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Producers using a Mac: What CRM software do you recommend?

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Ned Miller
Producers using a Mac: What CRM software do you recommend?
on Nov 15, 2012 at 2:02:50 am

Hi,

If you're not on a Mac or don't know what CRM software is, please refrain from responding.

My (lack of) organization of keeping track of clients, leads, communications, etc. is now a complete mess since giving up on ACT about five years ago. ACT came out with a new version and decided not to support Mac so I first went with Microsoft Office's Entourage, and then Outlook to keep track. Both were buggy because they are PC software first and their Mac versions were problematic.

So presently I have my estimates and invoices in QuickBooks Pro, if I need to print a label with their name and address I have to go into Dymo Labelmaker, the email program is Apple Mail 4.5 (using Gmail as the server), all client data is primitively stored in Apple Address Book (which seems like something designed for college kids), the template business letters and proposals are in Word 14.1.

What are you using in the Mac universe to keep track of all your clients and their related data? I'd like to click ONE PLACE and have it all there. I appreciate any advice from Apple centric producers.

Thanks!

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
www,bizvideo.com


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Mark Suszko
Re: Producers using a Mac: What CRM software do you recommend?
on Nov 15, 2012 at 3:30:03 am

Well, there's a company that makes a pretty good product, designed for production houses, that is basically a "skin" draped over Filemaker pro. You buy a copy of filemaker pro and this interface, and its a one-stop shop for everything a production house needs to keep track of,schedule, and communicate about.

Now, I'm blanking on the name of the maker and product name. It might come to me in a day or so. We wound up having somebody customize a Microsoft product for us, but it leaves a lot to be desired..

Is this the kind of thing you were looking for?


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Bill Davis
Re: Producers using a Mac: What CRM software do you recommend?
on Nov 15, 2012 at 4:53:24 am

I started using Filemaker Pro sometime in about 1993 and have never left it.

There's a reasonably robust aftermarket for turnkey solutions for many industries, but the thing I like best about it is that the ability to open up templates and custom design your own database modules and link them together.

It's a very flexible data workshop in that sense.

You can start with something simple like a client ID record, then expand it nearly infinitely. The program has a robust set of math tools including date calculations so that "aging" anything from invoices to a tickler file - and automating stuff like contact reminders is all pretty easy as your confidence grows.

It takes time and effort to learn and even more time to build out your own custom solutions - but the benefits are HUGE since if your needs change, you'll likely have learned the skills to adapt the program to reflect YOUR needs,not some external database designers ideas. Also, it's been in operation and extremely well supported for more than 20 years now so any time you invest is likely to be as good 10 years from now as it is today.

Just a suggestion. Only you know whether it makes more sense to look for a more standardized turnkey program or roll your own with something like Filemaker Pro.

Good luck.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Ned Miller
Re: Producers using a Mac: What CRM software do you recommend?
on Nov 15, 2012 at 10:28:14 am

Hey Bill,

The reason I started this thread is that my main freelance editor emailed me to remind me this is the time of year we have done a video for a very large company (last four years) and maybe I should tickle them. So I emailed and got an answer that my main contact there has left but she referred my name to the head of the department responsible. I feel it's probably too late...

You had mentioned the ability to "tickle", that's exactly what I should have done a few weeks ago. How does this work in FP? How does it integrate with your calendar, through iCal? Or does it create a desktop reminder? I still use a paper calendar book because most of the time I am booking myself I am in my van or on lunch break for a shoot, but I guess I could manually enter a tickle note.

Thanks

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
www,bizvideo.com


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Bill Davis
Re: Producers using a Mac: What CRM software do you recommend?
on Nov 16, 2012 at 5:26:20 am

I don't do import export stuff with it other than exporting PDF invoices for attaching to billing emails - so I don't know how to use it to drive iCal.

I will say tho that the program is a wiz at "date math" - If you want to generate a flag in a field 30,60 or 90 days from a records "creation date" and flag it on the programs front page as a "send reminder letter" the program can easily calculate the number of days or weeks ahead and soft that info into a tiered list that you can display on the front page of your database showing what needs to go out and to whom.

Honestly, the simple "real language" calculation capabilites built into FMPro are pretty robust.

I'm sure there's a list of them on the Website.

As a "semi-relational" database. (Essentially flat file basics with pretty robust "lookup" capabilities across separate databases) You can build pretty complex data storage and custom reporting stuff in it if you take the time to study up on how it operates.

I pretty much use it for three things. Invoicing, scriptwriting and the all important script breakdown. (I never liked the programs that do Hollywood style scripts like Final Draft since I'm typically in a 2-column mode. Final Draft does 2 column of course, but it's severely limited. The joy of FMPro is that after I write my scripts in it - I can "pin" columns of dialog to the descriptions using records and I can add or subtract length dynamically. And since I'm essentially writing in a database, I can switch to alternate layouts that let me add matched fields for stuff like Cast, Crew, Props, ect to specific blocks of dialog and/or locations.

It's kinda like writing in a super spreadsheet, but a simple alternate layout can hide or show columns at will and create custom layouts in a way no spreadsheet can.

And as I noted it's calculation capabilities not just with MATH but with text and dates or times are so robust that the couple of times I've needed to do a simple timecode calculator (base 60 math) for something, I was able to whip one up in FMPro in about 10 minutes. It's that flexible.

I've been using it for probably 25 years now and wouldn't want to live without it.

