With so many customer relationship management (CRM) software choices on the market, choosing the right one can be quite overwhelming.

As a lawn care or landscaping business owner, you know the meaning of hard work. Between bidding new jobs, servicing existing accounts, providing for your team, buying and maintaining equipment, making sure finances are in order, and fostering client relationships, you’re being pulled in many different directions at once. Nobody ever said it was going to be easy, right? This is where technology comes into play. You’ve probably heard about at some point, or maybe you’re already using it. If you aren’t already using a CRM program, you may be considering one. Yet with so many choices on the market, choosing the right one can be quite overwhelming.

CRM Software

(Source: Ready Business Systems)

Enabling Automation

In today’s business world, much of the communication you receive from other companies is automated. Automation makes it easier for a company to stay engaged with customers, while enabling employees to focus on other tasks.

A good example is automated marketing. Is someone sitting behind a computer, sending out all marketing emails? The answer is no. Yes, someone is writing and designing content, but then they plug the work into an automation and it’s off-and-running. This is done with CRM software.

Another example is automated estimate follow-ups. This feature automatically reaches out to customers (usually via text or email), to check-in and follow-up on estimates. Just think of the time saved. While you may still reach out to customers by phone, half the work is done for you.

But these examples are just scratching the surface. When CRMs first hit the market years ago, they were basically just a way to store and manage company and customer data. Since then, they have evolved into full-blown automated systems where you can create business processes that essentially run on their own. This is especially helpful for recurring tasks which—when left to an automated program—can free up employee time for other responsibilities. That’s the idea behind CRM software—to make business easier.

CRM Software

What is CRM exactly? Simply put, CRM is a software program that functions as the hub of your business. It’s where you store all company and customer information, send estimates and invoices, schedule jobs, track finances with reporting, and more. Aside from performing core functions, a CRM program also makes your company appear more professional. Customers want to know they’re hiring a competent, organized business and a CRM will do just that—put it all together.

There are many different types of CRM. Some are designed specifically for lawn care and landscaping, while others are used in a variety of service industries. Some are designed to be super user-friendly, requiring little-to-no technological or computer skills, while others are more complicated yet super-powerful.

Deciding which program will work best for you can be daunting. Each has their own platform and functionality and if you’ve never used CRM before, you may find your-self scratching your head in confusion. Fortunately, most CRM providers have support teams and free training sessions to assist with set-up and functionality. In most cases, you can request demos with software providers, but it really comes down to what you and your business need.

Here are some things to ask yourself when deciding if a CRM program is right for your business: • Am I at a point where I can afford to pay for a CRM subscription

  • Do I have the time available to set-up and learn to use the program
  • What do I want out of a CRM
  • Will I use it for more than just storing and managing company and customer data?• Do I want to automate any aspects of my business
  • Will I need mobile apps in the field?

Which CRM Is Right For You?

When choosing a CRM, it’s really about what works best for you. Do you want a program just for storing customer information, and sending estimates and invoices? Or are you looking for something a bit more robust? Here’s some input on popular options.

CRM Software

(Source: Ready Business Systems)

Service Autopilot. In our landscaping business, 855RILAWNS, and here at Ready Business Systems, we use Service Autopilot. We’ve been using this software for over 10 years and we have maximized functionality through automations, mobile applications, job sched-uling, customer text messaging, and reporting.

Service Autopilot, based in Richardson, TX, has been in business for many years and are one of the leading lawn and landscape CRM providers available today. Like most providers, Service Autopilot offers different pricing plans based on the functions you’ll be using. It offers both startup and pro plans with increased functionality including pre-built forms and various tools for time tracking, a customer payment portal, and data importing/exporting, to name a few.

One of the most impressive features of Service Autopilot is its ability to automate your business. This includes marketing, estimate follow-ups, lead intake, job dispatch, customer service, and upsell automations. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. You can automate just about anything, including equipment repair and hiring/termination. The idea is to take the work out of your hands and place it within an automated system, so you can streamline and maximize efficiency. Automations are one of Service Autopilot’s key features and it’s a valuable tool if you’re looking to scale and grow your business.

Jobber. Another popular CRM provider is Jobber. Based out of Edmonton, Canada, Jobber also serves up a robust functionality. Jobber is able to automate many aspects of your business, while also serving as the hub of your business through data management.