Episode 505. Using a Purpose-built CRM System
March 10, 2023
In Episode 504, Will explained how to use a spreadsheet as a CRM, but in this episode, he explains how independent consultants can set up and use a paid CRM system.
While a spreadsheet is a great place to start when setting up a CRM system as it is free, and can help you understand which features of a paid system you would like to have, Will explains why, at one point, you might want to upgrade to a paid CRM system, and how CRM systems offer advantages over spreadsheets when tracking contacts, opportunities, and projects.
Advantages of a CRM System over a Spreadsheet
One advantage is that you can add documents to the categories mentioned in the previous episode: contacts, company and/or opportunity. Other features can include the ability to add notes from discussions to keep track of customer interactions, automated reminders, and tracking customer feedback. The CRM system provides the ability to attach documents, such as resumes for potential subcontractors, and add notes from conversations. It also allows for a photo of the contact to be attached, as well as other fields like name, title, employer, education, location, and LinkedIn profiles. Custom fields can also be created to track newsletters, gifts sent and received, and who introduced you to the contact.
Will explains how CRM systems sync with the user’s emails and the contacts’ emails, making it easier to track emails from multiple addresses.
Using a CRM System for Opportunities
The CRM system also allows the user to track and easily see all the project opportunities associated with your contacts. Additionally, the user can tag contacts, opportunities, and projects with an industry tag, or functional tags, or skill-based or discreet defined tags, making it easier to categorize and track these elements.
Using a CRM system to Manage Tasks
Using a CRM system has several advantages. One of these is the ability to easily manage tasks. This can be done by adding task tags to contacts or projects and then viewing them all in one place, whether that is to follow up with a contact or submit a proposal, and you can easily mark them as done or change dates etc.
Another advantage is the ability to easily manage opportunities. It is possible to have a visual view, with columns for the status of each project, and have the ability to drag and move the tiles. A third advantage is the ability to customize the names for the stages of an opportunity. These stages include identified opportunity, completed context discussion, submitted proposal, and finally whether the project was ‘lost’ or if it is ‘1 Active’, or ‘1 Completed’. Additionally, when a project is moved from one stage to another, a pop up will appear asking for the reason. You could also add other stages such as ‘On Hold’ to remind you to follow up at a later date, and you could add a ‘Future Opportunity’ tab to remind you to follow up about it. You can also add documents to opportunities to keep all that information in one place and easy to access. Another useful feature is to add reports to give insight into projects won and lost. You can also easily add other users to give easy access to team members, but you also maintain control over the system to ensure no-one accidentally deletes or changes information.
Researching a CRM System
Will also explains how to set up a paid CRM system, such as choosing a provider, setting up user roles, and integrating the system into your workflow. Lastly, he talks about the importance of finding the right CRM system that suits your needs. Will recommends starting with a spreadsheet to get an idea of how you need to structure the information you need, and then look into resources on Umbrex.com where you will find information on CRM systems used by members.
00:01 The benefits of using a purpose-built CRM system
02:38 The benefits of a CRM system for tracking contacts
03:49 Creating custom fields
04:57 The benefits of a CRM system for tracking opportunities and projects
07:36 Stages of opportunities in a CRM system
11:18 Adding users to the CRM system
Notes on using a purpose-built CRM system: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SfVS9cB_YtmTgtRoBb1hWAxo-qy1vbC6BqiOKtTpEFo/edit?usp=sharing