Most musicians I've spoken with are not familiar with the term CRM. Contact Relationship Management (CRM) is a type of software. In some cases the term is referring to strategies or methodologies company's use, but in most cases it's used to define a broad range of software that allows a company to manage their interactions with customers. I've always found it odd that musicians have never had many options for CRM considering they are consistently managing many different types of contacts - booking agents, promoters, other industry professionals, crew members, band members, other musicians, fans, venues, etc. I anticipate that in the near future there will be more companies building solutions that help musicians manage their network more efficiently. Here is some information on CRM for musicians that will help you navigate the options and find a tool that's right for you.
What are some common features?
Commonly CRMs will provide functionality that allows a company to organize their customers into groups, stages, types, or categorize them to at least some degree. They will allow them to engage their customer base with the most common contact method being email. In more advanced systems users will also be able to send and receive text messages, make and log phone calls, as well as interact with your network on social media. Users will then be able to monitor their interactions in one or multiple activity feeds. It is also common for users to manage a task list, to create events, deals, and opportunities. Finally, one will often find a reporting component in the system that allows you to track marketing data, sales data, social media data, and many other metrics related to customer interactions.
Who is using CRMs?
Although most musicians I've spoken too are not familiar with the term CRM, while working at tech start-ups the term is ubiquitous. 91% of all companies with more than 11 employees is using a CRM, and 50% of those with less than 10 employees. Musical teams can span a wide range of sizes, but bottom line is that of all the teams out there in other industries that are of a similar size to yours, at least half of them are using CRMs. And considering that data was released 5 years before this article, and the CRM industry has shown no signs of slowing down, it's not unreasonable to expect those adoption rates have gone up.
Why are all these companies using a CRM?
The return you get by using a CRM is rather substantial. According to this study from Nucleus research you will get an average of $8.71 back on every $1 you spend. From a musicians perspective this metric starts to make sense pretty quickly. Think about if you have a system that is on the cheaper side at $20/month. You would expect that system to make you an additional $174.20/month. Now let's say that system allows you to manage your band more efficiently by helping you delegate tasks to your team through a more streamlined calendar, respond to your contacts faster by keeping all your conversations centralized, while also cutting down on the time you need to spend on social media, and saves you roughly 2 hours a week. That equates to 8 hours a month - one full work day. That is more than enough time to book at least one extra gig, which can very easily lead to an additional $174.20 that month.
What are of some CRM companies?
There are lots of different CRM companies out there right now. Some of them are absolutely massive enterprises. Here are 5 of the biggest ones:
These tools are generally pretty expensive, and are designed for larger businesses. There are hundreds of smaller vendors out there that have built a variety of horizontal and vertical solutions.
What is horizontal CRM vs. vertical CRM?
The CRMs mentioned above are primarily horizontal CRMs, meaning they are designed to function across industry lines. Since CRM software has rapidly gained popular over the past 10 years, there have been many more industry-focused CRMs popping up. These are typically referred to as vertical CRMs - CRMs specific to one industry. A few examples of these CRMs include -
And now there are several CRMs for musicians (or at least tools with some CRM-like features) popping up:
Social media is becoming the preferred channel of communication to companies they work with for many users. Being able to integrate those conversations into the rest of your contact relationship management can save an insane amount of time. In this article from Salesforce they report that of all their social CRM users 79% reported improved customer service, 63% increased customer retention, 55% increased customer loyalty, 54% increased sales revenue, and a whopping 89% reported increased brand exposure. Sometimes all it takes is a quick response to someone's question on Facebook to sell an extra hoodie. Add on top the ability to monitor the performance of your content so you can continually optimize your posts and you can really start to imagine how much a musicians could benefit from software like this. Check out Sprout and Agile if you want to see a couple companies who are already doing some great work in the social CRM world.
The advantages of mobile CRMs are going exponentially, and most CRM companies have at least started investing into a mobile option. We've already established the benefits of CRM in general, now combine that with the ability to perform all of these important, time-saving business activities right from your mobile device and we have a recipe for ultimate efficiency. Global internet traffic from mobile devices grew from .07% in 2009 to 52.99% in 2017. Many professions require you to work on the go, and music is certainly no exception. If you're in a band, you can be on the road for weeks at a time making quick stops in hotels and rest stops. You could be sending messages while running back and forth between your green and front of house. Being able to quickly access your daysheet, send a quick response to an email, look up your opening band to make sure they shared the event on social media, and doing so within one streamlined system is becoming more necessary then ever.
Bottom line is that CRM is a growing industry. It helps teams operate faster and more efficiently. Musicians haven't been exposed to this level of business software and the time has come. Musicians have a wide range of contacts, all of which call for different styles of communication. A tool that will help musicians manage their network in a more streamlined fashion will help bring more live and recorded music into the world, and that makes it a better place.
At Immensity we aim to provide software that fosters growth, collaboration, and success amongst musicians and other industry professionals. Download Immensity on the Apple App Store and start managing your music business more efficiently today