what is a crm

What Is a CRM System? Definition & How It Can Help You

At Service Provider Pro, we’re well aware of the term CRM—and every business owner has most likely come across it, too. What does it stand for, though? Let’s take a look at what a CRM is, if you should make use of it, and how it can help your business.

Definition: What does a CRM do?

CRM is short for Customer Relationship Management, and refers to the process of managing client relations. The goal is to track your leads, and ensure that they become a paying customer; and also to improve your relations with existing clients to boost your business.

To achieve that, most companies use CRM systems, special software that is designed to facilitate this process. Cloud-based CRMs usually contains a database holding customer information such as name, email, billing address, purchases, and more. One thing to note is that CRM is commonly associated with software, not the process of managing relationships. With that said, the functionality of a CRM function is used differently across teams. Here are a few examples:

  • A sales team member can check lead information and activity before reaching out.

  • Marketers can track results about the past holiday campaign and make adjustments for the next one.

  • Customer support agents can access customer data in order to provide correct information.

With the sheer amount of information a business collect these days, it’s important to organize it correctly so nothing gets lost. From interactions via social media to calls—everything should be saved on the client profile, so it can be remembered and accessed. The more information is available, the better you know your customer, increasing the chances of client retention.

Who should use a CRM?

Any modern business should choose to use CRM software. It helps all their teams, from sales to marketing and recruiting, as it’s the main point of truth. All relevant information about leads and customers can be easily accessed by the entire organization. Customer relationship management tools also connect to other applications, so data can be pushed to it, making sure that you always have up-to-date information at hand.

The resulting benefit is that it’s easier for your team to collaborate with each other, plan marketing campaigns, upsell clients, and scale the business.

Those who think a CRM is too complicated to set up, learn, and maintain don’t have to worry. There are CRM tools for every need: some are very basic and perfect for small businesses, others are feature-rich and can be extended with an API.

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One thing is certain, efficient agency account management wouldn’t be possible without a CRM. To win new clients, upsell existing ones, and reduce churn, you need an app that centralizes your customer interactions, their transactions and goals.

What should a CRM have?

Gartner study shows that every 4th business has outdated or inaccurate contact information, finds it difficult to remember who to follow up with (19%), or struggles to interact with leads (15%). They also rarely know if a colleague has already interacted with leads or customers (15%). To resolve these pain points, a CRM should have the following features:

  1. Third party integration to receive and push data to other tools.

  2. Workflow automation that allows you to set up custom rules.

  3. Lead management to help you identify leads and track them across the sales cycle.

  4. Analytics which offer insights into client data so that you can make better decisions.

  5. Reporting so that your team can check the results of their sales and marketing efforts.

  6. Email integration to redirect incoming emails and reply from the CRM.

What does a CRM look like?

As the market and demand for CRM software is growing, more and more tools are popping up constantly. What do they look like? Let’s look at a few popular solutions, as well as newer apps that try to mix things up.

Service Provider Pro

SPP CRM client profile

SPP.co is a CRM for agencies who are looking to get all information about their clients into one system. While not primarily a customer relationship platform, Service Provider Pro has powerful CRM features that save every little detail about your clients, from their address to payment information.

Keep all data about your clients in one place with our crm feature

You can also use CRM fields to save custom data about your clients, leave notes, and update your client information via Zapier. With the API, you can connect to your existing tool stack and ensure that all data is piped into SPP.


Keap CRM

The CRM Keap (formerly Infusionsoft) targets entrepreneurs who want to convert leads into clients. This becomes immediately evident as you open the dashboard, as highlights the number of new leads, quotes sent, sales and broadcasts. You also have an overview of upcoming appointments, tasks, and reviews.

The general design is modern, and the developers managed to keep everything well-structured without overwhelming new users. The main features can be accessed from the sidebar.


Wobaka CRM

Wobaka is a CRM platform targeted at small teams. Compared to industry veterans, it has a very different look: everything is minimalistic, the developer has focused on colors that don’t strain the eyes, and the UI doesn’t overwhelm new users.

We’re here to change things. We believe CRM systems should be as simple to use as spreadsheets but still give you superpowers. Wobaka is the CRM system that has all you need, and nothing you don’t.

Fredrik Hallsmar from Wobaka
Fredrik Hallsmar , Wobaka

The minimalistic approach doesn’t mean that it lacks features. Wobaka has everything you’d expect from a CRM tool, from sales pipelines to a Zapier integration and tasks.


Hubspot CRM

Hubspot is one of the most popular CRM systems available—and it’s free. Compared to the other two solutions, it targets a broad range of businesses that have many different teams: sales people, marketers, customer service, operation managers. This means that there’s a bigger learning curve as there are many different features.

While free, the most interesting features are locked behind the paid upgrades. However, smaller businesses can get started with the free version, and upgrade later if necessary.

What does a CRM system cost?

Cost is a major barrier to adoption of Customer Relationship Management software, as the above-mentioned Gartner report demonstrates. 33% of the respondents would like to spend less than £10 per user per month; another 33% are willing to go up to £50, while 24% would only consider a free CRM system.

The need for a free tool is understandable, after all, small and medium-sized businesses often have a tight budget. Some are still managing customer relationships with pen and paper, spreadsheets, or rely solely on email communication. But how much does a CRM really cost, and are the free tools a real solution?

Let’s look at the starting prices of a few popular CRM solutions (using monthly billing options).

CRM software Price
ActiveCampaign logo ActiveCampaign from $15/mo
Keap CRM logo Keap from $129 /mo
Wobaka CRM logo Wobaka $19/mo per user
Pipedrive CRM logo Pipedrive from $19.90/mo per user
Close.io CRM logo Close.io from $25/mo per user
Hubspot logo Hubspot free
Zoho CRM logo Zoho CRM free
Freshsales CRM logo Freshsales free

How SPP integrates with your CRM

Regardless of the type of CRM you’ve chosen, Service Provider Pro will become a vital part in your tool stack.

ActiveCampaign logo
Subscribe and tag clients in ActiveCampaign.
View all our integrations

We already integrate natively with ActiveCampaign, but if you’ve set your eyes on a different CRM, you can use our webhooks module to send data to it—from newly created accounts to paid invoices.

SPP webhooks endpoint setting

Improve your customer experience by sending relevant data to your CRM so that you can access all information in one place.

Avatar of Deian Isac
Head of Agency Success
Having worked as a content writer for 8+ years, Deian has partnered up with a lot of different agencies for content production. He understands their processes and now helps agencies scale up their operations with SPP. Besides his success activities, he also manages the content strategy of Service Provider Pro, writes captivating blog posts himself, and produces case studies.

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