Lately I’ve been doing a lot of research and implementation of CRMs. A CRM is a ‘Client Relationship Manager’; a database that contains email addresses, contact info and other pertinent info about customers.

The initial setup takes a bit of organizing and time, but once established, the benefits are enormous. With a CRM, one can keep track of recent communications and sales, contact info, as well as personal bits of info like date of birth or even custom criteria as specific as an astrological sign.

There are a plethora of CRMs out there currently; here are few of the top ones ranging from free to highest in price:

Insightly –  Pricing: Free up to 3 users; up to 2500 customer contacts/records

Zoho CRM –  Pricing: Free up to 3 users; up to 5000 customer contacts/records

Nimble –  Pricing: One plan only – $15/mo per user; unlimited customer contacts/records

Contactually –  Pricing: $19.99/mo, team contact sharing, unlimited contacts/records

Batchbook –  Pricing: $35/mo; unlimited users, up to 5000 customer contacts/records

Microsoft Dynamics CRM –  Pricing: $65/mo user, unlimited customer contacts/records

Salesforce –  Pricing: $25 – $125/mo per user; varying features, unlimited contacts/records

Infusionsoft –  Pricing: $199/mo; 3 users, up to 2500 contacts

…further info compiled on CRMs can be found on my new favourite list-curating app List.ly

Are you maintaining strong and healthy relationships with your client base?

If you were to ask yourself  ‘Am I keeping up the best communication with my clients possible?’ – what would your response be? How do you manage all of those email addresses and are you even collecting addresses on a regular basis?

Research states that email marketing is still one of the top ways to stay connected and make sales with your client in the digital world. So it’s apparent that maintaining communication is paramount and the method to reach to them is via email.

Here is where the CRM comes in. Pretty much every CRM integrates with most email campaign managers which is a real plus. The integration allows you to track email campaigns, feedback and stats, but it also will add new contacts to the email campaign manager and vice versa. Both databases will totally be in sync. You are also able to put your contacts into specific groups or categories so that not every client gets the same email campaign.

If you feel like you need to be more streamlined with managing client contacts and also keeping up communications with them, then the CRM and email campaign manager go hand in hand. By ‘touching’ your clients regularly, you’ll build a strong relationship which in turn will help with sales.

Choosing a CRM that is the right fit for you is important, so be sure to do your homework before just picking any old one!

 Addendum Nov. 24, 2014: I’m now using Contactually myself and I love it. Try it out for yourself!