Over and over again, we see our clients opting for powerful CRM systems to manage their customer information. Whether it’s Eloqua, Manticore, Salesforce, or something else, they wind up using these tools–which are powerful, no doubt, but often overkill–even if something else suits their needs better. What is that something else? In most cases, MailChimp.
The Enterprise CRM
First off, let’s talk about when these tools might be useful. If you’re:
- Managing a large sales team
- Who needs to regularly follow up with clients
- And/or your products/services typically have a long or high-touch sales cycle
Then you should probably be using some kind of CRM tool. It’s worth noting that there are more lightweight alternatives if you have a smaller sales team (but still need to regularly follow up with clients and nurture them in a hands-on way throughout the sales cycle).
Consider checking out one of these alternatives to the “big guns” that may fit your needs better (and potentially cost less):
However, if you don’t fall under the above categories, you don’t actually need a massive CRM solution. Instead, an email marketing tool will suit your needs better and let you easily keep in touch with hundreds or thousands of potential (or current) customers at once.
MailChimp: Our favorite
While an enterprise CRM has its uses, they have more to do with keeping a large sales team organized and customer management than email marketing. As we’ve discussed before, email marketing is a must-do for the modern business, and this is where MailChimp comes in.
MailChimp stops just shy of being a true enterprise-level email solution, and its feature set will be enough for 99% of businesses. (In fact, as a recipient of their emails, I can tell you that FastCompany uses MailChimp–if it’s good enough for them, it’s probably good enough for you!) Their coupling of an intuitive, easy to learn user interface with powerful technical capabilities is great for business owners of all stripes, especially if you’ll be writing and scheduling your emails yourself (or training a junior member of your team to do so).
Not only that, they’re constantly working on improving their service set, including adding advanced segmentation features. (For a full feature list, head here.) You can set up autoresponders or send campaigns based on user activity, user location, signup date, and more.
Want to send an email campaign specifically to people located within 60 miles of your store, who haven’t opened your emails in the last three months, in an attempt to reactivate their interest in your services/products? It’s doable (and easy!) with MailChimp. Plus, since it’s so popular, it integrates with plenty of other tools–including (but definitely not limited to) Salesforce, Unbounce, Magento, Insightly, Batchbook, and more.
Best of all, they take the free trial to a new level, with a feature-limited free plan for accounts that have under 2,000 subscribers. In short: MailChimp is our email marketing tool of choice, it’s what we recommend to our clients, and it’s what we recommend to you.
Next steps and resources:
Obviously, your first step should be to go to MailChimp and sign up, if you aren’t already a user. But once you’ve done that, here’s some resources to get you started on the right foot:
- The Getting Started With MailChimp Guide, from Team MailChimp themselves
- Another Ultimate MailChimp Setup Guide
- The Email Marketing Field Guide (another resource from the MailChimp team)
- A Beginner’s Guide to Email Marketing