Which is the best CRM?”, “Which CRM do you recommend for a consulting agency?” … I see these questions every single day so I’ve written an article to ease this selection process. Here is the summary:
Rule of thumb: There isn’t any one-size-fits-all solution in the market. It’s all about your needs and circumstances.
CONSULTING FIRMS EVEN NEED “CRM”?
I don’t recommend a sales CRM to any consultancy or agency if they fall in any of these categories:
If your consulting firm is just a group of few partners without the resource for lead management.
If you are working on B2C or B2G channels.
If you are still struggling to validate your niche or offer.
If you are looking for CRM to generate leads via cold emailing and calls.
WHY DO YOU NEED A CRM?
The most important step is to identify your core problem and requirements. Here are the few use cases where CRM can be of any value:Management of qualified leads and opportunities along the sales pipeline to improve conversion rate.
Automate follow-ups with qualified but paused or dead leads to keep them in the loop.
Cross-selling and up-selling to generate new opportunities.
Keep a record of all type of communication with the clients at one place to improve communication and customer support.
Logging of sales team activities to improve transparency and performance.
Reporting on the basis of concrete data to improve decision making.
ADDITIONAL FEATURES PEOPLE CONSIDER
Automate repetitive and unproductive tasks to improve overall team productivity and efficiency.
Probability on the sales pipelines and stages to improve forecasting.
Integrate with marketing tools and systems to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
Gain third-party access to data about contacts and companies to support the sales team in communication.
Proposal and invoice building to streamline the conversion process.
Open tracking, link tracking, and meeting scheduling to improve communication
FACTORS YOU NEED TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A CRM!
The solution to the core problem
Goals and Objectives
BRIEF ABOUT VARIOUS OPTIONS:
HubSpot (Free): CRM is free and quite intuitive to start but automation and marketing features are not included. A good option if you just need a free or economical option with all basic features of a sales CRM
Hubspot (Paid): Pricing is quite high especially for the marketing features. A good option if you are looking for inbound marketing as a core strategy.
Salesforce of MS Dynamics: Significantly costly solutions. Robustness and complexity level is very high. Not a viable option if your processes are simple and you have a small team. A good option if you have scaled your team and need a robust option to streamline complete operations.
Pipedrive: Although not free but pricing is in mid-range even for advanced features like automation. A good option if your team is less than 50 employees and you need all essential and advanced features at a low cost.
Infusionsoft or ActiveCampaign: Their primary area is marketing automation and CRM is just an additional module. Good option If you are planning to use marketing automation as your core marketing strategy.
Again, I suggest to analyze your own needs and choose the one suited best for your own specific needs and circumstances.
ALTERNATE PATHS I’VE MENTIONED ABOVE!
Google Sheets: Create your own template or download a template to manage contacts and leads. An easy solution to start if you don’t have time and resources for the full-time system. Having structured leads in the sheets will help you in migration to any CRM at later stages.
Airtable or Monday: Both are the visually attractive form of Google sheets with a lot of features to develop your own micro-level systems at the very basic level. Highly recommended to check these tools.
Streak: Streak offers good CRM inside your Gmail or GSuite account so you can manage everything from your Google account without using any new system.I’d love to have the feedback of this consulting community on the CRMs even for the ones not mentioned above. If you are still unsure about the CRM, comment on your needs, marketing channels, and team size, I or other community members will help you in setting a direction.