Online client/contact management for Dummy
August 26, 2009 6:43 PM   Subscribe

One-man businessman looking for good online client/contact task/follow-up system. Everything I've found is geared for big business and large collaborative groups.

I am a full-time wedding DJ who needs to track a lot of inquiries and sales related activity - usually lots of phone and email contact. Some of this will result in people going elsewhere, some will yeild a face to face meeting, more email and hopefully an agreement to provide services.

From there, I would like to keep tabs on my communication with clients as we progress through the planning phase to make sure I am timely answering their questions and also make sure I have everything I need by the time the wedding comes along.

It's not really all that much to keep track of, but keep in mind I am a DJ - all the things that make me really good at what do is borne out of my total inability to lead a regular life - But at least I know I have to fake it well, which leads me to my query.

Also, all my clients and potential clients have different needs, schedules, degrees of organization, so I always adjusting my process to make life simpler for them (planning a wedding is like a second job for some people!)

Does anybody have a suggestion for an online solution for this kind of thing? If it ties into an iPhone app, I will kiss your feet!
posted by mojoworkin to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
The options go across a spectrum, depending on how much of a framework you want to have before you start, and how much you can hold together in your usage of the system.

Starting with most put together (but possibly the most overkill) going to a minimal system that might require you to have some of the structure in the way you use it.
Sugar CRM
Evernote
Remember the Milk

None of the might be your "one ring to rule them all" type of system, but all of them are worthy for looking at (and all are free for the base package).

Good luck!
posted by milqman at 6:55 PM on August 26, 2009


Have you looked at the webapps that 37Signals has written? They're written for smaller businesses and one-man shops.
posted by SpecialK at 7:03 PM on August 26, 2009


The basic version of Salesforce.com, which will track leads and opportunities is $9 a month. Their professional edition suports the iPhone, though it costs $65 a month. We've been trialling it a few weeks and I'm very impressed so far.
posted by IanMorr at 7:28 PM on August 26, 2009


I use Highrise for that. It lets me just throw emails at it and it will file the email under the correct person or create a new contact based on the name and address in the email. It allows for lots of free-form notes and has fewer of the fussy, over-structured fields that a "real" customer management package has.

Highrise also lets you assign tasks to yourself (like "Follow up with Mary") and schedule those tasks to pop up in your email at a certain time. Example:

1. Joe emails saying he's having a wedding in late April and is wondering how much three hours of your DJing might cost. When you reply to Joe, you BCC your Highrise drop box. Highrise creates a record for Joe. You go to that record and add a tag marking Joe as a prospect.

2. Joe responds by email saying that he needs to talk this over with his fiancee. You forward that email to your Highrise box. You also pull up Joe's record in Highrise and add a task attached to him: "Follow up with him re his fiancee's feedback." You schedule this task to be sent to you as an email at 1:30 next Tuesday.

3. You get the reminder email on Tuesday and call Joe. He says his fiancee agrees with the overall idea but wants to possibly include some other service of yours. You take notes about this conversation in a notes field that appears under Joe's name in Highrise.

And so on. Maybe you also periodically look at everyone tagged "prospect" and see if you need to follow up with any of them to turn them into "customer." Highrise also has a "deals" function that more formally structures the path from prospect to customer but I don't use it.

I don't know if Highrise has an iPhone app, but I have used the Highrise web site with my iPhone.
posted by PatoPata at 8:34 PM on August 26, 2009


Seconding Highrise. Free version signup is here.
posted by dozo at 10:20 AM on August 27, 2009


I have looked a t Highrise, and liked it for the most part. Some of the finer points are lost on me so far, but I am going to keep working with it.

Thanks for all the input, everybody!
posted by mojoworkin at 3:27 PM on October 12, 2009


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