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  • Writer's pictureKayla Droog Consulting

Does my biz need a CRM or project management software?

This is a question that I get asked regularly, and there is a difference between what these two types of software can do for your business, so this is a good question to ask.

You may only need one of them or you might need both.

So how do you know which one your business actually needs?

Well let's start by talking about what each of these different types of software can do for you.

Do you need CRM software?

CRM stands for client relations management software.

This software is where you keep all of your client records and documents - any notes that you're taking on what's going on with an individual client and what you might be working on with them, and documents like invoices, contracts, and questionnaires.

This software, as it says in the name, is designed to help you manage your relationships with your clients. Depending on which type of CRM software you are using and what subscription level you have, you may also have access to things like automation capabilities and online scheduling capabilities. These can save you time by taking some of those administrative tasks off your plate and help you create a better experience for your leads and your clients, because everyone is getting a consistent, automated amount of communication, and it's reminding you of when things need to happen so that you don't forget and miss something.

Some common examples of CRM software that you might have seen out there and seen other people recommending would be things like 17hats, Dubsado, or Honeybook.

Do you need project management software?

Now let's talk about project management software.

This is the type of software that you might need to manage specific projects, either for your clients or within your business. It allows you to manage a variety of projects all at one time, and it's really helpful for things like timelines, and being able to see where you're at in multiple projects at the same time, knowing when due dates are coming up, and keeping track of those detailed, specific tasks within a project.

It can also help you manage a team. You can set individual due dates for each task, assign those tasks to specific people, and you can be notified when the task is finished or if it's now moving on to you or somebody else on the team.

You can also use this type of software to help you manage your daily or weekly or monthly tasks. You can set it up to include recurring tasks or just use it as the place where you keep all of your to-do lists to keep yourself on track.

There are many different ways you can use this type of software, whether you are a list person or more of a board person - like a Trello-style board - or if you're more of a calendar or timeline type of person. Some of them also allow you to develop things like Gantt charts.

It really depends on what kinds of projects you're working on and what you're trying to accomplish.

Some common types of project management-oriented software that you might have seen includes things like Asana, ClickUp, or Motion.

So which type of platform is right for me?

When business owners come to me with questions about either CRM software or project management software, usually one of the main things that they are trying to accomplish is to get more organized in their business.

They are looking for systems that are going to help them save time, and stay on top of things, and manage the day-to-day operations of their business more easily and more effectively.

Often I have business owners coming to me and they feel like they regularly miss stuff because they're so busy. Or there's more that they would like to do, maybe in terms of following up with leads or more regular touch points with their clients. But life gets in the way and it doesn't always happen if you don't have a system in place for it.

Both of these types of software can help you create systems to stay more organized and more on top of things, but in different ways.

If what you need is a software that is going to help you stay on top of the day-to-day operations in your business, help you keep better track of your tasks and projects, or if you have multiple team members working on projects and you want to be able to keep track of who is responsible for what, then a project management software might be more of what you need.

A CRM software does allow you a little bit of project management capabilities, but it's not designed for that kind of timeline overview of all your projects at once and what all of the statuses are - that's more of a project management function.

Some CRM platforms are starting to introduce a little bit of that, but if that's something that's really important to you, project management software is probably the way you want to go, at least for now now.

Do you need more automated capabilities?

One of the big differences between these two types of platforms is in terms of automation.

If you want something that is going to be able to send out emails or documents automatically based on a specific date, then you want a CRM platform.

If you want something that is going to remind you to do a specific task on a specific date for a specific project, either of them can do that. In your CRM platform, you can set up a workflow - so based on a specific due date for a project, these tasks have to happen on these specific dates, and it will send you a reminder on that date. Or if you are using a project management platform, you can set up a template for your project that has all the different subtasks and then you just need to create a project using that template each time.

If you are looking for online scheduling capabilities, where you can send a calendar link to a client and they can book an appointment on your calendar automatically without you having to do anything, most CRM platforms can do this. I have seen some project management platforms that can do this - for example, I know Motion can - but not all of them are designed to do that.

If online scheduling is an important function for you, that is also something to keep in mind. If that is the only automated function you are looking for, maybe what you need is a project management software plus a calendar software like Calendly or Acuity.

If it's important for you to be able to send out invoices, contracts, questionnaires, and keep track of all of those documents, you are going to want a CRM platform. Or if you already have something that does this - maybe you are doing your invoicing straight through QuickBooks and you don't need a CRM platform - then you could pair that other platform with a project management software.

Decide what you actually need and what's important to you and your business. Just be aware that project management platforms typically don't have any invoicing, contract, or questionnaire capabilities.

Now, one platform that comes up regularly when you're searching for either CRM or project management capabilities is One thing to keep in mind is that Monday does offer CRM capabilities and project management capabilities, but those are two separate subscriptions. You are not going to get all of those functions in one subscription. Since they offer multiple functions, they capabilities in the individual platforms also aren't as robust as the platforms that just focus on one thing.

So how do I choose a platform?

Which of these platforms does your business actually need? Well, that's really up to you to decide.

As I've laid out for you, there are many different capabilities and things that you can do to keep your business organized using both platforms.

I do regularly see businesses using both. I will see them use the CRM platform to keep track of what's going on with their clients, send out documents, and maybe set up automations. Then they might use the project management software to keep track of themselves and what's going on in their business day-to-day, and to manage their team.

You may need both or you may only need one. Even if you end up needing both, you don't have to start with both. You can start with one and see what works for you, and maybe add the other one later.

There is no right or wrong. Both of these platforms are meant to help you keep track of the day-to-day operations in your business, and hopefully help you save time and reduce stress.

If you try one of these platforms and it's not doing that, you may either have the wrong platform or you may need some help getting it set up in the best way to support your business.

Do you have questions about implementing one of these platforms in your business, how they can help you with your day-to-day operations, or which platform to choose? Let me know in the comments or feel free to reach out.



Kayla Droog Consulting supports heart-centered small business owners with the back-end systems setup and updates they don't have time to do, so they can focus on serving their clients and growing their businesses!

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