In the last decade, there has been a significant shift in the way we live and work. Instead of being confined to a physical office space and working for the same employer for years on end, many professionals are choosing to abandon the rat race and embark on the path of self-employment.
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Taking control of your work-life balance, gaining greater flexibility, and increasing your income are all excellent benefits of working from home. According to the think tank WITI (Women in Technology), by 2025, freelancers will account for half of the workforce. This type of work, on the other hand, is not without its difficulties.
If you’re considering making the leap into the world of freelancing, the first step is to determine which tools will make your day-to-day business operations more efficient and streamlined. Being self-employed means that you must have excellent time management and organizational abilities in order to succeed.
In order to effectively manage your customer relationships, you will need to implement effective CRM (customer relationship management) software.
Who Makes Use of Customer Relationship Management Software?
You’ve probably heard of customer relationship management (CRM) in the context of sales and customer service teams. In most cases, it’s a platform that’s used to handle and manage hundreds of thousands of potential leads, requests, and customers. You do not, however, need to be in charge of a 50-person team in order to benefit from a CRM tool.
Customer relationship management (CRM) is defined as “a technology for managing all of your company’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers,” according to the leading CRM software provider SalesForce.
So, why shouldn’t freelancers be able to take advantage of this type of technology as well? Freelancers have relationships and interactions with their existing customers and leads in the same way that small and large corporations do (potential customers).
“The effectiveness and success of customer relationship management (CRM) tools in today’s business is partially due to their ability to be tailored to any type of business: from one-man-show freelancers and small start-ups to large, multinational corporations.” According to Kelly Hendrikson, BeGraded’s technology and science writer, “Everything takes what they need from a CRM and that’s how the tool adapts itself.”
Here are the top benefits of using CRM in your freelancing career, which will help you maximize the potential of this approach in your freelancing career:
During the Developmental Phase
If you’re just starting out as a freelancer, your top priority is probably to spread the word about your services and attract as many clients as possible to your business. To begin working with returning customers and clients on a regular basis, you will need to juggle a lot of communications and responses to hundreds of cold emails and requests that you will receive in the course of your business.
In this step, a customer relationship management system (CRM) can be extremely beneficial. Using your CRM tool, you can easily keep track of previous communications with each lead, label their progress, and make notes about their needs and requirements as the conversation progresses.
Another interesting feature of a CRM tool that can be beneficial for freelancers who are trying to grow their businesses is the ability to create and customize email templates. Developing a standard sales pitch template, for example, can save a significant amount of time when compared to creating a new one each time you receive an email.
It will be extremely simple to deal with dozens of emails and messages at the same time using this type of tool. In this way, you can quickly build your lead and customer lists, as well as begin expanding your client base!
While Regular Workflow Periods are in Effect
You can easily connect your CRM software to your business email account and manage your communication from there once you have started working with clients. To keep track of the needs of your clients, you can use labeling to keep track of their requests, reminders and calendar alerts to remind you of important events and deadlines, and a clear communication history to refer back to when you need to double-check something.
When you’re communicating with your clients, receiving a real ‘ticket’ in your CRM software is far more effective than receiving a regular email. If you become overburdened, it is very easy to forget to respond to some emails, whereas an open ticket will constantly remind you that you have a response to give to someone.
For freelancers who work with a large number of clients
If you work with dozens of different clients at the same time on short, one-time projects, a customer relationship management system (CRM) can significantly improve the way you operate and communicate with them.
Receiving hundreds of emails in a single day, all of which are from different clients, can be extremely difficult to manage using a traditional email provider. In a customer relationship management system, you can easily create specific sections and boxes that will segment communication with each of your customers.
No matter how few clients you have, it’s still an excellent solution for keeping things organized in your small business or home office. Also, make sure you use a cloud-based CRM tool so that you can access it from anywhere, including a coworking space, a coffee shop, or other locations where you’re freelancing or working remotely.
For the purpose of tracking sales and success metrics
Final and most important feature of CRM tools in freelancing is the ability to track conversion rates, click-through rates (CTR) for emails, successful lead contacts, and other metrics that are important to your business. It’s impossible to know how well you’re doing if you don’t have a clear picture of where you’re going.
If you want to be successful as a freelancer, you must treat your business as a legitimate enterprise. You must be aware of what is effective and what is not. Of course, it is possible to figure out these things intuitively, but it is always preferable to have everything written down in black and white for reference.
Get Things Started
If you’re a freelancer who doesn’t use CRM tools because you believe you can handle everything on your own, be prepared to have your world turned upside down the moment you do. There is no “minimum limit” on the number of clients, leads, and correspondences that must be maintained in order to reap the benefits of a CRM tool. Every industry and communication mode will benefit from this. It will make your work easier, more organized, and more effective overall.