CRM vs. an Inventory Management Program | Lane' J. Richards

CRM vs. an Inventory Management Program

January 29, 2020

There’s no doubt you’ve probably heard of a CRM (customer relationship manager) and of some sort of inventory management programs such as RW Elephant or GoodShuffle Pro. But do you know the difference between the two? Let’s take a closer look at how both a CRM and inventory management program may help in your rental business.

What is a CRM?

A CRM is a client relationship management program that will typically allow you to create workflows. You upload your pre-created email templates, build questionnaires (such as for design clients), and create your contracts for e-signing.

Wait, workflow what?! A workflow is your client journey, process and timeline of things you need to do. This is the foundation for any good CRM. In fact, I don’t recommend using one that doesn’t have this feature (or the ability to auto-send emails). You map out what emails need to be sent and when. Such as emailing a new client intake form 7 days after the contract has been e-signed (which you can send automatically). The actions (such as sending an email, contract, etc.) are usually based on the days after activating a workflow, before the base date (event date), on the base date, or after the base date.

Example of 17Hats actions
Example of 17Hats action prompts
Example of 17Hats New action item trigger-by date

You can invoice via a CRM (17Hats and Dubsado) as well. But you may opt to do this directly from your accounting software or inventory management program. Your workflows can also have to-dos for your clients. This might be a reminder to send a hand-written card (since you do this “offline” and not via an automated email).

What’s an Inventory Management Program?

An inventory management program (e.g.: RW Elephant or GoodShuffle Pro) is simply that – it manages your inventory. You can create a rental proposal based on availability (so no potential to double book rental items). And via the reports, see what inventory items are earning their keep in your warehouse (item utilization reports). It will not send emails automatically that don’t have to do with invoicing. So if you need to send a proposal follow-up email, you’d either need to do that manually (via Gmail or another email provider) or use your CRM (which you’d have this email send automatically from your workflow).

Most inventory management programs have the ability to integrate with your website. Most even allow your clients to submit a wishlist online. However, be sure to check compatibility as some are limited to WordPress websites.

It can be confusing at first. However, utilizing both a CRM and an inventory management program can help you keep your sanity, gives you insight into the analytics of what’s renting (and what’s not), keeps you focused, and frees up time!


Need Help with Workflows and Automation?

I work with specialty and vintage rental pros, helping you build and scale your business so you can do more in less time. Want to see how I can help you and your rental business? Learn more about 1:1 mentoring or schedule a coaching call with me. Contact me via email or call 619.577.3117 to inquire and get more details.

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