It is absolutely crucial for every painting company to use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool. If you want to grow your business, increase revenue, and build valuable customer relationships, you need to start using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool. Painting companies who do not use a CRM to it’s full capacity can really struggle, should the economy turn. Another major benefit is if you keep very good records of your prospects, leads and customers, your business will be sellable and worth more than a company that does not keep good records. By taking advantage of key features in a good CRM, I guarantee your painting company will successfully grow business.
There are literally hundreds of options on the market today. I have tested a lot of CRMs over the years. My clients are pretty much required to use a CRM if they work with me. It allows me to better target their marketing efforts. With that said, below is a very short list of some of the CRMs I think work great for painters. I won’t go into all the pros and cons of each one in this post. Everyone has pros and cons. The key is to find one you like and stick to using it! I would not typically recommend going with a CRM that has all the bells and whistles. I’ve seen a lot of painters purchase some really kick awesome products, but then they do not utilize all the features. I would start with a light CRM and work your way up to more complex CRMs as your company grows.
What should a good CRM do for you?
- Upload photos and key documents (estimates) within a person’s record. This is key so when you want to go look up what you did for a past client, you’ll have all of your files in one place!
- It should be able to send/receive emails
- It should tell you where you are at in the sales process. You should be able to customize that sales process. I.e. 1) Qualify Lead, 2) Estimate Scheduled 3) Estimate Submitted, 4) Follow Up Requested…etc
- When a CRM has a good sales process, your sales team will be more productive and close more deals. You’ll know where and when to look to tighten up that sales process.
- It should have good task management built into it.
- It should be easy to organize and find things. This is normally completed by using TAGS. You can tag people many different ways. I.e. “Exterior Work” “Interior Work” “Cabinet Work” “Both Interior & Exterior Work” “Do Not Work With Again” “Do Not Email” Having great tags can help when running an email, call or mailing list. If work gets slow or you want to perhaps get ahead of the game and book winter work early, you can use tags to run a good list. Maybe you want to have a customer reward’s program. Using tags can help with this as well.
- It should give you good reporting on all of the data that you inputted. You want to know how much work comes from your website vs Yelp – a Good CRM should tell you that!
The Most Recommended CRM Tools for your Business
- Pipeline Deals – This is one that many of my customers use. It is a simple CRM and works very well. It does not have some of the automation I’d like in a CRM, and the mobile apps are good, not great. All in all, it does a great job for most painters.
- Base CRM – This is a few steps up from Pipeline Deals. I use it for my own business. It is also great for prospecting if you have estimators and sales staff that do a lot of outside sales and prospecting. You can use their incredible mobile mapping feature to capture leads, for example. This is not as robust as the big CRMs on the market: Salesforce and Zoho. I would say it is a mid-level CRM and works very well. I have used it for many years. The design of the desktop and mobile apps are really well done and perhaps the best on the market.
- Salesforce and Zoho: I lumped these two together. Zoho tends to copy a lot of the features of Salesforce. Salesforce is perhaps the largest and most popular CRM on the market. It was also one of the first cloud CRMs. Both have less expensive and very expensive options for users! If you go with one of these two CRMs, you will definitely need to commit to using a CRM!
- Highrise CRM: The team who originally created Highrise is 37 Signals, the creators of the world’s most popular project management system. Highrise is perhaps the easiest and simplest CRM I’ve ever used. It is inexpensive and a great option for a small painting company. You won’t be disappointed.
- Cork CRM: This is a light to medium CRM. It does a bit more than just acting as a CRM. It helps with creating simple proposals and some light project scheduling features. From my testing of this App, it is good for a small painting shop. It is missing some key reporting and follow up features I’d like to see in a “good” or more robust CRM.
Now, I did not talk about many other CRMs on the market. There are plenty more that are really good. I just don’t find it helpful to list them all on this particular post. I know painters. You’ll get overwhelmed and decide to shelf the idea of using a CRM. There is always a shiny new lure lurking around the corner. Just dive in and try one of the CRMs mentioned above and use it!
I’ve given you some great options above that I find are fantastic for the painting industry. Let me know in the comments below what your preferred CRM is and if there are any indispensable features you’ve discovered for your painting business.