I had the privilege of moderating a panel at the Mirren 2016 New Business Conference in NYC titled New Business Tools & Productivity Hacks, with Matt Chollett from AgencySquared, Ryan Barry from ZappiStore and Dave Currie from Winmo.

The structure of the panel came from our report, RSW/US-Mirren Agency New Business Tools-2016 and we focused on a number of topics around each category.

While we’ll focus on those categories ourselves in upcoming blog posts, one takeaway from the report, and specifically from the panel, came from our discussion around CRM usage.

By way of introducing the topic initially, I pointed out that the number one complaint I hear from agencies, in relation to the tools they use to drive new business, is the lack of a CRM tailored to agencies.

Typical complaints are a lack of simplicity, too much horsepower, an overly complicated dashboard or that these companies just don’t get agencies and how a CRM should be built for them.

All these complaints have various levels of validity, they do, but as our panelists pointed out:

You’re never getting a CRM made just for agencies.

There Will Never Be A Perfect CRM For Agency New Business-So Stop Waiting For It

Or at least, there’s not one now.

And too many agencies use that as an excuse to avoid what should be one of your number one new business “hacks.”

In new business (as in life) time is your enemy.  You must use the tools that make your new business life easier, and a CRM is one of them. (Or at least it should be.)

The third most-used CRM tool, as reported by your agency peers, is Excel!

(Not a CRM.)

I’m not knocking Excel for it’s intended use, but there really is no reason for agencies to use it as a CRM.

As with any tool, regardless of industry, you simply must take the time to understand and use it.

And that’s really where agencies fall down: “we have no time,” “it’s too complicated,” “this CRM doesn’t work for us.”

Of course you need to do your homework and find a CRM that you know is effective, but once that’s done, commit to it and use it to your advantage.

It’s all about Baby Steps.

You may not need all the horsepower that some CRM’s offer (in fact, you probably don’t), so, as our panel at Mirren pointed out, focus on those 3-4 things you really need your CRM to do to keep you organized, effective and on top of your new business pipeline.

Then kick your excuses out the door and use that platform to help you get that next client.

I'm the VP of Sales at RSW/US. We specialize in working with services firms to help drive and close new business-if you need help with that, email me at lee@rswus.com. What I actually do: drive sales efforts to bring ad agencies and services firms on board with RSW, create content around successful new business tactics and help drive RSW/US marketing objectives, including social media channels, blog content, webinars, video and speaking engagements. Dig it.