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CRM Software for Consultants - 7 Do’s and Don’ts

So, you’re a savvy consultant; maybe you’re just a one-man show with a handful of clients, or perhaps you’ve built a multi-person brain trust advising prestigious fortune 500 companies.  Whatever your consulting background is,  you probably already know that using a CRM to keep track of client communication is a must. There's just one problem, you don’t know which one is exactly right for you and your consulting business.  

You’ve tried CRM software in the past that didn’t meet your expectations or even made you do more work, instead of less.  To take the pain out of choosing the best CRM for consultants, we’ve cut through the bull crap to deliver seven hot tips for being a professional CRM all-star.

Do: Use a mobile-ready CRM.

We all probably spend more time with our phones than with our computers.  The chance of your phone’s data plan getting you access to critical client communication and project progress on the fly are much greater than you haphazardly finding a free WiFi connection to get that clunky laptop online.  When contracts and deals are on the line, you need a CRM that you can take along with you, no matter where you go.

Bottom line: if you don’t want critical client communication and project scope to fall through the cracks, make sure you can access your CRM software directly from your phone.

Do: Track your time diligently.

The average professional leaks over $100k in billable time per year as shown by our new study.  Meetings and emails suck the time out of consultant’s billable work day, yet we often forget to track time for these routine tasks.  Whether you’re billing for time spent in email or meetings, granular and automatic time tracking helps consultants get insight into how they spend their time as well as overall project, client, and service profitability.  The good news is, we got you covered, all of Accelo’s products come with automatic time tracking.

Don’t: Use software you need to install on-premise.

The model of installing software is dead.  Cumbersome software simply does not offer the appeal of truly cloud-based solutions.  The benefits of cloud-based software are ongoing, and too long to list here.  However, choosing a cloud-based professional services software allows you to access your data from any device, avoid any tedious installation process, and deliver value to your clients more efficiently.

Do: Use a CRM that syncs automatically.

Let’s be honest, keeping track of client communication and email is a lot of work.  Meeting your client's expectations is arguable harder.  Because consultants work on multiple projects for a myriad of clients, getting mixed up on a client name, deadline, or missing a key email, well, is almost inevitable.  

Consultants need a CRM that can pick up the slack and keep all mission-critical client details in one easy-to-use app.  Wish there was a CRM that lets you focus on clients and projects without letting any detail (no matter how small) fall through the cracks?  Thankfully, now, there is.  Accelo CRM automatically syncs with your inbox, smartphone and calendar to instantly give you complete client and project insight on any device.   

Don’t: Settle for a worse software solution, just because it’s cheap or free.

It seems like everyone is selling client and project management software these days.  You might even find completely free products that promise to deliver.  Don’t be fooled, there’s a reason the free products are free - they simply don’t offer the same value as the higher priced market leaders.  It might seem appealing to cut corners in order to spare yourself some short term expenses, but it may ultimately hurt your business.

Do: Invoice regularly for service, retainers, and contracts.

Your time is money, but before you can turn your billable hours and expenses into a cool payday, you have to do one thing - invoice.  Invoicing is traditionally a long, tedious process gathering all expenses from the dark corners of wallets, emails, and god forbid PayPal accounts, not to mention also counting up all those hours spent working hard for your clients.

Consultants need a CRM that can cut administrative burden of invoices and deliver invoices to clients automatically.  Accelo CRM is engineered by former agency owners, consultants and professional services businesses specifically to tackle the burden of regular invoicing.  Accelo lets consultants cut 80% of the time they used to spend invoicing, so they can focus on more important things.

Do: Monitor project milestones and scope in real-time.

Client projects tend to deviate a bit from the plan, to say the least.  While client expectations are usually high (and occasionally unrealistic), project milestones and project scope need to be mapped out early on if possible.  

Getting the contract and project approved is just the beginning.  After your close the deal, the real work starts.  Keeping the project in scope and keeping expenses under control is what can make or break a consultant’s return on their time.  Accelo lets keep client projects within the scope and even watch your projects progress in real time.  Interactive Grant charts, automatic time tracking, and easy team collaboration keep projects on track with ease.  See how Accelo projects can let you work smarter here.

About Accelo

Accelo is a comprehensive professional services automation solution featuring an integrated product management suite for professionals who are serious about their productivity.  To learn more about Accelo, please sign up for a free trial or demo below.  

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