No matter your industry or niche, you probably manage relationships with clients. Those clients could be materials suppliers you negotiate with quarterly or a local bakery you buy goods from each week. Keeping the details straight in both cases is a job for your CRM.
CRM stands for “customer relationship management.” The level of management you need depends on the types of clients you have and the nature of the business you’re running.
A medium business-to-consumer company may have a 5,000-person client list and 100,000 prospects, but minimal interaction with each client. In a business-to-business setup, your company may have 10 clients but more frequent, intense communication with all 10.
Before you invest in pricey off-the-shelf CRM software, check out our templates for building your own custom system.
Start with the Swiss Army knife of CRMs, one that gives entrepreneurs plenty of leeway to manage relationships. This versatile system is great for startup founders, since it doesn’t make too many assumptions about how you’ll be using it.
The template comes with pre-built Contacts and Activities tables, along with tables for a Sales Pipeline and Investor Pipeline. Once you get this lightweight CRM up and running (even for Airtable newbies, it takes a matter of minutes), you can customize to your heart’s delight.
Keep tabs on a huge variety of strategic relationships including—but not limited to—those with customers, distribution partners, investors, and PR firms.
Sales is the classic use case for a CRM. That’s because most sales cycles and deals involve way more details than anyone can keep in their head. Shifting dates, new documents, updated contacts, and contracts. The template helps you manage it all.
In this Airtable template, each sales team member can create a personalized view for their daily to-do’s, without getting distracted by other teammates or accounts.
Salespeople use a calendar view to see which meetings require follow-up, and managers can monitor each deal stage in a kanban view. Capture leads, track pipeline progress, and manage contacts in a centralized spot.
If all this sounds too complex for your needs, try the pared-down Simple Sales CRM template instead.
While simpler can be better, some CRM software isn’t quite complex enough to handle business development use cases.
This business development-focused template is designed specifically to track information through long, complex negotiation processes. You’ll see pre-built views that show contracts at every stage, from request to negotiation to execution. The highly customizable template gives you the ability to track partners, opportunities, and interactions.
Once your company has built a solid customer base, this customer development-focused CRM helps manage ongoing customer discovery conversations.
Inspired by customer development whiz Steve Blank, the template is great for tracking all potential customers, managing conversations with them, and extracting and categorizing useful nuggets, which he called “problem presentations” or problem statements.
Once recorded, those problems can turn into actionable features on your product development roadmap.
Whatever you’re raising funds for, manage the process more efficiently with this template.
Perhaps your team needs to pool address books, identify target funds, or track interactions with potential investors. This template lets you see all your fundraising activities in one spot. Has too much time passed since the last interaction with a potential funder? Build in a trigger to send a follow-up email.
There's even a built-in asset management tool, and a place to attach critical documents like pitch decks.
If you find that you’ve jumped from your other line of work into full-time fundraising, check out this Dealflow CRM for budding venture capitalists.
Not all CRMs are designed to solve work-related problems.
This personal CRM template helps you keep track of friends, family, coworkers, specialists, mentors, and anyone else you interact with daily. Staying organized can help you deepen your relationships or expand your network. Add comments about each contact so you don't forget the important details.
Some Airtable users have taken the personal CRM idea to a new level. Check out Chris Dancy’s CareTable, a combination of journal and spiritual guide, or Khe Hy’s system for tagging family and friends by their interests.