How to Choose a CRM: A Total Guide and Key Questions to Ask Your Sales Rep

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With so many options on the market, choosing the right CRM system that meets all of your influencer marketing needs can be challenging. In this blog, we’ll break down where to begin and end the process and give you some key questions you should ask your sales representative during your software demonstration. Let’s get into how to choose a CRM.  

What is a customer relationships management (CRM) system?

In a nutshell, a CRM system is a comprehensive tool to help businesses stay organized and deliver exceptional customer experiences. Think of it as a digital assistant that stores and organizes important customer data like contact information, purchase history, and communication logs. With the right CRM system, you can track customer interactions, manage sales leads, streamline marketing efforts, and build stronger customer relationships. 

What is a CRM in influencer marketing?

In the context of influencer marketing, a CRM system helps manage and streamline relationships with content creators. It serves as a centralized platform to store and organize creator data, including contact information, engagement metrics, collaboration history, and campaign performance. By leveraging a CRM system, brands can effectively execute and optimize their influencer marketing strategies while ensuring seamless collaboration with influencers.

Why is an influencer CRM system important?

An influencer CRM system facilitates each step of the collaboration process. Let’s take a closer look at the specific benefits:

Streamline outreach. 

It can be a pain to reach out to creators at scale when trying to scale your program and recruit new talent. A CRM unlocks the ability to send personalized outreach emails and automate follow-up messages. You can also segment your email lists so the right people get the right message at the right time.

Manage relationship stages. 

From initial contact to ongoing collaborations, tracking the progress of your influencer relationships becomes much easier when using a CRM. The CRM allows you to record communication history, set follow-up reminders, and track key milestones. This will help you stay organized and keep important correspondences from slipping through the cracks. 

Collect and organize content.

With a CRM system, you can store your growing library of influencer-generated content, such as images, videos, and captions, in a centralized location. This makes it easy to access and repurpose material for various marketing purposes like social media posts or website content. You can also tag content with relevant campaign details, making it effortless to retrieve and reuse materials when needed.

Track performance.

Tracking performance is crucial in influencer marketing, and a CRM system helps you do just that. It provides valuable insights into campaign metrics and performance indicators. You can measure key metrics like engagement rates, reach, conversions, return on investment (ROI), and more directly within the CRM. This data allows you to assess the effectiveness of your influencer campaigns and make data-driven decisions for future initiatives.

Enhance collaborations.

A CRM system lets you easily share campaign briefs, guidelines, and updates so you and your influencers are always on the same page. Moreover, it allows for efficient collaboration by providing a platform for feedback, approvals, and content revisions. This fosters better teamwork, ensures alignment, and enhances the overall quality of influencer collaborations.

Woman on a laptop wondering how to choose a CRM

What to look for in a CRM

Choosing the right CRM system will depend on your specific influencer marketing goals. However, there are a handful of features that most—if not all—influencer marketers will want at their fingertips. Let’s talk about them. 

Influencer discovery solutions

Nearly half of influencer marketers say discovering new creators is their biggest challenge. But the quest becomes much less stressful with the right CRM system in place. 

For example, GRIN’s Creator Management platform leverages a powerful combination of always-on and on-demand tools to help you find the perfect creator partners. 

  • Curated Lists: Let the experts conduct the search for you and deliver a hand-picked list of brand-aligned creators right to your inbox. 
  • Creator Search: Filter millions of creators by key performance metrics like follower count, engagement rate, audience insights, and more. 
  • Web Extension: Unlock creator information automatically while browsing Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and Pinterest. 
  • Landing Pages: Add a customizable landing page to your website where creators can apply to work with you directly. 
  • Social Listening: Track @mentions so you never miss a conversation people are having about your brand online. 

Learn more about the Creator Discovery Suite.  

Integrations for your marketing stack

Choosing a CRM system with robust integrations brings all of your influencer marketing workflows under one roof so you can stop jumping from tab to tab. Take a particularly close look at ecommerce integrations. With the right tools in place, you can cut the tedious tasks of product seeding, paying creators, generating affiliate links, and more down to just a few clicks. 

Contracts and detailed campaign briefs

Look for a CRM system equipped with templated contracts and campaign briefs. You should be able to customize each one to meet the specific needs of each partnership. Automate delivery of the contracts and briefs and store them in your CRM system so you can easily find them if you need to refer back to them at any time. 

Content approval workflow

Long-term creator partners understand your mission and values and can usually deliver quality content with little assistance from your end. However, you might want to have a content approval workflow process in place for newer partners. A CRM system with this feature eliminates the need for back-and-forth messaging via email and keeps your messaging airtight and on brand. 

An easily searchable content library

The beauty of influencer marketing is that you can grow a massive library of influencer-generated content that you can repurpose for other marketing endeavors. Be sure to pick a CRM system that makes it easy to search for the exact piece you’re looking for. 

Real-time tracking

You’ll need to track the success of your content, campaigns, and overall program to know what’s working and what isn’t. The right CRM system should keep this data in real time so you always have an up-to-date look at key performance metrics. The delivery of these metrics should also be intuitive and easy to understand. 

Access to detailed reports

Chances are there is someone above you who needs a briefing on how your program performs. Leverage your CRM system to pull customized reports weekly, monthly, quarterly, or however often your key stakeholders want an update on the fruits of your labor. Bonus points if you can send these reports off without having to leave the dashboard of your CRM system. 

