CRM and MailChimp Integration: Three options for email marketing

4 Oct 2021

MailChimp, as an emailing platform, is one of the most popular in the world. I know I get dozens of emails every week with the little “sent by MailChimp” stamped at the bottom.  But when it comes to running a business, being able to send bulk emails isn’t the only thing you need to do with your prospects and customers. That’s why businesses that use MailChimp will also have a CRM system for…well…all the rest of it.

When it comes to using both MailChimp and a CRM system, you have a few options.

  1. You can use MailChimp’s own CRM features
  2. Find a CRM that integrates with MailChimp (like OpenCRM)
  3. Use a CRM system that has its own campaign management tools (also like OpenCRM)

I’d like to spend a bit of time speaking to the pros and cons of each. So you can make an informed decisions about which is the right one for you.

MailChimp has a CRM?

MailChimp does indeed have a small number of CRM features, including automatic contact list building and messaging. These features will let you organise your contacts and send them relevant emails at relevant times.

The problem with using MailChimp as your primary CRM system is that there isn’t much else you are able to do.

Don’t get me wrong, list building and automatic messaging, when paired with bulk emailing, is really useful. We’ve got both features inbuilt within OpenCRM and they are options that I am forever recommending to people. (Custom views and email plans if you’d like to read up on them.)

But what about sales process management? Company to contact relationship monitoring? Not to mention any customer service or project management you might want to do.

Conclusion? This solution is good for people and businesses who have very limited CRM needs, but high bulk emailing requirements.


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CRM to MailChimp Integration

If you need to be able to do a bit more on the CRM side, but still want to use MailChimp for sending out your bulk emails, this is the best solution for you.

You can still use MailChimp’s template creator and bulk emailer, but get to use all those more broad and deep features of your CRM system for managing your entire business. Not just your contact management.

How does the integration work?

Of course I can only speak to how you can use the OpenCRM to MailChimp integration, but since you’re on our website, I’m going to guess you’re interested in hearing about that.

Our integration starts in OpenCRM. You’ll add all the Contacts and Leads to a Campaign there. Then you’ll set which audience those will be added to in MailChimp (any that already exist won’t be added twice, it’s just a way of sending an update). You’ll also select which template in MailChimp you are going to use and a few more details.

Then, with a click of a button in OpenCRM, all that information is sent to MailChimp where you can make any final edits before clicking to send it out.

Any statistics from the email, i.e. how many people opened it and how many clicked on links, are sent back from MailChimp to OpenCRM. Sadly MailChimp only send the numbers rather than who exactly clicked on what, but if you want that level of detail, just keep reading.


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The main benefit with using MailChimp to handle your marketing emails, while managing the rest of your business from OpenCRM is that you can give an external company or individual the ability to send out your emails without giving them access to your actual CRM system.

CRM system with Campaign Management

Your third option when it comes to using MailChimp with a CRM is actually to not use MailChimp at all. But rather to find a CRM system, like OpenCRM, that has its own Campaign Management tools.

A bit cheeky, I know, but stay with me.

Again using OpenCRM as the example, the big benefit to sending our your email campaigns from within your CRM system comes back to this idea of “joined up writing.” By having an individual’s interactions with an email in the same place as their recent invoices or customer service tickets, you get an overview of the relationship you have with them.

You read that right. If you send out an email from OpenCRM, you can not only see how many people clicked a link in that email. You get to see exactly who clicked exactly which link and when. You get the same information for the email being opened.

And with our latest Stripo integration, you even have the power of drag-n-drop email template building.

There are, of course, drawbacks. MailChimp is the market leader in sending out emails for a reason. They will be a bit faster than us, but that’s really the only downside.


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What’s the best option?

To be honest, the benefits and drawbacks to are clear, so it really comes down to what is best for your business.

We personally use OpenCRM Campaigns to manage all of our bulk emailing and marketing. Because we do all of our marketing ourselves and already know the system, the benefit to us is clear: a campaigning option that is part and parcel of our CRM system is the right fit for us.

When I send an email out, I know who clicked on something and can follow up with them directly if I need to.

For people who either use an external company to manage their email marketing or who just love MailChimp, using a CRM that integrates with it is the best option.

There must also be a number of people for whom email marketing is the be-all-end-all of what they do, so using MailChimp’s own very basic CRM functionality is enough.

As with any recommendation I’ll make here, it all comes down to doing what is right for your business and your team. If you want to discuss using our campaign features or our MailChimp integration, why not click to start chatting?

Ashley Tallyn
Ashley Tallyn
Although I originally hail from northern California, as soon as I arrived in Yorkshire I knew it was the place for me! At OpenCRM, I started out in the Business Development team, and then moved into compliance and Q&A because I love telling people what to do...ok, that's not the real reason, but it makes for a good bio one-liner. When I’m not in the office, you can usually find me tramping through the dales, crafting, gardening, or with my nose in a book.