Welcome to this week’s Business Breakdown. If you’re new to this series, check out our last post: how do you handle a "this will just take a second" request?
This week, we’ll be breaking down the top CRM tools for freelancers and agencies.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software are typically tools that help collect, organize, and manage your client’s information. They’re the building blocks of a good workflow and an invaluable reference for growing your business.
We asked the community what CRM software they use, why they use it, and how it helps them elevate their business.
Plutio’s mission is to “to support and become the right hand of the underserved community of freelancers and small businesses all over the world.” Plutio makes it easy to stay organized and focused with powerful project management tools. In addition to project management tools, Plutio has comprehensive CRM tools such as client portals, collaboration tools, client portals, and an interactive feed. Plutio also boasts a public API, enabling integration with Third Party Apps.
Manage projects and tasks using custom fields, recurring tasks, real-time collaboration, and reusable templates
Track your time; use a timesheet to accurately track how much time each project (or part of a project) takes, easily invoice for billable time, track using a timer or manually
Invoices; collect payment through multiple payment methods and set up recurring invoices with multi-currency support.
Create professional proposals and contracts; use a drag and drop editor to create beautiful proposals, track when proposals are opened and signed. You can collect electronic signatures and receive instant notifications.
Interactive forms and surveys; create fully customizable forms and reusable templates with various input types
For an overview of all of Plutio’s features, click here.
Here’s what the community had to say about Plutio:
Matt, of Stolen Arrows Films, uses Plutio because it makes managing and organizing his business a breeze.
I use Plutio daily for keeping organized and managing my business. Plutio makes it simple to communicate with my team and clients through real-time messaging, integrated email and team-based inbox, and a fully-customizable CRM. I’m able to invoice clients directly, share my progress with both my clients and team members, collaborate on tasks and deliverables, and track my time for any project stage.
Kate, of WebToday, uses Plutio for start to finish client management; from creating proposals to invoicing.
Plutio is a great tool that I use in all aspects of managing my agency. I start with a quote on a gorgeous looking proposal. When accepted, that automatically generates a project and an invoice to the client. Then we complete the tasks and add more as we work through the process. We also keep track of client details, our own procedures and more!
Dubsado was created to answer a need: to create a seamless integration between multiple systems in order to make business management easier. With a suite of features ranging from detail-rich project management (hello project tags!) to task boards, Dubsado is a tool designed to manage the entire lifecycle of your client.
Project management; create detailed projects, create tasks, and assign due dates to stay ahead of schedule. Set project statuses and add project tags for the ultimate organization.
Capture leads; trigger automatic workflows by embedding a lead form on your website
Communicate with clients; using your own email in order to communicate with clients, these conversations are organized and tracked within your client’s projects
Client only pages; create password protected client portals so your clients can access all their forms, emails, and invoices.
Scheduling; set a schedule for clients to book appointments
For an overview of all of Dubsado’s features, click here.
Here’s what the community had to say about Dubsado:
Marianne, of New Eve Creative Web Design & Photography, uses Dubsado because it “meets the unique needs of small business owners in the creative field”.
“Dubsado really shines, I think, with its easy-to-use and customized form builder, making contact forms, questionnaires, and contracts a snap. Its lead capture form builder provides embeddable code for incorporating the forms on your website. The forms actually look really nice, especially since one can include branding elements.”
Jayne, of Blue Heron Support, uses Dubsado because she needed to streamline her back-end paperwork and because of their excellent customer service.
“For two years I have used it for everything from scheduling consults and contact forms, to a combo proposal/e-signature contract/invoice with online payment, to recurring invoices, canned emails and questionnaires. I recently dove into workflows and now I can just press a button and let Dubsado do the work for me! Their customer service can't be beat.”
Ascend by Wix
Ascend by Wix is an all-in-one business solution that will enable you to connect with your customers, promote your business, and automate your workflow. Ascend by Wix provides you with a package of tools to manage and grow your business, all within your Wix account.
SEO Wiz; this tool will analyze your site in order to give you a step by step guide on how to improve your SEO and meet the requirements to start ranking on Google. As a bonus, it will automatically index your site on Google!
Email marketing; create and customize email campaigns, add dynamic values to keep your audience engaged
Wix Inbox; manage all of your conversations with clients in one place - whether it starts through a contact form or by booking a service
Wix Invoices; generate one time and recurring invoices, collect payment, and track your income
Manage site members; assign custom roles and permissions, manage site memberships using Wix Contacts and create subgroups using Wix Groups.
Complete integration with Wix’s flagship business solutions: Wix Stores, Wix Bookings, Wix Events, Wix Hotels, Wix Restaurants, and more.
For an overview of all of Ascend by Wix’s features, click here.
Additionally, Wix Partners that are part of the Wix Marketplace can manage their leads with Ascend. As an added bonus, if you’re a Wix Partner, many of the Ascend features are included for free within the Partner Dashboard.
Here’s what the community had to say about Ascend by Wix:
Tatiana, of Bewixed Web Design & Communication uses Ascend to manage her clients, increase ROI and automate her workflow.
“I believe that Ascend by Wix is unmatched. It’s the most comprehensive program to interact and manage successful customer relations, and increase ROI. The main [turning] point for me was realizing how much time and money I [saved] by using it. I've created an automation to respond to clients, for example - to thank them or to remind them of a quote or [an overdue task]. The Workflow [in Ascend by Wix] is actually a visual board [that helps] to quickly access and see where each client is… Autoresponders and email campaigns which are customizable are great tools as well.”
17hats’ goal is one we can all relate to: a work/life balance. Acknowledging the realities of solopreneurship, 17hats set out to create a solution to a “tsunami of paperwork”. The name of this CRM software plays on all of the hats, or roles and responsibilities, which small business owners commonly have to ‘wear’. 17hats offers numerous support channels, industry-standard AES-256 encryption, and over fifteen tools to manage your business.
Dashboard; see all of your upcoming calendar events, action items, and other key information at a glance
Quotes; this feature simplifies your workflow by enabling you to create customized quotes to which you can attach a contract
Contracts; draft branded contracts and collect signature electronically.
Get paid; clients can pay you multiple payment solutions such as Stripe, Paypal, Authorize.net, and Square
Bookkeeping; keep your transactions in order by categorizing each transaction for reference. (Your accountant will thank you)
For an overview of all of 17hats features, click here.
Rosie, of Tech Empowerment Community, uses 17hats because the design enables her to make a good first impression with clients.
“I recently booked with someone who used 17hats and just preferred the aesthetics of their paperwork and process to my own. [It’s] fickle, but I think things like [aesthetics] matter a lot considering invoicing and contracts are really the first professional interaction you have with a client.”
Erica, of The Island Creative, uses 17hats it makes it easy to manage day to day business operations.
“We use 17hats to manage the day to day running of our business. We can store our clients information for reference, send quotes, invoices and contracts. We have extensive Workflows set up so that I can manage staff duties. It integrates with our Google Calendars so we always know what jobs are due or upcoming. I love how easily I can manage my business from one central location!”
What CRM software do you use to manage your clients? Let us know in the comments below!
For more of our Business Breakdown series, check out our last post: how do you handle a "this will just take a second" request?