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Mike Bifulco for Stripe

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What have you learned from integrating CRMs into your product?

CRM stands for “Customer Relationship Management”, and CRM software helps you do just that: it provides tooling to track your interactions and commitments to prospects, customers, and visitors to your app, service, or site. Often this comes in the form of integrations that automate part of the process - keeping track of contact information, logging important events and milestones in the customer journey, and reminding you to follow-up on leads before they go cold.

I’ve come across a bunch of discussions lately on Indiehackers which have had me thinking about CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software - of course, there’s many flavors of CRM with different value propositions, and each has their own benefit to founders and product support teams… but I’m curious about your experience as a developer:

Which CRMs have you integrated with? Do any features stand out as particularly important or great to work with?

Let’s talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly of CRM integration in your work.

Top comments (5)

Sloan, the sloth mascot
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irreverentmike profile image
Mike Bifulco

Segmentation is a huge benefit! Once you're able to split your userbase into meaningful buckets, you can cater your services/marketing/voice to each of them. That's a huge point... it may be worth a post of its own. I'm adding that to my list of things to write about 😄

It's tough to recommend any CRM as a one-size-fits-all - you can read my thoughts on Intercom on another comment on this post. I've also written a breakdown of various CRMs by type over on Indie Hackers, which you may find useful. In general, my advice is to shop around a bit, and optimize for your goals - pricing, features, ease of implementation all factor into it, and each CRM has their own pros and cons.

With that said, I'd love to hear about what you've used in the past, and what gaps you're looking to satisfy with a CRM at this point - care to share?

Sloan, the sloth mascot
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cjav_dev profile image
CJ Avilla

When I was an instructor at App Academy 2013-2015, I met some of the most amazing and interesting people and wanted to keep in close contact with them. This was less for founding a company, and more for maintaining personal relationships. I discovered this CRM called Contactually, which at the time supported LinkedIn, Facebook messenger, Gmail, and maybe more that I’m forgetting.

After a few API limitations were introduced with Facebook and LinkedIn messaging, the product became unusable for my use-case, which was a huge bummer. TIL it was just shut down!

For me, the best features were:

  • Bucket the contacts into ones I wanted to make sure I contacted every 1 month, 3 months, or 1 year
  • Reminders for who to contact next
  • Context about what we chatted about last time (it’s hard to remember the lives and sitiations of 1k+ people!)

Would love to see a new tool like this someday, but I’m also appreciating deepening the relationships I have with a smaller circle of folks.

irreverentmike profile image
Mike Bifulco • Edited

I’ll share some of my experience to get things started:

I’ve used Intercom extensively:

For the SaaS I cofounded

At (which we sold in 2020), we used Intercom’s messaging product to guide customers through a fairly intensive onboarding process. When potential customers first visited our site, we’d use Intercom’s visitor features to keep tabs on how many times they visited the site, and to see which pages they visited most often. Intercom’s messaging features were used to gently guide prospects to a free trial, or to ask us any questions they might have prior to setting up an account. Once they created their account, they were added to a drip-messaging campaign which helped guide them through a fairly complicated onboarding process, collecting feedback and sending them encouragement along the way.

Thankfully, Intercom’s documentation was extremely well-written and easy to use, and they provide heaps of best practices on the Resources section of their site. We used Intercom’s custom events API to track key points in the onboarding user journey, and set up email campaigns to follow up with users who never completed these processes. Intercom was also invaluable for customer support – having a real-time chat widget embedded in the site was such a superpower for our tiny 3-person team.

For the code school I helped run as Technical Director

[Gymnasium]( uses Intercom to track user journeys from registration onward. Because Gymnasium isn’t a subscription-based business, it was far more important to be able to use Intercom to track events in users’ history. Gymnasium is a free, online code school which serves as one of the first steps in a talent acquisition funnel for parent company Aquent. Our small 5-person team was able to use Intercom to send real-time, meaningful user activity data to Aquent’s recruitment.


  • Intercom’s documentation is incredible, and integration was a breeze. They’ve done a great job of catering to developers.
  • Highly customizable, and loads of great resources available sharing recommended practices (like a course on growing a healthy sales pipeline, and an article on making automated messaging feel personal)
  • Many, many add-on products to suit your needs as your product grows, like a hosted Help Center for your users.
  • Intercom has a generous early-stage startup pricing plan, which made our initial commitment a no-brainer.


  • Many options for customization also means many options to choose from, which can cause implementations to stall. My advice: try something, and make changes once you see how things are working
  • Intercom’s pricing is convoluted and confusing - after the early stage bliss period came up, things got expensive very quickly. This is fine if your company’s growth is up-and-to-the-right, but also presents a fairly large risk for companies that don’t grow quickly enough
  • Some ad-blockers straight up block Intercom’s script from loading - meaning certain users never saw our lovingly-crafted messaging, and never had their events tracked, etc. This made for a highly degraded experience for a measurable portion of our user base