Half the battle of running a successful freelance writing business is staying organized. This is usually the number one concern many of my coaching clients have when getting their businesses off the ground. They understand how to write and create, but getting organized with systems is a different story.
One way in which you can organize your freelance writing business is by using a client relationship manager. A client relationship manager, also known as a CRM, is a service or software that allows you to keep track of sales, correspondence, and client notes.
There are multiple client relationship managers on the market – from the free CRM Streak for Gmail to a technological beast like Infusionsoft. At this point in my business, I’ve tried my hand at a few client relationship managers, and in this article, I’m going to share how to get the most use out of them.
Get some help to set up your CRM.
Before hiring my virtual assistant, I was trying to keep track of everything by using a spreadsheet. It was a complete and utter disaster. I’d lose papers, forget to take down notes and it was taking up a lot of my time.
Upon hiring her, the first thing she said to me was “We need to get you a client relationship manager stat.” From there, she suggested Capsule which was free and easy to use. She helped me set it up and we’ve been relying on CRMs ever since.
When we moved over to Infusionsoft over a year ago, we immediately did some training with one of their consultants to walk us through how to use the CRM.
The point I’m trying to make here is this: If you’re not the most organized person in the world, you may want to consider getting some help when setting up a client relationship manager.
Use it to keep track of client notes online.
I went from trying to use a paper spreadsheet in the beginning of my business to moving to an online client relationship manager. This not only ensured that I wouldn’t lose my notes, but it also helped me run reports and communicate with my virtual assistant.
Now, whenever I have a question as it pertains to a client, all I have to do is fire up the client relationship manager, search their name and take a look at our last notes.
Use it in conjunction with your accounting.
In addition to using some sort of invoicing and accounting service, you can supplement it by also keeping payment notes within a client relationship manager. For example, a client relationship manager may be a good place to annotate how much work was involved in a project so you’ll know what to quote in the future. These notes can also come in handy when you conduct a client audit.
Use it to keep track of sales.
A client relationship manager is really meant to help you keep track of sales and deals you’ve closed. It can come very in handy when you’re trying to determine the following:
- How many prospects do you need to speak to on average before closing a sale?
- What percentage of sales are you closing?
This information is extremely valuable because it can show you if there are any holes in your sales process. It can also show you what’s really working. This information alone can really help you take your business to the next level.
A CRM can help you stay on top of clients and take your freelance business to the next level. Find ways to start implementing a CRM and pay attention to the data so you can tweak your sales process.