Whether you write blog posts in your favourite pajamas or file invoices from the café, there’s still a horde of co-workers, clients and customers relying on you. Managing workload doesn’t come much easier for freelancers, especially since they have nobody to structure their projects and daily tasks in their stead. And, when it comes to converting new customers and building long-lasting, profitable relationships, freelancers simply cannot do without a little help from automation.
Though primarily built as customer relationship management databases, most of the cutting-edge CRM systems serve as task and project management tools as well. Comprehensive and powerful, these solutions are crucial for freelancers who plan their work strategically and are eager to see their investment return. If you are just as ambitious yourself, take a look at how CRMs can boost your workflow and, consequently, your profits.
1. Mastering Customer Lifecycle with Intelligence
Every business decision is customer-oriented, since ultimately, the receiving end is what makes our ventures possible and worthwhile. As it combines all of our efforts to make the customers interested and satisfied, customer relationship management is both the alpha and the omega of the business world.
And, it all begins with lead generation. CRM systems are not only storage spaces for the precious customer data, but information collectors and analysts as well. Audience targeting and marketing are never effective if not data-based, which makes CRM tools your most loyal allies when it comes to lead generation.
Still, customer lifecycle
only starts rolling once the quality leads are acquired. To become paying customers, they need to be nurtured first, and nurturing is something that doesn’t stop even after conversion. In both cases, it comes down to engagement and retargeting techniques, both of which would be improbable without the automation and data metrics provided by CRMs.
2. Streamlining Operations with Automation
What social media is for target marketing, an email is for customer retention and reactivation – an inexhaustible source that can be effectively exploited only with automation. Transactional emails have 8x more opens and clicks than any other type of email, and can generate 6x more revenue, according to Experian
, but you’ll need a system to mediate through.
Not only do CRMs monitor touch points that trigger transactional emails, but they also provide convenient automation tools that send them off as soon as a lead subscribes to your website or any time a customer makes another purchase. Be that a discount offer or a thank you note, this CRM-supported strategy is what makes or breaks a customer lifecycle.
That, of course, is only an example of how potent CRM automation can be. Being a piece of software, after all, such a system is developed to streamline operations by managing your workflow. The same goes for task management and website integrations, and you’ll certainly need both if a multichannel communication is a part of your strategy. If not, consider it as soon as possible.
3. Improving Collaboration On The Go
What defines a freelancer is his ability to communicate with teammates, clients and customers regardless of the place or time zone he’s currently in. In business terms, however, staying connected implies more than instant messaging, even though CRMs provide this option too.
In order to work on the go and collaborate remotely
, freelancers need a secure file cabinet that can be accessed whenever and from wherever they are, but that can also be shared with others when needed. Online storage space is one of the basic features of CRMs, and the possibility for sharing it with external users in a controlled environment is another.
Though there are other, more potent budget management tools, CRMs are equipped for serving this purpose too. The systems are empowered with features for quotes and invoices, so you can save additional bucks on expensive money administration software and keep every aspect of your business within a single platform.
4. Increasing Workflow with Project Management
That’s basically the idea behind comprehensive customer relationship management software systems – by providing an all-in-one package for a single price, they enable money-savvy entrepreneurs and frugal freelancers to run their businesses with a single tool. For the same reason, CRMs include project management solutions as well.
Fortunately, there is never a shortage of lucrative projects for independent workers, but they are still only lucrative if they are managed flawlessly and approached strategically. For their convenience, CRMs now offer intuitive task management features with task dependencies, to-do lists, and assignment options, thus providing a much-needed structural support on a daily basis.
Nevertheless, no project is finished in a day, which is why choosing the best CRM solution
will help you stay on top of your progress and introduce transparency through Gantt Charts
. And, to encourage you to keep up the good work and stay consistent – which is far harder in the freelance world – this system will empower you with a productivity-boosting time tracker.
5. Boosting Profits with Reports & Analytics
Being a platform that allows you to manage all of these operations at once, a CRM would be pretty much pointless without a system that monitors and gauges everything you do. As you must have learned by now, there are always two sides of the business coin – while the first prompts you to do everything in your power to keep your workflow smooth from one day to another, the second urges you to think ahead. Luckily, CRM deals with both.
Reports and analytics are two features that are responsible for tracking and measuring your current progress, therefore making your future improvement course crystal clear. Though making your business decisions in the present, the internal KPI allows you to keep them smart, strategic and calculated enough to yield more benefits in the future.
At the same time, CRMs stay focused on your customers and use collected data for generating client profiles. If you choose to approach branding, marketing, customer relationship management and selling, you’ll need them for understanding who you need to address, one customer at a time. Without these profiles, effective target marketing, lead generation, customer conversion, customer retention and customer service wouldn’t be probable, and neither would increased ROI rates.
Nothing is “business as usual” any longer, and as a hard-working and aspiring freelancer, you’ve experienced that first hand. Customer behaviour has significantly changed and has become highly uncertain, so we need any kind of assistance we can find. With CRM systems, help, improvement and profit are luckily only a couple of clicks away.