What is CRM software, and do you really need it?

fingers typing on laptop
As your business grows, CRM software can help you to keep track of your clients.

As your lawn and landscaping business grows, you might be wondering what type of investment in software could help facilitate that growth. One such option is CRM (customer relationship management) software—a tool that helps businesses to manage both existing customer and prospective customer data.

But do you really need CRM software?

If you’re like a lot of businesses, you might have used tools like Excel, Outlook, and Quickbooks to keep track of your customer (and prospective customer) information. But as you’ve grown, you might have realized that these types of tools simply aren’t substantial enough to support your growth.

Upgrading to a CRM software

animation of man on laptop screenWhen you have a lot of clients and prospective clients, a tool to manage their data is important.

Chris Heiler, founder, and CEO of green industry marketing agency Landscape Leadership says that there are a lot of reasons to invest in CRM software. For one, piecing together what he calls a “franken-ware” solution of tools can mean that information is not easy to access and potentially lost. That’s why he feels that all companies—regardless of size—should implement CRM software.

However, Heiler says that this doesn’t necessarily mean making a huge monetary investment. In fact, the CRM software that he finds most valuable is HubSpot—and HubSpot offers a number of free CRM and sales tools.

“There are a lot of options for CRM and plenty of them are great,” he continues. “However, we feel that HubSpot offers some of the best—and many of them are completely free.”

For the sake of transparency, Heiler says that Landscape Leadership is a HubSpot Solutions partner. But Heiler says that he’d be recommending it to clients either way.

Free HubSpot tools for lawn and landscape business owners

Heiler recently wrote a blog about the free HubSpot CRM tools that he likes best, which can be read in its entirety, here. He says that a number of both “essential” and “advanced” HubSpot tools are free-of-charge and details all of them in the linked blog. These includes options like contact management (a tool to easily manage contacts and data), tasks (a tool for storing, tracking and managing “tasks” to be completed), and email templates.

“One of the best aspects of these free tools—and about HubSpot in general—is that it is all highly customizable,” Heiler says. “In working with clients in the past, we’ve found they’re frustrated over the lack of customization in the CRM system they were using.”

Heiler points out that these free tools are not a “free trial,” meaning that you can only sign up for a temporary amount of time. Instead, these tools are offered for free indefinitely—with the hope, of course, that you’ll want to upgrade to use more features.

“Many of our Landscape Leadership clients do end up upgrading to add more valuable tools or overcome limits imposed in the free version, such as how many email templates you have access to,” Heiler explains. “However, the free version is a really great place for companies to get started and ultimately grow into something larger. Having used HubSpot ourselves for many years, it’s a really effective system that can help businesses to grow.” 

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