CRM, but that’s a discussion for another day…

[TL;DR version]

SalesForce CRM:

  • Native bulk-email tool? No.
  • Optional extra bulk-email functionality? Yes, SalesForce Email Studio (requires additional subscription).
  • External integration option? Yes, Campaign Monitor (price based on number of contacts).

Zoho CRM:

  • Native bulk-email tool? No.
  • Optional extra bulk-email functionality? Yes, Zoho Campaigns (price based on number of emails per month).
  • External integration option? Yes, Send in Blue (price based on number of emails per month).

Insightly:

  • Native bulk-email tool? No.
  • Optional extra bulk-email functionality? Yes, Insightly Marketing (price based on number of contacts).
  • External integration option? Yes, MailChimp (price dependent on how many subscribers you have).

Hubspot:

  • Native bulk-email tool? Yes (there is no requirement for additional integrations).

Zendesk:

  • Native bulk-email tool? No.
  • Optional extra bulk-email functionality? No.
  • External integration option? Yes, MailChimp (price dependent on how many subscribers you have), and Proactive Campaigns (free).

Most of these tools do provide demos and trials so if you are unsure which way to go, compile a list of needs, and arrange a discussion with the vendor. It would not be a bad idea to ask them for some reference businesses too so that you can speak to active users for their feedback.

Good luck.