Intro to CRM Systems and Tools

June 22, 2021

Today, I am coming to you to talk about a thrilling topic of CRMs.

I’m gonna give a brief overview of what they are, how you can use them in your business, and some free ones and some low costs, but great ones to use.

What is a CRM?

First, CRM stands for customer/client relationship management. It’s a tool or software that organizes your clients!

Your CRM system should have all the information on your client, and record when and how you work with them.

CRM’s come in all kinds of shapes and sizes.

For instance, SalesForce is one that a lot of organizations use that does a lot – great for medium to large-sized organizations. 

When I was at BMW, they created their very own CRM system. So it would work globally, just as they wanted it to. And it was super intense. 

Then some are for scrappy entrepreneurs getting things done, and I just wanted to share a couple of my favorites for those of you who may have a creative business, a coaching business, or any other small business. 

Creative working on computer.

How to use a CRM.

In any CRM, you want to record your client, potential client, or lead. 

Record their name, how you met them, how to get in contact with them. 

You can also record the last time you talked to them, did you close a deal with them, when they started working with you.

Even specific notes about them. Maybe quirks or kids’ names. 

Record when their birthday is so you can send them a note. 

Then, all of that information is in one place, and you know exactly where to look. 

You can easily follow up with them, give a personalized hello to them. 

Consider how you can capture people’s information who you are chatting with in your DM’s. So when you start a DM with someone interested in what you do, they’re just not quite ready to invest yet, take their handle down, record it in your CRM spreadsheet.

Note them as a lead, that you chat in IG DM’s, and when you talk to them. 

Then make a note of a date to follow up. 

Using your CRM, you can search, sort, categorize, even track where your leads are coming in from.

Creative desk set up.

Free CRM Options

 A free CRM system typically does not have some bells and whistles that a paid one does. 

So a free system could beu.

  • Airtable

  • Google Sheets

  • Microsoft Excel

  • ClickUp

  • Notion

  • Evernote

Where all of these have free options, many also have an opportunity to pay for additional features. 

These free ones act like databases, and some have more functionality than others.

Now, a lot of these free options are very manual. You have to go into the system to know to follow up not (unless you’re using ClickUp or Notion to send reminders). 

 Check out my guide to get templates to six free CRM templates in different programs.

Paid CRM Options.

There are many, many, many options for paid CRM tools.

There is my favorite, Dubsado. There’s also Honeybook, 17Hats, Bonzai, Plutio.

I’ve heard wonderful things about all of these.

What happens with some of these paid options is you get so much more functionality in them. 

You can automatically send contracts, invoices, schedulers, and more. 

For example, with my Dubsado, I have their built-in scheduler embedded on my website. 

When someone schedules their clarity call with me, they become a lead inside of Dubsado. 

After our call, I have a whole workflow that starts. 

I can send a proposal in one click—a contract and invoice to pay automatically go out. Payment is collected. Boom.

These paid options for CRMs are so much more intense than just a spreadsheet of client information. 

You even get dashboards inside of them. Some have portals where clients can log in and see all their invoices, upcoming appointments, forms, etc. 

Most creative entrepreneurs are choosing between Honeybook and Dubsado.

Honeybook is beautiful. It is simple and easy to use for creative entrepreneurs.  

Dubsado is more customizable and does much, much more (which also can be overwhelming). There are many, many, many options for paid CRM tools. 

How to choose the perfect CRM tool.

What ultimately matters is what you resonate with.

Which one gets you excited to get organized?

Well, maybe you don’t get excited to get organized like I do.. But you should want to be able to open it up and it doesn’t make your skin crawl.

I’ve been playing around with Notion lately.

It’s super crisp and clean. Lots of white space.

If you like a minimal Look, I bet Notion is a place for you to take notes on clients that might get you excited.

Whereas on Airtable and ClickUp, they are very colorful.

I’ve heard people choosing 17Hats over Dubsado or Honebook because they liked the font of the dashboard better.

It makes a difference

If you go on to your dashboard, where you’re going to get excited to interact with their clients – and the font is too small, or if you don’t vibe with the design of it – then don’t use that platform! Most of the paid versions have free trials, so you can log in and poke around.

Or, watch YouTube videos of tours of them to see what you like.

You should vibe with whatever service is out there for you.

There are so many options out there, more than even just these few that I listed that you want to connect with the service that you’re using.

Two business owners at a desk working together.

No wrong CRM choice.

There’s no right or wrong option when choosing a CRM tool.

It is whatever you are going to use.

The only wrong choice is not having one.

Just start somewhere you can collect people’s information.

Maybe you don’t need this information right now, but in the long term, it will serve your business well.

I want you to use something that’s easy to use that you enjoy using, and whatever that is for you. There are no wrong answers.

If you need more information on any of these you have questions, shoot me a comment, shoot me an email, or schedule a call with me to chat.

I love love talking about these things and getting strategic in your business about what’s going to serve you best in the long term.

Let’s set you up for success because every small business owner has the potential to succeed.

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