Success in the performing industry relies heavily on your relationships, whether they be with presenters, bloggers, PR people, fellow artists, critics, or fans.
The problem? Without a reliable system, managing your contacts gets overwhelming. It’s easy to forget who you’ve reached out to and what the outcome of your conversation was.
Most musicians have tried using an Excel spreadsheet to manage their contacts — and most aren’t crazy about it.
Afterall, it’s unwieldy to organize, writing detailed notes is cumbersome, and some people’s brains don’t compute spreadsheets easily.
That’s why, today, we’re sharing the solution.
Keep reading so you can learn how to track your leads — without the headache.
Embracing a CRM System
When most musicians are starting out, we recommend that they use an Excel spreadsheet to manage their contacts (we go into more detail on this blog post).
But like we mentioned, Excel is far from perfect, and there comes a point in most musicians’ careers where they feel the need to move on to a more robust system.
This system is called a customer relationship management software (or a CRM).
A CRM is a place where you can input the name and information about anyone you meet or reach out to, whether it’s another artist, a blogger, a PR person, a presenter, fan, or critic.
It’s easy to ignore the need for a CRM or tell yourself that you’re “not ready” for one. But really, there are plenty of CRMs out there that are easy and intuitive to use — and many that are free.
Here are a list of free CRM systems for musicians that might be good for you.
5 Free CRM Systems for Musicians
While we haven’t tried all of these ourselves, we’ve heard good things about them from other musicians who have.
The free options are typically for one person, so if you have an ensemble or team you might want to check out the paid options. (Most of the systems listed below have the option to upgrade.)
This is the CRM system we use here at iCadenza. You can sort the information by appointments scheduled, contracts, and leads’ names.
We love that every interaction with our contacts includes timeline of calls, emails, meetings, and notes. No more sifting through a spreadsheet or randomly searching your email archives.
Note that Hubspot’s paid version allows you to create email sequences, which is a very valuable tool for outreach. Essentially, it lets you pre-write up to four emails to someone, and automatically sends them send according to your desired timing (they stop if the person responds).
Zoho shows the full history of correspondence between you and your contacts. You can also track analytics and create templates to help speed up your interactions.
If you want, you can take advantage of other features. Feeds allow you to collaborate with other musicians. And you can schedule tasks and reminders so you stay on top of your to-do list. (Here’s a short article demonstrating how musicians can use Zoho.)
Capsule allows you to import contacts from Outlook, Gmail, vCard, spreadsheets and any CSV file. Plus, you can email yourself notes which is nice if you’re at a conference or lunch meeting.
Capsule also connects to your contacts’ social media profiles and avatars, and allows you to categorize your customers with searchable customized tags.
Insightly is a great tool to help musicians manage contacts, organizations, colleagues, and collaborators. You can see everything about a contact, including email history and important dates.
Highrise saves you time by helping you keep track of important follow-ups (you can set recurring reminders, add notes from phone calls, and add tags for easy organization). Plus, you can bulk email your contacts to spread the word about new projects, albums, or shows you’re working on.
If you’re looking for more robust options, or you’d have a team or ensemble that you’d like to give access, a paid CRM might be a better choice. You can upgrade one of the services above or try Nimble, Pipedrive, NetHunt.
Got a Favorite CRM System for Musicians?
Tell us, how do you manage your contacts?
Have you tried any of the suggestions above?
Leave a comment with your favorite method.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in June 2017. It was updated in February 2018 for accuracy.