Tax compliance automation

If you’re reading this, the word “accountant” probably doesn’t appear anywhere in your job description. If that’s the case, leverage a CRM system that handles the 1099s for you so you and your influencers stay tax compliant. 

Questions to ask before choosing a CRM

What are my objectives?

Consider your goals carefully before starting your influencer marketing CRM system search. Here is a list of common objectives and some key features to be aware of for each one:

  • Influencer discovery: Robust search capabilities and tools you can use to analyze key performance metrics of potential influencer partners. 
  • Relationship management: Contact management, communication history tracking, relationship stage management. 
  • Campaign performance tracking: Comprehensive analytics and reporting capabilities like engagement rate, reach conversions, ROI, etc. 
  • Content collaboration: Email integrations, content sharing, organized content library, and feedback and approval processes. 
  • Contract and legal compliance: Templated contracts, e-signature integrations, and 1099 automation. 
  • Workflow efficiency: Automation features, centralized document storage, task management, ecommerce integrations. 

What’s in the budget?

This is generally one of the top questions when choosing a CRM system. There are plenty of options out there, so understanding your goals will help you get a feel for the price point you’ll fall into based on the features you require. Don’t be afraid to ask your sales rep if it’s possible to tailor a package that meets your specific needs.

How can it benefit the greater marketing team?

A successful influencer marketing strategy makes life easier for everyone on the marketing team. Here’s how choosing the right CRM system can help ensure everyone reaps the benefits:

Collaboration and alignment

The CRM system serves as a centralized platform where the marketing team can collaborate and align their efforts. It facilitates seamless communication and coordination between teams, ensuring everyone is on the same page regarding influencer campaigns, content creation, and overall marketing strategy.

Content integration

The CRM system allows for easy integration of influencer-generated content into various marketing channels. For example, the social media team can access and repurpose influencer content directly from the CRM, ensuring a steady stream of engaging and authentic content for social media platforms. Or perhaps the web design team wants to incorporate influencer content into the website to enhance brand storytelling and user experience.

Streamlined workflows

The CRM system automates various processes, such as influencer outreach, contract management, content approvals, and performance tracking. This streamlines workflows for the entire marketing team, enabling them to focus on strategic initiatives and creative execution rather than manual administrative tasks.

Performance tracking and optimization

Web traffic from influencer content, social media growth, and lead generation are just a few metrics you can track with certain CRM systems that will benefit folks outside the influencer marketing team. Be sure to get with your team leads and determine what is most important to them before selecting a platform. 

Cross-functional knowledge sharing

The CRM system acts as a knowledge hub where the marketing team can access information about influencer partnerships, campaign strategies, and best practices. It facilitates cross-functional knowledge sharing and enables team members to learn from successful initiatives and share insights.

What are the best CRM options in my niche?

Be aware of various review sites and forums you can visit to research various CRM systems in your niche. Here are a few of the big ones to consider:

Is there a free trial option?

Some CRM system providers will let you try their product before committing to a contract. Ask your sales rep if they can accommodate this request. If not, be sure to sit for a comprehensive product demonstration and come prepared to ask plenty of questions. 

How easy is it to scale?

Your CRM system should have a scalable infrastructure to handle increased user load, data storage, and system performance as your influencer marketing efforts grow. It should accommodate additional users, data volumes, and concurrent operations without compromising speed, reliability, or user experience.

How is the customer support and training?

Look for providers with quality customer success teams. This ensures that you always have a point of contact for any tips or troubleshooting information along your influencer marketing journey. You should also inquire about the onboarding process to make sure you can still see ROI while ramping up.  

Key takeaway: Asking the right questions will help you choose the perfect CRM for your business goals.

When it comes to influencer marketing, not all CRM systems are created equally. Be sure to do your research and consult other members of your marketing team before signing a contract. Getting buy-in from key stakeholders will ensure everyone benefits from the service and you get the most mileage possible out of your influencer content.  

Updated: November 2023

Frequently Asked Questions

Choosing the right CRM system for your influencer marketing efforts will depend on the unique goals of your program. That said, most quality CRM systems will have the following features:

  • Influencer discovery solutions
  • Robust integrations for your marketing stack
  • Solutions for creating detailed influencer contracts and campaign briefs
  • Content approval workflow
  • An easily searchable content library
  • Real-time tracking
  • Access to detailed reports
  • Tax compliance automation

If you come across any of these red flags during your search for a CRM system for influencer marketing, it’s a safe bet that there are probably better options out there:

  • Lack of customization
  • Poor user experience
  • Limited integrations
  • Insufficient data storage or performance
  • Inadequate support and training
  • Limited analytics and reporting
  • Security and privacy issues

Before deciding on a CRM, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are my objectives?
  • What is my budget?
  • Will the rest of the marketing department benefit from it?
  • What are the best CRM options in my niche?
  • Is there a free trial option?
  • How is it to scale?
  • How is the customer support?

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Written by Quinn Schwartz

Quinn studied journalism at the University of Kentucky and now lives in Portland, Oregon. He’s particularly interested in storytelling in digital marketing and cost-effective creator strategies for smaller brands. When he’s not writing, you can find him at a concert, dog park, or debating whether or not to go on a run.

© Grin Technologies Inc. 2022. All rights reserved.

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