December 20, 2023
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Best CRM for consulting agencies

Top 5 features consulting agencies should look out for

Client relationship management: Consulting is a client-centric industry. A CRM system helps manage and enhance client relationships by storing all client interactions, preferences, and history in one place. This leads to more personalized and effective client service.

Business development and lead management: CRM tools enable consulting agencies to effectively track leads and opportunities. By managing the sales pipeline, consultants can systematically follow up on leads, increasing conversion rates and driving business growth.

Collaboration and communication: Consulting often involves teamwork. CRMs facilitate collaboration among team members by providing platforms for sharing documents, insights, and client information. This ensures everyone is on the same page and can work together more efficiently.

Marketing and client outreach: CRM tools can be used to manage marketing campaigns targeted at specific client segments. This includes email marketing, event management, and personalized content distribution, helping in nurturing client relationships and brand building.

Automation features: By automating routine tasks such as data entry, appointment scheduling, and follow-ups, a CRM saves consultants time. This allows them to focus more on client-facing activities and strategic aspects of their work.

A comparison of the best CRMs for consulting agencies

  folk CMap Salesforce Zoho CRM
Client relationship management ★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★★
Business development and lead management ★★★★★ ★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★
Contact enrichment ★★★★★ N/A ★★★ ★★★★
Email marketing ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★
Custom pipeline view ★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★
Team collaboration ★★★★★ ★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★
User experience ★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ★★★★
Price and plans ★★★★★ ★★★

folk 

folk is a modern, user-friendly CRM. You can use it to manage your client relationships and sales. 

Key features

  • User-friendly and intuitive interface, designed to enhance user experience and simplify CRM navigation for all skill levels. 
  • Extensive customization options, allowing consulting agencies to tailor it to their specific processes, including personalized integrations, custom fields, pipeline stages, and automated workflows.

Pros 

  • Adaptive pipeline management: folk's pipeline management is versatile, catering to both sales and client management requirements.
  • AI-enhanced efficiency: The 'Magic Field' feature, developed by folk, streamlines email campaigns, empowering you to send ultra-personalized messages to multiple recipients. It also shares analytics so you know exactly which campaigns have performed well, and what needs improving.
  • Seamless integration: Its capability to integrate easily with other tools centralizes operations and syncs contacts from multiple platforms to one place, reducing the reliance on multiple platforms and streamlining workflow. 
  • Team collaboration: folk promotes collaborative efforts by allowing team members to contribute to and build upon client notes within contact profiles. This approach prevents duplication of work and fosters the creation of unified contact lists for projects, ensuring consistency and a single source of truth.
  • Automation: including pipeline creation, contact enrichment, contact categorization, workflows and reminders so you know exactly when to follow up with someone.

Cons

  • Limited niche features: for highly specialized consulting niches, folk may lack some industry-specific features. 

CMap

CMap is a project and resource management product with some CRM capabilities. It was designed for architects, engineers and consultants.

CMap

Key features

  • Integrated project management: CMap combines CRM functionalities with project management tools, allowing consultants to manage client relationships and projects in one unified platform.
  • Time tracking and billing: It includes features for time tracking and invoicing, which are essential for consulting agencies that bill clients based on time spent on projects.
  • Customizable dashboards: CMap provides customizable dashboards and reporting tools, giving insight into metrics like project profitability, client engagement, and business performance.

Pros

  • Time and resource allocation: The time tracking and resource management features helps optimize the use of consultants on each project and billing processes.
  • Customizable dashboards: The software provides customizable dashboards and reporting tools, giving insights into key metrics like project profitability, client engagement, and business performance.
  • Project visibility: The project management features provide a clear overview of project statuses, resource allocation, and profitability, aiding in better project control and decision-making.

Cons

  • User experience feels clunky as it is a multi-purpose platform. Expect a steep learning curve. 
  • It’s a project management tool, with limited CRM capabilities that are not on par with what you’ll get in a traditional CRM. 

Salesforce

Salesforce is one of the most popular CRM products on the market worldwide. 

Key features

  • Ecosystem and community: Salesforce has a vast ecosystem with a wide array of add-ons through its Salesblazer Hub, a community for support and knowledge sharing.
  • Cloud-based solution: Being cloud-based, it offers accessibility from anywhere, facilitating remote work and on-the-go client management.
  • Customization: Its high level of customization allows consulting agencies to tailor the CRM to their specific needs.

Pros

  • Integration capabilities: Easy integration with other tools helps in streamlining operations and reducing information silos.
  • Comprehensive CRM features: From sales management to customer service, Salesforce covers all aspects of client relationship management.
  • Data-driven insight: Its analytics support is helpful in making informed, data-driven decisions.

Cons

  • User experience and complexity: There is an overwhelming number of features and customization options so your team will face a steep learning curve and will need to be trained to fully utilize it.
  • Potential for feature overload: Some consulting agencies might find the vast array of features more than what they need, leading to underutilization.
  • Cost: Salesforce can be expensive, especially when adding multiple customizations and integrations, which might be a concern for smaller agencies.

Zoho CRM

Zoho is a popular CRM platform thanks to its flexibility, scalability, and extensive suite of tools.

Zoho

Key features

  • Lead and contact management: Zoho CRM allows consulting agencies to effectively track and manage leads and client contacts, ensuring all client data is organized and accessible.
  • Sales automation: The platform automates many aspects of the sales process, from lead generation to conversion, which can streamline the client acquisition process.

Pros

  • Comprehensive Integration: Integration with other Zoho products and external applications such as Zapier can help centralize business operations and data management.
  • Flexibility: The ability to customize modules and workflows allows consulting agencies to adapt the platform to specific operational needs.
  • Automation: Zoho CRM helps in automating various routine tasks and workflows, such as email marketing and sales processes. 

Cons

  • Limited advanced features in basic plans: Some of the more advanced features may require upgrading to higher-tier plans, which could increase costs.
  • Complexity with extensive customization: While customization is a strength, it can also lead to complexity, especially for agencies without dedicated IT support.
  • Learning curve for advanced features: Understanding and utilizing the full scope of Zoho CRM's features may require a significant time investment.

Conclusion

We've delved into four notable options: folk, CMap, Salesforce, and Zoho. Each offers unique strengths: CMap's integrated project management, Salesforce's extensive customizability and analytics, and Zoho's affordability and user-friendly interface. 

folk stands out. Its tailored customization, seamless integrations, intuitive user interface, and robust collaboration support suit the dynamic needs of consulting firms. 

folk not only simplifies client relationship management but also enhances operational efficiency and team productivity. Its balance of advanced features and ease of use makes it not just a tool, but a strategic asset for consulting agencies aiming to navigate client relationships and business challenges with agility and insight. Try folk today, free.