I recently saw a post by a fellow LNC, inquiring: “How do I best manage leads, names, clients, contacts, supportive colleagues, and others while I grow my business?” What’s a LNC to do?
There are many Contact Relationship Management (CRM) platforms which boast a variety of functions—in addition to the ol’ tried and true Excel spreadsheet. Some CRMs are very expensive, while others more reasonable. Excel is on most everyone’s computer, is very versatile and can be effective. So how do you choose what would work best for you? What systems work the best? Does a more expensive tool really give you better results?
Here are a few thoughts to consider before investing in a CRM:
- Know clearly what goals you want to achieve. Examples include: marketing, data collection, ease of billing, building a lead base, business growth, and more.
- What is your client base? Are they attorneys? Adjusters? Self-insureds? Do you have a couple of attorneys that give you a lot of work? Or do you need to maintain contacts with several clients?
- You don’t have to pick just one, forever. You can always change as your business changes. If possible, look beyond the next few months or even years down the road, as this can help you with your forecasting and decision-making process.
- Cheaper is not always better. Less expensive products can appear a good choice for those on a budget, but often require a considerable amount of hours to get up and running or to maintain. They also may be too one dimensional for your complex needs. Know your end goal so that you can find one that matches best.
So what do you do next? Find the product that does the most for you now and fits into your budget. Be aware that as your business grows, so will your CRM, billing and archival needs. Whatever you choose now, make sure it will last you for several years and be able to be exported to another system when your business grows later.
If you’re looking for a place to begin your research, here are some examples of commonly used CRMs: Microsoft Outlook/Excel (tasks, calendar, contacts, email, spreadsheet creation), Salesforce, Bitrix24, ACT , Zoho, and 37 signals. However, this list is not exhaustive, so you may find others that work best for your business.
So…what do you want your practice to be when it grows it up? Answer that question—then research!
— Kari Williamson, BS, RN, LNCC, CCM
MKC Medical Management