If you’re only making your first steps as a translator, you might doubt you’ll ever need a CRM tool. At first, you might do well with a spreadsheet, but with time, you may need a more professional approach. As your client base grows, it might be practical to take interest in more specialized tools, such as CRM systems. They may help you juggle all the projects you’re involved in and make sure nothing is overlooked.
What are CRM systems?
The term CRM – Customer Relationship Management – refers to tools and practices aimed at nurturing relationships with existing and potential clients. They include managing various types of information necessary to maintain those interactions.
At the beginning of your career, it may seem that keeping a spreadsheet with all your clients data is perfectly sufficient. But high chances are, that over the course of time, you will find it lacking. The more clients you gain, the more things you need to take into account and remember about: deadlines, invoicing details, client-specific tasks, requirements, rates, etc. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and lost in this jumble of information.
A good CRM tool will help you import contacts, assign specific tasks (email, call, renew contract, ask for details) to them, as well as upload necessary documents. Some even enable you to add your collaborators and assign contacts or tasks to them. A feature useful especially if you participate in several collaboration projects with other translators and project managers. Using CRM systems in your daily work has a number of benefits. First of all, it’s a great time management solution that gives you a quick overview of your projects and helps you set priorities to specific tasks and plan your work in a more effective manner. Furthermore, it may help you optimize your marketing strategies.
Top free CRM systems to check out
This cloud-based CRM tool will allow you to monitor existing and potential clients and analyze business metrics. This powerful software contains all the necessary features, such as contact and communication management, email scheduling, task assignment, reminders and Gmail and Outlook integration. Its simplicity and user-friendliness make it a perfect choice for both freelancers and agencies. It’s free of charge, with no time limit, and you can add an unlimited number of users. Another notable advantage is that the CRM system is integrated with HubSpot marketing software.
Bitrix24’s CRM system also offers a variety of features, including direct messaging and chat, files integration, daily planner or checklist and many more. Numerous communication-related functionalities make it a great option for those who often co-work with other translators. Thanks to its social interface you can easily communicate with your co-workers, partners or clients to brainstorm ideas, share views or discuss further stages of a project. There is even a videoconferencing feature. The free version is recommended to micro businesses and freelancers, as the maximum number of users is only 12. There is also an online storage limit of 5GB.
The ultimate time and client management tool you should definitely give a try. Since the free version only allows you to add 5 users, it is ideal for freelancers or small teams. What makes it shine, however, is its user-friendly interface and a variety of well thought out features. These include: instant messaging, video & audio calling, email integration, personal and project-specific calendars and many more. What’s more, each project has its own workspace which gives you a clear overview of what you’re currently working on. The platform easily integrates with a number of other external services, such as Dropbox, or Evernote. Note that Podio has no file storage limit, regardless of your pricing plan.
What’s best about CRM systems is that they help you keep everything in one place. This way, you may quickly and easily find useful data exactly when you need it. This, in turn, can actively save your time and improve the way you interact with your clients. All in all, establishing quality relationships with clients is a core factor for success in any business. In a world where good organizational skills are crucial, why not turn to CRM tools to better keep track of all the tasks? If you’re interested in other ways technology can improve your work, try out some of these apps and tools.