I am hustling to make my clients the happiest business people on earth, and even though I am not sending them gifts for Christmas, I am working harder than ever to make them understand that the return on investment is huge. But, I am a solo entrepreneur, and it seems that the harder I keep working, the more difficult it is to keep track of what I am doing.
At the moment, I’m working with 10 clients and on more than 10 projects at the same time. I keep working on all of them simultaneously, but I don’t keep track of how often I talk with my clients and how many times I follow up conversations and emails. I just keep working.
I remember when I worked at the University, the people that impressed me the most were people who had true structure at work, and the people who remembered tiny details about me, and the people who followed up with me on the exact dates we agreed upon. I used to be like that, but at the moment, too many things are happening.
Why I need a CRM
I have decided that I need a customer relationship management (CRM) solution to have more control of who my customers are and what types of projects I am working on. There are basically four reason why I am looking for a CRM solution for my business:
- Follow up the sales process
- Be more personal
- Overview of the deals
- Managing time
At the moment, I don’t feel that I have the time to follow up what happens during a sales process. And, I forget about leads and prospects. A lot of people have told me that they’re interested in doing projects with me, and I have never followed up on anything, because I have more than enough doing what I am doing. But, with a CRM solution, things will be so much easier. I’ll just add contacts and what they’re interested in and the dates I talked to them, and it would be easier to remember and send them an email to follow up on what we talked about.
I’d love to add details about my customers, like what their interests are and when their birthdays are, things we can talk about the next time we talk. I remember a lot of personal things right now, but I am thinking that in the future, when I have a lot more clients, I won’t be able to remember everything. I want to be able to add notes about each person and about each company.
I am working on many projects simultaneously and I keep getting new customers, and at the same time, I keep talking to people who have projects for me. But, I don’t have an overview of the different projects (the different types of categories and if there are any similarities), I don’t know how much money I’ll be earning if I close all the deals or just some of them. I just keep working.
And finally, I need to manage my time with each of my customers. I am using many different tools to keep me structured at work, I am using many tools for blogging, and I am using the Pomodoro technique to manage my time. But, I would like to have one place to get an overview of everything.
I am testing 3 different CRM solutions
I have been looking at a lot of different CRM solutions, and at the moment, I am testing three of the best I have found. The reason I am testing only three, is that I am looking for CRM for solo entrepreneurs and collaboration will not be an issue for me.
The most important reason why I am testing Highrise is that it’s made by 37signals. I am very impressed by what I’ve seen from 37signals so far, and the reviews I read about Highrise is impressive as well, and it seems to be a great solution for solo entrepreneurs. They have a solo plan for people like me. And, I can use an iPhone app to keep things running smooth. I have only been using Highrise for about 24 hours, so I don’t know how it will work for my business yet.
I have been using base for the past two weeks. They have a free version, and it seems to be a very good alternative for a solo entrepreneur. The version I have been looking at is the $15 a month plan. I especially like the reports I get with base, they make me get an overview of how my projects are going and how many deals I am closing etc.. I am testing the iPhone app as well.
I really enjoy social media, and I believe social media will be even more important in 2013. The first thing I realized after I signed up for nimble is that it’s very integrated with social media. I have a good contact manager, it has the overview with deals, and I can send emails, and follow up on conversations in Facebook and Twitter from inside nimble. I am waiting for them to create an app for iPhone.
At the moment, I need to add all the various features I will need as part of my CRM solution to a piece of paper, and then I will compare and see which one that will be best for my business. I will write a follow up in January to let you know what I decide.
Are you using a CRM? And if you are, let me know which one you are using and how you are using it.