How to choose a personal CRM – Pick Dave’s Brain

Are you winning the game of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon?

This week’s question comes from Aida in Saint Louis, Missouri.

Q: In your Building Your Professional Network Course you recommend using CRMs. Could you recommend one basic CRM for someone like myself that could be used for personal purposes to maintain your connections?

Click to tweet this: Whether you serve 10’s or 10’s of thousands, the missing link to career evolution is a CRM. @DaveCrenshaw

Video transcript:

Are you winning in the game of Six Degrees of Kevin Beacon? I’m Dave Crenshaw, and it’s time to Pick Dave’s Brain!

This week’s question comes from Aida in Saint Louis, Missouri.


Good morning! My name is Aida Gata.

In your course on Building Network Connections on LinkedIn Learning [formerly], you recommended using CRMs (Customer Relationship Manager). Could you recommend one basic [CRM] for someone like myself that could be used for personal purposes to maintain your connections? Something for probably a small number of people, as well?

I started looking it up, and I’ve seen so many options, and I simply got lost. I thought you might have a good opinion on that.

Thank you very much and hope you have a wonderful day.

Dave Crenshaw:

I love this question, Aida, because it shows that you understand the importance of building and maintaining connections with other people. This is a critical skill to enhancing your career and increasing your value per hour. I also like it because you’re speaking the truth. There are so many options out there for CRMs.

The question you are asking now is if it’s just me, what’s a good tool to use? And I would suggest that the best tool that you have available is LinkedIn.

First of all—it’s free. [Record scratch] [Dave cut-in]Here again with an urgent update to the video that you’re watching. Now I recommend that Aida use the LinkedIn free CRM. However, between the time that we recorded that video and edited that video, LinkedIn gave us a little bit of a surprise.

In particular, they removed the relationships section of people’s profiles. Meaning, you’re not able to edit that or put in reminders for them. In fact, if you have been using this, I recommend that you download all your data by May 31st, which is when that will completely go away.

That led me on a little bit of a search just as Aida was doing, to try to find the best CRM. And I came to this site, I’ll leave the link on my page. You can take a look at it and see if that provides a free CRM option that will work for you.

Also, I’ve heard lots of great things about people using Sales Force and it’s not free. But it’s fairly inexpensive for most people and that’s a usable alternative to help you manage many, many contacts, and make sure that you’re staying on top of that relationship.

However, I have a different recommendation and it’s actually, in a way, the recommendation that I made before with a small change. Obviously, LinkedIn isn’t going to be free. But I still recommend LinkedIn as a private CRM solution for just one individual.

What they’ve done is they’ve taken some of those features and move them over to something called Sales Solutions, and that allows you to have deeper searches. When you’re looking for people on LinkedIn, it allows you to have all those notes.

It also gives the option for doing things like in mail, where you can send people direct messages even if you’re not directly connected with them. Now that certainly is not cheap. This may be out of the budget for most people.

However, when I looked at this I realized that I’m already using the executive premium program on LinkedIn. And when I compared it side by side, really the only difference was LinkedIn Learning, which is the training portal where you can find all of my courses.

So here’s what I personally am going to do, you don’t have to do this. You can use one of the free CRMs if you want. But I am going to get rid of my executive subscription. Move over to sales navigator, and then include a subscription to LinkedIn Learning.

I know it’s a little bit confusing, but honestly, that’s the best recommendation I could make RIGHT NOW for someone that’s looking for a CRM just for themselves.

[Return to video]

Now, let’s say that your career grows and you start to have a team, or your company grows. You might want to look at a more robust CRM. I could suggest the solution that my company uses which is Infusionsoft.

Infusionsoft allows you to track tens of thousands of contacts and allows me to share data across multiple contacts.

I hope that gets you started in finding the right CRM for you Aida. Thanks for the question.

Now if you’ve got a question that’s on your mind and you want to pick Dave’s brain, all you need to do is click on the button at the bottom of this video. Or go to

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