When most small businesses start up, the big question arises regarding tools is: should I go with an all-in-one solution?

When most small businesses start up, the big question arises regarding tools is: should I go with an all-in-one solution or should I go for separate tools for each solution?

For example, do I need a separate CRM, a separate project management tool, a separate tool for landing pages, a separate tool for sales carts, a separate tool for email marketing, et cetera, et cetera? (I admit, your head may hurt from reading this list… sorry.)

There's no one right answer.

When I was growing up, Leathermans were all the rage. Remember those?

They are multi tools where you could have pliers, a wrench, and a screwdriver (plus much more) all-in-one. But when you really look at a Leatherman, it was good for something to have in your pocket that you may need right away, like a Swiss Army knife.

But the quality of each one of the tools was never as good as buying a separate tool for each and using it.

I think the same is true for software. If you're just starting out and there's a free all-in-one tool, I can see why you may want it. You're going to want to use Kajabi because you can have your website, your landing page, your email marketing, and a course platform - a true all-in-one tool for the coach/consultant/solopreneur.

But is that really giving you the best service you can get?

Are you getting quality?

Let's take, for example, for the sake of this article, landing pages. If you're going to use a free email tool like MailChimp, or even a paid email tool, like Active Campaign, or like we mentioned before, Kajabi, you're going to have the option of building a landing page.

Here's my real question: is the quality of the landing pages and the quality of the services that you can get with all-in-one-tools the same as if you would use a product that was only geared towards landing pages, such as Unbounce?

If you look at Unbounce, you will see that you have the option, not just to create landing pages, you can create pop-ups and sticky bars, and they can be based on events that happened within your website. You can also have many definitions when it comes to page optimization or AI regarding the quality of machine learning that it can do and therefore, dynamic text that it can give to your users. You even have way more control over what happens in the mobile version than you normally would otherwise.

Clearly, the more specific your tool (in this case, a landing page tool), the more control, the better and more options you have, and the more capabilities you have access to.

If I take email service providers, for example, if you use a general, all-in-one tool, you're going to get maybe some basic sequencing functions, which are great, but if you go to a more specific tool like Klaviyo for eCommerce or Active Campaign for all the rest, you'll see that you have also machine learning.

So again, the quality and the level of control that you have for that specific tool goes up.

Fit to your needs

Think of tools as you would a handyman’s tool box.

Specific tools get the job done better, efficiently, and faster, for a really specific job that no other tool can do.

But some tools are basic and that’s all you need to get the job done, like tightening in a basic screw - that can be done with a Leatherman, a screwdriver, or even a butter knife (if you’re so inclined).

For example, a CRM, for me, does not need to be as complex and powerful as Hubspot or Salesforce (which are meant for B2B sales and marketing teams). I do not require a CRM that gives me all the data that has to do with the emails that I've exchanged and the meetings that I've had, also not the summary of each lead and who the lead was passed off to.

For me using a pipeline set up in a tool like Asana or Airtable is a lot easier than putting together a wholesale CRM like Salesforce or HubSpot. I know what my needs are, which is very general at this point. But as my needs grow, I will have to have more data and as my team grows, I will want to see what they're doing and I'll need more information - at that point I would consider an upgrade to a specific CRM for project management.

Project management tools should not be able to do everything because again, the quality of the service that you're going to be able to get is not the same.

If your project management tool is built for high-end, high-touch, at scale, it might not be for you if you're a coach/consultant with a smaller business, you might want to consider Asana for your needs.

Parting thoughts

A big thought I have about ANY tool is that I don't like using tools that are imitating others or trying to catch up to what others are doing. I like using a tool that's developing it in the way that's right for their users.

They've spoken to their users.

They know what their customers need.

They know how they're going to use the app.

Sure, having an all-in-one tool may seem cost effective because you only have one subscription, you don't have to keep track of all of your passwords, and everything is in one location.

And it's definitely not the one that's giving your clients the best service. In reality, the decision of whether to go with an all-in-one tool or a separate tool, really depends on your business and your methodology.

There's no one right way of doing it. But if you do choose an all in one tool, you have to understand what goes along with it, in terms of the quality of the tool that you're getting, the quality of service you're going to be able to give to your clients.

And if you do go with a separate tool for each, you have to understand what goes along with that, which is multiple subscriptions and more passwords that you have to remember, et cetera.

But ask yourself these questions when picking a tool:

Will this serve my customers?

Will this serve my business?

Is it a good fit for my needs (too little, just right, or too much)?

If you need help selecting the right tool to fit your needs, save you time, capture more customers without the headaches, let’s get on a strategy call!