CRMs for Creative EntrepreneursEmailing prospects.

Following up with retailers after a show.

Tracking who you’ve sent catalogs and samples to in an organized fashion.

These are all good business practices that shouldn’t find you scrounging through old business cards or digging into your inbox. With the right customer relationship management tool, you can do all of these things (and so much more). And many of our favorites have added benefits too.

Here, we have a short review of some of the CRMs used by Paper Camp alumni, and resources we’ve found to really help you have positive client communications and relationships.

Podio

Podio is one of the more popular CRMs favored by our alums. It’s a project management system and contact management system rolled into one.

From a CRM standpoint, Podio allows you to track clients, their purchases, add notes and upload files to company profiles or specific contacts. When you send a retailer a catalog and a few samples, you can mark it for follow-up in a few weeks.

For project management, Podio enables you to create systems and project workflows for things like order fulfillment and other internal processes. Everyone on your team can see what tasks have been completed and what items still need to be tackled.

Depending on the level you choose, you can create visual reports, sync contacts with other tools, automate your workflow and more. Packages start at $9 a month for the basic plan.

Insightly

If you like to keep your contacts in your inbox, Insightly is a free tool that integrates with a number of accounting and business tools. Track leads, enter notes, create projects and milestones, know where a potential customer is in your sales funnel.

Additional benefits are available in paid versions of this tool, which starts at $12 a month per user.

FreshBooks & QuickBooks

FreshBooks and QuickBooks are both accounting programs, but they’re also handy for maintaining your customer lists and notes. You can also track revenue by client so you know which clients order more frequently and who places the highest volume orders.

If you’re doing custom work or collaborations, these tools also offer time tracking and reporting systems for revenue and expenses by project. Added bonus: Many accountants prefer QuickBooks for bookkeeping and organizing your finances for taxes. QuickBooks and Freshbooks are easy to use if you’re doing your own bookkeeping and taxes too.

Postable

While Postable isn’t a CRM service, they sure make it easy to build strong relationships with clients through snail mail. Their address book feature makes it easy to manage your mailing list and ensure your contact list is up-to-date. Simply send your contacts a link requesting their physical address and Postable will collect and/or update them in your address book for you.

You can also request birthdays of your contacts and Postable will send you a reminder so you can choose a card, type a message and they’ll print and send it for you. It’s a great resource for staying connected to your personal and business contacts. You can also export the list and move it to a full CRM at any time.

Whichever direction you decide to go, we recommend choosing something that helps keep you organized and efficient. We don’t know what we’d do without our own systems!

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