At my techie clinic yesterday, one of the questions asked was around CRM’s, so this blog post aims to expand a little on what a CRM is, what it does, what’s available and how you can choose the right one for your business.

What is a CRM?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, and a CRM is a type of software that enables businesses to monitor the interactions with customers. Think of it like a little black book of all your customers, but drawing on information from different sources. You can do this with a simple excel spreadsheet, however, for larger companies, staff need to be able to tap into this information from difference places in the organisation for example the marketing team and sales team.

What does a CRM do?

CRM’s are mainly used to optimise the sales process. By understanding how you get customers, where they come from and what they have bought (or not bought) in the past allows you to offer a better service.

What CRM’s are available?

You have a number of options available to you, so it’s worth doing a trial to see how each one works and how much time it takes to complete. Some options include:

Insighly. Insightly has a range of tools to track prospects, leads and customers through the sales funnel. In addition it includes project management functions. The nice bit is that for solopreneurs, you can use the system for free, as much of the paid options are aimed at businesses with staff and sales teams.

Zoho. Like Insightly, Zoho is customer-centric, and comes highly recommended via PCMag. It has free and paid options, and comes across as very good value

Hubspot. Huspot is free for CRM and Sales, however the marketing module is not.

Infusionsoft. I’ve heard of Infusionsoft, and it appears to be a solid product that those who use it rave about. Well established coaches seem to use it, however, for me at least, the cost is prohibitive at this time.

These are just some of the CRM’s available to small businesses starting out.

Which one should I choose?

Personally, I haven’t used any of them, so I’m relying on reviews and word of mouth. For this reason I would say, give each one a trial and see how you get on. Balance the costs and functionality for each one and make an informed choice.

I’m going to give Insightly a try, mainly because it includes event and project management. This will be useful as I plan workshops and develop my Techie Goddess Academy. It seems to have some of the features that I currently need, doesn’t seem to be too clunky, and will allow me to develop my customer service in 2017.

Useful articles: