Q: “Denise, I think it is time I invest in a CRM (customer relationship management software). I want something that has a database manager and allows me to easily create groups within it, create drip campaigns for the clients in my pipeline, allows me to manage an emailed newsletter, and also helps me manage transactions. What do you recommend?”
A: I cannot tell you how often I am asked this question! The bottom line is that no CRM is going to be ready to go out of the box. You have a unique business with unique forms, unique categories of clients, and gather unique points of data. Your list of “to dos” for the different aspects of the transaction are like no one else’s. So if you are not prepared to spend the hours needed to customize the CRM to work for you and the people and tasks you take on in your business, then don’t spend the money!
Before you sign up for a program that will cost you anywhere from $30-$200 a month, take some time to explore your FREE options (or options you have already paid for). For example, if you use Outlook, are you aware of everything Outlook can to manage your contacts and your tasks? There are so many videos available on YouTube that showcase this very thing! Furthermore, there are so many options for customization that you should explore before you ever drop a dollar on a CRM. You have a lot more power at your fingertips than you know.
And if you use Gmail, explore those options as well!
Finally, I want to address your wanting to set up a drip campaign. Instead of sending generic emails that make you feel better because at least you reached out, take the time to really cultivate those leads by picking up the phone or sending a custom report. You can send 50 emails to leads in your pipeline, but how effective is that? What you need is a program that can prompt you to take action and manage contact management tasks. Guess what! Outlook does that too! You just need to spend some time and learn about all it can do.
Sorry, I am a little passionate about this subject because I hate seeing clients throw money away. Now, I will say that if you are the type of person who will really work a CRM and take the time to customize it, then there are many options out there that could be a great fit. My recommendation is to read online reviews about any program you are considering. The truth about the effectiveness and ease-of-use can be found in those reviews.