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Find the Right CRM for Your Marketing Agency

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Are you currently using a CRM? If the answer is no, and you also work at a marketing agency, then it’s an understatement that you need one – fast. It would be an overstatement to say that you’ll “like, literally die without it.” No, you won’t literally die. However, you will adversely affect your sales.

CRM for Your Marketing Agency

So, maybe CRM is not essential to your personal survival, but it is essential to growing your agency’s revenue. As a marketing agency, there are some important things to consider when you start shopping for your perfect CRM. There are lots of options out there. How do you know what CRM is a good fit? Let’s take a look at some key factors to keep in mind when choosing the right CRM for your agency.

Let’s Review…

If you’re sitting there, scratching your head, don’t worry. Here is a quick review of CRM.

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. CRM software covers a broad range of uses and applications, but it’s primarily used for sales. Its abilities include:

  • Collecting and storing customer data
  • Tracking customer interaction
  • Automating sales and customer service tasks
  • Managing sales processes
  • Reporting team performance
  • Projecting future sales
  • And lots more.

CRM streamlines your sales process and strengthens your relationships with clients. Put even more simply, it makes your entire sales operation easier and boosts your selling proficiency.

So how exactly does CRM supercharge your sales process?

Think about this old saying” “Knowledge is power.” Very true, isn’t it? The more you know about your prospective clients, the more powerful your pitch becomes.

A CRM stores and provides necessary data to effectively target prospective clients and sell your services to them. When you understand your contacts better, you can speak to their specific needs directly, nurture them and keep them interested until you sign them. Furthermore, you’ll still have that precious data at your fingertips if you ever try to upsell or cross-sell to your current clients. Your customer service and marketing efforts will also benefit from that knowledge.

So now that you’re up to speed, let’s look at the some top considerations for choosing the right CRM for your agency. Like any platform, CRM is not a one-size-fits-all service. There are choices out there specifically designed for marketing agencies.

Contact Management

First off, you’ll want to ensure that whatever CRM you choose has a user-friendly and powerful system for storing your contact data. Contact management is one of the pillars of a CRM platform, so you’ll want a system that tracks the right data, organizes that data properly, and makes the data easily readable for your team. (And let’s face it, agency people are creative people first, numbers people second.) A couple of features that are indicative of a strong contact management system include an intuitive lead timeline, customizable lead scoring, email marketing, reminders and alerts, and easy automation capabilities.

Reporting and Analytics

In a similar vein, a CRM should feature top-notch reporting capabilities in its arsenal. What possible use is data-driven software if it doesn’t produce good data? Be sure that you’re getting everything you need out of your reports. High-quality reporting and analytics will provide all the information you need to measure your current sales success and accurately forecast future performance. They should tackle crucial areas, including pipeline, conversion, activity and projection. Many CRM platforms are also able to track marketing campaigns, so that is a definite bonus.

Flexibility

Your CRM should be like a football player taking ballet lessons — strong and sturdy, but also adaptable and flexible. Here are some questions to ask when you’re considering adopting a new CRM solution:

  • How customizable is it? Your CRM should be a tool tailored to serve your agency’s  specific needs. That means you should be able to customize deal stages, create groups or segment lists easily, add notes, and assign plenty of custom fields.
  • Is it able to easily integrate? Most quality CRM solutions allow for integration, but you still should double check that your chosen solution does this. It will be a major headache if your CRM doesn’t interface with all of your other systems – especially your marketing automation platform. Look for a solution that easily connects to others through APIs.
  • Could it be right under your nose? A CRM could already be part of another solution that you’re using. For example, a few marketing automation platforms have a built-in CRM. Since marketing automation is another essential tool for agencies, it helps to have both your marketing and sales platforms under one umbrella.

Key Features Included

You’ve already seen that robust contact management, reasonable flexibility and high quality reporting are vital in any CRM platform you choose, but here is a full list of must-have features that should be included within your platform:

  • Contact Management
  • Actionable Reporting and Analytics
  • Cloud-Based System
  • Sales Forecasting
  • Pipeline Visibility
  • Sales Performance Management
  • Third-Party Integration
  • Alerts/Reminders

These are really the meat and potatoes of a CRM. Make certain that you set your team up for success with these essential tools.

Cost

The cost of a CRM varies widely across the many platforms out there. Typically, the price that you’ll see is the cost per user, per month. Prices could be anywhere from $0 to $300 or more, but this dramatic range can be indicative of a different set of features. Consider the following:

  1. Are you paying a higher cost for features that you won’t use? It’s easy to get swept away by a salesperson describing all the cool things you can do with the software. But what do you really need? If your agency is a small operation, you may not need to pay corporate prices to maximize the value you’re getting from the platform. Be sure to stick to the essentials (see above ^), with a reasonable price tag.
  1. Conversely, are you missing out on important features simply to cut corners? It’s tempting, but beware of the seductive trap of paying the “too good to be true” price. Usually, there’s a catch. Most likely the catch is that you’ll have lots of limitations or a skimpy amount of tools at your disposal. You deserve to reap the maximum benefits from your CRM. If you’re missing crucial components, then what’s the point?

Support

Technical malfunction! Who’re you gonna call? NOT the Ghostbusters, although that would be pretty cool. No matter how reliable your tech is, chances are that at some point you’ll hit a hiccup. It helps to have dependable support to guide you through any technical difficulties, especially when your business is depending on it. Nothing is worse than needing help and not getting it. You don’t want to get caught in that situation – you’ve already got enough on your plate as it is. As you’re considering implementing a CRM, check into their support options. Check for help articles and videos and a support team with good hours. Also, it never hurts to check out reviews of customer support experiences.

Find Your Perfect Fit

Now that you have some basics under your belt, go ahead and start shopping around. Remember, a CRM should ultimately be a tool for your agency, and its purpose is to boost your ROI. That means that not just any CRM will do. You need to do your research and really examine a platform before committing. Don’t settle for a so-so platform. Find the one that’s going to take your selling power – and your agency – to the next level.

Looking for Customer Relationship Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Customer Relationship Management software solutions.

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About the Author

Olivia Williams

As a copywriter, Olivia creates content and brainstorms marketing initiatives at SharpSpring. An avid reader and writer, she brings creativity and top-notch communication skills to the marketing team.

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