As a decaf-drinking, dairy-free creamer girl, one of my favorite ways to treat myself is to go out for fancy coffee. I absolutely LOVE seeing what kind of amazingly delicious things local coffee shops can come up with that meet my super boring “coffee requirements.” The latest shop that I walked into was a newish Latin American coffee shop with mouth watering snacks (hello empanadas and alfajores!), pulsing salsa music, and the most beautiful turquoise and orange wall murals I’ve ever seen. It also had the shortest counter line ever, and a menu with a minimum of 12 different drool worthy drinks to try. Despite the fact that this place has been on my list to check out for a while, and I’ve looked over their menu several times before even entering the door, I immediately got overwhelmed by all of the options
What did I do?
I ordered my standard “decaf vanilla latte with soy milk.” Boring AF compared to the churro atole latte with local heirloom blue corn and maple syrup I had planned on getting before I froze up and got overwhelmed by all of the choices. Now, while I 100% enjoyed my normal, boring latte, you better believe that I had major FOMO on the latte that I wished I had ordered. So much so that I went back the next day to get one (any excuse to get fancy coffee, friends).
Turns out, choosing a fancy new coffee to get at a fancy new coffee shop is a lot like choosing the best CRM to support your business.
Without all of the extra, way more serious repercussions, but with all of the extra FOMO. If you’ve ever been in the situation where you’re trying to find the best CRM to support your business, you 100% know what I’m talking about here.
There are SO MANY CRMs on the market right now. And the crazy thing is that in all reality, they all do the same thing: keep track of your clients. That being said, just because so many exist and they all do the same thing does not mean that all CRMs are created equal. OR that they’ll all be able to support your business equally.
Shopping for a new CRM can be so crazy-stressful.
How do you know which reviews are real reviews and which ones are paid for? Can the CRM really do what all of the ads/spokespeople say it can? Better yet…how do you know which one will work best for your business? Just because it works for Suzy Q’s down the street doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work just as well for you.
And you know what? That’s totally okay. Because investing in a CRM has many more long-term repercussions than picking the right coffee does. So how do you know which CRM is right for you? Well, there are a few things I suggest keeping in mind as you go about your search.
Choosing the Best CRM to Support Your Business
1. Is there room for you to grow within the CRM?
If you need to, will you be able to add an additional brand in the future? How many projects/clients can the CRM support? Can you have multiple workflows/automations running at the same time? I have 100% been in that place before where I’ve invested in a CRM only to find out at a much critical point later, that my business is going to outgrow the CRM within months, or even 1-2 years. Make sure from the get-go that the CRMs you’re looking into will be able to support you AND whatever growth might come your way.
2. Will it make your life easier?
Will this CRM be the only tool you’ll need to run your business? Or, at the minimum, will it help you get rid of at least 2-3 other pieces of software that you’re currently using? For instance, if you’re currently using different tools for scheduling, client emails, questionnaires, AND lead capture forms, make sure that the CRM you’re looking into can eliminate at least half of those other tools. If not, what’s the point of using it?
3. Write out your current client workflow.
Will you be able to do all or most of this using the CRM you’re vetting? Will you be able to build workflows or automations to help reduce the amount of time you’re spending on each of your clients? Or to at least ensure that each client is getting the same experience from you? Will this new CRM make your life easier than your current process? If not, maybe consider crossing it off your list.
4. Does the CRM you’re considering work /function how you like to work?
For instance, if you're a visual person - are there enough visual components for you to feel comfortable using it, or is it all in words and reports? If reporting is your thing - does it provide enough detailed reporting capabilities? This might seem like a silly question to ask yourself, but I know from years of experience that all creatives work and respond to things differently. Just because a tool has worked for me in the past, doesn't mean that it worked for my partner (a super creative, very visually oriented person). This wound up in so many unnecessary arguments and so much heartache for both of us, not to mention having to start the CRM search all over again.
5. Double check that Pro/Con/Feature List to compare your top contenders.
Sometimes during the research phase it’s super easy to get one CRM confused with another. After all, they all do the same thing, remember? When it gets to this point of discovery, I recommend creating a lit of all of the pros/cons/features of the CRMs you’re looking for so you can easily see everything side by side to help narrow your choices down.
6. Try that sh*t out.
If all else fails, sign up for a trial to get a feel for how your top 2-3 CRM options works in real life. After all, there’s nothing quite like actually getting your hands on a tool and seeing how it functions in real life. Most CRMs will offer a free trial to their users because they want to help you make the right decision just as much as you want to make the right decision. If you don’t see a trial highlighted or prompted somewhere, don’t be afraid to reach out to the company to ask if it’s possible to get a trial.
Don’t feel like doing all of the legwork in narrowing your CRM options down? I’ve done all the dirty work for you. Click here to get my list of the best CRMs for wedding photographers. Already have a CRM and just need the systems to go with it? I would love to help make your life easier. Click here to get that conversation started.
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