In recent years, customer relationship management systems, or CRMs, have been hailed as the saving grace for many small businesses. From prospecting for new leads to managing existing clients, using a CRM can mean the difference between a well-oiled machine of a business and a disorganized mess of information. This is especially true in expanding industries, where competition can be fierce and organization is key. With more than 4% growth over the last year, one of these industries is the speaking industry. However, unlike traditional sales, selling in the speaking industry is generally managed by small teams with small tech budgets. As a result, choosing a speaker CRM (i.e. a speaking industry-specific CRM) can be a chore, especially with so few options on the market.
Additionally, for many speaking business owners, it can be difficult to know exactly what to look for in a CRM. Does it need extensive automation functionality or is this a ‘less is more’ situation? How much should it cost? Should I have separate user profiles for my team? In this guide, we’re going to answer all of these questions and more. That way, whether you’re a new speaker or an expert on stage, you can confidently choose the right CRM for your speaking business.
Speaker CRM Basics
But, before we get into the nuts and bolts of speaker CRMs, what is a CRM in the first place? As mentioned before, the term “CRM” stands for “customer relationship management”. In other words, a CRM is a system that allows you to manage your correspondence with leads and customers, organize their information, and keep track of sales opportunities all in one place. Although the technological capabilities of CRMs can vary, most also integrate with commonly-used apps and tools. That way, if the CRM doesn’t provide you with the functionality you want, you can connect it to a tool that does.
In most cases, CRMs also come with some level of customizability. This allows you and your team to change the layout (and, in some cases, the functionality) of the system to suit your business’s sales process specifically. Unfortunately, when looking for a speaker CRM, the work required to do this can be extensive. After all, most CRM companies are selling to sales teams across multiple industries. As a result, they have to focus on generic sales needs and avoid customizations that would turn away whole industries. For many speakers, this is not only incredibly frustrating when it comes to weighing CRM options. It also makes it difficult to know for sure which customizations are important and which aren’t necessary.
Key Components of a Speaker CRM
Thankfully, there are a few options out there that have speakers’ customization covered. Ultimately, there will always be details specific to your speaking business that you have to add manually. However, there are a few components that we’ve found to be an absolute must, if you want a high-quality speaker CRM.
There are separate sections for your leads versus your contacts.
The first thing to look for in a speaker CRM is two separate sections for leads and contacts. If you’ve already considered a few CRMs before, you’ve likely noticed that most CRMs only have one section for both of these categories. For many of these platforms, their argument is that having one section for all of the people in your database simplifies the lead-tracking process. While that may be true for some industries, when it comes to the speaking industry, I disagree for a few reasons.
Most importantly, having all of your leads and contacts in one location can get very cluttered very quickly. For example, when you leave an event with a list of people who gave you their business card, those people are “leads”. Conversely, the people already recorded in your CRM are “contacts”. Now, after the event, let’s say you start reaching out to those leads, asking about future opportunities for you to work with them again. If they never answer your emails or if things don’t work out, you now have a collection of useless records in your CRM. In other words, your would-be valuable “Contacts” section is now diluted with a bunch of people that aren’t worth contacting again. Confusing, right?
To prevent this, look for a speaker CRM that has one section for “leads” and one for “contacts”. That way, as you collect lists of possible speaking opportunities, you can put them in the “Leads” section. Then, after you connect with the organizers for these events, you can convert them into the “Contacts” section. In the long run, this makes it easy to know which records are the highest priority, so you can close deals with new clients or keep in contact with past ones, leading to repeat opportunities in the future.
The fields are tailored to include event-specific information.
In addition to separate sections for leads and contacts, a good speaker CRM also has pre-built customization for speakers. This sounds obvious. After all, everyone loves the idea of finding a system that already functions perfectly for their business. However, some speaker CRMs on the market advertise themselves as “customized for speakers” while, in reality, the customization they’ve done ahead of time is fairly minimal.
A great example of this can be seen in karmaSpeaker CRM. Although there is value in its simplicity and general ease of use, the total functionality is limited. Additionally, while they brand themselves as “customized for speakers,” the only speaker-specific material in their accounts is that the “Deals” section (as seen in standard CRMs) has been renamed to “Gigs” and includes a few fields related to event organization. Ultimately, while there is value in keeping things simple, in this case, this takes it too far, to the point of near-uselessness for any speakers considering it.
