The Search For the Perfect CRM

Kenny Brightman

When it comes to business and life; what can be measured, can be managed. For Lion+Panda, a powerful, but streamlined Customer Relationship Management software is critical for our continued success.

There are so many CRMs to choose from and such a gap in the functionality between each of them.  In less than a year, Richard has driven our business development team crazy.  We have gone from utilizing Insightly for 3 months only to switch to 37 Signals’ Highrise for 4 months before realizing that it wasn’t the right fit for the business. It was, however, a suitable fit given his professional crush on 37 Signals co-founder Jason Fried.  What can I say?  He gave an incredible TED talk, wrote a killer book on business, and his business has a great logo. Additionally, Kuddos to Jason for making the decision to trim down the 37 Signals ever widening offerings and focusing on Highrise. Good move, Gent.


The integration between Highrise and Basecamp, 37 Signals’ project management software and flagship product, just wasn’t there.  Neither were the reports that we needed to manage our projections.  I was literally maintaining a separate spreadsheet, and forcing our team to enter expected close dates, notes on meetings, percentage for likelihood of close, et cetera.  Here’s the big problem: we wanted the functionality of a big CRM, but we had two restrictions A) we didn’t want to pay the dollar figure that comes with BIG CRM and B) we only wanted the functionality that we needed and not a million bells and whistles that would over complicate the user interface or ensure that our team would never use it. If the offering had a bit of customization available or a clean efficient interface; bonus points.

sidebar: If you’ve ever worked in corporate America you can likely relate all too well with the last sentence…and yes, I was thinking of Salesforce when I wrote that.  It is possibly the most awful thing to ever do to someone in a business development role.  There’s so much junk that you cannot really expect anyone to get anything done.  You would spend at least 30% of your week inside the CRM, the same CRM that was supposed to make you more efficient (said the salesman) has now crippled you into creating report after report for upper management.  I would like to decree that Salesforce should rebrand.  It is not a tool for a companies sales force.  It is rather a noose on their necks.  It is the collar that upper management yank on whenever the need arises.

The second biggest hurdle in researching a CRM is that all of the matrix charts with all of their stars and such are usually performed by big publication houses.  They focus on CRMs for big business created by big business.  That isn’t what we wanted or needed.

So the research is a little bit more challenging, because what we were looking for was a small band of rebels who were fighting the establishment kind of like us…someone who wanted to do things differently.  We wanted the CRM built by nerds like us for nerds like us.  We wanted the product created by smart people who saw the current landscape of CRMs and thought “we could do this better”.

We set up trial accounts with several start up CRMs, gauging them on their user interface and reporting structure.  Hands down, Pipedrive won.


From their About page:
Pipedrive’s roots are in direct sales. As sales managers and trainers, two of the co-founders experienced an increasing amount of pain with CRM software. There simply was no good solution for managing the company’s sales pipeline.


We had felt the same struggles.

The Pipedrive interface is clean.  It toggles between pipeline view and calendar view of opportunities.  It has the reporting features that we needed to keep track of goals month to month.  The account is safe and all of our data is backed up daily.  There is a mobile app that we can utilize on the go.  Since it was only $9 per seat we felt it was a great value.  They didn’t try to scheme us by forcing us to provide our credit card up front for the 30 day free trial.  There wasn’t a contract, hidden fees, or account limits.  They don’t charge to use their API or phone support.  It’s just a great product and overall it was the perfect solution for our growing business.


Behind this clean facade is a power system that can be added, adapted, and customized with relative ease. In the initial dating that we did with Pipedrive, they took my calls, promptly replied to my emails, and became an overwhelming great fit for who we are now and beyond. If you venture to their ‘About’ page on their site, you can literally see there entire team; headshots, names, titles — transparency at its finest. Enough gushing; their great people with a phenomenal offering. We may grow a few gray hairs over the years, but it certainly won’t be because of our CRM.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program; design, branding, and what we do best.

Share This Article

Connect with Kenny

Written by:
Kenny Brightman

A native Daytonian, an Alumni of The Ohio State University in Industrial Design, and an avid business enthusiast. Kenny is focused on creative approaches to marketing, business, and branding. He prides himself on strategic, aggressive growth for Lion+Panda, and for their clients. Outside of business, his passion for everything automotive lead him to found Dayton Cars and Coffee.

Email Sign Up: