What is a CRM and why do I need one?

If you’ve ever heard people talk about Dubsado, HoneyBook, 17 Hats or “their CRM” then you might be wondering what these mythical systems are – and why people get quite so obsessed with them. (I mean, it’s just a system, right!?)

Well, I’m here to dish the dirt on what exactly a CRM is and why (if you’re a service based business) you really need one!


What is a CRM?

CRM stands for customer relationship management, which technically means a business’ strategy for engaging current and potential clients.

More often than not though, people are using the term CRM to talk about the software they use to manage their clients.


Signs you need a CRM in your life

  • It’s starting to feel like every free second you have is filled with client admin.
  • You’re sending your invoices in PayPal, and if someone misses a payment you need to chase them up manually. (If you remember to, that is.)
  • You’re creating proposals on the fly, and as for contracts… well, you have a template but you don’t often use it (it’s a bit of a pain).
  • Every time you bring on a new client, the experience is a little different (even if you do have the best of intentions).
  • You don’t really have anywhere to track your enquiries, so your inbox is a hot mess.

Now, imagine if all of that could be done for you!


Having a CRM takes the busywork out of client management

CRMs have hundreds of features, and of course, they’re all a bit different. At the heart of it, the purpose of a CRM is to make it easier to run your business.

Generally, these are some of the things a CRM can do for you:

  • Help you stay on top of your leads.
  • Automatically respond to enquiries, inviting them to schedule a call with you.
  • Allow you to send professional proposals and quotes (from templates you’ve already set up), so your potential clients can easily decide how they want to work with you and even add on extra services you mightn’t have offered otherwise.
  • Get your contracts signed electronically – no excuses!
  • Send and store feedback forms or questionnaires, making it easier to get the information you need to do your job.
  • Keep track of your clients or projects, so you always know what’s going on.
  • Send payment reminders, so you don’t have to feel icky about doing it yourself!

The best part? Depending on your set up, a lot of this can be automated!


At what point should you start using a CRM?

Honestly, the sooner the better.

Sure, it’s possible to run your business without a CRM. But do you want to?

As business owners we tend to massively undervalue our time and, while none of those tasks seem like a huge weight to bear, they can really add up and leave you drowning in admin. I promise you will feel so relieved when you know your clients are going to have an amazing experience, without you having to worry about all the little details.


Convinced? Here are your options

The most popular CRMs with creatives, coaches, VAs, bookkeepers and even bloggers – all kinds of service based businesses really – are HoneyBook, Tave, 17 Hats and Dubsado.

Dubsado is the CRM I use, and recommend to most of my clients. You can read all about why Dubsado is my go-to CRM here.


Sounds great but… where do you go from here?

If you’re ready to get started and simplify the way you run your business, but don’t have the time to set up a new system, or if it all sounds a bit complicated – feel free to reach out! We can set up a virtual coffee date to chat about what makes your business tick and whether I can help take some of this off your plate so you can get back to the important things.