When you’re considering different CRMs, keep this in mind and look for speaker CRM companies that put their money where their mouth is. Ask yourself, are the fields specific to speakers in every section of the CRM? Is the support team familiar with the speaking industry? Can I further customize their existing speaker-specific fields so they fit my speaking business? If the answers to all of these questions is “yes,” you’re in the right place! It’s also important to look for speaker CRMs that have the most customization already done for you. That way, you can save yourself as much time (and, by extension, as much money) as possible when setting up your new CRM.
It can be used to organize testimonials and audience lists as well as leads and contacts.
Moving on, the third thing to look for in your speaker CRM search is sections dedicated to other areas of your speaking business. Although CRMs will generally have sections for managing contact records and sales opportunities, the most valuable CRM systems allow you to manage additional aspects of your speaking business. This not only makes it easier for you to manage your speaking business alone, as you won’t have to bounce from app to app in your day-to-day work. It also makes it easier to add members to your team.
Personally, I hear two sections requested more than any other: one for testimonials and one for audience members. The first of these, the “Testimonials” section, should ideally allow you to record praise from past clients in one place. It should also allow you to connect the testimonial record to the contact record for the client that left you such an awesome review. That way, when a new, potential client asks for a reference, you can quickly and easily pull a testimonial from one of your top fans.
The second of these sections, the “Audience” section is exactly what you think: a place to keep lists of audience members. In many cases, your audience might not necessarily be likely to hire you for another large speaking event. However, especially at corporate or association events, your audience can be full of prime sales opportunities for smaller goods or services. I’m talking books, online coursework, workbooks - anything you can offer to audience members to help them implement your message even after the main event is over. It goes without saying that the more easily you can organize your audience members, the more easily you can sell these offerings to them. That’s where an “Audience” section comes in handy. 👍
It comes with reports and templates specific to the speaking industry.
Finally, in addition to customized fields and sections, a high-quality speaker CRM also comes with speaker-specific reporting. As a business owner, your most valuable assets are insights into your speaking business. Whether it’s related to sales, marketing, or operations and whether it’s good news or bad, knowledge is power. After all, if you don’t have data to show you where your weak points are, how can you hope to fix them? In light of this, choosing a CRM that has speaker-specific reporting functionality is an absolute must. Not only will it save you time and money in the long term. It will also help you set goals for yourself and your team.
Besides the features we’ve already covered, a good speaker CRM also comes equipped with print and email templates for new account owners. As with speaker-specific reporting, jumping into a new CRM can require a ton of time and energy unless you have templates right off the bat. Additionally, if you have no sales experience or aren’t comfortable with it yet, templates won’t only save you time and energy. They’ll also save you a ton of stress, as high-quality templates will help you sell, even if you’re just getting the hang of sales when you start using them.
Combined, both of these features - reporting and templates - along with the features mentioned previously are guaranteed to have a positive impact on your speaking business. From speaker-specific customizations to high-end functionality, choosing a CRM that’s designed with you in mind can be a chore, but any successful speaker will tell you: it pays off, literally! 💰
That brings me to the last and most important part of this guide: our top pick of the speaker CRMs out there. As of right now, there’s only one that both hits all of these requirements and is specific to the speaking industry. That system is SpeakerFlow CRM. Created in 2019 with speaker and tech expert Julie Holmes, SpeakerFlow CRM is the most feature-rich speaker CRM on the market, hands down. On top of the features we’ve already broken down, each account automatically comes with:
Access to 40+ applications for supporting your speaking business, such as email marketing tools and esignature apps, included in the $35/month price
Modules for conducting competitor research, connecting with your eSpeakers account, and managing your tasks
Ongoing support from the SpeakerFlow team, both via email and online forum
Additionally, the SpeakerFlow team is always around, so you don’t have to go it alone. If you’re nervous about setting up your account or if you have a large team, onboarding packages are available to help you implement best practices. On the flip side, if you’re confident in your technical skills and ready to handle it on your own, they also offer online training and support through SpeakerFlow University. That way, you can grow your CRM and your business with the support of their team and other professional speakers.
For more information about SpeakerFlow CRM, I highly recommend contacting their team for a free demo. Not only is their team incredibly knowledgeable, when it comes to technology and the speaking industry. They’re also laid back and friendly, and I know more than one speaker that’s started with them as a client and ended as a friend. Hopefully, for you and your team, you’ll soon be in that category, too. 😊