Project Management Software vs a Dedicated Agency CRM

Agencies sometimes use project management software as their CRM. Maybe this was done with the idea that it reduces the technology stack and keeps everyone in the marketing, sales, and project management departments all working in the same platform. But the reality is that project management software and customer relationship management software do very different things and are meant to tackle different aspects of the prospect or client lifecycle.

Project Management Software and CRMs Do Have Similarities

project management timelineOn the surface, project management software and CRMs provide some very similar functionality. In a very general capacity, both project management software and CRMs provide project planning, email, calendar management, and contact management. The problem with using project management software as your agency CRM is that project management follows the lifecycle of a single project. The CRM may be part of the project but the client relationship doesn’t end when the project does. What happens to that customer when the project ends? And how difficult is it for your salespeople to manage and follow up with customers? If you care about understanding the customer lifecycle, your client relationships, and client retention (and you should) a dedicated agency CRM is the way to go.

Project Management Software and CRMs are Really Very Different

CRMs are different from PMSThere is some overlap in the functionality of project management software and CRMs but at the heart, these programs each have their own very specific purpose. So project management software and CRMs really aren’t the same but maybe you still feel you’re agency can work around any differences? Agencies using project management software as a CRM can experience the following problems:

  • Poor management of customer relationships and needs because project management software is great for managing project operations but not ideal for managing the customer journey
  • Project management software is not made for salespeople and makes it harder for salespeople to do their work effectively
  • All the data that marketing and sales need is located somewhere else making their work less efficient and the data harder to analyze

Expecting project management software to handle customer relationship management well results in poorly tracked prospects and customers, mismanaged accounts, frustrated salespeople, and unhappy clients.

The Benefits of Using a Dedicated Agency CRM

As an agency, building a relationship with your clients is very important to creating new business and maintaining client retainers. Using project management software as a bandaid and trying to cobble together and manage the customer journey wastes time, is difficult, with inconsistent results, and isn’t scalable.

Don’t force your sales team to struggle to work with software that wasn’t made for them. With a dedicated agency CRM, your sales team can utilize consistent best practices to efficiently manage your clients and prospects. 

The CRM data provides a history timeline of all interactions with prospects and clients. Sales can use this data to provide a better customer experience. Learning from the data provides insight into each prospect – how they became a lead to a SQL and a won deal – information you can use to improve processes and discard what isn’t working.

ActiveDEMAND CRM displays deal value

And you have instant access to revenue data with a CRM. See what deals are open, in progress, or closed and where the prospect is on the deal timeline. Know how much each deal is worth and its projected possibility of closing. Access the entire history timelines, interactions, and files for each prospect contact, organization, or client.

A CRM is affordable and scalable. With ActiveDEMAND adding an agency dedicated CRM to your marketing and sales only costs $20/month with unlimited users.

Integrate Marketing Automation and Align Marketing and Sales

Maintaining alignment between the marketing and sales departments is always a challenge and it’s easy for the separate teams to get siloed. This problem is eliminated when a dedicated agency CRM and marketing automation software work together. With ActiveDEMAND, there is a CRM built-in making it easy to track the customer journey from prospect to final sale and beyond. The data is all in one place so your information is consistent and easily accessible by both sales and marketing.

Bonus! Account Management Made Easier with an Agency CRM + Tasks

Most marketing agencies use Google Sheets, Excel, or even whiteboards to manage clients at a high level: easily showing “who’s on the board”, and what stage they’re in. If you’re like most agencies, you perform a weekly or biweekly account management pulse meeting where you review active accounts. You need to zip between accounts, giving high-level direction that account managers and others can execute against. With tasks, you can make account management easier to:

  • See more details on the account
  • Access account notes stream, take notes, see what open tasks are to do, add new tasks
  • See any deals relating to the account (these can be synchronized from your CRM)
  • Access any employees of the account
Tasks in ActiveDEMAND

Use Tasks for Account Management

This makes it easy to keep account managers accountable: you can keep notes on what direction was given in your account management review meetings, assign tasks, and check up on progress quickly and easily.

Keep track of all activity on deals

Video: Using Tasks for Account Management

For more information on account management using Tasks check out this helpful video.

An Agency CRM is the Better Choice

An agency can endeavor to use project management software (or a whiteboard, or an Excel sheet) in place of a CRM but it is making client relationship management more difficult than it needs to be – for the salespeople who rely on CRM data to do their jobs well and for the agency as they struggle with consistency and scalability. For $20/month with unlimited users, ActiveDEMAND just made it easy to add a CRM dedicated to agencies.

Take a test drive and start using a CRM for your agency today with a 14-day trial.

Book a live demo to see how it all works and to answer your questions.