When you’re first starting a business it’s super important to investigate what to know about using CRM systems in your business and how they can benefit you. I want to walk you through what a CRM system is, what to look for in the system that you use, and a few of my favorites on the market. Let’s dive in.
WHAT IS A CRM SYSTEM?
By definition, a CRM system is a Customer Relationship Management tool and according to Creatio.com, refers to all the strategies, techniques, tools, and technologies used by businesses for developing, retaining, and acquiring customers. To put it simply, it’s how you manage your customers.
Back in the day, CRM systems looked like handwritten ledgers, a thousand post-it notes, or whiteboards with charts on them. Nowadays, CRM systems have become so sophisticated that you can run your entire business from an app on your phone. CRM systems allow you to track inquiries, invoices, contracts, business workflows, run analytics on your referrals, and manage the financial health of your business.
CRM systems take what would be huge piles of emails or handcrafted excel sheets to make them more streamlined, beautiful, and easy to use. What you need to know about using CRM systems in your business is that you need one. Bottomline.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A CRM SYSTEM
Since this might be your first rodeo, I’m going to help you with a list of what you should look for in a CRM system. According to Inc.com, most business owners look for easy to use, customizable, and of course, cost-effective. I couldn’t agree more. This is why it’s important to know what to look for when you’re searching for a CRM system. You need something that is going to make your job easier, not harder.
Here are the top items to look at when comparing CRM systems:
- Lead Capture Capabilities
- Workflow Management
- Client Facing Dashboards
- Mobile Access
- Ease of Use
- Social Media Integration
- Number of Users Permitted
- Cost for System
Considering these points while looking at the system can help narrow down the options. Don’t be afraid to reach out to their customer service representatives and get into the nitty-gritty details of their product. These companies want you to sign up and be a loyal customer. They’ll be willing to invest in a conversation if that means you sign up and refer it to your friends.
MY FAVORITE CRM SYSTEMS ON THE MARKET
I couldn’t wrap up this article without pointing you in the direction of my favorite CRM systems on the market. I’m going to come at this topic from the perspective of a solopreneur in the creative field. If you’re working in or hoping to build a business in a specific industry, I highly recommend Googling “Best CRM Systems for XXX Industry”. Lord Google always knows.
For Photographers: Sprout Studio
I have been using Sprout Studio since I became a full-time wedding photographer and I couldn’t be happier. The CEO Bryan Caporicci continues to expand the tools and resources for photographers to create meaningful, optimized, and beautiful client experiences.
Here are some of the features they offer:
- Automated Emails
- Business Templates
- Contact Forms
- Custom Workflows
- Expense Tracking
- Online Scheduling
- Email Marketing
- Album Proofing
- Reports & Analytics
General Creative Business Owners: HoneyBook
HoneyBook is a great generalized CRM system that offers a majority of what most solopreneurs need. I love their clean layout and easy to use dashboard. I have several colleagues who use HoneyBook and they have brought in 6-figures and attribute the ease of their client experience to the platform.
HoneyBook offers online contracts, invoices, proposals, online payments, automation, all-in-one solutions, scheduling and so much more.
For larger teams with complex workflows: Monday.com
I’ll be honest, I’ve dabbled with Monday.com as a project manager for different parts of my business and was super impressed with how much I loved it.
Monday.com offers a broad range of features including managing creative requests from different parts of your organization, color-coded project management for easy visibility, and even event management. Huge companies like Hulu, Costco, and Adobe use it for their teams.
Overall, there are no one-size-solution fits all. Hence why the CRM market is plump with options. What to know about using CRM systems in your business is a critical piece of being an entrepreneur. As a business owner, knowing your industry and what needs your clients might have, you’ll need to do your own research and trials of different systems. Moreover, you can use new community apps like Clubhouse to find people with more experience than you and ask for their guidance on the topic. Till then, I send you my best wishes for optimization and organization.
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