12 September 2018

Startup CRM Tools

Discussion about the tools we are adopting for our startup.

Matt Konda
Matt Konda @mkonda

We have tried a fair number of CRM tools. The TLDR; is that we settled on Contactually for keeping our network warm and Highrise for tracking deals and sales related tasks. We also use spreadsheets for certain campaigns or experiments.

Let me try to talk about the path that got us there.


We tried HubSpot for a bit. Seems like everyone thought this was the hotness.

It generally worked. It felt like it was designed for a company that was trying to do a lot more than we were at that time.


Then we shifted to AgileCRM. This was a lighter weight tool that offered good deal flow and funnel visualization. Still, I felt like it was buggy … sometimes the drag and drop wouldn’t fully work and I would lose a change in the card wall.


We have at various points in time, and currently still have, a spreadsheet to track certain types of customers and interactions that we want to make sure are easily visible. Its low tech but does exactly what we want.


Highrise makes spreadsheets look better, allows for team collaboration, email integration (so when I send email, it gets tracked and catalogued where the team can see it).
It also does the deal tracking and allows me to use tags so that I can report on slices of deals.

It is the cheapest by far for a whole team to use.

All of that being said, HighRise is apparently in maintenance mode now.


The genius of Contactually is the bucket game. Once you set up contact integration, it lets you play a game where you put contacts in buckets. Let’s say I make two buckets:

  1. Past clients
  2. Recruits

Maybe I want to talk to passive recruits every 90 days. Maybe I want to talk to past clients every 45 days.

Once I set up the buckets and put the people into buckets, Contactually gives me a dashboard of the people I should contact based on those rules.

This helps me to keep a broader set of active contacts warm than I would otherwise think to do.

Contactually offers deal tracking and other automation as well but we hardly use that.


Just kidding.