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What is a CRM and why do I need one?

So you've been on those business networking calls and heard the other small biz owners and entrepreneurs mention a CRM.... A what now???

Seems to sound like they all have one... maybe I need one? Cue the Imposter syndrome!

Don't worry, I am here to give you ALL the facts.

So CRM stands for 'Customer Relationship Management' and is basically a website or piece of software when you store all your customer details. (Like when you phone the doctors and they call up all you info and medical notes.)

You may have some customer information already stored on paper, in a diary, or on excel. You might also have collected some customer emails in an emailing system like Mailchimp or Active Campaign. So why would you need another system to store all your customer info in?

Well the simple answer is... you might not! It all depends on your business type and its size. First ask yourself these simple questions:-

  1. Do I need to track sales or a sales funnel with each client?

  2. Do I have more than 200 clients?

  3. When I make notes about a client or during a meeting I use a laptop/computer/tablet/phone?

  4. Do I work with a team who deal with the same clients?

If you answered mostly no - they you're unlikely to need a CRM at this stage. You can probably run your business efficiently using your current systems, whether this is on paper, spreadsheets or in an emailing system. At this stage paying £15+ a month probably isn't worth the expense for you, however if you'd like to try one I can suggest using Monday CRM, excel spreadsheet based and free for up to 250 clients. (drop me an email if you'd like a hand!)

If you answered mostly yes then it may be time to consider a CRM, but which one?! First thing to consider is what are you planning on using it for?

Will you be just storing customer data and notes on any meetings.... or are you planning on tracking sales too? CRM systems are usually built in one of two ways.... like a glorified address book or as a sales pipeline tracking tool. So which one would suit your business?

Once you've answered this question, the next thing to consider is, do other people need access? If so how many? and, How many customer contacts will you need to store? Both of these things determine how much you may have to pay for your CRM.

If you Google 'CRM' all the top hits will have free versions of their software but will have a limit on how many contacts you can store or how many logins you can have... this is how they make their money, and it can be costly. Check out the restrictions and the pricing before you commit to a system. If you'd like to book a FREE Consultation Call with me about choosing a CRM then do drop me an email at

A final word - if you have come from the corporate world and are used to using an 'all singing, all dancing' CRM, be aware that this probably cost your company thousands of pounds a year. Unless you have the same budget you're unlikely to get a CRM that does all the same things or fits your business exactly. Many companies use a tailored CRM designed for their business and then spend years tweaking it to work for them. Usually with a dedicated member of staff to manage it all for them. (FYI - That was me... before I escaped to self-employment)

So what you need to look for is a CRM that mostly ticks your boxes and provides some customisable options without it costing to much. At the time of writing (June 2022) you can expect to pay about £20 - £45 a month for a good CRM. You also need to consider that you are storing other people's data! Check out the GDPR rules and that the software provider is storing your customer data correctly - check out this website for more info.

Again my preferred CRM of choice is Monday CRM - it can be customised easily and built to reflect your business needs, whether that might be as a glorified address book or to track sales in a pipeline. It also has great links and integrations with many other popular software companies, which can help to make your life easier in the long run!

If you'd like to discuss a CRM for your business do book in for free 30 min chat.

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