A CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, is an essential tool in almost any business, including graphic design. It’s a system for managing all your interactions and relationships with customers. Think of it as a centralized repository where everything from contact data to purchase history, preferences, and previous communications is stored.
For a design business, a CRM can be a game changer. First, it helps you keep your work organized. Designers often deal with a lot of clients and projects at the same time, and a CRM keeps everything in order. Second, it gives you insights about your clients. You can see trends, like what kind of designs they prefer or what times of the year they buy the most.
But do you really need it? It depends. If you’re just starting out and have few customers, maybe a CRM is overkill.
But if your business is growing, and especially if you’re having trouble keeping track of your customers and their needs, a CRM can be a smart investment.
Why do you need a CRM system when there is Excel or Google Sheets?
Well, using Excel or Google Sheets is like riding a bicycle, while having a CRM is like driving a sports car. Both get you to your destination, but the experience and efficiency are totally different.
- Automation: A CRM automates processes that in Excel you would have to do manually. This means automatic follow-ups, status updates, and more, saving you a lot of time.
- Centralization of data: In a CRM, all the information is in one place and updated in real time. In Excel, you would have to update manually, which increases the risk of errors and outdated data.
- Analysis and reporting: A CRM gives you in-depth analysis and reporting with just a few clicks. In Excel, you would have to do everything by hand, which is a slow and error-prone process.
- Scalability: A CRM grows with your business. Excel may work for a few customers, but it becomes unsustainable as your business grows.
- Customer interaction: CRMs offer functionality to interact directly with customers, such as sending emails and integrating with social networks. With Excel, all of this would be manual.
You can manage your customer relationships using Excel, but a CRM offers efficiency, accuracy, and capabilities that Excel simply can’t match. Think of it as investing in the right tools for more efficient and professional work.
What are the features of CRM?
As you might guess, the features offered by CRM systems vary from one to another.
CRM systems, at least the simplest ones, can help you organize a customer base and store basic information.
The most complete CRM systems allow you to perform many more functions. Here I leave you with some of the most important ones for agencies and graphic design professionals:
- Contact Management: Stores and organizes customer information, such as names, addresses, preferences, interaction history, etc.
- Sales Tracking: Controls the sales process from first contact to close. Includes opportunity tracking, pipeline management, and sales forecasting.
- Marketing Automation: Allows you to create and manage marketing campaigns, segment customers, and analyze the effectiveness of these campaigns.
- Customer Service: Facilitates the management of inquiries, complaints or service requests, providing a complete history of interactions with each customer.
- Reporting and Analysis: Generates detailed reports on sales, customer behavior, marketing campaign performance, and more, facilitating data-driven decision making.
- Integration with other Systems: Integrates with other tools such as email, calendars, e-commerce platforms, social networks, etc., to centralize information and processes.
- Mobile Accessibility: Many CRMs offer mobile applications to access and manage customer information from anywhere.
- Customization and Scalability: Allows you to customize fields and processes to adapt to the specific needs of your business and scale as your company grows.
Here are some of the features designers can take advantage of that most full-featured CRMs offer
- A CRM system stores the complete history of purchases, communications, payments, phone calls and other customer interactions.
- It consolidates customer information from different sales channels into a unified database.
- Allows segmentation of the customer base according to specific criteria, facilitating personalized attention to each segment.
- Automates the billing process, issuing receipts, tickets, etc., relieving the workload of the team.
- Manages new orders and ensures their correct distribution to the appropriate managers.
- Controls deadlines for the completion of tasks.
- Analyzes key metrics such as workload of sales reps, invoicing, number of orders processed, sales made, cancelled orders, response time, among others.
- Provides visibility into who is responsible for tasks, who has contacted the customer and when the order was processed.
- Facilitates the creation of personalized marketing campaigns via email and SMS.
- Tracks visitor behavior on the website, including products viewed and added to the shopping cart but not purchased.
- Increase sales by suggesting products related to the customer’s last purchases.
Integration of a CRM with other tools
Integrating a CRM with other tools is crucial to maximize its efficiency and effectiveness. The options are limitless. Each company uses different channels and tools, so a key point is to check beforehand if the CRM is compatible with yours.
Email and Calendar
Integrating your CRM with email and calendar tools (such as Outlook or Gmail) means that you can synchronize your emails and meetings directly with the CRM. This makes it easier to track customer communications and plan activities.
Social networking and messaging
By integrating the CRM with social media platforms, you can manage interactions with customers and prospects directly from the CRM. This includes monitoring mentions of your brand, responding to inquiries and capturing leads from these platforms.
You can set up a single inbox that connects Facebook Messenger, Chatbot and WhatsApp so you receive all messages in the same window and reduce response time.
Integration with automated marketing platforms allows you to create and manage campaigns directly from the CRM. You can segment your customers based on their CRM information and measure the impact of your campaigns on sales and customer engagement.
Accounting and Invoicing Software
Integrating your CRM with accounting tools makes it easy to manage invoices, payments and financial tracking of customer interactions.
Data Analysis Tools
Connecting your CRM with analytics tools allows you to perform deeper analysis of your customer and sales data, which can help in making strategic decisions.
Customer Support Software
By integrating customer support systems with your CRM, you can have a complete record of all customer interactions, improving responsiveness and service quality.
ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning)
Integration with ERP systems allows a complete view of the business, from sales to inventory management and operations.
For designers and design agencies, a CRM is not just a tool, it is a strategic asset. It facilitates relationship management with clients and prospects, ensuring that every interaction is personalized and efficient. By centralizing client information, a CRM helps designers better understand their clients’ needs and preferences, allowing them to create more accurate proposals and designs that truly align with them.
A CRM’s ability to automate administrative and tracking tasks frees up valuable time, allowing designers to focus on what they do best: design.
In addition, analytics and reporting features provide valuable insights into market trends and customer behavior, facilitating strategic decision-making and the identification of new business opportunities.
Have you already used a CRM and how does it help your business? We want to read about it in the comments.