So you’ve just started your filmmaking business, or you’re starting to get too many clients, and you are trying to figure out a way to easily keep on top of these projects. Will a spreadsheet help? Sure, but it can get cluttered real fast. How about a word document? That’s not easily searchable.
Like you, I wen’t through the difficulty of trying to find a way to more easily manage my clients and the projects I am doing for them. That is when I came across CRM’s or Customer Relationship Managers.
CRM’s are a bit of software that can help you to manage your contact details, the companies they work for and the projects you have with them. Typically, they are web based applications, but many of them will also have a mobile app, so that you can manage your projects on the go.
Each CRM basically does the same thing, with some being better at specific tasks than others. I highly recommend that you shop around and find one that fits you.
Some typical CRM features include:
- Contacts – For both companies and company employees
- Email Tracking – Which lets you send emails, see if the email has been opened and if any links have been clicked.
- Project Pipelines – Which tracks the sales process, project stages etc.
- Tasks – To do lists for each lead and client i.e. Meetings, Calls, Deadlines etc.
Hubspot is a great free CRM, there’s also Streak which is an extension for Gmail, and many, many others. I ended up settling with one called Salesmate. With Salesmate, I find that the UI is super easy to use, looks clean, and it gets the job done. All while being relatively inexpensive at $15 a month.
So how do I use my CRM?
When searching the internet for potential companies to work with, I will have my CRM open in another window.
When I come across a businesses I want to work with, I will create a new contact for that businesses owner or marketing manager.
I’ll add their name, telephone number and email address to the contact.
I’ll then add the company to the CRM. Adding their web address, physical address and social media accounts.
Finally, I will create a project, which will start off sharing the name of the company.
The project will start off in my ‘Sales’ pipeline as a lead. Once I have sent an initial email to the lead, it will be moved to the contacted section.
The project will progress through the Meetings, Proposal & Negotiation stages before either being lost or won.
If the contract has been won, I will then move it to the ‘Production’ pipeline.
Here I can keep track of the project from initial invoice, to pre-production, production and post production, before finally completing the project after the final invoice has been paid.
Finally, the project will move onto my ‘Completed Projects’ pipeline.
I have three sections for this pipeline:
- Satisfaction Survey Sent – Where I have sent out a quick questionnaire to the client for feedback on the project.
- Case Study Published – Where using the information from the survey, I put together a case study on my companies website with a testimonial from the client.
- Finished – Where the project is fully completed, with no more work to be done.
Over the past month that I have been using this CRM, my project management has improved dramatically, freeing up more time for me to spend on each project, and less time on the boring admin work.
If you are starting out with a video production company, I would highly recommend you finding a CRM that works for you. They are invaluable tools that can help you keep track of your business.