We're seeing a rise in companies using Notion as their CRM. While Notion can do a lot of things, using it as a company CRM is not ideal. Here's why.
❌ Notion can't be the central hub for communication
Part of the purpose of a CRM is not just storing contact records (that's the most bare-bones use-case of a CRM) but rather to be a central hub of communication across your company.
You email a customer, and someone else on your team emails that same customer. How do you know this happened? You don't when using Notion as a CRM. So customers may get 2-3 emails from different team members and it's a mess. We've heard scenarios of teams "copy and pasting" emails from clients into a Notion document - after trying to keep up with it for a few weeks, it not only fell by the wayside because this is a horrible time-sink.
A proper CRM is going to ingest emails automatically, count the number of interactions you've had with someone, and nudge you when you're not doing a good job at staying on top of leads. Notion as a CRM on the other hand will not be able to handle this type of communication tracking.
❌ Notion as a CRM can't automatically prioritize leads based on engagement
Tracking who opened or clicked your emails is helpful information that can help close a sale.
A CRM can roll up these actions into a score, so your team can easily identify engaged leads. A good CRM will also mention the last date of a specific interaction, or how long it's been between interactions so you know it's time to follow up.
❌ Notion doesn't build business IP and doesn't scale well
Tracking client communication and engagement in a proper CRM gives your business intellectual property and acts as a single source of truth for all your customer interactions. In the case that you ever wanted to sell or hand off your business, this information will be super valuable.
A mid-market scaling business will also run into issues trying to sort through large amounts of data. Notion lacks robust reporting and analytics capabilities, which can make it difficult to track what is working and what is not. This will limit your ability to make decisions based on customer data.
❌ Notion's Flexibility Can Be Overwhelming
Notion is super flexible, which makes it great, but that also leads to issues. It can technically be or do "anything" (within reason), so companies confuse that and start building out their own custom "CRM", making decisions that they think are sensible, essentially turning into the role of a product manager. But you're not a product manager.
The decisions and restrictions added to most CRMs on the market are made for a reason. SO much thought and discussion goes into adding another custom field or adding a feature. Adding too much to Notion can hurt company adoption, and create future confusion among team members.
Notion is better than nothing, but any CRM on the market, that was built specifically to be a CRM, is also going to be light-years better than building your own CRM.
❌ Companies that use Notion as a CRM often feel disorganized
99% of companies that I've spoken to who have been using Notion as their CRM after a year, feel like their data is messy and disorganized. Notion starts to feel too disconnected from the company communication, as it wasn't built to be a CRM.
In fact, using it as a CRM is not much different than using Excel or Google Sheets as your CRM. It'll "work" as a contact book, but it'll never actually be what a business needs to scale.
Overall, while as tempting as it may be to use Notion as your business CRM, it is actually a pretty lackluster CRM. If you truly care about what makes a tool good at relationship management and managing your business processes, look to using a proper CRM.
What CRM should I use instead of Notion?
We wrote an entire article on this → Read here.
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(please note only eligible companies will be chosen for the audit.)