The article was first published on the www.pienyrityskonsultit.fi blog.
In the everyday life of every small entrepreneur, there comes a moment when you have to rethink your old practices. For myself in my photography business this situation came to the fore when I noticed a variety of unfinished work piling up at too high a rate. My biggest problem seemed to be that one of my clients could go completely unmanaged. This also led to some of my future prospectuses cooling off unnecessarily quickly. And this is directly reflected in the company’s checkout. So something had to be done.
How I changed my own practices
First, I switched my email service to a Google Worspace account. After creating a Google Workspace account, you can and will get Google Marketplace Apps free CRM application (CRM or customer relationship management ) Insightly’s ( www.insight.ly ) as my primary customer relationship management system. I am also researching many other Google Workspace CRM applications that took advantage of Google contacts, i.e. the information was updated between systems.
Next, I present to you six different types of small business CRM solution options, which I’ve tried.
1) My old simple CRM system
- Google Gmail inbox and emails properly categorized and filtered into “folders” for customers, prospectuses, etc.
- Google contacts
- Google docs and Evernote for storing email templates.
This system works pretty well if you’re like me, a one-man company. BUT , because the system does not automate anything, then you are all the time a little unsure whether all the things are now certainly done as you had planned.
2) Zoho CRM
Zoho CRM was such a benevolent customer relationship management system that I almost bought a Zoho CRM license. The Zoho CRM system can also be used free of charge without the need to purchase. In this case, however, there are some limitations in the system.
The Zoho CRM system has a great paid iPhone app: for example, by making calls through it and logging calls directly into the system. After the call, you can write a short message about what you agreed on during the call. This greatly facilitates subsequent contact with your customer.
The good thing about Zoho is that you can place a form on your website that sends the information directly to Zoho’s system. This eliminates the need to re-enter form information in a different system. And best of all: when information about a new prospectus enters the system, you can automatically create tasks for it, which you should take care of next. Tasks can be, for example, “send reply email”, “call customer”, etc.
In my own photography business, projects very often follow a clear formula from initial preparation to final invoicing. Zoho’s stumbling block for me became the transfer of the sales pipe from the prospectus to the actual customer project. It was not easy to create step-by-step model projects for prospectuses or customer projects that could have been re-used for new customers.
3) RunMyProcess + FREE Zoho CRM + Self-made Google Workspace integration
Since Zoho CRM couldn’t do everything I wanted, I started looking for a solution to do things outside of Zoho CRM and then import the data into Zoho’s system. So I found a nice integration service that works online as a cloud service: RunMyProcess. The problem, however, was that I would have had to do quite a bit of research and programming to make the system fit for me. So I didn’t go down this long road, because I knew I had yet to find a ready-made solution for myself.
Solve360 is a really well done and well thought out customer relationship management system. The Solve360 system also has a fairly good mobile user interface, which means that the Solve360 system can also be used with a phone. The only problem is that the Solve360 license is quite valuable compared to the competitors.
5) Capsule CRM
The features of the Capsule CRM system just weren’t enough for my own needs. The system itself seemed quite easy to use. The Capsule CRM license is quite affordable and the system can also be used for free up to a certain limit.
Highrise has long been in the customer relationship management market. The problem with the highrise system for myself was its poor integration with Google’s own services, so I didn’t even try the whole system beyond a small test.
Trello is a great system for making kanban-style paintings. Boards and their cards take many forms, including links to various services such as Google Sheets or Google Docs.
I currently have a combination of Trello and Google Workspace. My system isn’t very automatic, but the variability of Trello’s tables bent me away from my old CRM solution. In the past, I chose the Insightly CRM system as my own small business customer relationship management system, because then Insightly implemented the requirements for my system in the best possible way.
Hopefully this little review of mine will help you find the right way for you to take care of your clients a little better.