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What to look for in CRM & Marketing Software for
Economic Development

"HubSpot is ideal for smaller, nimble organizations  that don't have time to master or the budget to build a complex CRM. OctoUX, has optimized HubSpot's CRM for Economic Developers and I think you'll love what you discover with us. - 
Tom Wengler

Trying to Choose between salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics 365 and HubSpot? 

Here's a helpful article from NewBreed (link)



8 Years of Insights - Economic Developers Considering CRM Software 

Download Your FREE Guide to CRM Software for  Economic Developers
PROJECTS/ DEALS / INCENTIVESMost CRM systems are built for salespeople, not for economic developers. Your language and processes are unique. The software and the people helping you implement the software must understand your business.

hubspot marketing tools for economic developmenthubspot customer service tools for economic development HubSpot CRM tools for economic development


Some of the most popular economic development based CRM systems completely neglect the marketing aspects of the business.


And lead generation, visibility, etc are critical elements of your success.


Action: Be sure to define your marketing requirements for (website, social, email and text based marketing, marketing lists, campaigns, measurement, and lead nurture). 


  • Example: Would it be helpful to know a contact's Number of website visits to your site? When you deploy HubSpot CRM alongside HubSpot Marketing, the website analytics data that's automatically collected in HubSpot Marketing lives in HubSpot CRM, too -- the two systems live on the same database. Use this data to find your most engaged contacts. Chances are they'll be most receptive of a sales call.

Marketing tools should be part of your requirements. Your website should connect to the CRM database. 

  • The Marketing Starter License is powerful at only $50 a month for your organization with 1,000 contacts that you can email 5X each month. Marketing Starter will allow you to cut out the cost and need for separate systems like MailChimp and constant contact.Or, you can keep those tools if you wish 
    - HubSpot has an interface to these tools as well.
    • From here you can add online chat, web forms, bots, etc. like you see on our site.
    • HubSpot also has Marketing Hub Professional and Enterprise licenses available.
    • And, if you believe in Account Based Sales & Marketing - we can show you how to cost effectively, proactively target individual companies before they announce a project.

So, let's talk about lead generation to find those "Best Fit Projects" for your community.



CRM helps you understand what is happening with each company, deal and contact at a glance. Look for software that makes it easy for everyone to stay on the same page.

Ideas: consider integrations with Slack,and look for the ability to tag / mention employees in the system with @name which sends internal alerts to that team member. 
ASK: How will the system keep your team on track with reminders, alerts and action prompts?


Use this technique to bring others into the conversation without overloading everyone with email.


More Info - blog article



BUSINESS RETENTION & EXPANSION - we believe your BRE data should be "Front and Center" 
We put this on the company record, not in another section of the system and we track the history of all BRE encounters and updates.You can also see the history of your BRE data as well. And you can put a BRE survey on a web page too. 

ASK: How can you create your own data points? What BRE options are available? How flexible is this tool? What if our BRE data needs change - how much will it cost to modify the system?



All systems have these capabilities with minor points of differentiation

Zapier and Automate.io are popular tools for light integrations

Here's a map of HubSpot integrations and we're building a new one that is top secret at the moment....

hubspot images



  • know who's opening your proposals, documents and emails
  • know who's visiting your website 
  • We're not just putting email into the CRM, we're tracking Engagement.
  • outlook interface 2

tracked email status


If your CRM system cannot do this, you are definitely missing out.

Check to see if a. is this possible  b. is there an extra cost?   


Connect to Google - G-Suite: lot's of EDO's are turning to google and the g-suite. More info here. If you use google and their tools instead of Office...be sure to see how systems operate with google.



CRM google


Connect to Outlook / Office: be sure to see how the CRM systems integrate with Outlook (on a mac, desktop, office 365 online, office 365 on exchange, and the 20 other ways to deploy Microsoft office)...Be sure to communicate exactly how your Office system is set up and configured.


outlook interface





ASK: What do the reports look like and how easy is it to create our own reports?

Here's an example showing the number of estimated new jobs in year 1, by project stage.

image-32 custom reports from HubSpot-1



ASK: How does the system track project retention visits to update the Actual Project Results that were expected and tied to an Incentive Package?


Today's key selling point and how you differentiate - this system captures what the employers are seeking from the local workforce so you can respond quickly as to how you match up.


The system must be easy to use - Software that requires too much data entry won't get used. Our system is minimalist in design, yet rich in reporting. It does not get any easier that this! 


Our pricing model for the software and services is "right sized" for EDO's on a tight budget and right sized for your size of organization. 

ASK: what are the recurring fees? what are the cost for development - can we self-configure the system going forward or will we need advanced training and hired gun developers with 6 figure salaries?


Make sure the system can address these key elements as well if they are part of your business model.


We've got that covered as well. Make sure this is part of your requirements list as well. 


I've seen projects fail over this step. We keep it simple. We'll import Companies, Contacts and Project Data. We rely on you to follow our process so that we receive the data in a clean format in excel.

ASK: What exactly is covered in the data migration - what do you need from us?


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Download Your FREE Guide to CRM Software for  Economic Developers


I probably shouldn't tell you this...

Salesforce is used by a lot of EDO's. Why?

Salesforce is a well known product backed by a huge company. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is in a similar position. These systems fit really well at the "enterprise level" (larger companies with hundreds of people using the software). You'll want a system administrator and it takes a few consultants / developers to implement these systems. And don't forget 30% of the implementation time is set aside for Project Management.

Want direct support from Salesforce or Microsoft - if so, get our your wallet, hire a translator and get comfortable - it's going to cost you money and a lot of time on the phone...


Plan on buying Salesforce Lighting $150 (per month/per person) or

Lighting Enterprise (includes support for $300 per month per user - what a deal!). 
Implementations run a minimum of $7,500 but plan on $15,000+ and that's for small EDO teams. Much more for state's and regional groups / large cities.


 With HubSpot, we keep it simple. Expensive developers (programmers) are used only on rare occasions when we absolutely must tap into the API. We deliver our system without complex code or custom programming.  

  • These mature systems can be quite pricey and difficult to navigate since it can do so much ... with the help of salesforce developers. We think that can be a curse for the type of client we work with. In short, these solutions can be overkill - they are costly and difficult to maintain. It may be tempting to completely customize your software but it's also expensive and may not be necessary at all.

  • Salesforce is our number one competitor. Compare the simplicity of our design, which makes the system easier to use, and our implementation costs. Expensive experts, in high demand, may be required in order to make salesforce work for you.

  •  Research Link: Is Salesforce Free for Chambers? EDO's? *See below*



salesforce exclusions for free software -

Considering Microsoft Dynamics 365? Here's a helpful view of this platform:

dynamics 365 econsystem graphic 

HubSpot EcoSystem
- we call this the "Growth Suite."

Growth Platform Overview V3


Download Available by Request
Tom Wengler  (423)309-7483 OR
use this HubSpot tool to book a 15' call. 


 Request HubSpot Overview