Want more tips like these? Sign up to receive my newsletter.
No matter your business, or your job, you need to make sure that you are building and nurturing relationships with others. If you are finding it difficult to stay on top of your follow-ups or if you would like to improve how you stay in touch with the key people in your network -- you need a CRM.
CRMs are powerful software tools to help you create solid relationships. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management; my favorite CRM definition is from an InTouch CRM blog post: Customer Relationship Management (CRM): A system or strategy for managing client interactions, dealing with future and current customers, optimizing and systematizing relationships.
Since we all need to manage relationships in our careers (and lives), it's easy to understand why I like to encourage everyone to use a CRM -- a streamlined CRM can be the core part of an effective and efficient follow-up system.
In addition to helping you build great relationships, a solid follow up system will also help you make more money. Marketing Donut reported that "63% of people requesting information on your company today will not purchase for at least three months -- and 20% will take more than 12 months to buy". You need to follow-up with the people you meet to grow your business, and a CRM system can help you do that. But how do you find the right CRM system for you?
There are over 633 CRM apps listed on SoftwareAdvice.com!
Yikes, that is a lot! How do you find the right fit for your business?
The process I use to find the best systems for my clients enables us to:
I'll highlight the key four steps in my process in this rest of the post. If you are looking for help in finding the right tool for your business -- let's chat -- I would be happy to assist you in picking and integrating your systems. If you are more of a DIY person, use the remaining paragraphs as a guide for your software selection process.
Step 1: Understand your needs:
Having a clear picture of what you need is KEY to finding a great fit! These questions help clarify your needs for the short-term and long-term:
Step 2: Research:
Once you know what is required, it's time to start research. When I do preliminary research, I compare each system on how it meets the needs. In addition, I always compare potential systems on the following:
When it comes to research, I recommend that you cast a wide net to start and then narrow down your choices. You can never choose an option you don't consider -- so I take the preliminary research seriously! [If you are doing this DIY, I recommend you do the same.]
Step 3: Demos:
I use my research to narrow down the choices and build a table to compare the most promising options. Next, I arrange demos (and free trials, if available) to learn more about each of those most promising options.
After each demo, I make sure to update the table and debrief with my clients. With that information, my clients and I can compare all of the options on the most important factor:
Step 4: Selection:
Using the updated comparison table, we can pick "the one" and start the implementation process. Exciting!
So that is an overview of the steps that I take to match new software systems to my client's needs.
It's hard to recommend the ideal CRM without understanding someone's business and workflow, but below are a few of my favorites. Consider this a starter list; this article would be WAY too long if I mentioned each and every CRM on the market -- there are over 600 options to choose from!
Powerful CRM Systems for Individuals, Mid-sized and Small Businesses include:
More Powerful CRMs for Larger Organizations include:
There are so, so many more options that I didn't mention above. Some CRM's are tailored to specific industries (like consulting, accounting or construction), and others have a specific focus (like facilitating sales, managing contacts or building relationships). I happily use ActiveCampaign. If you're not sure how to get started, or if you need help narrowing down your options, book a session with me and I would be happy to direct you to a set of CRMs to meet your needs.
No matter what tool you use, it's important that you tie it into your daily workflow. A CRM won't be useful if you don't use it. My simple CRM has become a core part of my morning! It gives me the reminders I need to keep up with my clients, potential clients, friends, and family.
What do you use to help you remember to follow-up? What do you like about your current tool? What's missing?
If you are looking for support in modifying your current follow-up process or introducing a new follow-up system -- book a session and let me be your Ally! I'll help you find a great CRM for you and your team!
This post contains referral links to ActiveCampaign, which means if you sign up via one of the ActiveCampaign links below, I will receive a commission. Only the ActiveCampaign links in this blog posts are referral links. I only recommend tools that I love.