I'd certainly understand if you look into it and find it's too much hassle to do everything as a custom construction. But I love the damn thing.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Ned Miller
Re: Producers using a Mac: What CRM software do you recommend?
on Nov 15, 2012 at 10:19:08 am

Yes Mark. Thanks. I forgot about FP. Had it about 10 years ago and had a geek make me a custom template for proposals. I'll look into it again.

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
www,bizvideo.com


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Matt Geier
Re: Producers using a Mac: What CRM software do you recommend?
on Nov 15, 2012 at 3:56:18 am

Hi Ned,

Have you looked into Salesforce.com?
I use a Mac. I don't use any Mac software to be my CRM system/database, etc...

That's a feature heavy platform independent solution. Even at the lowest subscription level.

I have experience with various CRMs and other Customer Management integrations.

How much knowledge do you have in web based programing for software development kits and APIs etc?

How much might you b e you looking to spend? Costs drive everything, right?

Matt Geier
(Video Networking Solutions Expert)
(Creative Design Workflow Consultant)
(Social Media Networks Consultant)
(Technical Video Industry Sales Consultant)


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Ned Miller
Re: Producers using a Mac: What CRM software do you recommend?
on Nov 15, 2012 at 10:29:17 am

Their price was really high and although it got the best ratings it seems more for a real Sales Force than a one man band such as myself.

Thanks

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
www,bizvideo.com


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Matt Geier
Re: Producers using a Mac: What CRM software do you recommend?
on Nov 15, 2012 at 6:41:31 pm

They can be expensive. Speaking from experience as a user on a team, as well as a one man show I understand your point.

Were you aware they offer single user access as well as group, professional and enterprise levels?

Matt Geier
(Video Networking Solutions Expert)
(Creative Design Workflow Consultant)
(Social Media Networks Consultant)
(Technical Video Industry Sales Consultant)


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Ned Miller
Re: Producers using a Mac: What CRM software do you recommend?
on Nov 15, 2012 at 6:53:49 pm

That looks interesting although I am not concerned with keeping track of billable hours.

Does anyone know if a use a business card scanner with any of their CRM software? I have little stacks of cards with rubber bands around them that I procrastinate entering because it is so laborious. This would be a very important part of the process in terms of deciding which software to go with.

Thanks

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
www,bizvideo.com


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Bill Davis
Re: Producers using a Mac: What CRM software do you recommend?
on Nov 16, 2012 at 5:32:38 am

[Ned Miller] " I have little stacks of cards with rubber bands around them that I procrastinate entering because it is so laborious. "

Not to sound like a Filemaker Pro sales guy - but it's dedicated picture fields are great to use with something like a Neat Receipts scanner that does business cards and paperwork. You can quick scan them right into the fields in your FMPro layout.

I used to do visual "post storyboards" of some of my projects by doing screen caps and importing them into a custom screen layout to create pages of scenes when I had a really complex video to work on. I'd keep those pages in a binder at my edit desk so I could look up Timecode locations in my footage.

Obviously the FCP-X visual database approach has made that obsolete for me now, but It was a truly helpful tool for me to create visual references of my programs for many, many years.

FWIW.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Mark Landman
Re: Producers using a Mac: What CRM software do you recommend?
on Nov 15, 2012 at 4:53:19 am

I don't currently use it, but I'm checking out Studiosuite. You can download a 30 day demo at studiosuite.com

Mark Landman
PM Productions
Champaign, IL



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Mark Suszko
Re: Producers using a Mac: What CRM software do you recommend?
on Nov 15, 2012 at 5:22:09 am

Mark Landman, you named the program I was trying to remember:

http://www.barryrudolph.com/newtoys/toys4/studiosuite8.html


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Steve Kownacki
Re: Producers using a Mac: What CRM software do you recommend?
on Nov 16, 2012 at 11:52:47 pm

I'm a Salesforce user for 2 years now and really love it. Basic plan is $5/mo. I upgraded to the Group at $15/mo a year ago when trying to get another user to help out, but I'm going back to the $5 plan in Jan.

It is super-powerful (I say that as an ACT! user for many years) and I wanted a cloud-based solution - log in from anywhere and anything. Hardest part is getting all of your data in, but that's any program. Give a week or 2 of testing with 10 contacts to see how it functions. Plus it's completely customizable. Reminders, ticklers, etc really easy. Account & contacts took some getting used to. SF customer service is 2nd to none.

It's no longer integrated with google docs, but you can attach just about any file to a contact.

Being a solo operator has always been an issue with contact data. I use QB Pro, Google docs, Gmail, Salesforce and Stamps.com and none easily share data, it's constant typing/copying in at least 2 locations: Salesforce (on my MAC) as the salesguy and QB (on the PC) as the invoice guy. I'm probably missing something in here too.

Oh, and the Android app for SF is a bit odd and you can't do everything, but at least you can schedule from anywhere. I have no experience on an iPhone or iPad app. But to have your complete contact list with you on your phone and simple dialing from within, handy.

Willing to answer specifics if you have them. Basically I'm happy with it and I'm too far invested with historical data to move to another provider. The group version is nice to enter "opportunities" if you're looking for that true "sales funnel" type of tracking.

Steve






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Justin Bartak
Re: Producers using a Mac: What CRM software do you recommend?
on Feb 11, 2013 at 6:02:02 pm

If you are looking for a Mac CRM. We are the makers of an app called Elements CRM. Its Mac only (Desktop, iPad, and iPhone), its cloud based and we love Mac businesses! http://www.ntractive.com


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