Which CRM to use with Intercom? This is what we realised
Who should read this? Anyone figuring out how to do account management and sales on Intercom, especially if they’re trying out different CRM and sales tools. Below we explain what we tried and failed with, what eventually worked and what new alternatives there are to our solution.
Related: Yes, you can See the User's Screen from Intercom
Also see: 9 Smart Hacks to Use With Intercom
What our account manager does.
What do we need that Intercom does not do.
The tools we tried that didn't quite work.
The simple solution we came up with.
The alternatives you might want to try.
Key activities of our SaaS account manager using Intercom
Account management, customer success and sales overlap for us because we have a relatively small team.
Our aim is to qualify leads, make sure they really have a problem we can help them with and if so, clearly communicate the value of the product.
After they trial and purchase, we want to further understand the problem they’re fixing and explain key features they may not be using.
What do we need that Intercom does not do?
Upscope is one click to see the user's screen from Intercom for onboarding your tough and least technical users because it's instant and without downloads.
The normal process for customers is to sign up, install the software, do the 2 week free trial and purchase the product.
As the account management role in a small team overlaps with sales and customer success, the account manager is responsible for contacting new sign ups, understanding their problem, giving them a demo if need be and following up during the trial and after the trial / purchase.
Key tasks include:
- Check their status. Have they installed it? Is their trial ending soon? Has their trial ended? Have they purchased?
- Call them at key moments after sign up, during the trial and after the trial has ended.
- Document any problems and issues as well as the parts they really like.
Why we looked for a CRM to integrate with Intercom
Intercom is evolving from a chat and email onboarding tool towards a platform but it’s not going to perfectly fit with everyone’s process.
It’s missing parts of a normal CRM / Task manager / Funnel system where we can see where people are in the user journey and remind ourselves to contact them.
We began looking for that right mix of funnel system and notification tool that also integrated with Intercom.
The tools we tried and why they did not work
One of Trello’s example boards showing you the ways that you can use it is as a pipeline.
Yeah this seemed like a brilliant idea, and for a good two and a half months we tried.
But spending hours of our day manually moving every lead through the funnel made the morning commute seem like a rollercoaster ride.
It does let you link through to an Intercom chat but that’s about it.
We really liked SalesSeek because of how it helps you visualise the current state of accounts and maybe this is one we’ll come back to in the future.
Their integration with Intercom was not quite what we needed because it still left us work to do but damn it looks good.
We wanted to run conversations in just Intercom and we ran into a few data transfer problems but that could well have been our misunderstanding.
Using Intercom itself as a notification system
We moved on to the idea of using Intercom’s live chat as a notification system.
Whenever a user would sign up — ping! Whenever they’d install Upscope — ping! When someone bought — ping! You get the idea.
Included in these pings were the company name, their owners, location, and time — the important stuff.
But it turned out to be a pain because it meant that they were randomly dispersed in between normal chats, so it got messy very quickly and managing that wasn’t much easier than Trello.
Intercom is an amalgamation of features that amount to something similar a CRM, and while we couldn’t actually function as a company without it, it certainly lacks something that would have save my crumbling sanity.
The solution for us was a simple task list
We found a solution that worked for us and it might work for you though we’ve listed alternatives further down.
We built a simple task manager which took data from Intercom and links back to the owner’s account in Intercom.
Crazy simple and yet it took us months to get to this point.
The list shows us where each user is in a list and enables us to contact them and tick them off or snooze them.
This is a list of tasks to deal with
It shows the essential details and allows simple notes against each one with a link to the Intercom chat of that user.
This is what shows when you open an individual task
It’s literally a checklist where we check their status, call them or snooze them if they don’t answer and take notes within the task list or within a separate feedback spreadsheet. It just works.
Don’t want to build your own? Try these alternatives we found
Our process might be simple enough for a task manager because the cost of our product is relatively low and fixed.
If you’re doing full on sales then we came across these items in our research.
We were considering this tool because the people behind it are very smart.
They’re a former sales outsourcing team that used their experience to build a sales tool and so have experience in depth.
Below, a company describes how they integrated Intercom with Close.io.
How to Integrate @Intercom Support Messages with Close.io #CRM
We don’t really know a great deal about it but a large number of viewers within an Intercom webinar all shouted out Pipedrive when a funnel system was mentioned.
It’s probably for companies with a higher customer lifetime value but it seems very popular.
This is the Zap.
Create Pipedrive deals for new Intercom users
I’ve had some experience with Salesforce in the past and I found it to be a crazy interface and maybe too heavy duty for our needs.
We were also worried that the integration might not be as solid but then we came across a post by Bedrock which is an integrations company and they created their own integration for it to use internally. I’m guessing it’s pretty good.
“Our sales reps live in Salesforce.com, and we found Intercom’s Salesforce.com integration to be a little underwhelming, as the integration wasn’t creating new leads and populating those leads with data in their Salesforce fields.
This means that we wouldn’t report on this data in Salesforce, or create custom views and assignment rules using data from Intercom at all. “
Intercom.io integrations: Sync your user data to your CRM and marketing system fields
Teamgate CRM has an integration with Intercom that allows users to create lead, deal and contact cards in the CRM account directly from the live chat window in Intercom.
Teamgate users have data, collected by customer service and support teams, being automatically added to the communication history of each client.
See their Intercom integration page here.
We built a task manager for our own needs but maybe we should have tried the Todoist zap if we had known about it.
Todoist + Intercom integrations
Want to see a company’s entire set of Intercom onboarding emails used to convert users into customers?
If you‘re part of the team that set up or edited onboarding emails for Intercom then you know how long it takes to get it right. Would you like to see all the emails another company sends out, including why they’re set up like that and how successful they are? See the article below.
Intercom email templates for onboarding
Pardeep overlooks growth at Upscope and loves writing about SaaS companies, customer success and customer experience.